Monday, December 19, 2011

Charter 1: Wizard

Spiritman/Chaplin/Road Captain, BFMC 6 (2003-10)

A member profile by LoDown, Historian, BFMC 6

As this remembrance of JW – as so many folks referred to James Wayne Petersen – is written in the spring of 2012, Wizard (his road name as a member of the Boozefighters MC) has been on his long and final ride for over two years. Jim is gone, as they say, but far from forgotten.

The fact is that Wizard had a marked and profound effect on almost everyone he met along what he called life’s journey. That impact continues today. As Spiritman/Chaplin for BFMC 6, he always had an open ear and an even more open and non-judgmental mind to counsel those with serious troubles or to listen quietly for those folks who just needed to talk.

In virtually every instance, those who came to him with a heavy load left with that burden lightened considerably. Not that he just sat around shooting the breeze all day; Wizard liked nothing more than to hop on his motorcycle and hit the roads. Those jaunts could be around town or across the country. The man loved to ride and he proudly wore his Road Captain badge on his cut. So on or off his bike, he more than lived up to the way he once told an interviewer he wanted to be remembered. Which is to say, “He was a good brother.”

The “how and the why” whereby Jim came to be that good brother, loving husband, dutiful son, and friend to so many over his 66 years on the planet can be found, perhaps, in the outline of his life. A native Californian, he was born while WWII was still a daily reality. His family was in the restaurant business and in the early 1960’s a teenaged Jim helped out.

Despite his record as a dutiful son, his folks would not let him ride even a motorized scooter. That was remedied when Jim entered college. Studying first Theology and Philosophy and later Theater and Film, JW got to class on his Triumph, the first of what would be some nine motorcycles over a lifetime of love for hitting the road on two wheels.

Eventually a combination of employment experience in the automotive industry and his interest in motorcycles took him to a Northern California Harley-Davidson dealership and a job in the service department. It was an event that would change his life. It was here that he met various members of the Boozefighters MC, including Leadfoot, Cowboy, others, and myself.

Leadfoot led the way in bringing Jim to Chapter 6 as a hang around in 2003. Cowboy and I were set to start another chapter of the club to be designated El Dorado/Sacramento Chapter 21 and Jim became a prospect there and I was his sponsor. To say that we shared some great times, with trips to Hollister, the BFMC Spring Nationals, and other places is vast understatement. In fact, we had one hellva a time! When Jim patched out, he was given his “Wizard” road name, based not only on his looks – a long white beard and flowing white hair – but also because of his intelligence (the product of his love of reading) and his sound character.

I think it’s safe to say that, after a lifetime of searching, the Boozefighters MC provided Jim with the fellowship and belonging he had always sought. It helped too that he had met (and would eventually marry) Kelli Walters, a beautiful woman who shared his love of riding and adventure. (Jim eventually transferred back to Chapter 6, with Chapter 21 spliting into a Sacramento group with that designation and the present El Dorado Chapter 121).

But as sometimes happens, just as things looked rosy ahead, JW was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer in fall 2004. From there on Jim fought with all his strength to shake the cancer, undergoing painful treatments that put his illness in remission before it returned to take his life some six years later.

During those intervening years Wizard remained a steadfast patch holder in the club, participating in club events and continuing to ride as much as possible. All the while he gave of himself to his family, brothers, and others. As Kelli recalls, the January 2010 Chapter 6 New Year’s ride provided a last opportunity for bikes to come by the house and for Jim to meet with his friends one last time. Throughout the day, she says, Wizard “maintained his sense of humor and courage.”

Wizard was gone a few days later and some 450 people – club brothers from across the country, family members, and friends -- attended his memorial in Nevada City on a cold and rainy day. A small vile of ashes went to any brother who requested it and Jim rides on today, a welcome companion on many roads and for many years to come.

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Charter 1: Fergie

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Charter 1: Primo

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Charter 1: Casanova

Lester Lilbern Falloon, age 94, died of natural causes at home in Colfax, California on Sunday, August 3, 2008.

Lester was born September 28, 1913 in the Township of Boone, Missouri to the late William and Anna Falloon of Sullivan, Missouri. Like his many siblings (12 children in all), he began helping with the endless chores on the family farm shortly after he could walk. He attended Crawford County Public School and graduated in 1929.

