Northern Recon Group

Founded in 1978

This page is to honor members who have passed on.

Gone but not Forgotten!

Earl Dean Peck

Charles W. Lutz         James Porterfield

Rory Francis Burke         Dean S. "Diz" Laird   

Lillian Laura Kelley          Richard Everett Webb

Albert Paul Stiefel              Bernardo V. Rubalcava

       Tracey Metcalf                    Nancy Brown Umphenour 

Jerry Mambretti             Don Shelton                

Terry O'Connor            Harlan Neal Hatfield

Mike Reeves           June Idell Foster

Don Darrough          Ted Van Doorn     

Darrel Shumard          Don Rummel          

Bruce Hrabak          Mike Stopfort    

Randy Parent          Ione Virus         

  Jonathan E. H. Luz           Paul R. Smagllck, DDS

Dann Spear          John Essary  

           Francis Edgar "Fran" Burke          Helen Louise Defilippis Burke            

Owen Fredericks          Joseph K. Langdell

Norman A. Palmer          L.W."Red" Murphy

                         Hattie Stone          Col. Nicoll F. Galbraith, M.D.

Kevin Kronlund          Hill H. Luz             

George Richard Schaefer          Jack Tomlin                          

Harold "Hal" L. Simpson          Harold Corn                          

        Bob Thelander          Mike James Kelley Sr.

Jim Causey          

Earl Dean Peck

December 20, 1946 - June 29, 2023

Dean Peck, 76, passed away Thursday, June 29th at his home

Dean was born and raised in Stockton,CA to Lewie and Dardanell Peck,and was the second oldest

of 4 children. As a child he grew up hunting with his dad and brother. He attended Waverly Elementary School and

graduated in 1964 from Linden High School. In 1966 he joined the Air Force and served for 4 years. In 1970 he went to

work for Southern Pacific Railroad and retired after 36 years of service. He met Elsie Stull in 1974 and was

married 46 years. He lovingly accepted her 3 children as his own. In 1979 their son Shane was born.

Dean's best times were barbequing with family and friends, he made the best ribs. He never met a stranger.

His hobbies included hunting, fishing, horseback riding and shooting. He was a former member of the Merced County Sheriff's

Search and Rescue team and was also a member of the American Legion Post 668, Ballico, CA. He sparked a long interest in

WWII military history and vehicles. He purchased a 1941 Dodge weapons carrier in the mid 90's and that started his love for

old military vehicles and gear. He joined the Military Vehicle Collectors Club (MVCC). He enjoyed going to military swap meets,

participating in parades throughout the central valley and excursions with his 1945 Willys military jeep, accompanied by his dog "Charley".

He showed interest in antique tractor pulling with his son Shane in 2008. He started pulling a 1949 Case VAC that he borrowed from Ben Souza.

He later purchased his own 1954 John Deere 40 and continued pulling until October of 2022.

Dean is preceded in death by his parents, Lewie Peck and Dardanell (Peck) Riley and brother David Peck.

He is survived by his wife Elsie Peck, son Shane (AnnaMarie),stepchildren Richard Stull, Dean Stull (Deanna),

Sherri Stull-Reed (Mike), his siblings Kathy Cavenaugh (Bill) and Sandy Celle (Virgil),7 grandchildren,

6 great grandchildren, nieces, nephews and many friends.

A viewing will be held at the Wilson's Family Funeral Chapel,1290 Winton Way, Atwater, CA on July 12, 2023 from 3:00-6:00 pm.

 Funeral services will be held July 13, 2023 at 10:00 am at the same location, Reception to follow at the ltalo-American Lodge,

1351 W. 18th St., Merced, CA. A private burial will be at the San Joaquin National Cemetery in Santa Nella, CA.

Special thanks to Bristol Hospice of Merced and his caregivers, Lily, Lupe and Heather.




Charles W. Lutz

October 12, 1948 - December 28, 2022

We are saddened to announce the passing of Mr. Charles (Chuck) Lutz on December 28, 2022, he passed away

peacefully surrounded by his family. Chuck is survived by his beloved wife of 32 years Irene H. Lutz,

brother George S. Lutz, sister-in-law Debbie Lutz, and proud uncle of Cory Lutz and Andrea McClure and

great uncle of Kyle McClure. He is also survived by sister-in-law Olga Failla aka "sisterette" and three other sister-in-law's

and their spouses, two brother-in-law's, six other nephews and his doting cat, Rusty. Chuck was predeceased by his

father Charles D. Lutz and mother Jennie D. Lutz. Born and raised in San Francisco, CA. Chuck was a Boy Scout and

achieved the highest honor possible as an Eagle Scout. He graduated from Westmoor High School in 1966.

