Obituaries for the week of 1/23/18

Robert McKay-Draughon

Robert “Robby” D. McKay-Draughon, 28, of Oroville, California, passed from this world on Jan. 5, 2018. He was born Nov. 30, 1989 in Paradise, California. Robby graduated from Diamond Mountain Charter School in Susanville in 2008. Robby is survived by his two sons, Logan, 8, and Mason, 6; his parents, Robert and Lisa Draughon, Rick Williams and Tim McKay; his brother, Tim Draughon; his niece, Layla; and countless aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Robby loved working with his hands and spent a lot of time working alongside Logan and Mason on their bicycles, RC cars and building forts. Robby will be remembered most by family and friends for his big heart.

The family will be having a private service for family and friends. The family would like to say a special thanks to the Oroville and Susanville communities for all the support and condolences they have received.




Violet Sella

Violet Sella passed away Jan. 11, 2018 at the age of 89. She was born March 17, 1928 in Susanville, California to Patrick and Mary Micone. Violet married Harry Sella on July 5, 1947 and celebrated 63 years of marriage before he passed in 2010.

Violet is survived by three daughters, Mary Ann (Ed) Murin, Patty Miles and Emily (Jack) Charter; six grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister, Eva Pearl, of Reno, and numerous nieces and nephews.








Gwen Shelden
Gwenith Wilhelmina (Hewitt) Shelden, of Susanville, passed away peacefully at Banner Lassen Hospital on Jan. 10, 2018, at the age of 91. She was the oldest daughter of John Hewitt and Beulah (Burt) Hewitt. She had eight siblings, four brothers and four sisters.

Gwen was born Aug. 9, 1926, in Levin, New Zealand, where she grew up on a dairy farm. During World War II, U.S. Marines, fresh from battles in the South Pacific, camped near the farm to rest and recuperate. There she met Fred Shelden and fell in love. They wrote letters for four years, until the war was over, and he could send for her in 1947. She traveled alone by ship and by train to Nebraska to reunite, marry and start a family. They soon had three boys, Fred, John and Bruce.

Fred was in construction, and the family moved many times until Gwen finally said ‘’enough.” Huntington Beach, California, became their permanent home. There, Gwen worked as a school bus driver for 23 years. Upon retirement, they moved to Hereford, Arizona, where Fred passed in 1981.

Gwen later moved to Susanville in 1988, where she could be near two of her sons and four of her grandchildren. She was active in the Methodist Church, Monticola Club, and the Hospital Auxiliary.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Fred W. Shelden; her son, Bruce A. Shelden; brothers, Jack Hewitt, Ronald Hewitt, and Trevor Hewitt; and sisters, Ellen Hewitt and Nancy Trussler.

Gwen is survived by her sons, Fred D. Shelden (Kathy) and John A. Shelden; grandchildren, Nancy Johnston, Melissa Rhodes (Nate), Heather Carroll (Brian), Alex Shelden (Erin), and Rebecca Hodges (Ray); brother, Wallace Hewitt, of New Zealand; sisters, Shirley Davis (Keith), and Myra Campbell (Brian), both of New Zealand; and 14 great grandchildren.

Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 27 at Eagle Lake Village. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to your favorite charity in Gwen’s name.

Troy Helton

Troy Helton was born in Chester, California, May 11, 1966 and graduated from Chester High School in 1984. He married Cindy Heeszel Dec. 21, 1985. They have two daughters, Carolina Martin, who has three sons, Wade, Eli and Colter; and Sherill Johnson, who has one daughter, Parker. He is survived by his dad, Russ Weston, and sister, April Ackley.

Troy started his career with the Department of Corrections in 1991. He worked there for 25 years as a correctional officer, sergeant and correctional counselor.

Troy was a very loving husband, father and grandpa. He was very active in his church, Honey Lake Assembly, as a drummer with the worship team and with the Band of Brothers. He really loved fishing, but especially enjoyed taking people out fishing. Troy loved to help people in any way he could.