After completing his public school education, Lester worked as a farmer and trapper in Missouri before heading west to Colorado, and eventually California, to meet up with some of his older brothers and pursue the many adventures that the "Wild West" had to offer. While working in California, he knew that something was missing and returned to Missouri to reconnect with the love of his life, Ella Marie Farris. Lester and Marie were married on June 5, 1937 in Bourbon, Missouri.
After he and Marie were married, Lester resumed his work on the family farm and began attending night school to become a certified welder. On April 23, 1939, Marie gave birth to their only child, Lawney Joe Falloon. Denied active duty due to a previous injury (the result of a mule kick), Lester contributed to the Country's efforts in World War II by working in an ammunition factory in St. Louis, and earned extra money as a certified auctioneer. In 1947, Lester moved the family west to California, but not before winning the Golden Gloves Boxing Championship in the State of Missouri.
Once back in California, Lester worked for the Forestry Service before achieving his Journeyman status in multiple trades as a Plumber and Pipefitter, Boilermaker and Ironworker. Lester was an expert welder and worked on many of the bridges, dams and industrial centers that we see throughout the state today. He finished his career as a member of the California Ironworkers Local #118, where he worked for 19 years prior to his retirement in 1979.

Lester and Marie made their home together in Citrus Heights, Calif. for almost 40 years. They were married for nearly 64 years and, in their final time together on this earth, Lester dedicated himself to caring for Marie in an awesome display of love and commitment... up to the time of her passing in 2001. In 2002, Lester moved to Grass Valley to spend his final years with his son, "Joe" …and, of course, launch a new set of friendships.

Lester was an incredibly engaging man with a gregarious nature; his passion for life was evident to all who met him. He thrived on the "center stage" and was, throughout his life, an active member of many associations and brotherhoods, including: the Sacramento Horse- men's Association; the BPO Elks of the USA; the Fraternal Order of Eagles; the Free & Accepted Masons of California - Washington Lodge #20; the Loyal Order of Moose - Auburn Lodge #2264; and at age 89, he was made an Honorary Member of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club - Chapter 6 … where he was affectionately (and appropriately) given the nickname "Casanova".

Lester loved the outdoors, hunting and fishing, boxing, dancing, telling jokes … and in general, having fun. Most of all, he loved his family and his many friends. He was a proud and loving father, and an amazing grandfather and great-grandfather, who put his loved ones above all else. He is survived by his son and his fiancĂ©e, Lawney Joe Falloon, Sr. of Grass Valley, Calif., and Toni Clines of Colfax, Calif.; two grandsons and their wives, Lawney J. (Jr.) and Christina Falloon of Solvang, Calif., and Lester W. and Nicole Falloon of Wilton, Calif.; two granddaughters, Loree Marie Freeman of Elk Grove, Calif., and Teresa Michaelle Emmans of Antelope, Calif.; and six great- grandchildren, Krysta, Chad and Brynn Falloon of Solvang, Calif., Travis and Nathan Freeman of Elk Grove, Calif., and Brandon Emmans of Antelope, Calif. He is further survived by his nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends. In addition to his parents, Lester was preceded in death by his loving wife, Ella Marie; his brothers Clarence, Theodore, Eugene, Arthur, Angus, Woodrow and William; and his sisters, Opal, Jewel, Pearl and Garnet.

Funeral services for Lester L. Falloon were held at 3 p.m., Friday, August 8, 2008 at Lassila Funeral Chapel, 551 Grass Valley Highway, Auburn, CA 95603. Immediately following the funeral services, a Celebration of Lester's Life will be held at the Dew Drop Inn, 19729 Cerrito Rd., Grass Valley, CA 95949.

Whether we knew him as "Lester", "Lilbern", "Dad", "Grandpa", "Great-Grandpa" or "Casanova" … all of us who love him so very much would like to extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Toni Clines and her children, Rachell, Crystal, Ronnie, Yvonne, Samantha and Keith. It was through their undying care and affection in his final months, that we were blessed to have him with us as long as we did.

Published in the Gold Country Media Newspapers on 8/7/2008

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Charter 1: Curly

Thomas Minkler passed away on July 23, 2008. Tom was a native of San Jose, CA and became a permanent resident in Placer County in 1983. Tom was a contractor by trade in Santa Clara and Placer Counties for 40 years. He was involved in many organizations throughout his life. He was a motorcycle enthusiast and was a lifetime member of American Motorcycle Association and the San Jose Dons. An active member of the Boozefighter's Motorcycle Club(Northern California , Chapter 6), Native Sons of the Golden West, the Moose Lodge and Elks Club, the Single Action Shooting Society.

Tom touched many lives and will be dearly missed. He is survived by his wife Phyllis, son Chris Minkler (Kristy) of San Jose, daughter Cindy Ralston (Tom) of Rocklin, 4 grandchildren Ashley and Hilary Minkler, Rowan and Allen Ralston. Preceded in death by his son Howard Minkler. Services were held Friday, August 1, 2008 at 1:30pm at Lissila Funeral Home, 551 Grass Valley Hwy, Auburn. Celebration to follow at the Auburn Moose Lodge, 250 Sacramento St.

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Charter 1: Fubar

Born in Los Gatos California and raised in Barstow, Fubar raced off road motorcycles and played around with old cars as a hobby.
Some have said that he was a Hell raiser, and he did manage to get in a little trouble now and again, on one occasion as he was standing before a Judge he was offered jail time or Army time. He picked Army time and wound up in Viet Nam. He reached the rank of Specialist 4 and was discharged as a disabled veteran. Fubar never said much about that time of his life.

