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Obituaries for Feb. 22, 2013

Ruth Flaherty

Bend, 1927-2013

Ruth M. Flaherty, 85, of Bend, died Feb. 14, 2013, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Her son, Jim, and daughter-in-law, Betty, were with her.

At her request there will be no service.

Ruth was born on Feb. 23, 1927, in Sterling, Colo. She married Earl Flaherty in 1946 and they moved to Oregon. Together they raised a family of five. She lived in Westfall, where they managed the old Becker ranch from 1952 until 1960. 

She moved to Burley, Idaho, where the family farmed potatoes until 1963 when they returned to ranching in Hereford. In 1985, she and Earl move to Umatilla. In Umatilla, she assisted at the local grade school as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching assistant.

After her husband died she moved to Bend to be closer to family.

Ruth was artistic and loved to draw. She also enjoyed bowling and her bunco club. She was happiest when she was with family and friends.

Survivors include her children, Jim and Betty Flaherty of Bend, MaryBeth and Ray Cornell of Burns, Mike and Dawnel Flaherty of Parma, Idaho, Barbara Sanders of The Dalles; her son-in-law, Clinton Tarvin of La Grande; and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Earl; her daughter, Kathleen; and her brother, Vern.

In lieu of flowers,the family suggests memorial contributions to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.

Autumn Funerals of Bend is in charge of arrangements.

Pearl Haydock

Formerly Baker City, 1920-2013

Pearl Jeraldine Willis Haydock, 92, a former Baker City resident, died Feb. 18, 2013, at Forest Grove. 

 Pearl was born on April 12, 1920, at Blackfoot, Idaho, to Charles and Pearl Celia Van Ostrand Walker. 

Survivors include her daughters, Lorraine Swiger of Hillsboro and Barbara Apple of Roy, Wash.; three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Lee B. Haydock.

 Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814, is in charge of arrangements.

Obituaries for Feb. 20, 2013

Betty Taylor

Baker City, 1919-2013

Betty Jean Taylor, 93, of Cove died Feb. 6, 2013, at the home of her son, Michael, where she had lived for the past 5 years. 

In accordance with her wishes, there will be no service.

Betty was born on May 25, 1919, at Spokane, Wash.,  to Robert A. and Bertha Augusta Hopper Smith. 

Betty was one of three children and was the second child. She was very close to both of her siblings.

Betty was raised at Spokane, Wash. She met her future husband, Harold Dennis “Denny” Taylor, at Spokane when he was stationed at Geiger Field in 1942. 

They were married later that year on July 31, 1942, at Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. They decided to wait to have a family, so during their early years, they traveled and Betty was a singer in a jazz band. She truly enjoyed sharing her love of music with her friends and family. She had a beautiful voice.

In 1953, they adopted their first child, Dennis Michael, and followed with the adoption of a daughter, Roberta Mae, two years later. 

In the following years, Betty devoted herself to being a loving wife and mother as the family moved often. Her family was always her first priority.

Dennis worked for International Harvester and was transferred every three years or so. She was a very caring individual and made many friends everywhere they lived. 

They retired to Prescott, Ariz., in 1976. Her husband, Denny, died in March 1994 at Prescott. Betty moved with her son, Michael, and his family to Coos Bay in 1997. A year later they moved to Cove, where she resided until her death. She attended the Cove Methodist Church.

Survivors include her son, Michael, of Cove; her daughter, Roberta, of New Mexico; her brother, Robert “Buzz,” and his wife, Catherine “Kitty” Smith, of Seattle, Wash.; four grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

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

Joan Curtis

Baker City, 1941-2013

Joan Curtis, 71, of Baker City, died Feb. 12, 2013, at St. Alphonsus Medical Center-Baker City.

A private family service will be held at a later date.

Joan Beverly was born on Nov. 21, 1941, at Malden, Mo., to Raymond and Irene (Glover) Medlin. She was raised until the age of 7 in Malden and then moved to Baker City, graduating from Baker High School in 1959.

Her first marriage was to Roy E. Morris in Baker City, whom she had met in high school. They had three children, Linda, Brenda and James. They divorced and later she married Alvin Curtis. They met at the same place of employment and they had one child, Jason. 

Joan worked as a CNA at both Cedar Manor and St. Elizabeth Hospital for years.  She also did in-home care on the side. She was Leo Adler’s caregiver the last 15 years of his life and was always proud to be known as a good friend to him.

