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Obituaries for Sept. 20, 2013

Norma Ratliff

Baker City, 1936-2013

Norma Jane Ratliff, 76, of Baker City died Sept. 13, 2013, at Settler’s Park. 

 Norma Jane was born on Oct. 30, 1936, at Honolulu, Hawaii, to Adam and Violet Freitas Jose. She was raised in Hawaii and moved to Baker City in 1980.

 Norma was a homemaker and worked as a waitress most of her life.

 She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Virgil; and son, Mitchell Trotter.

 Survivors include her son, Warren Thompson, and his wife, Sheila, of Baker City; her daughter, Debbie Bear of Selma, Calif.; her son, Michael Trotter and his wife, Danielle, of Medford; eight grandchildren and great- grandchildren.

 Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of one’s choice through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR  97814.

Jessica Wright

Baker City, 1981-2013

Jessica Wright, 32, of Baker City died Sept. 15, 2013.  Her memorial service will be Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, at 11 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Baker City with Pastor Katy Nicole officiating.  Friends are invited to join the family for a reception in the Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall following the service. 

Jessica Erin Wright was born March 26, 1981, at Baker City to Mike and Ruth Wright and John Birkmaier.  She was raised at Haines, graduated from Baker High School and attended Future #1 College of Cosmetology to become a hairstylist.

Jessica was a sweet soul and gave much to others.  She knew the meaning of forgiveness.  She knew sorrow and because of it, she knew great kindness. Her kindness will live on in all who knew her, family members said.  

Survivors include her siblings,  Jason Wright of Eugene, Judd Wright of Haines, Jenna Hendriksen and her husband, Tom, of La Grande, Krista, Michelle and Travis Birkmaier, all of Baker City; grandparents,  David and Jeannie Wright of Baker City, and Ron Tye of Enterprise; aunts and uncles, Trish Everson and her husband, Chuck, Susy Kaser and her husband, Kurt, Molly Mansfield and her husband, Wes, Jim Wright and his wife Cindy, Robbie Sorn and her husband, Jeff, Rene Layton and her husband, Ron,  Loretta Tye, Rosemarie Preston and her husband, Baron, Rhonda English, Randy Tye, and John Tye and his wife, Terri; and an extended family of many aunts, uncles and cousins.

 She was preceded in death by her father, Mike Wright; her mother, Ruthie Wright; her uncle, Joe Tye; and grandmothers Jane Tye and Mary Ann Moore Wright.

 Memorial contributions may be made to the family to help defray expenses through Gray’s West & Co., 1500 Dewey Ave, Baker City, OR   97814.

Von Miller

Baker City, 1981-2013

Von Conrad Miller, 66, of Baker City, died Sept. 10, 2013, at his home.

His funeral was Tuesday at Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave.  Friends were invited to join the family for a reception and time of sharing at Von’s home after the service.

Von was born on Nov. 4, 1946, at Ashland to Jesse Ellis and Jayne Elizabeth Murray Miller. He was a 1964 West Anchorage High School graduate and a 1969 graduate of the University of Oregon School of Architecture. He attended many workshops and conferences in architecture, art and science throughout his life. 

Von was a licensed architect in both Oregon and Washington. He retired as architect emeritus for the state of Oregon after 41 years of service. 

 He met and married Sharon Young in Eugene while they were students at the University of Oregon. Upon graduation, they moved to Coos Bay where they raised their two daughters. Von joined HGE, Engineers and Architects where he was vice president and principal. 

 After moving to Portland, Von married high school friend, Gaynelle Marie Nielsen, in November 2001. In 2007, he joined Seattle-based Trinity ERD. He retired Dec. 31, 2011, when he and Gaynelle moved to Baker City.

 Von fell in love with Baker City working with local officials to move and transform the Baker City train depot. He loved fly-fishing and exploring the mountains, streams, lakes and forests. He checked river levels and everything concerning fishing on a daily basis. Artistic by nature, he was a skilled photographer, painter and model builder.

 He contributed to the communities he loved as a member of the Coos Bay and Portland Rotary Clubs, a Board Member of the Coos County Library, and most recently, he was appointed to the Baker City Parks and Recreation Committee. 

