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Home arrow Opinion arrow Obituaries for Nov. 5, 2012

Obituaries for Nov. 5, 2012

Bill Stewart

Baker City, 1934-2012

David Densley

Baker City, 1922-2012 

Bill Stewart, 78, of Richland, died Sept. 30, 2012, at St. Alphonsus Care Center in Baker City, after a brief fight with lung cancer. He died peacefully with a view of the mountains he loved out the window of his room. 

His graveside memorial will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Eagle Valley Cemetery in Richland.

Bill was born on Jan. 3, 1934, at McGrath, Alaska, to John L. Stewart and Anaska Ivola. Bill had two siblings: John Stewart and Evelan Stewart of Alaska. He moved to Baker City as a young boy and remained in the Eastern Oregon area for the rest of his life.

Bill attended school in Baker City and married Kaylene Hewitt in 1957. The couple had three daughters. In 1967, he moved his family to Richland where he raised his daughters, ran a dairy farm and drove school bus for Pine-Eagle School District. 

After the death of Kaylene in 1980, Bill married Thelma Rinehart. Thelma shared Bill’s love for the outdoors and animals. The two of them spent as much time as they could in the outdoors and had a lot of fun together.

 Bill loved to hunt, fish and go camping in the mountains that surround Baker City, Richland and Halfway. Bill also took a lot of pride in his work. He especially loved driving his school bus because he loved kids.

His love for kids was confirmed when he suffered a massive stroke while on his route one morning in 1997. He still managed to deliver his precious cargo safely to school. His students remember Bill as a man with a gentle soul, kind heart, but tough when needed. 

 After his stroke, he moved back to Baker City where he lived his remaining years. Bill was always smiling and happy to see everyone. With the debilitating stroke, he still made the best of what he had and would make anyone who cared for him happy. Bill was deeply loved by all his caregivers and that love was mutual.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Kaylene; and his second wife, Thelma.

Survivors include his three daughters, Pam Turner of Banks, Margie Johnson of Eugene and Diane Shields of Redmond; six grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and a multitude of friends.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Pine-Eagle School Athletic’s program through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

David Densley

Baker City, 1922-2012

David E. Densley, 90, a longtime Richland and Baker City resident, died Oct. 31, 2012.

Dave strongly requested no services. He did not want people to be inconvenienced. There will be a celebration of life in the spring for Dave and his wife, Donna, who died Oct. 18.

Dave was born on July, 14, 1922, at the first place on the left as you round the turn into Richland. He was the fourth of six children born to John and Belva Simonis Densley. His family history in Eagle Valley began more than 130 years ago.

The Simonis family migrated to Eagle Valley in 1874 from Wisconsin when Dave’s grandfather, Fred Simonis, was 8, and just eight families were living in the area. One of those families was Fred’s maternal grandparents, Alexander and Elizabeth Furgason. 

John, Dave’s father, was 13 in 1906 when his parents and four siblings moved from Cove after migrating from Utah in 1904. By 1910, John was in the sheep raising business. His operation began during the open range era, grazing from Eagle Valley to Hells Canyon and the Wallowa Wilderness and Cornucopia. His shearing plant was in “the sag.” This was all part of Dave’s life.

Dave was 4 when his father purchased the ranch where Dave spent most of his life. True to the times, besides sheep, the family had milk cows, chickens and pigs. 

He received his elementary education just a short walk from home at Sunnyside (still standing). He attended Eagle Valley High School at Richland where he played all sports and developed an undying love of football and basketball — but not at the professional level. He was definitely partial to high school and college sports. 

With his wife, Donna, he attended every Pine-Eagle football and basketball home game until they were no longer physically able. They also delighted in Denny Curtis’s Pine-Eagle music programs.

Always a participator, Dave was an active and award-winning 4-H’er. He had steer, swine, and lamb projects. He won the beef showmanship at the Pacific International in Portland. In 1939 he exhibited a steer at the World’s Fair held on Treasure Island. Throughout his life, he enjoyed reliving those adventures.

