Northern Recon Group
Founded in 1978
This page is to honor members who have passed on.
Commander Dean S. "Diz" Laird
February 7, 1921 - August 9, 2022
It is my sad duty to inform you that on Tuesday, 9 August 2022, Golden Eagle Emeritus, Commander Dean S. "Diz" Laird, USN (Ret), made his
last take off at the age of 101. Diz is the only Navy Ace to shoot down German and Japanese aircraft, finishing the war with 5 3/4 kills.
He may have been the Navy's last living WW II ace.
Diz was born on 7 February 1921 in Loomis, CA, and grew up there on his parents' dairy farm with his older brother. His father
was a former professional baseball player. Diz attended Placer High School in Auburn, CA, where he met his future wife,
Mary Lorraine Lardner. Later, while attending Placer Junior College, he participated in the civilian pilot training program
and in October 1940, soloed in a Luscombe. It was the first airplane he'd ever been in. He earned his Private
pilot license in February 1941 and his Father, who had strongly supported his desire to fly, was his first passenger.
Diz enlisted in the Navy Aviation Cadet program on 2 January 1942 and received his commission on 11 August 1942.
Diz flew the N3N Yellow Peril, the SNV Vultee Vibrator, the OS2U Kingfisher and the Grumman F2F in flight training
at Naval Air Station Miami and was designated a Naval Aviator on 21 October 1942. The next month he reported to Air Group Four,
Fighter Squadron Four (VF-4) Red Rippers, embarked in USS Ranger (CV 4) flying the F4F Wildcat. Diz and Lorraine married in Reno
on 5 December 1942, during Diz's 15-day leave granted after completion of flight training. They would go on to have three children,
Diane, Michael and Andrea.
In October 1943, Ranger conducted a strike on German shipping along the coast of German-occupied Norway, near the Arctic Circle. At least five German
(or German-controlled) ships, including a large tanker and a troopship were sunk or beached, with German casualties estimated as high as 350 going down
with the ships. The raid severely disrupted shipment of critical iron ore from northern Norway to Germany for several months. On 4 October 1943, radar
detected three German aircraft approaching Ranger and Lieutenant (junior grade) Diz Laird and his flight leader located a Ju-88D twin-engine bomber and
shot it down. Diz then sighted a He-115B twin-engine float plane flying at very low altitude and engaged it. The float plane attempted to land on the water, but
one of the float pylons collapsed and it cartwheeled into the sea. These were the first German aircraft shot down by Navy aircraft.
After Ranger returned to the States, VF-4 transitioned to the new F6F Hellcat and was assigned to USS Bunker Hill (CV 17). Diz shot down two
Japanese Kawasaki Tony fighters near Manila on 25 November 1944. After VF-4 cross-decked to USS Essex (CV 9), he was nearly shot down by anti-aircraft
fire in December 1944 over the Philippines. Diz was able to fly his severely damaged Hellcat 250 miles back to the carrier, making a wheels-up landing on
the flight deck. On 16 January 1945, near Hainan Island, China, Diz was flying in great pain with what turned out to be an inflamed appendix when he shot
down a Mitsubishi Hamp fighter while protecting a U.S. Navy aircraft on a reconnaissance mission.
On 16 February 1945, flying near the Japanese home islands, Diz shot down a Mitsubishi Ki-21-II Sally twin-engine bomber and, the next day, shot down two
more fighters while escorting bombers attacking heavily defended aircraft engine factories near Tokyo, for which he was awarded a Distinguished Flying
Cross. Diz was among the first carrier aviators to strike the Japanese home islands.
In April 1945, Diz returned to the States, where he served in Experimental Fighter Squadron 200 (XVF-200) in Brunswick, Maine, playing the role of
kamikazes “attacking” ships in the harbor so the Navy could develop better defensive tactics against the suicide planes. He would later say, “That was
exciting,” he admitted. “We had 16 F8F Bearcats, 10 F6F Hellcats and 10 F4U Corsairs. I was in command of the Corsairs. I stayed in the squadron until
after the war ended.”
In August 1947, Diz was assigned to the Navy’s first jet fighter squadron, VF-171, at Quonset Point until September 1949, flying the FH-1 Phantom I, the
F2H Banshee, the P-80 Shooting Star and the F8F Bearcat. VF-171 was the first squadron to carrier-qualify in jets, aboard USS Saipan (CVL 48) in May
1948. In 1949, as part of the National Air Races, Laird won a race flying an F2H Banshee from USS Midway (CV 41) in the Atlantic to Cleveland Ohio, with
the fastest speed at the National Air Races to that time, 549 mph, an unheard-of record for the day. Diz made the first jet landing on USS Midway.
In October 1949 Diz was selected for exchange duty with the then brand-new United States Air Force, the first exchange program of its kind. He flew with the
84th Fighter Interceptor Squadron as a Flight Leader in the F-84, T-33 and C-47 until October 1950.
From July 1953 until January 1955, Diz was the Executive Officer of VF-51, flying the F9F-6 Cougar, just missing the Korean War, followed by duty aboard
USS Yorktown as the Assistant Air Boss flying the F9F-5/6/8 and FJ-3 until May 1956. Assignment to the 85th NORAD Division followed where Diz was the
Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations with flight time in the T-33, C-41 and C-47 until August 1958.
From January 1959 until March 1960, he served as Executive Officer of VF-121, flying the F3H Demon, F11F Super Tiger and F9F Panther. In
1960, Diz assumed command of Fighter Squadron VF-213, flying the F2H Banshee and F-9F. In December 1960 he was posted to CARDIV ONE as
the Air Operations Officer. He continued to fly, this time in F3H, F9F and A3D, until posted for shore duty at NAS Miramar, CA as an Aircraft Maintenance
Officer. There, he logged time in the C1A, T2A, F3H, F4H, F8U, F9F and C-45 until January 1965.
For the three years following, from January 1965 until January 1968, Diz was the Readiness Carrier Air Wing (RCVW)-12 Chief Staff Officer, flying the F8,
F9, T1, F5, A4, T28, F4, A6 and A7. In his final tour Diz was the Executive Officer of VRF-32 where he logged flight time in the A-4, A-6, A-7, F-4, F-8, T-1,
T-33, S-2, C-47, T-39, P-3, C-130, C-1, T-28, C-54 and C-118.
