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Home arrow News arrow News of Record arrow Obituaries for the week of April 21 to April 25

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Obituaries for the week of April 21 to April 25

‘Chuck' Simpson

Dr. Charles D. "Chuck" Simpson, 66, a longtime Baker City resident, died April 23, 2003, at his home.

His memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Monday at the First Presbyterian Church, 1995 Fourth St. Pastor Susan Barnes will officiate. There will be a reception afterward in Rogers Hall.

Charles Daye Simpson was born July 29, 1936, at Montrose, Colo. The family moved to Idaho in his early years and he was raised and received his schooling at Caldwell and Idaho Falls, Idaho.

He continued his education at Idaho State at Pocatello and then went on to Pacific University at Forest Grove where he received his degree in 1960 and doctorate in optometry in 1961.

On May 7, 1960, he married Verjean Rancore at Forest Grove. On July 25, 1961, he entered the U.S. Army and served his country for three years as an optometrist.

He was honorably discharged at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., in July of 1964 at the rank of 1st lieutenant. He came to Baker City in 1964 after his discharge from the army.

He began his career as an optometrist in Baker City and purchased a practice at 2011 First St. in 1964. In the early 1980s he and Dr. Steve Tronnes purchased Baker Vision Clinic from Drs. C. A. House and C. E. Cummins at the present building.

In 1986, he offered a partnership to Dr. Sheryl Blankenship. He retired from his business in 1996.

Chuck was a member of the First Presbyterian Church where he served as an elder and deacon, Baker City Lion's Club, Baker Historical Society, Community Concerts, and Crossroads. He was a past Salvation Army Advisory Board member, past Boy Scout leader, past Meals On Wheels driver, past Head Start Board member, past City Council member, past Chamber of Commerce Board member. He also had been a member of the Baker Jaycees, the Optometric Association, was a past president of Eastern Oregon Optometrist Association and a longstanding member of the Senile Businessmen's Association Coffee Group, and served as a docent for Geiser Grand Hotel Tours.

In 1968 he received the honor of being named Young Man of the Year and in 1990 Baker Vision Clinic received the Baker County Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year award.

Survivors include his wife, Jean Simpson of Baker City; his daughters and sons-in-law, Jill and Dan Harlan of Lakeview and Christy and Scott Swindlehurst of Unity; a sister and brother-in-law, Judy and Craig Crooks; a nephew, Matthew of Virginia; an aunt, Dorothy Bragg of Baker City; grandchildren, Zackery and Ginna Swindlehurst of Unity; Nathan, Nick and Jennifer Harlan of Lakeview; stepgrandchildren, Rory Swindlehurst and his wife, Kristal, of Fox and Ryan Swindlehurst of La Grande; and stepgreat-grandchildren, Shelby and Shea Swindlehurst of Fox; in-laws Dennis and Heather Rancore and Rose and Pat Neirenhausen; and former business partners, Steve Tronnes and Sheryl Blankenship.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Irving and Mildred Simpson.

Memorial contributions may be made to the First Presbyterian Church, the Alzheimer's Association or Pathway Hospice. This may be done through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Richard Griffey

Richard Gordon Griffey, 55, a former Baker City resident, died of sudden heart failure on April 8, 2003, at Baldwin, Wis.

His funeral was April 12. The Rev. Jason Harris, River Church pastor, conducted the service. River Falls Chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars performed military honors. Interment was at the Greenwood Cemetery at River Falls, Wis.

Richard was born on Jan. 21, 1948, to Gordon and Virginia Biller Griffey. He grew up in the Kinnickinnic Valley and was a 1966 River Falls, Wis., High School graduate. He received his bachelor's degree in farm crops from Oregon State University at Corvallis in 1970. At OSU he was an active member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity.

He joined the U.S. Army Reserve in June 1970. He was honorably discharged in July 1977.

Mr. Griffey was a loan officer for Baker Production Credit Association in the late 1970s and 1980s. He worked in sales, banking and farm-related industries his entire career. Richard was active in the United Methodist Church in Baker City.

He had been manager of the Country Elevator at Woodville and Baldwin,Wis., for the past several years.

‘Dick' Humphries

Richard "Dick" Alfred Humphries, 71, of Baker City, died April 21, 2003, at his residence.

