Home News Obituaries Obituaries for the week of Jan. 31 to Feb 5, 2005
Obituaries for the week of Jan. 31 to Feb 5, 2005
H.D. Harmon, 71, of Baker City, died Jan. 29, 2005, at St. Alphonsus Hospital in Boise from lymphoma bone cancer.
At his request, there will be no service.
H.D. Harmon was born on May 28, 1933, at Las Cruces, N.M. He was raised at Marfa, Texas, and various places throughout New Mexico.
He worked all of his life building roads and doing heavy construction. He had been an Oregon resident for more than 40 years. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.
Survivors include his wife of 27 years, Norma Harmon of Baker City; his former wife, Janice Creel, his daughter, Robin Sammis, and son, Ryan Harmon, all of Grants Pass; stepchildren and their spouses, Wayne and Julie Roberts of LaCombe, La., Cary and Ruby Roberts and Susan and Dale Harber, all of Craig, Colo., and Thomas and Kathy Roberts of Tillamook; 19 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his sons, Robert Dallas Harmon, who died in 1986, and Randall Lee Harmon, who died in 2003.
Mozell Bracken, 92, of Baker City, died Jan. 31, 2005, at her home with all of her six surviving children at her side.
Her funeral will be at 1 p.m. Friday at Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St. Pastor Bill Cox of McEwen Bible Fellowship will officiate. Vault interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery. There will be a reception afterward at Community Connection, 2810 Cedar St.
Visitations will be until 7 o'clock tonight and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon Friday at the funeral home.
Mozell was born at Marion, Ill., on Oct. 20, 1912, to John and Emma Douglas Strobel. She married Edward R. Bracken on Aug. 18, 1929, at Corning, Ark. The Brackens moved to Baker City in 1946 where they raised their eight children.
Everyone who knew her, knew Mozell for her loving kindness. She enjoyed singing, especially to her grandchildren, cooking and was especially known for her Christmas fruit cake and fudge. Children had a special place in her heart. No child was denied her love; her home was their home.
Mozell gave encouragement when people were down the most; she only saw the best in everyone and only gave the best her heart and her love.
Survivors include her children, Roy Bracken and his wife, Ronda, Paul Bracken and his companion, Vickie Storie, Liz Risley, Peggy Owens and her husband, Sterlin, Joyce McGaughey and her husband, Joe, and Margaret Elliott; sisters and brothers-in-law, Nellie Arnold, Valetta and Red Sumpter, Helen Ennis and Billie Jean Fortenberry; sisters-in-law, Virginia Walker, and Pauline Robison; 29 grandchildren, 61 great-grandchildren, 12 great-great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, who died in 1984; her parents; her stepfather, Alfred Walker; sons, Edward R. Bracken Jr., and Stanley Bracken; grandsons, Joseph McGaughey, Bill Bracken and Roger Bracken; two great-grandchildren and one great- great-grandchild; two brothers, Roy Strobel and Herman Walker; and son-in-law, Larry Elliott.
Memorial contributions may be made to Pathway Hospice through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.
Mary Smith, 81, a lifelong Pine Valley resident, died Feb. 1, 2005, at her son's home at Prineville.
Interment will be at the Pine Valley Cemetery in Halfway. There will be a memorial service later at Halfway.
Mary was born to Willie and Minnie Cullum McFadden on Feb. 14, 1923. She attended primary school at Carson and was a graduate of Pine Valley High School at Halfway.
For many years, Mary worked as a telephone operator for the Pine Valley Telephone Co. Fred and Mary purchased the Jimtown grocery store in 1962 and continued its operation until 1974.
Mary enjoyed spending time with family, gardening, camping, embroidering and her favorite hobby, making quilts.