In 1969, while still on active duty, Diz was one of the lead pilots flying simulated Japanese aircraft in the movie “Tora! Tora! Tora!” flying in the most demanding
scenes, including the first take-off of a Val dive-bomber from the carrier Akagi (actually USS Yorktown with a fake “Japanese” deck overlaid on
the flight deck.) He also flew the Kate dropping torpedoes over Southeast Loch at Pearl Harbor while attacking “Battleship Row.” He flew 99 different types of
aircraft in his almost 30-year career and retired from active duty in July 1971.
Commander Dean S. “Diz” Laird served his Nation in three wars, was a WW II fighter ace with 175 combat missions, received multiple decorations including
the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), flew 8,285 flight hours in 100 different types of aircraft and made 520 fixed-wing carrier arrested landings.
Diz started a second career as co-owner of the restaurant at the Coronado Municipal Golf Course. For nearly 22 years he served the public and hosted
gatherings and social events, before passing the baton to his business partner. He was one of the original founders of the Tailhook Association, led the
organization for several years and started their Tailhook Educational Foundation. In 2016, he was one of 35 Aces to receive the Congressional Gold
Medal in Washington D.C., which recognized all 1,450 Aces from all U.S. wars.
He was a member of the American Fighter Aces Association and the Distinguished Flying Cross Society. While serving as president of American
Fighter Aces Association from 2000 to 2002, Diz oversaw the transfer of the Aces’ memorabilia from San Antonio to Seattle as the museum’s curators
established a permanent display in the Wing of Courage at The Museum of Flight. He was recognized with the Audie Murphy Award by the American
Veterans Center in 2018, the Coronado Hometown Hero for “The Avenue of Heroes” in 2015, inducted into the International Hall of Fame by the San Diego
Air and Space Museum in 2013 and the American Combat Airman Hall of Fame by the Commemorative Air Force in 2006. Sadly, Lorraine passed away in
2014. She and Diz had been married 71½ years.
Ever seeking new challenges, Diz celebrated his 90th birthday by skydiving, the first time he’d ever jumped out of an airplane and invited interested parties to
join him on his 100th. In July 2016, at age 95, Diz took the controls of a T-34C Turbo Mentor, the 100th type aircraft he had flown, and flew an N3N for his
101st birthday earlier this year.
Memorial service and funeral arrangements are pending and will be provided as soon as they are available.
He will be missed,
Lillian Laura Kelley
October 7, 1931 - August 20, 2022
Lillian Laura Kelley, 90 years of Oroville, passed away on Saturday, 20 August 2022.
She was born on Wednesday 07 October 1931 in Oroville, the daughter of the late Richard and
Alva (née Grubbs) Pattison. Memorial Service to be held at Oroville Funeral Home, at a date yet
to be decided.
Richard Everett Webb
July 7, 1930 - January 4, 2022
Richard Everett Webb, 91, longtime Yuba-Sutter resident, passed away January 4, 2022 in Gainesville, Florida, due to a massive stroke.
Richard was born on July 7, 1930 to Everett and Louise Webb in Dayton, Washington. He is survived by his wife, Ruby Marie Webb, daughters
Patrice (husband Steve) Crabtree and Sherrill (husband Daniel) Fisher, son Gordon (wife Devon) Webb, and
grandchildren: Colin and Ben Crabtree, and Abigail, Hannah, Caleb and Esther Fisher.
Richard was raised in Pullman, Washington, with sisters Betty and Dorothy, and beloved cousins. His father
was a professor at Washington State University. He graduated in 1952 from WSU as a TKE fraternity member with an Agriculture Degree and on
a whim took the Air Force pilot qualification test and passed! He joined the Air Force in 1953 and in Enid, Oklahoma became one of the youngest
ever pilot instructors. On Nov 1, 1955, he married his wife of 66 years, Ruby Koehn, a hospital nurse from Enid.
His military career took his family to Texas, California, Maine, North Dakota, and Beale AFB, California, where he retired in 1972.
He flew B-47s, B-25s, B-52s, 24-hour missions around the world, was part of the Minute Man Missile program, flew C-47s and bombers for a year in
Vietnam, instructed in B-52s, and was part of the Strategic Air Command. He earned Master’s Degrees in Industrial Management and Aerospace Systems.
After retiring, he was a financial planner, bus driver, Certified Flight Instructor, and aircraft owner. He was a founding board member of
Faith Christian School (serving 25 years), a faithful church leader, Rotarian, Gideon, and a Reclamation District President working with US Army
Corps of Engineers. In 1997 Richard and Ruby invited their daughter, Sherrill, and family with new twins to share a home and live intergenerationally,
which Richard loved for the next 23 years.
Until his late 80’s, Richard continued flight instructing and many he taught became good friends. In 2018, Richard received the prestigious
Wright Brother’s Award for pilots with 50+ years of accident-free flight. At the age of 91, he purchased and drove a large RV with Ruby to visit
family and friends from Washington to Florida, to once again live with the Fisher family. In Florida, on December 22, he suffered a stroke
and joined his Lord Jesus Christ on January 4.
Richard loved God and read through the Bible every year. As an active Gideon, he passed out Bibles at High Schools and faithfully gave God’s Word
to all he encountered. He was a family-oriented, supportive father and grandfather, who dearly loved his three kids and six grandkids,
and rarely missed events or games. He valued people, never knew a stranger, was diligent in keeping up with others, and could/would chat with anyone.
He never lost his child-like spirit and love for life, had a mild and endearing personality, and loved giving others a “hard time” in fun.
Many called him their “second dad”, including Louis M. Luu, a Vietnamese refugee, and Ricky Foster, a foster son, both for 40+ years.
He lived a life faithful to his wife, family, country, and God. All who dearly loved him miss him terribly. His was a life well-lived.
Donations may be sent for Bible distribution to: Gideons International, P.O. Box 1454, Yuba City, CA 95992.
His Celebration of Life will be Saturday, July 9, 2022 at 2:00 pm at
Hope Point Nazarene Church
600 N. George Washington Blvd.
Yuba City, CA.
His family would be blessed by your presence and invites you to honor his memorable life.
Albert Paul Stiefel
January 21, 1938 - February 12, 2022
Al was a long-time member of the Oroville Group of the Northern Recon Group and supporter of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association.
He was very active and a true professional. He was also very supportive of the local 4-H and other volunteer organizations.
Al owned and operated a machine shop after he served in the United States Air Force. He moved from Ohio to California in 1965 and then
settled in Oroville in 1977. Al teamed up with Lee to help make numerous reproduction pedestals and display guns. Many members own and
display the work that Al has done. He also volunteered and dedicated his efforts and knowledge to the membership as editor for
another MVPA affiliate for numerous years. He is pictured here with his wife Shirley.
