Merced County Times Newspaper
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Old Timers Association honors longtime county residents


A 102-year-old Hilmar resident along with a teacher who taught 54 years at Tenaya Middle School, a 90-year-old accomplished artist/sculptor, and a pair of longtime Winton historians were among some 40 standout locals who were honored at this year’s 2023 Old Timers Luncheon inside the Italo American Lodge in Merced on April 20.

The Merced County Old Timers Association sponsors and organizes the annual event. A committee was formed in 1942 to honor individuals 85 years of age or older who have lived in Merced County for a combined total of 50 years or longer. The luncheon is a festive affair with food, photos and short bios of the various honorees read out loud. Members of the Merced County Board of Supervisors also attend to hand out honorary certificates.

In 2020, a list of honorees was produced, but the luncheon was canceled due to the pandemic. Old Timers volunteers honored those people in 2021 by delivering certificates and a special gift to their hoimes. This year, those past honorees were invited to attend the luncheon along with the latest to be recognized. Some were unable to attend the luncheon at the last minute due to health issues.

Among the many standout residents was 102-year-old Rosie Kiss-Barker of Hilmar. She is the pride of the American Legion Auxiliary George J. Hartfield Post 91 in Stevinson — having served the post for 75 years, including as president.

Another honoree, Gwyne Hansen, was a teacher for some 57 years after moving to Merced, mostly at Tenaya Middle School. She was also a volunteer at the local hospital for 25 years.

Honoree Lynn Morrison has been a longtime local artist who has taught students of all ages from local middle schools to Merced College. Her sculptures have been featured in exhibits around the region and beyond.

And honorees Rosalie Ann Heppner and Lorraine Richards — both of Winton and both county residents for decades (156 years combined) — are best known for co-writing the book, “Memories of Winton 1911-1950,” and helping to form the Winton Historical Society.

Kudos goes to Kim McAuley, Carolyn Chandler and all the volunteer members of the Merced County Old Timers Association for making this special event happen year after year.


2023 Honorees

Willie Mae Callahan

Miguel Canto E. Castro

Benjamin Elias

Guillermina “Willie” Elias

Buster Eppler Jr.

Balbina Fain

Doreen Fitzgerald

Ray Freitas

John Gramckow

Shirley Graves

Gwyne Hansen

Rosalie Ann Heppner

Wanda “Vicky” Knoepfel

Ray Mallonee

Clarkson “Bob” Maurer

Elsie Correia Moore

Lynn Morrison

Doug Newlyn

Pasquale “Pat” Palazzo

Constance Patterson

Lorraine Richards

Eleanor Sansoni

Ezio Anthony Sansoni

Richard “Rick” Shelton

David J. Silva

Rita Posey Silva

Patricia Snyder Snoke

Beverly Mevi Valadao

Eileen Weller

Linton Wollen

2020-2021 Honorees

Doris Arancibia

Sallie Bardini

Richard Bettencourt

Mark Bidkey

Rosie Kiss-Barker

Mark Bodley

Norma Jean DeSousa

Frank Dutra

Charles Fennessy

Marjorie Giannone

Rosalie Gilard

Bernice Gill

John Edwin Gurr

Charles Hise

Maria Beatriz Kramer

Annette Marques

Louie Mondo

Gleneda Muralt

Josephine Pereira

Donald Rogers

Robert Scheuerman

Gus Scoto

Ester Dougherty Smith

Vivian Stierwalt

Christiane Traub

Ruth Weaver

Carolyn Wiens

Vernon Wickstrom

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