Obituary: Sydney Willeford

Long time Tahoe local Sid Willeford, 69, passed away peacefully Feb. 15, 2013, after a long battle with Multiple Sclerosis.

Born June 1st 1943, in Tulare, Calif., Sid was the second of three children to parents Milton and Helen Willeford. Raised in Fresno, Calif., he played football and ran track at Fresno High, studied Mathematics at Fresno State University, and served six years in the National Guard. In 1966, Sid moved to Tahoe to go skiing. He soon became a well-known bartender working at the Hearthstone and Bar One, and later managed the bars at Chambers Landing and the Olympic Plaza at Squaw.

He became an experienced carpenter, building many houses in the area including his own where he raised his two sons with first wife, Petie. In 1995, Sid established Fiamma Cucina Rustica in Tahoe City, which he operated for 15 years. The restaurant achieved a loyal customer following, known for its great food and tight-knit, friendly staff. In 2007, he was reunited with and married his high school sweetheart, Donita. Together they moved to Charlottesville, Va. in 2011.

Sid absolutely loved and worshipped these mountains and Lake Tahoe. He cherished and passed on to those around him his intimate relationship with these natural treasures, constantly seeking that feeling, that oneness, that can only be found through adventure in wild places. Always in the purest form possible, he was an avid skier, sailor, fly-fisherman, mountain biker, rock climber, and wanderer.

Known for his charming and outgoing personality, his unwavering trueness and honesty, and his infectious positivity, Sid touched the heart of anyone he came in contact with. He was regarded as a true friend, father figure, and the best boss ever by countless people. Sid really was an amazing person and will truly be missed in this community, but his inspiration to all of us will never be forgotten.

Sydney Willeford is survived by his wife, Donita Jacobson Willeford; sons, Justin and Jamie Willeford; and sisters, Rhetta Hinton and Susan Shirk.

A memorial will be announced. Please send condolences to Donita Willeford at 5816 #2 Meadows Ct, Crozet, VA, 22932. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Jimmy Huega Foundation or The National MS Society.

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