Bernardo V. Rubalcava
August 8, 1936 - October 16, 2021
Bernardo V. Rubalcava was born in Los Angeles, CA on August 8, 1936. He was the only child of Calixto Jesus Rubalcava of Jalisco, Mexico
and Nettie Varela of Arizona, USA. His father had one son before Bernardo and his mother had three daughters. His parents split up
when he was about five years old, and he chose to live with his father. For seven years, his father was both mother and father to him.
His father re-married when he was twelve years old. He was blessed with another sister and then a brother.
He lived with his dad until he married at age sixteen. He had a daughter, Denise, who is now 68 years of age.
At the age of eighteen, he joined the US Navy. He completed boot camp at San Diego, CA and then was assigned to NAS Whiting Field in Milton, FL,
where he learned a trade. He became an aviation structural mechanic. It served him well. He then was assigned to the Pacific Fleet
and served aboard the USS Kearsarge (CVA-33) out of San Diego and then Long Beach, CA.
After his military service, he attended San Jose State University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Arts.
In 1963 he re-married and in 1964 he became a teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District. He taught wood shop,
metal shop, and print shop. He had two sons, now aged 55 and 57. He wanted to be a teacher since seventh grade. He attended five elementary schools,
three junior high schools, and three high schools. He liked school very much and hardly was absent. He taught for the LAUSD for 33 years,
retiring in 1997. Until his death, he was thankful for all of his teachers who helped him read, write, and do basic math. Bernardo enjoyed
traveling. He visited friends and family near and far. He especially enjoyed driving and exploring the roads less travelled. However,
he would fly and sometimes take a train to his reunions with his Navy buddies. Bernardo was a world traveler. He has been to all
over the continental US, Alaska, Hawaii, the Caribbean, England, Western Europe, Greece, and most recently, to Israel.
Bernardo had an affinity for both children and animals. He had dogs and cats over the years as pets, and he enjoyed his son’s horses. He especially
enjoyed feeding and playing with the horses and making them “gourmet” meals. He enjoyed spending time with his nieces and nephews.
More than one claim that he is their favorite tio. He was a baptized Christian. Although his father was a devoted Jehovah’s Witness, he was
Catholic for much of his life. In 2012, he was baptized Christian in Chula Vista, CA. In 2018, he was baptized again in the Jordan River
while visiting the holy land. He was a member of the Bonita Valley Community Church, where he found fellowship in his Bible
study group. The Prime Time Community was his family!
Bernie passed peacefully on October 16, 2021 in San Diego, CA after having a stroke. Bernie is survived by one daughter, two sons, five grandchildren,
and twelve great grandchildren. He also is survived by one sister, one brother and many nieces and nephews and countless friends.
Passed away December 6, 2021
Nancy Brown Umphenour
1950 - 2021
Our hearts are broken wide open, yet they are also full- with the love she left behind. Nancy’s leadership
skills and talents were broad and diverse. She rarely joined a club or organization for which she didn’t
become the President. Partly because she had underlying fear of missing out; and partly because she
assumed no one could do what needed to be done as well as she could do it. And she was usually right.
Nancy was President of the California Angus Association; Vice President of the Military Vehicle Collectors
of California: a two-term President of Sonoma County Newcomers; and served as President of an HOA,
which can be its own special kind of hell but one that she seemed to accept.
Nancy had work experiences that ranged from cattle, to construction, to cosmetics. She and her family
raised registered Black Angus cattle and showed them at fairs and expositions throughout California and
the Western United States. Nancy was part of a construction crew that helped build the concrete road
barriers for the Coronado Bridge in San Diego and the Tappan Bridge in New York. She worked in retail
sales with Hallmark and Clinique, administration and dispatch for the trucking industry, and in the
restaurant business. She became a realtor in 1995 and enjoyed connecting with people to their homes.
She worked as a tasting room associate at Benziger Winery, helping customers choose wine and the
right dish to pair with each selection. While she always called Sonoma County her home and happily
settled in Windsor, she also lived in Nevada, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Connecticut, New
York, and Pennsylvania.
Nancy had a love of people and could strike up a conversation with most anyone, finding common ground
and connection. As a result, she had a broad and diverse array of friends from all walks of life and all life
periods and age groups. She had a fondness for easy listening stations, golden oldies, big band, and
classic country music and had a thing for Neil Diamond and Santini from Sha Na Na. She loved to play
games but didn’t care about winning- until she did. She found her peace while working in the garden with
her hands in the soil and plants to care for, creating soothing and mediative spaces in her own backyard.
1945 - 2021
A week ago, my sister Alison and I lost our dad. COVID-19 stole his lungs, leaving no room for oxygen
He put up a good fight for several days on a biPAP machine, but ultimately succumbed to the deadly virus.
My Dad was first and foremost, a Marine. He served from 1962 until 1971, but like all Marines, he never
stopped being one. His service included two combat tours in Vietnam, including being among the very
first troops deployed as a “combat” mission, rather than as “advisors.” For a time, he was also a member
of the Pistol and Rifle team, due to his shooting accuracy.
He was probably best known for his work on cars. Some of my earliest memories of my dad are him
mixing resin to preform body repairs on a ’57 Corvette that had a bit of a reputation in the Santa Cruz
area. It was stupid fast, and he gave his buddies many white-knuckled rides. He owned many classics
over the years- (I hope I have this right) thirteen 55’s, six 56’s and four 57 Chevrolets. The longest
tenured was a sky blue ’55 Chevy that EVERYONE knew about. Later, he shifted away from street
machines, and began restoring military vehicles. He had several- A HMMWV, a Mighty Mite, MUTT’s, and
several others were part of the collection at one time or another.
Aside from his personal rides, my dad also made a living by working on cars. As modern cars transitioned
from carburetors to fuel injection, and added things like computerized command control and electronic
control units, my dad quickly adapted to the new technology. He was a widely known expert, and
regularly fielded calls from other mechanics throughout the country who needed help solving drivability issues.
He was a helpful guy. If you were a neighbor or a friend, he’d go out of his way to help you out with
whatever you needed (even offering up his son for free labor from time to time). He believed in
community, and would help wherever and however he could. Most recently, he was working to secure
federal funding to restore a historic irrigation ditch that feeds several properties surrounding his, ensuring
water rights for him and his neighbors.
