Life Tributes for the week of 10/23/19
Salvatore (Sam) Catalano
Salvatore Catalano, affectionately known as Sam, was born Nov. 3, 1926, in Rochester, New York. Sam passed away Aug. 6, 2019, at the age of 93 after a brief illness.
The youngest of five siblings, he is survived by one sister, Mary Angelina (100), one brother, Rocco (96), and 12 nephews and nieces.
Sam was married for 54 years to his beloved wife, Nancy Lee Huffman, who predeceased him in 2005.
Sam graduated from UCLA and taught at Fulton Jr. High until he was drafted to serve as a medical corpsman in the Korean War. After the war, he taught English and served as a counselor at Canoga Park High School. He was instrumental in LAUSD’s integration efforts. During his life, his success was recognized through numerous awards and plaques.
In the mid-80s, Sam retired from 30 years of teaching and moved with Nancy to Taylorsville/Genesee where they built a house, which she designed. In Greenville, Sam substitute taught and volunteered to help with the school’s reading intervention program and Mountain Circle.
He is described by his heirs and many friends as compassionate, articulate, intelligent, well read, an excellent athlete and always willing to help others. He had a deep passion for the environment, loved creating rock jewelry and traveling with Nancy. He and Nancy loved cats and fought passionately for the spotted owl. He would greet each morning from the porch of his home by singing opera, which resonated throughout the neighborhood.
He enjoyed writing and publishing poems, his version of the English sonnet. The poems were often about his love for Nancy or events of the day. Sam regularly wrote insightful, well-researched “Letters to the Editor” about the issues he cared about in the Feather River Bulletin.
Sam loved opera and was a patron of the performing arts. He will be remembered for his active participation in Plumas County’s local theater. He performed in many FRC productions as both a member of the cast and the crew. He was the Prince in Romeo and Juliet, the Bookseller in Beauty and the Beast, the beloved Mr. Pinky, plus the Principal in Hairspray, to name a few.
Sam will be missed as an exemplary human being, admired for his integrity and nonstop desire to reflect in his discussions and poems about what is moral and right. He spoke both French and Italian and loved history, literature and theater. He actively participated in life with his friends, neighbors and community, constantly striving to learn and contribute. He was a true “Renaissance Man” and will be fondly remembered by the many people who were fortunate enough to know him.
His family will hold a private memorial in November.
Herbert A. Graffweg
Herbert A. Graffweg passed away peacefully on Sept. 25, 2019, with family by his side.
Born in 1932, Herb grew up on Carpenter Avenue in the Bronx, New York.
While studying Mechanical Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology, he met his first wife, Melva. They lived on a small farm in New Jersey and raised their five children, Stephen, Susan, Stacey, Sheri and Sally.
In 1977, after visiting family on the west coast, Herb and Mel decided to quit their jobs, sell their home, pack up the family in the Winnebago and move to Chester. Once there, they built their family home and opened the Knotbumper Restaurant. Always a natural carpenter, Herb designed and built homes in the area as well.
Upon retirement, Herb and Mel bought a home in Green Valley, Arizona. They split their time between Arizona, Washington and Oregon. After 53 years of marriage, Melva passed away in Oregon in October 2008.
With winter approaching, Herb headed to Arizona alone. It was there that he was blessed to meet and marry his second wife, Patricia Kofal. Pat’s sons, Kevin, Mike and Jon, heartily welcomed Herb into their lives. Between the two families, Herb and Pat had 18 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Pat and Herb shared over 10 years together traveling, dancing, playing bridge and gin, volunteering, doing puzzles, reading, watching Herb’s beloved Yankees and sharing time with their family and numerous friends.
Herb will be greatly missed. He was an amazing and loving dad and husband. He was smart, funny, ingenious, adventurous, generous, hard working, gentle and kind. And so brave right to the end. We have peace knowing he lived a good and happy life and we are so fortunate that we got to be a part of it.
A memorial service will be held in February at La Posada Retirement Community in Green Valley, Arizona.
