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Home arrow News arrow Obituaries

Obituary for Feb. 4, 2013


Merle Singley

Baker City, 1921-2013

Merle Mitchell Hanby Singley, 91, a longtime Baker City resident, died Jan. 29, 2013, at Ashley Manor in Baker City.

Her family extends a very special and heartfelt thank you to the staff and caregivers at Ashley Manor for their loving care to Merle.

There will be a visitation for Merle from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St. Her funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel at 2625 Hughes Lane. It will be conducted by Bishop Parker Ussery.  Interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Merle was born on Nov.  19, 1921, at Cove to Smith Hyatt and Chloe Burns Mitchell. She was the seventh of 12 children: four girls and eight boys. When Merle was 6 the family moved to Baker City.  Merle graduated from high school in Baker and then went to work at the Orpheum Theater as an usher.  She met her husband, Walter Harden Hanby, at a dance. They enjoyed dancing at the Grange halls. They had three children: Cheryl, Gary and Dennis. Harden died in November 1961.

Merle enjoyed crocheting, music and dancing, working in her yard and singing in the choir at church. She was active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

She served in many positions throughout her life. She was a temple worker at the Boise Temple for 10 years. She loved her time working at the temple, before health reasons caused her to be released.

Merle worked as a substitute rural mail carrier for 11 years at the Baker Post Office. She then worked inside the post office as a clerk carrier and later as a window clerk. She retired in July 1983.

Merle married Frank Singley in 1972. He died in 1985.

She loved her family, and enjoyed many special occasions with them throughout the years. She is loved and will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

Survivors include her three children, Cheryl and Harold “Mike” Webb of Baker City, Gary and Lynne Hanby of Kent, Wash., and Dennis Hanby of Baker City; 12 grandchildren, Valerie Edelmayer, Lana Goodwin, Lane Webb, Casey Webb, Matthew Webb, Kirk Webb, Jesse Webb, Sara Barnett, James Hanby, Darcy Hanby, Tyrel Hanby and Crystal Atkinson; 31 great-grandchildren; her brothers, Clair and his wife, Rose Mitchell, of Arizona, and Delbert and David Mitchell, both of Boise; and numerous nieces and nephews. 

She was preceded in death by her husbands, Harden and Frank; her parents; five brothers; and three sisters.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Humanitarian Fund or Perpetual Education Fund of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

 

Obituaries for Feb. 1, 2013


Delores McClurg

Baker City, 1928-2013

Dolores Juanita McClurg, 84, died on Jan. 28, 2013, in Baker City. 

Dolores was born on Aug. 8, 1928, at Boise to John and Grace Sipp Davis. She graduated from Muddy Creek High School in 1948 as valedictorian of her class. 

Dolores married James W. McClurg on May 8, 1949. They had six children and were married for 58 years.

Survivors include her daughter, Mary Centre, and husband, Marvin, son, John McClurg, and daughter, Laurie McClurg, all of Baker City, son, Paul McClurg, of Casper, Wyo., son, James McClurg, and wife, Mary, of Augusta, Mont.; grandchildren, William Centre, and his children, Richard, and Gwen of Baker City, JoVanna Centre of Walla Walla, Wash., Timothy Nguyen and his children, Elly and Colby of La Grande, Lana Bentley and her husband, Donny, of Baker City, and Justin McClurg of La Grande.

 She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, James McClurg; son, David McClurg; and grandson, Sam McClurg.

 Coles Tribute Center was in charge of arrangements.

‘Jerry’ Ross

Goldendale, Wash.

Gerald “Jerry” Ross, 87, of Goldendale, Wash., a former Baker City resident, died Dec. 28, 2012, at Nashua, N.H., while visiting his daughter, Jane.

His funeral was Jan. 5 at Davenport’s Chapel of the Good Shepherd in Klamath Falls. He was buried Jan. 7 at Silver Lake Cemetery.

Jerry was born to Emma and Ralph Ross in Arkansas. In 1936, his father built a home on the back of a truck and the family joined that famous migration from the impoverished South to the golden promise of California. There he came of age finding work in a variety of jobs, including coopering for the wine trade, managing hops and rice fields and doing general house construction.

 He married Helen Elizabeth Hobday and lived at Galt, Calif., before moving to Oregon to follow his dream of being a cowboy. He managed the Lombardi and Widman ranches in Baker City, and ended his career as manager of the Pitcher Ranch at Silver Lake.

He retired to Bonanza, where he continued to work for local ranchers and was a member of the Klamath Falls Missionary Baptist Church. After his wife died, he moved to Goldendale, Wash., to be near his son, Ernest.

 Survivors include his sons, Ernest of Goldendale, Wash., Charles of Ione and Daryl of Burns; daughters, Karen Ross Bossert of Salem and Jane Ross Fallon of Brookline, N.H. 

He was preceded in death by his wife, Helen; and daughter, DeAnna.

Kelly Thompson

Baker City, 1955-2013

Kelly Michael Thompson, 57, died Jan. 3, 2013, at his home with his wife, Jody, and daughter, Kati, at his side.

There will be a celebration of his life at 1 p.m. April 27 at the Southwest Shore Campground off Hudspeth Lane near Sumpter.

Kelly was born on June 18, 1955, at Eugene to Norma Smith Thompson and Calvin Thompson. He later moved to California and then his family settled in Enterprise where he graduated from high school. After high school, Kelly attended college in Bend.

Kelly was a late-bloomer and did not marry until he was 40. He married Jody Griffith in October of 1996. 

They were best friends and soulmates. Kelly discovered his true talent was being a grandfather. He was an adored grandfather and he loved his grandchildren. 

In 1972, Kelly joined the Smoke Jumpers in Sumpter. After that he went on to work for Bond Jobe as a driller. Drilling was Kelly’s passion. 