 Survivors include his wife, Gaynelle Nielsen of Baker City; daughters, Jennifer M.S. Miller and her fiance, Benjamin C. Findley, of Atlanta, Ga., and Sarah Anne Miller of Oakland, Calif.; stepson, Scott Roberts Nielsen and his wife, Rayna, of New Orleans, La.; one grandson, Chance Warren Nielsen, also of New Orleans; sisters, Jamie Miller Rongo of  Cottonwood, Ariz., and Nancy Miller Lipsner of Kent Island, Md., and brother, Jerrery Miller of Half Moon Bay, Calif., and their families.  

He was preceded in death by his parents. 

 Memorial contributions may be made to a favored organization, Save Our Wild Salmon through Gray’s West & Co., 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.

Claudine Prowell

Baker City, 1931-2013

Claudine Jane Prowell, 82, of Baker City, died Sept. 11, 2013, at St. Alphonsus Medical Center-Baker City after a short illness.

Her memorial graveside service will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Claudine was born on Sept. 7, 1931, at Haines to Jesse and Helen Locken. Claudine attended grade school at North Powder and Haines. She was a 1952 Baker High School graduate.

Claudine worked as a switchboard operator for the Haines Telephone Co. and then as a certified nursing assistant at the old St. Elizabeth Hospital. She later worked at the new St. Elizabeth Hospital. After retiring from the hospital she worked for Mountain View RV Park.

In October 1956, Claudine married Patrick Richard Morang. Patrick and Claudine had one daughter, Cathy. 

They later divorced. Claudine married Virgil Prowell on Feb. 17, 1963, at Baker City. They had two sons, Sidney and Jeffrey. Claudine and Virgil were married for 18 years before Virgil died in September of 1981.

Claudine then met her best friend and companion, Denny Thacker, and they had 31 wonderful years together.

Claudine and Denny loved to go to the Eagles Lodge to dance. Claudine loved to dance, and one of her favorite TV shows was “Dancing with the Stars.” She was also an avid bowler and was in a bowling league for many years, winning a first-place trophy with Denny for the Sunday Night Mixed League. 

Claudine was a member of the Eagles Lodge for 28 years. She served as past president for one year, and was also a member of the Baker Elks Lodge for many years.

Survivors include her children, Cathy Brandhagen, and her husband, Dave, of Pendleton, Sid Prowell, and his wife, Lisa, of Baker City, and Jeff Prowell, and his partner, Melinda Gettings of San Antonio, Texas; grandson, Jace Prowell, and granddaughters, Shelby Prowell and Lora Beth Brand Hagen; and her longtime friend and companion, Denny Thacker.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Jesse and Helen Locken; husband, Virgil Prowell; and granddaughter, Amyjane Brandhagen.

Memorial contributions may be made to help defray burial expenses through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

Jan Merriman

Baker City, 1949-2013

Jan Merriman, 64, of Baker City, died Sept. 18 2013, at her home. 

There will be a Celebration of Life service at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Baker City Christian Church, 675 Highway 7. Pastor Randy McElveen of Calvary Baptist Church at Milton, Fla., will officiate. Friends are invited to join the family for a reception at the Baker City Christian Church Fellowship Hall after the service.

Janis Lynn Merriman was born on Sept. 1, 1949, to Richard Lee and Helen Cecilia (Janis) McGuffin at Alameda, Calif. She was raised at San Diego and graduated from Monte Vista High School. 

Jan married Roy Allen Merriman on May 25, 1967, at San Diego. They moved to Baker City in 1991.  She was assistant director for the Baker City YMCA for 20 years.

 Jan enjoyed gardening, riding motorcycles with her husband and serving Jesus Christ. She was a member of Blue Mountain Baptist Church.

Survivors include her husband, Roy Merriman of Baker City; daughters, Nicole Adamson, and her husband, Jason, Dawnyel Dishman and her husband, James, all of Denton, Texas; son, Joel Merriman, and his wife, Lisa, of Canby; sister, Wendy Gentry of Spring Valley, Calif.; and grandchildren, Brennen Merriman, Dru Dishman, Zoe Dishman and Ford Adamson.

She was preceded in death by her parents; and brother, Richard McGuffin.

Memorial contributions may be made to Vapor Sports Ministries through Blue Mountain Baptist Church, 2145 21st St., Baker City, OR 97814.


Obituaries for Sept. 18, 2013


Daryl Gillum

Richland, 1937-2013

Daryl L. Gillum, 75, of Richland, died Sept. 8, 2013, at St. Alphonsus Medical Center-Baker City.

