Obituaries: July 20, 2023
By Mid Valley Times Staff
5:41 am,
July 20, 2023
Mattie Lou Brown

Mattie Lou Brown of Sanger, died on June 26, 2023. She was 87 years old. A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, July 25, 2023 at 9 a.m. at the Sanger Community Church. Wallin’s Sanger Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Francisca Chavez

Francisca Chavez of Reedley, died on June 25, 2023. She was 93 years old. Mrs. Chavez was a homemaker. A funeral Mass was held on July 18, 2023 at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Reedley with interment at the Reedley Cemetery District. She is survived by her five sons, four daughters, one brother, one sister, 46 grandchildren, 138 great-grandchildren and 37 great-great-grandchildren. Dopkins Reedley Funeral Chapel was in charge of arrangements.

Jennifer Lee Garza

Jennifer Lee Garza of Dinuba, died on June 30, 2023. She was 43 years old. Mrs. Garza was a homemaker. Visitation will be held on Thursday, July 20, 2023 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Sterling Smith Funeral Home in Dinuba. A funeral Mass will be on Friday, July 21, 2023 at 10 a.m. at St. Catherine’s Catholic Church in Dinuba with interment at Smith Mountain Cemetery. She is survived by her four sons, one daughter, one parent, and two sisters. Sterling & Smith Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Delores Gonzalez

Delores Gonzalez, surrounded by her family, passed away on July 10, 2023. Born on Aug. 3, 1943, affectionately known as Grammie Loli, spent 79 wonderful years spreading love, compassion, and happiness. A comfort to many and a joy to all, most of her time was spent taking care of her family, serving her church and community, and loving her friends and colleagues.

Dolores Gonzalez

Always with Pride, Loli graduated from Sanger High School in 1961. She was a passionate cheerleader rooting for her beloved Apaches and remained a pillar of Sanger Unified School District for the next 32 years. She was employed at SHS from 1977-2009 holding a position as Registrar assistant. Through her tireless effort and hard work, Loli became the second-ever registrar in SHS history where she helped tens of thousands of students get transcripts to the next level in college or assist with job opportunities. She loved the students like her own and many still remember her love, support, and compassion to this day. Delores served as CSEA President, PTA President, and SHS Boosters and was named SHS Grand Marshall in 2009 to top off a stellar career with the district. She is truly a Sanger High School Icon, and her cheers will continue from heaven above.

Delores has many accomplishments for her tireless leadership for the community, including Mother of the Year from St Mary’s Catholic Church, Sanger Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Club, and the City of Sanger. She has received a joint member resolution from California State Assembly and Senate, was awarded SHS employee of the year in 1992, and received the key to the city in 2013. Loli was an active member of the St. Mary’s Alter Society, Catholic Daughters, St. Mary’s Children Choir Director, Catechist, Hannibal House, Woman’s Club President, and started a successful catering business with her husband Rene, lovingly named Rene’s Catering. 

Delores met the love of her life (Rene) in 8th grade. They have been married for 62 years building a life with God as the center of it all. Faith and Family were her true loves and continued God’s teachings to her seven children. She rarely missed sporting events where her kids were playing and was the loudest in the crowd. “Alright, alright…alright, alright, alright, hey!” and never forget the loudest, red cowbell you’ve ever heard. She continued to cheer for her 14 grandchildren and loved being “Grammie” to them all. Grammie was an amazing cook and prepared countless meals for her family of 25 strong as well as every team her kids played on. Loli was hysterical without even trying, always ready for a party, and cherished “The Circle” of storytelling that often accompanied a gathering. Loli’s countless hugs, kisses, laughter, smiles, prayers, and sound advice will live on forever in her family. She truly left a legacy here on earth in thousands of people’s lives that she touched daily. Always a leader, helper, organizer extraordinaire, cheerleader to all, generous with her time, loving, compassionate, and Mother to everyone. 

Loli battled years of medical obstacles and never wavered through it all. Delores is a stage 4 throat cancer survivor and battled hours of Chemo and radiation treatment back in 2006. She has been cancer free since. Complications from the aftereffects of the cancer-killing therapy ultimately diminished her quality-of-life years later. A loving and wonderful woman until the very end, she will be greatly missed

Survived by: Husband: Rene Gonzalez, Children: Rene (Margaret) Gonzalez Jr., Phillip (Norma) Gonzalez, Frank Gonzalez, Joni (Mark) Wolfe, Ronald (Jamie) Gonzalez, Donald Gonzalez

Preceded In Death: Gilbert Gonzalez

Grandchildren: (Rene Jr.) Sarah Gonzalez, Matthew Gonzalez, Luke Gonzalez, (Phillip) Stephanie Gonzalez, Ryan Gonzalez, Hailey Gonzalez, (Joni) Jakob Wolfe, Jacqueline Wolfe, Jude Wolfe, (Ronald) Jadyn Gonzalez, Zoe Gonzalez, Gabriella Gonzalez, (Donald) Gillian Gonzalez, Nicholas Gonzalez.

Delores Lee Gonzalez

Delores Lee Gonzalez of Sanger, died on July 10, 2023. She was 79 years old. A Rosary will be said at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 20, 2023 with a funeral Mass to follow at 10 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Sanger. Wallin’s Sanger Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Frank Jesse Guerra

Frank Jesse Guerra, age 90, of Sanger, California passed away on July 7, 2023 in Fresno, California. He was preceded in death by his wife Evelina Lorraine Guerra, son, Randall Frank Guerra, parents, Dorathea and Isabel Guerra, and great granddaughter, Jocelynn Guerra.

