It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Cleone Rae (Conner) Monson.

In January of 2023, Cleone was diagnosed with leukemia and she passed away at home in Eureka, on March 26, 2024 with her husband Tom Monson at her side, just two days after their 23rd anniversary.

Cleone was born on June 26, 1947 at the old hospital in Scotia. She was raised in Rio Dell, attended Rio Dell Grammar School and graduated from Fortuna High School in 1965. After high school, she worked at Daly’s department store in Fortuna for a few years, eventually moving to Eureka and working as a sales clerk for Value Giant.

Cleone is probably best remembered for her years as a Frito-Lay driver. In 1978, she was hired as the only female route driver/delivery person for Frito-Lay in Northern California. It was a job she truly enjoyed, meeting so many different people over the course of her career, and fit her outgoing personality to perfection. She created long lasting friends and relationships with other drivers, her customers, store employees, and the general public. It seemed that everyone knew “Cleone the Frito driver.” This included a friendly meat cutter named Tom Monson, from the Eureka Safeway. The saying “she never met a stranger” certainly applied to her. While Cleone retired from Frito-Lay in 2002, after 24 years of service, she continued to work various jobs in order to stay busy, meet new people and make new friends. Far and away her favorite, was working with her kitchen crew at Pacific Union Elementary School, and getting to be with Makenzi each day.

In 2000, some 20 years after first meeting, a chance run in with Tom, the friendly meat cutter from Safeway proved to be a turning point in Cleone’s life, and she and Tom began dating. They were quick to realize they had something special, and in March 2001, Cleone and Tom Monson were married in Reno. From that point, until she passed, were the happiest times of her life. Tom and Cleone were an inseparable team, doing everything together, and enjoying every minute. Both retiring early, they went camping, fishing, golfing and traveled the western U.S. for 17 years together; always laughing, joking and teasing one another. Tom eventually taught her the basic and finer points of golf. She admitted she wasn’t very good at the game, but they had a great time playing. Cleone and Tom were always having fun and smiling together — a sight that will be sorely missed.

Cleone was predeceased by her father, Kenneth (Bill) Conner, her mother and stepfather, Marguerite and Orlando Micheli, her brother Angelo Micheli, and her step-daughter Heidi Monson. She is survived by her husband Tom Monson, stepson Cameron (Nichole) Monson and family, and beloved granddaughter Makenzi Watkins; her brother Andrew Conner and family; sisters Neferti Kinser, Charmaine LaPrelle, Bettina Chittenden and their families; as well as her favorite aunt, Mary Rovai, and her family. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Hospice of Humboldt in Cleone’s name. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date, details to be determined. So for now, please enjoy a beverage of your choosing with a friend or loved one, share some laughs, and give a toast to Cleone. She was certainly one of a kind, and loved immensely. Goodbye, Cleoney Baloney - we all love you and miss you more than you know. I will leave you with these final words from her husband Tom.

“She was my best friend and the love of my life. I will miss her forever.”


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Cleone Monson’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.