She enjoyed camping, fishing, reading and collecting figurines of frogs. Joan loved her family and her pets. 

 She is survived by her daughters: Linda and her husband, Brant Dixon, of Banks, and Brenda Morris of Baker City; her sons: James Morris of Baker City, and Jason Curtis of Woodburn; her brother, Jonny Medlin of Springfield; and five grandchildren: Brittney and Corina Morris, Terrance Dixon, Dalton Curtis and Alexa “Lexy” Curtis. 

She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Alvin.

Memorial donations in memory of Joan may be made to the Diabetic Association through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

Obituary for Feb. 15, 2013

Claudia Hance 

Baker City, 1955-2013

Claudia Ann Hance (Binschus), 58, a former Baker City resident, died Feb. 5, 2013, with her son, Bryan Polley, and companion, Bill Hance, by her side after battling a long-term illness.

There will be a gathering in the spring for an informal memorial service for family and friends. The date and time will be announced later.

She was born on April 27,1955.

She was preceded in death by her son, Johnathon BoeDean Boettcher; and her mother, Mary Colter.

Survivors include her three sons, Gary Chapman and family of Baker City, Bryan Polley and family of Caldwell, Idaho, and Joey Grove and family of Baker City; two sisters and two brothers, Lillian Sawyer and family, Delbert Binchus and family, Jody Thompson and Jack Binchus; numerous nieces and nephews; and numerous grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the Boise Veterans Hospital.

Obituaries for Feb. 13, 2013

Muriel Gray

Portland, 1919-2013

Muriel D. Gray, 93, died Feb. 6, 2013, in Portland. 

Visitations will be from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St. Her funeral will be at 2 p.m. Friday at the Baker Seventh-day Adventist Church at 42171 Chico Road. Burial will be at Mount Hope Cemetery. There will be a reception afterward at the Seventh-day Adventist Church fellowship hall at the corner of Pocahontas Road and 17th Street.

Muriel was born on April 23, 1919, at La Harpe, Kan., to Alvis and Bessie (Colwell) Dick. She was raised all over the state of Montana and received schooling in Montana, Idaho, Washington, California, and Nebraska. 

She specialized as a nurse and received her registered nurse credentials at Paradise Valley, Calif., and her bachelor’s degree at Lincoln, Neb. She worked as a nurse in San Diego and at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md. 

She moved to Baker City in 1949 and met Frank Gray. Muriel married Frank on June 8, 1950, at Baker City.

Muriel was a longtime member of the Baker Seventh-day Adventist Church. Her accomplishments include working as a registered nurse in several institutions over 40 years, volunteering for many church and community organizations, and raising two daughters and one son. She especially enjoyed teaching children’s classes for many years at the church.

Survivors include her daughters, Elizabeth Parker and Rosalyn Patton; son, Peter Gray; grandchildren, Thomas N. Turner, Matthew Parker and Donald and Daniel Gray; sister, Bonita Kraemer; and great-grandchildren, Erin, Matthew, Honor and Christian Parker; and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; and her husband, Frank.

Memorial contributions may be made to the SDA Thanksgiving Food Box program or the Baker City Pathfinder (youth club) Building Fund through Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Howard Ego

Vale, 1924-2013

Howard Ego, 89, a former Baker City resident, died Feb. 9, 2013.

His funeral will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Vale Christian Church. Burial will be at Valley View Cemetery in Vale. 

Howard was born on Nov. 3, 1924, at Baker City to Charles Berton and Bessie Sadie Doolittle Ego. He was the seventh of eight children. He was preceded in death by his parents; five brothers, Bill, Jim, Elmer, Gene and infant Cecil; and two sisters, Clydia (Van Horn) Smothers and Adealia (Barrentine) Veristain. 

Many of his early years were spent on the family ranch on Sutton Creek. Howard and his sister, Adealia, were the only ones to graduate from high school, in Baker. 

After high school he joined the U.S. Army and served in Europe (1944-1945) during World War II, receiving the Bronze Star Medal for heroism.

Howard married Carol Frances Evitts in 1945. They were divorced in 1974. They had two children, David and Susan .

On Valentine’s Day in 1981 he had his first date with his “better half,” Willie Jones, also known as “Mrs. Smith.”  They were together for 32 years. 

After coming home from military service he went to work for Walt Gildersleeve at the Standard Oil bulk plant in Baker City. He also farmed with his father during these years.

