Karl Knobelauch, President

I spent my grade school years in Omaha, Nebraska where I was born.  My family moved to the suburbs of San Francisco when I was entering junior high school.  While attending Sacramento State College I met my wife Patty, who is a fifth generation member of an Ione farming family.  We married after college and lived in Novato, California.  We moved to the family farm outside of Ione in 1981.  In 2006 I retired after a thirty-seven year career in local law enforcement.

During the last thirty years of living in Ione the Preston Castle has been the iconic symbol of Ione’s history.  I see the Preston Castle from the back of my house and every time I drive into Ione.  After I retired I decided that I wanted to give some of my time to preserving the Preston Castle, so that future generations will be able to see the place where California started to bring a better future for youthful offenders. 

Karl serves on the Events, Finance, Site Development, Bylaws, and Kitchen Committees.

Jerry Funderburgh, Vice President

I was born and raised in Southern California , and received my bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and an MBA from Santa Clara University . I lived in the San Jose area for 35 years, working as a high tech executive in Silicon Valley

To enjoy the small town lifestyle, my wife and I retired and moved to Ione in 2005. We both see the Preston Castle as the preeminent landmark in Amador county and want to do what we can to help preserve, restore, and rehabilitate it into a functional and useful facility.

Jerry serves on the Marketing, Finance, Site Development, and By-laws Committees.

Barbara Murray, Treasurer

I was born in Sacramento so I am a native California girl.  When my maternal great grandfather came to the United States from Yugoslavia, he settled in Plymouth and worked in the mines. My family has a long history in the Sacramento and Amador Counties area. 

In 1981, my husband and I relocated our family from the bay area to Pioneer.  When we left the bay area, I was a clerk typist at an elementary school in Santa Clara County.   After several months of living in Pioneer, I took a job as an instructional aide at Sutter Creek Elementary School.    My career with Amador County Schools lasted 31 years.  The aide position led to a secretarial position and after 5 years, I moved to the district office as administrative assistant for Business Services.  Ten years later, I was promoted to Director of Fiscal Services and then served as Assistant Superintendent of Business Services until my retirement in 2010.

The opportunity to serve as Treasurer for the Preston Castle Foundation has come my way.  It is a wonderful opportunity to work with dedicated people and to work towards the restoration of beautiful and historic Preston Castle.  I am proud to be a part of this great endeavor.

Barbara serves on the Finance Committee.



Jamie Armstrong, Secretary

I have been involved with Preston Castle since 2014, starting with the Halloween Haunt. I quickly took to the castle and extended my volunteer efforts to historical tours, and have chaired many of the fundraising events throughout the year.

My volunteer duties include being a part of the Preston Castle Board of Directors, while holding a full time position as the Executive Director of the Amador County Chamber of Commerce. My ability to coordinate, and manage different people and personalities has lead me to the role of beloved haunt mom for the last 3 years, and hopefully more to come.


Anna Fantasia

The first of my family born In the United Sates, I am a native of Sacramento, California. I am a graduate of UC Davis, with a BS degree in English Literature and a minor in Cultural Anthropology and Archaeology. Antiquities have always fascinated me and impressed upon me the importance of preserving and honoring the past.

I find that this is best done through writing and value the importance of languages and communication (incidentally my native language is Italian). I have worked in the Museum industry for 20 years as a Marketing Manager, Membership Coordinator, Customer Service Manager and Gift Shop Buyer.  I have been an active member of SAM (Sacramento Area Museums) and currently sit on the board as Secretary.

After having volunteered as a docent for several years, I am honored to sit on the Board of the Preston Castle Foundation and thrilled to help to preserve this beautiful and unique structure and share its past.

Anna also serves as Membership coordinator.


Rod W. Burton, III

I was born in Columbus, OH and raised in Pittsburgh, PA where my family was in the steel business. I received my bachelor’s degree in History from Roanoke College in Virginia and my Juris Doctorate from UOP McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, CA. After practicing law for a large firm in the valley for many years, I opened up a small law firm in Sutter Creek where I live. I also work at a local winery on weekends.

I am in agreement with the rest of board, in my feeling that Preston Castle represents the “preeminent landmark in Amador County” and an important part of the County’s rich history. I am honored to sit on the Board to assist it in any way I can to help preserve and restore this majestic building.

Rod serves on the Grants Committee

Sybil Griffith

I was born in San Francisco, but moved to Ione at age 3 when my Dad was hired as a Parole Agent for The Preston School of Industry. I attended school in Ione, then struck out on my own for a number of years before moving back to Ione.  I got a job with the Amador County Office of Education as an Instructional Assistant for Special Education. Several life changes occurred that eventually led to my current life in Ione with my husband Preston. I am still working as an Instructional Assistant and am currently at Ione Elementary School.