He then enlisted with the U.S. Navy Reserves and received an honorable discharge. Chuck's impeccable attention to

detail and strong organizational and people skills were admired which led him into a career in the music industry.

As a tour manager and event planner he worked with some of the most famous and talented artists and bands,

helping bring their records to platinum and gold. He relished the opportunity to travel the world and work with such talent.

Chuck met his wife Irene while on tour, they married in 1990 and settled in Novato, CA. Chuck's love for camping and the

great outdoors, scuba diving, and gardening were shared with his wife. He also loved to do crossword puzzles.

This came from working at his first job at the SF Chronicle and continued right to the end of his life, where he

still enjoyed completing the most difficult crossword puzzles.

Chuck was a member of the Military Vehicle Restoration Society. He had many friends in this community that

shared his passion for restoring WWII jeeps and collecting and restoring WWII memorabilia. He earned an

honorable mention for going above in beyond as a "Fact Checker" for the book, Ford GPW Restoration Standards 1942-1945.

Published by San Francisco Chronicle on Jan. 13, 2023.




James Porterfield

1937 - 2022


Jim passed away peacefully at the age of 85. Jim was born in Scotia, CA to Dana (T-Bone) Porterfield and Rose (Earl) Swinderman. Jim attended Vallejo schools.

He entered the US Army Corps of Engineers in December 1960. In 1962, Jim continued as a Reservist and was Honorably discharged in November 1966.

He is preceded in death by his wife of 39 years, Janice; his parents, and his stepfather. Jim was a pipefitter at Shop 56 on Mare Island Naval Shipyard for 32 years until

retirement in May 1991.Jim is survived by daughters, Wendy (Kevin) McCard and Cindy Spears of American Canyon; three grandchildren, Autumn, Austin and Hunter;

sister, Sylvia Ramsey; sister-in-law, Susan Vargas; and several nieces and nephews. Military service will take place at 11:30 a.m. Monday, October 17, 2022,

at Sacramento Valley National Cemetery, Dixon, CA. Jim was a very active member in the military vehicle hobby. He could always be found at meets with his

very good friend, Sonny. Jim always promoted the hobby and was a walking encyclopedia of knowledge.

He will be missed.



Rory Francis Burke

December 28, 1948 - September 4, 2022


Rory Francis Burke, age 73, born on December 28, 1948, and passed away on September 4, 2022, surrounded by his loved ones, in Petaluma, CA.

He is survived by his children, Shona Burke and Shay Burke, their spouses Christopher Palbicki and Lauren Burke, respectively, and grandchildren,

Joelle, Cole and Shrishti. Rory was born and raised in California, but his heart was always in Alaska where he spent nearly 40 years as a pipefitter/welder

and foreman in Prudhoe Bay. A skilled craftsman and welder, he had a passion for World War II military vehicle restoration and was often seen driving in

Veteran's Day parades. He was a beloved father and grandfather who always drove big trucks, howled like a wolf, and shared stories of his outdoor adventures.


Rory was a TREMENDOUS advocate with anything he supported! He loved history and as a child wanted to be called "Rory Rogers" the cowboy.

He was a passionate artist that put together educational signs and banners for the education of the public about our military vehicles. He completely

understood that Americans quickly forget sacrifices. Rory wanted to remind Americans of all the veteran sacrifices with honoring them at each opportunity.

His passionate dedication to perfection set the standard for events and the use our military vehicles to honor all veterans. Rory understood that our vehicles will

outlive all of us and that our historic military vehicles are Veterans TOO! The vehicles will continue to remind all Americans of previous sacrifices. Rory constantly

volunteered in positions and always wanted to make everything better. Thank You Rory for helping to honor World War II veterans before they passed, including his own parents.

I will never forget his mother not wanting to be honored and because of Rory, she was reminded that she represented the home front during World War II.

I wish more Americans could have the same respect that Rory constantly showed. Rory will be missed!

Gone but not forgotten... 


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 WildcatDiz 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,

Keith Stalder



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.


Tracey Metcalf

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.

Jeri Hansen


Jerry Mambretti

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. 


Don Shelton

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.


Terry O'Connor

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. 



