Plumas News

Plumas County News

Obituaries for the week of Dec 14, 2016

Ralph Winston Caldwell III

Portola resident Ralph Winston Caldwell III passed from this life suddenly Monday evening, Dec. 5, 2016, the day of his 52nd wedding anniversary, at the age of 80.

Born July 28, 1936, in Phoenix, Arizona, to the late Ralph Jr. and Leona (Holly) Caldwell, Ralph was raised and educated in Phoenix, graduating from Phoenix Union High School as a member of the Class of 1954.

He went on to further his education attending Arizona State before obtaining his Degree in Electrical Engineering from Los Angeles State College in 1964 while working for the City of Los Angeles Water and Power and it is here a pretty fellow employee named Donna Ruth Taylor caught his eye.

The couple was united in matrimony on Dec. 5, 1964, in Van Nuys, and moved to Plumas County in 1981.

Ralph later worked for the City of Burbank’s Water and Power Division, later as a civilian contractor in Viet Nam and for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory before going to work for Sierra Pacific Power Company, retiring in 1996.

A devout member of the Methodist faith he attended the Portola United Methodist Church where he served on various committees throughout the years as well as singing in the choir.

An accomplished artist he enjoyed painting in watercolors, acrylics and pen and ink specializing in the beauty of the barns of Plumas County.

He enjoyed playing his guitar as well as working alongside his wife at High Sierra’s Animal Rescue’s cat program.

In his passing Ralph leaves his loving wife of 52 years, Donna, of Portola; daughter Karen Markland and her husband Gary, of Fresno; sons Kevin Caldwell and his wife Susan, of Bakersfield, and Ralph Taylor Caldwell and his wife Jennifer, of Sparks, Nevada. He was the proud grandfather to Rachel, Sarah, Emma, Nickolas, Ralph and Zachary and great-grandfather to Amelia and Guinevere. Ralph is also survived by a sister, Patricia Konomos of Tempe, Arizona, and a brother, Michael Reynolds, of Phoenix.

A celebration of Ralph’s life is planned for 11 a.m., Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, at his beloved United Methodist Church, 396 2nd Street, Portola, CA 96122.

An opportunity to express condolences to the family, along with signing the memorial guest register, is available online at

In lieu of flowers, you may make a contribution in Ralph’s memory to United Methodist Church of Portola/Music Fund or Global Teams/Higgins Ministry at 800 Tuskawilla Rd, Winter Springs, FL 32708.

Dennis Dwaine Doyle

Clio resident Dennis Dwaine Doyle passed from this life peacefully at his residence Friday afternoon, Dec. 2, 2016, at the age of 71.

Born in Devils Lake, North Dakota, to the late North Dakota natives Dwight and Irene (Schreiner) Doyle, three years to the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Dennis was raised and educated in Lakota, North Dakota, and was a graduate of Lakota High School’s Class of 1962. He went on to further his education at DeVrie Institute in Chicago, Illinois, receiving a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

While attending college he met Justine Dziwulski and the couple were later united in marriage. To this union two daughters and two sons were born. This union later sadly ended in divorce.

As a child, Dennis developed an affinity for aviation, watching the crop-dusters work over the farms of the area. His love for aviation led him to enter the aircraft sales field shortly out of college, working for a time in Florida before moving to Santa Rosa, in 1977 and operating Dennis Doyle Aircraft Sales at the Sonoma County Airport. He resided there until moving to Clio some 10 years ago but still remained active in his business up until his passing. The local aviation community will fondly remember him and his beloved Bonanza. He was a longtime member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

Dennis served the residents of Plumas County as a member of the Grand Jury and was a member of the Plumas County Grand Jury Association. He was an accomplished photographer, enjoyed traveling, spending time on the family farm in North Dakota and was always there to help anyone in need.

In his sudden passing, Dennis leaves his sons, Jerry of Las Vegas, Nevada, Jason and his wife Stacy of Rockwell, Texas; daughters Kerry Raminak and her husband Dave, of Dripping Springs, Texas, Breean Gillie and her husband Shawn, of Clio; and was the proud grandfather to Aiden, Miriam, Madison and Jackson. He is also survived by a brother, Donald and sisters, Kathy Huff and Diane Denfeld, all of Broomfield, Colorado.

A celebration of Dennis’s life is being planned for a later date. An opportunity to express your condolences to the family along with signing the memorial guest register is available online at

Kenneth Lloyd Kolb

Ken was 90 years old when he passed away on Oct. 16, 2016.

The only child of Fred and Ella Kolb, he was born in Portland, Oregon, on July 14, 1926.

World War II was happening when Ken graduated from Gresham High. He joined the Navy to become a radar technician. Ken entered the University of California on the G.I. Bill in the fall of 1947.

Ken’s Theta Chi roommate introduced him to a cute nursing student named Emma Sanford. This was the beginning to a 6-year courtship and 64 years of marriage. They were married in 1952 and spent the next two summers working on the Smith Peak Fire Lookout in Plumas County.