Survivors include her husband, Fred of Halfway; her sons, Terry Smith and his companion, Pam Wright of Prineville, and Larry Smith and his wife, Gail, also of Prineville; two granddaughters, Kyra Smith of Portland and Michelle Smith of Prineville; a sister, Juanita Steele and her husband, Ladd, of Halfway; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and close friends.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to hospice. The Whispering Pines Funeral Home at Prineville is in charge of cremation and arrangements.
Thelma Gwendolyn Thomas, 92, of Baker City, died Feb. 1, 2005, at her home.
Private family interment will be Friday at Mount Vernon Cemetery in Mount Vernon, Wash. She will be laid to rest next to her husband, Bus.
Thelma Gwendolyn was born on Sept. 25, 1913, at St. Louis to Alexander and Clair Erdman. She was raised and educated at Denver. Thelma met and married Louis "Bus" Thomas in 1935. Shortly after that they moved to Los Angeles. They had one son, Ron.
Thelma and Bus owned and operated a printing and calendar binding business. She was always known as a very hard worker and she was loved by everyone who knew her.
She enjoyed fishing, camping, gardening and canning, sewing and knitting. She loved raising and showing her Norwegian elkhounds, which received many trophies and blue ribbons.
They moved to Burlington, Wash., in 1980 to retire close to Ron, who was living there.
Bus died in 1984. Thelma remained in Washington until the mid 90s when she moved to North Powder and then to Baker City two years ago.
Thelma was living at Settlers Park when she died. She enjoyed all of the people and the activities there.
Survivors include her son and wife, Ron and Jennie Thomas of North Powder; a brother, Curtis Erdman of Mesa, Ariz.; and four grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Bus; and her sister, Letha.
Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of one's choice through Tami's Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.
Hilary Bonn, 21, of Richland, died Jan. 28, 2005, at Oregon Heath & Science University in Portland surrounded by family and friends.
There will be a celebration of her life at 6 p.m. Thursday at Richland Elementary School.
Hilary was born on Nov. 22, 1983, with her twin sister, Gabrielle, at La Grande, to Anthony and Jan Bonn. She was raised at Richland and attended Richland Elementary School. She was a 2002 graduate of Pine-Eagle High School at Halfway.
Active in high school sports, she ran track all four years and loved the 400-meter relay. When not running in her own event she was there as a warm-up buddy and support for her teammates.
She participated in 4-H, raising and showing lambs at the Baker County Fair, and loved to hike, fish, and hunt with her dad, as well as walk the quiet roads, irrigation ditches and creek beds of Richland.
Joining her mother on the piano and her sisters, Elizabeth and Gabrielle, on violin, Hilary played the cello by ear and memorized countless classical pieces to play at weddings for family and friends. She cherished the times spent singing as a quartet with her sisters, Irene, Elizabeth, and Gabrielle.
Sundays were packed with church activities and Hilary was a member of both the Richland Methodist Church and St. Therese Catholic Church at Halfway, where she attended both services. She participated in community events and fund-raisers and treasured the experience of coordinating and organizing. She much preferred to be on the giving end, but accepted with grace the love and support given by others.
Hilary was a team player but also a willing leader ready to step in and fill any role needed. As soon as junior high school her mother remembers Hilary taking over as coach of the basketball team when the girls wanted to play the boys. There were no adult coaches on the floor that day, so Hilary took charge.
Hilary loved to perform and gave outstanding performances in her high school theater arts class, as The Witch, in the play "Into the Woods," and made everyone cry as the character Sybil in "The Cover of Life."
Hilary's dream was to become a massage therapist. She was prepped to begin classes in the fall of 2002 but her education was delayed with the diagnosis of leukemia.
She stayed involved between treatments by joining Marylhurst Toastmasters in 2003. She worked toward achieving her Competent Toastmaster Award, and was a guest speaker for the Portland Red Cross at its 2004 conference for bone marrow transplant survivors.
She completed her first term in December 2004 at the East West School of the Healing Arts in Portland.
Hilary touched hundreds of people and had a way of making them feel special. Those who knew her were inspired by her tenacity, quiet strength, and unfailing heart.
