WILLIAM CAMPBELL McNARY
William Campbell McNary, a member of a pioneer family of California, was born at Colusa, March 20, 1886. His father, J. D. McNary, a native of Madisonville, Kentucky, came to Colusa County as a young man and there married Rhetta Deter, a native of Yolo County, who with her parents moved from their farm home near Cacheville, when she was a child, to the Deter ranch north of Colusa where she grew to womanhood. Mr. and Mrs. J. D. McNary are still prominent in the business and social activities of Colusa County, in which they have been a factor for over fifty-five years.
Reared in Colusa County, William C. McNary pursued his studies in the Colusa high school, leaving to accept a position in a sawmill and logging camp near Truckee. Starting at the bottom, he gradually mastered the various phases of the industry, and advanced until he attained a position of prominence, while later he became an operator on his own account. He saw the closing of the sawmill activities at Truckee, was identified with the development of a modern mill at Oroville, and saw Quincy and Plumas county become a prominent and prosperous lumber community while he was engaged there. In 1916 Mr. McNary developed and managed the operation of the Western Lumber Company at Loyalton, which was concluded in 1922. Following his experience as an operator of sawmill and logging enterprises, he moved to San Francisco where he became identified with the promotion of sawmill and timber developments. He was instrumental in bringing some of the most prominent lumbermen of the then fast depleting southern timber states to California to continue lumber manufacturing.
The boyhood days of Mr. McNary were spent in play and work as most boys do. His work was to help his father, at that time coroner and the only funeral director in Colusa County, and as his only assistant, William Campbell gained a knowledge of the details of that business, so that when he left home to make his way in the world, he was qualified in every department of funeral work. Due to the fact that compensation for assistants in this line of work was small, he chose another field for his efforts. However, during the winter of 1907-08 when industry generally was pursuing a cautious step, he had a few months at his disposal which he used in improving his understanding of the scientific requirements of a metropolitan funeral director. Mr. McNary went to Chicago and took a course in the Barnes School of Sanitation and Embalming, and through the school’s contact with the most prominent firms of that great city he gained an experience which he is now applying in Woodland as the proprietor of a modern funeral home. While in Chicago, he was urged to give up his studies and to return to his former lumber work in California, which industry he continued to follow until July, 1929.
At that time the McNary’s moved to Woodland as the successors to the Wilson Funeral Home, an institution which is the outgrowth of half a century of continuous and appreciated service in Yolo County. His establishment is one of the most modern in the west, and its location at Lincoln Avenue and College Street is among the city’s most attractive corners.
Mrs. McNary was Miss Louise Tibbetts of Colusa, and like Mr. McNary, she represents a pioneer family of California. Her father, George Winship Tibbetts, was born in Bath, Maine, the son of a farmer. He came to California as a youth, and by a strange incident was greeted at the old Colusa House door by the man who later became the father of a son, who is now the husband of a daughter of that guest. Mr. Tibbetts grew up in the hardware business with his uncle, J. Grover at Colusa. There he married a native daughter of another of California’s pioneers, Mollie Perdue, whose parents were Mr. and Mrs. Walter (Watt) Perdue, early settler of Colusa County. During the childhood of Mrs. McNary, her parents spent several years in Woodland where Mr. Tibbetts was associated with the late Marshall Diggs. At that time Mrs. McNary attended school here, forming many childhood friendships which have been revived after years of absence. She is a graduate of the university of California and active in the club and social life of Woodland.
Mr. McNary was elected coroner of Yolo County in 1930. He is a member of the Woodland Lodge, No. 156, F. & A. M., Woodland Lodge, No. 1299, B. P. O. E., and the Lions Club of Woodland.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.