Mike Reeves

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”

June Idell Foster passed away on April 20, 2016, due to complications of pneumonia. Her spirit lives on aboard the USS Hornet, however. A Bay Area native, Foster grew up in a military family and put her dedicated support behind military and veteran causes This included contributing the funds to restore the Grumman TBM-3 Avenger torpedo bomber aboard the USS Hornet. During the restoration volunteers painted the Avenger with the markings of VT-17, a squadron that fought on the deck of the  Hornet CV-12 during WWII. A true patriot, June had a basement room dedicated exclusively to military memorabilia. June loved animals, especially dogs and cats, and boarded dogs in her home, which she set up to provide optimal care for small dogs. Over the years, June owned many dogs and cats as pets. She was also an avid birdwatcher and kept binoculars at her kitchen window for close observations. June enjoyed gardening, and regularly tended her large back yard, keeping it beautiful with greenery and flowers she planted. An accomplished quilter, June donated many handmade patriotic quilts to sell as fundraisers for veteran’s organizations, and also gave many to very grateful friends. She loved to read and passed on many books to others. June was independent, opinionated, and an inspiration to all who knew her. She was petite, and had astounding energy, and remained physically fit through a daily exercise regimen and long walks on the beach, where she collected shells and rocks. To thank Foster for her generosity, the Aircraft Carrier Hornet Foundation christened the restored aircraft “Miss June.” You can visit Foster’s legacy on the Hornet’s hanger deck. The Hornet is berthed at 707 West Hornet Avenue at Alameda Point. Foster was honored with a memorial service aboard the USS Hornet.
Recently Rory B. found his birth mother, June Foster. Rory and his family grew up not knowing “Miss June,” his mother. What outstanding pride and closure.

Don Darrough

Don retired from the Sutter County Sheriff's Office as a deputy and wanted to use his DUKW for all veterans to enjoy. Don wanted to give as many veterans and family members FREE rides in his DUKW. There were no DUKW rides locally and most rides charged quite a bit for rides all over the world. He wanted to give FREE rides on Ellis Lake in Marysville, California but it was not an easy task. First he had to get permission to operate his DUKW on the city lake. Don attended the Marysville City Council meetings and provided proof of ownership, insurance, registration, two million dollar liability insurance (J.C. Taylor NRG Insurance), and answered many questions about not charging for the FREE rides. Still the City of Marysville could not find a reason not to approve the FREE rides so Don and his FREE rides in "Donald's Duck" were established. Many veterans and local residents were given FREE rides in his DUKW. One particular veteran, Mr. Thompson (WWII veteran) really appreciated what Don did for him. Mr. Thompson had never been recognized or appreciated for his service in Germany during WWII until Don gave him a FREE ride. Mr. Thompson was in a wheelchair and needed assistance up into the DUKW and about four men got him in and then got him back to his wheelchair after a trip around the lake. As Mr. Thompson was being helped down to his wheelchair everyone did not make a sound. As he sat back in his wheelchair everyone began to clap. This was an overwhelming and very emotional event for Mr. Thompson which then proceeded to talk about his contact with Russian troops and many more memories thanks to Don. Don established these FREE rides on Ellis Lake and the Northern Recon Group still have to get the FREE rides approved each year. Each year on Veterans Day Weekend the Northern Recon Group looks forward to providing FREE rides in memory of Don Darrough. Don you will not be forgotten. 



Ted Van Doorn


Take a moment to think, what would you do if you heard the words, "you have 2 to 5 weeks left to Live". The reality is Ted and Heather Van Doorn just heard those words on December 14, 2015. Ted has been courageously fighting a very aggressive case of bladder cancer but doctors are telling him that the cancer has taken over his body.
Within two days on hearing those words, Ted Van Doorn lost his courageous battle with cancer on December 15, 2015. Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine how it felt to go home and tell their three children, ages 13, 11 and 8 the devastating news.
Now imagine being a child of a parent who lost their battle with cancer. Imagine hearing that your father, who has always been there for you, will not be able to see your first boyfriend or girlfriend, see you off to college, be able to see you grow into a successful young adult, be able to walk you down the aisle and will not be able to be there just to support, listen, laugh and cry with you.
This is Max, Fiona and Phoebe's reality. This is something no child should ever have to experience.
Thursday, June 6, 2019 4:20 PM EST


…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."…

Ted will always be in our mind, heart and soul.