Hilary's focus the past two years was on life and living, not on being sick. That was evident in how she dealt with being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
She created many friendships during her treatment and maintained them as part of her extended family. She was adamant that those around her focus on the positive and quick to point out that worrying about tomorrow would not help her today.
In her words, "Don't be negative or you'll ruin what time I do have," and "Calm down, I'll either live which is good, or I'll die, which is also good."
Hilary was also an inspiration for both patients and staff at OHSU. She called to check on others, visited those hospital bound when she herself was not, sang Christmas carols, made and delivered ornaments, and provided a calming presence for those anxious and afraid. Fellow patients sought Hilary out as friend and empathizer, and hospital staff asked to be assigned to her.
She was loving and joyful, beginning with her childhood (when her mom would have to separate the twins at bedtime because they would giggle the night away) and continuing through her early adulthood.
People often said, "She's such an angel," and many people claimed her as their very own angel, according to family members. Hilary will always be remembered and cherished by her family.
Survivors include her father and mother, Anthony and Jan Bonn of Richland; sisters, Irene and Gabrielle of Beaverton, Elizabeth of La Grande; grandfather, Walter Saunders Jr. of Richland; grandmother, Irene Bonn of Albany; 20 aunts and uncles; numerous cousins and countless friends.
She was preceded in death by Grandma Geneva Saunders, Grandpa Joe Bonn, and cousin Jerome Goin.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the Richland Methodist Church Benevolence Fund through Tami's Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834, or Richland Methodist Church, P.O. Box 378, Richland, OR 97870.
Valeria Denise Simonis, 70, of Baker City, died Jan. 31, 2005, at St. Elizabeth Health Services.
A memorial service will be scheduled this summer. Coles Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Valeria was born on March 9, 1934, at Baker City to John and Irma Williams Macy. Her family lived at Jacksonville until she was in the fourth grade, when they returned to Baker City.
She married Keith Simonis at Elko, Nev., in 1950. They made their home at North Powder until their divorce.
At that time, she and her children moved to Hermiston, where she went to work as a cook for various restaurants. Wanting to be near her cousin, she and the family moved to The Dalles. She worked as a cook, opening her own cafe near her home.
She later worked for R&R Drafting as a drafts person. She worked there for nine years. After leaving R&R, she opened her own ceramic shop in her former cafe. She operated the shop for five years until she decided to "see the world," moving to North Carolina with friends.
After surviving several hurricanes, she decided to come back to Eastern Oregon to retire. She lived at Hermiston, and was the treasurer of her retirement community for many years. She was very proud of this accomplishment.
Because of her failing health, she returned home in Baker City in October of 2004.
Valeria loved making porcelain dolls and made all of their clothing. She enjoyed creating beautiful things. She loved her birds and owned a cockatiel and parakeet.
She was a hard worker and raised her children through difficult times with love. When Valeria was mad, she was mad all over, but the same applied when she loved, and she loved her children. She will be greatly missed.
Survivors include her children, Linda Burnside and her husband, Wayne, of Baker City, Suzanne Travis and her husband, Ted, of Prineville, Randy Simonis of Hermiston, Bobby Simonis of Monroe, Wash., and Jeanna Valencia and Lori Jo Horn, both of Hermiston; a brother, Glenn Macy, and his wife, Jane, of Mountain Home, Idaho; a close cousin, Neil Rogerson of Molalla; 14 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; and one niece and one nephew.
She was preceded in death by her parents; and a twin sister, who died at birth.
Memorial contributions may be made to Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814 to help the family with her funeral expenses.
Ira Wilson Jr.
Ira Wilson Jr., 94, of Portland, a former longtime Baker City resident, died Jan. 29, 2005, at Portland.
There will be no service.
Mr. Wilson was born on Aug. 18, 1910, at Roseburg. He and his wife, Sylvia, were married in 1945. She died in 1977.
