Roll call: Notable central San Joaquin Valley deaths in 2013

The Fresno BeeDecember 31, 2013 

The roll call of people with central San Joaquin Valley ties who died in 2013 includes legendary figures such as Coach Jim Sweeney, educator Pete Mehas, legislator George Zenovich and Esther Padilla, the only Hispanic woman to serve on the Fresno City Council.

Several longtime Fresno restaurateurs dot the list, too.

And, sadly, there are two instances of a parent and a child -- the Mehases and the Guzmans.


• Richard Lee Herboldshimer, 92, principal, superintendent and teacher in Friant for 27 years and active in many civic affairs. Jan. 1.

• James Floyd Johnston, 72, owner of a prominent Clovis pipeline construction company that bears his name, killed in a plane crash. Jan. 7.

• Ramon Dominguez, 65, former Huron mayor. Jan. 18.

• Brent DeMonte, 83, veteran Valley broadcaster and sports announcer. Jan. 27.

• Ken DeVaney, 80, Selma High graduate who went on to become a prominent and well-respected Fresno attorney in the 1970s and '80s. Jan. 30.


• Nancy Ann Daniel, 70, executive director of Westside Youth Center in Mendota. Feb. 4.

• Dorothy Cruz, 76, president and owner of Mi Rancho Tortillas. Feb. 5.

• Jim Sweeney, 83, legendary Fresno State head football coach. Feb. 8.

• Harry Miller, 86, one of the most successful men's basketball coaches in Fresno State history. Feb. 13.

• Armen A. Alchian, 98, Fresno native and renowned UCLA economist. Feb. 19.

• Joe Bigham, 76, longtime Associated Press correspondent for the Valley. Feb. 24.

• Clarence Atwell Jr., 67, chairman of the Tachi Yokut tribe for 42 years. Feb. 28.


Rex Phebus, 92, "Mr. Clovis," manager of the Clovis Veterans Memorial District for 30 years, helped establish many youth and senior citizen programs and was on the Clovis Rodeo board for more than 50 years. March 1.

• Sylvia Mehas, 94, who with her husband ran the old Fresno Malt Shop and Athenian Restaurant in downtown Fresno and was a community leader. March 9.

• Esther Padilla, 69, only Hispanic woman to serve on Fresno City Council and a champion of community service. March 13.

• Eva Mathews, 90, Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealer and rider. March 17.

• Glenn LoStracco, 60, Fresno criminal defense attorney who stood up for the underdog. March 18.

• Bill Dietzel, 79, veterans advocate, editor and publisher of Veterans Magazine and driving force behind the recent growth of Fresno's Veterans Day Parade. March 21.


• Paul Wasemiller, 90, Fresno investment broker, co-owner of family's clothing store and former Fresno City Council member. April 5.

• George Page, 83, mortician and former owner of Page Funeral Chapel in Selma. April 20.


• Robert "Bob" Charles McInturf, former president and founder of Allied Grape Growers and a Valley agriculture activist. May 2.

• Jake Krahn, 83, president of Cairns Funeral Home in Reedley. May 12.

• Jack Mulkey, 95, first two-time All-America football player from Fresno State and a Fresno Athletic Hall of Fame inductee. May 28.


• Charlie Worstell, 67, owner of Tom's Trains in Fresno's Tower District. June 8.

• Richard Berberian, 75, citrus grower and packer and a founder of Bee Sweet Citrus. June 12.

• Frances Essley Goshawk, 78, a California Spelling Bee champion, valedictorian at Fresno High School in 1952 and a longtime McLane High teacher. June 29.

• Angelo Bernardi, 88, member of the Central California Bowling Association Hall of Fame, his casket includes some of the wood salvaged from Cedar Lanes before it was torn down. June 29.

• Chris Natsues, 87, who spent 41 years as a teacher and basketball coach, mostly at McLane High. June 30.


• Monica Ali, 51, Fresno dentist who treated the needy. July 1.

• Richard Strong, 58, lawyer for Wathen Castanos Hybrid Homes and avid music lover. July 13.

• Reynold L. Johnson, 76, Fresno business leader and banker who helped minorities find financial success. July 14.

• Kathleen "Kathy" Joy Mullen, 52, the inspiration behind Break the Barriers athletics gym and a local icon in Fresno's special abilities community. July 18.