Frank Jesse Guerra

He is survived by his sister, Alice Funk (Jeff) of Escondido, California and his two daughters Faith Guerra-Glisson (Billy) of Elk Grove, California, and Frances Guerra (David Taggart) of Westminster, Colorado.

Frank was born in Weslaco, Texas and moved to Sanger, California, with his parents and sister when he was twelve years old. Upon graduating from Sanger High School in Sanger, California, he volunteered into the United States Army in February 1954 with a rank of Private 1, was stationed in Korea and was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal. Upon his Honorable Discharge as an SP 3 in February 1956, he was transferred to the Army Reserve California Military District. He returned to Sanger, California with his wife and son to continue to raise a family. He found employment with the United States Postal Service in Sanger, California and served in the capacity as a mail and rural route carrier until his retirement following 35 years of service. He was best known for his role as a mail carrier, and walking his route everyday with his entrusted dog Lulu, a stray Weimaraner, who adopted him after he removed a sticker from her paw, while walking his mail route. She claimed ownership of Frank by ripping apart the headliner of his then, new 1963 Falcon. They had an inseparable relationship for fifteen years as carriers.

During his life, Frank was very involved in AMVET Post 98 of Sanger, California and AMVET Post 56, of Visalia, California. He served as Area Commander and was an extremely active member of the Color Guard serving with fellow veterans in the City of Sanger’s annual Toyland Parade, Toys for Tots, Giant Sequoia Christmas Tree Lighting, and posting military honors at graveside services. Later in his life, Frank had a passion for participating in the AMVET Golden Olympic Games where he won Gold Medals in shooting and bowling. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, VFW, and American Legion organizations as well. He was a parishioner of St. Mary’s Catholic Church throughout his life, and with his wife Evie, organized the inception of St. Mary’s Youth Club, which they supported for many years.

Frank graduated with an Associate of Arts degree from Reedley Community College in 1970, and enjoyed philosophy, psychology, traveling and dancing with his wife, Evie. He was a very kind, generous, and patient man whose legacy taught that love of country, forgiveness, and love of God were the primary goals in life one could achieve. He lived by this belief every day.

Sanger was home to Frank for 79 years. He gave generously of his time and efforts to the city of Sanger and many organizations.  He was very proud of his service to his country and could be found wearing one of his many veteran hats daily. On the day of his passing, one sat proudly on his pillow as he shared his last breath with his daughters at his side.

Over the course of his life Frank was blessed with 11 grandchildren: David Guerra (Jessica), and Roderick Guerra (Rebecca) of Sanger, California; Denise “Sony” Guerra-Sanson (Randy) of Santa Cruz, California; Alison Luvara (Chris) of Santa Clara, California; Sarah Glisson of Elk Grove, California; Terra Snapp of Vista, California; Anthony Guerra (Diane), Jacob Guerra (Katie), Aaron Guerra (Jennifer) and Cierra Guerra all of Fresno, California; and Gabriel Guerra (Eric) of Portland, Oregon.

Great grandchildren include: Ashley Guerra (Heather) and Gregory Guerra (Mackenzie), Jacquelyn, Maria, Gabriella, and Frank Guerra; Matthew, Ryan, James and Thomas Sanson; Anthony and Joseph “Rex” Luvara; Kaylen Guerra; Zoey and Zachary Guerra; Jaxon and Savanna Guerra.

The family thanks you for kindness and is requesting donations be made to St. Agnes Home Health and Hospice in lieu of flowers at or by check. Please mail to St. Agnes Home Health and Hospice Attention Brandon Miller 6729 N. Willow Ave Ste 103, Fresno, California 93710.

Donna Helwick

Donna Helwick of Visalia, died on June 30, 2023. She was 72 years old. Mrs. Helwick was a paraprofessional. Visitation will be on Monday, July 24, 2023 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Dopkins Dinuba Funeral Chapel. A funeral service will be on Tuesday, July 25, 2023 at 10 a.m. at Dopkins Dinuba Funeral Chapel. She is survived by her two sons, one daughter, six grandchildren, one sister and two brothers. Dopkins Dinuba Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

Larry Smith

Larry Smith of Dinuba, died on June 10, 2023. He was 77 years old. Mr. Smith was a music teacher. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 5, 2023 at 10 a.m. at the Dinuba Presbyterian Church. Dopkins Dinuba Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

Steven Earl Wooden

Steven Earl Wooden was born March 17, 1952 and passed away on May 26, 2023 in Raleigh, NC.

He is survived by his wife, Carol Wooden of Raleigh, NC, his daughter Melissa Wooden of Oklahoma City, OK, his son Chris (Erika) Morrison of South Haven, MI, two grandsons, Corban and Eli Morrison of South Haven, MI, and brother Michael Wooden of Reedley, CA. 

Steve graduated from Reedley High School, class of 1970. He was a pastor and then a third-grade teacher for 17 years in Salinas, CA before retiring to North Carolina.

A memorial service will be held at Reedley Cemetery in the Memorial Pavilion on Friday, July 21, 2023 at 9:30 a.m.

Kam Yee Young

Kam Yee Young of Fresno, died on July 4, 2023. She was 98 years old. A chapel service will be held on Friday, Aug. 11, 2023 at 10: a.m. at Wallin’s Sanger Funeral Home. Wallin’s Sanger Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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Mid Valley Times Staff