In 1957, he purchased the Standard Oil bulk plant at Vale. He later sold the plant and after one year at Peterson Furniture in Ontario, he became Vale city coordinator and municipal judge. He worked for the City of Vale for more than 47 years. Howard also served as Treasurer for the Valley View Cemetery District for more than 47 years. 

Howard had a servant’s heart for his adopted community of Vale. He served on the Vale City Council before going to work for the city. He was an active member for decades in the Jaycees, Lions, and the Masonic Lodge, for which he received the highest honor — The Hiram Award.

He also was a member of the Shriners, Eastern Star, Blue Lodge, Elks, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Sports Inc. , Senior Citizens , Vale Chamber of Commerce and many other groups. 

He received the Distinguished Service Award in 1960. He rode a horse as grand marshal for the 2000 Vale Fourth of July celebration. 

He received lifetime achievement awards from the Shriners and the Vale Community. Howard could many times be found behind the cook stove or beside the barbecue pit helping prepare many community and family meals.

He also enjoyed hunting, camping, wood gathering, the cabin and family festivities. 

“He was loving, kind and compassionate as a companion, dad, grandpa and great-grandpa ... we couldn’t have asked for anyone better,” family members said. “He will be missed by all.”

Survivors include his companion, Willie Jones and family; his son, David, and his wife, Gloria Ego; and daughter, Susan, and her husband, Joe Yraguen; two grandsons, Jay (Michelle) Ego and Josh (Emily) Ego; and three granddaughters, Julie (Tom) Spoo, Kimi (Wade) Gipson, Kristi (Britton) Stuart; and seven great- grandchildren, Amand and Janci Spoo, Brylie and Chace Gipson, Amaia, Addison and Bodie Stuart; and many nieces and nephews. 

Memorial contributions may be made to Shriners or Vale Senior Citizens.

Condolences to the family may be made at www.lienkaemper-thomason.com.

Hilda McCumber

La Grande, 1913-2013

Hilda Dorothy Jones McCumber, 99, died Feb. 7, 2013, at Wildflower Lodge in La Grande.

Her graveside funeral will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Mount Hope Cemetery. Family members said there will be a gathering to celebrate her remarkable life this spring.

Hilda was born on Oct. 31, 1913, at Baker City to Robert and Mary Gilkison Jones. She attended elementary school in one-room schoolhouses in Eastern Oregon towns including Sparta, New Bridge and Keating. She attended Baker High School for two years before being forced to quit because of her father’s death. 

Hilda was married to the love of her life, Frank Avery “Dick” McCumber, on June 19, 1933, at Baker City. During their early years, they lived on a ranch at Sparta and also lived at Milton-Freewater, Baker City and Union before moving to Mount Vernon in 1950.

Hilda was a devoted wife and mother, and was very active in her community. She was involved in the Mount Vernon Grange, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Grant County Women’s Bowling League, Mount Vernon PTA, and the Degree of Honor Protective Association. 

Her hobbies included bowling, gardening, camping and reading. 

Throughout her career, she was employed by various facilities as a cook, including J Bar L Guest Ranch, Blue Mountain Hospital and U.S. Forest Service summer camps. 

A large portion of her career was spent working for the U.S. Forest Service, out in the open air of beautiful Grant County, where she retired multiple times before actually leaving her job.

Hilda was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Frank Avery “Dick” McCumber; her oldest son, Neil A. McCumber; and two great-grandchildren lost in infancy.

Survivors include her daughter, Millie I. McCumber Hickerson Butler (Bob); sons, Roger A. McCumber (Janet), Lyle A. McCumber (Linda) and Robert B. McCumber (Charlotte); 14 grandchildren; 31 great-grandchildren; and several great-great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to Wildflower Lodge through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.

Roberta Graves

Baker City, 1933-2013

Roberta LaVell Graves, 79, died Feb. 9, 2013, at St. Alphonsus Medical Center- Baker City. 

Her graveside service will be at noon on Friday at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Roberta was born on Nov. 9, 1933, at Baker City to Roy and Ora Burris Calloway. She attended school there until at the age of 14 when illness prevented from her returning.

She began working at St. Elizabeth Hospital as a nurse’s aide at the age of 14. The money she earned helped her parents purchase their place on Pine Creek. 

 She continued working at the hospital, working in Central Supply sterilizing the surgical instruments, and then working as an assistant during surgical procedures.