Ted (Myron T.) Johnson
Ted (Myron T.) Johnson, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, teacher, principal and naturalist, left this world on Thursday morning, Oct. 17, 2019, peacefully at home next to his wife, Rita, after having celebrated his eighty-ninth birthday in May and sixty-seventh wedding anniversary in September.
Ted was born May 11, 1930, in Martinsville, Ohio, to Myron T. Johnson Sr. and Ruth Frances Claibourne. After Myron’s career as a superintendent of schools and Ruth’s as a schoolteacher, the family moved to Lynchburg, Ohio, when Ted was 17, where his parents opened Johnsons’ Department Store. Ted attended Lynchburg High School, where he played and excelled at basketball, and also met the love of his life Rita Joan Hudson. Following Ted’s graduation from Wilmington College in Wilmington, Ohio, and Rita’s graduation from Christ Hospital School of Nursing in Cincinnati, Ohio, Ted and Rita married on Sept. 11, 1952.
Ted began his teaching career at Kingman High School, teaching history, physical education and coaching basketball. Ted’s career continued to grow as he moved to positions of increasing responsibility, acquiring a Master’s of Education degree at Miami University of Ohio in 1962. During this time Ted and Rita welcomed into their lives their greatest joy, their two daughters, Jean in 1953 and Jennifer in 1958. Ted moved to the Kettering, Ohio, school system, before being appointed principal of the Glendale Elementary School, in Princeton, Ohio. While principal, Ted initiated the Summer School and Summer School Camping Program for outdoor education for the entire Princeton School District, growing the program to nearly 1,200 students. During this time, Ted and his family took the opportunity to take several long summer trips to many National Parks, including Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and Glacier, among others.
In 1969, Ted was offered the position of principal at Eastern Elementary School in Traverse City, Michigan, and the family relocated there, living on High Lake. Ted and Rita loved their new life in Michigan and built their dream home in Kingsley, Michigan in a lovely wooded area not far from Traverse City. During this time Ted was able to secure 37 acres to establish the Boardman Nature Center for the Traverse City school district, creating the master plan for trails, education programs and other experiences to help students appreciate nature.
Ted finished his career with a focus on adult education, helping young adults who had not graduated from high school achieve their GED and also extending this initiative to local prisons to help prepare the individuals incarcerated there be prepared for a successful post-prison life.
Ted and Rita had always loved nature and in 1987 had the opportunity to become part of a wilderness community in the Upper Peninsula, north of Champion Michigan, just south of Lake Superior. Ted and Rita purchased the Ledge Cabin as part of the Four Island Lake Association and spent 18 happy years there with dear friends, blazing trails, making maple syrup and fishing.
Ted was a life-long fisherman and took great pleasure in ensuring that Four Island Lake was well stocked. Nothing pleased Ted more than taking his grandchildren, Jennifer’s boys Nathan and Justin, and Jean’s son, Patrick and daughter, Kathleen, fishing on the lake, with the certainty of catching a northern pike — all leading to a delicious bone-free fish dinner courtesy of Ted’s legendary fileting ability and Rita’s excellent culinary skills.
During this time, Ted and Rita decided to spend winters in northern California, near their daughter, Jean and her husband, John, mostly in the Mendocino area, first in Fort Bragg, and later at The Woods Senior Community in Little River, where they eventually moved permanently year-round. They became active members and docents at the beautiful First Presbyterian Church of Mendocino, with its iconic location directly on the Pacific Ocean. After ten years there, Ted and Rita decided to relocate once again, moving closer to their daughter Jennifer, and her husband. Mark in Quincy, a lovely mountain forest community in Plumas County, where they spent the last four years of their life together, enjoying the mountain air, striking autumn leaves and their beautiful flower garden.
Ted ended his life having positively influenced the lives of countless students, friends and family members with his gregarious manner, kind nature and love of the outdoors.
Ted is survived by his wife of 67 years, Rita; his daughters, Jean Brennan (John Brennan) and Jennifer Ayres (Mark Ayres); his four grandchildren: Nathan Drabek (Alexis Drabek and their children — Ted’s great-grandchildren, Anne-Marie, Laurel and Jonathan), Justin Drabek, Patrick Brennan (fiancée Sierra Sollohub) and Kathleen Brennan (fiancé James Fisher).