A family memorial was held on Sept. 15 in Portland.


Obituaries for Sept. 16, 2013


Verdell Davis

Halfway, 1923-2013

Verdell Davis, 90, of Halfway, died Sept. 8, 2013, at a care facility in La Grande.  A private family service will be held at a later date.

Verdell was born on April 5, 1923, at Richland.  He was raised in Richland and attended a one-room schoolhouse near Richland. Verdell joined the Army at the age of 17.  He served from September of 1940 until August of 1945 during World War II and was stationed in New Guinea and the Philippines.  He received a Bronze Star for his service.


Obituary for Sept. 13, 2013


‘Jill’ McCrae

La Grande, 1958-2013

Susan “Jill” McCrae, 54, of La Grande, died Sept. 6, 2013, at her home. 

A Celebration of Life service for Jill will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Faith Center in Island City.

 Jill was born on Sept. 10, 1958, at Enterprise to Keith and Ielene Kuhn Searles. She was raised at Enterprise where she graduated from high school. 

Jill was active in volleyball and cheerleading during her high school years. Afterward, she attended Blue Mountain Community College where she received her associate degree in social science. 

Jill was active in FFA and was chosen as Chief Joseph Rodeo Court Queen.

Jill married Blake McCrae. She was employed at Albertsons and worked as a veterinary technician for The Animal Clinic. She enjoyed caring for animals and spending time with her children and grandchildren.

She liked to go swimming and camping and attending church. She especially enjoyed watching her grandchildren play sports. Jill’s family says she was an amazing mother.

Survivors include four children and their spouses, Tadd and Tina McCrae of Dayton, Wash., Amanda and Billy McCrae of La Grande, Goldie McCrae of La Grande and Cody and Kendra McCrae of La Grande; her mother, Ielene Searles; three siblings, Kent Searles and his wife Nancy, Kerry Searles and his wife, Vicki, and Jolene Searles; and seven grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her father Keith Searles.

Memorial contributions to help with funeral expenses may be made to Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., La Grande OR 97850.

 Online condolences to the family may be made at www.lovelandfuneralchapel.com.


Obituaries for Sept. 11, 2013


Alice Langer

Baker City, 1930-2013

Alice Marie (Sagers) Langer, 83, of Milton-Freewater, a former longtime Halfway resident, died Sept. 4, 2013. 

Her memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Halfway. A dinner will be served afterward at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall. Everyone is welcome.

A second memorial service is scheduled at the Milton-Freewater LDS church at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21.


Obituaries for September 9, 2013

‘Millie’ Wagner

Baker City, 1922-2013

Mildred Irene “Millie” Wagner, 91 of Baker City, died Sept. 5, 2013, at Settler’s Park. 

Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Gray’s West and Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave. Her funeral will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Gray’s West and Co. A graveside service will be at Mount Hope Cemetery. Edward Stoaks will officiate. 

The Women’s Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 3048, will provide a fellowship luncheon afterward at the VFW Hall, 2005 Valley  Ave.

Millie was born on Jan. 28, 1922, at Sunnyside, Wash., to Lyle and Lizzie Breshears Anderson. She lived at Sunnyside until the family moved to Ontario when she was 15.

She was a member of the Ontario High School Class of 1941. She married Fred Wagner on Oct. 8, 1945, at Reno, Nev. 

The couple lived at Burns from 1945 until moving to Baker City in 1959. She and her husband owned and operated Wagner Brothers Beer Distributing, selling Blitz and Lucky Lager beers. They operated the business until 1969.

Millie was a member of the Baker VFW, Post No. 3048, Women’s Auxiliary and the Baker City Lady Elks. She was an active volunteer at the Baker Heritage Museum. She loved socializing and hosting events for her family and friends. 

She was known as the family caregiver.

Survivors include her sister, Viola Russel Wagner of Klamath Falls; 12 nieces; and eight nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Fred, who died on June 25, 1989, at Baker City; and one brother. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the VFW Auxiliary, the Baker Heritage Museum, Heart ‘n’ Home Hospice or a charity of one’s choice through Gray’s West and Co., 1500 Dewey Ave. Baker City, OR 97814.


Obituary for Sept. 6, 2013


Nadine Titus

Baker City, 1933-2013

Nadine Titus, 79, a longtime Prairie City and Baker City resident, died on Sept. 1, 2013, at her home in Baker City.