He attended Tigard High School and served in the U.S. Army from Feb. 25, 1942, to Oct. 8, 1945. He lived in Baker City from 1947 to 1978 where he worked in the sawmill.
Survivors include his nieces, Hope Wilson, Dawn Wilson Stricklin, Becky Wilson Freeman and Marsha Wilson, all of Portland; a nephew, Steven Wilson of Portland; and sister-in-law, Lucille Wilson of Portland.
Dr. Bill' Karg
Dr. William Franklin "Bill" Karg, 75, of Eagle, Idaho, a former Baker City resident, died Dec. 7, 2004, at his home.
The family had a private service to celebrate his life.
Bill was born on April 18, 1929, at Baker City to Otto and Margaret "Pat" Karg. His father was a former Baker City fire chief.
Bill attended Baker High School and then Pacific University at Forest Grove. He graduated with a degree in optometry on May 25, 1952. During college, he worked for the Forest Service where he was a firefighter.
He married Ruby Lowe at Baker City on Dec. 27, 1950. His parents moved from Baker City to Idaho Falls when his father was named fire chief for the Atomic Regulatory Commission. Bill moved to Idaho Falls to be near his parents when he began his optometry practice.
He married Norma Jean Holley at Idaho Falls on Jan. 19, 1964. He retired from optometry after a 40-year career and he and Norma began to winter in Arizona before settling at Boise.
Hobbies of his earlier years included hunting, tennis and snow skiing. At the age of 50 he climbed Mount Borah. He later enjoyed extensive world travel, golf, walking, bicycling and meetings friends for coffee.
Bill knew no strangers. He had a smile and wave for anyone he passed. He remained the apple of his 96-year-old mother's eye.
From 1965 to 2004 he was a member of AA and helped establish the Alcoholic Rehabilitation Association at Idaho Falls. He also helped start the Eastern Idaho Mental Health Center and was involved in organizing the CARES group, which coordinated community services to help people with alcohol or drug abuse problems.
He was preceded in death by his grandson, Jacob Boyle; and his father, Otto Karg.
Survivors include his wife, Norma; his mother, Margaret Karg; five children, Curt Karg, Roxanne Boyle and Karen Radford, all of Idaho Falls, Susan DiGrazia of Boise and Lisa Lassner of Phoenix; 14 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; a cousin, Jean Dawson of Washington; and a good friend and "almost brother," Larry Gilmore of Eagle.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the Alcoholic Rehabilitation Association (ARA) Center, 163 E. Elva St., Idaho Falls, Idaho 83401.
Virginia Van Ocker
Virginia Mary Wilson Van Ocker, 90, of Baker City, died Jan. 29, 2005, at Boise after a long illness.
Her memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St. Pastor Ralph Holcomb will officiate. There will be a reception afterward at the funeral home.
Virginia was born at Seattle, Wash., on June 3, 1914, to Otis and Hulda Wilson. She was the second of five children. At the age of 2, she moved with her family to Milton-Freewater. She attended all 12 years of school at Milton-Freewater, graduating from Mac-Hi in 1932.
She married Elmer Van Ocker on Sept. 30, 1933, at Walla Walla, Wash. They lived at Milton, Adams, and Athena before moving to Haines in 1955 where she was employed at the post office. In 1971, they moved to Baker City where she was employed by the Baker County Education Service District in the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) program as the coordinator of youth employment.
Her job was to encourage students to stay in school and to complete their education through work/study programs in the community. She retired in 1985 at the age of 70.
As devoted parents and grandparents, Virginia and Elmer enjoyed many camping trips and teaching all the grandchildren how to fish.
It was said, "Virginia could outfish the best of them!" Her home was always open to her family and friends. She loved cooking, and sewing, especially her handcrafted sweatshirts and beautiful quilts.
