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Home arrow News arrow Obituaries arrow Obituaries for Sept. 29, 2010

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Obituaries for Sept. 29, 2010

Steve Waggoner, Mary Jo Brown, Dorothy Koontz, Earl Berry

Steve Waggoner

Stephen John Waggoner, 66, of Baker City, died Sept. 25, 2010, at his home with his wife, Willma, by his side.

There will be a memorial service and celebration of Steve’s life at 2 p.m. Friday at the Christian Church, 675 Highway 7. Friends are invited to join the family for a reception afterward at the church. There will be a second service later in October at Reedsport. The date and time will be announced later.

Steve was born on Nov. 15, 1943, to John and Irene Rowe Waggoner, Stephen was the second of three boys. He was raised at Reedsport and was a 1961 Reedsport High School graduate. Steve attended Oregon State University at Corvallis and was an avid Beavers fan. He loved watching all college football games.

Steve worked in construction early on and then went to logging both on the Coast and in Eastern Oregon. While working in Portland, he met and married Waynette Anderson. They moved to Baker City in 1978 where he resumed logging and was later an equipment operator for Ash Grove Cement, where he retired.

He and Waynette owned Broadway Upholstery and Trophy Shop, where Steve became an excellent craftsman, upholstering automobiles, RVs and furnishings in many local restaurants.

Steve was an active member of the Baker City Lions Club and the Baker City Christian Church. He loved spending time with his family fishing, hunting and camping. He taught several children and grand children the sport of hunting and fishing.

Steve loved to read, a hobby that fulfilled his time as his health deteriorated. He found the Lord Jesus and was baptized in March of 2006. Steve performed missionary work, reconstructing a school in Mexico with his best friend and wife, Willma.

He looked forward to more missionary work, but due to failing health, was unable to travel so he was a missionary in his own community.

Family members expressed appreciation for all of the prayers, cards and visitors over the last 18 months, as Steve battled pulmonary fibrosis and endured an unsuccessful lung transplant. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends, they said.

He was preceded in death by his mother, father and his wife, Waynette.

Survivors include his wife, Willma; brothers, Gary and Mike and their wives, Karen and Phyllis; and numerous nieces and nephews; three birth children, Ronald, Dennis and Stephenie and six stepchildren, Donald, Tammy, David, Karri, Craig and Wes; 17 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

The family suggests memorial contributions to the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.


Mary Jo Brown


Mary Jo Allison Brown, 78, of Baker City, died Sept. 23, 2010, after a brief illness.

She was born on Dec. 29, 1931,to George and Gladys Richardson Allison at McMinnville. She spent her childhood in Baker and held dearly the summers spent at Cove Ascension Camp with her friend, Donna.

After graduating from Baker High School in 1950, she attended University of Oregon.

Mary Jo and Pleas Brown were married Nov. 29, 1953. Their marriage spanned 57 years, three children, eight grandchildren, winters in Palm Springs, summers on their deck, and falls watching football.

Together they owned Lew Bros. Tire Service until selling to their sons in 1984. Supporters of the Bulldog Quarterback Club, Mary Jo and Pleas supplied the official referee shirts, flags and whistles at the inception of the YMCA tackle football league in 2003. Those uniforms are still used at every youth football game.

Mary Jo’s cooking and hostess charms were often displayed, as her open-house policy afforded many impromptu gatherings, her family said.

She was preceded in death by her parents, and her loving husband Pleas, who died in May of this year. She had said that she couldn’t do without him, anymore than he could do without her.

A loving mother, grandmother and friend, she leaves behind many loved ones.

Survivors include brother, Don Allison of Phoenix; children, Molly Brown, and her husband, Ken Ewing, of Boise, Jim Brown and his wife, Vicki, of Baker City and Rocky Brown and his wife, Diana, of Baker City; and grandchildren, Brian Cassidy, Laci Cassidy Bauer, Tawni Lester, Chelsea Brown Blatchford, and Jesse, Allie, Chris and Jake Brown.