He and his wife spent several years working on the road drilling. They had the opportunity to help build the Olympic Stadium in Salt Lake City. 

Kelly’s family expressed appreciation to Heart ‘n’ Home Hospice for the excellent service and care provided to Kelly and to them during the last months of his life. 

 He was preceded in death by his parents, Norma Bobbit and Calvin Thompson; his brother, Kyle; and his uncle. 

Survivors include his wife, Jody; daughters, Kati Baldwin, her husband, Craig, Mary Mata and her husband, Mark, and Arlee Smith, all of La Grande; son, Ben Young of Georgia; brothers, Dan Thompson, and his wife, Bobbi of Benton City Wash., Scott Thompson and his wife, Kim, of Oregon City, John Thompson; 11 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, a nephew and two great-nieces and his four-legged friends Bella, MayC, Gus, Wicca, and Squeek. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the Heart ‘n’ Home Foundation through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

 

Obituaries for Jan. 30, 2013


Laura Aveline

Mesquite, Nev., 1930-2013

Laura Joanna Aveline, 82, a former Baker City resident, died Jan. 14, 2013, after an extended illness and under hospice care at her son’s home in Mesquite, Nev.

The family will have a private memorial service.

Laura was born on July 22, 1930, at Drain to George B. and Armeda P. Parry Reed.

She had a twin sister, Lenora, who died in 2010. Laura and “Lynn” were extremely close.

While they were growing up, the family lived at Roseburg and Sutherlin before moving to Phoenix, Ariz.

When the twins were 12, the family moved to San Diego, then to North Bend, where the girls attended Marshfield High School. Laura met William Aveline while attending Marshfield.

She married William E. Aveline on Oct. 23, 1949, at North Bend. Laura was a homemaker during the early years of her marriage to William. She was a very loving and caring mother and wife to her husband and three children.

Laura worked as a deputy sheriff for the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office at The Dalles for 10 years. She worked as a court clerk for the Baker County Justice Court before retiring at Baker City in 2002.

She was active in the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Eagles Lodge at Baker City. In February 2002, Laura and William moved to Mesquite, Nev.

Survivors include her husband of 63 years, William, of Mesquite, Nev.; children, Randy (Donna) Aveline of Mesquite, David (Brenda) Aveline of Glade Hill, Va., and Diana Aveline (Mike Dockery) of Mesquite; grandchildren, Jennifer Aveline, Douglas Aveline, Heather McDonald (Robbie), Will Aveline and Tara Ellis; great-grandchildren, Gavin Reed, Sebastien Sofge, Toryahna Sofge and David Lee Aveline; a brother, Larry Reed (DeAnna); and several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her mother and father and her twin sister.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to Mesa View Hospice, 330 Falcon Ridge Parkway, Building 200 Suite A, Mesquite, NV 89027.

Virgin Valley Mortuary of Mesquite, Nev., is in charge of arrangements. The family invites friends to leave a message or memorial in the memorial guestbook at www.virginvalleymortuary.com.

Ray Knapp

Baker City, 1919-2013

Raymond Roger Knapp, 93, died Jan. 19, 2013, at St. Alphonsus Medical Center-Baker City, attended lovingly by Dr. Hofmann, staff, close friends and family.

There will be a celebration of his life in the spring at Hermiston.

 Ray was the second of seven children born at Stanfield to Guy and Ida Mae Stewart Knapp, both of pioneer families in Baker, Union, and Wallowa counties.

Ray’s early education was accomplished in Pendleton. He was a 1938 graduate of Hermiston High School where he excelled in sports and won four letters.

 Ray along with his father, Guy, and brother, George, ran a profitable milk route in Pendleton until the recession. Ray, brothers, George and Vern, their father, and brother-in-law, Charlie Brinkman, built and operated a large sawmill on the upper Umatilla River.

They cut ties for the railroad. Due to a “taking” by the bank they dismantled and sold the mill and 920 acres with a huge log cabin near Bingham Springs.

 Ray enlisted in the U.S. Navy and trained at San Diego, Seattle and Daytona Beach, Fla. He was an aviation chief machinist mate in the New Hebrides for the duration. He was honorably discharged on Nov. 6, 1945, from Jacksonville, Fla., as a chief petty officer.

 Once back in Oregon, he worked as a mechanic for Ford Motor Co. and went to work as a carpenter in Izee for the Ellingsons to build the cookhouse and outbuildings. 

He met and married his wife, Saimie Amelia Pietila Swikola, at Izee. She was a good helpmate. Saimie died on Sept. 5, 1991.

 Ray did many things, such as hauling trailers to Elk Hart, Ind., ranching, mining, racing boats with Cliff Bond and Paul Curts, but his main career was as a carpenter for Witham Brothers for more than 30 years.

Harve Witham once said if you cut the top off Ray and Vern’s heads you would only find elk and fish manure.

 Ray and Vern hunted together, successfully, for more than 60 years, 40 years in the Elkhorns. Ray has requested that this brother, Vern, spread his ashes at their Elk Pasture and gold miner on Lightning Creek. Ray was also a life member of the NRA.

 He was an amazing artist with wood, whether large buildings like Vern’s Elk Creek Enterprises with his brother, Vern, or the plywood mill or smaller items such as clocks, frames, cabinets, and beautiful kitchens and furniture. His handiwork can be seen in every family member’s home.

 Ray and his brother, Vern, enjoyed many trips to Alaska to hunt moose and caribou. Several times Ray, his sister, Marj, and brother-in-law, Leon, fished at Diamond Lake near LaPine. Ray and his companion, Blanch Porter, enjoyed trips to Canada, Mexico, Washington and Oregon fishing. Blanch died in 2012 and left a lonesome hole in Ray’s life.