WWII pilot, Sebastopol resident Darrel Shumard dies at 97

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.


Bruce Hrabak

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!


Mike Stopfort

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

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

March 31, 1928 - May 15, 2018

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

09 January 1968 to 14 April 2018

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.


Dann Spear

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.”

Saturday March 17 at 10am 
Yuba College theater
North Beale Road Marysville 
Food and visiting to follow at the Museum 

Roberta said anyone interested in helping the family can donate to the Museum of the Forgotten Warriors, something her husband would’ve wanted.


He was the curator of the Museum of the Forgotten Warriors!
 Friends mourn the death of Dann Spear
By Jake Abbott /

It wasn’t just the veterans community that loved and admired Dann Spear, it was anyone who had the chance to spend a few minutes learning from him, said friends.
He was a community leader, collector of history, a professional cowboy and decorated roper, a long-time Sutter County employee, and a storyteller who was always looking out for the well-being of others, something those closest to him will remember him by.
And he founded, built up and took care of the Museum of The Forgotten Warriors.
Spear, 63, died unexpectedly Thursday. He is survived by his wife, Roberta, sons Caron and Brandon, and daughters-in-law Erin and Cotie.
Roberta Spear said her late husband could best be described as “multi-faceted.”
“My philosophy of life with Dann, after 43 years of marriage, is this: It was frequently annoying, but never boring,” she said. “He lived life to the fullest. I don’t think there was anyone that met Dann that didn’t like him.”
Roberta said her husband loved listening to people’s stories, no matter their rank or where they came from. Spear felt everyone had a story to tell and that those stories were important, she said.
“He was an amazing dad to us and all my friends,” Carson Spear said. “He taught us all how to rope; he was at every sporting event and promotion ceremony; he was there when I got back from Iraq. It’s been awesome to see such an amazing outpouring of support from the community.”
Curator for the forgotten
Though he was many things, Spear was known by most for being the founder, director and curator of the Museum of the Forgotten Warriors – something he started over three decades ago out of a small room on his family’s property that has now turned into something much more.
“We never set out to have this giant thing, but it took on a life of its own as the years went by,” Roberta said.
Many that have walked through the halls of the museum and gazed at its complete collection of war memorabilia consider it the Yuba-Sutter area’s “best kept secret.”
Don Schrader, a long-time friend and a board member of the museum, said Spear helped him and countless other veterans feel appreciated for their service and gave them a sort of home away from home when they needed it the most.
“He was just a special guy,” Schrader said. “He never served in the military himself, but he built this museum to honor veterans. I heard him say it thousands of times, ‘the museum is not about war, it’s about people,’ and that’s what it truly is.”
Another one of the museum’s board members, Tony Pinto, who has helped with the museum every step of the way, said Spear had been an avid memorabilia collector since he was about 10 years old.
“He had some friends go to Vietnam, so he started the museum as a way to say ‘thank you’ to them. It has continued to grow over the years to what it is now,” Pinto said.
Pinto, who was given the nickname “Tony man” by Spear, said his friend was a fantastic man who liked to make people laugh. He said Spear was a “saint” who would lift his spirits whenever he was down and would frequently give Pinto the keys to the museum when he needed to get away and reflect.
“He was always there with open arms and to give you a ‘thank you for your service,’” Pinto said. “He would always like to sit around with veterans and listen to their stories. For me, he was always someone I knew I could talk to.”
Schrader said Spear had a knowledge about war and history that is hard to find. Spear knew every “nook and cranny” of his museum, he said, and had stories about each piece.
But board members don’t plan on letting the history Spear collected over the years fade away.
“It’s absolutely critical that Dann’s legacy lives on, and it will,” Schrader said. “We will carry on what he started.”
Celebration of life
A memorial is planned to celebrate Spear’s life. Roberta said the theme will be “no regrets.”
A service will be at 10 a.m. March 17 at the Adventure Church of Yuba City – 1100 Garden Highway – followed by a gathering for food and stories at the Museum of the Forgotten Warriors – 5865 A Rd., Marysville.
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, go to

Nate Chute/Appeal-Democrat

Dann Spear talks about a display of dog tags representing each American service members who lost their life in Afghanistan and Iraq at the Museum of the Forgotten Warriors on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011.
Spear’s eternal message to Vietnam veterans
Dann Spear put up a plaque the day the Museum of the Forgotten Warriors opened. Here is what it says:
Honoring Vietnam veterans
The dispute over whether the war was right or wrong, and whether it was winnable is not ours to answer. With this plaque and the raising of the American flag today, we are honoring all Vietnam veterans who, during such troubled times, gave so unselfishly. The Museum of the Forgotten Warriors is dedicated to you, the veterans, in tribute of your service to this country. Lest you not be forgotten. I, along, with the citizens of the United States, want to thank you one and all.
Dann Spear
Curator of the Forgotten Warriors
Jan. 5, 1985

John Essary

July 6, 1947 - February 22, 2018

John Essary 3.jpg

John Essary.jpg

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.


