Obituaries

Carol Jean Reuter Obituary

Carol Jean (McDonald) Reuter was born April 20th, 1942 to Mr. and Mrs. McDonald in Chicago, Ill. She moved to Van Nuys, CA in the 1950’s with her first husband and family. In 1981, she met her husband Harold in Moorpark, CA. They were married in 1983 and spent the next 37 years by each other’s side. She worked for Rocketdyne in Simi Valley, CA before they both retired and moved to Bishop, CA in 1990. During their marriage, they traveled to Jamaica, Hawaii, Mexico, June Lake at Big Rock Lodge, Reno, Carson City and many other beautiful places. Carol was involved in the hospital auxiliary and the Elks Lodge with Harold. She enjoyed fishing all around Bishop and the surrounding areas.

Carol is survived by sister Nancy Simpson, husband Harold, daughter Maureen (Tony), Patti Reuter, Rick Reuter (Terri), five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Services to be held at a later date.

Betty Louise Vradenburg Obituary

Age 85 died peacefully in her home surrounded by her family on March 1, 2020 in Bishop Ca after a courageous battle with kidney cancer.

Betty was born on November 6, 1934 in Red Lodge, Montana to Laffayette Hotchkiss and Eva Parker. She married the love of her life Richard Vradenburg and they were married for 62 years. During this time, they had 3 children, Debbie, Dirk and Kris.

She loved spending time with her kids, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, church family and friends. She loved working on puzzles, traveling to Montana and caring for her dogs.

Betty had a great sense of humor and a passion for life. She will be deeply missed.

Betty was proceeded in death by her husband Richard Vradenburg.

She is survived by her 3 children Debbie & husband Jim Stonehouse, Dirk & wife Ila Vradenburg, Kris & wife Becky Vradenburg, numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

No Services per her request but will have a celebration of life to be announced later.

James Irving Ellis Obituary

Born on January 5, 1923 in Los Angeles to Martha and Earl Ellis, James (Jim) Irving Ellis died March 20, 2020 in Bishop. He was 97.

Jim was a devoted son, husband, father, and grandfather who never missed the opportunity to share his wisdom and knowledge with anyone who asked. His grandchildren, especially, were blessed with many years of stories and discussions about the secrets to life, living, and loving. Jim had a mischievous sense of humor, strong sense of duty, a firm handshake and a green thumb, and took pride in both his work and his large family. He was known for his honesty, integrity, ingenuity, loyalty, and generosity, and was a much-respected member of the Eastern Sierra business community.

Jim grew up in Los Angeles during the Great Depression. He left home at age 17 and eventually went to work the nightshift at Lockheed Martin, dividing his daylight hours between college, the beach, and playing for semi-pro baseball teams in the L.A. area. He later volunteered for active duty in the military and was given the choice of going to flight training in either Las Cruces, N.M. or Lone Pine, CA, both of which were entirely unfamiliar to him. As fate would have it, Jim chose Lone Pine and on December 1, 1942 he was dropped off at midnight at the bus stop, where he looked up and saw a sign that said “Ellis Motors.” Less than 20 years later, he would own it.

It was in Lone Pine where Jim met the love of his life, Juanita Ruiz, a beautiful young woman working as a soda jerk at the pharmacy. On July 22, 1944, they were married in a very small ceremony in Kinston, N.C. Their love would endure many trials and tribulations, and they were only separated after 72 years when Juanita passed away in 2016. The couple renewed their vows four times – on their 25-, 50-, 60-, and 70-year anniversaries.

Not long after they married, Jim was shipped off to the Pacific Theater. Flying the Corsair, with Marine Fighter Squadron VMF251, he participated in the invasions of the Admiralty Islands, Philippine Islands, and Okinawa, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service.

Jim returned to the States in 1945, meeting his then-six month old daughter, Nita Marie, for the first time. In 1947, they relocated from Las Vegas to Pine Creek, where Jim secured work at the Vanadium Mine. The couple’s first son, James, was born not long after. Three years later they were back in Lone Pine and welcoming their third child, Robert.