Ray rode his horses on every trail on the Snake River and in the Eagle Caps sightseeing with his camera. He was an avid fisherman.

 He kept on keeping on until he jumped up from his easy chair thinking he had overslept feeding his pets (300 or more quail), fell and broke his left leg. With fragile body but good mind, he slipped away from us quietly in the early morning of Jan. 19, family members said.

 Survivors include his sisters, Irene Ellen Brinkman of Clackamas and Verla Loree Frost of Hermiston; brother, Vernon, and his wife, Alice Knapp; special cousin,Lila Emmons; many, many nieces and nephews; and good friends, Roy and Pat Valentine and Duane Schaer.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Sai; companion, Blanch; both parents; brother, George Knapp, and his wife Mary; sister, Margorie Mae Shockman, and her husband, Leon; and sister, Velma Lenore Kuust, and her husband, Nels.

 Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of one’s choice through Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

‘Birdie’ Horn

Elgin, 1935-2013 

Barbara Janet “Birdie”  Horn, 77, of Elgin, died Jan. 25, 2013, at her home.

A memorial service will be Saturday, Feb. 2 at 10 a.m. at Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St. in La Grande. There will be a Celebration of Life at the Elgin Community Center Saturday at 11 a.m.

Barbara was born on Feb. 8, 1935, at La Grande to Emmett and Eva Rollins Thompson. She lived in Elgin, Baker City, Umatilla and Dallas, Ore. She attended school in Elgin at the Pleasant Grove School House. She married Stanley Bruce Horn on July 22, 1950, and was a dedicated housewife and a loving mother. During the mid-1970s she enjoyed selling Sarah Coventry jewelry and even won a trip to the Sarah Coventry national convention in Milwaukee, Wis., as a “top seller.” Birdie enjoyed doing needlework, baking and spending time with her family.

Survivors include her children, Connie and James Tucker of Elgin, Lonnie and Melissa Horn of Elgin, Larry and Peggy Horn of Erda, Utah, Lillie and Curtis Hurst of Elgin, Troy “Emmett” and Becky Horn of Dallas, and Chris and Chelsea Horn of Elgin; her siblings, Larry Thompson and his wife, Betty, of Elgin, Dixie Stanton of Redmond and Toby Williams and her husband, Chuck, of Elgin; 16 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren and one on the way; one great-great grandchild; seven nieces; and eight nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Emmett and Eva Rollins Thompson; her husband, Stanley Horn; and her sister, Peggy Kennedy.

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

Marion Knapp

Baker City, 1928-2013

Marion Earl “Giddy-up-go” Knapp, 84, of La Grande, died Jan. 25, 2013, at a Baker City care center. 

There will be a celebration of his life at 3 p.m. Saturday at Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., in La Grande.

He was born on Aug. 5, 1928, at La Grande to Lowell W. and Bessie May Batchelor Knapp. Marion was raised and educated at La Grande. He married Dorothy Mae Fairfull on Nov. 10, 1950. He worked for Paul Dougherty Logging for several years. He later bought his own truck and worked for B & E Logging, Gunnels Brothers Logging and several other companies.

He earned several trophies from his Army Jeep at car shows and also restored a 1950s Chevy. He enjoyed riding four-wheelers, hunting, snowmobiling, woodcutting, and spending time at his cabin on Glass Hill that he, his father and brother, Lloyd, built. He was very proud to represent vets while driving his Jeep in parades. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was a very kind and loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He was proud of his service with the Navy where he was an outstanding cook on Johnston Island and Hawaii.

Survivors include his daughter, Darlene Kramer (David) of La Grande; brothers, Lloyd Knapp (Betty) of Elgin and Pat Knapp of Paradise City, Calif.; four grandchildren, Erin (Sheri) Folsom of Cove, Lt. Col. Danielle Folsom, U.S. Air Force, of Florida, Paul (Tracy) Kramer of Irrigon, and David Earl Kramer of La Grande; five great-grandchildren: Dalynne Folsom, Adalane Folsom and Sarah Folsom of Cove, Joshua Kramer of Pasco, Wash., and Amber Kramer of Eugene

 He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife; and his brother, Charles Ray Knapp.

 Memorial contributions may be made to the Union County Animal Shelter through Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., La Grande, OR 97850.

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

Marvin Cropp

La Grande, 1916-2013 

Marvin D. Cropp, 96, of La Grande and North Powder, died Jan. 28, 2013, at a La Grande care center.

Family and friends will gather Thursday for remembrance and viewing from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., in La Grande. His graveside service will be at 2 p.m. Friday at the North Powder Cemetery.

Marvin was born on March 31, 1916, at Richland, the fifth child of James S. and Anna J. (Simonis) Cropp. He attended schools at Richland, Dixie, Auburn and Baker.

During his younger years he lived throughout Baker County and then settled outside of North Powder. After the death of his wife, Mary, he lived in the Willamette Valley, including several years with his son, Charles.

Marvin was married to Mary Louise Gover at Weiser, Idaho, on March 3, 1937.

Together they ranched and farmed in Baker County and raised five children. Other than family and ranching, his interests included fishing, hunting and telling stories of the old days.

Survivors include his daughter and son-in-law, Pearl and Robert Bull of La Grande; daughter, Gloria Cropp of La Grande; daughter-in-law, Barbara Cropp of Baker City; grand-children, Dale (Maggie) Cropp of North Pole, Alaska, Gary (Darlene) Cropp of Wells, Nev., Mary Kay (Scott) Gunnell of Wasilla, Alaska, Cathy (Travis) Tisdall of Lewiston, Idaho, Tanya (Nathan) Williamson of La Grande, and Jon Cropp of Portland; his brother-in-law, Merle Osborne; and several great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren and nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary; his companion, Rosanna Strenke; his sons, David, Wilbur “Bill” and Charles Cropp; his daughters-in-law, Mae and Nina Cropp; his parents, James and Anna Cropp; his sisters, Agnes Willett, Norna Sullivan, Mary Stacey, Marguret Osborne and Adelene Hansen; and his brother, Wilbur Cropp.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the charity of one’s choice.