Ken got started in the screen writing business when he was hired to write a movie script for Columbia Studios. The movie was “The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad,” which had a fiftieth anniversary release of a DVD and was selected as a Cultural Classic by the Library of Congress in 2008.

Ken wrote for many popular TV series, including “Dragnet,” “The Rifleman,” “Have Gun Will Travel” and “Wild Wild West.” The income from the film and television work allowed Ken to indulge in his original ambition to be a novelist. His first novel was “Getting Straight,” published in 1967. The “Couch Trip” followed in 1970, and “Night Crossing” was published in 1974. The first two books were made into movies.

During this time, Ken and Emma had started a family and returned to Plumas County in 1957. They bought a house on Long Valley Creek in Cromberg. There they raised their son, Kevin and two daughters, Lauren and Kimrie.

Ken traveled with his family to many places such as Europe, Mexico, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji. After the children were grown, he and Emma traveled (often with good friends) to South America, Australia, China, Russia and the Canadian Rockies. Ken always felt that Plumas County was the best place of all.

Ken felt good about his life. He was grateful for his wonderful wife and soul mate and the time they had together. He was thankful for his three beautiful children and his home in the peaceful countryside. He felt joyful and thankful for the friendships that nurtured his intellect and spirit. He was thankful to have lived the life he wanted. He died peacefully at his home with his loving family by his side.

Dan McNamara

Dan McNamara suddenly passed away Dec. 1, 2016. Our Danny Boy left the earth much too soon for all of us who loved him. He was born Dec. 19, 1945.

Dan enjoyed best spending time with good friends and his family. Whether it was out on the golf course (he got his first hole-in-one this November!); summer days spent with Patty and their many visitors at their lake cabin on Gold Lake; watching his grandsons play sports; travel to his beloved Ireland and Alaska; raising a pint or enjoying some of his vast wine collection; telling or hearing a good joke; or just quietly reading his kindle.

Dan’s professional life in the commercial insurance industry also brought him great joy and tremendous success. His insurance career began in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with the Nordstrom Agency. He then started his own brokerage firm, McNamara and Associates in Burlingame in 1980. He sold this company to Arthur J. Gallagher in 1990, becoming one of their most successful producers and part of a new kind of ‘family’. Many of Dan’s longtime colleagues and clients were more than that to him … they became dear friends. He just couldn’t bring himself to retire, because as he said, “I’ve never had a day where I wasn’t happy to go to work.”

Dan left behind Patty, his wife of 22 years; his son Tim and daughter-in-law, Tasha; his grandsons Aidan and Owen and Tim’s mother, Alice; also his brother Tom and wife Karen; brother Jerry and wife Loretta; his ‘Irish twin’ brother, David and wife Barbara; sister Mary and husband Dennis and sister Jane and husband Chuck; plus a large family of adored nieces and nephews and cherished cousins and loved in-laws.

He is preceded in death by his father, Leo Robert; his recently deceased 99-year-old mother, Sarah Ann; and his daughter, Colleen. Dan was called away one day after the 32nd anniversary of his beloved daughter’s death. We can only pray that they were finally reunited and Dan’s big Irish heart was overflowing with joy.

Rest in peace sweet Danny Boy … we love you… we were blessed to have you in our lives … and we will always miss you.

Donations can be made in memory of Dan and Colleen to the ‘Daughters of Class of 1984 Alumnae’ at Notre Dame High School Belmont, 1540 Ralston Avenue, Burlingame, CA 94002. This fund directly benefits current students whose mothers were classmates of Colleen. (Donations are tax deductible.) (650) 595-1913,

Eric Vance Nelson

Eric Nelson, loving son, husband, father, grandfather and friend, died unexpectedly on Saturday evening, Dec. 3, 2016, in Graeagle.

A third-generation Nevadan, Eric was born Feb. 3, 1950, to Vance and Marjorie Nelson of Reno, Nevada.

He is survived by his father Vance Nelson; his wife of 36 years, Teri; daughter Taylor Ruepp (Michael); son Matt; and his twin granddaughters Addilyn and Kaylee, who were the lights of his life. Eric is also survived by his sisters, Marja Brophy (Steve) and Valerie Nelson (Steve), his uncle Ray Nelson and numerous nieces and nephews.

Eric graduated from Wooster High School in 1968 and graduated from Heald Business College where he studied court reporting.

He served in the Army for three years in Washington D.C. where he worked as the court reporter for the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.

Eric returned to Reno and began his 40-year career as a court reporter and owner of Sierra Nevada Reporters.

In addition to his dedication to his career, he was also a thirty-second-degree Mason, and a part of the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program and devoted Big Brother to his Little Brother, Angel, for the last eight years.

Eric lived his last day to perfection. After a two-hour morning bike ride in beautiful Sierra Valley, Eric enjoyed breakfast with Teri at their Graeagle home, and then spent the afternoon serving eggnog at the Graeagle Mercantile for the annual Christmas Festival. Dinner and cards with long-time friends followed that evening. It was how Eric lived every day: with passion, energy and joy.