Francis Edgar "Fran" Burke

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.


Helen Louise Defilippis Burke

The Burke Family Remembers:


 Owen Fredericks

October 31, 1923 - August 27, 2015


Joseph K. Langdell

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.

Take a look at this link:
Each year at the Marysville Veterans Day Parade the Northern Recon Group would be requested a special jeep to give a ride for Joe. One year Joe was given the option of riding in a local dealer’s new car and he replied hell no he wanted to ride in a World War II jeep.
Lieutenant Commander, you will be remembered each year on Veterans Day in Marysville.


Norman A. Palmer
January 20, 1913 - June 20, 2014

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.

Norman was born and raised in Arboga, CA on February 15, 1916. He went to school in Arboga and then rode the first Yuba County Bus to Marysville High School. Blanche and Norman met at her work at the Farm Land Investment Company and were married in 1942. Three months later he was drafted into the Army and deployed to the Pacific where he was assigned to the 32nd Infantry Division. He spent three years in the Pacific and made numerous amphibious bench landings. He knew the Museum of Forgotten Warriors LCVP very well!
Norman each year would make sure and contact the Northern Recon Group before the Marysville Veterans Day Parade. He wanted to make sure and get a ride in a World War II jeep. Each year he had his son, Dale Palmer, also a combat veteran of Vietnam and Gulf War drive the jeep. Each year he would insist the top be lowered and the windshield be put down. Even if it looked like rain he would insist the jeep not have a top or windshield.
Finally we asked him why… Norm explained that he was in a field artillery unit, with mortars on one of the islands that had no roads. The jeep had to be dismantled and hand carried over the mountain by local tribe members and his unit personnel. When they reassembled the jeep they had not remembered the windshield. As First Sergeant, he put many miles on that same jeep and wanted to remember that great vehicle while he rode in the parade.   
Blanche worked in the personnel office at Camp Beale, while he was away. He returned home three years later in 1945, established, and began work in his very successful family business called Palmer’s Auto Repair in Marysville, CA.
Norm you will be missed but not forgotten at future Veterans Day Parades in Marysville!

L. W. "Red" Murphy
June 21, 1923 - May 8, 2014

L. W. “Red” Murphy, 90 of Yuba City, passed away on May 08, 2014. He died peacefully in his sleep, of natural causes. At the time of this passing, all of his closest family members were in attendance at his bedside.
Red was born on June 21, 1923- the longest day of the year (especially for his mother) in Crosby, N.D. While still a young boy, his family moved to Scobey, MT where he grew into a tough, strapping young man. He graduated High School in 1941.
Following his graduation, Red volunteered for the war effort and became a Signalman in the Armed Guard of the United States Navy. He served meritoriously in various combat theaters during World War II and was honorably discharged on Christmas Day, 1945. Red Murphy settled down in a little town called Yuba City which he passed through a few times while in the service. Yuba City became the focus and center point of his entire life.


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.


Hattie Stone

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.


Col. Nicoll F. Galbraith, M.D.

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.


Kevin Kronlund

1957 - 2012

“To All,
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who participated and helped with the Spooner Fall Get-Togethers. We had ten great, safe and fun filled years of driving,
swimming and flying historic military vehicles and airplanes. Many friendships that will last a lifetime have come out of these events.
They would not have been possible without all of the help from the MVPG of Spooner, the Red Arrow, the Red Ball group from Minnesota and the AMVET Post 190 from Spooner.
Also, thank you for your help to the many friends close and far away.These events were probably the least advertised but most fun event
of the year for many people. Where else could you ride in a Sherman tank, swim in an LVT, DUKW, GPA, Gaz, Weasel, Trailer, or Gamma Goat and then
possibly fly in a Vintage Warbird, all for twenty bucks! Even Disney can’t top that! But, all the good things must come to an end, so, thanks for the memories and thanks for the friendships.”