Gordon Rowan

Sumpter, 1954-2013

Gordon Lee Rowan, 58, of Sumpter, died earlier this month in Algeria.

He was born Dec. 2, 1954, at Council, Idaho, to Durwood “Jim” and MaRee Rowan.

He was taken from us too soon, his family said.

His memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave.

Gordon grew up in Ontario and was a 1973 graduate of Ontario High School. After high school he joined the Army, where he met “the love of his life,” Myong.

After exiting the military, he went to college and graduated in 1981 from Oklahoma State with a chemical engineering degree. This took him all over the world with a home base in Arizona.

Gordon enjoyed his family, travel, and meeting new friends. He was a prankster and a joker. He loved to laugh.

Survivors include his son, Dan, with his wife, Stephanie, and granddaughter Leah, and his son, Richard, all of California; his brothers, John and his wife, Judy, and family, of Redmond, and Jerry and his family of Sumpter.

“He will forever be in our hearts!” his family said.

Memorial contributions may be made to the National Dysautonomia Research Foundation through Gray’s West & Co., 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.

‘Mike’ Romine

Formerly Baker County, 1946-2013

Michel Ivan “Mike” Romine, 66, a former longtime Baker County resident, died Jan. 19, 2013, at the Oregon Veterans Home in The Dalles.

Mike, whom friends described as “our dear friend and ‘gentle giant,’ ” was born on April 18, 1946, at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Baker City, the first spring after the close of World War II, to Robert and Josie (Foster) Romine of Halfway. He grew up in Halfway, attending the Jimtown school until the age of 14.  Mike’s dad died years before, and his mother found stable work in La Grande where they lived for a few years. Mike attended the first years of high school at La Grande. When his mother remarried, they then moved to Hood River where he finished his final year of high school and graduated in 1965. He was drafted and entered the Army, serving two years active duty in Vietnam, returning to Oregon in 1970.  

Mike spent the rest of his life working and living throughout Eastern Oregon, from Hood River to Hermiston, La Grande, North Powder, Haines, Richland, Oxbow, and his favorite places — Halfway and Cornucopia. He also loved visiting locations and events throughout Union and Baker counties. He rarely missed an opportunity to drive the countryside, camp, hike, hunt mushrooms, pick huckleberries, pan for gold, attend flea markets and estate sales, and go on packing trips. Through all these years and all his residences, Mike’s family kept the family ranch at Halfway, where he tried to live as much as possible, and where he loved to garden and tend many plants and trees originally started by his parents. 

As his principal vocation, he cooked in a variety of restaurants. He loved being with people in the context of serving food, even on pack trips into the wilderness where he always tried to cook extravagant meals in locations of breathtaking scenery.  Most of us met him through his work of making our meals, and it was always a delight to have him as our cook, and we usually followed him to his various restaurants of work. He would remember our favorite foods, and often make them for us.  What a gift.  And while we ate, he was always one who loved to share stories.  

One of his favorite pastimes was collecting antiques, particularly Hull Drip pottery and Guardian cookware. Many times with friends he opened small antique businesses selling collectibles, and he often participated in antique consignment arrangements.  With his catalogs of antiques, he was able to precisely date and pick out many true valuables. A Saturday drive to an estate sale was always a pleasure. Attendance at the Sumpter flea market was always required.  

Another of his passions was local history. Mike had an incredible memory for all things Halfway. He knew local family lineages better than most, listened to stories of friends and acquaintances his entire life, and read any bit of local historical material he would come across. When asked he could give precise details to any historical item, or he would quietly go look for the information and return with the answer.   

He was a voracious reader of fiction. After a hard day of work, or a good day of picking berries, or a long drive around the country, he’d sit and read until late into the night or, often, early into the morning. He loved western writers like Louis L’Amour and Larry McMurtry, often re-reading their series multiple times. Wherever and whenever he traveled, he stopped into second-hand book stores to exchange books, particularly in Baker City and La Grande. He rarely left a garage sale without a few “new” paperbacks in tow.  

Many of us might remember Mike as one of our EMT volunteers for Oxbow/Halfway/Richland ambulance service. We might also remember him from the Cornucopia pack station, where he worked for Marge and Eldon Deardorff, and later for the current owners, cooking and doing a variety of chores.  Or we might remember when he worked at the Old Church in Halfway years and years ago for the company that assembled dried flower arrangements for mail delivery around the states.  

Survivors include his sister, Thayle Best of Hood River; his niece and her husband, Robin and Mark Smith of Cornelius; his great-niece, Rachel Smith, also of Cornelius; and of course, he is survived by us, his many friends in Eastern Oregon.  

Mike, always our good-natured friend, can finally return to his beloved Halfway and his beloved Cornucopia.   When fair weather returns, Mike’s ashes will be returned home and there will be a remembrance get-together for friends and family. 

 

Obituaries for Jan. 28, 2013

Joanne Woodwiss

Baker City, 1933-2013

Joanne Woodwiss, 79, of Baker City died Jan. 17, 2013, at Baker City after losing her battle with breast cancer.

Burial will be at Carson City, Nev. 

She was born on May 7, 1933. 

 Her loving and generous spirit will be missed  by family and friends.

Survivors include her sister, Elizabeth Schwob; brothers, Brent and Robert Sorkness; niece, Laura Weimer; and nephew Steven Schwob. 

