Riva Jeanne Linn Lee Stadtler passed away Dec. 15th, 2016 at her home in Oakdale after a long hard battle with cancer. She was 83. She was born August 1, 1933 in Streator Illinois to Anna Caroline (Seiller) and Millard Fillmore Linn. She was the youngest of six children, four girls and two boys, all of whom preceded her in death. She and her family moved to Turlock California when she was 10 years old. Riva sang in the Glee Club in school and belonged to the Turlock Horseman’s Club. She was very active in the Turlock Cavaliers Drill Team, riding Earl Bradley’s horse Dixie. The group, under the leadership of Earl, traveled and performed in rodeos and events all over California, taking home many trophies. Riva graduated from Turlock High School in 1951. She married Irwin Lee and they became farmers in the Ballico area. In addition, Riva worked as a bookkeeper for Phil and Lois Stadtler. They had two daughters, Sheryl, and Kathy. In 1963, they bought property in Denair where Riva continued working as a bookkeeper and obtained her Real Estate License and sold real estate. She enjoyed camping, fishing, metal detecting and traveling the back roads. She was very skilled at using a metal detector, experiencing many adventures while roaming the United States. She and her husband Irwin were both honored by being chosen to lead an elite group of metal detector operators aiding the park system in searching The Custer Battlefield on the Little Big Horn in Montana for artifacts and undiscovered bodies. Riva found the first intact Cavalry spur, and over the course of the archeological dig many more historically significant finds. They covered the battle field three seasons in a row, detecting artifacts and bones which the park system documented and removed to their final resting place. In semi-retirement, the couple became part of the Snowbird crowd traveling back and forth between their home in Quartsite AZ for the winter months to their lakefront property in Eagle Lake CA, where they prowled the lake every day for big trout. Riva, with her mischievous grin and happy personality, made good friends wherever she went and enjoyed spending time with them. Riva and Irwin were married for 56 years before Irwin died in 2007. In 2009 Riva married Phil Stadtler. They enjoyed two years together before Phil’s death in 2011. Riva’s life revolved around family and friends and helping others. She served as a caregiver for her Mother Anna, Father Phil, two sisters, Annetta and Lois, brother Lloyd, and husbands Irwin and Phil, before their deaths. She loved dancing, singing, playing cards with her card group, social events, outdoor activities, and spending time with her grandkids and nieces and nephews. She kept in touch with and supported all of her extended family and friends in their endeavors. She was a rock that our whole family leaned on. Riva is survived by her daughters Sheryl Powell of Oakdale, and Kathy (Frank) Bengoa, of Eden Valley Nevada, grandchildren Travis Powell, Dallas Powell, Ross (Brandy) Bengoa, Colleen (Barak) Freeman, great grandchildren Kail Bengoa, and soon to be born baby girl Bengoa, Jett Freeman, and soon to be born baby boy Freeman, and many nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, sister-in-laws and brother-in-law, all of whom she loved dearly. Graveside services will be January 6, 10 a.m., at Turlock Memorial Park. Friends and family are invited to a Memorial Service in her honor at the Oakdale Rodeo Grounds in Oakdale CA on January 6 at 1 p.m. Lunch will be served. Donations may be made in Riva’s memory to Community Hospice, 2201 Euclid Ave., Hughson CA 95326.
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
Jan. 4, 2017