If you never met him, I promise you’d have liked him. He had a course exterior, and could be extremely
intimidating, but it was all bullshit. He was funny, charming, and just plain cool. He had strong opinions,
and was never afraid to voice them, but he’d always leave room for yours.
He was a healthy 76-year-old. He took care of himself, and was hardly ever ill. That’s the shock of this
whole experience. We all thought we had more time. Lots more time. I’m having a bit of difficulty grasping
the fact that I’m out of time. I had things to say to him. I had experiences to share with him.
If you’re not vaccinated or due for a booster, please make an appointment today. Don’t make someone
write one of these letters about you.
May 22, 1921 - October 31, 2021
It is great sadness that I report that our dear family friend and mentor RADM Don Shelton has passed
away on October 31, 2021. He was 100 years and 5 months old. I will truly miss attending Tailhook here
in Reno with him every year. I am so grateful that my wife Mabel and I were able to see him this year
when he flew in for Tailhook. We picked up him, Capt. Royce Williams and Don’s caretaker Tammy at the
airport and had lunch together. Unfortunately, I was unable to go tailhook this year, but Mabel spent time
there with Don and friends as usual. Mabel’s Father retired from the Taiwanese Navy as a commander
and is very versed in the Navy. She represents this old Soldier well. J.Gillich
Rear Admiral Doniphan Brown “Don” Shelton, U.S. Navy (Retired), was alive and well and was 100 on 22 May 2021. Don enlisted
in the U.S. Navy in 1939, graduated from the Naval Academy in 1944, and served as a naval aviator until his retirement
in October 1979 from the position of director of plans and policy (J-5) for Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command (CINCPAC).
His commands included Fighter Squadron 92 (VF-92), Attack Carrier Air Wing 19 (CVW-19), Paricutin (AE-18), Tripol (LPH-10), and
Naval Base Subic Bay. Don served on Pacific Fleet battleships just before World War II, served on light cruiser St. Louis (CL-49)
when she was hit by multiple kamikazes off Leyte, witnessed the last successful Japanese torpedo plane attack of the war,
served as a night carrier pilot flying interdiction missions over North Korea from the Sea of Japan in the winter,
served as a test pilot for the most dangerous swept-wing plane to fly off U.S. aircraft carriers (the F7U-3 Cutlass),
and commanded a squadron of the equally dangerous F3H Demon all-weather fighters. Don also commanded an attack carrier
air wing during the Gulf of Tonkin crisis, an ammunition ship supporting maximum effort carrier air strikes into North Vietnam,
and Tripoli during multiple amphibious assaults into Vietnam. During the fall of Saigon, Don commanded the Subic Bay Naval Base,
humanely handling over 43,000 South Vietnamese refugees. He was also a leading advocate for naval aviation’s all-weather, day/night capability.
08 July, 2021
Sad news of the passing… Terry’s battle with brain cancer has taken him too early in life. I'll give more information as I hear from his family regarding services.
Terry was a great jeep restoration provider. Gave help with his knowledge and all-around info with his business classic military automotive.
Long time side kick to Mike Stopforth in the jeep restoration and parts business.
Harlan Neal Hatfield
April 18, 1940 - January 3, 2021
Harlan graduated from Byers High School, Byers, Colorado in May 1958.
After promising his father-in-law that he would always take care of her, a promise that this warm, loving, and caring man would keep and fulfill to his last breath,
Harlan married his high school sweetheart Carolyn Mitchell on July 23, 1959 in Bennett, Colorado. On August 19, 1959 Harlan joined the United States Air Force in
Denver, Colorado where he proudly served 20 years including his tour in Vietnam and retired on September 1, 1979.
Harlan welcomed daughters Cindi and Nadine to complete his family. He was devoted to his daughters, guiding them to become wonderful adults. Family was Harlan’s
first love and he enjoyed being a father, grandfather and great-grandfather every day. “Grandpa” Harlan loved having his grandchildren and great-grandchildren
over to stay with him while Carolyn was working, and he enjoyed every moment. He enjoyed watching Dylan & Ryan as they became teenagers. Harlan and Carolyn
enjoyed events of high school rodeo, gymkhana, baseball, soccer, football, basketball, and band. He was fortunate to attend all of the high school and college graduations
of his children and grandchildren. Harlan enjoyed family get-togethers and was very proud of his family and their accomplishments.
Upon Carolyn’s retirement, new travels included visits to friends from his military years and enjoying new experiences throughout the United States. Harlan’s
favorite trips included an Alaskan cruise and train trip, and multiple visits to Washington D.C. exploring the nation’s history.
Harlan enjoyed attending the annual reunions of the 500th Bomb Squadron and Tan Son Nhut groups held throughout the country. He was interested in
learning about their lives after retirement from their service.
Harlan was self-taught about computers and spent many hours connecting with friends and building web sites for different military groups. Harlan’s interest in
military aviation and aircraft led to his membership in the Gray Eagles where he served as Webmaster . Harlan also served as Webmaster the Museum of the Forgotten Warriors
and Northern Reconnaissance groups. Harlan was also a member of the Veterans groups at the Club (Del Webb) in Westpark, Roseville.
July 18, 1950 - October 14, 2020
Michael Franklin Reeves peacefully passed away at his home with his family by his side on October 14, 2020. Michael, better known as Mike, was born on July 18, 1950
in Newton, KS. He was the only child to Toby and Helen Reeves. Mike grew up in Newton, KS and spent much of his time with his grandparents where he developed a love
of trains and cars. Mike participated in boy scouts, earning his Eagle Scout as a young teen.
Mike joined the United States Navy in 1970 and served four years in the Naval Construction Battalion, better known as the Navy Seabee’s. Mike was
extremely proud of his service in the US Military. Following his honorable discharge from the Navy, Mike stayed in Riverside, CA where he was stationed.
When his Aunt and Uncle moved to Northern CA to open a business, Mike moved to the area to take a job at a local manufacturing home plant.
Mike met his beloved wife, Brenda Angel in 1978. They married on September 1, 1979. Mike was a wonderful husband to Brenda and a loving father to his
two daughters, Michele and Melissa. Mike was very active in the community. He was a charter member of the Americana Corvette club, holding office within
the club for the duration of his membership. He served as a board member for the Gleaners of Yuba Sutter Peach Bowl Little League and Sacramento Action
American Legion. Mike loved God, his family, serving others, American History, classic cars and Disneyland trips with family. Mike will be laid to rest
at the National Cemetery in Dixon.
Farewell “Miss June”
By RAF CASERT and JOHN LEICESTER, AP
…Donning clothes from another era sometimes means discomfort.