Memorial contributions may be made to Heart ‘n’ Home Hospice through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home,  P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

 

Kelly Thompson

Baker City, 1955-2013

Kelly Michael Thompson, 57, died Jan. 3, 2013, at his home with his wife, Jody, and daughter, Kati, at his side.

There will be a celebration of his life at 1 p.m. April 27 at the Southwest Shore Campground off Hudspeth Lane near Sumpter.

Kelly was born on June 18, 1955, at Eugene to Norma Smith Thompson and Calvin Thompson. He later moved to California and then his family settled in Enterprise where he graduated from high school. After high school, Kelly attended college in Bend.

Kelly was a late-bloomer and did not marry until he was 40. He married Jody Griffith in October of 1996. 

They were best friends and soulmates. Kelly discovered his true talent was being a grandfather. He was an adored grandfather and he loved his grandchildren. 

In 1972, Kelly joined the Smoke Jumpers in Sumpter.  After that he went on to work for Bond Jobe as a driller. Drilling was Kelly’s passion. 

He and his wife spent several years working on the road drilling. They had the opportunity to help build the Olympic Stadium in Salt Lake City. 

 He was preceded in death by his parents, Norma Bobbit and Calvin Thompson; his brother, Kyle; and his uncle. 

Survivors include his wife, Jody;  daughters, Kati Baldwin, her husband, Craig, Mary Mata and her husband, Mark,  and Arlee Smith, all of La Grande;  son, Ben Young of Georgia; brothers, Dan Thompson, and his wife, Bobbi of Benton City Wash., Scott Thompson and his wife, Kim, of Oregon City,  John Thompson; 11 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, a nephew and two great- nieces and his four-legged friends Bella, MayC, Gus, Wicca, and Squeek. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the Heart ‘n’ Home Foundation through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834. 

 

Obituaries for Jan. 25, 2013


Bessie Ragsdale

Baker City, 1924-2013

Bessie Katharine Herzog Ragsdale, 88, of Baker City, died Jan. 20, 2013, at St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Boise.

Her funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, at Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St. There will be a reception afterward at Community Connection, 2810 Cedar St. Vault interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery.

She was born near Washougal, Wash., in 1924, the second daughter of Katharine and Walter Herzog. She was a 1942 graduate of Washougal High School and worked in the Vancouver Shipyards during World War II. 

Her family owned the Herzog Dairy Farm until Bessie’s early 20s when she and her parents purchased and moved to a cattle ranch in Bridgeport.

As a young woman, she moved into Baker City where she met her husband, Orville Ragsdale, a Baker native. They were married on March 20, 1949. They were happily married for 60 years.

Bessie worked for the Democrat-Herald newspaper in her 20s but is most remembered as the Baker Junior High/Middle School secretary for 28 years. She retired in 1991. 

Bessie is best remembered as a dedicated aunt and exceptional caregiver. When her sister, Hazel Racey, died in 1972, she helped to raise her niece and nephew, Priscilla and Rand Racey, who lived with her during their school years. 

She cared for her mother until her death in 1975, and then for her husband before his death in 2009. She became a grandmother figure to six grandnieces and grandnephews, never forgetting a birthday or special occasion.

Aunty Bessie died after surgical complications on Sunday, family members said.

Survivors include her nephew, Rand Racey, and his family of Boerne, Texas; and niece, Priscilla Ing, and her family of Eugene. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association.

‘Judy’ Bingham

Baker City, 1941-2013 

Julia Ann “Judy” Bingham, 71, died Jan. 21, 2013, at Baker City.

 Judy was born on March 1, 1941, at Klamath Falls to William and Alpha Watson.  She married ElRoy Max Bingham and they had one daughter, Kimberley Ann Bingham. 

Judy worked at Safeway for 30 years and enjoyed working with people.

 A fond memory that all family members can attest to is the right of passage in playing Yahtzee with Judy.  She took the game to an Olympic level of competitiveness that she challenged us all to strive for. She also loved to barbecue and garden, and she loved her two dogs, Lucy and Buddy.

Survivors include her sister, Laura M. Watson of Medford; sister, Cindy Shukle, and her husband, Gary, of Baker City; sister, Victoria Lynn Worsham of Baker City; nieces and nephews, including John Beatty, Colleen Klassen, Todd Brandy, Coby, Dwight, and Christopher Beatty, Ashleigh Bradshaw, Will, Justin, Krissy, Casey, and Enola Watson and Holly, Josh, Gabriel, and Tessa Banister; Rick Watson and his wife, Tina, of Baker City; Michelle Watson of Eddyville; Rhonda Yanez and her husband, Raul, of Albuquerque, N.M.; and by many great-nieces and great-nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, ElRoy; her brothers, William “Skip,” Jerry Lee and Rodger Watson; and her daughter, Kimberly Ann.

 Memorial contributions may be made to the Harvest Church Missionettes and Royal Rangers through Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Donald Parker

Orem, Utah

Donald Devan “Don” Parker died Jan. 23, 2013, at his home in Orem, Utah.

His funeral will be at 11 a.m. MST Monday, Jan. 28, at the Orchard First Ward LDS Chapel, 670 East 800 North, Orem, Utah. Visitations will be Sunday, Jan. 27, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Monday from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Sundberg-Olpin Mortuary, 495 South State Street in Orem.

Interment will be at the Orem City Cemetery with military honors.

Don was born at Sweet Home to William and Dorothy Parker. He was married on April 28, 1952, in Baker City to his sweetheart, Verna Jeffords. They lived at Olympia, Wash.; Baker City; Provo, Utah; St. Joseph, Mo.; and Orem, Utah.

Don served in the U.S. Army in the Korean conflict. He was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He and his wife Verna served two LDS missions in Brazil and then in Portugal. He held many leadership positions in the LDS church.

