Family members have identified the three Napa County residents who last week lost their lives in the LNU Lightning Complex fires as Mary Hintemeyer, 70, Leo McDermott, 71, and Tom McDermott, 41.
Hintemeyer and McDermott had been dating for the past five years, Hintemeyer’s son Rob McNeal, 53, said. His mother was by nature someone who looked after others: first her father in his old age, a younger brother who suffered from emphysema and then McDermott, who a couple of years into their relationship was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that attacked his muscles and left him largely wheelchair bound.
The two met at a bar during Hintemeyer’s niece’s 21st birthday, McNeal said. His mother moved to the property where McDermott had lived for 40-something years, just off Highway 128, about a year after they began dating.
“I’m a little biased, but she was pretty awesome,” McNeal said of his mother. Of her natural inclination to care for others – “that’s just who she was,” he added.
But his mother did sometimes struggle as sole caregiver, according to McNeal, and a few years ago began “really praying” for some help. McNeal tried to convince the two to move closer to his family in Winters, a 15 minute drive away in Yolo County, but with little success. And then McDermott’s son, Tom, who’d been estranged from his father since his late teenage years, showed up unexpectedly.