Services will be Friday at 2 p.m. at the Lighthouse United Pentecostal Church, 2047 Seventh St. Pastor Nathaniel Neff of the Lighthouse Church will officiate. Military graveside services will follow at Mount Hope Cemetery. A potluck reception will follow at the Senior Center, 2810 Cedar St.

Disposition was by cremation at Gray's West Pioneer Crematory.

Dick was born in Poplar Bluff, Mo., on Jan. 8, 1932. He resided in West Yellowstone, Mont., from 1937 until 1942. In 1943, he and his family moved to Baker City, where he resided for 62 years.

He served in the United States Navy on the U.S.S. Baltimore Cruiser from March 1951 through March 1955.

In September 1955, he returned to Baker City and married Vickey M. Reeves.

Dick was known and loved for his remarkable gift of carpentry and restoration throughout Oregon, such as the Brownlee dam and various bridges on Interstate 84.

One of his last projects was the Geiser Grand Hotel in which he postponed his retirement in order to participate in the project.

Dick was also well-known for his love of country music and his mastery of the steel guitars. For many years he enjoyed playing music with his many musician friends and family members at various events and numerous gatherings. In his earlier years he loved to hunt, fish and camp with his family and friends.

Dick was well-loved and respected by all who knew him. He has impacted many lives and we are all better people for knowing him. He will be missed by all.

Survivors include his children, Autumn of Prineville, Richard C. and his wife, Jeannie, of Prineville, and Meriedeth of Davis, Calif.; seven grandchildren, ages 22 years to four months old; and brothers, Marshall, Clifford, Carl, Steven and Robert.

He was preceded in death by both parents, one sister, and two brothers.

Memorial contributions may be made to Mountain States Tumor Institute in care of Gray's West & Company, P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814.

Earl Robb

Earl Robert Robb, 81, a former Baker City resident, died April 18, 2003.

A celebration of his life will be at 1 p.m. Friday at the First United Methodist Church, Cathedral of the Rockies, in Boise.

Earl was born Jan. 20, 1922, the first child of Albert and Lola Robb at Oxly, Mo.

He married Shirley Mahan on March 14, 1948, and lived at Moorpark, Calif., and Baker City before moving to Boise in 1974. He was involved with various agricultural ventures during his working years.

Earl served his country during World War II as a pilot flying the Burma Hump in the Himalayan Mountains India. In 1945 he was awarded the Presidential Citation.

Earl was a member of the First United Methodist Church where he served his Lord and church. He ushered most Sundays until his health failed. His friendliness and kindness will be remembered by all who knew him.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley, in 1998; his brother Paul Robb in 1999; and his parents Albert and Lola Robb.

He is survived by his daughter, Eileen Robb of Boise; and son, Rodney Robb and his wife, Susie, of Tri-Cities, Wash.

Inurnment will be next to his beloved Shirley in the Island City Cemetery at Island City.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Boise VA, Boise Medical Center, 500 W. Fort St., Boise, ID 83702 or the First United Methodist Church, 717 N. 11th St., Boise, ID 83702.

‘Bill' Cornett

J.W. "Bill" Cornett, 87, a longtime Keating resident, died April 20, 2003, at St. Elizabeth Health Services.

His graveside service was held today at Mount Hope Cemetery. Pastor George Rau of Elkhorn Ministries officiated.

Bill was born June 2, 1915, to Joseph Ellis and Evva Rayburn Cornett at Celexico, Calif. He attended various schools throughout California.

He started working on a milk delivery route at the age of 8 and at the age of 14 he started driving truck. When he was 16 he obtained his chauffeur's license.

He enjoyed trucking and would regale friends for hours with stories of his trucking exploits. Bill worked at an aircraft plant in California in the late 1930s. In his spare time he would ride motorcycles down into Mexico with a group of friends. He really enjoyed riding motorcycles, even into his later years.

In 1946, Bill met and married Arloine Ritter of Keating. The couple moved to the Ritter Ranch at Keating where they remained until Arloine's death in February of 1977.

Bill then moved up the road to the Horan Ranch, which he leased. He worked and lived there for the remainder of his life.

Survivors include his son Leland Cornett and his wife, Cindy, of Kennewick, Wash.; a grandson, Michael Cornett also of Kennewick, Wash.; a granddaughter, Jill Shelby and her husband, Ron, of Richland, Wash.; and four great-grandchildren, Emma, Eli, Eden, and Eva Shelby.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Arloine; one brother; and two sisters.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Keating Rural Fire District through Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814.