He started his career driving a truck, worked as a general manager and then owner of a cattle-handling company. He finished his career in real estate as an owner/broker.

Don found joy in serving others; his wife, his family, and his fellow man. He lived life to the fullest and wanted to help others feel the same love of life, family members said.

He loved everything in the outdoors. He felt at home in his boat on Lake Powell, on his motorcycle in Yellowstone, in his motor home cruising the country, or on a sunny day in the mountains with his family or friends.

No one was a stranger to Don. He made everyone he met feel like a friend. He is a legendary fix-it man. No project was too difficult to tackle, he would stay with it until it was right. He approached every trial with a smile and extreme positive mental attitude. No matter the circumstance, he was always, “feeling pretty good today.” He lived every day of his life trying to help others along the way.

Survivors include his wife, Verna Parker; his children, Debbie (Chas) Hardin, Ken (Patrice), Rod (Connie), Don (Lisa), Denette Parker and Jolynn (Al) Taylor; 19 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren; his sister, Madelyn Olsen; and loving nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, William Ancil Parker and Dorothy Corner; and his sister, Patricia Gentry.

The family expressed special thanks to Dr. Brian Tudor and the Central Utah Cancer Clinic, Dr. Margaret Rasmussen, and the caring staff of Encompass Hospice. “Our sweet nurse Carrie and our aide Ginsilvi made this easier,” they said. 

 

Obituary for Jan. 23, 2013


Richard Traw

Baker City, 1936-2013

Richard Traw, 76, of Baker City, died Jan. 20, 2013, at St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Baker City surrounded by his family after a long and heroic battle with cancer.

Private interment will be at the Eagle Valley Cemetery in Richland. There will be a celebration of his life at 11 a.m. Friday at the Agape Christian Center on Highway 7.

 Rick was born on Aug. 25, 1936, at Chiloquin. He was the second of six children born to Cleo and Trula Mae Traw.

His early years were spent at Klamath Falls. He started the seventh grade at Richland Elementary School and was a 1955 graduate of Eagle Valley High School at Richland. In 1956, he married his high school sweetheart and wife of 56 years, Colleen “Johnny” Traw.

 His first job was working for the creamery in Eagle Valley, and he also worked on the Brownlee Dam project. Then he found his niche – roads, trucks and heavy equipment.

 Rick worked for the Baker County Road Department for 32 years, beginning as a part-time employee. His career there included seasonal truck driver, blade operator, and assistant roadmaster. He retired as the Baker County roadmaster in 1990. Rick absolutely loved building and maintaining roads.

 He also loved the outdoors. He was an avid hunter and fisherman. He particularly enjoyed steelhead fishing.

 He was preceded in death by his parents, Cleo and Trula Mae Traw; sister, Bernice Mallard; and brother, James Traw.

 Survivors include his wife, Colleen; brother, Don Traw, and his wife, Sandra; sister, Jan Fields,and her husband, Jerry; sister, Sue Beck; daughters, Debbi Jo Duby, and Dondi Scumaci and her husband, Mark; grandsons, Jeremiah Duby, and his wife, Kristin, and Tabor Woolard  and his wife, Crissy; granddaughters, Hannah, Andrea and Rebecca Duby; great-granddaughter, Ilsa Duby; and great-grandson, Asher Woolard, arriving in February.

Memorial contributions may be made to Agape Christian Center Mission Fund, cancer research or the charity of one’s choice through Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

 

Obituary for Jan. 18, 2013


Genevieve Elliott

Baker City, 1922-2012

Genevieve E. Wilson Elliott, 90, of Baker City, died Jan. 14, 2013, at Meadowbrook Place, with her two sons, Bob and Mike Wilson, at her side.

Visitations will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday at Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Francis de Sales Cathedral, First and Church streets. The Rev. Julian Cassar will officiate. Burial will be at Mount Hope Cemetery. 

Genevieve Evelyn Moore was born on March 30, 1922, at Baker City. She was the third of four children born to Harold Van Alan Moore and Cynthia Ann Powell, both of pioneer families.

Genevieve grew up in Baker City, attending Baker High School and St. Francis Academy.

 She married John “Bill” Wilson in 1940. They had four children: Elizabeth “Betty” Ann, Robert “Bob” Alan, Michael “Mike” John and Katheryn “Kathi” Marie. Bill and Genevieve shared 28 years of marriage until Bill died of a brain tumor in 1968. 

Bill worked for the First National Bank and was the assistant manager of the Baker Branch when he died. Genevieve finished raising Bob, Mike and Kathi, while teaching piano lessons. 

Genevieve was an accredited music teacher at Eastern Oregon College (now Eastern Oregon University) in La Grande and taught for 45 years in Baker City. 

Genevieve’s comments of Bill’s parents, John Wilson and Gertrude Chadwick, “they were the kindest, jolliest people I’ve ever known.” They were very instrumental in Bill and Genevieve’s lives with their four children.

“Gramma” Wilson lived with Bill and Genevieve after “Grampa” died and helped Genevieve raise Bob, Mike and Kathi. All the grandchildren dearly loved her. 

 Genevieve loved playing the piano, her piano recitals, and she enjoyed her students. She also loved to garden and was very proud of her beautiful roses and “dinner plate” dahlias.

There are many cherished memories of birthday parties and family gatherings in the backyard on College Street. Her family also recalls fondly the picnics, rides and camping at old No. 1 Cabin at Anthony Lakes, fishing, and beach vacations. 

Genevieve also loved cooking, baking cookies, huckleberry picking with her sisters and Aunt Erma, Carl, and Betty Ann. The boys really enjoyed all the fish, ducks, and pheasants she fixed for them. 

