William Arnold Blaufuss
Ronald Alan Blickenstaff
William Harold Harkness
James C. Pearson
William Arnold Blaufuss
On Aug. 25, 2013, William (“Bix”) Arnold Blaufuss, a longtime resident of Westwood, passed away from a stroke preceded by a decade-long struggle with Alzheimer’s.
A man who defied convention, Bix was a poet, a musician, a teacher, a builder, an activist, a conservationist, a Vietnam War Veteran, a spiritual mentor to many, a passionate husband and an involved father. Through dedicated self-reflection, Bix took his challenges and channeled them into a significant compilation of poetry and original songs. This self-reflection made him a deeply compassionate individual that led him to being politically active and volunteering many hours of his time. He was dedicated to supporting others in their time of need. His life motto was “Be a beneficial presence.”
Bix Blaufuss was born May 9, 1939 in Los Angeles, Calif. He was nicknamed Bix shortly after he was born because his father sometimes played piano with the famous jazz musician, Bix Beiderbecke. His mother had groomed Bix to become a minister but when Bix started Occidental College on a scholarship in swimming and water polo it became clear he was headed in other directions. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1961.
After completing his undergraduate degree, Bix enlisted in the Air Force and served for six years including a tour in Vietnam as a B-57 Canberra Bomber Navigator. As was true for so many other veterans, Bix came home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and was later granted disability benefits from the Veteran’s Administration.
Once he came home, Bix went on to obtain his master’s degree in creative writing from University of California, Irvine. During this time, he met and spent time with the world famous poet, Charles Bukowski. This relationship led Bix to publish his own poetry.
After obtaining his master’s degree, Bix moved to Eureka, Calif. to teach at College of the Redwoods, where he met Laima Danilovs, the love of his life and mother of his three children. They married and moved to Westwood so Bix could teach at Lassen Community College and Feather River College. Bix had a unique teaching credential, which allowed him to teach a diverse range of classes such as early childhood education, comparative religions, psychology and guitar instruction.
While teaching part-time, Bix took classes at Lassen Community College to eventually become a building contractor. This work led him to many wonderful summers working on the cabins at Silver Lake, just north of Westwood.
Other than his family, Bix’s main love was music. He played a wide variety of instruments, all self-taught. In addition to writing at least 60 original songs, Bix played with several local bands, one of which he founded, called, “Common Ground, Sacred Ground.” He also led multiple drumming circles and classes throughout the region and worked mostly with children from preschool aged kids to young adults. In addition to playing music, the community of Westwood knows Bix was always among the first people on the dance floor whenever live music was playing in town. Laima usually accompanied him. His enthusiasm and fearlessness could often help get others out on the dance floor.
His political work included serving on the Westwood Unified School Board, working with fellow Veterans and at-risk youth, and also founding and volunteering time with various community groups that promoted the betterment of Westwood and the surrounding natural landscape.
He is the son of the former William Barwig Blaufuss and Helen Myrtle Arnold.
He is preceded in death by his sister, Ann Elena Farrell, and his brother, Walter “Wally” Kuper Blaufuss.
He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Laima Danilovs; his three children, Maija West, Jake Blaufuss and Shey Blackwood; his seven grandchildren; and his tribe of friends whom he also considered his family.
A celebration of his life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013 at Clear Creek Park near Westwood.
Ronald Alan Blickenstaff
Ron Blickenstaff entered into rest Aug. 22, 2013 to join many loved ones and friends. Ron was a lifelong resident of Lassen County. He was born Nov. 9, 1959 to Alvin and Beverly Blickenstaff.
Ron attended Lassen High School, graduating in 1977. Thereafter, he attended California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo, majoring in ag management. After graduating from Cal Poly, he returned to the family ranch in Janesville, working with his parents to build the family business. Ron also enjoyed running his pheasant club, not only because he loved hunting, but he also wanted a place where family and friends could hunt, be together and have a good time.
