Obituaries for the week of Jan. 21 to Jan 25

January 25, 2002 12:00 am

Mary Ellen Hambleton

Mary Ellen Hambleton, 87, a longtime Baker City resident, died Jan. 23, 2002, at St. Elizabeth Health Care Center after an extended illness.

Her funeral will be at 2 p.m. Monday at Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St. Pastor Roger Scovil of the Baker City Christian Church will officiate. Vault interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery. Visitations will be from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Monday at the funeral home.

Mary was born Sept. 19, 1914, at Wallowa. Her parents were George Paris and Lou Anna Cox Roop. When she was about a year old, her family moved to Pine Valley. She attended school at Pine Valley.

She lived at Pine Valley until she married Harvey Warren Hambleton on Sept. 19, 1938. She and Harvey lived at Cornucopia until the mines closed. She moved to Baker City where she lived the rest of her life.

She was an avid churchgoer all of her life until her health prevented her from going. She was a member of the First Christian Church both in Halfway and in Baker City.

She was active in the church. She loved to garden and raised gladiolas and sold them. She was an excellent mother and wife. She was a seamstress and for many years an active member of Pleasant Valley Home Extension. She loved doing crafts and putting puzzles together.

Survivors include her sons and daughters-in-law, James and Theona Hambleton of Baker City and Albert and Marlene Hambleton of Redding, Calif.; grandchildren, Deborah Lynn Hayse of Baker City, Catherine Marie Martin of Baker City, Daniel James Hambleton of Klamath Falls, and Anthony Allen Hambleton of Carmel, Calif.; and great-grandchildren, Ryan Hambleton, Joseph Hayse, Andrew Martin, and Annie Martin; three sisters, Mable Farrar and Ada Stoor, both of Baker City, and Sadie Davidson of Medford; sister-in-law, Ellen Roop; and several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her father, Paris Roop, in 1954; her mother, Anna Roop, in 1963; her husband, Harvey, in 1976; her brother, Harmon Roop, in 1982; a sister, Maud Dunn; and a baby sister in 1924.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Baker City Christian Church Building Fund through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Mary Kerby

Mary Kerby, 83, a longtime Baker County resident, died Jan. 20, 2002, at St. Elizabeth Health Care Center.

Visitations will be until 5 p.m. Friday at the Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St. A vigil service will begin at 7 p.m. Friday at St. Francis de Sales Cathedral, First and Church streets. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday at the cathedral. The Rev. Robert C. Irwin will celebrate. Vault interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Mary Ann Davis Kerby was born to Edwin and Marcella Davis at the old St. Alphonsus Hospital in Boise on Sept. 18, 1918. Until age 11, Mary lived with her parents on the ranch of her grandparents, Thomas Jefferson and Julia Davis, near Boise. The ranch was known as Government Island Ranch.

The Davis home was situated in what was referred to as the Chinese Gardens and later became Garden City, Idaho. The beautiful Julia Davis Park in Boise was built and named in honor of her grandmother.

In 1929, Mary moved with her family to their own ranch at Long Valley near Cascade, Idaho. She rode horseback five miles one way to attend VanWick Elementary School, now covered over with the waters of Cascade Lake.

When she was old enough for high school, she rode horseback six miles one way into Cascade. She graduated from Cascade High in 1936.

Later that year, she married Melvin Cross and the couple moved to Seattle where he was employed. While living in Seattle, two sons were born: Larry and Melvin Jr.

In 1940, the family moved back to Cascade where they lived with his folks on their ranch. The couple eventually divorced and Melvin Sr. later died.

In 1958, she married Frank Morgan Kerby and the family moved to her parents Alder Creek ranch in Baker County. Through purchase and inheritance, Frank and Mary became owners of the Davis ranch holdings in addition to other acres in the Alder Creek and Durkee area.

Frank and Mary ranched until 1991, when they retired and moved to Baker City. A few short months later in 1992, Frank died and was buried alongside the couples infant son at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Mary became an active Trail Tender volunteer at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center near Baker City, greeting and counting visitors as well as being involved in various other activities. Each year since 1994, she has earned the distinction of membership in the 300 Hour Club, which honors Trail Tender members who have volunteered a minimum of 300 hours in one year. She was named Trail Tender volunteer of the year for 1998.

Along with the late Dr. Bill Kuhl, Mary was instrumental in organizing the VIPs, a Baker City support group for people whose vision is impaired because of macular degeneration. The group still meets monthly.

She was also an active member of St. Francis Diocese and the Ladies Circle of the Catholic Church in Baker City.

She was preceded in death by her parents and grandparents; two sisters, Julia and Marcella; and an infant son, John Gerard Kerby, who died shortly after birth in 1962.

