NORTH FORK — Friends, family and the entire community of North Fork are mourning the loss of a much beloved citizen, Zelda Whitener.
According to friend Mary Lou Barr, Zelda passed away this afternoon after a battle with cancer. She was 87 years old.
“She was a faithful worker in the Thrift Shop at Grace Community Church, and was a delight to work with,” says Mary Lou, who manages the shop. “We will miss her something terrible. She always made me laugh.”
Zelda was born and raised in North Fork, and attended Sierra High School. She was always described as a humble, hardworking person who never looked for praise, but was always deserving of it.
Zelda was nominated for Citizen of the Year on several occasions, but always declined the honor. She would always say she just did what she did because she loved it, and never wanted the spotlight on herself.
She volunteered at the Thrift Store for 30+ years, and helped with the Senior Nutrition Program and the surplus commodities as well as the brown bag program.
Described by friends as always in good spirits, Zelda jumped right in on the heavy lifting, including carrying boxes of food. She also volunteered at the Sierra Mono Museum for over 30 years, helping with classes as well as cooking every year at the Mono Dinner.
Long-time friend Tom Wheeler remembers Zelda as “a beautiful lady.”
“My dad and her husband worked together at the mill,” Tom remembers. “I’ve known her family since we moved here in 1959. She was always gracious, helpful, a great mother and grandmother and a special friend. A lot of people are going to miss her and her smile.”