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Life Tributes for the week of 5/8/19

June Barker Biggs

June Barker Biggs, of Quincy, passed away peacefully at the Masonic Home in Union City, at the age of 95. June was born June 30, 1923, in Johnstown, Nebraska, and was raised by her loving parents Earl and Edith Johnson.

Her fondest memories were growing up on the farm, where many of her family still live in that area, growing corn and raising cattle. She attended school in Johnstown with her two sisters and four brothers. They loved to tease her and call her shorty and she loved to dance.

When she was 19, she met her best friend and the love of her life from Long Pine, Nebraska, Bob Barker. They were married Aug. 31 in 1942, just before he entered the Army and served in World War II. He returned from the war to continue their lives.

Feeling adventurous, in 1949 they moved to California, settling in Sloat. Both she and Bob worked at the box factory and raised their four children. In 1955 the box factory in Sloat closed, they moved into Quincy and continued at the box factory at Meadow Valley Lumber Company until it closed. At that point, they decided to go into business and opened the Standard Service Station on Main Street. June went to work at Quincy Drug, where she worked until she retired.

Both Bob and June joined various organizations and were very active in their children’s sports programs. June joined Rebecca’s and Beta Sigma Phi where she progressed to a 50-year member. They were members of the Methodist Church and June enjoyed her special friends and fellowship on Sundays. Sadly, she lost her husband in 1982 after 39 years of marriage.

Eventually she remarried to a wonderful sweet man, Jack Biggs. He was a Pearl Harbor survivor. They enjoyed participating and socializing with various organizations. They enjoyed 14 fun years before he passed away.

June was preceded in death by her parents; two husbands; two brothers, Wayne Johnson and Err Johnson; and sisters, Susan Haskell and Louise Martin. June also lost two grandbabies, as well as one great great grandbaby.

June is survived by twin brothers, Brent Johnson, of Johnstown, Nebraska, and Bruce Johnson of Ainsworth, Nebraska; many nieces and nephews; her four children, Shirley Barker Zeunen, Ron Barker and his wife Susie, Dennis Barker and his wife Karen, and Doug Barker. She is also survived by eight grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren and nine great great grandchildren.

June loved her family and friends and she will be forever missed. God bless you, Grandma. We send you off with many hugs and kisses for the loving memories and laughter you left with us.

June will be laid to rest May 10 at 2 p.m. at the Cromberg Cemetery with Pastor Smokey Denna officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to the American Cancer Society or the Masonic Home in Union City.

Wayne Andrew Jones

Wayne Andrew Jones died at home in Chester on April 25, 2019. This is the only sorrowful line we have.

Wayne was a character, had a wicked sense of humor and would not appreciate a stuffy, run-of-the-mill obituary.

Born the middle child of Raymond Boyd Jones and Constance Sylva (Cuthbertson) Jones in San Francisco, Wayne barged into the world on Aug. 29, 1957. Though his birth was eagerly anticipated by his older sister, Yvonne (Jones) Bales, she was dismayed to realize that her “baby” brother had grown into a scrawny, scrappy “big” brother who was bound and determined to “protect” her — by running off any young man who came courting her in her teens. His younger brother, Mathew Jones, quickly learned that big brother’s favorite past-time was tormenting him. We recall Mathew’s broken leg at 18 months of age (one of the first “tricks” Wayne played on him that went terribly wrong for Mathew). That was also when we learned that when bad things happened, Wayne handled both panic and guilt by giggling … oh my … that never did bode well for him when he tried to protest his innocence.

As for his poor parents? There was that time Wayne brought home a six-foot king snake — right into the living room with Mom. We think she probably had her first heart attack that day (before Wayne finally told her it was dead). And Dad? Well, they were two stubborn peas in a pod who went head to head more than once. But underlying it all was a great love and respect for each other. (Remember when Wayne wanted to drop out of San Carlos High School, but the vocational auto program was full so he couldn’t enroll? Dad — who was President of the local Regional Occupation Program — was able to pull some strings to get Wayne enrolled in that program and out of the high school he hated with a passion.)

Wayne had many talents (most of which are best left unmentioned), and he was a masterful mechanic and auto painter. To say he was living the wild life in the Bay Area as a young man would be an understatement. Around the age of 30, we think he came to the realization that he was extremely lucky to still be alive and relocated to the mountains of Chester, where he thought he could live a less reckless life. But we all know what they say about the best-laid plans …’nuff said?

Shortly thereafter, he met and married his wife, Genny. We are not quite sure how he held onto a woman for almost 30 years (restraints, maybe?), but they enjoyed many adventures during that time. They enjoyed traveling together and Wayne’s favorite trip was the one they took to the Sturgis motorcycle rally.

Together they raised Genny’s two youngest children, William Robinson and Dawn Robinson. Wayne was also the very proud grandpa to ten grandchildren. (Dare we mention that he loved to fill these little ones up on all the sweet snacks they desired before sending them home to their parents?? Again, we can hear him giggling.)