‘Bud' Lanyon

Joseph "Bud" Lanyon, 70, of San Bernardino County, Calif., and a former Baker City resident, died April 7, 2003, at Community Hospital of San Bernardino.

His graveside service will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at Mount Hope Cemetery. Pastor Monte Loyd of the Baker Valley Christian Assembly will officiate. Military rites will be conducted by the Oregon Army National Guard.

Bud was born on Aug. 17, 1932, at Baker City. He was a son of Joseph and Blance Hickerson Lanyon. He was raised and attended school in Baker City. He entered the U.S. Air Force in 1951 and was honorably discharged in 1954. Upon discharge, he moved to San Bernardino County, Calif. He worked in construction.

Survivors include six daughters, Arlene Lacher of Victorville, Calif., Cynthia Aguila and Sandra Wallace, both of San Bernardino, Calif., Brenda Jones of Fontana, Calif., Emily of Running Springs, Calif., and Darla of Redding, Calif.; three sons, Joe of San Bernardino, Bryan of Georgia and Kenneth of Texas; 31 grandchildren; and 22 great- grandchildren; a brother and sister-in-law, Ken and Donna Lanyon of Yamhill; a brother, Fred Schuck of Albany; a sister, Grace Ann Haskin of Boise; a sister and brother-in-law, Betty and Bud Balch of Tacoma, Wash.; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents and twin sister, Joan.

Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of one's choice through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Arrena Runft Karp Oliver

Arrena Runft Karp Oliver, 95, of Boise and former Baker City resident, died April 18, 2003 at her home.

At Arrena's request, no services will be held, but there will be a gathering to celebrate her life at the Hillcrest Country Club, 4610 Hillcrest Drive in Boise at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 2.

Arrangements are by Summers Funeral Homes, Boise Chapel.

Born on Oct. 9, 1907, she was the eldest of four children of John and Elisabeth "Bessie" McIlvain Brown of Council Grove, Kan. She grew up on the family farm homesteaded by her great-grandparents James and Mary McIlvain in the Big John area on the Neosho River in Morris County, Kan. She grew up in the bosom of an extended family of many generations of related homesteaders and particularly enjoyed the frequent gatherings and Christmas festivities, which often were centered at the home of her grandfather John McIlvain.

Always a good student, she took the state teacher's exam upon graduation from high school in 1925, qualified, attended summer school in Emporia State Teacher's College, and started teaching grade school in a country school when she was 17 years old.

She taught at various grade schools in Kansas and continued her education at Ottawa University and the University of Kansas. She remained a teacher throughout her life, whether teaching in school or requiring proper grammar of her children and grandchildren.

Her teaching career included a fourth-grade class of 44 students at Tiedemann Elementary School in Baker City in 1946-1947.

In 1926 she met Donald Runft of Herrington, Kan., and, despite the effects of the Great Depression, they were married on May 21, 1932.

They did not announce their marriage and told only close friends, since married women teachers lost their jobs to heads of households during those hard economic times. As the result of the deepening depression, the bank in Pawnee City, Neb., where Don was employed, went broke in the spring of 1934. Like many of their generation they made the decision to head West.

They announced their marriage, she quit her job, and in July 1935 they departed for the West, she being the first in four generations of her family to permanently leave Kansas.

They lived a year in Seattle, and in 1935, Don was offered a position in Baker City, which began his lifelong career as office manager/comptroller of a mining company. From 1937 until his death in 1964, Don was employed by Porter Bros. Mining Company, and as a consequence they moved a number of times.

Don and Arrena formed many life-long friendships among the young couples they met while in Baker City from 1937 to 1941. During this time their two children, John and Dona, were born.

With the advent of World War II and the Gold Closing Act of 1941, gold mining came to an end. The young family was transferred to other mining operations.

After World War II, they relocated in Baker City, where many old friendships were renewed. During these years, there were many social activities, including lots of square dancing, scouting, and picnics in the mountains, and Arrena joined the Eastern Star and Don was an active Mason.

Arrena became a charter member of chapter CJ PEO, an association in various chapters which she cherished all her life.

In the summer of 1953, the family moved to Boise, since the focus of the mining operations had changed to Idaho. With her children graduating from high school and leaving home, Arrena went back to teaching full time in 1956. She joined chapter AQ-PEO in Boise.

