Empty Saddles

Empty Saddles - Obituaries


Justin Pensinger

March 22, 1989 - August 31, 2015

On August 31, 2015, Heaven welcomed another cowboy.

Justin was born March 22, 1989 and was the only child of Mike and Rhonda Pensinger.

He was a loving son, loyal friend, hard worker and a talented team roper. Nothing made him happier than being on a horse with rope in hand, whether in a branding pen or competing in an arena.

Robert Z. “Bobby” Adair

October 28, 1943 – May 16, 2015


Robert Z. “Bobby” Adair, of Springville, California, passed away Saturday, May 16, 2015, at his home on the ranch he shared with his wife of 51 years, Linda (Coffman) Adair.  Bobby had been diagnosed with cancer in early March.  He was 71 years old.   Bobby was retired from a career as a quarter horse jockey, and was a member of the American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame.

1946 - 2015

Earl Decker, Clements, Calif. was born on December 4, 1946 and passed on March 26, 2015.  He is survived by his son Bob, daughters Shella and Diana and grandchildren Jesse, Samantha, Hannah, Maddie, CJ, and Dillon.

After moving to Gardnerville, Nevada in the early 80’s, he started team roping although word was there was more storytelling and beer drinking than roping!

Earl bought Shella her first horse at 12 and was her biggest fan. He also was proud of his granddaughter Sam who has recently started barrel racing. A week before he passed, he had encouraged Sam to enter her first jackpot with a sweet pep talk....she won her first check that day.

Earl Decker will be missed by many.

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.