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Home arrow News arrow News of Record arrow Obituaries for the week of June 20 to June 24


Obituaries for the week of June 20 to June 24

Helen Crane

Helen Iva Ranes Crane, 80, of Baker City, died June 21, 2005, at Baker City.

There will be no service. She will be buried in the family plot at Lostine.

Helen was born to Fred Richard Ranes of Forest Grove and Iva Agnes Harris Ranes of Pomroy, Wash. She was raised in Wallowa County and then spent the rest of her life at Sumpter and Baker City.

She was married to Billie Jerome Crane at Weiser, Idaho, on Nov. 29, 1941. They divorced in 1950. She married Dorrel George Dotson in La Grande on Dec. 19, 1950. They divorced in 1966.

Helen worked at The Salvation Army, the Baker Cab Service and retired from St. Elizabeth Community Hospital where she worked as a housekeeper.

Helen was a good cook. She enjoyed going to the family mine on Dry Creek. She treasured her time in the outdoors, and she especially loved to fish. She enjoyed horses all of her life and she was very considerate and helpful to her friends.

She was preceded in death by her sister, Nelleta Jean Ranes in 1929; and her brother, Don Merle Ranes, who died in 1998.

Survivors include her sons, Gary Crane of Albany and Warren Crane and his wife, Betty, of Baker City; daughter, Nelleta Bailey, and her husband, Rick, of Headquarters, Idaho; granddaughters and their spouses, Coral and Mike Widman of Baker City and Amy and Rylan Cheney of Cody, Neb.; and great-grandchildren, Chelsie Zenner of Culdesac, Idaho, and Anlan, Gillian, Erin, Ry and Quinn Cheney of Cody, Neb.

‘Bill' Dixon

Bill Dixon, 62, of Baker City died June 19, 2005, after a 15-year battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his loved ones.

His memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Thursday at Coles Funeral Home. Greg Baxter will conduct the service. Vault interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery with Oregon State Police honors. Visitations will be until 7 o'clock tonight at the funeral home.

Bill was the second child of Eldred Dixon and Virginia Ione Miller born at Salt Lake City on Feb. 18, 1943. His only sibling was his sister, Betty Lee Stone.

His childhood years were spent in the Portland, Oregon area where he graduated from Clackamas High School in 1961. After graduation, Bill enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard. He served on a light ship off the coast of California. He went through flight school in North Carolina and then was stationed in Alaska.

While serving in Alaska, he participated in two historic Arctic expeditions on the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker, Northwind. These expeditions were the United States' first voyages through the Northeast Passage. He was honorably discharged at Astoria after serving 4 years.

During his time in the Coast Guard, Bill took up photography as a hobby. After his discharge he attended Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, Calif.

He joined the Oregon State Police in 1969 and was stationed at Baker City. There he met his loving wife, Joanna Miller. The two were married on Feb. 18, 1970. The couple remained in Baker City while raising two daughters, Marie and Ginger, and a son, Bill.

Bill spent most of his 25 years of service as a state police officer in the Fish and Game Division working throughout Baker County. The place that was closest to his heart was Hells Canyon and the surrounding area.

Due to the nature of his work, it was not uncommon for the family to help take care of the many injured and baby animals that Bill would bring home. He retired from the state police in 1994.

He then was employed with Marvin Wood Products as a safety officer. Bill's standards for excellence are reflected in the quality of hardworking employees and the safety awards the plant has received.

There were many other activities Bill treasured. He was a strong believer in the Boy Scout program and served in various leadership positions for many years.

Bill is remembered for being honest and direct with people. He was an extremely hard worker and one who paid attention to details. He was firm in what he believed, even to the point of being stubborn at times.

He is also remembered for his eye-to-eye discussions with his children, the many camping trips, plus the way he could intimidate their friends and spouses with his voice and presence. He expected his children and grandchildren to do quality work the first time and every time.

The family would like to publicly thank Marvin Wood Products and FirstBank for the support they have given to both Bill and Joanna over the years while Bill fought valiantly against cancer.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister and a niece, Sallie Jacobson.

Survivors include his wife, Joanna; his daughter and son-in-law, Marie and George Shimer of Nyssa; his daughter, Ginger Soderholm of Baker City; his son, Sgt. 1st Class Bill Dixon of Pinehurst, N.C.; five grandsons, Chris, Jamie, Sean, Gregg and Ray; a granddaughter, Jenna; and two nieces, Pam Stone of Ohio and Laura Long of Montana.

Memorial contributions may be made to Mountain States Tumor Institute, 151 Bannock Road, Boise, Idaho 83712-9988.

Robert Gordon

Robert D. Gordon, 72, a former Baker City resident, died June 20, 2005, at his home in Sheridan.

His memorial service will be Thursday at Sheridan. His ashes will be scattered at Sparta.

Bob was born on June 11, 1933, at Sunnyside, Wash., to Harry and Elizabeth Stuber Gordon. When he was 2, the family moved to Richland. When Bob was 6 they moved to Sparta. At the age of 8, Bob helped in the haying. He drove a team of horses, mowed hay and used a buck rake to move hay to the stock yard.