Survivors include two sons, Garry Van Ocker and his wife, Joan, of Athena, and Steve Van Ocker and his wife, Barbara, of Boise; daughter, Joan Rice of Athena; grandchildren, Mark Van Ocker and his wife, Allison, of Milton-Freewater, Megan Peterson and her husband, Bryan, of Gig Harbor, Wash., Scott Van Ocker and his wife, Tracy, and Amber Van Ocker, all of Boise, and Jim Rice and his wife, Lori, of Sanford, Fla.; great-grandchildren, Kailey and Camden Van Ocker of Milton-Freewater, Ainsley Peterson of Gig Harbor, Wash., Paige and Demi Van Ocker of Boise, and Clay and Jake Rice of Sanford, Fla.; and a sister, Margurette Smith of Spokane, Wash.
She was preceded in death by her husband in 2001; her parents; two brothers, Ray Wilson and Dale Wilson; and a sister, Donna Bline.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Senior Center through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.
Donna May Hickerson, 70, of Baker City died Jan. 26, 2005, at her home.
At Donna's request, there will be no service.
Donna May Hickerson was born on July 13, 1934, at Bend to Ira and Evelyn Crowley Pontius. She was raised at Mount Vernon. Donna married Bill Hickerson in 1950; they divorced in 1962.
She was an excellent cook and worked in various restaurants in John Day and Baker City. At one time she ran the Geiser Grand Restaurant.
Donna loved to cook for her family. She was a great canner. Her specialties were pickles and jellies. She enjoyed playing cards with her neighbors, and will be missed by all.
Survivors include five children and their spouses, Laurel and Alfred Johnson of Redmond, Keith and Barbara Hickerson of Colorado Springs, Colo., Billy and Lori Hickerson of Canyon City, Cindy Hickerson of Vallejo, Calif., and Echo and Javier Milanez of Boise; her special friend, Alan Hickerson of John Day; her friend and caregiver, Fern Shell of Spokane, Wash.; 11 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
The family suggest memorial contributions to Pathway Hospice through Driskill Memorial Chapel, 241 S. Canyon Blvd., John Day, OR 97845.
Warren Eldon Johnson, 65, of Suwanee, Ga., died on Jan. 28, 2005.
His funeral will be Wednesday at Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel, 1031 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville, Ga.
Mr. Johnson was born on Sept. 7, 1939, at Nampa, Idaho, to Idella Marie and Fred Edward Johnson. He attended schools at Nampa.
He retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1976 as a master sergeant after 20 years of service. He then worked for Honeywell/HFSI, retiring in 1994. He was an avid sports fan and gardener.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Survivors include his wife, Barbara; his brother, Max Johnson; two sisters, Wilma Lenz and Karen White; five children, Randy Johnson, Cathy Haase, Stephen Jones, Candice McKim and Theodore Johnson; and nine grandchildren.
Anna May Ryder
Anna May Ryder, 84, a lifetime Baker City resident, died Jan. 27, 2005, at Idlewood Manor.
Her funeral will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave. Pastor Tony Brandon of the Baker City Seventh-day Adventist Church will officiate. Vault interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery.
Visitations will be until 8 o'clock tonight at Gray's West & Co.
Anna May Ryder was born on June 5, 1920, at Baker City to Horace B. and Edna Maude Ryder. She was the oldest of five children.
She attended St. Francis Academy. She worked many years for her father and his brothers, Mel and Frank Ryder, at Ryder Bros. printing shop, which they founded. The name later was changed to Ryder Bros. Stationery.
She went on to work for Bob and Katherine Bratt, who purchased the family business. Later she worked for her brothers at Ben's Transfer and Storage.
Anna May took great pride in her home and her yard. She had many talents, including cake decorating.
She was preceded in death by her parents and three brothers, John, Jim and Ben.
