In Memory of our Friends....
We are all heartbroken to say that Stephen Katzakian lost his fight to cancer on the 11th of July 2023, early in the morning. He was surrounded by his loving wife, Michelle, of 34 years, and his two daughters, Jocelyn and Emma. Stephen put up a good fight against his cancer for over four and a half years, defying his doctors’ predictions and impressing us all with his grace and resilience through it all. He kept his sense of humor until the very end. Stephen will be remembered as a faithful and loving husband, a caring father, charismatic brother and devoted friend. Stephen gave the most enthusiastic bear hugs and had the loudest, most contagious laugh that could be heard for miles. He was affectionately known as The Llama Guy and could often be found surrounded by the his beloved animals or out in the community sharing his passion with 4-H kids and the show community. He was a long-time member of Faith Episcopal Church, where he was an usher and member of the Video Team. He attended the Air Force Academy and enjoyed a career in the computer industry. His vibrant, buoyant personality brought joy to his friends and family, and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
Glen Stablefeld, age 92, passed away peacefully on June 23rd in Hughson, CA. Born and raised in Iowa and he worked on the family farm. He played baseball on scholarship in college and was inducted into the Buena Vista University Hall of Fame in Iowa. After serving in the US Army, he resumed his baseball career. He played professionally as a pitcher with the Saint Louis Cardinals (mostly) and Boston Red Sox franchises for eight years. (He even played winter league in Venezuela). After finishing his baseball career, he became a teacher. He taught History and Drivers’ Education, and coached baseball and basketball. He taught for thirty years. He substitute taught many years after his retirement. Glen loved spending time with his family, wife Joretta of 68 years and five children and their families (seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren). He enjoyed fishing, hunting and boating. The family had a houseboat on Lake McClure where there were many family get-togethers water skiing and jet skiing. After Glen retired in 1992, he and his
wife moved to Hughson and established Willow Glen Ranch. He shared his love of animals with Jo. They raised cattle, miniature donkeys and llamas. Their oldest granddaughter, Andrea, showed llamas in the Youth and Open Division. Glen decided he wanted to show as well. And he did quite well. He earned Master Showman and Premier Exhibitor at the California State Fair. They primarily showed in northern California and Nevada.
Robert Jack Pollard, DVM
Long-time llama and alpaca vet, Dr. Rob Pollard passed away April 28, 2023
in Sonora, California. He was preceded in death by his wife Suzi who passed
Dr. Pollard earned his veterinary degree from University of California at Davis
in 1970. As a student making the rounds with Dr. Murray Fowler for the first
time, Rob realized that he would be well served to continue making the rounds
with the man who would become his mentor. He credits Dr. Fowler with
teaching him how to be creative and resourceful when solving health issues
Upon Rob's graduation from UC Davis, the Pollards moved to Sonora, California, and began to rehabilitate injured or ill wildlife. Neighbors to the Pollards acquired llamas, and the new pasture inhabitants just a fence over became the Pollard's new fascination. Once again, he turned to his UC Davis mentor, Dr. Fowler, and Rob intensified his study on camelids. Eventually, Rob was sent to Bolivia to screen potential importations. He trekked all over the countryside and learned a great deal about reproduction and llama medicine from local long-time llama owners.
Over time, Dr. Pollard gained a national reputation for his llama niche, and Suzi became known as a premier savior of at-risk cria and expert on assisting babies with latching onto their mothers in order to nurse. Their personal herd grew to over 60 animals at one point.
Dr. Pollard was frequent speaker on veterinary panels during the years when LANA held its Expo and Cal-ILA held its annual meetings at UC Davis. He became well known for his focus on homeopathic remedies and herbals, most notably his lactation stimulator.
LANA award Dr. Pollard and his wife the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award. He will be missed by many people in the llama community.
Beula Williams passed away peacefully, at the age of 93. Beula had a long and abundant
life filled with many adventures. In high school, she met the love of her life James Williams.
They married at age 19 and in 1949 moved together to California to pursue their dreams.
Beula and Jim raised their five children in Petaluma, California.
