Obituaries for the week of 11/15/2013

Betty M. (Baker) Taylor

Charles Bruce Sullivan

Daniel G. Dorris

Van Twichell

Everett William Ghidossi

Larry Allen Fites

Stephen O’Neill


Betty M. (Baker) Taylor, 91, passed on Oct. 14, 2013, at her son and daughter-in-law’s home near Reno. She suffered from strokes and a persistent infection.

Betty was born in Aliquippa, Penn., on March 1, 1922, to George and Melva (Cornelius) Baker.

The family traveled by touring car to Inglewood in 1927. Betty graduated from Inglewood High School in 1940, secured a job with Bank of America and was able to buy a nearly new car.

She married Donald Hoyt Taylor in 1944.

In 1978 she and husband Don moved to Greenville. Betty retired from 20 years service for the U.S. Air Force at March A.F.B. They owned and operated the Greenville EXXON station and The Stage Stop for several years.

Betty was active in the local equestrian club and enjoyed horseback riding, boating, genealogy and caring for homeless dogs and cats.

Betty was preceded in death by her parents, husband Don, and brother George.

She is survived by her son Greg and daughter-in-law Sharon Lee Taylor, of Reno; her nephew Scott Baker and his son, Chad.

There will be a celebration of life in Greenville to be announced in the spring, 2014.


Charles Bruce Sullivan, of Nipomo, who passed on peacefully Oct. 17, 2013, lived a life dedicated to family, faith and service to this country.

Charles, retired in 1987 from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, worked on various high-profile cases during his 25-year career as a special agent. He served in the FBI’s offices in El Paso, Texas, Los Angeles, and Bakersfield, before taking an assignment as Senior Resident Agent in charge of the Fresno field office. “Chas B” or “Sully” was well regarded by his colleagues for his leadership and integrity.

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Charles put down roots in California as a teenager, first in Plumas County, where he was known as “Bruce.” He was a star athlete, graduated from Portola High School and later married his high school sweetheart, Ginger Gray. He was a graduate of California State University, Chico. Charles and Ginger, married for 37 years, raised two daughters. Upon his retirement, they returned to the Sierra Nevada mountains and Plumas County, settling on the shores of Lake Almanor.

Charles was a loving and attentive father to his girls, who have closets full of 8 mm film reels he shot during their childhoods to attest to it. He loved to take his family camping in the backcountry (it was unacceptable to be anywhere near another human being for such adventures), and for years spent every summer weekend at their swim meets. He taught them, among many other things, to be independent-minded, to appreciate classical music and to play a mean hand of pinochle.

Widowed in 1991, Charles subsequently married Barbara Jensen, with whom he felt blessed to share the past 21 years. Together, they enjoyed golfing, traveling in the US and abroad, and serving in their local Christian Science church. They moved from Lake Almanor to the temperate climes of Nipomo in 2004.

Charles is survived by his wife, Barbara; his daughters Cheryl Sullivan of Milton, Mass. (with husband, George Mandell) and Tara Sullivan-Hames of Chico (with husband, Jack Hames); and grandchildren Anna and Grayson Mandell and Drew and Madison Sullivan-Hames. Also dear to him were Barbara’s children, Kim Whitaker of Camarillo; Mark Jensen (with wife Lorraine) and Kurt Jensen of Mill Creek, Wash.; and her grandchildren, Alyssa and Wade Whitaker, and Derrick, Ian, and Kyle Jensen.

Per Charles’s instructions, no memorial service will be held. Commemorations can be made, in lieu of flowers, to the Financial Need Scholarship fund for college-bound children and grandchildren of current and former FBI agents. The website is socxfbi.org/donations/.


Daniel G. Dorris was born on Aug. 9, 1934, to Robert and Hazel (Flournoy) Dorris. He passed away Oct. 28, 2013, in Chico.

He was raised in Alturas and attended Modoc County schools. He graduated from Modoc Union High School in 1952. Dan was a good student and excellent athlete. He played basketball and football, serving as the quarterback of the varsity team.

Dan served in the U.S. Army in Germany from 1954-1956. Dan returned to Alturas after his service and married Patricia (Pat) Rose McKinney on Aug. 5, 1956. Together they left Alturas to attend college. Dan earned a degree in education from California State University Sacramento and teaching credentials in 1969. Dan did his student teaching in Grass Valley, taking his first teaching position in Fall River Mills and later moved to Alturas, his hometown.

During their time in Fall River Mills Dan and Pat helped create The Blue Lake Camp for the Handicapped, a camp for educationally and physically challenged children. The camp ran from 1967-1975 helping countless special needs children enjoy and grow from a summer camp experience.

