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Home arrow News arrow Obituaries arrow Obituaries for June 22, 2011

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Obituaries for June 22, 2011


Todd Chaves

Todd Richard Chaves, 41, a former Baker City resident, died June 12, 2011, at Grants Pass.

His memorial services will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Stephens Family Chapel, 1629 Williams Highway, in Grants Pass. Graveside interment will be at Memory Gardens Memorial Park at 1395 Arnold Lane in Medford. Bishop Bennett of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will officiate.


Todd was was born on Aug. 21, 1969, to Vicki and Richard Chaves and was raised at Baker City. He later moved to Medford and was a 1988 graduate of South Medford High School.

In 1994 the joy and love of his life, Hunter, was born to Todd and his partner, Rainy Gauvain. Todd was in love with being a father. In 2001 he married Haley Corder and in 2003 he was once again blessed with his other joy and love of his life: his daughter, Kyley.

Todd owned and operated Chaves Custom Coatings for several years and more recently Platinum Detailing in Grants Pass. He was always very meticulous with his work and took great pride in it.

He was a people pleaser and a good-humored man who enjoyed making people laugh. He would drop anything he was doing to help out his friends and family, and many times even strangers, his family said.

He loved all children and befriended many, always taking time to give a hug, toss a ball, or just be playful with them. He was very much an animal lover and truly missed his beloved dogs, Jerico and Mac.

Todd had a very tender heart and cared deeply and sincerely for his children, his family, and all his many friends. One of his greatest joys was the camping trips at the beach with his children, Hunter and Kyley.

Throughout his life, Todd was also a poet at heart. He wrote very heart-felt poetry expressing his heart and feelings and amazing poems to his mother and children.

He was given an Outstanding Achievement Award by the International Society of Poets for his published poem “Dreams” which he wrote in 2005 for his children.

Todd will be missed and lovingly remembered by many, his family said.

Survivors include his two children, Hunter Chaves (“Scooter”) age 17, and Kyley Chaves (“Butterfly”) age 8 of Grants Pass; his mother and stepfather, Vicki and Steve Scrivner of Grants Pass; his father and stepmother, Richard and Kathleen Chaves; two brothers, Ryan, and sister-in-law, Kaylin Chaves, and Dillon Chaves; his nephew, Alex Chaves, and niece, Kyana Chaves, all of Baker City; his Aunt Terrie and Uncle Chuck Grant of Medford; and his Uncle Skip Staedler of Buffalo, Mo.; aunts, Marilyn Fullmer, Marge Wietzel and her husband, Dick, and Sister MaryJo Chaves; Uncle Duane Chaves and his wife, Cheryl; and Uncle Glen Wilson; and many cousins, relatives, and friends.

He was preceded in death by his brother, Benjamin Chaves, who died in 1978; grandparents, Joseph and Doris Staedler, and Art and Ivona Chaves; and aunt, Marietta Wilson.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Todd Chaves Memorial and his children, which may be made at Stephens Family Chapel.


Leona Baxter
Leona Maude Frashier Baxter 99, a former longtime Durkee resident, died peacefully 10 days before her 100th birthday.

Her centurion birthday party so eagerly looked forward to by her and her family and friends will, instead, be a Celebration of Life at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Senior Center in La Grande. Private interment will be at the Enterprise Cemetery in Enterprise.

Leona was born on June 26, 1911, at Joseph to Bud and Sadie Simms. Her early years were spent on a ranch in the Joseph area and later at Enterprise where she graduated from high school.

She married John Thomas “Bird” Frashier in 1930. ( They raised their son, Harry Bird “Bud” Frashier.)

While being a wife and mother she worked at various retailers in Enterprise and also drove for Booth funeral home after Bud graduated from high school.

In 1953 Bird became ill and the family moved to a small ranch on the Burnt River at Durkee to be closer to good friend, Ceila Titus. The Frashiers worked her ranch as well as their own. Bird died in 1955.

Leona and Maurice Baxter were married in 1955 and continued to ranch in the valley. The couple took on the task of driving school bus, gathering students from Weatherby and all over Durkee Valley to deliver them to the Durkee School.

Leona also became the janitor for the school and in that role was a strong supporter of the teachers and “mothered” many of the students who passed through the doors of that two-room school.

When the Durkee School was consolidated with the Baker School District, Maurice and Leona continued to gather students to deliver them to the “big” school bus that took them into Baker City.