“She made the BEST fried chicken!” family members said. “Her pies were to die for.” 

 Harry liked her pies.

She married Harry N. Elliott of Bridgeport in 1974. Harry and Genevieve shared nearly 20 years of marriage. Lots of trips to the ranch over Dooley Mountain along with their pet, “Muffy.” After “Muffy” came “Teddy.”

 Genevieve was a member of the Sorority of Beta Sigma Phi, Community Concerts, St. Francis de Sales Altar, Rosary Society Circle Club, Birthday Club and she delivered Meals on Wheels for many years.

 Genevieve was a wonderful mother and a great piano teacher. She had a beautiful voice and sang in the St. Francis choir for many years.

“She was a little bright spot in a crowd of people with her red hair and pretty outfits of peach, blue, pink, yellow and rust colors,” her family said.

Then at age 80, she had beautiful white hair which she religiously put in curlers every night. She moved into Meadowbrook Place, which became her home.

She loved chocolate ice cream sundaes, which her family enjoyed bringing to her  — that twinkle in her eye.  Always a smile, a thank you and a welcome. Happy memories with our mother.

 Survivors include her daughter, Betty, and her husband, John Clark of Haines; son, Bob Wilson, and his wife, JoAnn, of Redmond; son, Mike Wilson, and his wife, Betsy, of Baker City; and daughter, Kathi Elder of Hermiston; stepchildren, Barbara Lewis, Tom Elliott, and Margie Elliott; sister, Winnifred Oesterling of Baker City; niece, Judy Fling; nephews, Richard Oesterling, Carl and Roy Sullivan and Duane Schaer; and 19 grandchildren, 22 great- grandchildren and seven great-great- grandchildren. 

 She was preceded in death by both her parents;  husbands, Bill Wilson and Harry Elliott; good friend, Ed Chadwick; brother, Walter, and his wife, Marion Moore; sister, Florence Sullivan; aunt, Erma Powell; and loving grandson, Kevin Eugene Wilson.

 Memorial contributions may be made to Heart ‘n’ Home Hospice, St. Francis Altar and Rosary Society, Meadowbrook Place or a charity of one’s choice through Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

 

Obituaries for Jan. 9, 2013


Chryl Robinson

Haines, 1939-2012

Chryl Ann Robinson, 73, of Haines, died Dec. 31, 2012, at her home.

Her family will gather to celebrate Chryl’s life in the spring.

Chyrl Ann was born on Oct. 16, 1939, at La Grande to Frank and Doris O’Niel Kesler. The family lived at La Grande for a short time before moving to Portland. 

Chyrl attended Shadduck Grade School at Portland and later graduated from Roosevelt High School. 

In 1969, Chryl married Lawrence Robinson at Elko, Nev. During her life she worked at Dairy Queen and the Our Lady of Sorrows after-school program.

Chryl enjoyed sewing, reading and dreaming of places to go, or to be, or to visit. Chryl loved animals, especially her cats of which she had many.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Doris Kesler, and stepfather, William Kennedy.

Survivors include her husband, Lawrence; children, Jeff, and his wife, Laura, of St. Helens, Tammy and husband, Marty Fuller, of Portland, Tom Meyer and his wife, Jo, of Portland, and Judy Meyer and Melody McKeel of Oregon City; four grandchildren; and one great- grandchild, Riley Meyer. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the Oregon Humane Society (SPCA) or Heart ‘n’ Home Hospice through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

Patricia Franke

Hereford, 1940-2013

Patricia Dolores (Fyvie DeLizo) Franke, 72, died Jan. 2, 2013, at Boise.

Her funeral will be at 1 p.m. Friday at Burns Mortuary Chapel in Hermiston. Burial will be at the Desert Lawn Memorial Cemetery in Irrigon.

She was born on Jan. 9, 1940, at Amsterdam, N.Y.

 She met her husband, Jerry, at Amarillo Air Force Base in Texas where they both served in the U.S. Air Force. They were married on July 2, 1964. 

She served from July 29, 1958, until her honorable discharge on Sept. 24, 1964. 

Pat was a firm believer in “The Song of Ruth”: Whither thou goest ... where thou lodgest ... thy people shall be my people.” She embraced his family and followed Jerry half way around the world for the next 49 years. 

They traveled first to Portland in 1965; to England in 1967;  to Irrigon in 1970 while Jerry was stationed in Alaska; back to England in 1971; to Turkey in 1973; back to Texas in 1976; back to Irrigon in 1980; and to Hereford in 1993 where they lived until her death. 

 She created a home at each stop along the way. 

“She epitomized what God intended when he created ‘an help meet’ and left a hole in our lives when she departed,” her family said.

 Survivors include her husband, Jerry of Hereford; her son, Curtis Franke, and his wife, Charlene, of Stanfield; her daughter, Ramona Franke of Stanfield; her sister, Bonny Panas, and her husband, Bruce, of The Villages, Fla.; her sister, Marguerite Karanjia, and her husband, Nariman, of Sherwood; her adopted granddaughters, Brittany and Trisha Franke; and multiple nieces nephews and in-laws.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Disabled American Veterans at P.O. Box 92, Hermiston, OR 97838.

Sign the condolence book at burnsmortuaryhermiston.com.

 

Obituary for Jan. 7, 2013


‘Hal’ Weaver

Sparta, 1940-2012

Harold “Hal” Weaver, 72, of Sparta died Dec. 29, 2012, at Vista Specialty Care in La Grande. 

There will be a celebration of Hal’s life and a family gathering in the spring in Pennsylvania.

Harold Lee was born on Nov. 17, 1940, at Sellersville, Pa., to Harold and Iona Souder Weaver. He was raised in Collegeville, Pa., graduating from Christopher Dock Mennonite High School in 1958. Hal then went on to the University of Washington where he majored in forestry, and he received his doctorate from Washington State University.

