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Home arrow News arrow News of Record arrow Obituaries for Jan. 21, 2011


Obituaries for Jan. 21, 2011

David Opperman
David Lawrence Opperman, 46, died on January 15, 2011.
There will be a memorial service to celebrate his life at 11 a.m. Friday in the Union High School gym at Union.

David was born on Feb. 17, 1964, at Gresham. He attended elementary school at Fruitland, Idaho, and junior high and high school at Prairie City. He was a 1982 graduate of Grant Union High School at John Day.

He attended Western Oregon State College (now Western Oregon University) at Monmouth, where he completed both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. After college, he lived in the Portland area for many years until he followed his heart back to Eastern Oregon.

He was seeking a higher quality of life for his family and found it in the community of Union, where he taught music and math, and coached football, basketball and baseball.

After his first teaching position at Paisley, David became a substitute teacher in the greater Portland area while working for the Oregon Department of Forestry in the summers.

He worked for the Cascade Education Corp. before joining Forest Grove High School as a teacher and coach. It was during that time that he married his closest friend and sweetheart.

David and Melissa Ann Grahek were married on Dec. 9, 2000. Five years later, they were blessed with the opportunity to welcome their two wonderful boys, Bradley and Bryce, into their hearts and lives.

While at Forest Grove High School, David received wide recognition for his work with PLATO, a learning system that helps challenged students improve scores and comprehension dramatically. He conducted a mathematics lab where each student’s weaknesses were identified and remedied with outstanding results.

David enjoyed nearly all competitive sports, participating in football, basketball, and baseball through high school. His passion for the game and his quest to develop excellence and good sportsmanship in students soon led him onto the coaching scene.

He coached in various capacities at Forest Grove and co-coached the Gaston High School team with longtime friend Mike Maraia. David coached both of his sons in various sports at Union, leading the Union Optimist football team to three consecutive undefeated seasons.

David’s passion for life found expression through fishing, camping, hiking, traveling, songwriting, and playing music on a variety of instruments. He played bass guitar in a number of bands over the years, making many friends along the way. David was also an avid student of Oregon history and Native American history.

He was a devoted husband and father and invested many hours of fun and life lessons with his two sons as well as his nieces and nephews.

“Dave was an inspiration to many students, parents, teachers, coaches, players, and friends, as well as his family,” family members said. “He will be greatly missed.”

Survivors include his wife, Melissa, and sons, Bradley and Bryce; his father and stepmother, Dave and Linda Opperman of Baker City; his mother and stepfather, Sharon and Keith Kennedy of Elgin; his brother and sister-in-law, Mark and Robin Opperman of Elgin; his sister and brother-in-law, Nina and Ron Press of West Linn; his sister and brother-in-law, Joy and Ron McCall of Salem; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his youngest brother, Paul Opperman.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the David Opperman Union Music and Athletic Fund at any Eastern Oregon Community Bank branch or through Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., La Grande, OR 97850. This fund will be used to further David’s passion in helping provide for music and athletic needs at Union Schools.

Jean Taylor

Jean Van Leuven Taylor, 94, died Dec. 29, 2010, at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo, Utah.

Her funeral was Jan. 3, 2011, at Provo, Utah. Burial was in the Provo City Cemetery under the direction of Berg Mortuary.

Jean was born on Dec. 19, 1916, at Afton, Wyo., to Calvin Jabez and Ellen McCombs Van Leuven.

She was educated at Grover, Wyo., and Baker City, where she graduated from high school in 1935. She married Cleo S. Taylor on June 4, 1938, at Baker, and their marriage was later solemnized in the Salt Lake Temple.

Jean was passionate about working outdoors in her vegetable and flower gardens. She had five brothers and two sisters and treasured spending time with her family. Jean was a devoted participant in Daughters of the Utah Pioneers organization, loved her quilting club and made dozens of quilts for family, friends and others.

Jean was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout her life. She served in the Primary, Young Women, and Relief Society organizations, as Relief Society president on two occasions and as a Provo Temple Ordinance worker for nine years.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Cleo; her parents; brothers, Elmer, Orlon, Verl and Kenneth; sister, Zelma (Killpack); and granddaughter, Trisha Jo Hamblin.

Survivors include her two children, Veldon Taylor (Barbara), and Myra Steed; 10 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren; her brother ,Ivan (Marilyn); and her sister, Ruth Farmer (Walt). Her grand-nephew, Perry Stokes, is library director of Baker County Library District.



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