Jim went to work for Howard Miller at Miller Chevrolet before being recalled to the service in 1952 for the Korean War, which required relocating the family to Santa Ana. When a career opportunity presented itself in Lone Pine in 1955, Jim retired from the Marine Corps at the rank of Captain in order to move his family home. He went to work for Ellis Motors and its owner, Howard Ellis. With help from business owners in Lone Pine and a lot of long hours, Jim was able to put together the money to partner with Howard’s widow in 1960 and to buy her out in 1961.

The couple moved to Bishop in 1969 when Jim opened Eastern Sierra Motors. He operated the Bishop dealership and his son, James, ran the Lone Pine dealership until they sold Ellis Motors in 1977. Jim retired in 1988 after selling Eastern Sierra Motors to son Robert, who went to work for his dad after college.

Throughout his career and well into retirement, Jim’s love for community and desire to help others manifested itself through service. He was past President of the Lone Pine Lions Club, past President of the Bishop Rotary Club, past Auto Club Advisor for Inyo-Mono counties, past Vice President of the Bishop Chamber of Commerce, former City of Bishop Mayor and Mayor Pro-tem while serving on the Bishop City Council; a member of Inyo Associates, the Bishop City Planning Commission (twice), Bishop Elks Lodge, Knights of Columbus, and Lone Pine VFW and American Legion; served on the Inyo County Board of Education; and conceived of the idea for the Foundation for Excellence.

In addition to community service, Jim enjoyed flying his plane all over the Eastern Sierra and state of California for both business and pleasure; spending many hours in his woodshop creating treasures large (hutches and baby cradles) and small (jewelry boxes and coin banks) for his family and friends; traveling with Juanita; gardening; and golfing. At one point, he launched a “secret shopper” business to assist business owners with customer service issues and challenges. A devout Catholic, Jim also attended daily masses at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church for as long as his health allowed.

Jim will be missed immensely, but the family knows how blessed they were to have had him in their lives for as long as they did, and takes comfort in knowing he is at peace and with his beloved Juanita back in his arms.

He has also now reunited with his brothers- and sisters-in-law Pete and Pauline Aigner, Al and Vina Aigner, Carl Ruiz, Vernon “Ollie” Olson, and Gracie and Bud Miller; and son-in-law, Sonny Lindsey.

Jim is survived by his sister, Geri Olson of Bakersfield; sister-in-law, Rosalie Ruiz of Redding; three children and their spouses, Nita Marie Lindsey of Bakersfield, and James and Linda Ellis and Robert and Cathy Ellis of Bishop; his eight grandchildren and their spouses, Mark and Misty Lindsey of Bakersfield, Julie and Drew Hanson of Bakersfield, Rick and Alix Ellis of Ely, NV, Debbie and Jason Wethern of Reno, NV, James and Cami Ellis of Bishop, and Tyrell, Darcy, and Jennifer Ellis of Bishop; and his 16 great-grandchildren and their spouses, in Mississippi, Kansas, California, Hawaii, and Japan.

A funeral mass, with full graveside military honors, will be held later this year, when conditions permit.

“There is more than one way to solve a problem. It’s like going around a mountain: either side will get you there.”  – James Irving Ellis

Bil Askin Obituary

Bil [with one “l”] lived his life to the fullest. He was a born leader and consummate teacher who never took “no” for an answer and always had a project going. Bil lost his battle with cancer on March 19th at his home in Bishop.

 

Born William Francis Askin to Jerome and Margaret on January 4th, 1945 in Brooklyn, he was the fourth of five children.  He grew up in NY and upon completion of high school, joined the Marines in 1966 as a reconnaissance scout- serving in Vietnam, Cuba and the Arctic.

 

After leaving the Marines, he moved to Manhattan Beach and worked for Los Angeles County in several capacities.  He was a Lifeguard on the sunny beaches of Southern California and a Probation Officer in the County camp system and later a Producer of educational videos.  Whilst still working for LA County, he moved to Mammoth Lakes in 1978, where he was known as “Buckle Bil” for the buckle business he developed which created several Mule Days buckles for Bishop.  He did construction and had his own specialty advertising business.

