Monday, 15 July 2024


Clayton Smethurst. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — Clayton Smethurst, a beloved father, brother and grandfather, passed away on March 30, 2024, at the age of 81.

Born on July 25, 1942, in Longview, Washington, to Jack and Stella Smethurst, Clayton brought joy and laughter to the lives of all who knew him.

After graduating from high school in Astoria, Oregon, in 1960, Clayton proudly served in the Army. He then embarked on a fulfilling career as a propane gas delivery driver in Lake and Mendocino County, California, where he worked for over 30 years.

Clayton's quick wit and funny sense of humor brought smiles to everyone around him; it brought him great joy to tell everyone he was a ‘professional gas-passer.’

Clayton is survived by his sister, Judie Davis; daughter, Candace (Larry) Griffin; son, Shane (Leia) Smethurst; two nephews; seven grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and his longtime partner, Lola.

He will be dearly missed but forever remembered for his laughter, kindness, and dedication to his family and country.

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

Steve Fistler. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — Stephen “Steve” Fistler, a man of unwavering dedication to his family and friends, passed away peacefully on Monday, March 25, at age 74, surrounded by his family.

Steve is survived by his devoted wife of 53 years, Tresa; son, Eli (Cheryl); daughter, Sally (Brett); grandsons, Ricky (Kristien) and Hunter; granddaughter, Britney; and many other extended family members.

Steve was born to Kenneth and Madelyn Fistler and grew up in Napa, California.

He joined the fire department while still a teenager, demonstrating his early commitment to public service. Steve spent two years as a seasonal firefighter for CDF before becoming a permanent firefighter at the Napa station.

Around 1976, he moved his family to Lake County, California, and soon after, he was promoted to captain with CDF.

Steve spent most of his career at Station 31 in Middletown, California, where he was known for his leadership, mentoring many firefighters, and being a trustworthy colleague and friend.

Even after retiring in 2001, Steve’s dedication to helping others never waned, and he would often stop at the scene of accidents to assist first responders.

Steve loved his family and worked hard to provide a memorable life. Over the years, he enjoyed
taking his family on camping trips, fishing, hunting and car races.

After retirement, Steve found a love for hot rods belonging to a couple of local car clubs. With help from family and friends, he restored a Chevy SS, which won him several trophies at car shows over the years.

Please join the family on Saturday, May 18, at 11 a.m. at Station 31 CAL-Fire station 15522 Lake St. in Middletown, in celebrating the life of Steve.

Instead of flowers, please make donations to the California Waterfowl Association:

Rose Pyzer. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — Surrounded by her family, Rose went home to be with Jesus and reunite with her loving husband, Lenard, on March 20, 2024, at the age of 87.

Rose was born on June 19, 1936, in Broken Bow, Nebraska. She was the oldest of seven girls, born to Mae and Von Paxton.

Growing up she helped her dad on the family ranch raising angus beef cattle. She and her sister rode a pony to attend a one room school house a few miles away during her elementary years. She moved into the town of Tryon to attend high school, living in town during the weekdays and going home to the ranch on weekends.

When she was 16 years old she was set up on a blind date with her future husband, Lenard. Prior to their date, Rose decided she wanted to know what her blind date looked like before she went out with him so she set off to see him play in the town basketball game.

Lenard just happened to be driving down the road as she made her way to the game so he stopped and offered her a ride. They drove to the basketball game together and he asked her to hold his watch while he played basketball. He never did ask for his watch back and that very watch was on her wrist on their wedding day.

Rose and Lenard were married on May 26, 1954. After their wedding, Rose took a teaching position in a one room school house located in Ringgold, Nebraska. They had their first son, Russ, in Nebraska and moved to California in 1958 so Lenard could help his uncle build a home in Ukiah.

They eventually moved to Lakeport and it was there they had their other four sons; Marnin, Joel, Zachary and Jeremy. When Jeremy began school, Rose got a job in the Lakeport Unified School District as a paraeducator where she continued to work until 1983, when the family moved to Hidden Valley Lake. Soon after this move she began working as a paraeducator for the Middletown Unified School District.

Besides working in the schools, Rose would often be seen keeping scorebooks at her sons’ sporting activities, as well as driving kids to games. In later years she could be seen in the stands supporting her sons as they coached various teams, as well as cheering on her grandchildren in whatever activity or sport they were involved in.

Rose was a woman of deep faith. Her service in the churches she belonged to was very important to her. She played the piano in various churches and was also an active board member throughout the years.

Her family was the center of her life. She had a deep love and devotion to her husband. Her love for her sons was unconditional and her pride in each of them was unwavering.

Rose is survived by her sons, Russ Pyzer (Glenda), Marnin Pyzer (Jennifer), Joel Pyzer (Davina), Zachary Pyzer (LeAnne) and Jeremy Pyzer (Shanna); sisters, Judy Cox, Georgetta Paxton, Polly Siegel and Pat Nicholson; sister in-law, Lila Stoddard; 20 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; and 3 great-great-grandchildren.