He and his sister, Fern, rode horses five miles to school each day, sometimes through 4 to 5 feet of snow. These were very dear times for Bob.

He was a 1951 Baker High School graduate. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in January 1952 and served at Pusan, Korea, until February 1954. He was honorably discharged and settled in Pendleton to pursue the tire business he had learned while working at Lew Bros. during his high school days.

He moved to the Willamette Valley in 1970 and continued the tire business. After he retired in 2002, he started cutting firewood and selling it on the coast to allow him to spend time in the mountains that he loved so much. He had to give this up three weeks ago when he was diagnosed with cancer.

Survivors include his wife, Barbara; his stepdaughter, Shelly Cameron of Sheridan; his daughter and son-in-law, Jodi and Tracy Haff of Cheyenne, Wyo.; his son, Robert John, who is serving in Iraq with the U.S. Army, and his wife, Serina; his daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth and Damian Grimalde of Winder, Ga.; a brother and sister-in-law, Walter and Cleo of Midvale, Idaho; sister and brother-in-law, Fern and Bob Taylor of Sumpter; niece, Teresa Vaughan of Baker City; uncle, Sanford Stuber of Mount Vernon, Wash.; nine grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and numerous cousins and nieces and nephews.

‘Al' Oard

Albert G. "Al" Oard, 84, a resident of Baker City, died June 17, 2005, at St. Elizabeth Health Care Center. A private family celebration of life services will be held at a later date in the Burns Cemetery in Burns. Coles Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Al was born on Feb. 2, 1921, at Lawen to James and Clara Kesterson Oard. Their home was a ranch near Lawen, and Al attended the Crane and Drewsey grade schools. He was a 1938 graduate of Crane High School. He went on to college, attending Oregon State College at Corvallis from 1938 until May of 1942, when he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.

He was discharged in October 1945 as a first lieutenant bomber pilot. During his tour in World War II, he served in Europe and flew the B24 Bomber. He was shot down twice. He returned to Oregon State College and graduated in 1946 with a major in forest and range management.

In December of 1945, he married Erma Lee Cawlfield at Burns. They made their home in various parts of Oregon working for the U.S. Forest Service. During his 40- year career with the Forest Service, he served as ranger, branch chief in range and the regional office in Portland, then as forest supervisor for the Malheur National Forest.

In 1974, he moved to the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest where he served as forest supervisor until his retirement in the early 1980s. Al and Erma then moved to Colorado where he managed a ranch for five years.

They enjoyed their years of retirement in Baker City going to Yuma, Ariz., every winter for 12 years. Al enjoyed fishing and hunting, going on wagon train trips and making wagon wheels. He collected for his "What Is It?" Museum in his basement, and Dutch-oven cooking. He was a great steward of the land.

Al was a member of the Masonic Lodge, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Society of American Foresters, Society for Range Management, and 2nd Air Division Association, 8th Air Force. He served as the commander of the American Legion, Post No. 41, and as president of the Pacific Northwest Section Society Range Management.

Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Erma Oard of Baker City; his children, Mike Oard of Telluride, Colo., Jim Oard of Baton Rouge, La., and Jane Case of Prineville; three grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Richard Oard; and his sisters, Etta Temple and Eva Whiting.

Memorial contributions may be made to Pathway Hospice, 2192 Court Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.

Elmer Dougherty

Elmer P. Dougherty, 89, of Billings, Mont., died June 14, 2005, at Eagle Manor in Billings.

His memorial service will be at 2 p.m. July 20 at the United Methodist Church, 1919 Second St.

Elmer was born on Nov. 16, 1916, on a farm at Sutton Creek. After graduating from Baker Business College in 1937, he went to work for the U.S. Post Office in Baker City. He retired from the Postal Service after 35 years.

He married Ethel Ebell of Baker City on Nov. 24, 1938. They had two daughters, LeAnn Guess, who lives at San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, Bill, and Judith Rae Hammersmark, who live at Ballantine, Mont., with her husband, Marvin.

After retiring from the post office, he drove school bus for five years. He also enjoyed fishing and hunting. He was a longtime member of the Baker Elks Lodge.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Ethel; his parents; and his sister, Veta Hovde.

Survivors include a sister and brother-in-law, Berlena and Bob Broch of Seattle, Wash.; his daughters and their husbands; six grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

Emma Wright

Emma Louella Wright, 91, of La Grande, a former Baker City resident, died June 15, 2005, at a La Grande care center.

A graveside service and celebration of her life will begin at 11 a.m. Friday at Abbey View Memorial Park in Brier, Wash. Arrangements are under the direction of Loveland Funeral Chapel in La Grande.

Emma Louella Wright was born on Nov. 21, 1913, at Glasgo, Mont. She was the oldest of eight children born to Pete and Minnie Hill Edd. The family moved to Williston, N.D., where she was raised and educated.

Emma married Leland Stroud at Williston, N.D. They later divorced and Emma moved to Seattle, Wash.

In 1945 she married Henry Benter in Seattle, where they lived until 1947 when they moved to Oregon. They lived at Springfield, Mayville and Baker City. They were Baker City residents from 1954 to 1961.