In the mid 1970’s Beula was inspired to start raising llamas, being one of the first to import them into the US. Her passion and dedication to the animals became her focus. Her original band of llamas blossomed into Big Trees Llama Farm in Valley Ford, California.
Beula channeled her creative spirit into the land and old farmhouse making Valley Ford their home for decades. Beula hand spun llama wool and was a dedicated knitter. She created works of art through her hand-knitted sweaters, hats, and scarves. Selling her goods became a perfect fit for their country lifestyle. The roadside attraction of Big Trees Llama farm was well known around Sonoma County and to countless travelers to the coast. In 2016 Beula and Jim retired to Petaluma enjoying a simpler life.
Preceded in death by her husband James in 2021, Beula leaves behind her beloved younger sister Mary, her children Dan (Emily), Tom (Caroline), Brian (Lynda), Andy (Shana), and Brenda (Laura), 11 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
Beula and Jim will be laid to rest together in a private ceremony at the Two Rock Presbyterian Church graveyard where they no doubt will still be enjoying the fresh air and beautiful rolling hills. Rest in Peace Beula, it’s been a wonderful inspiring ride! Thanks to the support from Two Rock Church, the quilting group, and the many friends that supported Beula in her life and her art.
May 27, 1930 - June 10, 2023
Linda Lee Beringsmith
SEPTEMBER 5, 1947 – NOVEMBER 29, 2022
Linda Lee Beringsmith, age 75, of Lincoln, California passed away on Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Dolly Gay Peters
7/12/40 - 8/3/21
"I'm a Gazelle"
Dolly Peters was born in Lodi, CA and grew up in Moraga, CA. She was an avid equestrian, riding and competing throughout her youth. Dolly attended Cal-Poly and graduated with honors and went on to be a Med-Tech in the bay area. She has one son, Edward (Kelly) Peters. She was an accomplished real estate broker, having opened and run her own brokerage for over 20 years. She settled in Gardnerville, NV at Rancho Dolly Llama, breeding and raising competition llamas. Dolly bought her first llamas in the mid-1980's. She attended shows around the country and loved being a part of the llama community.
A bright light has been extinguished but Dolly's love of life, her friends and family and her dearly loved llamas are still very much alive within all of those she left behind. She will be greatly missed by many, many people.
Judith Ann Johnson
May 30, 1941 - October 12, 2021
Grass Valley, California - Judy Johnson, of Grass Valley, died the morning of October 12 with family by her side. She had battled COPD for many years.
She leaves behind her husband, of 59 good years, Steve and their four children Brandon(Chris), Kirsten, Suzanne Alonzo(Rod) and Tim(Heather). She also leaves nine grandchildren: Kaitlin, Emily(Cameron), Scotty, Dante, Cameron, Ben, Noah and Aaron(Sharon) and two great-grandchlldren Zooey and Eirik. Judy is also survived by her brothers Tom(Christy) and Tim(Nancy) Goldthwaite.
Judy was born in Sacramento to Chet and Gay Goldthwaite. As a Navy family she and her brothers grew up on the move, living in Norfolk, San Diego and Guam. After Navy life they resettled in Sacramento, where she attended Sacramento High School. During high school she met the love of her life, Steve. They married in 1962 and worked and raised their four children in Modesto. During her years in Modesto, Judy owned and operated The Gift Horse Boutique and Restaurant with two partners Bob Crismon and Belinda Jones and later Bev Haub. She also worked as an administrative assistant for Modesto City Schools until the mid-1990s. In 1991 she embarked on her next adventure starting the Johnson Llama Ranch. She remained active in the Llama Community well into her 70's. Judy was so proud of her family, her years owning the Gift Horse and her years as a llama rancher.
We all miss the nicest person we ever knew, the best friend we ever had and the best wife, Mom and sister we could wish for.
At her request, the family will celebrate her life privately.
James Benjamin Williams
1930 - 3/2/2021
James Benjamin Williams, Cal graduate and long-time Petaluma resident, business owner and llama rancher, died peacefully at the age of 90 on March 2, 2021.