Troy passed away Jan. 9, 2018 at Renown Hospital from complications due to the combination of the flu and pneumonia. He was greatly loved and will be missed by many.

If anyone would like to make donations in his name, please make them to the Crossroads Ministry in Susanville.


Billy Joe West Sr.

Long time Lassen County resident Billy Joe (BJ) West Sr. passed away on Saturday Jan. 20, 2018 at Renown Hospital in Reno, Nevada. BJ was born to Verda May (Easterling) West and Virgil (Buddy) West, in Kingsland, Arkansas Aug. 8, 1939. He came to Lassen County in 1941 where he resided in Westwood, Herlong, Johnsonville, Susanville and Standish, over the 76 years he resided in Lassen County. He graduated from Lassen High School in 1958.

BJ was a mechanic for 60 years working for White’s Service Station, Richfield Arco, Marty’s Chevron and Jackson Service Center in Susanville and finished his career as a mechanic for the Lassen County Road Department. BJ also held jobs at Sierra Pacific Mill and Sierra Army Depot in 60’s.

BJ married his high school sweetheart, Ledora (Lea) May (Vindhurst) West, on Nov. 30, 1959 and they were married for 53 years until Lea’s passing in January 2013.

Family was the most important thing to BJ and Lea, as evidenced by their large family of three children, nine grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren.

BJ was proceeded in death by his father Virgil West; Mother, Verda May (Easterling) Chittock; sisters, Linda Jane (West) McAllister and Ladonna (Young) Westfall and his wife, LeDora May (Vindhurst) West.

He is survived by his brother, Jerry West; his children, Pamela Jay (West) Graham, Billy Joe West Jr., and Brenda Marie (West) Poteete, as well as his nine grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, at the Honey Lake Valley Grange located at 472-690 Theatre Rd., Johnsonville, CA. Anyone who knew and loved BJ is welcome to attend.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Lassen Sportsman’s Club Youth Fishing Derby in memory of BJ West at


John Richard Batson

Greenville native John Richard Batson passed from this life Monday evening, Jan. 15, 2018, at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, Nevada, following a courageous five-year battle with cancer. His loving family was at his side.

Born in his father’s hospital on Sept. 26, 1945, to Dr. Wilbur and Bertha (Boring) Batson, John was raised and educated in Greenville, graduating from Greenville High School as a member of the Class of 1963. He went on to further his education at the University of Pacific before joining the military in March of 1966 as a member of the U.S. Army. John volunteered for duty in Vietnam serving two tours and was awarded a bronze star for his valor.

Upon his honorable discharge in 1970, John soon settled with his family in Tacoma, Washington, and began what became a 25-year career as a manager with Service Master Industrial Cleaning retiring in 2012. Following his retirement, he returned “Home” to Greenville, later meeting Sarah Wilson Ray. The couple was united in matrimony at a ceremony in Alturas, in August of 2016.

John attended the Indian Valley Community Church, was a proud member of the Indian Valley American Legion Post 568. He enjoyed volunteering in the community especially at the Indian Valley Food Pantry.

In his passing, he is survived by his wife Sarah Wilson Batson, of Susanville; daughters, Mary Batson Shero, of Lacey, Washington, Stephanie Batson, of Barton Mills, England; son David Batson, of Olympia, Washington; sister and her husband, Linda and Guy McNett, of Indian Falls; brother Jim Batson, of Sacramento; and was the proud grandfather to Brendan, Colin, Gretel and Philippa.

A gathering was held Thursday evening, Jan. 18, at the family home, 222 Grand Street in Greenville. Private services will take place at the graveside in the Greenville District Cemetery next to his parents.

An opportunity to express condolences to the family along with signing the memorial guest register is available online at The family asks that any remembrances in John’s memory be made to either the Indian Valley Food Pantry or the Indian Valley Thrift Store c/o Fehrman Mortuary and Crematory, P.O. Box 803, Greenville, CA 95947.