Matt Ferdock, 56, felt it with the darn reproduction war boots he's lumbered with for another two weeks during his travels along battle routes in France and Belgium.
"Quite frankly, they're terrible," he said, coming back from an unsuccessful shopping mission to find comfier insoles in La Cambe, a Normandy village where thousands of Germans are buried and where he attended a ceremony on Wednesday.
After pondering the purpose of his appearance for a moment, Ferdock said that looking the part "just feels like I may get a better sense of who these people were. I don't know what it felt like to walk in these boots. "He knows now.
Just across the village square, named after the 29th U.S. Infantry Division that liberated La Cambe on June 8, 1944, stood Heather Van Doorn.
When her late husband Ted was in Normandy for the 60th D-Day anniversary, he "didn't have the jeep, didn't have the dress and felt like he was not a participant."
"He vowed to come back, bring his children, and try and teach them."
Following his death 3 years ago, 49-year-old Heather has taken it upon herself and is hanging out in their restored jeeps with her children Phoebe, Fiona and Max, all dressed as though wartime heartbreak, sacrifice, suffering and rationing were still present.
Heather's drab maintenance coverall more than served its purpose. "You just blend better," she said. "You are part of it." Adding to the motivation was that her dad was for a quarter-century in the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam. She said her great-grandfather was a B-24 Liberator bomber pilot flying out of England.
"There's always a connection," said Gary Hurwitz, traveling in the same party as Van Doorn. "We're all family." Yet, they are looking for different things.
Van Doorn, who lives in Eugene, Oregon, is convinced something wholesome was lost over time, something she feels is in the story of the soldiers storming beaches against the odds in a foreign land. "This generation was amazing," she said. "Where are these people now? Where did it go?" "It seems people thought more about others. Now we are all wrapped up in our own lives. "Asked what was lost, she said "the sacrifice."…
Darrel Shumard of Sebastopol flew P47's during WWII and relived some flying memories as he took a ride on a B-17 Flying Fortress that flew from Reno to the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport, Wednesday June 5, 2013 as part of the Wings of Freedom Tour. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013
Fully 74 years after his fighter-bomber tumbled from the sky over war-plagued Europe and he was seized by German soldiers, Darrel Shumard just four weeks ago took off from Sonoma County’s airport in a Cessna with a pilot a generation younger beside him.
At age 97, the taciturn and modest Shumard, long one of the region’s most revered veterans of World War II, took the controls of the sporty, six-seat plane and headed off for Amador County.
“He flew the thing all the way over and all the way back,” marveled his pal, Lynn Hunt, a pilot and restorer of the sorts of warplanes that Shumard flew as a young U.S. Army Corps captain.
Hunt added about Shumard, “He never lost his touch.”
A Sebastopol resident who for decades was regarded as a living treasure by fellow members of the Santa Rosa-based Pacific Coast Air Museum, Shumard died at home Sunday evening. He’d gotten along as a widower since the death of his wife of 56 years, Madeline Hood Shumard, in 2010.
Darrel Shumard was a quiet celebrity among the region’s military veterans. For decades, he delighted in driving his vintage Army jeep in parades and he was sought out at gatherings of vets and members of the air museum, located at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport.
“He was kind of a rock star to us, though he never would have used those words,” said Hunt, a leader of the museum. “He might be the humblest person I’ve ever known.”
Hunt added, “You didn’t dare call him a hero.” He said Shumard was adamant that the true war heroes were all those who didn’t make it home.
Shumard was born Dec. 2, 1921, in Galesburg, Illinois. He wasn’t yet school-aged when hard times pushed his parents to California in search of work.
When he was 10 and 11 years old and the Great Depression was on, Shumard and his folks became “fruit tramps,” granddaughter Michelle Grady of Rohnert Park recalls. They moved from orchard to orchard in the Monterey-Salinas area, picking produce.
Shumard graduated from high school in Turlock. He had studied at Modesto Junior College for a year and worked briefly at Lockheed Aircraft Co.’s factory in Burbank when, not long after the Japanese Imperial Navy attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, he went to war.
Sargeant Don Rummel, United States Army Air Corps
Sergeant Don Rummel is one of our WWII veterans that was present along with his family at Camp Gridley 16 September 2017. Don was a long-time California resident, from Oroville, California.
Don joined the Army Air Corps in San Francisco, California in 1942. He wanted to fly airplanes for the war effort and passed his first Army flight physical. The second flight physical he did not pass and was transferred to support the Army Air Corps reporting statistics to the commanding general of the 5th Air Forces in the Pacific Theater of World War II.
Don reported to the commanding general at 0400 hours each morning the aircraft losses and crew losses. He used the teletype machine to gain statistics control and reached the rank of sergeant as a clerk typist. His reports were covering all of the aircraft of the 5th Air Force which included the B-24s, A-20s, B-25s, C-47s, and C-54s. He really enjoyed flying in the B-25 to each of his deployed islands. He did say the B-24 had problems with the weak landing gear…
After World War II Don began his civilian life and spent his saved money from the war to start his very own business. He was the very first TV repair business in Northern California. He then went on to work for the Plumas National Forest from 1961 to 1983. For the last couple of years Don had enjoyed meeting our Northern Recon Group members while on a convoy to Lake Oroville at a past Camp Gridley. He also had ridden with our vehicles at the Marysville Veterans Day Parades.
Don also had never been honored like this at Camp Gridley before, so it was a very important day for him. Thank you all for helping us in honoring him. Thank you for taking a moment to say “Thank You For Your Service” as it meant more than you will ever know to him.
In November 2017, Bruce Hrabak was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic and liver cancer. Unfortunately, Bruce fell gravely ill Tuesday morning, April 10th. He was transported to Kaiser Emergency on Morse and was at death's door. He was given 2 to 24 hours to live on multiple occasions. During this time, his wife Shari had been at his side, sleeping at nights in the hospital bed next to his. She herself has battled cancer.
Bruce was a perfectionist in everything he did. He was truly a professional. Bruce was a long-time member of the numerous military organizations. He supported the Military Vehicle Preservation Association (MVPA) and recently displayed a large D-Day display at the MVPA Convention in Pleasanton, CA. He even coordinated a real-life landing craft or LCVP to be on display to add to his living history display. Many photos were taken of troops and a jeep or two landing on the “beach” at the convention.
Bruce was also recognized numerous times for his “mobile museum” at Northern Recon Group Camp Gridley’s. His passion for collecting and preserving history rubbed off on others around him. His knowledge of all of his items in his collection could be quickly learned as he would explain the uses and history of each item on his display. Bruce you will be missed!
