On Saturday, February 2, 2019 Flora ‘Jean’ Werly passed away peacefully at her
daughter’s home in Fresno. This last November her family and many friends
celebrated her 99th Birthday, and a life well lived. Jean was a great communicator
and storyteller. At the age of 93 she realized her biggest personal accomplishment by
completing her book A Tent by the Creek. She had a deep love for the the Sierras,
and felt most at home in nature, spending her golden years at the family ranch with
the love of her life, Clyde Werly. Truly an example of the “Greatest Generation”, she
followed her heart in all matters, and had the bravery to dare go wherever it led.
Born in Compton, CA, on Nov. 25 th, 1919, she grew up a “city girl”, but a trip
to the Sierra Mountains in 1939 changed the trajectory of her life forever. There,
surrounded by evergreen forests and the majesty of granitic peaks, she met the love
of her life, Jess ‘Clyde’ Werly. By the next fall, they were married. Her love for the
mountains was nearly as inevitable as her love for Clyde, and despite her suburban
upbringing, she took to it like a trout to a stream. She was at home there, and
anyone who visited her and Clyde could see proof that “home is where your heart is”,
even if that home was a tiny Forest Service tent-cabin.
She would live the majority of her life in the Sierra Mountains and foothills,
first at the Westfall Ranger Station (formerly called Miami Ranger Station), then
Mariposa, North Fork and Oakdale, ultimately retiring with Clyde to the Werly family
ranch in Bailey Flats near Raymond. Clyde’s maternal grandparents Isabel & Fremont
Westfall had homesteaded in the area in 1895, and his parents settled a mile down
the road to the ranch where he grew up. The postwar years brought many changes,
most welcome of which being the addition of their two daughters to the family. It
was important to Jean that both of her girls were born in the very small hospital in
Yosemite. Jean was always active in the girls lives, as a Brownie Scout and Girl Scout
leader, P.T.A. member and Room Mother. She was always an active church member.
She attended the Community Church in North Fork, The United Methodist Churches in
both Oakdale and Mariposa. After Clyde’s death in 1994, Jean was able to stay on at
the ranch with help from family and friends but she managed to do a large share of
the work herself. She fed cattle, delighted in her flower garden, and tended after
the orange orchard. She sold the yearly crops to neighbors, friends and the local
health food store. She laughed at the idea that some local folks referred to her as
the ‘Orange Lady.’
She is preceded in death by her parents Ralph and Pearl Brown and her half
brother Robert Carlisle Brown of Long Beach, and her husband Jess ‘Clyde’ Werly Jr.
of Raymond, CA. Her survivors include her daughters Carolyn Werly Wilder of
Raymond, Virginia Werly Sharp of Fresno, her grandson Elijah Werly Klein of Fresno.
Memorial services will be Saturday March 23rd at 11:00 at the Mariposa United
Methodist Church 4991 Sixth St., Mariposa, CA 95338.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to the following:
Mariposa Museum and History Center, Inc., PO Box 606, Mariposa, CA
Donations are tax deductible, as the Museum is a 501c3 non-profit.