 

He moved south to Bishop in 2000 when he married his wife, Jane. They purchased property in Bishop which Bil, with his incredibly creative vision, completely renovated and redesigned. His passions included travel, fishing, camping, golf, sailing and cigars.

 

Bil was a generous, big-hearted guy with limitless talents and a roguish sense of humor.  He faced his numerous health challenges with positivity, creativity and an indefatigable spirit, never letting them hold him back, supported by talented doctors, caregivers and friends.

 

He is survived by his wife Jane, son Tycho and dog Boomer, and his siblings, Sister Peggy, Jerry, John and Bob. He was so loved, and will be sorely missed. A celebration of life will be organized at a later date.

James Steven Hartshorn Obituary

On Wednesday, March 4th, 2020, James “Jim” Steven Hartshorn, loving husband, and father of two daughters, passed away at the age of 62.

James was born on October 30, 1957, in Bishop, CA to William and Rose Hartshorn. He graduated from Bishop Union High School in 1975 and attended Cuesta Community College in San Luis Obispo in 1975. On September 8th, 1979, he married the love of his life, Michele Jeanine Meeks. They raised two daughters together, Olivia and Taylor.

James was full of life and loved any activity that would bring him outdoors. He loved to BBQ for his family and friends, and was famous for his beef jerky and ribs. He donated his time to community projects such as; remodeling the Big Pine Animal Shelter, and building a new addition to Laws Railroad Museum. He was an active member of BUHS Booster’s Club, where you could find him every Friday Home Football Game grilling burgers and watching his girls cheer. He was known for his quick wit and sense of humor, his contagious laugh and smile, and his ability to turn any stranger into a friend.

James was preceded in death by his father William, his mother Rose, and his brother Billy. He is survived by his wife Michele, his two daughters, Olivia and Taylor, his sister Pat and her husband Richard, and sister-in-laws Janet, Danielle and her Husband Lee, brother-in-law Mitch and Mother-in Law Maryjane, his nieces Niki, Jaime, Jennie and Lauren, and many cousins.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, April 11th, 2020 at Bishop Elks Park from 1-5 PM. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in his name to Laws Railroad Museum.

James “Acorn” Westervelt Obituary

James William Westervelt, known by his nickname “Acorn”, began his life on September 23, 1948 in Bishop, CA, son of Pauline Irene Westervelt and Clarence “Moon” Thomas. He grew up in Big Pine, Ca at the “Indian Camp” attended Big Pine school and played football, baseball, and basketball. After graduating high school, he attended Oakland Community College. In 1967 Acorn enlisted in the United States Navy and was deployed to Vietnam. He was a part of the Helatkltron-3 Seawolves, a unit that was commissioned and decommissioned during the Vietnam War. During the Vietnam War, he was a door gunner during the Tet offensive in 1968. Shortly after being honorably discharged in 1971 he met the love of his life, Aurora Mae Garrison who he married, had four sons, two daughters and enjoyed 45 years of marriage.

After graduating with an AA in construction from Lassen Community College in Susanville, CA Acorn pursued a long career in the trade. Some career highlights included working for the US Forest Service in Inyo County on the trail crew and in the construction department, the construction of the Mammoth Mountain Panorama Gondola, the Veteran’s Memorial in Big Pine, CA, the US Naval base in Ridgecrest, the Coso Geothermal building, the Lee Vining Visitor’s Center, the Alan Spoonhunter Memorial Gym, OVIHA housing projects, DWP gorge project, road construction projects from Walker to Ridgecrest, CA. and numerous others. He was a member of the Carpenter’s Local Union #743, the Cline Howard VFW and a DAV life member with the Golden State 56 chapter. Acorn was a devoted volunteer Fireman Captain/EMT for the Big Pine Fire Department for 25 years, a fireman trainer and a Fireman Captain for his beloved Engine 7. As a tribal member he held the positions of secretary and treasurer for the Big Pine Paiute Tribe. He was an avid hunter and fisherman. Sports were a big part of Acorn’s life. He enjoyed playing and watching them, finding the most enjoyment in sports his family played. He especially loved watching his grandkids in their various sports and watching his sons and grandson perform the Owens Valley Paiute war dance.