Dan and his family moved to Quincy, in 1971. He taught at Pioneer Elementary School and Quincy Jr.-Sr. High School. Dan taught Special Education classes at the high school and was instrumental in helping those students with special needs achieve success and go on to graduate.

While teaching in Quincy, Dan coached freshman football and basketball, refereed basketball and umpired softball. He also helped his wife Pat begin to care for foster children. Together they ran a group home for Plumas County. Later they helped create Environmental Alternatives Foster Family Agency (EA). Pat ran a group home for boys while Dan helped the children with their educational needs. In 1984, Dan earned his credentials in ministry to perform a wedding ceremony for longtime foster child Sarah Jean Jacobs to James Ruckmond.

After 28 years of teaching, Dan retired in 1993 to care for his wife Pat who was battling an illness. He began working for EA as the Compliance Officer; ensuring state regulations for foster care were met throughout the agency. He also acted as the Educational Liaison for EA, mediating with schools to solve problems and create solutions to ensure the proper education for foster children. He worked for EA while caring for Pat until her death in 1999.

Dan moved to Chico. He met and later married Heather Micheli on Sept. 10, 2000. He continued to work for EA as the Compliance Officer and later as a Child Transport Officer until 2010.

Dan was a student of history and religion. While living in Chico, Dan accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. In 2007, Dan earned a degree in Biblical Studies.

Dan was generous and giving to his family, students, foster children, church and youth groups. Always a teacher and lifelong learner, Dan gave freely of his time, energy, knowledge and love. He will be deeply missed.

Dan was preceded in death by his father Robert, his mother Hazel, brother Robert, and first wife Pat.

Dan is survived by his second wife Heather Dorris, Chico; his children: Nancie Petak (Mickey), Park City, Utah; Jerome Dorris (Kimberlee), Quincy; Aimee Dorris, Susanville; Kailie Dorris, Chico; Sarah Price (Steve), Red Bluff; Erica Micheli (Victor) Stockton; his eight grandchildren: Andrew Petak (Melissa), Rachel Petak, Amanda Dorris, Christopher Dorris, Aiden Price, Ethan Price, Madison Reyes and Evelyn Reyes; his five great-grandchildren: Michael, Audrey, Luke, Sean and Christian Daniel Petak; his sister Deanne Pearson (Joe), Colusa; his two brothers: Ronald Dorris (Rhonda), Yreka, Roger Dorris (Connie) Woodland, and his sister-in-law Helene Dorris, Woodland, and countless friends and associates.

There was a Celebration of Life at First Christian Church in Chico on Saturday, Nov. 9. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Dorris Family Fund c/o Environmental Alternatives, P.O. Box 3940, Quincy, CA 95971, or donations may be made to the American Heart Association.



Van Twichell passed away at home in Reno on Nov. 1, 2013, surrounded by family, after a 20-month battle with cancer. Van was born in Hanford, and he and his family lived in a variety of places growing up: Hanford; Saudi Arabia; Tripoli, Libya; Minden, Nev.; San Jose; Las Vegas and settled in Reno in 1966.

Van was a Nevada All-State football player in 1970 and 1971 and graduated from Hug High School in 1972.

He married the love of his life in 1985, and together they raised four sons in Reno: Garye, Bryce, Bryan, and Matt.

Van was a member of Teamsters Local 533, and he and his wife Brenda owned a janitorial service in Reno for 17 years.

Friends and family remember Van as a man with a tender heart for people he loved, and he had a weak spot for animals needing a good home. He was a jack-of-all trades. He enjoyed spending time with his family, hiking and fishing. Van and his wife also owned recreational property in Portola that they visited often.

In addition to his wife and sons, Van is survived by his sister, Sheila Twichell Norton, of Kirkland, Wash.; and grandchildren Kayden, Brody, Maddilan, Keegan, and Kylee.

Memorial donations can be made to the Humane Society of Nevada.


Everett William Ghidossi began a new journey on Sunday Nov. 3, 2013. At the core of Everett’s life were his two children, Janet and Dale Ghidossi, who very much loved him.

Everett was born on April 27, 1923, at home in Beckwourth, where he lived for 88 years. He recently moved to Reno, Nev., where he was closer to his two children.

Everett enjoyed training and spending time with his English Pointers, long walks, hunting and visiting with all friends and family who stopped by to see him at his home in Beckwourth. A special thank you to Frank Kraus.

He was preceded in death by his parents Louise and William Ghidossi, brother Clarence Ghidossi and sister Elanore Pitzer.