Survived by his loving wife of 71 years, Beula Williams, and his five children, Daniel (Emily), Tom (Caroline), Brian (Lynda), Andy (Shana) and Brenda (Laura), and preceded in death by his mother Emaleen Dickey, and his father Benjamin Williams of Salem Oregon.
An only child, Jim was born and raised in Salem Oregon where he met Beula. Jim was always athletic and never missed an opportunity to ski throughout his life and loved sharing his joy of skiing with his family and friends.
After their marriage in 1950, Jim and Beula moved to Berkeley California where they began their family. Jim worked as a buyer for The Emporium during the early years of their marriage. In 1960, they moved to Petaluma to raise their family and there they started their first women's clothing store in Petaluma, "The Village Shop". The original "Village Shop" grew to four shops in four cities in Sonoma County, plus their fifth shop, "The Calico Cat" in Codding Town. Jim was also active in the Petaluma Rotary for many years and served a term as president.
In 1975, Jim and Beula purchased their first llama and fell in love with the animals. Soon they purchased the old Fowler Ranch in Valley Ford where they lived for 40 years raising and breeding llamas which they sold all over the U.S. as "Big Tree's Llama Ranch".
During the years in Valley Ford, their eleven grandchildren were born and many happy memories created. Jim and Buela began attending the Two Rock Valley Presbyterian Church during this time, where Jim found many ways to serve using his extraordinary people skills. He especially enjoyed starting the tradition of the Ebelskiver breakfast each Mother's Day. In his later years, Jim loved working at Vintage Bank Antiques in the old bank building in downtown Petaluma. No matter where Jim was or what he was doing, Jim loved talking with people.
His friendly manner and kindness endeared him to everyone he met throughout his life. All who were blessed to know Jim will miss his extraordinary personality, thoughtfulness and service to others.
Jim is also survived by his eleven grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
A private service will be held for family at Two Rock Presbyterian Church in the next month. In lieu of flowers, and because they are angels among us, the family asks for donations to Hospice by the Bay, 355 W Napa Street, Suite B, Sonoma, CA. 95476.
Daniel Ernest Russell Milton
FEBRUARY 6, 1939 – JANUARY 4, 2021
Esther Sue Sykes
1950 - 8/26/2018
April 21, 1941 - May 8, 2017
The Llama community lost a long time llama ranch owner, treasured friend, and camelid advocate on 8 May, 2017, when Lora Crawford passed away. This icon of our community often characterized herself simply as "a seeker of knowledge" despite multiple decades of being an active llama owner/breeder, show exhibitor, organizational leader, mentor, teacher and ALSA judge. When Lora was introduced to these fuzzy camelid heart stealers years ago, she was like the rest of us - long on llama love and short on knowledge of llama care, training, handling, breeding and showing. As this "seeker of knowledge", she immersed herself in all things llamas. By attending and participating in open ranch programs, clinics, organizational conferences and expos, sales and ALSA shows, Lora steadily built an expansive knowledge base which she generously shared with others through her mentoring, teaching (formally and informally) and her support and encouragement of llama youth. Lora worked diligently with some of the very first ALSA judges to better understand the nuances of successfully selecting and showing llamas, and acquired her ALSA judging credentials in the process. For decades she was called on to judge ALSA shows all over the country, including the honor of judging at Grand Nationals. Lora stepped up as an active and supportive member of multiple organizations such as the Alpaca and Llama Show Association, International Llama Association, CAL-ILA, and Llama Association of North America to name a few. Her years of dedicated service, leadership by example, teaching, and mentoring were truly significant and much appreciated as evidenced by the prestigious "Pushmi-Pullyu" Award from the ILA, The Murray Fowler Award from CAL-ILA, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from LANA. Lora, we will miss you so much.....You have left your legacy in memories and accomplishments everywhere, and they have been firmly and irrevocably woven into the fabric of this Llama Community. Remember the directions... "Second star to the right and straight on to morning"*.... Isn't that “Bold Venture” and “Sizzling Hot” eating in the lush pasture just on the other side of the rainbow bridge? Your beloved llamas will never leave you... like you will never really leave us.
by Cris Jennings
* Peter Pan directions to Neverland