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.


Hill H. Luz

May 16, 1939 - December 30, 2000

Hill passed peacefully from this life on December 30, 2000. Born on May 16, 1939 in Rio De Janiero Brazil, Hill’s proudest moment was when he became an American citizen in 1966. His happiest times were spent with his wife of nearly 38 years, Sherry, their two children, and five grandchildren.

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.

While semi-retired Hill pursued his passion for the American military through his collection of antique military vehicles and jeeps that were frequently seen in local parades. Hill's passion and professionalism reinvigorated the Northern Recon Group into getting members to use their vehicles. Passion soon became a form of “guilt trip” or “peer pressure” for some members of the NRG. He even made the comment to one member that he had heard all about the vehicle collection the member owned but had never seen one at an event. Thanks to Hill that member is actively using and enjoying his vehicles.

Hill was a very strong member of the Northern Recon Group. He could be referred as the ‘spark plug” of the group. Hill was a serious supporter of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association and attended numerous conventions. He also became the area vice president of the California chapter of the MVPA. At the age of 60, Hill proved that you are never too old to follow your dream when he became active in the California State Military Reserve holding the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 2.

Hill faced his greatest challenge- cancer. He fought a valiant battle against the cancer, but without a cure it was a battle he could not win. A battle Hill would be so very proud of are the accomplishments of the Northern Recon Group. Hill’s family still display his vehicles at local events. All of his passion will not be forgotten. You are truly missed. Thank you, Hill for your dedication, passion, and professionalism that you brought to the Northern Recon Group.  

George Richard Schaefer

February 22, 1934 - January 8, 2016

George Richard Schaefer lost his battle to cancer on 08 January 2016. He was born 22 February 1934, in San Rafael, California. He is preceded in death by his wife Marjorie Ruth in 2010. George Schaefer was a longtime member of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association (MVPA) and the Northern Recon Group (NRG). He supported numerous military vehicle events in California even after they moved to Idaho. George and Margie even supported a trip to Europe with their 1941 Dodge Ambulance.

George first served in the United States Navy from 18 June 1952, to 18 June 1956, when he was honorably discharged. While in the Navy, he served as a ship boiler operator, graciously known as “Snipe”. He was a plank owner on the USS Mitscher DL-2.
Upon discharge from the Navy, George worked as a fireman and in road construction in Northern California. He went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He retired in 2000, he and wife Marjorie moved to North Idaho in 2006. George enjoyed hunting and was an avid collector of World War II vintage military vehicles and historic firearms. His perfectly restored 1941 Dodge Ambulance and 1941 Jeep were in many parades in Petaluma, California and then in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

George and Margie would make the long two or three day trip back to California in their motorhome to Camp Gridley and other events. While at Camp Gridley he would volunteer to help with event organizing and was very well known. George again took on another nickname in the NRG and was graciously known as “Schultz” from the TV series Hogan’s Heroes.

George spoke with pleasure about attending the 60th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France, where he and wife Marjorie were able to drive the ambulance on Omaha Beach. A memorial was held for George at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, 23 January 2016, at the Hayden Lake Friends Church, Hayden, Idaho.

Marjorie Ruth Schaefer was born in Lynn Massachusetts on 26 November 1927, and passed away on 12 September 2010. Margie met the love of her life, George, and married him in 1955. She had six children, Edward, Robert, Roxanne, Paul, George Jr., and David; 20 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren, as well as a myriad of nieces and nephews.

She and George were generous to a fault, and were always ready to help friends and relatives in need, and sometimes friends of friends. They spent much time at functions of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association, which they greatly enjoyed. George restored a 1941 Willys Jeep (as well as several other WW II-era military vehicles) and dedicated it to the memory of Margie’s brother “Tiny”, who was a medic during WW II, and was killed during the D-Day Invasion at Normandy while attending to wounded men on the battlefield. The Jeep had speakers in the front grill that played patriotic music and other sound effects. The Jeep also had a replica machine gun that used propane to simulate firing and at a local church in Yuba City, California always looked forward to George firing it during a Memorial Day presentation each year. Yes, they even drove back from Idaho to support the veterans and the church each year.

Margie and George took their restored 1941 Dodge Ambulance to the actual Omaha Beach in Normandy France on the 60th Anniversary of D-Day. They also entered their vehicles in numerous parades in California and Idaho. A memorial service was held at the Hayden Lake Friends Church, Hayden, Idaho on September 19, 2010.