Leona enjoyed ranch life and loved sharing that precious time with her two much-loved grandchildren, Don and Tina.

She was a member of the Durkee Grange, Baker County CattleWomen, and substitute U.S. Postal Service postmistress for many years.

Leona and Maurice were married for 42 years and after selling the Durkee ranch, they enjoyed retirement in Ontario and winters in Arizona.

 After Maurice’s death in 1998, Leona moved to La Grande to be closer to her son. Leona never met a stranger and with her warm personality she made friends wherever she was, her family said.

At the senior center she met and developed a special relationship with Veryl Smith. They were companions until Veryl died in 2004.

She lived a healthy, independent life until the past year when a fall forced her to move to Wildflower Assisted Care center.

Leona will be greatly missed by family and friends of all ages, her family said.

Survivors include her son, Bud Frashier, and his wife, Sue; two grandchildren, Donald Frashier, and his wife, Kim, and Tina Kassel and her husband, Scott; and one great-grandson, Scott Kassel Jr.; sister, Lois Nuss of Klamath Falls; special niece and friend, Beverly Raley, and her husband, Larry; nephew, Tom Baxter, and his wife, Dulca; doting friends, Dottie McCabe and Cleo “Dude” Smith; niece, Charlottle Adams; nephew, John Nuss; and many friend who brightened her days with visits as she brightened theirs.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her first husband, Bird Frashier; husband, Maurice Baxter; companion, Veryl Smith; and nephew, Tony Staub.

Memorial contributions may be made to the senior center through Daniels & Knopp.


Phyllis Saunders
Phyllis Lee Saunders, 80, died June 14, 2011, at Baker City.

Her memorial service and a celebration of Phyllis’ life will be at 11 a.m. Friday at the Richland Methodist Church. Interment will be at the Pine Haven Cemetery in Halfway. Afterward, friends are invited to join the family for a potluck reception at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall in Halfway.

Phyllis was born on July 16, 1930, at Cornucopia to Philip and Inez Lee Johnson. Cornucopia was a mining town in the 1930s. It is north of Halfway in the Eagle Cap Mountains.

Phyllis and her family moved down to Halfway when she was born to prepare for her attendance at school. Her father continued to work in the mine.

Phyllis graduated from high school in 1948 as the valedictorian of her class. She moved to the Willamette Valley and eventually to Astoria, where she met her first husband Edward Hayden.

Eddie was formerly a professional musician and played the piano in the band “Horace Heidt and his Musical Knights.” Eddie was drafted into the U.S. Navy and was replaced as pianist by Hoagie Carmichael, a famous American composer who wrote a wide variety of songs, including “Stardust” and “Georgia on my Mind.”

After becoming wounded in World War II, Eddie was sent to a hospital in Astoria. Upon release from the hospital, he met Phyllis and they were married nine days later.

Phyllis and Eddie made their home in Halfway and had four children: sons, Philip, Michael and Eric, and daughter, Melody. Eddie worked as a carpenter/contractor and was well-known for his beautiful woodworking skills. Phyllis enjoyed gardening, raising children, hunting, fishing, music and the outdoors.

The couple were married for 24 years before Eddie’s death. He died of cancer in 1972.

Phyllis remained single until 1990, when she married Walt Saunders, a Richland rancher. Phyllis and Walt made their home in Richland on the vast ranch.

They maintained cattle, horses, sheep and emu. It was not uncommon to see herds of deer or elk roaming across the mountainside behind their house or to hear coyotes calling out into the night.

Phyllis and Walt traveled extensively together, including cruises through the Panama Canal, Alaska, Australia and The Bahamas. They also explored most of the United States, Hawaii, Germany, Ireland, Wales and England.

Phyllis had a stroke on September 1, 2002, which slowed her down a little, but she had every intention of making up for lost time, her family said. Phyllis still had a great sense of humor and made the most of the time she had left at Meadowbrook Place in Baker City.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Phil and Inez Lee Johnson; and her beloved stepfather, Joe Bernhardt.

Survivors include her husband, Walt Saunders; sons, Phil Hayden of Reno, Nev., Michael Hayden of Portland (grandchildren Stephanie and Mike; great-grandchildren Kaiden, Kaetlyn and Kristina), and Eric Hayden of Portland; daughter, Melody Arrenholz of Kennewick, Wash., (son-in-law Dan, and grandson, Eli Drushella).

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the American Heart Association through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

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