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Home arrow News arrow Obituaries arrow Obituaries for Nov. 1, 2010

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Obituaries for Nov. 1, 2010


Jo Ann Clark
Jo Ann Clark, 69, a lifelong Baker County resident, died Oct. 27, 2010, at a Boise hospital after an illness.

Her memorial and reception will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Eagles Lodge,  2935 H St.

Jo Ann was born January 27, 1941, in Baker City to William and Vera Beddes Gard.  She married William J. “Bill” Clark in 1971.

Jo Ann lived a full and happy life. She taught school for two years at Walla Walla, Wash., before moving to Baker City where she taught for the next 30 years.

She was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary and the American Legion. She volunteered at the Haines Museum and was a lifelong member of the National Education Association and the Oregon Education Association.

She was a loving and caring daughter, sister, mother, aunt, grandmother, great-aunt and a friend to many people, her family members said. Jo Ann enjoyed crafts, painting and writing.

She enjoyed traveling with her husband, Bill. She enjoyed the recent trip that she took with Bill to Alaska.

She was preceded in death by her parents, William and Vera Gard; her sister, Ronda; and a great-niece, Shari.

Survivors include her husband, Bill; daughter, Marilyn Johnson, and her sons, Cody and Noah; sister, Carol Proebstel and her husband, Steve, and their children, Jason, Joshua, Heidi and Jacob and their families; her brother, John Gard, and his wife, Marie, and their son, Jeremiah, and his family; her nieces, Lorrie Backlund, and her husband, Rob, and their family,  Carla Putman and her husband, Daniel, and their family; nephew, Doug Williams and his wife, Lynda; many great-nieces, great-nephews and lifelong friends.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Shriners Children’s Hospital through Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St. Baker City, OR 97814.


Arlene Thomas

Arlene Thomas, 95, died Oct. 25, 2010, after battling pneumonia for the past month and compromised swallowing for the past 10 years.

At her request, there will be no funeral. Arelene’s ashes and those of her husband, Vernon, will be scattered at their beloved Hooker Flat Ranch in the spring.

Arlene was born on Oct. 13, 1915, to Dick and Lorena Koopman in the old white house that is still standing on the family ranch. She lived in Pine Valley all of her life and attended Pine Town Grade School (a few months at Homestead) and Pine Valley Union High at Halfway.

On March 6, 1937, she and Vernon Thomas were married at Weiser, Idaho, They had two daughters, Lynda and Cheryl.

Like most of the farm wives of her era she was a very hard worker. She milked cows by hand, cooked three exceptional meals a day for hired hands, raised a large garden, canned countless quarts of fruits and vegetables in a boiler on the old Great Majestic wood cook stove and still managed to help her daughters with homework every night and attended all their school functions and other activities.

No matter how difficult the problem, she could find a solution and get the job done, her family members said. If a cow was having difficulty calving, she was the one who examined the cow and got the calf delivered.

In early years she drove a team of horses to help with farming operations. When her husband, Vernon, was laid up for months from a back operation and later a farm accident, she did all the farming and he cooked the meals. She irrigated, raked hay, bucked hay and even loaded bales on the hay elevator.

When adversity struck and people would ask, “Arlene how do you keep going?” She would reply “I am a tough old German!” And to others, she quickly offered the words, “How can I help?”

In the 1970s she sold her beloved milk cows and cried all the way home from the Weiser sale yard, her family said. Soon after that, she and Vernon spent their summers riding in the national forest for the Cattlemen’s Association and at times for other ranchers. They lived at the Fish Lake Cabin and in their travel trailer at Doe Creek.

She rode each day and always kept her eye out for huckleberry patches. Even today her freezer is stocked with huckleberries.

After that job ended, life became easier. She and Vernon traveled with family and friends to visit places such as the White House, the Grand old Opry, and the Alamo.

The Baker County Fair held over Labor Day weekend was the highlight of her year and she supported it to the fullest. She planned early in the year what flowers to plant and what recipes to use for her baking.

Her bedroom wall is covered with 34 big rosette ribbons for having won Sweepstakes in the many divisions she entered. In 2002 she was honored, along with her good friend, Beth Rowen, as grand marshal of the Labor Day parade.

During her retirement, Arlene continued her interest in ranching activities. She kept track of all the baby calves that were born at her daughter Lynda’s place. Also she enjoyed traveling with the Birds to their many Hereford cattle events and especially the National Nugget Hereford Show and Sale at Reno.

Many springs she traveled to Hood River to help her other daughter, Cheryl, with lambing. She adored the baby lambs and “their heart-shaped faces.” Arlene often comforted the bummer lambs by rocking them to sleep.

She was especially fond of Rover, her cow dog and Rudy, the schnauzer. She had many cats of all shapes, sizes and colors. Bobbi Jo, the wheelbarrow cat, who is in many of her pictures, was a favorite. Puddy Tat, who was found as a frozen ball of fur on the road on a cold winter night, survives her. It could be said she loved all creatures great and small.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 71 years, Vernon; her parents; half-brother Charlie Estes; and half-sisters, Leona Rudd and Velma Gover.

Survivors include a daughter, Lynda Bird, and son-in-law, David Bird, of Halfway and Cheryl Thomas of Hood River; and several nephews and cousins.

Memorial contributions may be made to Best Friends through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P. O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

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