• Jeff Tanielian, 57, owner of Commercial Neon in Fresno and motorcycle enthusiast, killed in a motorcycle crash. July 18.

• Ronn Howe, 67, pastor of Evangelical Free Church of Fresno from 1984 to 2001, when the church was one of the Valley's largest congregations. After retiring in 2001, he continued to run Elim Gardens in northwest Fresno, a facility that provides care for patients with Alzheimer's disease. July 19.

• Harold "Hal" Britton, 88, former Fresno police chief and local sports standout. July 29.

• Marion Alice Falkner Gash, 99, World War II naval officer and Central Union High School teacher. July 31.


• May Song Vang, 62, widow of Valley Hmong leader Gen. Vang Pao. Aug. 5.

• Mary Louise Vivier, 79, first woman elected mayor of Visalia. Aug. 6.

• Louis "Dewey" Slater, 62, longtime Fresno furniture store owner and community leader, of an apparent heart attack while competing at the U.S. Masters National Championship swim meet. Aug. 7.

• P. "Guz" Guzman Jr., 90, owner of the eclectic National Hardware Supply store on Blackstone Avenue in Pinedale since 1958. Aug. 11.

• Jimmie Policarpo, 88, owner of Bulldog Donut Shop for 42 years. Aug. 15.

• Jesus "Jesse" Manuel Magdaleno Jr., 33, California Highway Patrol officer from Visalia who was killed during a carjacking on the Las Vegas Strip. Aug. 18. Magdaleno's brother-in-law, Felix Brandon Cruz III, 31, of Visalia, died one day later of injuries in the same incident.


• Jessie De La Cruz, 93, one of the first female members and organizers in the United Farm Workers. Sept. 2.

• Catherine M. Rehart, 73, longtime Fresno historian. Sept. 6.

• Shane Krogen, 57, Fresno outdoorsman who led crews of volunteers through the Sierra Nevada repairing trails and cleaning up marijuana growing sites, after a fall from a helicopter. Sept. 12.

• Kenny Hall, 89, icon in the local folk-music scene and a mentor and teacher to many players in the area. Sept. 18.

• George Zenovich, 91, civic activist, Democratic Party strategist, state legislator, attorney, jurist. Sept. 25.

• Pete Mehas, 73, California State University trustee, longtime civic and education leader and a former Fresno County schools superintendent. Sept. 27.


• Carl B. Robinson, 95, minister, chaplain, founder of Fresno Metro Ministry. Oct. 21.

• Bill Sharman, 87, former Porterville High standout who was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player (part of the Boston Celtics dynasty) and a coach (led the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers to a 33-game winning streak and the NBA title). Oct. 25.

• Nofuko Yokomi, 86, widow of Central Fish owner who was murdered in his store in the 1990s. Oct. 28.

• John-David Schofield, 75, retired bishop of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin in Fresno. Oct. 29.

• Alvin Quist, 89, longtime dairyman and civic leader. Oct. 29.


• Jimmie and Owen Carlson, 75 and 80, owners of Jimmie's Bakery in Fresno and Clovis for 26 years. Nov. 1 and Nov. 22.

• Richard Hodge, 82, owner, Hodge & Sons Gentleman's Apparel. Nov. 20.

• Clare Slaughter, 92, longtime Fresno City College football coach. Nov. 30.


• Stanley E. Lindquist, 96, former Fresno State psychology professor and founder of Link Care Center, which provides care for pastors, ministry workers, missionaries and their families. Dec. 6.

• Gary Bauer, 72, former Fig Garden Golf Club pro and tour player. Dec. 9.

• Octavio Joseph "Otto" Tocchio, 91, Fresno State criminology professor for more than 32 years and community leader. Dec. 11.

• Duane Weston, 84, longtime Valley music educator including 18 years as band director at Roosevelt High School and 15 years at College of the Sequoias. Dec. 14.

• Darwin Shebelut, 93, Madera automobile dealer, developer, community leader. Dec. 16.

• Rodolfo P. "Rudy" Hernandez, 82, Congressional Medal of Honor winner who attended Fowler schools. Dec. 21.

• Laura Guzman Magill, 48, longtime Fresno defense attorney. Dec. 27.

• Elisabeth Krant Latronico, 59, Tulare County Superior Court judge. Dec. 29.

Read more: Notable national and world deaths in 2013

Compiled by Bee Librarian Ashley Wayte. To comment, call (559) 441-6330 or email

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