September 29, 1935 - August 11, 2018
Stopforth - Douglas Mike Stopforth, 82, a resident of Antioch, passed away on August 11, 2018. Mike passed away in an un-fortunate automobile accident on 8/11/18. “Thanks for your many years of serving us with your knowledge, parts and shop skills but most importantly, your friendship and laughter”. Mike Stopforth a long-time resident of Santa Rosa, CA. Mike Stopforth was also a log-time member of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association (MVPA) #1095
Mike was the owner of WWII Jeep Parts with the moto of "If we aint got it, you don't need it." Mike Stopforth had a passion for military jeeps and his passion was contagious. He helped many others with their projects as he really enjoyed the hobby. If one purchased a very needed item from Mike, he would throw another item in if he knew you needed the part. Almost everyone has a part on their jeep from Mike.
Randy Parent passed away on 14 August 2018. He fought a long and brave battle against cancer.
Randy was a very active military vehicle owner and advocate for the hobby and veterans. He really enjoyed his military vehicles and driving in convoys. He was a true professional in everything he was associated with. He drove and supported many convoys of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association (MVPA). He supported the MVPA moto of “History in Motion!” and kept his vehicles safety operating.
Randy had a passion for flying. He had many hours in the air that began in the Vietnam War as a Huey pilot.
By: Leigh Martinez POSTED: JUN 24 2017 09:00PM
On the tarmac at the Bud Field Aviation Hanger, there’s a sound familiar to all Vietnam Combat Veterans. The deep, loud ‘thud, thud, thud’ of a Huey helicopter. This distinct sound meant supplies, medic rescue, and most importantly, that they were going home.
"I wouldn't be alive today if it wasn't for a UH1 helicopter taking care of me,” said US Army pilot Randy Parent, one of two pilots commanding the EMU 309.
Today, veterans claim the Huey continues to save their lives. The EMU 309 is a Bell UH-1H Huey helicopter restored to its 1968 Vietnam War configuration. The all-volunteer team of Huey Vets now maintain the EMU 309 to provide therapeutic flights above the San Antonio Reservoir to veterans suffering the after-effects of war.
Randy flew in many different aircraft to include the Channel 5 news helicopter or his Cub. He also volunteered with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary in his spare time.
Ione Virus passed away Tuesday May 15, 2018, at the age of 90. Born March 31, 1928 in Madera, CA. Ione grew up in Santa Ana, CA, but spent several summers, as a little girl camping with her family near Bass Lake, while her father was quarrying rock for bridges and buildings at Yosemite at a nearby quarry.
Ione held several jobs in her early twenties working for several attorneys. After her son John was born, she decided to become a full-time wife and mother. She sold Avon and eventually became president of the Parent Teacher Association. Starting in 1968, Ione spent three years as the caretaker for the San Francisco Fly Casting Club on the Truckee River, near Glenshire. She loved working there, but eventually moved back to town and became a nurse’s aide at Tahoe Forest Hospital. After a year she moved into a job as a physical therapy aid, where she stayed for eight years.
Her last job was a care taker for her mother, which she did for more than 20 years. She and her mother were extremely close and used the time to reconnect.
Ione is survived by her son John and her niece Claudia Casteel and her family. Ione is preceded in death by her mother and father, Leona and Max Hieber, her three brothers, Clayton, Max and Donald Hieber and her husband Glenn Virus. Ione was a loving wife, mother, aunt and friend. She loved her life, her garden and her family. In her later years she enjoyed working in her garden and doing new things.
Some members may recall Ione riding along on some of our military vehicle convoys. One such convoy was around the Sutter Buttes. Her son John collects and restores military vehicles and she enjoyed sharing a ride in one. She would talk of fond memories of her husband and Bob Thelander as we followed along the route. Her joyous laughter and smile made the convoy one to remember. Ione you will be remembered and not forgotten. Thank you for helping to enjoy our military vehicles.
Jonathan E. H. Luz
Jonathan Edgard Heilman Luz, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, was an active member of the Northern Recon Group, as was his father, Hill H. Luz who is honored on this Wall in December 2000 (encouraged to view). Jonathan continued in his father’s dedication to the Northern Recon Group and other activities to serve fellow veterans and his community. His father was also a member of the Yuba-Sutter Veterans Memorial Committee who helped plan, create and dedicate memorials for each county in 2000. In 1999, Hill encouraged his group (NRG) to display their military vehicles for the “rebirth” of our Yuba-Sutter Veterans Day Parade. Jonathan was alongside him every step of the way, and after he lost his father, he continued in the tradition with dedication and immensely enjoyed driving his restored WWII Jeep in Veterans Day parades locally and in Sacramento.
Since 2001, Jonathan also participated annually with the Northern Recon Group displaying for the public, their military vehicles during the Memorial Day annual “Grateful Nation Remembers” presentation at Calvary Christian Center in Yuba City.
Jonathan served many years at A Hand Up Ministries with founder, Vietnam war veteran, Rev. Ron Braiser. A Hand Up provides church services, meals, assistance and support to the Yuba-Sutter County homeless population. Jonathan was the former sole owner of Incredible Images Photography and used his skills in photographing and assisting with the Yuba-Sutter Veterans Stand Down. He attended Hope Point Nazarene Church in Yuba City and willingly served wherever needed. Jonathan Luz was always ready, able and willing to help his fellow veterans, neighbors, friends, and strangers in need of assistance.
He brought his two children with him to all of these events and ministries where they learned to serve right alongside of their father as Jonathan did his father. What a great testament to his dad Hill Luz of the generational love and service for their country. Jonathan’s happiest and most treasured times were spent with his two children, and giving them everything his father and mother passed on to him in raising and nurturing them. They were the apple of his eye and the love of his life.
Jonathan E. H. Luz, you were too young to leave us and will be greatly missed by family and all your friends.