Her graveside service was today at the at the Prairie City Cemetery.  Friends joined the family afterward at the Prairie City Grange Hall.

Nadine was born on Nov. 19, 1933, to John Nathan “Nate” and Hazel Agusta Robison Horrell. She was raised and educated at Prairie City with her brothers, Stanley and John Nathan “Jack” Jr. and her sister, Anita. When she was 9 years old, Archie started visiting her brother, Jack.

Nadine graduated from Prairie City High School in 1952. She and Archie were married at Prairie City in 1953 and celebrated their 60th anniversary in March of this year. They raised seven children together.

Nadine loved her garden and flowers, quilt projects and her neighbors, Sue, Pat and Alice. Her special lifelong friends, Dorothy, Donna and Wilma, spent most Tuesday afternoons having tea with her at Charley’s Ice Cream Parlor in Baker City.

Nadine enjoyed volunteering her time at the Baker Food Co-op in Baker City.

Survivors include her husband, Archie; her sons, Archie, and his wife, Kathy Titus, of Fruita, Colo., James Titus of Bowman, N.D., Justin and his wife, Colette, of Bowman, Clayton and his wife, Danyel, of Bowman, Dustie Titus of Baker City, David and his wife, Janette Titus, of Baker City; her daughter, Anita Handyside, and her husband, Gary, of Baker City; special friends Tricia, Linda, Jay and Jean, who thought of her as their “other mother” and whom she nurtured in the same way; her grandchildren, Julia, Archie, Luke, James Nathan “Nate,” Shane, Daniel and Logan Titus, Dillon and Max Titus, Vic, Jeannie, Jocelyn and Kyle Handyside;  many great-grandchildren; her brother, Stan, and his wife, Polly Horrell; her sister, Nita, and her husband, Leonard Cardwell; and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Jack; and her sister, Mary.

The family was served by Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home.


Obituaries for Sept. 4, 2013


Claire Hobson

Milwaukie, 1929-2013

Claire Hobson, a longtime Baker City resident, died Aug. 28, 2013, at Milwaukie, the day after her 84th birthday.

Her graveside funeral will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, at Mount Hope Cemetery in Baker City. Remembrances may be shared on the Peake Funeral Home website: www.peakefh.com.


Obituaries for Aug. 23, 2013

John Lemmon

Laguna Hills, Calif., 1928-2013

John David Lemmon, 85, a Baker City native, died Aug. 16, 2013, at Laguna Hills, Calif., after a swift deterioration due to Alzheimer’s disease.

John was born on April 25, 1928, at Baker (City). He was the last surviving of four sons (Boyd, Jack, Richard, John) born to Warren Lemmon and Vera Virgina Schlaefer.

John served as president of his class at Baker High School, graduating in 1946.  He joined the Naval Air Force just out of high school, ultimately graduating from the University of Oregon in Eugene in 1953 with a degree in accounting.

His career path quickly became auto sales in California, culminating with owning Maywood-Bell Ford.  His career took him to the California cities of Long Beach, Anaheim, Sacramento, Los Alamitos and finally to Las Vegas, Nev., before retirement at Laguna Woods, Calif.

“Our father was a sweetly optimistic man, a one-of-a-kind through and through salesman. He was a good sport who lived by the credo, ‘if you act enthusiastic, you will be enthusiastic,’ ” family members said. “We’ll miss you, Dad.”    

His first marriage was to Donna Bernhardt of Reedsport. 

Survivors include their four daughters, Deborah Stevens  of Irvine, Calif., Carol Lemmon of San Francisco, Brita Lemmon of Huntington Beach, Calif., and Amy Arthur of Seattle, Wash.; and three grandsons, Desmond, Tiller-John and Daniel; and one granddaughter, Ashley.

His second and final marriage was to Jeanette Godbe, who also survives him. He also is survived by three step-grandsons, Michael, Ryan and Andrew and one step-granddaughter, Allison, all whom he watched grow to adulthood.

Patricia Dobell

Granite, 1942-2013

Patricia Jean Dobell, 70, of Granite died Aug. 19, 2013, just outside of Sumpter due to injuries sustained in  an automobile accident.  

Her memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at McEwen Bible Fellowship. Pastor Dan Martin will officiate. There will  be a reception afterward.