She is preceded in death by her husband of 66 years, Lenard Pyzer; her parents, Von and Mae Paxton; sisters, Bess Aupperle, June Farmer; and grandson, Ryan Depp.

Rose will be deeply missed by her family and friends. Her legacy will live on with all who loved and knew her. We are all blessed to have had her in our lives to love, and we are deeply blessed to have been loved by her.

A celebration of life will be held Saturday, April 13, at 1 p.m. at the Hidden Valley Community Church, 18160 Spruce Road Extension, Middletown.

John Mackesy. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — John Mackesy, 78, died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Hidden Valley Lake, California, on March 28, 2024, of cancer.

He loved his family and friends and tried mightily to live his best life until the end.

Throughout his illness, John took daily walks. For two of those four years, John was the most frequent user of the local gym.

John was married to Elsie for almost 50 years. He was father to Kimberly and Daniel, whom he himself delivered at home in Anderson Springs, California.

Also known as Rubio, Mr. Twirls and Jackie, John was a colorful character who would often break into a spontaneous dance as a way of spreading joy, love, fun and friendship.

John was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Nellie Christina Mahoney Mackesy and Joseph Mackesy from County Cork, Ireland. He graduated from the Cambridge, Massachusetts schools St. Paul’s, Sacred Heart, and Harvard (1967), where he majored in history.

Religion and history being major aspects of his life, John believed that the greatest commandment is “Love.” He advocated for peace and diplomacy, writing detailed antiwar essays that were published in newspapers around the world.

John worked as an insurance executive after graduating from college and serving in the United States Army. During the time he lived in Lake County, California, John worked as a geothermal roustabout, a rural mail carrier for the United States Postal Service and a tour guide at Beringer Winery.

When not at work in the geothermal fields, John roamed the mountains with his two Irish Setters, Peanut and Saturday.

At home, his favorite pastime was reading bedtime stories to his children. Together he and Kimberly memorized long passages from “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” John read Homer’s “The Odyssey” out loud to Daniel when Daniel was in college. His resonant voice filled the room, animating every character and instilling in his children a love of reading and literature. John’s daughter, Kimberly, grew up to become a writer.

John loved to light up the world with smiles. His mail route served some retirement homes, and when delivering the mail John would make it a point to stop and talk with the elders who would wait for him by their mailboxes. At Christmas time, he brought his family to them door-to-door singing Christmas carols.

At Beringer winery, John charmed tourists from around the world. When he was named Tour Guide of the Year four years in a row, he attributed his success to having kissed the Blarney Stone.

Always devoted to his family and community, John coached children’s sports teams for many years in soccer, T-ball, Little League and Senior League baseball, and basketball. John spent hours pitching baseballs for Danny to hit and playing catch with both kids. He founded the Middletown-Cobb Youth Basketball league in 1988 and ran it for its first two years.

John volunteered in the classrooms of both of his children, and, after they were grown, in the classrooms of his wife, Elsie. He tended to the school garden, which he had raised thousands of dollars in grant money to improve. John’s son, Daniel, grew up to become a plant biologist.

Time spent in the garden led John to appreciate the honeybees. John began photographing the bees and became an internationally recognized award winning bee photographer.

On holidays and special occasions, John was visible wearing his green Leprechaun suit and handing out gold chocolate coins. John took pride in his Irish heritage and celebrated St. Patrick’s Day enthusiastically every year. His favorite sayings included Love is Faster than LightÔ (which he invented), Double Good Luck, and Have a Hap Hap Happy Day.

Music was essential to John’s life. He listened to folk, rock and classical music, and he especially loved traditional Scottish fiddle tunes. An exuberant and appreciative concertgoer, John danced freestyle like no one was watching. At one concert, John a.k.a. Rubio/Mr. Twirls was proclaimed from the stage to be an honorary member of the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers. He sincerely believed that if all people would take the time to really listen to the music, especially music without lyrics as a language barrier, their differences and disagreements would disappear, and the world would know peace.

As an empty nester, John enjoyed swing dancing with his wife, Elsie. He boasted about their opportunities to dance with world champion Lindy Hoppers. They traveled to dance conventions before taking trips to Cape Breton Nova Scotia, Hawaii and other parts of the USA, and Ireland.

John is survived by his beloved wife, Elsie; his daughter, Kimberly Clare (husband Steve) Scheer; his son, Daniel (wife Kathleen) Mackesy; his brother, Joseph (wife Mary deceased) Mackesy; his sisters, Ellen (husband Kenneth) McLaughlin, Patricia (husband Kevin) Morse, and Joan (husband David) Harper; his nephews, Andrew, Joseph, Patrick, Albert and Peter; his nieces, Caitlin, Meaghan, Caroline and Sonia; his 20 great nieces and nephews; his cousins Joe Desmond (wife, Catherine) and Freda Desmond; his brothers-in-law, Albert (wife, Betsy) Zanger and Thomas Zanger.