Survivors include her sons, Larry Cross, and wife, Sandi, of Las Vegas, Nev., and Melvin Cross Jr. and wife, Marlene, of Baker City; brother, Tom Davis, and wife, Jemima, of Cascade, Idaho, and Palm Springs, Calif.; seven grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to the VIPs through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Lawrence DelCurto

Lawrence DelCurto, 80, a longtime Pine Valley resident, died Jan. 19, 2002, at Wildflower Lodge in La Grande after an extended illness.

His funeral will be at 2 p.m. Friday at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Halfway. Leonard Hill of Halfway will officiate. All relatives and friends are invited to a dinner and reception at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall after the service. Visitations will be from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St.

Lawrence was born on Sept. 13, 1921, at North Pine. He was the son of Lorenzo and Margherita Falcinella DelCurto. He attended schools at North Pine, Pine Town, and graduated from Pine Valley High School.

After high school, Lawrence took up ranching in a partnership with his father. On Nov. 27, 1950, he married Elba Pauline Rumley at Baker City. After his fathers death, Lawrence continued the ranch partnership with his brother, Jerry. He ranched until recently, when health concerns prompted retirement.

Lawrence was active with local stock grower groups, helped with local fair and rodeo events, and was active with events involving his children. He loved riding, hunting, camping, and gardening. He especially enjoyed his grandchildren, family and friends.

Survivors include his sons, Tim, and his wife, Tammi, of Cove, Joe of John Day, Tony of Halfway, and Lorenzo and his wife, Lois, of Baker City; sisters, Rosa Sargeant of La Grande and Catherine Wilson of Eugene; six grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Elba Pauline Cissy; brothers, John, Jerry, and Reno; and sisters, Lena and Rita.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Halfway Ambulance Service through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Wesley Mendenhall

Wesley Barrett Mendenhall, 64, of Baker City, died Jan. 20, 2002.

His memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St. Pastor Robert Whiteman of the Baker City Christian Church will officiate.

Mr. Mendenhall was born March 18, 1937, at Mount Auburn, Ill. He was a son of Eva Mae Hardisty and Floyd C. Mendenhall. He was raised and educated in Mount Auburn.

He entered the U.S. Air Force in 1953 and was honorably discharged in 1963. On July 3, 1963, he married Kay Borkhardt at Edinburg, Ill. They moved to Baker City in 1978.

Wes worked in house construction, door manufacturing and for 20 years at the Best Western Sunridge Inn as supervisor of maintenance. He also loved to mine and spent many years doing so.

He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend. He loved to fish, camp and prepare smoked fish and jerky. Then he became hooked on the computer.

He was very loyal to his family and friends. The last two years, he has been in close contact with his Air Force buddy of 30 years. They talked every night on the computer.

Survivors include his wife, Kay Mendenhall of Baker City; his daughter, Annette, and her husband, Phil Hansen, of Cedar City, Utah; son, Wesley Alan Mendenhall, and his wife, Julia, of Baker City; grandchildren, Tiffany Hansen, Taite and Tanner Mendenhall, Ashley and Cassie Main, Brittany, Candace and Paige Schmidt, and Caleb Marston; sisters, Vonnie Dodson, and her husband, George, of Dallas, Texas, and Sherry Frazier and her husband, Tom, of Elgin; brother, Larry Mendenhall, and his wife, Barb, of Illinois; his mother, Gladys Mendenhall of Pendleton; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Eva Mae Peck, and his father, Floyd Mendenhall.

Memorial contributions may be made to Doernbecher Childrens Hospital, 1121 S.W. Salmon St. 201, Portland, OR 97205-2021, or to the charity of ones choice. This may also be done through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Beth Rush

Beth Marie Rush, 45, of Baker City, died Jan. 21, 2002, at her home with her loved ones at her side.

At Beths request, the family will schedule private interment later.

Beth was born on Aug. 2, 1956, at Prairie City to Leslie Davis and Georgia Livermore Davis. She grew up and attended all of her school years in Baker City.

Beth loved animals of all kinds. She had a way with any animal she came across, but dogs were her favorite. Many dogs found their way to her home no matter where she lived. One dog would even run away from his home to come visit. When you heard that special knock on the door with his tail, you knew in a moment her little friend had arrived.

Her wit was always primed and ready, as well as her ability to clown around. She loved to laugh; if life was getting too serious, she had a special way of lightening things up. Even during the last hours of her life, she had a final little dance with her sister.

She taught her children and nieces and nephews how to have a good time, a good water fight and taught the kids some silly songs. She loved music, played the guitar, and was a fabulous cook. Getting out in the woods to hunt huckleberries, go fishing, and write poetry were her favorite things to do. She cared for the roses and flowers in the front yard, played with her special dog, Sassy, and was a loving grandmother.

Her family made this tribute to her: We thank God for every day she was with us, and Beth we thank you too.

