Obituaries for Feb. 24 to Feb. 28

February 28, 2003 12:00 am

Eva Dickerson

Eva E. Dickerson, 85, of Baker City died Feb. 22, 2003, at St. Elizabeth Health Services after a short illness.

Recitation of the rosary will be at 7 p.m. Friday at the Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Francis de Sales Cathedral, First and Church streets. The Rev. Robert C. Irwin will celebrate. Interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery. Visitations will be Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the funeral home. There will be luncheon in the basement of the Cathedral after the service, provided by St. Francis Altar Society.

Mrs. Dickerson was born at Hereford on Sept. 30, 1917, to Henry Lance Koontz and Orpha Lucretia Willey Koontz. She was the fourth child of the family, joining a sister, Mary Ferne, and brothers, Clifford and Leslie. Her childhood was spent on the family farm at Hereford, which had been homesteaded by her grandfather, Orlando Chester Koontz in the late 1800s.

Both brothers were taken by illness at the age of 18, leaving her and sisters, Ferne and Colleen (born in 1925) as the "ranch hands." They worked side by side with their parents, Lance and Orpha, to keep the ranch going.

After a brief move to Cascade, Idaho, during the Depression, where Lance and the boys worked in the Eccles Lumber Mill and Orpha baked pies for a local boarding house, the family returned to the ranch in 1930.

Eva attended her junior year of high school at Grant High School in Portland, then returned to graduate with her longtime class friends from Hereford Union High School in 1935. In November of that year, she married Thomas J. Higgins Jr., son of Baker City doctor, Thomas Sr., and wife, Maud.

They had four children: Nancy (1937), Mary Jo (1940), Mike (1941) and Richard (1944). Tragedy again touched Eva's life in June 1944, when Tommy was struck and killed by lightning while irrigating their farm ground. Left with four children between the ages of 6 and three months, a high school education, and no formal job training, Eva, through her family support group and a lot of determination, moved her small family to Baker City. In 1946, she met and married James Dickerson. She and Jimmy had four children: Kay (1947), Don (1950), Pat (1952) and Percy (1960). In addition to this family of eight, Eva and Jimmy helped raise Jimmy's two children, Judy (1940) and Bill (1943).

Hereford was the magnet that kept drawing Eva back in those days, to live and to raise her children. After short stays in Baker City, Caldwell, Idaho, and John Day, the family moved back to Hereford in 1949.

After the partial shutdown of Ellingson Lumber Co. at Unity in 1959, Eva and Jimmy and the five children who were still at home relocated to Baker City, where Jimmy continued his employment with Ellingson's until retiring in 1976.

He and Eva worked to develop their newly started Amway business. They met new friends, traveled (especially on an airplane, for Eva!) and they thrived on this experience.

After Jimmy's sudden death in October 1983, Eva continued her involvement with her Amway group and her bowling group, while residing in the home she and Jimmy bought in 1978.

With the responsibility of caring for that home becoming more of a burden, Eva decided to move to an apartment, now owned by a niece, Mary Lou, and husband, Alex Sackos, in 1997. With the loving care and assistance of her sister, Colleen, she was able to live in her apartment until her death.

Eva will be remembered by her family and friends as a positive, up-beat person who, in spite of life's challenges and stresses, continued to look for the good in each person and each situation. Through her determination and persistence, she provided opportunities for her children to grow up in a close-to-ideal situation, first in Hereford, then in Baker City.

She had the knack of knowing when to be a firm guide and when to back away and give her kids room to grow and learn from their own experience, which resulted in a family of children and grandchildren with the self-confidence to choose their own paths.

Her love of the outdoors was passed on to her children, in the form of an appreciation for and respect of nature, a legacy she was extremely pleased and proud to pass down to her offspring.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her brothers, Clifford and Leslie; sister, Ferne Anderson; husbands, Tommy Higgins and Jimmy Dickerson; and her grandsons Jeremiah Dickerson, Donny and Mark Curtiss.

Survivors include her sister, Colleen Jones of Baker City; children, Nancy and her husband, Alan Endicott, of Pendleton, Mary Jo Higgins and her husband, Bob Kowing, of John Day, Mike Higgins and his wife, Donna, of Halfway, Dick Higgins of Baker City, Kay and her husband, Vernon Nakada, of Ontario, Don Dickerson and his wife, Dorothy, of 100 Mile House, British Columbia, Pat Dickerson and his wife, Jill, of Jacksonville, and Percy Dickerson and his partner, Leslie Maiwald, of Baker City; stepchildren Judy and her husband, Bill Blevins, of La Grande, and Bill Dickerson and his wife, Tami, of Boise; sister-in-law, Mary Ann Slocum of Portland; an aunt, Erma Cole of Hillsboro; 30 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

In lieu of flowers, Eva could best be honored by planting a tree or a rose bush in her memory, by taking a walk in the buttercup-covered hills, by putting up a bird feeder, or by thinking good thoughts of her on your next picnic. Buttercups were one of her favorite wildflowers as they emerged from the snow-covered, sagebrush hills around Hereford in the spring.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Francis Cathedral's music ministry through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, Oregon 97814.

