One of the most important positions on the staff of the Feather River Lumber Company is that of timber boss, which is held by Ray Dondero, who is discharging his duties in a very capable and satisfactory manner. He was born in Tuolumne County, California, on the 22nd of December, 1899, and is a son of Victor and Amelia (Page) Dondero. His paternal grandfather, Lewis Dondero, was a native of Italy, whence he immigrated to San Francisco, California, in 1849. Later he moved to Tuolumne County in the early mining days and there became well-to-do, operating five or six hydraulic flumes. In about 1907 he retired and moved to San Francisco, where his death occurred in 1927, at the age of eighty-nine years. He was a well known figure in the Old Men’s Club of that city. Victor Dondero was also a miner and his death occurred in 1925. He is survived by his widow, who still lives in the Dondero home in Tuolumne County. They became the parents of six children, of whom Ray is the oldest.
Ray Dondero attended the public schools of Tuolumne County and had two years’ work in the Sonora high school. During the World War he enlisted in the United States Merchant Marine, and went into training at San Francisco. He was assigned to the transport service and served on the Forster. Under convoy, he made three round trips across the Atlantic, and on his last trip was on a merchant ship, carrying provisions from San Francisco to Neufchatel, Germany, landing the cargo at the seaport town of Danzig. This shipment helped to relieve the starving people in the war stricken countries after the armistice. He also helped to carry food to Poland, sailing through the North Sea, the Kiel Canal, and the Baltic Sea, and took a cargo of rice and wheat from Port Costa, in Contra Costa County, California to Danzig. He made voyages to South America and overhauled a number of marine engines in South American ports, sometimes when the heat in the engine room was almost unbearable. Mr. Dondero was honorably discharged from the United States Shipping Board in New York City, on July 5, 1919. He at once returned to Tuolumne County, where he worked for eleven months in the mines of the Springfield Development Company at Columbia. He next went to work for the Standard Lumber Company, at Standard, this state, where he rose to be hook tender. His next connection was with the Yosemite Lumber Company, at Merced Falls, this state, where he remained for five years, during which he was advanced to the position of camp foreman. From there he went to the Northern Redwood Lumber Company, at Korbel, Humboldt County, after which he put in a year in the state of Washington, where he worked on the Hood Canal for the Webb Logging Company. That concern soon closed down, after which Mr. Dondero came to the Feather River Lumber Company and has ever since held the exacting position of timber boss. In this capacity he has charge of Camp No. One, which is located about twelve miles north of the company’s great sawmills at Delleker. This mill produces two hundred and forty thousand feet of lumber every twenty-four hours, and has been run steadily all summer, despite the fact that a number of large mills in this part of California have either shut down or have greatly curtailed their output this year (1930).
Mr. Dondero was married in Eureka, California, to Miss Lila Foese, who was born in the state of Michigan, and was employed as a stenographer prior to her marriage. They reside at Camp No. One, where Mr. Dondero is in charge of eighty men. Mr. Dondero is a member of the Knights of Pythias and the Dramatic Order of Knights of Khorassan. His political alignment is with the Republican Party. He is a man of strong personality, understands every detail of the lumber business and is one of his company’s most valuable employees. Since his discharge from the United States Shipping Board he has lost but three days’ time and in every position held by him has given thorough satisfaction, being very highly regarded by all for whom he has worked and commanding the respect of the men under him.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.