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Obituaries

Gerardo (Jerry) Pasquale Zottola (July 12, 1924 – Nov. 24, 2013)

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Gerardo (Jerry) Pasquale Zottola
Gerardo (Jerry) Pasquale Zottola passed away peacefully Nov. 24, 2013, in his Hiouchi home surrounded by his loving wife of 58 years, Gertrude (Gertie), and his seven devoted children. Jerry was born in the Bronx, N.Y., on July 12, 1924, to Ernesto and Mary Zottola, who had emigrated from their native Italy, where Ernesto and his brother Palmer fought in WWI, to gain their U.S. citizenship. Jerry spent his childhood in the Gilroy area until the work became scarce during the Depression and his family moved to the Grants Pass area, where they owned and operated a cheese factory. Jerry graduated high school from Grants Pass High and served in the Navy as a radioman in World War II. He later used that experience as a pilot to fly for the future Congressman Don Clausen. On discharge from the Navy, he attended Humboldt State College, where he received his teaching credential and was roommate to his lifelong best friend, Wally Maciel. At Humboldt State he played for the Lumberjacks baseball team and was active in student government. According to Wally, Jerry was the one to try to keep him and Kenny Dunaway in check, which wasn’t easy as Jerry’s evening job was that of a bartender in downtown Arcata. Upon graduation his first teaching job was at Arcata High School in 1953.

Jerry returned to Crescent City, where his parents and sister Gracie (Cooper) lived, and where he used his bartending talents to work in the B & E restaurant and lounge, which his parents owned. Jerry was smitten by the lovely Gertrude Jepsen of Fort Dick, who was the love of his life until his last breath. He first saw Gertie as a young girl at her parent’s dairy ranch when his parents came to purchase milk for Zottola’s Cheese Factory, which was later to become Rumiano’s. A famous story told in the Zottola house is how Pop chased Mom, she in her red Ford convertible, and he in the school bus he was driving as his day job. He finally caught her and they were married Oct. 9, 1955.


Obituary: Gale Warren Hutzell (Nov. 24, 1927 – Nov. 21, 2013)

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Gale Warren Hutzell
Gale Warren Hutzell, born Nov. 24, 1927, in Columbus, Ohio, lost his battle with lung cancer on Nov. 21, 2013, three days before his 86th birthday. Gale passed in peace at his home in Hiouchi.

Gale was preceded in death by his wife of 50 years, Mary Hutzell, and is survived by his three children: Sue Hutzell-Orr and husband Bob Orr of Crescent City, Karen Hutzell-Coleman and husband Tim Coleman of Portland, Ore., and Thom Hutzell and wife Rene Shanle-Hutzell of Hiouchi. Gale leaves behind eight grandchildren: Michael Swenson, Gale Paul Swenson, Nicoal Hutzell, Hilari Dixon, Gev Dixon, April Hutzell, Tonia Ulbricht, Alex Hutzell, and 12 great-grandchildren.

Gale was a veteran of the U.S. Army and served during the Korean conflict. Later, he worked as a lineman for Pacific Bell before entering his life career of Saw Filer for Hammond Lumber Company in Eureka, Simonson Lumber in Crescent City and finally Schmidtbauer Lumber until his retirement in 1989.

Gale had a passion for many hobbies, but his favorites were golf, fishing, card games (cribbage and pinochle) and Wii Yahtzee! If eating were a hobby, it would have ranked right next to golf, especially if homemade apple or custard pie was served.


Obituary: John Budd Howard (Dec. 22, 1924 – Nov. 17, 2013)

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John Budd Howard
John Budd Howard, born in Zurich, Mont., on Dec. 22, 1924, passed away in Ukiah, Calif., on Nov. 17, 2013, at the age of 88 years. He grew up in the St. Helens, Ore., area. John served two enlistments in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and also during the Korean Conflict. After receiving a background in finance, John entered the banking profession. He moved to Crescent City in 1969 as the bank manager of the Crescent City Wells Fargo Bank. After his retirement from banking, he continued as a consultant bookkeeper for several Del Norte County businesses and was a partner in New Vision Mobile Home Parks. He was a past member of Crescent City Elks Lodge and the Kiwanis Club. John also enjoyed his winters traveling to Arizona and Colorado. He will be remembered for his good-natured personality, his smile and his love of family. He will be missed.


Death Notice: Gale Warren Hutzell

Gale Warren Hutzell, 85, died Nov. 21, 2013, in Hiouchi. He was born in Columbus, Ohio, on Nov. 24, 1927, and was a 64-year resident of Del Norte County.

Celebration of Life services will be held at the Del Norte Golf Club House, 130 Club Drive, Hiouchi, on Nov. 30, 2013, at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, Gale wished for any monetary donations to be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation in memory of his mother, Vera Warren, and others who suffer from the disease.