She lived at Baker City most of her life, but for a brief time she lived at Smith River, Calif. In her 20s she married Larry Graves and they had two children. 

When Roberta retired from the hospital, she went to work as a motel maid at Oregon Trail Motel. She worked there for several years and also did in-home care for the disabled and elderly. 

Roberta enjoyed anything having to do with being outside: she gardened, picnicked, camped in the mountains, and, most especially, she loved horses. She had fun memories of sledding on tubes and floating down creeks, family members said.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Larry; brothers, Ralph Calloway and Ronald Calloway; and sisters, Dorothy Phillips and Fern Wheeler.

Survivors include her son, Norman Daniel Graves of Baker City; daughter, Lorraine Graves of Baker City; brother, Robert Calloway, and his wife, Brenda, of Irrigon; sister, Shirley Guilliams of Baker City; grandchildren, Chris Graves and Johanna Cole; two great-grandchildren, Kailyn McQuisten and Andrew Davis; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Memorial contribtions may be made to CASA or the Rachel Center through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

Marvin McKinney

Baker City, 1937-2013

Marvin Glenn McKinney, 75, of Culver, died Jan. 25, 2013, at Redmond.

 There will be a remembrance of Marvin’s life at 11 a.m. MST Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Vale Christian Church at 450 A St. West in Vale.

Marvin was born on May 3, 1937, at Ontario to Merrill “Red” and Ruth Maupin McKinney. He grew up on a small cattle ranch outside of Vale. Shortly after graduating from high school, he served in the U.S. Army, serving time in Alaska. After returning home, he met and married Linda Joanne Woodward, his partner in life for the past 54 years.

He worked for the Vale road department and the Oakridge sawmill for a number of years before returning to ranching, a vocation he pursued with his wife, Linda, at his side, for the remainder of his life. He ran a large cattle ranch in Eastern Oregon for 33 years. 

He and Linda then “retired” to a small cattle ranch in Culver where they lived happily for the past 12 years. His greatest joy and personal measure of success, was raising cattle from birth, and adding them to the herd that he and Linda worked together to build.

Marvin was a much loved husband, father, and grandfather.

He enjoyed rodeo, hunting, four-wheelers, horses, reading the news, candy, but most especially, family.

Survivors include his wife, Linda McKinney of Culver; sons, Steve McKinney of West Richland, Wash., and David McKinney and his wife, Tami, of Redmond; daughter, Sheila Hite and her husband, Brad, of Corvallis; his grandson, Bryan; and five granddaughters, Janet, Shalene, Danielle, Madyson and Hannah.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Milton and John McKinney; and daughter-in-law, Susan.

Autumn Funerals Redmond is in charge of arrangements.

Millie Butler

Baker City, 1936-2013

Millie Ilene Butler, 76, of Baker City, died Feb. 11, 2013, at St. Alphonsus Medical Center. 

Her memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Mount Hope Cemetery. Mr. Wally Muzzy and Mr. Jerry Sheets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in John Day will officiate. Friends are invited to join the family for a reception afterward at Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St.

Millie was born on May 4, 1936, at Baker City to Frank Avery “Dick” and Hilda Dorothy Jones McCumber. She attended high school at Mount Vernon and married Floyd Lee Hickerson on Oct. 25, 1953, at Winnemucca, Nev. 

She then married Robert Lee Butler on July 1, 2004, at Hillsboro. She was a great homemaker and also worked for a time at Beaver State Dental and Terry Trailer, retiring on Sept. 1, 2004.

She enjoyed horseback riding, riding her bicycle, going to the mountains mushrooming, huckleberry picking, and loving on her dog, Jake. She loved her kids, grandkids, great-grandkids and her husband. 

She was a member of the LDS Church and a breast cancer survivor.

Survivors include her husband, Bob Butler of Baker City; two sons, Fain Hickerson, and his wife, Darla, of Coos Bay and Neil Hickerson and Kathy Keller of Gresham; one daughter, Theresa German, and her husband, Brent, of La Grande; three brothers, Roger McCumber, and his wife, Jan, of Hillsboro, Lyle McCumber and his wife, Linda, of Mount Vernon, and Rob McCumber and his wife, Char, of Mount Vernon; four stepdaughters and one stepson and their spouses; seven grandchildren plus several stepgrandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

 She was preceded in death by her parents; her first husband, Lee Hickerson; a brother, Neil McCumber; and a grandson, Sean Christopher.