Paul R. Smagllck, DDS
Smagllck, DDS, Paul R. Died after a courageous battle wth cancer, surrounded by the love and warmth of his family and friends, on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at the age of 61. Beloved husband of Dorothy (nee Keller) for 38 years. Proud father of Katie Urbanek (Mark Van Wolvebere), Mice (Austin Stuckert, MD) Smaglick, MD and Andy Smaglick. Loving grandpa of John Urbanek and Fritz Urbanek. Son of Paul W. and Suzanne Smagfick. Brother of Mary Smaglick, Richard Smaglick and Julie (Tim MD) Carmody, MD. Dear brother-in-law of Fred (Judie McCoy) Keller. Also fondly remembered by nieces and nephews, Lori (Jason Weiner) Keller and Josef Weiner, Chris Keller, Rosemary SmagDck, Torn, John, Joseph, AllBon, Matthew, James, and David Carmody, special friends, Jerry and Ginny Kohimartn, and many other relatives and friends. Paul provided exceptional dental care for over 35 years to the people of Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin at his downtown office. As evidence of his work, Paul was often mentioned h the Milwaukee Magazine as one of the city's top dentists. Teaching and continuing education were an important part of Paurs professional experience. He served in the Department of Restorative Sciences at Marquette University School of Dentistry as a clinical adjunct associate professor and was a long standing member of several dental study clubs and professional organizations. In his free time, Paul enjoyed gardening and travel with his family. He loved classical music, particularly works by Mozart. He also had a passion for military vehicles and took great pride in the restoration of his 1970 M35A2.
With sadness we must report the passing of Dann Spear, Museum of the Forgotten Warriors, Founder, Director and Curator on February 22nd , 2018
A memorial is planned to celebrate Spear’s life. Roberta said the theme will be “no regrets.”
Roberta said anyone interested in helping the family can donate to the Museum of the Forgotten Warriors, something her husband would’ve wanted.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE
He was the curator of the Museum of the Forgotten Warriors!
Friends mourn the death of Dann Spear
By Jake Abbott /firstname.lastname@example.org
July 6, 1947 - February 22, 2018
John Essary of Bend Oregon was born on July 6, 1947 and passed away on February 22, 2018. John resided in Yuba City, Ca when he restored his M-38A1 Jeep back to U.S. Navy service markings.
He did an off the frame restoration of his jeep that he spent every minute making it a perfect veteran of the U.S. Navy as he also served in the Navy. As a Navy veteran, he was a strong supporter of the Northern Recon Group and the hobby. He later moved to Bend Oregon. John enjoyed driving his Jeep and telling his stories of his service. He really enjoyed his time on Ruff-N-It with the guys and displaying it for other veterans to enjoy.
June 24, 1922 - September 20, 2018
Francis Edgar "Fran" Burke, age 96, of Petaluma, California, passed away on September 20, 2018. Born on June 24, 1922, in Santa Rosa, California, Fran was a hardworking, faithful family man who was dedicated to the people in his life and the endeavors he undertook. He volunteered in the community and helped many, but he always did it his way!
Fran's childhood took him from Santa Rosa to Upper Lake and back. His mother passed when he was 13 years-old leaving him alone to help his father with hunting, fishing, and a small bootlegging operation in Upper Lake. In Santa Rosa, when he was not in his back alley demonstrating the fundamentals of fighting to those who foolishly thought they were tougher than he, Fran attended St. Rose Catholic Grammar School, under the strict and loving guidance of the Ursuline Sisters.
The sisters must have made a little headway, since, Fran later excelled in academics and sports at Santa Rosa High School. He played on the 1940 NBL Championship football team and the 1940 and 1941 NBL Championship track teams where he was selected as a high school All-American in the shot-put. This honor led to a track scholarship at Washington State University, where Fran also was a freshman walk-on to the first-string football squad.
During a quick trip home in early December 1941, his life changed forever. World War II had begun. He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve and was accepted to the United States Merchant Marine Academy where he was a cadet in the first graduating class of the Academy. Fran served with distinction throughout World War II and was honorably discharged in 1946, then continued to sail commercially until 1949.
After the war, he continued to be an avid athlete. "Frantic Fran" played semi-pro football for both the Santa Rosa Bone Crushers and for his favorite team, the Petaluma Leghorns from 1949 to 1954. Fran's love of sports also included a successful stint coaching football for St. Vincent de Paul High School. His team won a title in 1955, and was inducted into St. Vincent's Hall of Fame. This spirit of hard work, coupled with education was of utmost importance to Fran...although it didn't hurt if you also played football and were 6'-5" and 280 pounds!
During his Leghorn days, Fran met and married Helen Louise Defilippis, his wife of 64 years. He was very proud of their long union and of the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren. He also took great pride in the success of the people that he helped along the way.
In his varied career, Fran worked for Matson Navigation Company, Petaluma Cooperative Creamery, and Hillcrest Hospital. He spent over 24 years as the Director of Building & Facilities, Environmental Services, and Safety for St. Luke's Hospital, San Francisco. He finalized his working years at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and Clover-Stornetta.
The Burke Family Remembers:
October 31, 1923 - August 27, 2015
Lieutenant Commander Retired, Joe Langdell is very well known in the Yuba and Sutter Counties. Floyd Jones can be very proud that he drove Joe in the Veterans Day Parades in Marysville.
Norman A. Palmer, 98 passed away June 20, 2014 at The Courtyard in Yuba City, CA. His wife Blanche Palmer passed away January 20, 2013.
After the war he took up barbering, found the love of his life, started a successful barber and beauty supply business, became active in the Catholic Church, and comfortably settled into what would became a full, bountiful, and complete life. In 1947, Red married Vera, who would be his best friend, loving wife and confident for the next 65 years.
Becky and I were introduced to Red at the Marysville Veterans Day Parade in 2009. This was his first parade and he would like a ride. Red was dressed in his original WWII Signalman's uniform and it fit him well. We had the Chaplain's jeep that year and Red's first question was "If it's the Chaplain jeep....can I still cuss"? While waiting for the parade to start Red passed the time telling us stories of his time in the Navy, things like you always wore boots so you could hide a bottle inside and sneak it aboard ship. Once the parade started Red was amazed at how many people had turned out to honor the Veterans. As I said, he had never been in a parade and was overcome by the shouts of "THANK YOU" coming from the crowd.
The following year we were once again waiting for the parade to start when Red came walking up to the jeep. He had a hard time finding us and had to ask several persons where the Chaplain jeep was. We were honored that Red wanted to ride with us again. We visited Red and Vera at his home, were invited out to lunch at his favorite eatery and given a tour of the business that bore his name. We will miss you Red.
Bill and Becky Campbell and was run by his daughter.
Smart, determined, endearing and potently independent — Hattie Stone was a retired teacher and a World War II veteran proud to have worn the uniform and, 70 years later, to still fit nicely into it.
One of Sonoma County’s most visible and best known veterans and advocates of honorable treatment of ex-servicemembers who struggle, Stone died Monday at home in Santa Rosa. She was 95.