Obituary: Fredrick “Corky” Hector Simms (Jan. 10, 1935 – Nov. 17, 2013)

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Fredrick “Corky” Hector Simms
Fredrick “Corky” Hector Simms passed away on Nov. 17, 2013, surrounded by family and friends at his home in Klamath after a 3-year battle with cancer.

He was born on Jan. 10, 1935, at Kapel, on the Klamath River, to Doris Roberts and was helped raised by his adoptive father Hector Simms. 

He is survived by his wife, Brenda Simms; brother Don Natt; sister Amanda Donahue; mother of his children Vada K. Berry; daughters Winter Berry and Malea Simms; step-daughter Shannon and husband Jon Richards; grandchildren Tatiana Simms, Rachele Whitson, Whitney Whitson and Tyler Richards; along with several very loved nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents along with his brothers Skee Skelton and Butch Lewis.

Corky spent most of his life in the Crescent City and Klamath areas.


Obituary: Joyce Mahin Lowe Rakestraw (Jan. 26, 1938 – Oct. 31, 2013)

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Joyce Mahin Lowe Rakestraw
Joyce Mahin Lowe Rakestraw passed away on Oct. 31, 2013, at age 75, from injuries sustained in an auto accident in Lake County, Calif. Born Jan. 26, 1938, in Goodland, Kan., to Harley and Hilda Lowe, the family lived throughout northern and western Kansas until moving west to Crescent City in 1956. 

Joyce married Raymond Daniel Rakestraw Jr. (Dan) in December 1958. She graduated from Humboldt State University and began teaching in Arcata. Dan and Joyce moved to Milpitas, where Joyce taught in Alum Rock School District while receiving her MA in School Administration from San Jose State. In 1970, the family moved to Crescent City, where Joyce taught for 38 years and served as the first female school administrator for special programs and as an elementary school principal. 


Death Notice: Fredrick “Corky” Hector Simms

Fredrick “Corky” Hector Simms, 78, died Nov. 17, 2013, in Klamath.  A lifelong resident of Del Norte County, he was born Jan. 10, 1935, in Klamath.


Obituary: Harriet Cicile Spencer (Jan. 31, 1927 – Oct. 18, 2013)

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Harriet Cicile Spencer
Harriet Cicile Spencer, 86, of Smith River, Calif., went home to be with the Lord. She moved to Springfield, Mo., in her later years to be near her beloved daughter, youngest son and many grandchildren.

Harriet was born in Grand Rapids, Mich., to Lilburn and Hazel Gregory. She married James Spencer of Smith River, Calif., in 1977 and spent 30 years happily walking the beaches, gardening and baking. James Spencer, beloved husband, passed away in 2007. James and Harriet attended the Church of Christ in Crescent City for 20 years and the Calvary Chapel of the Redwoods for 10 years. Harriet loved her weekly Bible study and inspired her children and grandchildren to walk with Christ. Harriet was an amazing baker and won first place at the Crescent City fair for her famous apple pie. Many family members and friends remember her sticky buns and chocolate chip cookies. 


Obituary: Brenda Renee’ Dodson (May 12, 1951 – Nov. 1, 2013)

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Brenda Renee' Dodson
Brenda Renee’ Dodson passed away on Nov 1, 2013, in Crescent City. She was born on May 12, 1951, in Grants Pass, Ore. Brenda was a Del Norte resident for the past 25 years.

She was an avid crafter and her passion in the later part of her life was genealogy.

Brenda is survived by her husband of 40 years, Frank Dodson; her daughter, April Hilliard; son Ray Dodson; daughter and son-in-law Brianne and Brian Freeman; grandchildren James Hance, Theodore, Timothy, and Haley Anderson as well as her father, Homer Billups, and his wife, Lee.


Obituary: Donald “Don” W. Horton (Sept. 30, 1919 – Nov. 9, 2013)

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Don Horton
Don Horton, longtime Brookings resident and local builder, passed away peacefully Nov. 9, 2013, at his home in Brookings surrounded by his family. He was 94.

Don was born Sept. 30, 1919, in Dix, Neb., to Delbert and Ruby (Miller) Horton. He was raised during the Great Depression and was the second of eight children.

He attended school through the eighth grade. He left home at the age of 15 to join the service. He and two friends hopped trains to the California coast, where he was unable to join due to his age and found out he had a heart murmur.

His friends were admitted and Don was left to his own devices. He then hopped another train and headed to Portland, and several areas thereafter, where he performed any and all work he could find. After the Depression he joined his father and brothers as brick masons.

In 1948 while in Prineville, he met Mary “Marge” Bell and they married on Oct. 29, 1950, in Las Vegas. In 1953 they permanently settled in Brookings and began Horton Brothers Construction.

His father and brothers moved on and Don became the sole owner and operator of Horton Bros. His construction business continued to grow and included many Brookings homes, businesses, schools, churches and libraries that made Brookings, including the City Hall, what it is today.


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