Vincent Mansfield, 73, of Fair Oaks, Calif., and formerly of Merrill, died Dec. 16, 2005, at his home in Fair Oaks after battling lung cancer for nine months.
Vincent was born on a farm outside Sioux City, the youngest of 10 children, six brothers and three sisters. He grew up on the farm and attended the small school located across the field from their house.
Being the only one left at home his parents moved into the city and he attended Trinity Heights High School, a Catholic boys school.
He joined the Air Force at the age of 18 with his parents consent and started his life long love of aircraft. After four years of service, he found a job with a private government contractor. This allowed him to travel throughout the U.S. and Europe going from air base to air base.
During his stay in Dayton, Ohio at Wright Pat AFB, he met fell in love with his wife, Ruth Ann and her son Joe, and after a whirlwind courtship of two months they were married. His family accepted them into their hearts thus began a 46-year loving relationship. They traveled extensively together across the U.S. and ended up in England where Joe attended a school for two years.
He moved to Sacramento from Hawaii, where he found a job with the Army National Guard, causing him to switch his career from fixed wing aircraft to helicopters.
Vince had always been a perfectionist and loved to work. It showed in everything he did, on the job and in his home of 33 years. He loved gardening and dug out and moved many trees.
He tried to teach Ruth how to golf but after awhile finally gave up and told her to take a few lessons. They enjoyed camping and boating with their friends and dogs. They golfed with their friends every Monday and Tuesday, but rarely in the same foursome. They did bowl together on a team, which Ruth said worked out pretty well, especially when Vince stopped giving her advice. This unique relationship lasted for 46 years, which they just celebrated Dec. 4, 2005.
Vince loved his Catholic faith and 10 years ago, with the help of Father Doheny, they had their marriage blessed, one of the happiest days of their lives. Father baptized and confirmed Ruth into the faith and he took both of them into his heart. They attended daily mass and never missed a Sunday mass after that. Due to Vince's illness, they had to quit attending daily mass.
After all the years of his brothers belonging to the Knights, Vince finally joined and became a 4th Degree Knight. He joined the St. Vincent DePaul program and always helped Ruth with her Legion of Mary duties and even helped her clean the church, which was before the Altar Society was formed. He could be called on and enjoyed doing things for the church and people.
He formed his own neighborhood watch. He sat in the front of the house throwing the Frisbee for his dogs, and there were quite a few throughout his life. He would welcome all newcomers into the neighborhood and the children gravitated to him to fix a flat tire on a bike or help them with something. He has seen two generations of children grow up in the neighborhood. His neighbors knew that they could depend on him for help if needed. He was well respected and loved by all.
A Memorial Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 10, 2006, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Ellendale, at rural Merrill. There will be a rosary at 10 a.m. at the church, led by Vince's sister, Donna Beaulieu. A nephew, John Mansfield, will serve as lector/reader at the mass. Internment will follow the mass at St. Joseph's/Ellendale cemetery. A luncheon will follow at the church.