Obituaries for the week of Sept. 30 to Oct. 3

October 03, 2003 12:00 am

‘Jim' Blair

James H. "Jim" Blair, 84, a longtime Baker City resident died Sept. 30, 2003, at Meadowbrook Place.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Francis de Sales Cathedral, First and Church streets. The Rev. Robert C. Irwin will celebrate the Mass. There will be a private family graveside service Tuesday afternoon at Mount Hope Cemetery. Visitations will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St.

Jim was born in Baker City on Jan. 3, 1919, to Harvey L. and Marie Elizabeth Krause Blair. He received his education at St. Francis Academy. He was a lifelong member of St. Francis Catholic Church.

He married Sylvia Blaylock in 1939. During the war years, they lived at Seattle, Wash., working for Boeing Aircraft. He then moved to Portland and worked in a steel foundry where metal was melted down to make hull plating for the Liberty Ships.

In 1945, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served his country during World War II. He was honorably discharged in 1946. Jim and Sylvia returned to Baker City after his discharge and Jim went to work for various lumber companies in Baker City. Besides his lumber work, Jim and Sylvia had a six-acre farm on the edge of town where he would cut hay with a hand scythe, rake it with a fork and stack it by hand.

The Blairs left Baker City in 1970 after his job with Burnt River Lumber Co. was terminated. They moved to Prineville where he worked in the molding industry. They then moved to Myrtle Creek where he worked as a planner set-up man for D.R. Johnson Lumber Co.

Next he worked at Hood River for Carl Kraig Mill Works as a specialist molding set-up man where he created molding jigs for restoration of historic homes. In 1980, his wife, Sylvia, died.

He retired in 1981 and returned to Baker City to live. In 1984, he married Edna Ballard. They made their home in Baker City where they enjoyed their retirement together. Edna died in 1997.

Jim enjoyed hunting, fishing, hard work and photography. He belonged to the Knights of Columbus and was very active as a 4th Degree Knight. He was also a member of the American Legion.

He is survived by his sons and daughters-in-law, James E. and Pam Blair of Yuma, Ariz., Wally H. and Arlene Blair of Springfield, and Alan J. and Nit Blair of Baker City; daughter-in-law, Sue Blair of Baker City; stepdaughter, Joyce Calhoun of Baker City; sisters and brothers, Hilda Lewis of Portland, Marcel "Cel" and Marie Delepierre of Haines, Jeanette and Arlene Beck of Baker City, Alphonse "Al" Delepierre of Portland, Louise Stewart of McCall, Idaho, Loretta and Elton Cook of Baker City, Earnest Blair of Prairie City and R. Gerard Blair of Baker City; 14 grandchildren, three stepgrandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, and six great-great-grandchildren. Numerous nieces, nephews and cousins also survive.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wives, Sylvia and Edna; daughter, Sylvia Fisher, who died in 1993; and son, David Blair, who died in 2003; three grandchildren, Katrina Kay Blair who died in 1985, David Shane Blair, who died in 1987, and Ponglada Marie Blair, who died in 1990; and sisters Elizabeth Marie Bunnell, Mary De Roest and Lydia Haslem.

Memorial contributions may be made to the St. Francis de Sales Stain Glass Fund, the American Diabetes Association or to the charity of one's choice through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Norma Simmons

Norma Colleen Simmons, 80, a former Grant County resident, died Sept. 30, 2003, at St. Elizabeth Health Care Center.

At her family's request, there will be no service.

She was born on Sept. 14, 1923, at Hood River to Joseph and Nell Green. She grew up at Long Creek.

Colleen later married Jack Simmons in South Carolina. She then moved to Fox and later to John Day.

She worked at Grant County Bank in John Day, and then transferred to First Interstate Bank in Baker City until she retired.

She loved to read books, crochet and play bingo.

Survivors include her husband of 61 years; a son, Delo, and his wife, Lisa Simmons, of Baker City; daughter, Evelyn, and her husband, Tony Johns, of Prairie City, daughter Janyce and her husband, Terry Foersterling, of Baker City, and son, Jeron, and his wife, Charline Simmons, of Baker City; sisters, Lorene Carter of La Grande, and Elouise Simmons of John Day; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, whom she loved dearly.

Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of one's choice through Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814.

Morris Wells Jr.

Morris Wells Jr., 79, a longtime Baker City resident, died Tuesday, September 30 at his home.

At his family's request, disposition will be by cremation. A memorial gathering will be scheduled later.

Morris was born on April 1, 1924, at Cambridge, Idaho, to Morris C. Wells Sr. and Myrtle Winegar Wells. He attended grade school at Cambridge and Heath, Idaho, and later moved to Richland where he attended high school.

After high school he returned to Cambridge where he worked as an auto mechanic. He then worked at a lumber mill at Tamarack, near Cambridge. He married Georgia Howland on Nov. 10, 1944, at Council, Idaho.

Not long after their marriage, the couple moved to Unity where Morris worked as a log truck driver for his brothers-in-law, Hopkins and Mason. They remained at Unity for three years.

They moved to Baker City in 1949 where Morris purchased his own log truck. He continued to operate his trucking business until the mid '60s when he sold his truck and went to work driving fuel trucks for a highway construction contractor. He then went to work for Gary Smith Trucking until his retirement in 1988.

Morris enjoyed taking drives and traveling with his wife, working on his car and helping others. He was always there to lend a helping hand. He also enjoyed mining at his claim overlooking Connor Creek and the Snake River. In his younger days, he enjoyed hunting birds and big game, but as the years went on, he really enjoyed seeing the animals along the road more than hunting them.

