Empty Saddles

Empty Saddles - Obituaries

1932 - 2015

Frank Joseph “Joe” Gwerder passed away in Stockton, Calif., on April 4, 2015. A third generation Walnut Grove farmer and cattleman, he was born in Sacramento on June 18, 1932 to Frank and Murrice Sheehan Gwerder. He grew up in Walnut Grove and graduated from Walnut Grove Elementary, Courtland High School and the University of California, Berkeley, where he was president of his fraternity, Delta Tau Delta.

Joe is survived by his devoted family: wife Caroline Goodwin Gwerder, children and their spouses: Carrie and Jeff Twitchell, Jim and Julie Gwerder, Ann and Fritz Durst; grandchildren, Caroline and Sarah Twitchell, Laura Hatheway (Ryan), Garrett, Patrick, Molly and Nikolaus Durst, Jennifer and Jane Gwerder, great granddaughter Paisley Hatheway, sister-in-law Alice Lenz and eight nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, his sister and brother-in law Jane and John Wheeler and his brother-in-law Howard Lenz. He served on the Boards of River City Bank, Sacramento Federal Land Bank, Sacramento and Western States Angus Breeders, Thompson and Folger Company and Reclamation District 1002.

He was a member of Rancheros Visitadores, the Sacramento Grandfather’s Club and the California Cattlemen’s Association. Joe adored his family and friends and loved spending time with them, especially at Lake Tahoe, boating, water skiing and snow skiing. He also enjoyed hunting, pack trips, cattle drives, traveling and ski trips with his good friends, horseback riding on the ranch and playing polo. He enjoyed life to the fullest. A memorial Mass was held in Sacramento April 16. The family prefers donations to the Dr. Paul Barnes Community Park, PO Box 1122, Walnut Grove, CA 95690 or St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, PO Box 436 Walnut Grove, CA 95690 or a charity of your choice.

March 1, 1918 - Jan. 2, 2015

Colonel Fraser E. West was born March 1, 1918 in Washington D.C. Fortunately for Fraser, he became a Westerner when he was 8 years old when his mother came to Reno to obtain a divorce. She then married Dr. C. W. “Bill” West, who was beloved by his stepson, and he later adopted Fraser. 

Fraser was educated in Reno’s public schools. He had a principal appointment to West Point in 1936 but turned it down to study agriculture, and he graduated from the University of Nevada Reno in 1940 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture, majoring in Animal Husbandry, now titled Animal Science.

Courtesy wstroping.com

 Ambrose William McAuliffe passed away suddenly Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, in Klamath Falls, Ore. Ambrose was born Oct. 13, 1942, to Joseph and Leonore McAuliffe in Spokane, Wash. He was raised on the family cattle ranches in Fort Klamath, Ore., and Cottonwood, Calif. Ambrose attended Mercy Academy in Red Bluff, Calif., and Cottonwood Elementary Schools. He graduated high school from Bellar­mine College Preparatory in San Jose, Calif. While very appreciative of the Catholic education, Ambrose was most fond of the lasting friendships formed during those years.

Douglas (Doug) Paul Babbitt 62, Born in Mesa Arizona passed away peacefully January 5, 2015. He is survived by a sister, and numerous cousins.  Doug was predeceased in death by his father, Myron, and grandparents, Paul and Lillian Babbitt.

Von “A” Twitchell, of Tecumseh, Oklahoma, took his final ride December 31, 2014 in Shawnee, Oklahoma. He was born January 3, 1932 in Manila, Utah. He was 82.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 60 years, Bess Twitchell; their children, Robin and Carl, Patricia, Angie and Jim, Eva, Frank and Mary, Samantha; grandchildren, Travis, Shannon, Frank, Chancy, Michaelle, Clinton, Scott, James, Lucas, Kristina, Nawketa, Kelsey, Tyson, Tanya, Jessi, Jake, John, Scott, Jennifer; great grandchildren, Cheyanne, Austin, Bob, Justin, Mckayla, Madison, Alex, Chase, Clay, Richard, Robert, Caleb, Isabella, Max, Cierra, Bryce, Ares, Thorn, Cooper, Grace, Tyler, Trent, Peyton, Skyler.