They next moved to La Grande where they remained until Henry's death in 1965 when she moved to Seattle to be near her sisters. She married Bill Wright in 1978 at Olympia, Wash., and lived at Bremerton, Wash., until her husband's retirement from the shipyards. They moved to Canton, N.C. Bill died in 1986. Emma remained at Canton until 1993 when she returned to La Grande.

She was an excellent gardener and could grow anything. She was a wonderful seamstress and loved to sew. She was an excellent cook and prepared wonderful meals for her family. She collected dolls and liked traveling, visiting places in the United States and Europe.

Survivors include her son, Donald Stroud of Ketchikan, Alaska; daughters, Alice Williamson and Roberta Adlard, both of La Grande; adopted son, Richard Benter of Fletcher, N.C.; stepchildren Rayman Benter, John Benterof Crosby of North Dakota and Milred Kjorli of Havre, Mont.; sisters Ruth Trainer, Verna DeWitt, Nyla Wills, and Betty Conners all of Seattle; a brother, Zell Edd of Williston, N.D.; granddaughters, Penny Anderson of Sand Point, Idaho, Terry Tarter of Richland, Sue Lightfoot of Lincoln City, Christine Carlson of La Grande, Beth Schmidt of Monmouth, Bonnie Samples of Oregon City, Connie Stroud of Edmond, Wash., and Lonnie Stroud; grandsons, James Devine of Sand Point, Idaho, and John Williamson of La Grande; 21 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; a brother, Jess Edd, who died in World War II; and a sister, Edna DeLapp.

Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of one's choice through Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., La Grande, OR 97850.

Deborah Luster

Deborah Kay Luster, 44, of Pinedale, Wyo., a former Baker City resident, died June 13, 2005, in a car accident near Evanston, Wyo.

Her memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave. Pastor Lennie Spooner of the First Church of the Nazarene will officiate. There will be a reception afterward at the home of Carolyn and Melvin Luster.

Debbie was born on Jan. 13, 1961, at Twin Falls, Idaho. She was the sixth of nine children born to her mother, Mary Helen Sartain Sharp of The Dalles. She also had five siblings from her father, William Bradley "Bill" Barnette.

As a young girl, she moved to Oregon where she attended school. She grew up primarily in the Eugene area. There she met and married William "Bill" Jensen. The coupled followed the family in a move to The Dalles where they raised their children for several years.

After Bill died, she spent several years in the Portland area before she met John Luster. They were married on Dec. 22, 1996. They lived in Oregon for several years before a job led them to their home at Pinedale, Wyo., where they had lived for the past three years.

Debbie was interested in genealogy and finding her family roots. She collected stuffed bears and Simpson memorabilia. Her passion and greatest love in life was for her family and friends. She was a loving wife and mother of three children. She will be deeply missed by those who knew her.

Survivors include her husband, John of Wyoming; her mother, Mary; her children, Jamie Lee Cimon of Portland, Melina Marie Jensen Phillips of Eglin, Air Force Base, Fla., and William Lee Jensen II, also of Pinedale, Wyo.; four grandsons, Avery Quinton and Sydney Alexander Phillips of Florida, William Lee III and Cody Richard Jensen of Portland; her siblings, Michael of Montana, Tish, Lee, Linda, Eddie and Ritchie of Oregon, Jim of Washington, Charles of Wisconsin, William "Chip" and Dean of Georgia, Tim of Virginia and Joyce of Idaho; and numerous nephews, nieces, aunts and uncles.

She was preceded in death by her father; her first husband, William Lee Jensen I; and a brother, Jerry of Idaho.

Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of one's choice through Gray's West & Co., P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814.

‘June' Colson

Naomi June Crisp Colson, 78, of Weiser, Idaho, a former Baker County resident, died June 15, 2005.

Her memorial service will be at 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Payette, Idaho, S. Ninth and Third avenues. Pastor Skip Johnson will officiate. Inurnment will be later at Hillcrest Cemetery in Weiser.

June was born on Feb. 4, 1927, at Parma, Idaho, to Sidney and Alice Snyder Crisp. She attended Keating School and Gem State Adventist Academy at Caldwell, Idaho.

She was married to Benjamin E. Colson at Baker City on March 30, 1947. She lived at Keating, Nampa, Idaho, Wenatchee, Wash., and Weiser, Idaho. She had worked in radiologic technology and as a purchasing agent.

She enjoyed flowers, vegetable gardens, birds, dogs and housekeeping. She was a lifelong member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church serving as head deaconess, Dorcas leader and children's leader.

Survivors include her husband, Ben Colson of Weiser, Idaho; a son, Russell, and his wife, Becky Colson, of Puyallup, Wash.; daughter, Susan, and her husband, Steve Iwasa, of Weiser, Idaho; brothers and their spouses, John and Malinda Crisp of Sutherlin and Don and Wanda Crisp, of Klamath Falls; sister, Marylis Long, of McMinnville; four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Thomason Funeral Home of Weiser, Idaho, is in charge of arrangements.


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