George McLeish

George D. McLeish, 77, of Baker City, died Feb. 23, 2003.

His memorial service will be at 3:30 p.m. Friday at the Coles Funeral Home. Pastor Lura Kidner-Miesen of the United Methodist Church will officiate. Private interment will be Monday at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Mr. McLeish was born Feb. 20, 1926, at Wiggins, Colo. He was a son of James Andrew and Gertrude Amy Baker McLeish. He received his education at Wiggins, Colo., Payette, Idaho, and Baker City.

In 1943, he entered the U.S. Navy to serve his country during World War II in the South Pacific. He was honorably discharged in 1946.

After his discharge, he returned to Baker City and went to work for Ellingson Lumber Co. as a planer operator. On July 21, 1951, he married Jessie Elizabeth Emery at Carson City, Nev.

George continued to work for Ellingson's until his retirement in 1989 as a shipping clerk. After his retirement, George and Jessie liked to travel, especially their twice annual trips to Nevada.

Jessie died in April 2001. Since that time, George had enjoyed going to the Senior Center. He volunteered serving meals and wherever needed. He provided several entree meals at the center in memory of his wife, Jessie, and for his birthday last Thursday, Feb. 20. He also enjoyed watching ball games on television and doing yard work.

On Dec. 8, 2002, he became a member of the United Methodist Church. He was also a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post No. 3048, the American Legion and the Baker Elks Lodge.

Survivors include his sister and brother-in-law, Doris and Dan Burton of Milwaukee; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, George and Effie Turner of Baker City; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife, Jessie.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Senior Center or to the United Methodist Church through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Raymond O'Neal

Raymond Willis O'Neal, 97, of Baker City died Feb. 24, 2003, at Settler's Park Assisted Living Center.

His funeral service will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave. Pastor Lenny Spooner of the First Church of the Nazarene will officiate. There will be a reception afterward at Gray's West & Co. Graveside committal will be at 2 p.m. Monday at Juniper Haven Cemetery in Prineville.

Visitations will be from noon to 5 p.m. Friday at Gray's West & Co.

Raymond Willis O'Neal was born July 11, 1905, at Poplar Bluff, Mo., to Ada and Newton O'Neal. As a small child he traveled by wagon train from Missouri to New Mexico where the family homesteaded at Elida.

He married Thelma Brummett Jan. 25, 1936, at Clovis, N.M. They moved with two small children to Kamiah, Idaho, in 1939 where they lived in a logging community in the mountains.

After the birth of their third child, they moved to the mill town of Kinzua where their fourth child was born. In 1959 they moved to Prineville where they retired and remained until 1993 when they moved to Baker City. Mr. O'Neal had lived at Settler's Park for the past two years.

Ray spent most of his lifetime logging and working in mills. After his retirement in 1969 he continued to work at odd jobs until he was no longer able to do so. He spent many years hunting in the mountains around Kinzua, then enjoyed fishing and camping on the lakes around Prineville.

He took great pride in gardening and always had a huge garden with no weeds and no rocks! His family was always of great importance to him and he was very fond of all his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Ray was always known to be a generous man who would give you the shirt off his back – and he always loved a good joke whether he was giving or receiving it.

Survivors include his brother, Walter O'Neal of Albuquerque, N.M.; his children, Bill and Betty O'Neal of Heppner, Cenone and Lewis Benson of Prineville, Ada and Ernie Schell of Mitchell, and Darlene and Dennis Teskey of Baker City; grandchildren, Bobby, Richard and David Howard of Little Rock, Ark., Jim and Roxanne O'Neal of Duvall, Wash., Rick and Kathy O'Neal of Prineville, Donna and Jason Maben of Heppner, Nola and Larry Neal of Madras, Karen Albert of Prineville, Pete Schell of Sandy, Brenda Admire of Roseburg, Angie and Dusty Moore of Milwaukie, Troy Hanson of Baker City, and Season Teskey of Hillsboro; 25 great-grandchildren, four nieces and three nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Thelma, of 64 years; his daughter, Wanda Howard; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Emily Wiester

Emily Irene Wiester, 88, of Issaquah, Wash., a former Baker City resident, died Feb. 24, 2003, at her home.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Madeleine Sophie Roman Catholic Church in Bellevue, Wash.

