Friday, 19 July 2024


Robert Viramontes. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — Robert William Viramontes, a senior maintenance worker with the city of Clearlake and long-time resident in Lower Lake, California, died unexpectedly on Jan. 13, 2023, at the age of 51.

Robert is survived by his wife, Tina Viramontes; his children, Adam, Jessica, Jacob, Catherine, Christopher, Robert, Nathaniel, Zachary and Xavier; his grandchildren, Liliana and Joshua; and his mother, Toni Ann Pelot.

Robert was born on Feb. 23, 1971, in Martinez, California. He graduated from Armijo High School in Fairfield, California. In September of 2010, Robert and his wife moved to Lake County.

Robert was a devoted father and dedicated employee. He loved boating, fishing, listening to his music in the car or at the dog park with his dogs. It was his mission to make everyone around him laugh and his smile was larger than life. Robert will be deeply missed by his friends, family, and all who knew him.

A “celebration of life” for Robert will be held on March 4, 2023, at the Clearlake Senior Community Center located at 3245 Bowers Ave. in Clearlake from noon to 4 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations or money, please consider making a donation on behalf of Robert to the American Diabetes Association.

Gail Francke. Courtesy photo.

Gail Pickrell Scott Francke was born in Fort Bragg, California, on Oct 12, 1938.

She grew up in Santa Rosa, California and graduated from Santa Rosa High School in 1956.

She enjoyed being in a sorority, bowling, square dancing, selling Copperware, coaching her daughter’s softball team, being a proud baseball mom to her sons, and also taking cruises and mini vacations.

Gail found a great companion and kindred spirit in Donald Francke, they were married for 13 wonderful years.

They moved to the Roseburg, Oregon, area in 2009 and she enjoyed making their home a treasure.

Gail was Don’s “solid post” in all things. She was devoted to her Christian faith and loved the Lord in all she did.

Gail is survived by her husband Donald; daughter, Pam Whitehead (Ron); granddaughters, Tara Maples (Nick) and Traci Hoke; great-granddaughters, Ashley and Sierra Maples; and great-grandson, Christopher Hoke.

She also leaves a son, Donald (Diane); and grandsons, Phillip (Hillary) and Ethan (Marla); as well as her son, Derek (Tammy); grandson, Derek (DJ) (Stephanie); great-grandson, Greyson with another great grandson due in February; grandsons, Marcus and Morgen.

Gail was excited to know that she was going to have a great-granddaughter Anora in March.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Glenn and Hilda Pickrell; sister, Glenise Mallory; and brothers, Gary and Gene Pickrell.

She loved the scripture in Ephesians 5:2, “and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

There will be no formal services, but the family wants you to share memories that you have of her knowing she IS in the arms of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

Cremation rites have been held. Arrangements under the care of Umpqua Valley Funeral Directors, telephone 541-537-9300.

Richard Gonzales. Courtesy photo.

Richard Anthony Gonzales was born on May 20,1959, in Glendora, California to Francis Partida.

At that time in Francis' life she was sadly unable to keep Richard due to her own difficult circumstances, having just migrated here recently with three children already.

Enter Raymond and Martha Gonzales, a couple with such generous hearts they would take in not only Richard at a time in their life at which they were almost done raising their own three children, they also adopted a little girl that would go on to be Richard's sister and lifelong friend.

Richard was raised in a firm household but also one filled with love and kindness, so although his wildstreak got him into trouble at times Richard always strived to make his father proud. He was such a lively personality, always making wise cracks and telling jokes to brighten anyone and everyone's moods.

In his early teens Richard met Amelia, the only woman he would ever marry in his life, and they went on to have two daughters, Sarah and Amanda.

Richard struggled in life for a bit as people do, but he found his joy in painting and he was very proficient at painting commercial and residential buildings.

Painting was Richard's trade and he was so proud of his work he would be glad to show you any of the many buildings or homes he painted all up and down California.

In 2003 Richard decided to move to Lake County, California, to be more of a part of his grandchildren's lives, as Richard's favorite part of life was spending time with his family, his children, grandchildren, and eventually his great grandson.

In 2004 in a search for her own birth father, Richard's sister, Michelle found Richard's birth family, and a new adventure began for him. Richard made time to travel and visit with his new found family and built bonds that would last for the rest of his life.

Richard survived two bouts of cancer, however he ultimately succumbed to the last cancer that was simply too aggressive to fight.

Richard lost his fight with cancer and finally laid to rest on Nov. 19, 2022, surrounded by family who loved and cherished him.

He is predeceased by his mother, Francis Partida; father and mother, Raymond and Martha Gonzales; and sister, Michelle Garcia.

He is survived by his daughters, Sarah Vinson, (husband, Robert) and Amanda Greene, (husband, Mike); grandchildren, Angelena, Raymond, Gabriel, Adrianna, Mikey, Karma, Charlie, Manny, and Amelia; great grandson, Robert; as well as the entire Partida, Gonzales and Rojas families to whom he was not only a son, but a brother, an uncle (Tio), and a great uncle.

Rest in Paradise Pop, until we meet in death, we love you always.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Nice Event Center, 2817 East Highway 20, at 4 p.m.

Arrangements by Chapel of the Lakes Mortuary, 707-263-0357 or 707-994-5611, or visit

Azucena Garcia Gamiño, Nació el 2 de Diciembre del 1955 y dejo esta vida para estar al lado de dios el 24 de Enero del 2023 con 67 años.

Ella fue una excelente madre y esposa. Deja a su esposo, Jose Garcia Pantoja; sus hijos, Angel, Graciela, Maria Elena, Jose,Azucena, Marilu; 14 nietos y un bisnieto.