Both George and Margie are gone but not forgotten. Thank you both for making this hobby more fun and enjoyable for all.

Jack Tomlin

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

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

Harold Corn

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.


Bob Thelander

June 20, 1926 - June 3, 1992

Bob Thelander

Bob Thelander is known in the Northern Recon Group as the “father of the NRG” as he was the first individual to collect and restore military vehicles in Oroville, CA.  Bob proudly served in the United States Army in World War II and served most of his time in the Philippines.  It is there he gained a tremendous respect and admiration for military vehicles.  His first military vehicle restoration was a 1945 Ford jeep in 1975, which is still used today.

Bob was a role model for many members in our club.  He first became a member of the Military Vehicle Collectors Club (now known as Military Vehicle Preservation Association) in 1979.  Bob served as the newsletter editor of the California Chapter of the Military Vehicle Collectors Club in 1986 and 1987.  He then became president of the California Chapter of the Military Vehicle Collectors Club in 1989.

Bob’s hobby and passion was restoring cars and military vehicles.  He had a very large collection of military vehicles and specialty cars.  His professionally restored military vehicles included a 1940 Dodge ½ ton pickup, T-16 universal carrier, weapons carrier, M-16 halftrack, Indian motorcycle and a 1943 ¾ ton Dodge ambulance that was completed in 1991.  Today the ambulance is on display at the Tony Harrah’s Museum in Sparks Nevada.

Mike James Kelley Sr.

June 20, 1922 - December 7, 2003

Mike Kelly

Michael James Kelley Sr. was born in Wheaton, Kansas on 20 June 1922. Mike Kelley passed away in Chico, California 07 December 2003. Services were conducted at the Oroville Funeral Home with the VFW Honor Guard officiating on 15 December 2003.

Mike Kelley served with the United States Navy in the Pacific Theater on the USS Cecil (APA-96) in World War II. The USS Cecil was a Bayfield-Class Attack Transport Ship with landing craft on board (12 LCVP, 4 LCM, and 3 LCP) while transporting troops and supplies in the Pacific. The USS Cecil first launched in 1943 and then commissioned on 15 September 1944. After the war the ship was decommission in 1946 and served commercially until being scrapped in October 1974.

Mike Kelley was very proud of his military service. When Mike became a member of the Northern Recon Group in Oroville, California he began restoring his WWII jeep in Navy colors. In the early 1980's, Mike proudly painted his ship's name, USS Cecil and APA-96 on his jeep. Some members gave him flak about having a Navy jeep around so many Army jeeps so he even wore his Navy uniforms when on display.

There are some members that recall Mike being called "Horse Apples" at the Patterson meet. Horse Apples and Harold Corn attended many Northern California events and MVPA conventions together. Together they made a great team! Mike's jeep is still displayed at local events by his family.

Jim Causey

Back in about July of 1979, I first met Jim. He was on a road trip with Bob Harris and Randy Canova to pick up a couple of GPA’s here in Oregon. I think the GPA’s ended up at Lloyd White’s place up by Portland.

About a year later, I met Jim again at the Harrah’s auto swap meet in either Reno, NV or Lake Tahoe. We talked and talked about military vehicles. Jim was into Dodges then and I had a Willy’s MB and needed some parts for it. Jim invited me over to his house and the next day my wife and I met him there in Truckee, CA.

In those days, if someone was working on a “project” it was not uncommon for someone else to help him along with advice, parts, etc. I needed a speedometer and some other parts for the Willy’s and Jim gave them to me free. Jim would not take any money for them and related that maybe someday I would have something he needed.

Years had gone by and I would see Jim and his family at the Patterson, CA meets. One day I was able to finally return Jim’s favors and give him some parts for a Dodge project he needed to complete it. At this time I had also got the Dodge fever and had some extra parts that I really didn’t need for my Dodge project.

Later in time and in many of our moves around the state, Jim was there for us, helping to move vehicles to our new destination. Jim was always available for help, advice or just a friend. I valued his friendship over the last 30 plus years and never forgot the help he gave me from the start of this hobby so many years ago.

Jim was a true gentleman of the old school and his passing has left a large hole in this hobby. Thank you for all you have done to improve the hobby and your friendship for all these years which has never wavered! You are and will be missed by many of us! Rest in Peace Jim and it has been a pleasure to know you and your family.

Frank Steele

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