Hal and Joan married on May 15, 1965, at Lower Providence Presbyterian Church in Eagleville, Pa., after a childhood friendship renewed at church. 

Hal began his working career as a surveyor for Metzger Engineering. He went on to do contract work with the U.S. Forest Service. Hal also conducted research with U.S. Geological Survey. He also enjoyed raising yearling cattle on his Sparta place.

 A passion and hobby of Hal’s was hiking around the country and around the world. Hal will be fondly remembered for his adventuresome spirit. He was such a kind, warm, brilliant person who preferred a simple lifestyle. In his youth he spent three years in Nepal doing mission work, which affected his thinking about not needing many things in life. 

 Hal was very active in the Pine Valley Presbyterian Church at Halfway. He taught both the teenagers and adults. He participated in any building projects for the church or community. He was a former Pine-Eagle School Board Member and the Pine Valley Youth Fund. He volunteered in weed surveys to eradicate noxious weeds. 

He enjoyed the youth, mentoring them while going on hikes, cross-country skiing and telemark skiing. Hal volunteered to teach math skills to young people and visited a young man in jail. He enjoyed sharing his experience and advice with his nieces and nephews. 

Later in life, Hal enjoyed his daily walks around Sparta Butte taking note of both the wildlife and the plants.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Iona Weaver.

Survivors include his wife, Joan; his brothers, Richard, James, Donald and Steve; his sisters, Mary Lou, Marjorie, Sylvia and Lucie; and several nieces and nephews.

 Memorial contributions may be made to the Pine Valley Presbyterian Church or the Hilary Bonn Benevolent Fund through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

 

Obituaries for Jan. 4, 2013

Ross Bullard

Baker City, 1930-2012

Ross Lee Bullard, 82, of Baker City died Dec. 6, 2012, at Grande Ronde Hospital in La Grande.

His memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, at McEwen Bible Fellowship with Pastor Dan Martin officiating.

Ross was born on Sept. 8, 1930, at Graham, Texas, to Walter and Attie Pillinder Bullard. He spent two years in the U.S. Army, leaving as a corporal. Ross worked most of his life as a cowboy doing day work at different ranches. He also worked for the Texas Parks and Wildlife rescuing and relocating bighorn sheep for 12 years.

He married Mary Thomas at Baker City on Dec. 8, 2005. His hobbies included family, horses, woodworking and dancing. He was very active in the Haines Rodeo Association where he carried the American flag for rodeos.  He attended McEwen Bible Fellowship.

Survivors include his wife, Mary Bullard of Baker City; his daughters, Annette Bates and LuAnne Brummett of Baker City; his sons, Dan Bullard of North Powder, Travis Bullard and Tim Bullard, both of Union, Joe Bullard of Baker City, and Charles Brummett of Fairbanks, Alaska; 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his first wife, Betty Bullard.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Haines Rodeo Association or Roloff Evangelistic Enterprises through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.

Lorene Howland-Spriet

La Grande

Lorene Geneveave Howland-Spriet, 91, died Dec. 31, 2012. She spent her last years at La Grande.

Visitations will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, at Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave. in Baker City. Her funeral will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 10, at Gray’s West & Co. 

Lorene was born at Lone Pine to James Otho Hall and Mabel May York.  She met James Clifford “Jimmy” Howland and they were married on Feb. 5, 1938, at Caldwell, Idaho. Their children are Clifford Howland (Debbie) of Fishers, Ind.; Nita Powell (Carl) of La Grande; Vernon Howland of Baker City; Tera Cassie of Boise; Michael Howland (Darlene) of Umatilla; John Howland (Candy) of Huntington; Edwin Howland (Betty) of Boise; Nelda Petitt (George) of Huntington; Lela Stangle of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Marla Coalwell (Jerry) of John Day.

Jimmy Howland died Feb. 10, 1953. Lorene later met Willie Alphons Spriet and they married on Feb. 25, 1955, at Pasco, Wash. Their children are Mary Spriet and Wilma Hawk (Harold) of Huntington.

Lorene is also survived by her twin sister, Irene Martin of Caldwell; 50 grandchildren; 80 great-grandchildren; and 15 great-great-grandchildren. 

She was preceded in death by her parents; her two husbands; her siblings, Millie Mann, Ada Haney, Dorothy Henner, Glenn Hall, Edward Hall and Donald Hall; and her children, Bill Howland, June Wolf and Mary Spriet.

The family would like to thank Dr. Conklin, Wildflower Lodge Staff, and Hospice for the care they gave Lorene in her final days.

Thaoma Ellingson

Baker City, 1936-2012

Thaoma L. Church Ellingson, 76, a longtime Baker City resident, died Dec. 8, 2012, at Linda Vista Care Center in Ashland from complications arising from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

There will be a family gathering to honor her in the spring.

Thaoma was born on April 28, 1936, at Baker City where she spent much of her life. She moved to Ashland this year while recovering from a stroke. She was the daughter of Cora Davis Church and Guy Church. 

Thaoma grew up in Baker and Union counties, moving between Union, John Day and Hereford, but spending her formative years in Baker. She was raised by loving pioneering parents, and three doting older brothers. After graduation from Baker High School, she attended a year at Oregon State University. Thaoma married Donald M. Ellingson at Baker City, where they made their home.

Survivors include her brother, Gerry Church of Redmond; her daughter, Elizabeth Ellingson of Ashland; and her grandchildren, Jordan Ellingson of Lake Stevens, Wash., and Kai White and Ian White of Corvallis.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Donald Ellingson; and her son, Matthew Ellingson. She also recently lost two of her brothers, Robert Church of Vale and Donald Church of Gresham.

 
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