To Eric, the outdoors was his spiritual home whether on the golf course, boating, a century bike ride, the ski slopes, hiking, or on a marathon course. When work or fun was done for the day, Eric spent hours at the piano playing music from Chopin to David Lanz. Those who knew Eric describe him as a Renaissance man and he lived his life by this advice: Play the moments. Pause the memories. Rewind the happiness. This is the music of life.

A celebration of Eric’s rich, memorable life was held at Grace Church in Reno, Friday, Dec. 9, followed by a reception at the church. Those in attendance celebrated by wearing their brightest, most colorful attire.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada, 1300 Foster Drive, Suite 210, Reno, 89509.

Online donations may be made at

John Osmetti

John Osmetti died peacefully at his son’s home in Reno, Nevada, on Dec. 6, 2016, at the age of 97-1/2.

He was born on June 12, 1919, in Grosotto, Italy, in the Italian Alps, five miles from the Swiss border.

In 1950, he married Teresa Trinca. In 1954, seeking a better life for himself and his family, he immigrated to the U.S. He traveled to the U.S. via a steamship across the Atlantic Ocean, a train trip from New York to Reno and a bus trip to Sierra Valley, where he ultimately settled and made his home on a ranch for the next 60 years. In 1956, he was joined by his wife and daughter from Italy.

He was employed with the Western Pacific Railroad in Portola for 27 years, starting in the track gang; over the course of time, he became a Carmen Inspector until his retirement in 1984.

John’s wife, Teresa, passed in January 1990, as a result of a long battle with cancer. John lived a blessed life with good health and an exceptional memory.

He leaves behind three children: Marilena Moss, Lidia Osmetti and Remo Osmetti and their respective spouses, Allen Moss, Robert Collins and Cindy Osmetti; and five grandchildren: Daniel Moss, James Moss, Lindsey Owens, Adrianna Osmetti and Julianna Osmetti.

Blessed with a happy disposition and great sense of humor, John will be missed by all who knew him.

The Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 1 p.m. at Saint Albert the Great Catholic Church in Reno. Burial will follow at Our Mother of Sorrows Cemetery where he will be interred with his wife.


Ailsa Dorothy Simpson

With her loving family surrounding her Portola resident, Ailsa Dorothy Simpson peacefully passed away on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, at the age of 92 in Loyalton.

Ailsa was born on June 2, 1924, in Vaucluse, NSW, in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, Australia, to William Donald and Dorothy Dunn. In 1926, her brother Arran John was born. For the first 12 years of her life, Arran was her inseparable companion. In 1930, her parents lost their beautiful home, during the Great Depression, and the family moved to a flat in Bondi NSW, where in 1936 her youngest brother, Bruce was born. In 1940, the family moved to Coogee, NSW where they stayed for good.

Ailsa graduated from high school in 1942, and attended business college for two years. Her mother did not agree with her career choice (women simply did not go into business) and so convinced Ailsa to work as a seamstress.

During the early 1950s, some things happened that changed her life. First, she was not happy with being a seamstress. Ailsa had a very independent spirit and wanted more. The second was that she met an American Navy serviceman on leave in Sydney, Vernon Harold Simpson, with whom she fell in love. These made up her mind to leave Australia and immigrate to America.

Here she found work as a secretary and office manager. She and Vernon married in 1955 in Los Angeles. They later moved to Reno, Nevada, in 1956, and it was here that their three children, Vernon (Bill), 1957, Ronald, 1959 and Michael, 1961 were born.

Ailsa and Vernon divorced in 1962. Ailsa never remarried. In 1965, Ailsa and her three boys moved back to Australia to Coogee. In the early 1970s, they moved back to Reno. Here Ailsa stayed for 35 years. Then in 1991, she moved to Portola where she lived for 25 years. In both Reno and Portola, she made many lifelong friends.

Besides her business career, Ailsa also loved volunteering. In her later years, she was involved with the Salvation Army and Nifty Thrifty, a local Portola group that supports the Eastern Plumas hospital.

Ailsa was predeceased by her parents and her brother Arran.

She is survived by her brother Bruce Dunn, of Bondi, NSW Australia, her sons, Bill Simpson and his wife Diana, of Portola, Ronald Simpson and his wife Shannon, of Portola, and Michael Simpson, of Reno. She is also survived by three grandsons, Ryan Simpson and his wife Theresa, and Derek and Joey Simpson, along with five granddaughters, Angela Johnson and her partner Brenda, Renee Kinkade and her husband Jeremy, Amanda Simpson, Amanda Barnett, and Rebecca Ford. She also had eight great-grandchildren: Erin and Dylan Simpson, Aiden and Lacey Melendez, Jasmine and Trenton Ford, Sierra Chalmers and Timothy Henderson.

It was important to Ailsa and her family to recognize the Eastern Plumas District Hospital Skilled Nursing staff at both the Portola and Loyalton facilities for their loving care of her during her stay there.

A memorial service is being held in celebration of her life on Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. at the Sierra Christian Church on highway 70 in Beckwourth.

In lieu of flowers, Ailsa would have wanted to have donations instead be sent to the Salvation Army and/or Eastern Plumas District hospital.

Arrangements are entrusted to Manni Funeral Home of Portola.