His brother, James, and James’ wife, Vicki, predeceased him.

Private services are being held and planned. Those who wish to honor his memory may make donations to or veterans for

Finally, his family would like to leave you with one of John’s favorite messages: “Fill your heart with love, fill your mind with light, and send out love in all directions.”

Duane M. Furman. Courtesy photo.

Duane M. Furman
"Scotts Valley Cattle Rancher"

LAKEPORT, Calif. — Duane lived a full and diverse life. He grew up in Martinez, California.

As a child he dreamed of being a cowboy, even though he lived in town and not on a ranch.

He was a 1952 graduate of Alhambra High School in Martinez, where he was the captain of the football team, the Bulldogs.

He attended UC Davis to study animal husbandry and played football for the Cal Aggies. He then returned to Martinez to join his father in the steamfitter trade and was employed for close to 40 years before retiring.

He was a lifetime member of the Steam Fitters Union #342, Concord, California. He started raising cattle and ranching with his family in Contra Costa County from 1953 to 1962 on leased land.

Duane married the girl “next door,” the lovely Dorothy Hastie, on June 24, 1956. In 1962 they and their young family moved to Scotts Valley Road to a 381-acre ranch.

Duane and his father had looked at many ranches to buy in Northern California before purchasing the Scotts Valley Ranch across from the Glen Eden Trailhead. So began a 38 year venture as the Running F Ranch. He did have to continue in the union trade while ranching. The jobs might take him to the Bay Area or Central Valley and closer to home, at The Geysers.

Duane was always striving to improve the genetics of their registered black Angus. He mentored many local youth with 4-H beef projects including his own children.

Duane was deeply devoted to his Christian faith and loved to share God’s word of love and redemption through the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

He was a longtime member of the Lakeport Christian Center. He gave 45 years of service as a jail minister for the Lake County Jail and Konocti Conservation Camp.

He served on many boards and advisory committees. Duane worked for two years for the state of California as a branding inspector and was the Junior Livestock superintendent for the Lake County Fair for many years.

In 2000 the large ranch was sold. Duane and Dorothy moved a few miles away to a log home that he built on 22 acres. He continued to run a smaller herd of Angus and raised quality steers.

Their little ranch survived, unscathed, during the devastating 2018 Complex Fire with a tanker and fire crew from San Jose at the back of their house. The fire burned within yards of their home. The fire crew wanted to take 84 year old Duane back to San Jose to be on their crew!

In true cowboy form Duane was quite proud that at the age of 69 he had been able to tame and ride a mustang that was 80% wild when he purchased him in September 2002 from a Bureau of Land Management wild horse auction. His mustang, who he named Granite, came from the Granite Range in northwest Nevada.

On Duane’s passing he still had some of his Angus cows in the field. For 70 years he was the cowboy who he dreamed of as a child.

Duane loved God, was devoted to Dorothy and was proud of his family. He will be greatly missed by many.

Services are planned for Sunday, April 28, at 1 p.m. at the Lakeport Christian Center, 455 S. Forbes St., to be followed by a celebration of life gathering at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Lewis Hall, 401 Martin St., Lakeport. (Duane loved home baked cookies, please bring some to share at Lewis Hall if you so desire.)

Internment is private with arrangements made by Chapel of the Lakes.

“It started in 1952 when I had a dream or desire to raise cattle and be a cowboy; The Lord let that dream come true, because He loves His children and now I’m the old cowboy.” — Duane Furman

Lisa Denny. Courtesy photo.

Lisa Elaine Denny
April 24, 1967 — Feb. 28, 2024

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — Very early on the morning of Feb. 28, 2024, God called Lisa to Heaven with Him.

Lisa was a very dedicated nurse and a wonderful, compassionate person who would help anyone in need that she could.

She was a two-time winner of the Daisy Award for extraordinary nurses.

Lisa was preceded in death by her mother, Karen.

She leaves behind her father, Bruce; brother, Chris; cousin, Tami; best friend, Anna; and numerous other close friends and co-workers too numerous to name.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, April 6, at 1 p., at the Hidden Valley Community Church, located at 18160 Spruce Road Extension in Hidden Valley Lake.

Graveside service to be held in June at the Lower Lake Cemetery.

Upcoming Calendar

07.16.2024 9:00 am - 12:30 pm
Board of Supervisors
07.16.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
07.16.2024 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Lakeport City Council
07.17.2024 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Free veterans dinner
07.20.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.23.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
07.27.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.30.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.03.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.06.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park

Mini Calendar



Award winning journalism on the shores of Clear Lake. 



Enter your email here to make sure you get the daily headlines.

You'll receive one daily headline email and breaking news alerts.
No spam.