Irene was born on Jan. 26, 1915, in Prineville to Mary and Edward Street. Her parents moved to California shortly after she was born. Irene attended the University of Washington at Seattle as a freshman. There she met Harold Wiester.

After graduation from the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a bachelor's degree in dietetics, she returned to the Northwest in 1938 as a dietetic intern at St. Joseph's hospital in Tacoma. Subsequently she worked at Doctor's Hospital in Seattle.

Harold and Irene were married in 1939 and had three children while they lived at Edmonds, Wash.

They set out on a farming adventure to Baker City in 1951. Irene worked as a caseworker for the Department of Human Services in Baker City for 22 years before she and Harold retired. They then moved to Lake Havasu, Ariz., where they enjoyed the sun and many rounds of golf. In order to be closer to family, Irene and Harold moved back to the Seattle area in 1995.

Irene was a lifelong member of the Catholic Church. She belonged to the American Dietetics Association and the Baker and Lake Havasu Elks lodges.

Family was very important to Irene. She was a constant source of inspiration to her offspring for her sharp mind and determination. She remained mentally alert her entire life and enjoyed family gatherings, travel and lattes.

Survivors include a son, Stephen H Wiester of Anchorage, Alaska; daughters, Lorene A. Colton of Baker City, and Sharon M. Burke of Redmond, Wash.; 10 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to Swedish Hospice, Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, WA 98122-4307.

Friends are invited to share memories and sign the family's online guest book at :

Arrangements are under the direction of Flintoft's Issaquah Funeral Home.

‘Ron' Thomas

Ronald "Ron" Thomas, 70, passed away Monday, Feb. 24, 2003, at his home in Medical Springs.

At Ron's request, disposition will take place at Gray's West Pioneer Crematory. A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Thursday at Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave.

Ron was born on May 17, 1932, to Clinton M. and Lillie Houseman Thomas at Hebron, Neb. He grew up and graduated from high school at Watsonville, Calif. On May 17, 1953, Ron married Norma Kaufman. The couple had three children, Pamela, Linda and Jim.

Ronald lived an adventurous life. He served in the U.S. Army, homesteaded in Alaska and fulfilled his dream of having a ranch. He also learned to make guitars and dobroes from his friend Pete Haynes. Ron loved playing music and singing, especially with his family.

Ron belonged to the Blue Mountain Old Time Fiddlers, the Oregon Cattleman's Association, Stewards of the Range, and was proud to be an National Rifle Association member.

He was a hard-working man who would always take time to help his friends and neighbors. We will all miss his humor and wit. Mostly, we will miss him.

Survivors include his wife of nearly 50 years, Norma Thomas; his daughters, Pamela Walker, and her husband, Bruce, Linda Mann and her husband, Michael; a son, Jim Thomas, and his wife, Jodi; grandchildren, Travis and Misty Walker, Ray Walker, Tonya and Jon Sanborn, Curtis Burnett, Michael Thomas and Monica Thomas.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Community Connection of Baker County or to the Blue Mountain Old Time Fiddlers through Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814.

Olivia Gongliewski

Olivia Alsada Gongliewski, 71, of Newberg, a former Baker City resident, died Feb. 21, 2003, at her home.

Her funeral will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Attrell's Newberg Chapel. Chaplain Greg Sealander will officiate. Committal will be at 2:30 p.m. at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland.

Visitations were Sunday and until 8 o'clock tonight at the Newberg funeral home.

Olivia was born on Sept. 25, 1930, at Spokane, Wash., to William and Elma Moten Dillard. She grew up and attended elementary school in the Kooskia, Idaho, area before moving to Portland in 1942. She graduated from high school there and attended two years at PolyTech.

She became a practical nurse and raised her family. In 1965, she was employed at Tektronics where she continued to work for 21 years.

She married Leonard Gongliewski at Vancouver, Wash., on April 2, 1970. They lived at Aloha for 23 years. In 1986 Olivia retired. She moved to Baker City in 1991 where she lived for 10 years before moving to Newberg.

Olivia was a very good Christian. She loved music and was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 3048, and the American Legion, Post 41, Auxiliary. She loved sewing, was an exceptional cook and an avid gardener who really loved roses. She loved camping, fishing, deep-sea fishing and was very much an outdoor person.

Survivors include her husband, Leonard Gongliewski of Newberg; her son, Steven M. Mead of Sheridan; three daughters, Susan Graham of Liberty Lake, Wash., Marilynn Coryell of Portland and Debra Levine of Beaverton; her brother, John Dillard of Lewiston, Idaho; two sisters, Lucinda Smith of Grangeville, Idaho, and Martha Dillard of Clarkston, Wash.; nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; one niece, three nephews and those who had come to know and appreciate her where she lived and worked.