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Ex-mayor Guy Wharton dies at 90
Guy Durrell Wharton, the former mayor of Ceres who enjoyed playing fiddle with the Ceres Old Time Fiddlers Association, died last week. He was 90.

Wharton served as Ceres mayor from 1964 to 1966 between the administration of Walter White and Gene Robirds. Up until his Dec. 9 death he was the oldest living mayor of Ceres.

A funeral service will be held today at 1 p.m. at the Ceres Chapel of Franklin & Downs.

Mr. Wharton had been struggling with Alzheimer's Disease in recent years.

"He was a real nice guy," recalled former fire chief Truman Showen. "He was really interested in the community and its welfare."

Showen remembered how Wharton, who was a volunteer fireman when Showen became chief in 1958, would come by to offer tips on use of the fire engine.

"He sort of helped me through the ropes. He showed me how the water flows in the truck and helped me with the training. He was really helpful in lots of ways and stopped in after work and see how I was doing."

In 1961 Wharton was appointed to the Ceres City Council to fill the unexpired term of Ches Ludden's seat after Ludden was appointed as city administrator. He was later selected to be the mayor.

Wharton helped develop Ceres' first-ever general plan which mapped out how the city of approximately 5,600 residents was to expand towards Hatch Road. As a result of the 1964 document many new homes were built stretching between Whitmore Avenue and Hatch Road.

During his term the city began negotiations to acquire the private water company operated by Anthony Vincent. The city eventually acquired the company in 1969 - after he stepped down as mayor - at a cost of $300,000.

Wharton expressed frustration that the council could do afford to do many things to improve Ceres because the money wasn't available. The city was so financially strapped that plans to widen Whitmore Avenue from two to four lanes occurred decades after he left office.

A native of Rataan, Okla., where he was born on Aug. 3, 1920 as one of three children, Mr. Wharton first moved to Ceres in 1946 with wife Dorris after spending six years in the Navy as a first class motor machinist. He told the Courier in 1993 that he enlisted in the Navy "before the Army got to me first." Wharton chose Ceres because his parents made their home here in 1942 and built one of the first homes on Tenth Street.

Wharton made three war patrols while serving aboard submarines off the coast of Japan. On Dec. 7, 1941 Wharton was aboard the cruiser USS Salt Lake City about 200 miles south of Honolulu, Hawaii, when the ship learned of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. His ship was bound for the harbor to restock on fuel and ammunition and arrived in the devastated harbor at night. Wharton said he and his seamen were aghast to see the devastation of the harbor by moonlight, noting "debris was scattered all over the bay. It was just terrible." Wharton's ship left Pearl Harbor before daybreak on Dec. 8 to avoid any possible attacks from Japanese submarines.

After the war Wharton found work at the Caterpillar dealership in Modesto.

He didn't run for re-election in 1966 because his job with the Holt Brother's Caterpillar dealership in Stockton required a lot of traveling and he no longer had the time to devote to running a city. But a year he accepted an appointment to the Stanislaus County Planning Commission because he believed Ceres and other smaller cities were not being well represented.

Wharton retired from Caterpillar in 1982. Wharton filled his retirement years with golf and serving as a trustee on the Ceres Cemetery board of directors. He also was a member of the Masonic Smyrna Lodge #532 and Scottish Rites of Stockton.

He leaves his wife of 64 years, Ethel Dorris Wharton; his brother, Morris A. Wharton; three nephews, Michael Woodraell, Stacy D. Wharton and Brian Wharton; and a niece, Donna Metheny.