Survivors include her brother, Joe, and his wife, Donna, and their children, Wayne, and his wife, Jeanie, and Thomas, all of Baker City; nieces, Christy Ryder and Vanessa Ryder of Baker City, Angela Aldrich and her husband, Robert, of Pasco, Wash., Joy McAndie and her husband, Donald, of Island City, and their children, Kyle and Todd, and Carol and Keith Harris, and their daughter, Jennifer, of Salem; and a nephew, Eric Ryder of Gilbert, Ariz.
Memorial contributions may be made to Pathway Hospice through Gray's West & Co., P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814.
Maria Riggs Jacobsen, 80, of Portland, a former Baker City resident, died Dec. 25, 2004, at Portland.
Friends gathered to honor her life on Jan. 9 at the Tualatin Elks Lodge.
Maria Helena Riggs was born on June 2, 1924, at Lisbon, Portugal. She moved to Baker City as a child and graduated from Baker High School in 1942. She later moved to the Portland area where she had lived for 50 years.
Maria was a homemaker and volunteered at the Meridian Park Hospital for more than 23 years. She will be remembered for her ready smile and jovial countenance. She returned to Baker City intermittently over the years for class reunions.
In 1956, she married Elvin Jacobsen, who survives her. She also is survived by her daughter, Diana Gerba, and two grandchildren.
Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of one's choice.
Cornwall Colonial Mortuary was in charge of arrangements.
Mayme Thelma Garrett, 86, of Baker City, died Jan. 27, 2005, at St. Elizabeth Health Care Center.
Her funeral will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Gray's West & Co., 1500 Dewey Ave. Friends and relatives are invited to a celebration in her memory at the Eagles Lodge, 2935 H St., after the service.
Mayme was born on June 17, 1918, to Perly O. and Flora Temple Devaney Hacker. She was christened with the name of Mayme Thelma Hacker. She married Harlin Lawrence Garrett in Morgan County, Tenn., on Nov. 9, 1935.
The couple started a family on a small 600-acre farm. At the time, they didn't know that the farm would be better at growing rocks and children than it was at growing crops.
Over the next 16 years, Harlin worked as a coal miner in Tennessee, at a car manufacturing plant in Detroit and at the atomic bomb plant in Oak Ridge, Tenn., during World War II. Mayme stayed on the farm and raised the couple's expanding family.
In the spring of 1951, Mayme and Harlin traded the 600-acre farm for a 1950 two-ton flatbed Chevrolet truck, and built a camper on the back. Into the camper they loaded their family, now consisting of nine children and headed for a beautiful little placed called Baker Valley in Oregon.
They bought a modest home on Colorado Place that was overfilled with children and love. Mayme devoted the next 50 years to raising her children and numerous grandchildren and any other child who needed a home. She had a place in her heart and at her table for all children.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Harlin; and sons, Clifford and Jimmy.
Survivors include her children, Eunafaye McAdams and her husband, Hank, Ray and his wife, MaryAnne, Bobby Lee and his wife, Kate, Jack and his wife, Colleen, daughter-in-law, Jean Garrett, John and his wife, Marge, Thelma Elliott and her husband, Dan, Lynetta Rasmussen, and her husband, Pat, Kenneth and his wife, Arlene, Debi Harris and her husband, Ernest, and Amber Emery and her husband, Doug; grandchildren: Mike, Fred, Bridgette and Max McAdams; Brad and Pat Garrett, Brandon, Shawn and Tyree Garrett; Jeff, Christina and Marlow Garrett, Mayme, Michelle, Christina, Jim and Mandy Garrett; Harley, Justin, Grover Garrett and Carolyn; Terrie, Merilee, Paul and Casey Garrett; Tiffany, Jennifer and Shannon Elliott; Heather Mack and Jessica Rasmussen; Ryann and Michael Garrett; Randy and Jason Darnell and Danielle Burch; Chewie Emery and Chester; 44 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; numerous stepgrandchildren; and her wonderful best friend, Eloise Colton.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Lung Association through Gray's West & Co., P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814.