Acorn entered into eternal life on March 8, 2020 in Reno, Nevada, surrounded by loved ones. He is proceeded in death by mother Pauline, father Clarence “Moon”, father-in-law Andy Garrison, mother-in-law Gertrude (Tom) Garrison, brothers Thomas Parsons and Lloyd Thomas. He is survived by his wife Aurora “Mae”, son Robert, son and daughter-in-law Thomas and Jayme (Snoderly), daughter Drusilla “Dru”, daughter and son-in-law Antonia “Toni” and Dexter Tsinnijinnie, son William, son Travis, grandson Dominic and granddaughter Meghenna.

There will be a Cry Dance on Friday March 20, 2020 at dusk in Big Pine, CA at the Westervelt Residence on 294 North Crater Street. Funeral services will be held on Saturday March 21, 2020 at 11:00 am in Big Pine, CA at the Alan Spoonhunter Memorial Gym with burial to follow at the Woodman Cemetery and a reception afterwards at the Alan Spoonhunter Memorial Gym.

Charles Richard Lippoldt Obituary

Charles Richard Lippoldt; born November 12, 1936 in Okarche, OK, died on January 17, 2020 at his home In Bishop, CA. Charles lived in Inyo County for 43 years and loved to go camping, fishing. He also, likes to travel, watch sports and bowl.

Charles is survived by son Anthony Lippoldt, daughter Kimberly Seguine, sister, Pat Edon, Mary Kate Hicks, Lynn Zucksworth, brothers, David Lippoldt, Dennis Lippoldt, William Lippoldt. He is also, survived by grandchildren, Holly and Boyd Lippoldt. Brendon Frazier, Kristen Pierce, Allene Clark and Ray Seguine III, great grandchildren, Kia Frazier, Parker and Austin Pierce and last but certainly not least Grace Brodbeck ♥.

Services will be held at Brune Mortuary, January 29, 2020 at 11:00 AM, followed by a graveside Service at East Line Street Cemetery.

Steve McWithey Obituary

Steve McWithey of Chalfant Valley passed away at home with his wife Julie and his loyal canine companion Rue Be Doo by his side on Friday, December 27, 2019 at the age of 55. Steve was born on March 7, 1964 and grew up in the Owens Valley. He graduated from Bishop Union High school.

After High school Steve worked in the roofing business and after learning the trade he obtained his contractors license and owned his own roofing company. Later, he took his roofing and general maintenance experience and was employed at High Country Lumber. He would eventually finish his career at Caltrans.

Steve enjoyed reading, fishing, golfing, camping and anything to do with science and astronomy- some family adventures were planned around eclipses. He was happiest when spending time with his children and his wife Julie-his sweetheart since grade school.

Steve packed a lot of life into the short years he was on this earth. His humor and kindness impacted all who met him. You couldn’t have a bad day if you spent time with him. He would find a way to make you laugh. Steve was always available to help anyone in need. He was a volunteer engineer on the Chalfant Valley Fire Department and loved being a part of the community.

His father Ben McWithey, his mother Paula Mcwithey and his brother Jim McWithey preceded him in death. He leaves behind his wife Julie McWithey, his two children Haley (Darin) Harding and Chase McWithey, His best friend Ray Hailey who was like a brother to him, his sister Louella (Hugh) Erfurth, his Stepmom Dawn (Bruce) Vidal, his uncle Glen McWithey and Aunt Judy Whitman, nieces Heather Peltier and Sarah (Justin) Campbell his cousins Cherie (Skip) Clark, and Sean McWithey and many other nieces, nephews, and cousins.

A Celebration of Steve’s Life will at 11:00am on Saturday January 18th at the Chalfant Valley Fire Department. Come and share stories with family and friends.

Chuck Schneider Obituary

After a valiant fight with cancer, Charles “Chuck” Schneider—adventurer, storyteller, gardener, cherished member of his community, and friend to all—went home to be with his Lord on January 5, 2020 at the age of 82. He is survived by his beloved wife of 57 years, Marge; his daughter, Kristin McBride and her husband, Kevin; his son, James and wife, Ann; and his five grandchildren: Amelia, Joshua, James, Jonah, and Abigail, all of whom he loved dearly.

