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Home arrow News arrow Obituaries arrow Obituaries for July 30, 2010

Obituaries for July 30, 2010

Helena Gundersen, ‘Jim’ McMillan

Helena Gundersen

Helena Juliette Jocelyn Lane Gundersen, 91, of Baker City, died July 12, 2010, at St. Elizabeth Health Care Center.

A graveside memorial and burial of her ashes will be scheduled in the spring of 2011. Details will be announced later.

Helena was the firstborn great-granddaughter of the Lanes and Rothbuns of Wisconsin. She attended a one-room school to eighth grade and then graduated from high school at Bloomer, Wis.

After several years of working in Bloomer, she moved to Hinsdale, Ill., She worked in some private homes, at a grocery store and she also did some traveling. She always returned home to Bloomer in November to hunt with her grampa and uncles.

She married Rudolph A. “Pete” Gundersen of Ladysmith, Wis., on Sept. 25, 1943. She met him in 1940 while Pete was in the U.S. Air Force and stationed at Kissimmee, Fla., where they lived until World War II ended.

Afterward they lived at Ladysmith, Wis., where Helena worked at Fellands Store. She sang in the church choir and was involved in many community activities, including becoming a Girl Scout leader for which she received a high award. Her daughter, Gwen, was born in 1955.

Pete worked in construction and was transferred to Pierre, S.D. For the next 20 years, the family lived in six Western states. The Gundersens retired to North Powder in 1977. They lived in the big red two-story house on Third Street.

Helena loved to garden and had a huge garden every year. She so enjoyed picking huckleberries, picking mushrooms and getting wood with her husband, Pete.

Her real passion, however, was hunting. She bagged many deer, elk, antelope and one bear, also game birds. Every state she lived in brought a new adventure.

Helena was a wonderful cook, sharing recipes and food items with her church, the Grange and her many friends.

She was proud to be a 25-year member of the GAR. She was chosen to represent North Powder as its first queen in the Huckleberry Festival.

Helena Gundersen and her friend, Idaho Brockway-Buck, together started the Friday senior meals at the Wolf Creek Grange in North Powder where she also helped serve meals for many years. She also worked as a geriatrics aide for 10 years.

She loved to play her piano and travel was a large part of her life in later years. She made trips all over the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska. She also traveled to Canada and took a cruise through the Panama Canal.

She  was baptized in and was a member of the Methodist Church.

She wanted her friends to know how much each of them brought joy to her life, her family said.

Survivors include her daughter, Gwen of Baker City; her cousin, Jim Lane of Bloomer, Wis.; a niece, Linda Campbell of Saratoga, Calif.; and many other cousins and too many friends to count.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Rudolf  “Pete” Gundersen; her grandparents; her mother; two sisters; and other family members.

‘Jim’ McMillan


James Charles “Jim” McMillan 48, formerly of Baker City, died June 20, 2010, at Helena Mont., after suffering a stroke on June 13.

Interment will be Aug. 7 at Mount Hope Cemetery. There will be no formal service. Family and friends will come together for the interment.

Jim was born on Sept. 8, 1961, at Agana, Guam, to John S. and Janice E. McMillan. Jim moved to Baker City in 1970 after the death of his father, and his mother’s marriage to Baker City resident, Steve Guthrie. Jim graduated from Baker High School in 1979 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. While in the Navy he served on the aircraft carriers, USS Nimitz and USS Carl Vinson.

Jim married Heather McDermitt and they moved back to Baker City where their son, Jacob, was born in January 1986 and died in June 1986. Jim and Heather moved to Oakland Calif., after Heather joined the Navy. Their twin daughters, Shannon and Courtney, were born there in 1989. Heather and Jim separated in 1992 and Heather retained custody of the twins. Jim followed his ex-wife and daughters back East and moved around from place to place, until finally settling in Helena, Mont.

Jim was an artist at heart. His talents never brought him fame or fortune, although he did have a few poems and short stories published. He also did some commercial work with signs and murals. Jim had a wonderful sense of humor, in school he was the class clown. His outgoing personality won him many a friend who remained true and will miss him dearly, his family members said. He will be remembered with many a smile and lots of laughter, they added.

Survivors include his twin daughters, Shannon and Courtney; sister, Joann, and her husband, Dan Olson, and family; sister, Judy, and her husband, Steven Leppell, and family; brother, Joe, and his wife, Katie McMillan, and family; 13 nieces and nephews; and eight great-nieces and great-nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, John S. and Janice McMillan; his older brother, John H. McMillan; and his infant son, Jacob S. McMillan.

 
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