Memorial contributions may be made to Cove Ascension School & Conference Center through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.


Dorothy Koontz


Dorothy Marilyn “Myrnie” Koontz, 77, a lifelong Hereford resident, died Sept. 25, 2010, at Unity.

Her funeral will be at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Burnt River High School gymnasium. Lynn Shumway and Pastor Dan Mason of the Burnt River Community Church will officiate. Burial will be at the Unity Cemetery. Friends are invited to join the family for a reception at the Unity Community Hall after the graveside service.

Myrnie was born on May 17, 1933, at Baker. She was the second child born to John Raymond and Rosemary Lucille Jones Mitchell. She lived in several different places with her family, including Sparta and Union, but attended high school at Hereford, where she met her lifelong love, Chet Koontz.

They were married upon graduation, and soon started their family together. They were blessed with nine children in 10fi years; eight daughters and one son.

She and Chet loved their life on the family ranch, raising cattle, haying, and all the work that is involved with running a ranch. Myrnie’s greatest pleasure in life was her husband and children. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, family members said. She loved having everyone home, and had a servant’s heart and loved cooking and cleaning for her family, they said.

She delighted in watching her children and grandchildren play all kinds of sports. One of her favorite sayings was that she “loved playing bumper cars in the kitchen with her family.”

She enjoyed looking for the first buttercups in the spring, going on picnics in the woods and always hollering a loud “wa-hoo,” when she got out of the pickup. She loved reading her Bible and other books and articles. She and Chet were awesome dancers together, and loved attending community events.

She was a member of the Burnt River Community Church, and in earlier years had served on the Election Board in Hereford.

The last several months of her life, she was cared for by Bobbie Duley at Unity. Family members said Bobbie loved and cared for Myrnie as if she were her own mother, and Myrnie loved her too.

“Bobbie’s love and commitment will never be forgotten by the family,” they said. “She was truly God’s blessing to all of us.”

Myrnie’s care earlier had been provided by her children.

Family members also expressed a special thank you to Cathleen, for assisting Bobbie; and to Kimala for the months of care also.

“The family truly appreciates these acts of unselfish love and dedication,” they said.

Survivors include her nine children and their spouses, Davey and Dale Baker of La Grande, Jonda and Butch Myers of Huntington, Gwynneth and Quinten Anderson of Unity, Kristi and Denny Ping of Bonney Lake, Wash., Valerie and Rod Wilson of Unity, Richelle and Loren Brown of La Grande, Kimala and Tim Hoskins, Chip and Cathleen Koontz, and Shauna and Corey Andrews, all of Hereford; she was the proud grandmother of 34 grandchildren, and 61 great-grandchildren; she is also survived by her sisters, Wanda Lowe of La Grande, and Neddie Mitchell of Lostine; sisters-in-law, Edith Derrick of Unity, Wilma Loeks of Dundee, and Maxine Brouillette of Brookings; as well as other numerous family and good friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband, father and mother; and sister, Anna Jean Munsell.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Burnt River Community Church or the Burnt River High School Scholarship Fund through Gray’s West & Co., 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.


Earl Berry


Earl Berry, 69, died Nov. 25, 2009, at Reliance, Wyo.

His life was celebrated on Dec. 5 at his home in Reliance. Family and friends shared pictures and favorite memories of his life in Oregon and Wyoming and his years in Germany.

His ashes were spread at New Forks Lake in Wyoming on Sept. 11, 2010. Attending the ceremony were his wife, Nedra; her children, Joe and Michelle; grandchildren, Taylor and Tawny; and close family friends.

As part of the ceremony, each person told favorite stories by a bonfire and enjoyed a barbecue supper of Earl’s favorite food, family members said.

“Earl will always be at his favorite hunting spot and fishing hole at the Flaming Gorge in Wyoming,” they said. “His friends and family will miss his special smile, laugh and years of friendship.”

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