In 2010, Wayne’s Harley riding days were brought to an abrupt end following a horrific accident in which he lost his left leg. Nothing ever got Wayne down for long, and one missing limb wasn’t going to either. He obtained a state-of-the-art prosthetic as quickly as possible and was up and around and back to his old tricks in no time at all.

Wayne never met a rule he couldn’t break, a boundary he couldn’t push, a line he wouldn’t cross and a story he couldn’t stretch. (Nope, he never lied … he just — as our dad used to say — stretched the truth recklessly.) Despite his colorful language, stubbornness, and outrageous stories, there is actual evidence that he was a loving, giving and caring person. That evidence is the deep sorrow and pain in our hearts that his family feels from his passing.

Those he leaves behind to remember and share his outlandish (and often embellished) stories include his wife, Genny (Black) Jones; her children, William, Dawn, Christy Kirk and Jimmy Kirk; ten grand-children; sister, Yvonne Bales; nieces, Denise (Drayer) Harding and Andrea Jones; and nephews, Sean Drayer and Charlie Jones.

We remain steadfast in our leap of faith that Wayne has gone to the same place where he will be reunited with his parents Ray and Connie, his brother Mathew, his nephew Eric, many aunts, uncles and cousins, his faithful four-legged companion Bear, his left leg, and his Harley. Wayne could never resist a party; we just hope no one is expecting him to arrive with the ‘refreshments’ as his sudden departure didn’t really leave him time to plan this reunion.

While it was a hard-lived life, Wayne enjoyed it to the fullest. A celebration of his life will be held in June. More details will be posted at the Chester Post Office when they become available or Yvonne can be contacted at ymbales@gmail.com.

John W. Knopp

John W. Knopp, D.P.M., passed away at his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on April 30, 2019. John was born in Oakland. He came with his wife to New Mexico two years ago. That move aside, John lived his life in California, dividing those years between the Bay Area, southern California, and coming to consider Chester to be his home.

An irascible perfectionist with his staff, Knopp was willing to teach anyone who wanted to learn and ran a two-year residency in podiatric surgery in southern California. John was an avid hiker, as well as reserve Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff, racecar driver, skier, scuba diver, gunsmith, and cribbage player. He would tell you his best times were spent around the campfire with family and friends or trading insults over a cribbage game.

John is survived by his wife, Blair, and five children: Kathy Garcia, Patricia Knuth, John Knopp, MaryAnn Younger and Victoria Martin.

Marie Meilán

Marie Selma (née von Borstel) Meilán was born in New York City, in the borough of Brooklyn, on March 12, 1929. She was raised on Long Island, New York.

She graduated from Queens College in 1950 with a degree in Latin Studies. Shortly thereafter, she went to work as a stewardess for Pan American World Airways. While working for PanAm, she met Gerard (Jerry) Meilán Jr., whom she married on June 1, 1954.

Together they raised four children in Quincy. In addition to helping run the family business (a locksmith shop, mainly), Marie worked as a reference librarian at the Plumas County Library. She was endlessly curious and had a love of reading, science, art, travel and gardening.

After their children graduated from high school, Jerry and Marie moved to Clermont, Florida, where they lived and operated their business for 10 years. In November 1984, they moved to Paradise, where they re-established their business. In June 2004, they retired in Nampa, Idaho, where Jerry died in December 2009.

Marie was living in Heppner, Oregon, at the time of her death and was laid to rest in Quincy, above her husband.

She is survived by her sons, Jerry, Terry (Michelle) and Rick (Priscilla); her daughter, April (John) Herzog; her brother, Herman von Borstel; a cousin, Herta Frik (Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Germany); five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

The family suggests that memorials in her name be given to Heifer International, the Arbor Day Foundation or Pioneer Memorial Home Health and Hospice (P.O. Box 9, Heppner, OR 97836).

Lena “Bip” Siler

Lena “Bip” Siler, a longtime resident of Portola, passed away at her home on April 26, 2019. She was born Sept. 14, 1954.

She is survived by her loving husband, Jeff, and children, Gina, Davy, Jesse, Wes and Lena, along with 48 grandchildren/great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her sons, Mike and James, and her parents.

Bip’s greatest joy was her family. She especially loved the holidays and sharing those times with her family and friends. Bip was also sure to decorate her house for each holiday. Along with decorating, she enjoyed cooking. She made it a point to bake or cook something to share with as many people as she could.

Although Bip had seven kids of her own, many, many more called her mom or grandma. If ever someone was in need Bip would be the first person to lend a helping hand.

Janice Arlene Young

Janice Arlene Young, 81, of Quincy, passed away Saturday, May 4, 2019, at Eastern Plumas Health Care in Portola.

Janice was born Jan. 28, 1938, in Tulare County.

She enjoyed gardening, reading and cooking from her various Julia Child’s cookbooks.

She was predeceased by her husband, Jim Young.

Survivors include her children, Jan Young and Steve Small, both of Quincy, and Alex Small, of Minnesota; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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