Jeff Jardine

December 2, 2013

Jeff Jardine: Same hometowns, decades apart for Oakdale foster children

From the emails and voicemails, beginning with follow-up of Thanksgiving Day column on reunion of foster brothers two weeks before one of them passed.

From the emails, voicemails and other sources:

SMALL WORLD, INDEED – My Thanksgiving Day column told the story of Oakdale resident Baron McDonald, who was able to reconnect with long-lost foster brother Jack Sutton just days before Sutton’s death Nov. 19 in Arizona.

The column generated a call Monday from Janet Frisk, also of Oakdale. She saw the photo accompanying the column and recognized the Sutton brothers, Jack and Jimmy. They had lived with her family as foster kids in Oakdale in the early 1960s before moving on to another home. She never knew where.

“They were our family’s first foster children,” she said. In fact, mom Mary and dad Harry Frisk took in at least six foster children over the years, Janet said.

McDonald and Jack Sutton lived in the same foster homes in Vacaville and then Santa Rosa from 1964 until 1972. McDonald knew that Jack Sutton had been in the foster system for several years, but never knew where the Sutton boys had been before he met them. If it ever came up when they were like brothers growing up in Santa Rosa, McDonald didn’t recall the conversation after so many years. Nor did Jack mention it during their visit in Tucson early in November, which came at a time when Sutton was in failing health and only two weeks from his death. It was the first time they’d seen each other since 1972.

McDonald moved to Modesto in the early 1973, got married, started a family and has lived in the Cowboy Capital since the 1990s. He and Frisk chatted briefly about the Sutton boys on Monday.

“Look’s like Jack lived here in Oakdale for a little while,” McDonald said.

GUN (COLUMN) TRAFFICKING – On Nov. 14, I wrote about a couple south of Oakdale who shot an intruder – so persistent that he broke into their house three separate times in a matter of minutes – finally taking a bullet for an answer. He survived and faces numerous criminal charges. The column led website traffic on for most of the next week.

Sunday, the column suddenly resurfaced as the most read story on our website and still topped the list as of Monday afternoon. To date, it’s had more than 149,000 page views, no doubt linked by pro- or anti-gun folks. At some point Sunday, someone came across the column again and linked it to others or groups as if it were new. The same thing happened several years ago, with a Bee story on Scott Peterson being regurgitated two years after it originally appeared in the print and online editions. It, too, rose to No. 1 that day.

BOOK ON EVERY BED – An effort driven by Modestans George and Marie Bairey will kick into gear this week when members of the North Modesto Kiwanis and the Mid-Valley Chevy Club converge on Enslen Elementary School to pick up books students there have collected for needy children. A half-dozen street rods will meet at the school at 11 a.m. Friday. The students collected more than 500 books, a mix covering ages 5 to 18. Working from a list of needy families, supplied by area schoolteachers, the club members will include the books in boxes containing complete Christmas dinners to be delivered later this month, said Don Wood, a member of both clubs. The goods will be distributed later in the month.

WEATHER OR NOT – Warnings for a 29-degree low temperature tonight come at a time when Sonora Pass (Highway 108) remained open into the first week of December. It closed Monday afternoon. And there’s no significant rain in the forecast here in the Valley, while Southern California got some last week. Hmm. ... Even the staunchest global warming/climate change disbelievers might have tor rethink their disdain for science if Gov. Jerry Brown pushes through his tunnel-under-the-delta plan – to ship water from L.A. to us.

AUTHOR! AUTHOR! – Dan Galt is the author of “Peach Fuzz,” a self-published book about his life in agriculture, including a two-year stint with the Peace Corps in Brazil. Galt will retire next year after 22 years as director of research at Hulst Research Farm Services in Hughson. The book’s jacket reads: “Laced with humor and hyperbole, this memoir is sure to entertain you while you learn more than you thought you could ever know about the process of pickin’ peaches.” It is available for $15.99 at

IN MEMORY – In 2011, I wrote about Ramona Saben, the longtime owner of Salty’s Record Attic on Ninth Street. At the time, she was fighting cancer, but she rebounded and actually returned to work. She opened the store in 1975, and it continues to be the place to go for vintage vinyl and tapes. The cancer came back, though. Saben died Sunday, daughter Kathleen Hansen said. She was 78.

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