“Her death makes a big hole in the veterans community here,” said friend Dave Richey, who, like Stone, served in the Navy, though decades later.
For years, Stone appeared in parades in her own 1944 military jeep. She was past commander and a life member of Santa Rosa’s Theodore Roosevelt Post 21 of the American Legion, a charter member of Michael Ottolini AMVETS Post 40 and a benefactor and member of the Pacific Coast Air Museum.
PCAM leader Lynn Hunt felt fortunate during the air show last August to walk into the VIP tent and spot an empty chair next to Stone’s.
“It was kind of the last time I had to be around her and see that glow,” Hunt said. “She just had that glow about her.”
Born Hattie Louisa May in Oklahoma City in 1918, she grew up Hutchinson, Kan. At 25 in 1943, she’d begun a career as a teacher but put it on hold to join the Navy WAVES, Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. She went to work at the Naval Communications Center in Hutchinson and soon was promoted to supervisor.
While in Hutchinson she fell in love with a musician and fellow Navy recruit named Vernon Browne. They married in 1944.
Following the war, they settled in San Bruno. Hattie pursued a doctorate in education at Stanford but stopped short of a dissertation. Her daughter, Verna Larson, said she taught public school and in the 1960s became Dean of Girls and Assistant Vice Principal at the then-new El Camino High School.
Larson’s parents divorced and her mother later met and married Robert Stone, then an Air Force officer. As a civilian, he took work that brought him and his wife to Santa Rosa in the mid-1960s.
They’d lived for decades in the country on Mark West Springs Road when Robert Stone died in 1992. It was as a widow that Hattie Stone immersed herself in endeavors that involve and serve military vets.
She also loved playing the French horn in the New Horizons Concert Band.
And she couldn’t spend enough time with 3-year-old great-grandson Nakoa Throop, son of her granddaughter, Delane Larson of Santa Rosa.
“She adored him. He was just all there was,” Verna Larson said.
Stone’s caregiver the past 20 months, Karla La Rosa, saw her through five recent strokes and indulged her desire to pile into the car for a meal out or a drive.
“They nicknamed us Thelma and Louise because we were always on the go,” La Rosa said.
Plans for a memorial service aren’t yet in place.
July 13, 1932 - April 4, 2012
Colonel Nicoll F. Galbraith, M. D. passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by his family. He was 79 years of age.
He considered it an honor and privilege to serve this community as a physician for many years. He was honored to serve in the military as a physician also.
He leaves behind his three children Davis, Robert and Susan.
He will be buried with full military honors at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery. Arrangements have been entrusted to Franklin and Downs Funeral Homes. Services will be private.
1957 - 2012
Kevin C. Kronlund, a resident of Spooner, Wisconsin died February 8, 2012 (1957-2012) after a tragic accident. Kevin was a cranberry grower and very active community member offering his time to a number of organizations. He was a proud and very active member of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association which he took pride in and served on the Board of Directors. Kevin Kronlund was truly an inspiration to many.
May 16, 1939 - December 30, 2000
A graduate of California State Polytechnic University- Pomona in 1966, Hill worked for several years in the seed trade before founding Bonanza Seeds International, Inc. in Yuba City. A long-time member of the American Seed Trade Association and the International Seed Federation, Hill began easing into retirement in 1999.
February 22, 1934 - January 8, 2016
1940 - 2010
Jack Tomlin passed away Sunday, July 25, 2010 (1940-2010) after a long and valiant fight against cancer. Jack was a United States Marine and was dedicated to the Corps all of his life. He moved to Toole, Utah in his search for open space and freedoms. From his early youth Jack was a collector of World War II military paraphernalia. Jack was an avid collector of military vehicles and military arms. His collection of military vehicles was one of the finest in the country. Jack restored a number of rare military vehicles including a WWII DUKW amphibious vehicle (a duck). Jack drove the DUKW to California to Camp Patterson in 1984, then shipped it to England, and sailed it across the English Channel to France in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy (D-Day). He also drove this vehicle throughout France and other various countries. Jack also donated much of his time and talent to the community. He often showed his collection of vehicles in local parades, to school students, and various veteran celebrations and activities all over the country. Jack had a quick wit and colorful sense of humor.
Harold "Hal" L. Simpson of Yuba City died July 19, 2006. Born in Evansville, Indiana he was a Yuba Sutter resident for 39 years. He retired as a major in the United States Air Force after 20 years serving during the Vietnam War and Cuban Missile Crisis, and later retired as owner and operator of AAA Printing in Yuba City and Simpson Business Forms after 25 years. He was a member of the Grace Baptist Church and Enterprise Lodge No. 70 and the Masonic Lodge. He was a life member of the Daedalians Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 2563, Beale Air Force Base, and Scottish Rite.
In addition, he was a past chairman and member of the Board of Trustees at Sutter Cemetery; past president and member of the Board of Sutter County Taxpayers and the Central Valley Sacramento Shrine Club; and served on the Sutter County grand jury. A 1955 graduate of the Indiana University in Indiana, he received a bachelor's of degree in business. He was a strong supporter of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association and Northern Recon Group.
Harold Corn proudly served in the United States Army during World War II. Harold then became a school teacher in the Oroville area and then a school administrator/Superintendent. Many students will never forget Harold.
Harold purchased his WWII jeep and then restored it back to the unit markings in which he served during the war. Numerous individuals were challenged by Harold to race his jeep up the hill of the Oroville Dam. Many did not take him up on losing their pink slip as he really had confidence in his jeep. His confidence led many to refer to Harold as "Col Corn" and the name stuck.
Col Corn stated he would never put a top up on his jeep! He never did. We even have 8 mm video proof of him driving six or more hours down highway 5 on his way to the Patterson meet and on his way home from Patterson in heavy rain. His manual wipers were operated by his father-in-law, Charley Helzer. Harold loved to be the convoy commander in his jeep leading all the vehicles safely to our designations and back home. There are some pictures of Col Corn and his vehicles on the NRG Web Site under NRG History that will make you smile.
Harold was always positive and got others to smile! He really enjoyed the Northern Recon Group and inspired others to enjoy the hobby. He served the California Chapter of the Military Vehicle Collector's Club (now known as Military Vehicle Preservation Association- MVPA) as the Northern California Vice President and President of the California Chapter.
Col Corn would be very proud to know that his jeep is still in operation in the Northern Recon Group.
June 20, 1926 - June 3, 1992
June 20, 1922 - December 7, 2003