On Nov. 2, 1964, Arrena suffered the shock of her life when her husband Donald died suddenly at age 59 of a heart attack. The months following were dark days for Arrena, which were exacerbated by the absence of her daughter, who had moved to Germany where her husband was assigned as a medical officer.

Life, however, has new leases for those who are positive at heart. A dear friend from the early Baker City days, William "Bill" Karp came to see Arrena. His wife, Merna, had died unexpectedly in 1964. With their common background and mutual friends, a new relationship blossomed between Bill and Arrena.

They were married on Jan. 22, 1966, in St. John's Cathedral in Boise. She moved to Bill's home in Springfield, where she made many friends and joined chapter DI-PEO. Arrena also became a very beloved grandmother to the children of Bill's sons, Chris and William Jr.

She was renowned to all her grandkids, grand nieces and nephews, and the children of friends for her letters, which, in addition to being personal and colorful, always contained a stick of gum.

Life with Bill came to a sudden end with his unexpected death on April 21, 1975. Arrena moved back to Boise in August of 1975 where her children were located. In 1976, she began 13 years of world travel, from Europe, the South Seas, to the Great Wall of China and places in between.

Arrena continued to travel through most of the 1980s, visiting the Karp families in Nome, Alaska, and returning to the Europe and the South Seas.

Her sisters and brother moved to Sun City, Ariz., and there were many trips to that destination.

Another change in her life style came at 81 as the result of an invitation to coffee from a man who lived nearby.

On March 25, 1989, Arrena and James "Jim" Oliver were married in the Baptist Temple. Jim's sons, Curtis and Cory, and their families were added to her "greater family."

She and Jim traveled to Arizona and enjoyed taking trips to neighboring towns and in the nearby mountains.

The cards and letters (and gum) continued to flow from Arrena's pen to family and friends and she continued to add to her 18 volumes of pictures and momentos from her life.

Her mind remained razor sharp throughout her 95 years. She enjoyed life, and always said that she had indeed had a wonderful life for which she was very thankful. She believed in God in a very personal, and perhaps somewhat deistic sense. She believed that no one had a monopoly on salvation, but that God's mercy extended to all. She felt that she had received valuable instruction from her religious affiliations during her life. And, she maintained this positive outlook, with Jim as her faithful companion, to the end of her days.

Arrena is survived by her companion and third husband, Jim Oliver; her son John Runft and wife Enid and their children, Linda Runft, Marnie Boyd and her husband, David, and Karl Runft; her daughter, Dona Walters and husband Ted and their children, John Walters and his daughters, Jennifer and Hillary, Nathan Walters and his wife Brenda, and Allison Walters and her husband Erin Todd Hansen; the many members of her beloved Karp and Oliver families; and many nieces, and nephews and their children and grandchildren.

Letters describing events or thoughts relating to Arrena would be very much appreciated. Please address the letters to John L. Runft, 1467 Rimrock Court, Boise, ID 83712.

Darrell Ley

Darrell Ley, 58, died April 19, 2003, at St. Elizabeth Health Care Center after battling a brain tumor.

A Celebration of Life and graveside military service will be held on Friday at 1 p.m. at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Friends are invited to join the family for a reception to be held at the V.F.W. Hall following the service.

Darrell Ray Ley was born on June 19, 1944, at Portland to Calvin and Wynette Davis Ley.

He was raised in Portland and, following graduation from Madison High School, he enlisted in the Navy from 1964 to 1968 and served in Vietnam. During the past few years, Darrell helped to remodel the old Eltrym Theatre in Baker City. After the completion of the remodel, he went to work for Mt. West Moving Company in La Grande.

Darrell was nicknamed "The Terminator." This nickname was bestowed upon him because "once they gave him a job, it was good as done." He was very good at his work. He enjoyed the Trail Blazers, bowling and "playing the machines."

Darrell would do anything for his friends and family. He will be missed so very much.

Darrell is survived by his 12-year-old son Jayme of Maine, his mother Wynette Ley and brother Terry Ley, "Bob" the family dog, numerous relatives and best friends Marilee and Pam.

He was preceded in death by his father Dick who passed away in Baker City in 1989.

Memorial donations may be made to St. Elizabeth Care Center in care of Tami's Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

‘Newt' Robinson

Stanley Newton "Newt" Robinson, 61, died April 19, 2003.