Survivors include her father, Leslie Davis, and sister, Cheryl Davis, of Baker City; daughter, Annette Brake, and her husband, Chris, and children, Synca and Sebastian, of Nampa, Idaho; sons, Jason Rush of Baker City and Jessie Rush of Nampa; and many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and many dear friends.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Georgia Davis; and brothers, Mike and Ronnie.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Neurofibromatosis Foundation, Pathway Hospice or a charity of ones choice through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Florence Van Gaasbeck

Florence Gladys Van Gaasbeck 81, a longtime Arlington resident, died Jan. 17, 2002, at a foster care home in Baker City.

Her funeral will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St. Pastor Monte Loyd of the Baker Valley Christian Assembly will officiate. Interment will be at 2 p.m. Friday at the Arlington Cemetery. Visitations will be until 7 p.m. today at the funeral home.

Mrs. Van Gaasbeck was born on June 28, 1920, at Rufus to Glen and Jean Mathieson Thompson. She received her education at the Rufus Public School.

She married Clark Van Gaasbeck on March 27, 1939, at Goldendale, Wash. She was very active in music and was in several bands playing both the piano and the saxophone.

Florence was very active in the Eastern Star and in the United Methodist Church. She enjoyed painting, and doing various arts and crafts. Florence and Clark enjoyed camping and fishing, especially with their children and grandchildren. They were wheat ranchers for many years until leasing the ranch out in the 1960s.

Survivors include her brother, Jim Thompson of Gillette, Wyo.; a daughter, Betty Carr of Portland; son and daughter-in-law, Gary and Judy Van Gaasbeck of Baker City; grandchildren, Melinda Plaschka and Chaundra Carr of Portland, Tina Carpenter of Boise, and Brad Van Gaasbeck and Andy Van Gaasbeck of Baker City; great-grandchildren, Rachel Carr, Brandy and Christine Plaschka, Stacy and Daric Carpenter, Matthew, Elizabeth, and Emily Van Gaasbeck; and Christian and Lauren Van Gaasbeck; and great-stepgranddaughter, Reyna Vaughn.

Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of ones choice or the Alzheimers Foundation through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Father Bob Simard

The Rev. Robert Simard, 70, affectionately known as Father Bob during his 46 years of service as a priest of the Diocese of Baker, died Jan. 17, 2002, in Prineville.

His vigil service will be at 7 oclock tonight at St. Joseph Church in Prineville. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday with the Rite of Committal afterward at Deschutes Memorial Gardens in Bend at 2:30 p.m.

Father Simard grew up in Cambridge, Mass., and attended St. Johns Seminary at Brighton, Mass. The Most Rev. Francis P. Leipzig ordained him to the priesthood on Feb. 25, 1956. For his first assignments, he served as assistant pastor in Ontario, Burns, Klamath Falls and Pendleton, where he also was chaplain to St. Anthonys Hospital.

In February 1960, he was named pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Chiloquin. One year later he became pastor of St. Elizabeths Church at John Day. He than served as pastor at St. Mary Parish in Elgin from 1968 to 1971.

In 1971 he was transferred to Nyssa where he served until 1976 when he was named rector of St. Francis de Sales Cathedral at Baker City. In 1983 he became the first pastor of the new parish of Holy Redeemer at LaPine. On July 1, 1989, he was named pastor of St. Joseph Parish at Prineville. He retired because of health reasons in 1999.

In the fall of 2000, he decided he had enough energy to devote himself again to pastoral ministry, so he was assigned to St. Augustine parish in Merrill, where he remained until undergoing surgery last August.

In addition to his parish service, Father Simard served on various diocesan committees and boards, including the Liturgical committee, Catholic Sentinel Committee, Priestly Education Committee, Senate of Priests, Board of Diocesan Consulters and Dean of the Northern Deanery and of the Central Deanery.

In an interview, he gave to The (Bend) Bulletin for its June 12, 1999, edition, Father Simard reflected on his numerous assignments and said: So I was either a troublemaker or a real great priest.

Father Simard was well-known for his simplicity of life, his gentle manner, his love of parish ministry, his ability to memorize each Sundays Gospel reading, his enthusiasm for golf and his well-honed wit. He summed up his experience of faith in the same interview for The Bulletin: I knew God would take care of me and this has worked out real well. God promises to be with me always, no matter what happens. It is as St. Paul says, I always carry within me the wounds of life, and give glory to God.

That same faith carried him through these last months, as he continued to manifest his typical gentleness and delightful sense of humor in the midst of growing debilitation.

Survivors include his sister, Sister Appoline Simard, of St. Catharine, Ky.; his brothers, Charles of Vero Beach, Fla., John of Winthrop, Mass., William of Lexington, Mass., and James of Manchester, N.H.; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Appoline Gelinas Simard; his brother, Joseph; and his stepmother, Rita Benoit.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Prineville Funeral Home.