Several years ago I was approached by a Preston Castle Foundation member at an event at the Castle. She said that giving tours for the Castle would be a perfect fit for me. I decided to become a docent, received training, and started leading historical tours. I really enjoyed it and started getting involved in more and more of the events at the Castle. In 2014 I was asked to become a “person in charge” on tour days and took that on whole heartedly. I am responsible for running tour days once or twice a month during tour season.

I am currently on the tours committee and was recently put in charge of docent scheduling and elected as a board member.  The Preston School of Industry will always have a special place in my heart. It brought me to Ione and was a large part of my life growing up. I started volunteering as a tribute to my Dad who retired from PSI and passed away from cancer in 2010.  I’ve continued my volunteering because I love it. 

Sybil serves on the Tours Committee.


Ryan Mick

Born and raised in Sacramento California, and a proud combat veteran. I spent six years in the Marines, from ’87 to ’93 attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant.

I have a fascination with the tech industry and studied programming at American River College. I currently work as an Application Development Manager for one of the largest health clubs in California. My interest in technology also enhances my hobby, as an amateur paranormal investigator, and co-founder, with my beautiful wife Nicole, of Nor-C.A.P.S.

From the moment I entered the Castle, I was so engrossed by its history and architecture, I volunteered as a historical and paranormal tour docent.  I have also worked on occasion as a handyman in the renovation of the Colonial honor cottage. I am excited to serve on the board and look forward to aiding with the preservation and restoration of this iconic landmark.

Ryan serves on the Technology Committee.

Richard Forster

I was born in South Laguna, California, but have lived in Amador County since 1975 and am a proud fifth generation Californian. I graduated from Ione High School, and the University of California, Davis, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Managerial Economics.  Besides representing District II on the Amador County Board of Supervisors, I work for the California Department of Corrections, Division of Juvenile Justice.

I have also served on the Amador Water Agency Board of Directors, the Ione Planning Commission, and the Ione Technical Advisory Committee.  I am past President of the Native Sons of the Golden West, Ione #33, the Amador/El Dorado/Sacramento Cattlemen’s Association, the Amador County Fair Board of Directors, and the Ione Picnic Association.  I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the Ione Business & Community Association and the Sutter Amador Hospital Foundation Board, and am a member of the Ione Rotary.  I am also a former Chairman of the Regional Council of Rural Counties (RCRC), an organization representing the interests of 31 rural counties. 

My wife and I are strong supporters of the efforts to preserve and rehabilitate the magnificent Preston Castle.

Richard serves on the Finance and Donations Committees.

Anita Thomas

Bill Thiry

I'm originally from Chicago, but my family moved to Southern California and then to Northern California.

As a youth I was very active in the Boy Scouts and earned my Eagle Scout award in 1976. I graduated from Moreau High School in Hayward and attended college at Ohlone JC in Fremont.

I was in the Transportation industry most of my life as a Trucking Owner Operator, Dispatcher and Terminal Manager, and then General Manager for BTI Trucking in Stockton.  I served as President and helped build the Calaveras Youth Soccer League along with coaching girls soccer for the league and Calaveras HS.

I moved to Ione in 2008 after BTI was sold, and started my own Window Cleaning business.  I first visited the Castle as a tour guest. I immediately felt connected and volunteered to help restore and clean the windows at the Castle. One thing led to another and I started helping more and more with projects and functions and also became a tour Docent which I absolutely enjoy. The history of the Castle, along with the architecture and the dream of seeing the building restored has drawn me in even further.

I am Proud to serve on the Preston Castle Foundation Board of Directors.

Bill is the Location Manager for the Foundation working with Television and Film production companies using the Castle for their projects, along with serving on the Building, Tours, Kitchen and Events Committees.


Jim Bennett



Yolanda Bennett


Donna Munson

Born in Michigan, I grew up an "army brat", traveling & living all over the U.S. Tired of snow, we came to Sacramento when my dad retired. I graduated from Elk Grove High School, then attended Sac City College while working for the State of California. I then worked at the Sacramento Army Depot until I joined the Army myself. After training, I was assigned to Nuremberg, Germany, where I met my husband to be, who was from lone.   In 1976 we were married & came home to meet each other's family; that was when I had my first up-close visit to the Preston Castle. It was condemned & in terrible shape, but was such a beautiful building that I was instantly hooked!

There were several more visits over the years, but raising a family & working at the USPS took up all my time. In 2010, after an early retirement, I learned that tours were being given through the castle, so I took one & found the volunteer opportunity that I had been looking for! I've now been a docent at Preston since 2011, leading hundreds of visitors through Preston Castle & sharing it's history. I enjoy talking to people from all over & seeing the expressions on their faces as they take in the magnificence of the Castle for the first time. I'm proud of being a PCF board member & sharing in the restoration of this beautiful building with a dedicated group of volunteers who give so much of their time & love. No matter how often I see Preston Castle, I still get goosebumps every time -1 hope that feeling never goes away!