The family would like to thank Jennifer Jean Gonzalez, Wanda Partlow, Amanda Cotey, Ann Jauregue Jovich, Alicia and Elijah Clark and Dr. Ross Morgan and the staff at the Plumas District Hospital in Quincy for their loving and expert care of Ted over the last several years.
If you wish to make a donation in Ted’s honor, please consider a contribution to either the Taylorsville Outdoor School, part of the Plumas County School District, 50 Church Street, Quincy, CA 95971 or the Quincy Community United Methodist Church at 282 Jackson St, Quincy, CA 95971.
William “Bill ” Montgomery Shafer
William “Bill ” Montgomery Shafer, of Vinton, passed from this life while in hospice care on Oct. 2, 2019. He was 77 years old. He was born on Dec. 6, 1942, in Los Angeles.
As an infant he was adopted by his loving parents, Alan and Helen (Montgomery) Shafer. The family bought a fruit ranch in the foothill town of Colfax. Bill grew up in the ranch life and became a good horseman. He attended Colfax High and played football. He graduated in 1962. In 1963, he joined the National Guard. He was honorably discharged in 1969 as a sergeant.
Bill married Mary Vannberg in 1963; they had two children, Lisa and Corey. In 1969 Bill began a new chapter of his life when he married his second wife Beatrice Garcia. They settled on the family ranch and welcomed daughter April in 1978.
Bill was a career-long heavy equipment operator and a member of Local 3 Operating Engineers. He was very proud of his work and greatly enjoyed the life. In the late ’90s Bill moved from Colfax to Gold Run. On his retirement in 2003, Bill moved to Plumas County and settled in the small town of Vinton. He spent his time camping and fishing at Lake Davis and his hideaway at Wilcox Valley.
As his health declined he was cared for by his loving neighbors Judy and Sue. His final days were spent under the care of his loving daughter Lisa and her sons Shalom and Joey Bergman.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents and his son-in-law, Paul Bergman.
He is survived by his daughter Lisa Bergman, of Fernley, Nevada; his son, Corey Shafer and his wife, Vicki, of Roslyn, Washington; and his daughter, April Wielputz and husband, Richard, of Greenville. Bill had nine grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Bill is also survived by numerous in-laws and nieces and nephews and by his loving neighbors, Judy and Sue.
A memorial gathering will be held at the Colfax Cemetery on Oct. 26 at 10 a.m.
Louise May Whiting
Louise May Whiting, 87, of Quincy, passed away at Renown Medical Center in Reno, Nevada, on Oct. 11, 2019. She was born Sept. 6, 1932, to Charles and Anna Zumr in Malin, Oregon. Her family moved to the Feather River Canyon when she was school age.
She attended elementary school at the Grays Flat Schoolhouse. She attended high school and was one of the first classes to attend junior high when it became Quincy Junior/Senior High School. She met and married her high school sweetheart, Paul Whiting, on April 24, 1951, at the Methodist Church in Reno, Nevada.
They left Quincy for a short time, while Paul was in the U.S. Navy / Korean War and was attending college at Chico State University for his teaching credential. She worked until they began a family. They returned to Quincy in 1963, where Paul began teaching and coaching at Quincy High School. Their family grew and Louise became a full-time housewife and mother to Paul and five children.
She loved gardening and cooking for everyone, which she was very good at, and was a member of the Quincy Methodist Church and in the choir for many years. She was a past president of Pioneer Elementary Parent Teachers Association (P.T.A.).
She was predeceased by her husband, Paul Whiting, of 60 years; her brothers, Charles Zumr and Vincent Zumr; her sisters, Mickey Walker, Anna Petrasek, Lily Reynolds; and her son, Steven Whiting.
She is survived by her son, Stanley, and Jerilyn Whiting, of San Diego; her son, David, and Debbie Whiting, of Quincy; her daughter, Cyndi Whiting; her son, Paul (Scooter) Whiting, of Quincy; five grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
Memorial services will be held on Nov. 2 at 11 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Quincy. Any donations can be made to the Quincy Methodist Church.