He was a carpenter by trade and could pound nails with the best of them. Given a choice though, he would rather play than work. He did both hard.

We called him Fubar (Fucked up beyond all repair), a name given to him by my fiancé. I sponsored him into the Boozefighters and he passed his Prospect period with flying colors, taking the oath on February 23, 2001.

Yes, Fubar was a Boozefighter alright; he wasn’t afraid of anything, but had a good attitude about everything. He liked hanging out at Big Daddy’s motorcycle shop. One day we were all sitting around Big Daddy’s swimming pool, (Fubar was a Prospect then) and Streak asked for a beer, from another Prospect, who chose to ignore his request (that Prospect never did become a Boozefighter). So, Fubar jumped up to get Streak’s beer and someone said “you need to be barefoot”; didn’t faze him, he just kicked his boots off and ran over to get the beer. That was our brother. If it needed to be done, however it needed to be done, he was going to do it. A lot of us were glad he was just barefoot and not bare naked.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Riding for Angelic Creatures

We often talk about the joys of riding on a warm sun shined day in the beautiful countryside of Northern California. God has blessed us with mountains overlooking beautiful San Francisco and small quaint towns like Sausalito, and Carmel. There are the beautifully historical vineyard towns like Sonoma, and Napa that tourists come from all over the world to enjoy a bit of wine tasting or a trip on the famous Wine Train. Charming mining towns paint the Sierra Foothills in colorful history as they remind us of the past. We have builders like Arlen Ness and Ron Simms who have become part of what makes Northern California eclectic and full of character.
What we don’t have this week is an abundance of miracles. I am sure there were many but the one’s I prayed for just weren’t meant to be.
We have some very close friends who bring such joy to my life and the lives of the motorcycle community. We all love them dearly. They had everything they could want....except a child between them. After dealing with infertility specialists, our friends finally got pregnant with triplets! I can't express our excitement for them. And they were certainly overwhelmed! (I am going to honor their privacy by leaving their names out of this article).

Being a Chapter President of a motorcycle club brings a great responsibility, and a lot of hard work. He had to worry about his members, work and his wife’s condition, which was very fragile according to her doctors. Sadly, during the pregnancy one of the babies died. His wife had to become high priority and he felt the pressure and worry of any overwhelmed husband. Things obviously began to get tense for the couple. Of course we were all devastated for them but we had hopes for the remaining twins.

The mother went into labor much too early, so they hospitalized her and tried to slow the labor down…but their attempts were unsuccessful. She delivered two angelic creatures…..tiny and pure and something only God could have produced. For days we all prayed and only their closet friends and family stayed with them at the hospital and relayed important information to all of us. We just held out breath.

I wanted to hold them. I wanted to do something…I was lost in my love for them and in feeling so helpless. How could this happen to such wonderful people? I wanted to hold my friends face in my hands and tell her how sorry I was, but I had no understanding or explanation to give them to soothe their sorrows. Who knows why God take’s some and not other’s but I have always tried to believe that God picks the most beautiful and special babies for a reason.

Today we were told there was a possibility that only the baby boy might make it but the little girl was still fighting for her life. As days went on the news continued to be disappointing. The baby girl fought hard to stay in the world with her family but her short little life ended. The baby boy was critical.

We spend days planning parties and runs without a thought for what other’s are going through. These folks are a major part of our motorcycle world and have given of themselves in so many ways. I can only imagine what they went through that last week. If I could take one small part of that pain away, I would. It must have been unbearable. We couldn’t call them or write letters because they were at the hospital devoting their time to what was important and they needed to be alone with their grief. And so all we could do was feel helpless.

Most folks had already heard, but I sent this letter out to the motorcycle community for those that didn’t know what was going on and as usual they came together quickly. A fundraiser was planned and all the clubs rode to Reno to benefit this family. They rode through the Sierra’s in the snow and freezing weather to get there. This was important to everyone.

Once there, you could feel the love fill the room. The parents looked exhausted and although they were present physically, spiritually their hearts were still at the hospital with their frail son. And although I am sure they could not wait to get back to him, they desperately needed this break.

The room was filled with so many friends and family and even those club member’s who were not close, came out of respect. Their friends comforted them and made them smile, but oddly it was the parents that seemed to help their friends cope by allowing them to comfort them. It’s terrible when you feel there is nothing you can do to help. The community needed to be close to the parents as much as the parents needed to be close them.

The motorcycle community came through for the family and rose far more than anyone could have imagined. Rumor has it that somewhere in the vicinity of $10,000.00 was given to the family to help with medical bills.

We all pray for their son and his health, but more than that, I pray that my friends find the strength to continue to be strong and loving for each other and their family. They still have a lot ahead of them.

Annie (Babydoll)