He was a freshman at Oregon State College (now Oregon State University at Corvallis) in 1940. Soon he was an Alpha Tau Omega fraternity member and he met Donna, a Delta Delta Delta sorority member. They were married in December of 1943.

Land grant colleges such as OSC required two years of ROTC. When Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941 the War Department was anxious for those in basic ROTC to continue in advanced training and had what was called enlisted reserve. This eventually led to Dave being a 1st lieutenant in the 89th Division. In January 1945 at the age of 21, he was sailing to Europe to help re-enforce the “Battle of the Bulge.” When they landed at Le Havre, France, they were transported in open semis in sub-freezing temperatures.

On April 27, 1946, Dave was sailing back to the U.S. from Le Havre on the USS Le Jeune. During that trip, a dachshund smuggled on board gave birth. From that time he was smitten with dachshunds. He shared his life with three of them.

Dave did not freely talk of the horrors and hardships of World War II until he was in his 80s. One of the continuing sadnesses of the war was the loss of his only brother, John.

By 1947 he had completed his degree at OSC, and then returned to Richland and the ranch with Donna and their daughter.

Dave and Donna were never idle. Besides ranch work, they regularly entertained family and friends with dinner parties, card games, and study groups. For a time 

both were 4-H leaders. Dave raised Herefords, purebred and commercial. He took an interest in all who worked for him and enjoyed following their lives.

From the 1960s through the 80s, Dave served — first on the Eagle Valley School Board, then on the first Pine-Eagle School Board where for a time he was its chairman. He was on the Baker County Intermediate Education District (IED) Board, was president of the Oregon School Boards Association, and for three years was on Gov. Hatfield’s Education Improvement Commission. 

He also served as president of the Baker County Livestock Association and was second vice president and treasurer of the Oregon Beef Council and was its chairman.

In 1987 while enjoying an evening playing poker he suffered a medical emergency. His friends administered CPR. That episode led to the discovery of the need for heart surgery. Ranching came to a halt. So, needing to keep busy and being gregarious, he and Donna became avid golfers.

By 1996 the ranch was sold and they began living in Baker City next to the golf course, which they loved.Wednesday evenings were spent dining out with another couple. Soon more and more friends were a part of this fellowship. It was a special part of Dave’s life. He thrived on being surrounded by people. He enjoyed visiting and telling his stories and jokes and dishing out good-natured ribbing.

Dave made a point to enjoy life; so when dealt with adversity, he adapted, family members said. When no longer able to play 18 holes of golf, he played nine, then fewer. 

When golfing became impossible, he became content to sit in his lounge chair and watch others golf. Plus, he pushed through aches and pains to maintain his independence and to be Donna’s main caregiver.

He was enthralled by computers. He purchased one and taught himself how to use it. Each day while smoking a cigar and sipping a glass of wine, he checked and sent emails; and played card games.

Fox news and sports channels were his favorite TV viewing. Politics never ceased to be of interest. He wished those who ran for public office could be statesmen; not politicians looking after their own interests.

He was not hesitant to speak his mind, especially if he felt a wrong was being done.

On Aug. 28 he became too ill to even take care of himself. Donna died on Oct. 18; Dave on Oct. 31. They were married nearly 69 years.

The family expressed appreciation to “the dear friends and relatives who continued to visit him when it would have been so easy not to do so.”

And they offered thanks to Dr. Charles Hofmann and the caregivers and staff at St. Alphonsus Hospital and Care Center.

“You are all deeply appreciated,” they said.

Survivors include his daughter and son-in-law, Janice and Tim Heater, two grandsons; two great-grandsons (plus one soon-to be great-grandson); and nieces and nephews.

The family suggests memorial contributions to the sports or music programs at Pine-Eagle School District or for scholarships presented by the Baker County Livestock Producers Foundation through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

 
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