Por favor Acompáñenos el Lunes 6 de Febrero de 3-7 pm En el Chapel of the Lake Mortuary en Lakeport. Y al día siguiente 7 de Enero a las 12:30 pm en la iglesia St Marys Immaculate en Lakeport seguido por el pantion de Kelseyville.

Arrangements by Chapel of the Lakes Mortuary, 707-263-0357 or 707-994-5611, or visit

Dean Sleeper. Courtesy photo.

Dean Sleeper
Born Feb. 13, 1927
Deceased Jan. 17, 2023

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — Dean Sleeper passed away peacefully with his dog at his side, at his homestead, where his father and grandfather lived before him, and where he spent most of his 96 years.

Dean attended schools in Upper Lake, California, then joined the Merchant Marines during World War II when he was a senior.

He traveled around the Pacific on multiple fuel ships, then upon his discharge, he returned to Upper Lake to graduate high school.

He married his high school sweetheart, Pasty Peck, and they settled in Upper Lake to raise a family and support his parents on their family ranch on Middle Creek Road.

Dean was active in the community in his younger years with the volunteer fire department, as well as being on the board. He was also a successful walnut producer and operated his own walnut dehydrator, which was a full family operation.

Besides being a farmer, Dean loved truck driving and worked driving a milk truck for 16 years, then construction trucks, up to his retirement around 1982.

He was also an avid stock car race fan, and was seen often by the locals at the race tracks.

After his retirement, he and Patsy enjoyed traveling to visit kids and grandchildren, as well as their excursions in their motorhome, until poor health curtailed their trips.

Dean is predeceased by his spouse of 50-plus years, Patsy, and leaves behind his four children, eight grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren, and his dog Gracie.

He was proud to have four generations there with him during his last trip to the races. He will be missed by all.

His wishes were to have no services, which we will abide by. He said he had “outlived his pallbearers” and most of his friends, so he was just the last one to leave.

Betty Lou Surber. Courtesy photo.

Betty Lou Surber
Nov. 21, 1931 – Jan. 22, 2023

LAKEPORT, Calif. — Betty Lou died peacefully on Jan. 22, 2023, at the age of 91.

She was born Nov. 21, 1931, in Porterville, California, the youngest daughter and next-to-youngest child of five in the family of Alfred and Margaret Rider.

As a child Betty Lou loved to dance, especially tap dancing. She met Floyd Surber at a folk dance when she was in high school and he was attending junior college after his discharge from the Navy where he served during World War II. They were married in November 1949 just before her 18th birthday.

They lived in Chico, California, where they welcomed their first child while Floyd attended college and graduated with a teaching credential.

They moved to Lakeport in 1953 where Floyd began his teaching career. They soon purchased a home where they raised their five children. Betty Lou lived in that house for the rest of her life.

Betty Lou had a busy life as a young mother, where she honed her domestic and organizational skills — cooking delicious meals, doing seemingly-endless household chores (without a dishwasher or a dryer), sewing clothes, knitting sweaters, baking bread and cookies, tending a big garden, canning fruits and vegetables — all while caring for her growing family.

In addition, Betty Lou did child care for many years, worked at the local Sears catalog store, sang with the Community Chorus and a women’s group the Triple Trio, helped start the local Sweet Adelines chorus, took college classes, and tried new things like stained glass art and macramé.

In the 1970s Betty Lou and Floyd started a family hand-craft business “The Fumble Finger Factory” selling daughter Cindy’s pottery, Floyd’s clay wind chimes and sculptures, metalwork and jewelry, and Betty Lou’s macramé plant hangers. They had a booth at the county fair, organized an annual Christmas craft fair, and traveled to craft shows on the weekends in their motor home.

Betty Lou was involved with the Lake County Arts Council for many years as a board member, treasurer and office manager where her organizational skills were valued. She volunteered at the Lakeport Senior Center where she served on the board and worked to set up and maintain their garden. She was also the treasurer for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary for many years.

Dancing became part of Betty Lou’s life again in the 1980s when she joined a group called the Clear Lake Clikkers doing a form of tap dancing called clogging. She then began her long association with the Spring Dance Festival where she also choreographed and performed an annual tap dance solo for over 30 years. Her last Dance Festival performance was in 2018 at the age of 86.

Singing was an important part of Betty Lou’s life and she was a vital member of the Mendo-Lake Sweet Adelines chorus for over 40 years, serving as president, treasurer, choreographer and baritone section leader. She loved performing.

Betty Lou became known for her delicious varieties of zucchini bread as well as her jams and jellies, especially those made from her homegrown boysenberries and pomegranates. And her buttermilk brownies were always appreciated whenever she brought them to a party or a bake sale.

Betty Lou and Floyd were married for 58 years until his death in 2008. She continued to enjoy gardening, baking, singing and dancing until her health issues in the past couple of years made it difficult to continue.

She loved spending time with her family and keeping in touch by phone with those who lived too far away to visit often.

Betty Lou leaves behind a large and loving family: her children and their spouses, Pam and Marty Klier, Cindy Surber and Stan Ulrich, Bethany and Al Smith, Teresa Fred, Rod and Carla Surber; eight grandchildren and their spouses, Ian Klier, Emily Ulrich and Jen Howard, Alec Smith, Emeric Smith, Alexis and Viana Smith, Michael Fred, Vincent and Elley Fred, and Leon Fred; and 12 great-grandchildren, Nathan Fred-Massic, Eileen Fred, Edward Fred, Rachel Fred, Shayna Burrows-Jack, Isaiah Smith, TJ Smith, Sandra Shaw, Edward Shaw, Leilani Smith, Simona Ulrich and Helena Howard Ulrich.

Betty Lou will be remembered and greatly missed by all those who knew her and were touched by her kindness, her thoughtfulness and her sweet spirit.

Betty Lou’s family will host a gathering in her honor later this spring.

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