Besides working in the family business, Ron was the president and treasurer of the Lassen County Farm Bureau, member of Lassen County Cattlemen and Elks. He was also the chairperson for the Lassen County CattleWomen scholarship fund, being a recipient of the scholarship himself.
Ron enjoyed many outdoor sports, including hunting and fishing. His truly favorite pastime, however, was his family. Whether it was during a well planned, adventurous elk hunting trip, or playing board games until the early morning hours, Ron enjoyed his family the most. He loved to entertain large family gatherings at his home, which always included a well-planned barbeque and lots of food. He enjoyed helping his children, Maria and Tyler, with their 4-H projects and showing their steers every year at the county fair. He took great pride in watching his daughter compete in the local and high school rodeos and Gymkhana events. He was equally proud of his son, cheering him on from the sidelines of a football game, the top of the bleachers during a basketball game or from behind home plate for baseball. Winter was a special time at the ranch because of the old fashioned Christmases enjoyed by family and friends. The children will remember forever Uncle Ronnie pulling them behind the 4-wheeler, huddled together in the middle of an inner tube on snow covered fields!
Ron is survived by his wife, Robin Blickenstaff (Iturria); and their two children, Maria and Tyler Blickenstaff; his parents, Alvin and Beverly Blickenstaff; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, and many friends.
Ron was preceded in death by his brothers, Jimmy and Levi Blickenstaff.
A Celebration of Life for Ron will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013 at the home of his daughter at: 719-400 Shane Lane, Milford. Take first turn (coming from Susanville) into campground on Deer Trail Road. Follow the road all the way to the end and you will arrive at the location.
Please bring a potluck side dish. Barbeque will be prepared by Lassen County Sheriff’s Posse.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to either Lassen County Cattlemen/CattleWomen Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 1469 Susanville, CA 96130; or to The Lassen County Farm Bureau Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 569, Susanville, CA 96130.
William Harold Harkness
William Harold Harkness, Bill to all who knew him, enjoyed 73 rich, full years of life.
Surrounded by his loved ones, Bill entered his heavenly rest Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. He was born on May 8,1940 in his family’s home in Hanover, Illinois to Alma and Alden Harkness, who both preceded him in death. Bill was the second of six surviving siblings; Jean Brown, Pat Moreau and her husband, Tom, Kenny Harkness, Sheila Tiegs and her husband, Bruce, Donna Stotler and her husband, Rod, and Nina Richmond and her husband, Tom, all of Illinois.
He is also preceded in death by his wife of 49 years, Sandra R. Harkness, and one granddaughter, Wynter Harkness, with whom he is now joyously reunited in Heaven.
Bill is survived by five children, William A. Harkness, Wendy Riedel, Randy Harkness, Matthew Harkness, Stephen Harkness, their spouses, and 21 grandchildren, all of Lassen County.
Bill retired from Sierra Army Depot in 1994, after 31 years working in special weapons. After retirement he went right back to work either on his ranch or with the group home. Most days he could be found transporting group home girls back and forth to town or working in his office at the ranch.
Hunting, fishing, and family were his greatest joys. He could often be found sitting at the table surrounded by his family while telling incredibly embellished and always entertaining stories, discussing the finer points of shooting and weapons, or expounding with fervor on the latest political happenings.
Bill accepted Christ as his Savior in 1972 and lived out his faith alongside Sandy in raising their family and working with the girls in the group home. In his last days, he greatly enjoyed Bible study in his home and was looking forward to Heaven. Bill was proud of his family and took joy in knowing someday he will see them again in Heaven.
Many things can be said of a man in an effort to sum up his life, but the one thing that can be said of Bill Harkness was that he loved with a devotion that was beyond measure and he will be missed.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 3 p.m. at the Harkness Ranch on Byers Pass Road. Donations in memory of Bill can be made to Standish Bible Church, P.O. Box 267, Standish, CA 96128.
James C. Pearson
James C. Pearson, of Susanville, Calif. passed away Aug. 28, 2013 at Northern Nevada Medical Center in Reno, Nev. A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, September 7 at Whispering Pines Cemetery in Portola, Calif.
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