He is survived by his wonderful brother and best friend Willie (Judy), son Dale (Marty), daughter Janet, Marian (mother of Janet, Dale, Shelly and David), also Everett’s children, grandchildren Brandon, Heather, great-grandson Dontavian Jaydn, and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

A graveside service will be held at Vinton Cemetery in Vinton, at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17. Everett’s family welcomes you to join them for the following reception at the home of Ronnie Pitzer, 375 E. Spruce, Portola. The family deeply appreciates the many good times shared with Everett, making his life full and rich. They lovingly ask that any offerings you may wish to extend instead be shared with another person dear to you. They ask that you brighten that person’s day with flowers or some special time together – just the thing Everett would love.


On Nov. 5, 2013, Larry Allen Fites passed away peacefully after a very brief illness, surrounded by his family. Larry was deeply loved by his family and is survived by Pat Fites, his beloved wife of 42 years, his children Catherine Fites, Doug Gissibl, Jo Ann Fites-Kaufman, Susan Wise, Karen Gissibl, and Virginia Brown.

Born March 2, 1935, in El Cerrito, Larry spent his youth in the Bay Area.He helped with the family chicken ranch in Hayward, and graduated from Berkeley High. He loved football, and played for the Cal Bears as a guard for part of his years there, where he graduated in civil engineering.

His career started as an engineer for the City of Oakland. Later he worked for Plumas County, first as Assistant County Engineer, the County Engineer and finally County Planner. He then worked for Lundy Engineering and later bought the business and successfully ran Larry Fites Engineering for many years. After retiring, he continued his engineering work, having a project that was mostly completed for a fire district annexation on his desk when he passed away.

His heart lay in the mountains. At the age of 8, his “gramma” Stem brought him up to Johnsville, her favorite summer spot. After that he visited Johnsville every summer and later lived there, fishing in Jamison Creek and Jamison Lake. In 1961, he built a cabin that he designed himself. He brought his family there every summer, sharing his love of the place. He and Pat restored the historic Red Hotel in Johnsville, with the help of many friends and many infamous work parties. They lived in the hotel and later built a smaller cabin to spend their summers.

He was a devoted father, attending nearly all of the many sporting events that his daughters played in, basketball, volleyball and track. He expected a lot of his children but supported them every step of the way with love. One of his greatest lessons was to live your life with integrity. He taught them to always tell the truth, but never reveal where the good fishing hole was or where he got his firewood.

He loved Plumas County and surrounding areas and spent many hours volunteering for the fire district, the Eastern Plumas Hospital Board, Plumas Eureka State Park, Johnsville Historical Society, Johnsville Water District, Feather River Land Trust and many other community causes.

A memorial will be held for Larry at the Graeagle Fire Hall, on Friday, Nov. 15, from 3 to 5 p.m. In memory of Larry, donations can be made to the Feather River Land Trust. Arrangements entrusted to Manni Funeral Home of Portola.


Stephen (Steve) William O’Neill, 64, beloved husband, father, brother, and friend, passed away on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, in Graeagle surrounded by his loved ones.

Steve was born June 25, 1949, in Portola. Steve grew up in Portola and, after graduating from Portola High School in 1967; he then went on to college and graduated from Sacramento State College. He then went to work for Graeagle Land & Water where he worked for 42 years. He was also a Graeagle volunteer fireman for many years. He joined the Rotary Club of Portola in the early 1980s and was an active member until his passing.

Throughout Steve’s life, he enjoyed skiing, snowmobiling, playing baseball, bowling, going on motorcycle rides, and most of all he had a passion for golfing. Steve loved his cars and you would always find him every Sunday washing them. People would actually ask if Steve would notice if they brought their cars over to be washed. In the past few years, Steve would always say, “Long story short,” but would go into a l-o-n-g version of the story. He had a wealth of knowledge about the Portola/Graeagle area and was well known and liked by many.

He is survived and sorely missed by his wife of 36 years, Linda O’Neill; his two children Heather (Christopher Aedo) and Kevin (Deziree) O’Neill; his four grandchildren, Nathan, Joseph, Anderson, and Mia; his sister Christie (Charlie) Briggs; his nieces, Emily (Jellum) Hanchett, Adria Jellum and Caitlin Wilcox; his cousins and best friends Joe Ayoob and Mike Nally, and many other extended family members.

His father and mother, Norman and Evelyn O’Neill, and his sister Susie Wilcox preceded Steve in death.

Steve will be extremely missed by his family and by those whose lives he touched. A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, Nov. 16, at 1 p.m. at the Portola New Life Christian Center.

In lieu of flowers, the family would please ask that donations either be made to the Portola Rotary Club Endowment Fund, for which he was a founding member, or to Tahoe Forest Health Foundation, Hospice division.

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