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

Obituaries for Feb. 11, 2013

Jill Spofford

Minnesota, 1944-2013

Jill Rombough Otto Spofford, 68, died Feb. 6, 2013, at the St. Benedict’s Senior Community Center in St. Cloud, Minn.

Her funeral will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, at the Osakis Lutheran Church in Osakis, Minn. Visitation begins one hour before the service at the church.  

She was born on April 23, 1944, to Donald and Winona Scadding Otto. Jill grew up at Sauk Centre, Minn., and was a 1962 graduate of Sauk Centre High School. After high school, she completed the licensed practical nurse (LPN) program at Alexandria Technical College in Alexandria, Minn. She worked as a nurse at the Browerville Hospital in Browerville, Minn. 

She met and married Lee Spofford and had a family of six that they raised in the Long Prairie and Sauk Centre areas. 

In 1980, Jill relocated to Oregon where she met and married Keith Eoff. Together they raised a family of three. 

In recent years, Jill had resided in both Oregon and Minnesota. She made her home in Minnesota in 2010 when she was diagnosed with cancer. 

Jill fought a very brave and courageous battle and was an inspiration to her family and many friends. She wore many hats throughout the years that included nurse, caretaker, bartender, hotel manager, farmer, cook, jewelry maker, crafter and seamstress. None were as important as Mom, Grandma and friend. 

Jill was a member of Eastern Star and enjoyed helping out the Monday quilters at Osakis Lutheran. 

Survivors include a brother, David (Cecelia) Otto of California; son, Rex (Brenda) Spofford Dillingham, Alaska; Marguarette Norwood of Browervill, Minn.; Heather (Brian) White of Baker City; Michelle Spofford (Mike Haffner) of Sauk Centre, Minn.; Kim Miland of Melrose, Minn.; Byron (Jody) Miland of Sartell, Minn.; Nancy (Glenn) Taft of Browerville, Minn.; Richard Eoff (Shannon Breeden) of Browerville, Minn.; Carl Eoff, South Carolina; 14 grandchildren; one great-grandson; 14 stepchildren; and special friend, Keith Eoff. 

She was preceded in death by her parents; grandparents; her high school sweetheart and fiance, Andrew Lesser; Lee Spofford; and two (twin) grandchildren.

The Roy-Hetland Funeral Home in Osakis, Minn., is in charge of arrangements.

Mildred Winward

Spokane, Wash., 1930-2013

Mildred Louise Winward, 82, a former Baker County resident, died Feb. 5, 2013, at Spokane, Wash.  

There will be a celebration of her life at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Baker United Methodist Church, 1919 Second St. The family will hold a private graveside service at Lakeview where she will rest beside her husband.

Mildred was born on July 29, 1930, at Wingville to Vernell and Velma Morin.  She was the oldest of six children. Mildred spent most of her childhood at Hereford where the family farmed and ranched. She married Amos Gail Winward, “Gail” on Aug. 3, 1961. They made their home at Lakeview where they raised their two children, Rebecca Louise (Kinney), 46, and Matthew Glenn Winward, 45. 

After Gail’s death, Mildred moved to Baker City, where she was active in The Salvation Army Church and at the local community center. She spent many years enjoying the company of her Aunt Nellie Brannock and Uncle Ted Morin.

During her years spent with Uncle Ted, Mildred developed an avid interest in sports. In 2003 she moved to Deer Park, Wash., to be near her children and grandchildren.

Mildred loved to watch the Portland Trailblazers, Seattle Mariners and her recent favorites, the Gonzaga Bulldogs. She also enjoyed crocheting and other needlepoint crafts as well as Bible study; she loved the Lord.

Survivors include her children, Rebecca Kinney and Matthew Winward; seven grandchildren, Rose O’Dell, Ryan Kinney, Melody Winward, Amber Winward, Zachary Kinney, Dakota Winward and Austen Kinney; four great-grandchildren, Lillyanna O’Dell, Megan O’Dell, Katielynn O’Dell and Micah O’Dell; her siblings, Elaine Carr, Wayne Morin, John Morin, Darlene Jenkins and Arnold Morin; and many nieces and nephews. 

Mildred’s husband, Amos Gail Winward, preceded her in death in 1982. 

Obituary for Feb. 8, 2013

Richard Cook

Baker City, 1932-2013

Richard Dean Cook, 80, of Baker City, died Feb. 7, 2013.

He passed quietly in his sleep after a protracted battle with complications from lung disease, family members said.

