Vanda Joseph Boutté III died peacefully at Mercy Medical Center in Redding, California, on May 15, 2018, of liver cancer. He was 63 years old.
Vanda was born in Oakland, California. He graduated from Del Valle High School in Walnut Creek, California, in 1973. After high school, Vanda enlisted in the Coast Guard and was stationed in Alameda, New York, Michigan, and Alaska. Vanda had many jobs after his service in the Coast Guard, but his passion was making music.
Music followed Vanda (and Vanda followed music) for the rest of his life. From piano lessons in Mrs. Berry’s living room, to playing clarinet in the Del Valle High School Band, and on to many other bands and venues including “Wreckless Pleasure” and Channel Six with David Rogers; Roberta Flack in San Francisco; Jazz at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley; “The Last Alliance”; the “Last Call” band; “One World – One Rhythm” Reggae Conference; the “Dead Hecklers”; plus countless electrifying jam sessions. For the past 15 years, Vanda played keyboards for the “Blackwell Brothers” band alongside Debbie Blackwell and his “band brothers” Harry Blackwell, Leroy Mathwig, Mark Carnes, and Martin Boys.
In music and friendship, Vanda always showed up. Vanda will forever be remembered for his caring personality and a smile that lit up the room. He was a kind soul, loyal friend, sweet, gentle, a radiant presence, selfless, uplifting, and a loving spirit. Vanda saw the good in everyone he met. He was an awesome cook and had a talent for using every pot and pan in the kitchen. Vanda loved the peace and natural beauty of Mt. Shasta.
Vanda is survived by his mother, Barbara Jean Johnson; his younger sister, Michelle, and five younger brothers, Ronald, Stephen, Jerry, Kawika, and Eric; grandson, Zachary Franet; granddaughter, Sage Franet-Selvan; many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews; “adopted” daughters, Serenity and Harmony Star and Patience Rossi; and fiancée, Nora Crawford DeWinter. Vanda was preceded in death by his grandparents; father; daughter, Jennifer Eve Franet; and “Big Kitty.”
Vanda’s family is infinitely grateful to: the amazing care by the nurses, aides, and doctors at Mercy Medical Center, Oncology Unit, especially Nan, Teri, Kim, Theresa, Lance, Lindsey, and Michele; Valerie Jones, MPA, a true angel disguised as a Notary Public; Nora Crawford DeWinter, who faithfully remained at Vanda’s side; Patience for lovingly selecting music to help Vanda cross over to eternity; Leroy, a loyal friend, who shared much of Vanda’s Mt. Shasta life and bore reverent witness to his final breath; and Zachary, Sage, and Joan Franet for tenderly praying a farewell blessing over Vanda after his passing.
A private interment will be held at the Northern California Veteran’s Cemetery in Igo, California. Friends and family are invited to a Celebration of Vanda’s Life to be held at the Main Lodge in Mt. Shasta City Park on August 3, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. Please share memories of Vanda on the Allen & Dahl Funeral Chapel website (allenanddahl.com, Obituaries, Vanda Joseph Boutté III). In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Siskiyou Humane Society (530-926-4052; siskiyouhumane.org).