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1916 - 2010 Obituary Condolences

Well known Glenn County farmer, Eugene Schonauer, Sr., passed away in Orland on Nov. 30, 2010, just a few weeks short of his 95th birthday. Gene was born on Jan. 3, 1916 on the family farm east of Orland; the second son of George and Lula Schonauer. He graduated from Orland High School in 1933 and continued to work on the farm until he was drafted in the US Army in 1941.

Before the war, he was fascinated by flying and was taught to fly by local aviation pioneers, the Nolta brothers. While stationed in Portland, Oregon, before Pearl Harbor, he met and married Josephine Pelletier. Shortly thereafter, his troop carrier squadron was shipped overseas to England. He would not return for three years. Jo took the train to Orland after his departure to meet the Schonauer's. She stayed for the duration of the War, working on the farm so she could feel closer to Gene. He participated in the invasion of North Africa, the invasions of Sicily, Italy and Southern France, and also served in India and Burma. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with two clusters for his service.

After the War, he returned home to farm with his father and brothers, but was instilled with a love of travel and adventure. Gene enjoyed deer hunting with his friends, "the Nevada Gang." The Schonauers raised sheep. cattle, turkeys, row crops, orchard crops and rice.

Gene was a life-long member of the First Lutheran Church in Orland, a member of the Orland Volunteer Fire Department, past Director of the Glenn County Fair, Director of the Orland Orange Growers Association and a Farm Bureau member.

Following a long illness, during which he was devoted to her care, his beloved wife, Josephine passed away in 1990. he later married Bonita Hall Dealy, an Orland girl he had dated before the War. He cared for Bonnie during a lengthly illness until her death in 2008.

Gene is survived by his sons, Eugene Jr. "Spike" (Christy) and Charles; granddaughters, Anne (Robert Chang) and Amelia Jane; nephews, Darrell and David Schonauer; nieces, Dyana Winnop and Lynne Baker, and Bonnie's daughters, Joanne and Bonnie Kay. Josephine's sister, Muriel Chapel, also survives. He was predeceased by his parents; brothers, George and Donald, and sister, Jane Johnson.

The family wishes to thank the staff at West Haven for their loving care during the last months of Gene's life.

A Memorial Service will be held at the First Lutheran Church, 19 Colusa Street, Orland, CA at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 6, 2010.

Donations may be made to First Lutheran Church, Orland, CA or to the charity of your choice.
Published in Chico Enterprise-Record on Dec. 2, 2010
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