Graveside services will be held Friday at 2 p.m., in the Richfield, Idaho, Cemetery on East Hwy 26. Pastor Gene Kissinger will officiate.

Visitations will be held Thursday at Farnsworth Mortuary, 1343 South Lincoln in Jerome, Idaho, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Stanley was born Feb. 28, 1942, at Richfield, Idaho, to Willett "Slim" Robinson and Velma C. Githens Robinson. He attended school in Richfield.

He married Merlene Bell and they raised their two children while living in Moses Lake, Wash. They were later divorced.

He married Anna in Reno, Nev., in 1990 and they resided in Baker City, where Newt worked for the canal company. They later divorced and Newt returned to Southern Idaho to be near his children. Newt will be remembered as a hard worker.

Newt is survived by his children and their spouses: Lisa and Chris Aranyos of Dayton, Nev., and Stacey and Wendy Robinson of Jerome; grandchildren, Crystal, Amanda and Cody Aranyos and Jeremy and Jared Robinson; eight brothers and sisters and their spouses, Gene and Donna Robinson, Louise Kingsford, Udell and Peggy Robinson, Carl and Carol Robinson, Bonita and Lee Casper, Leona and Lucky Goodenough, Loren Robinson and Victor Robinson, many nieces, nephews and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Mary Sowles

Mary Ellen Sowles, 77, of Baker City, died April 18, 2003, at St. Elizabeth Health Services.

Her funeral will be at 10 a.m., Wednesday at First Presbyterian Church, 1995 Fourth St. Pastor Susan Barnes will officiate. Visitation will be at 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St. Her graveside service and vault interment will be at 11 a.m. May 5 at Valley View Cemetery in Silverton.

Mary was born on June 10, 1925, at the family homestead near Malta, Mont., to Eugene and Eveline Sanders. In 1935, the family moved to Emmett, Idaho, where Mary graduated from high school in 1944. She married Robert M. White of Vale in 1947. She and Robert had two children, Terry J. and Linda K. They later divorced and on Dec. 4, 1964, she married William F. Sowles at The Dalles, Oregon.

Mary was a bookkeeper for Co-Op Oil at The Dalles, before moving to Portland. In Portland, she worked for Lennox Inc. and Optical Plastics Inc.

After retiring, she and William moved to Emmett, Idaho, where they lived from 1985 to 1990, and then to Silverton. She was a member of the United Methodist Church at Silverton.

In 1997, Mary moved to Baker City, to live near her daughter. She was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church in Baker City and enjoyed being a part of the Women's Support Group.

Mary enjoyed sewing and was an avid reader.

Survivors include her son, Terry J. White and his wife, Lucy, of Eugene; daughter, Linda K. Moxon and husband, Arron, of Baker City; grandsons, Douglas and Stephan White and Arron and Christopher Moxon; a brother, William Sanders of Pilot Rock; a sister, Bessie Bennett of Cadillac, Mich.; eight nieces and nephews; a number of cousins all in Canada; and many friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, William; and brothers, Joe and Maynard Sanders.

Memorial contributions may be made to the First Presbyterian Church or a charity of one's choice through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Carl Leishman

Carl Leishman, 83, of Prairie City, a former Baker City resident, died April 18, 2003, at his daughter's home in Prairie City.

His memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Prairie City Cemetery.

Mr. Leishman was born on Jan. 30, 1910, at Baker City to John and Martine Leishman. He attended Baker schools and was a 1928 Baker High School graduate.

After high school he moved to Bates where he worked at various jobs including firing a wood-burning locomotive and serving as purchasing agent and office manager for Oregon Lumber Co. In 1946, he purchased the Bates Mercantile, which he operated until his retirement in December 1972.

After retiring he moved to Prairie City. He was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Masons, Eastern Star and Scottish Rite. He was a past master of the Masons and past worth patron of the Eastern Star.

He was preceded in death by his wife, parents, four brothers and two sisters.

Survivors include his daughter and son-in-law, Alton and Jackie Rapp of Prairie City; three grandsons, Carl Rapp of Bend, Dave Rapp of Grants Pass and Gary Rapp of Prairie City; seven great-grandchildren; and many friends.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society through Driskill Memorial Chapel, 241 S. Canyon Blvd., John Day, OR 97845.

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