Patty was born on Sept. 1, 1942, at Montrose, Colo., to Ralph and Ruth Lopez Baca.  She was raised in Colorado and Arizona, graduating from Yuma High School in 1960. 

She moved to Portland in 1970. She worked at various jobs, including training the developmentally disabled, working at various retail stores and working for a women’s shelter at Hillsboro for a while.

She was married to William “Bill” Dobell in November of 1994 at Granite. They moved to Granite shortly before they were married. 

Patty owned a taco stand for several years at Granite. She was a wonderful quilter and baker. She also enjoyed reading and sewing and loved fishing, mushrooming and just being in the outdoors.

Survivors include her husband, William “Bill” Dobell of Granite; a son, Dan Cashmere of San Diego; three daughters, Lisa Surratt, and her husband, Ken, of Newberg, Luci Ivey and her husband, Robert, of Arlington, Wash., and Margaruite Carroll of Portland;  two brothers, Ralph Baca of Portland, and Ray Baca of Olathe, Colo.; three sisters, Ruby Luna of El Paso, Texas, Lucia Fabela of Vista, Calif., and Pricilla Thomas of Solome, Ariz.; and 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by a son, Donald Cashmere, who died in 2006; and two brothers and one sister.

Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel is assisting the family. Memorial contributions may be made to The Salvation Army or to a charity of one’s choice through Gray’s West and Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.


Obituaries for August 21, 2013

‘Fred’ Ringer Sr.

Baker City, 1917-2013

Frederick William Ringer Sr., 96, of McMinnville, a former Baker County commissioner, died on his birthday, Aug. 16, 2013, at home with family. 

His funeral will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Adventure Christian Church in McMinnville. Pastor Erik Neilson will officiate. Entombment will be at Evergreen Memorial Park Mausoleum.

Visitations will be from noon to 7 p.m. Thursday at Macy & Son Chapel. 

Fred was born on Aug. 16, 1917, at New Plymouth, Idaho, to William Frederick Ringer and Meta Day Ringer. As a child, his family moved from New Plymouth, Idaho, to Medical Springs. 

He was a 1936 Baker High School graduate. He married Barbara Ellen Strong on June 3, 1942, on the Ringer ranch at Medical Springs. They had three sons. 

Fred worked at the Pondosa Lumber Mill and was a farmer and rancher. In 1975, Fred was awarded Oregon State Father of the Year by the Oregon Cattleman’s Association. 

He was very active in civic and community service programs, with particular emphasis on involvement in youth work. He was a leader in the Keating 4-H livestock club, swine committee for the Baker County Junior livestock show and served on the local school board.

Fred retired from ranching in 1977 and moved with Barbara to Baker City. He was elected as Baker County commissioner and served two terms. 

While commissioner, Gov.Vic Atiyeh appointed him to the state Senior Citizens Advisory Board. He served on the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service and the Soil and Water Conservation committees. He was a 55-year member of the Elks Club and a member of the First Christian Church in Baker City.

Fred and Barbara moved to McMinnville in 1987. Fred worked for Linfield College from 1987 to 1995. He was a member and groundskeeper for the Adventure Christian Church, formerly Community Christian Church. He loved mowing the church lawn with the green John Deere riding mower.

Fred spent the last few winters with his son, Fred Jr., and daughter-in-law, Mary (Hipsher) Ringer, at Sun City, Ariz. He enjoyed sitting on the porch and warming his bones in the warm Arizona sun.

Fred was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara; son, Robert Ringer of The Dalles; and 10 siblings.

Survivors include two sons, Fred Ringer Jr. and Ron Ringer, both of McMinnville; six grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to Adventure Christian Church or Hospice of McMinnville through Macy & Son Funeral Directors, 135 N. Evans, McMinnville, OR, 97128-4682.  Online condolences may be sent to Macy & Son Funeral Directors, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Dorothy Bogart

Dorothy Bogart, a resident of Clark County Washington for the past 10 years and a Baker City native, died Aug. 14, 2013, at her home. 

Memorial services were conducted at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Vancouver, Wash., on Wednesday, Aug. 21.

Interment will be held at Mount Hope Cemetery in Baker City, on Friday, Aug. 23 at 11 a.m.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Joseph; and sons, Daniel, and baby Patrick.

Survivors include her son, Michael Bogart of Camas, Wash.; four grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and her sister, Donna Terrell of Ontario.


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