Survivors include his wife, Georgia Wells of Baker City; his son, Larry Wells of Bremerton, Wash.; three granddaughters, Brenda Wells, Karen Wall, and Rhonda Wells; and a great-grandson, Jesse Joe Wall, all of Bremerton, Wash.; numerous cousins; and an aunt, Fannie Blank.

Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of one's choice through Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814.

Pearl White

Pearl West White, 93, of Baker City, died Sept. 12, 2003, at Ashley Manor, where she had spent the last years of her life in Baker City.

Disposition was by cremation. There will be a private family remembrance.

Mrs. White was born on Sept. 14, 1909, at Pocatello, Idaho, to Adolph and Tillie Peterson Carlson. She lived the majority of her life at Halfway, Huntington and Baker City. She married Frank West in 1927; he died in 1960. In 1965 she married William White; he died in 1977.

Pearl enjoyed traveling to visit her family and was the mainstay of her family's lives. The family is left with many wonderful "Pearl stories" and memories.

Survivors include her sisters, Ellen Henderson of Washington and Grace Mitchell of California; brother, Spencer Carlson of Washington; son, Wayman West, and daughter, Jean Wheaton, both of Washington; granddaughters, Sandy Scott of Baker City, Paul Smith of Boise, Kristen West of Olympia and Kerrin Robson of Connecticut; great-grandchildren, Micah, Sarah and Lucas Smith, Sam and Eric Scott and Samantha Robson; and great-great-granddaughter, Brooklyn Scott.

She was preceded in death by her daughter, Ruth Ritch.

Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of one's choice. Coles Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

‘Roby' Pipes

Taylor "Roby" Pipes, 87, of La Grande, died Sept. 20, 2003, at his home.

His memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Oct. 24, 2003, at the First Christian Church in La Grande. There will be a gathering at 3:30 p.m. at the Grande Ronde Retirement Center in La Grande for friends who wish to visit with the family or who were not able to attend the memorial service. Daniels Chapel of the Valley of La Grande is in charge of arrangements.

Mr. Pipes was born near Fayette, Mo., at the Pipes family home on Sept. 9, 1916. As a young man in Arvada, Colo., he enjoyed going with his dad, who was buying and shipping dairy cattle to California.

In his spare time, he enjoyed playing baseball, ice skating and roller skating, fishing and swimming. He quit high school near the end of the Depression, working many days for a place to sleep and eat. Wages of 50 cents per day were considered a gift.

After his parents divorced when he was 19, he made his own life, spending much time at Filer, Idaho. He married Anita Hermann at Weiser, Idaho, on July 4, 1940. He always said "he gave up his independence on Independence Day, on Leap Year."

On Dec. 18, 1943, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served with the 743rd Railroad Operating Battalion, Co. C-European Theater. He served mostly in Belgium, keeping supplies going through for the ground troops.

A perfectionist, he was very mechanical and skilled with his hands. After he was honorably discharged as a captain, he joined the Army Reserves and served until his discharge in 1963. In 1946 he returned to La Grande and went to work for the Union Pacific Railroad.

When the yard office closed in La Grande, Yardmaster Pipes went on the road as a brakeman on the Wallowa Branch line and later worked on the main line between Hinkle, La Grande and Nampa. He retired in 1977 as a Union Pacific conductor.

He loved to fish, pheasant hunt, camp and to putter around in his shop and visiting with people.

In 1984 he had a lemon-size brain tumor removed and was fully recovered after three months. He and Anita then went on a European trip to visit their daughter's family in England, and then on to Belgium to revisit World War II sites and to renew foreign friendships made during the war.

In 1997 he suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke after the removal of a second brain tumor. Intensive therapy and tenacity helped him to regain his ability to walk, read, write and speak small sentences.

After living in their own home on Washington Avenue at La Grande for 50 years, the Pipes moved to the Grande Ronde Retirement Center in 2001. In 2002, he had a third brain tumor removed.

Even after suffering further setbacks, he was committed to regain and retain his health. He could be seen walking around various parts of town, carrying his cane like a "country gentleman", only using it for safety purposes when going up or down curbs or crossing rough spots.

Survivors include his wife, Anita Pipes of La Grande; daughters and sons-in-law, Janice and Tim Kerns and Jean and David Conklin; four grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; sister, Helen Burt of Arlington, Wash.; and other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by a brother, David Pipes.

Memorial contributions may be made to the GRH Hospice or the charity of one's choice through Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St., La Grande, OR 97850.

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Laura Tracy

Laura Mae Ostwald Tracy, 75, a former Baker City resident, died Sept. 21, 2003.

There will be a private service.

Laura Mae was born on July 9, 1928, at Baker City to Paul William and Anna Bell Grubb Ostwald. She grew up in Baker City along side her older brother, Walter Alvin Ostwald. She was a 1946 Baker High School graduate.

At 19 Laura and a girlfriend moved to the Portland. She pursued a career in modeling and art design and later became display manager at Roos Atkins in San Francisco. While living in California, she met and married Ted N. Tracy in 1965.

One of the most outstanding things about Laura Tracy was the number of cherished friends she collected over the years. Once you were her friend, you were a friend for life and the more blessed for it. She will be missed by many and always remembered with a smiling heart.

Survivors include her brother, Walter of Baker City; her four stepchildren, Janet Austin, Marilyn Farris, Ted Tracy Jr., and Sarah Griffin; eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.