No service is planned at this time.

He was born on Oct. 20, 1932. 

His family celebrates his life, and mourns his passing. He was husband to Marcia L. Cook and father to Deanna Camp, Sheryl Cook and Mike Cook. 

They remember Dick/Dad as enjoying his retirement from his lifelong Boeing Aerospace career, spanning 32 years. He was an avid camper, outdoorsman and Minnesota farm kid. He was a Korean War veteran, serving in the Triple Nickel (555 infantry battalion).

He’s also remembered as an actively engaged father of three, grandfather of six and as a great-grandfather of twin boys.

He is celebrated as a fixer of cars, master barbecuer and tinkerer of life. 

“He lived a good life and took care of his wife and family to the best of his ability,” family members said. “We will forever remember him sitting in his favorite chair with his cocker spaniel, Corky, on his deck watching the sun go down over the Elkhorns.”

Obituaries for Feb. 6, 2013

Betsy Mason

Baker City, 1942-2013

Betsy Jean Mason, 70, of Baker City, died Feb. 2, 2013, at her home.

Her memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Friday at Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave. There will be a reception afterward at the Nazarene Church, 1250 Hughes Lane.

Betsy was born on March 22, 1942, at Ontario, Calif.,  to Jean and Ruby Joines Pettit.  She was a 1961 Clackamas High School graduate. She then attended Clackamas Community College.

She married Elmer Donald “Don” Mason at Oregon City. They lived at Whidbey Island, Wash., and were later divorced.

 She loved being outdoors, hunting, fishing, camping and being among family and friends. Camping and fishing for catfish on the Willamette River was a favorite, and hunting as a way of life and survival was always fun. 

Betsy took her kids to the berry farms and taught them how to work for what they wanted. She worked in the woods for many years and at Mason Dam for 10 years. 

She had a sense of adventure and enjoyed sharing her knowledge of the outdoors by teaching her grandchildren to fish and how to drive in the snow. Betsy also liked to play hide-and-seek after dark.

 Her hobbies included oil painting — she took classes and loved to share her beautiful art with others. She also enjoyed playing music with friends and church groups. 

She loved animals and fed as many as she could.  Toward the end of her life, ministry became her passion.  

She loved the Lord Jesus and wanted to share that with others, family members said. Her desire was to help people and she did that by sharing her life experiences and using them to help encourage others. There were no strangers to her and she was always willing to lend a helping hand.

 Betsy volunteered at the Northeast Oregon Compassion Center where she helped in ministry and at the Food Bank. She attended Agape Christian Center for many years and more recently the First Church of the Nazarene. She was also a member of the National Rifle Association. 

She was preceded in death by her parents.

Survivors include three daughters, Christine, and her husband, Eugene Hawes, of Baker City, Arlene and her husband, Dave Shafer, of Caldwell, Idaho, and Becky Rose of Meridian, Idaho; a niece, Syndy, and her husband, Paul Zarr, of Klamath Falls; a brother, James Pettit of Cheyenne, Wyo.; seven grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren

Memorial contributions may be made to the Northeast Oregon Compassion Center through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.

Samuel Williams

Baker City, 1930-2013

Samuel Glenn Williams, 82, of Baker City, died Feb. 1, 2013.

Visitations will be from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave.  His funeral will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Gray’s West & Co. Pastor Ron Kratzer of the Valley Shepherd Church of the Nazarene at Meridian, Idaho, and former pastor of the Baker City Nazarene Church, will officiate.

Glenn was born on Nov. 26, 1930, at Baker City to George and Jima Hill Williams. He grew up on small farms in Baker County. He attended Haines School up to the seventh grade and then Baker High School.

He worked 40 years in the lumber mills, which included Ellingson Plywood and Ellingson Burnt River mill until it closed.

 Glen loved riding horses, hunting, fishing and gardening. He never missed an opportunity to go to a rodeo with family and friends.

 His family extends a very heartfelt thank you to all the caregivers and volunteers that helped Glenn through his time of need.

 He was preceded in death by his parents; sons, Ralph and Jimmy Williams; sisters, Ruby Dodds, Cleo Conrad and Mattie McVey; and brothers, Fred and Jess Williams and Paul Medford.

 Survivors include his children, Sammie Williams of Bend, Glenda and husband, Dan Hull, of Haines, and Summer Curry of Haines; daughter-in-law, Karen Williams of Warrenton; eight grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

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

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. 

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