Chuck had an appetite for adventure and sought to live life to its fullest. Born in San Francisco to Clara and Clifford, he began his unique and extraordinary path through life as a volunteer at the San Francisco Zoo, where he worked with the big cats and developed his love for animals. Later in his youth, Chuck spent his summers fighting forest fires with the Forestry Service. As he emerged into his adult years, Chuck began racing off road, which fulfilled his need for speed and landed him a cameo in National Geographic, and panning for gold in the streams and mines of Southern California. Throughout his life, Chuck never passed up an opportunity to tackle a challenge. This need to seek new opportunities led him to take up skiing in his 50’s and begin acting in Community Theater in his 70’s. Many will remember Chuck as the Wizard of Oz, the Judge in Chicago, or perhaps the most authentic Santa ever to grace the Sierra.

As a storyteller and public speaker, Chuck had no equal. He loved the poetry of Robert Service, and would often recite his poems, such as Cremation of Sam McGee, from heart—much to the delight of his listeners, especially his grandchildren. His church was blessed with many sermons that carried Chuck’s unique insights and his uncanny ability to make even the most challenging biblical texts accessible. And, his family, friends, and coworkers will forever fondly remember the many stories he told about all aspects of his life, turning even mundane events into captivating moments.

Chuck gardened, or more accurately, he grew tomatoes. In fact, he grew what became known as arguably the finest heirloom tomatoes in the Eastern Sierra. During the summer months, he could be found every afternoon in his garden tending his vines and most weekends at the Farmer’s Markets in Mammoth and Bishop. Even more than tending his garden, however, Chuck loved sharing his knowledge about gardening. If you broached the subject with him, you needed to be prepared for a long and animated conversation that normally ended in a handful of tomatoes to take home and an offer to help you start your own garden at the first available opportunity.

Those who work and live in Inyo and Mono counties would describe Chuck as a cherished member of and leader in the community. Chucked lived and worked in Bishop and Mammoth Lakes for 19 years. Chuck served Mammoth Lakes Lutheran Church in many capacities, from elder to greeter, speaker to coffee maker. As the family law facilitator for the Mono County Superior Court, Chuck did what he loved most: he helped people in need.

Finally, Chuck will perhaps be most remembered for his kindness, compassion, and ability to befriend just about anyone who crossed his path. From his service in the Navy, to his time as a student at Mt. San Antonio College (where he served as student body president) and Southwestern Law School, to his nine years as a Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff, to his 50 year career as a family lawyer, Chuck treated people with respect and dignity. He sought the good in people, even when the good was hidden from view. He met people where they were and avoided judgement. He reached out with care and people responded with deep gratitude and, in many cases, love. In sum, people were simply better for having known him.

His service will be held at Mammoth Lakes Lutheran Church on March 14, 2020 at 10:30 am, followed immediately by a celebration of his life and reception at Mammoth Lakes High School Multi-purpose Room.

David Lewis Jones Obituary

David Lewis Jones was born August 13,1938 in Weirton, West Virginia and passed away peacefully at his home in Bishop, California on October 27, 2019 after living with COPD and heart failure for a number of years. David graduated from Chaffey Union High School in Ontario, California in 1956 and enlisted in the Navy where he served as an Air Traffic Control Operator. In 1960 he married Paula and they enjoyed 59 wonderful years together. David was a resident of Bishop for 33 years and retired in 1992 after 32 years with Southern California Edison. David enjoyed golf, fishing, playing bridge, and spending time with family. He and Paula also loved traveling to destinations with beautiful golf courses. 

David leaves behind his wife Paula, daughter Janell (Scott) Cote, son Brian (Cleland) Jones, four grandchildren, Jenna, Allison, Emily, and Blaise, two great-grandchildren Peyton and Connor, sisters Sally Bruhn and Jackie (Dave) Zweck, sister-in-law Dixie (Pat) Dooley, and many other family members.

David’s kindness and gentle nature will be missed by all who knew and loved him. At his request there will be no services. A private family interment will be held at a later date.