Obituaries for the week of December 1 to December 5

December 05, 2003 12:00 am

Doralee Beckel

Doralee Beckel, 92, a former Richland resident, died Nov. 30, 2003, at Bakersfield, Calif.

Her graveside funeral will be at 11 a.m. Friday at the Eagle Valley Cemetery in Richland. Gordon Bond of the Richland Christian Church will officiate.

Doralee Beckel was born March 12, 1911, at Richland to Jesse and Verna Wallace.

Her family lived at Richland and Robinette until they moved to Bakersfield when she was 13 so her Dad could work in the oil fields.

She finished school at Bakersfield and then went to beauty school. She had her own shop for years. She also owned a dress shop and ran a liquor store.

Doralee was married to John Turner and later to William Beckel.

She is survived by several cousins, including Wally Stanciu of Richland.

She was preceded in death by her parents. It was her wish to be buried at Richland with her parents at Eagle Valley Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Eagle Valley Ambulance Service through Tami's Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

Howard Taylor

Howard Taylor, 76, a longtime Haines resident, died Nov. 25, 2003, at his home in Baker City.

His graveside service will be at 1 p.m. Friday at Mount Hope Cemetery. Pastor Jon Privett of the First Church of the Nazarene will officiate. Military rites will be conducted by Baker City AMVETS, Post 1874. There will be a potluck reception at the family home after the service.

Visitations will be Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave.

Howard was born April 11, 1927, at Baker City to Balam "Lon" Taylor and Dorcey Higgins Taylor. He went to grade school at Haines and graduated from North Powder in 1945. He was a very talented actor and often played the lead in many of the plays his thespian club performed in school.

Upon graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. Howard was stationed in the Hawaiian Islands, where he served with the 1384th Co. He was a private first class with the military police.

He received two medals during his tour of duty. Howard received an honorable discharge in 1947 to return home to help his dad run the Haines ranch after the death of his mother. He worked alongside his dad until the sale of the family ranch in the 1960s.

Howard then continued working as a ranch hand around Haines. He lived at the family home in Haines until the last seven years of his life, when he moved to Baker City to stay with his sister, Debbie.

Howard was kind of a recluse in his later years, but he was always up on current events, reading everything from cereal boxes to the dictionary. To his family and those who knew him, he was as sharp as a tack.

His family will miss the music he played on the organ, piano, and guitar (as recent as a couple of weeks ago.) In his younger years he sang, too. He had the undiscovered voice of a Western star.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Lon and Dorcey; brothers, Russell (World War II USS Scupin) and Loreing "Jack"; and sister, Faye Longebrake.

Survivors include his sister, Della "Debbie" Clelland; several nieces and nephews, several great-nieces and great-nephews, and several great-great-nieces and great-great-nephews.

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.

Vera Bennett

Vera B. Bennett, 78, died Nov. 26, 2003, at Baker City.

There will be a private memorial service later.

Vera was born on July 31, 1925, at Baker City to Ford and Jennie Mitchell. She was married to Harold Hewitt, divorced and later married her husband of 50 years, Donald F. Bennett.

Vera worked many years at Silverwheels Trucking in Baker and La Grande and retired from Viking Freight in La Grande. Vera also helped her mother out during lunch hours and special occasions at Topz Caf in Baker City.

Vera's husband, Donald, died in June 2000. She also was preceded in death by her sisters, Gladys Sieg and Lela Blankinship, and her brother, Robert Mitchell.

Survivors include her son and daughter-in-law, Larry and Roni Hewitt of Salton Sea, Calif.; her daughter, Cheryl Cooper of Portland; a grandson, Shawn, of Texas and a grandson and his wife, Larry Jr. and Tara Hewitt; and a new great-grandson, Tyler Donald; and many nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, Oregon Chapter, through Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814.

Claudia Wallace-Brokos

Claudia Wallace-Brokos, 88, a former Baker County resident, died Nov. 6, 2003.

Claudia was born to a pioneer Seventh-day Adventist family, the daughter of James and Opal Wallace. She grew up in Eagle Valley and learned the family farming business at an early age.

Through high school she could be found weekdays and weekends helping her parents sell fruits, vegetables, homemade jams and pies at the Wallace Farm and around the Willamette Valley at farmers markets.

In the early 1930s, Claudia received her bachelor's of science degree in teaching and later a master's of science in psychology and counseling. During her college years she was a Seventh-day Adventist Bible School teacher and a popular host and singer on a weekly radio program in Walla Walla, Wash.

Claudia worked for both the Oregon State Public School system — spending some time in Baker City during the '30s — and the Washington State Public School system from the 1930s to the 1980s.

During the 1950s she was proud to be known as the first Richland Public School teacher to "open-the-doors" for an African-American student in the Richland Public School District.She also participated in the Richland Public School District's "Civil Defense" program.

She was famous for her professionalism, a "can-do" attitude and her sense of humor, and for never letting prejudice or discrimination deter her from helping her students, family or friends. Claudia always had a bright smile and a positive attitude for all her students, family and friends.She always made time to care.

In 1970 she married Emanuel Brokos of Crete, a Greek island.

During the late 1960s through the early 1980s, she worked for the Kelso, Longview, Moclips and Tahola (Indian Reservation) Public School Districts in Washington as a high school administrator and guidance counselor, helping an untold number of Native American Indian students succeed and excel in higher education.

After retirement, her former students would often telephone, visit her at home, or stop her in public to say hello or catch up and to tell her that she was their most favorite teacher of all and ask her to come out of retirement or to teach at the local college.

Claudia was an inspiration to her family and to so many students and friends in her life, including when she miraculously survived being run over by a 10-ton truck near the family farm in 1963. And most recently through the example she set while battling a long-term illness. Whatever it did to her body, she would not let it shake her unconquerable spirit or her unwavering faith in God. Claudia touched the lives of everyone she came in contact with, especially her students, family and friends.

She loved the ocean, traveling abroad, reading, writing, baking, painting, and reading poetry — especially Walt Whitman and Robert Frost. She was a staunch Democrat and stayed well informed about educational, national and world events and was always eager to contact her state legislator, congressperson or senator to discuss civil rights, educational, environmental, endangered species and veterans rights issues.

Claudia was preceded in death by her father and mother, James and Opal Wallace; her sisters, Virginia Wallace of Portland and Marjorie Wallace-Raugh of West Richland, Wash., and her brother, Dale Wallace of Portland.

She is survived by her husband, Emanuel Brokos of Aberdeen, Wash.; her son, William Pollard and his wife, Hope, of Richland, Wash.; her grandsons, William Pollard Jr. and his wife, Jhivaun, of West Richland, Wash., Richard Pollard of Richland, Wash.; a great-grandson, Joshua Pollard of West Richland, Wash.; her brother and his wife, Kirby and Donna Wallace of Goldendale, Wash., and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association.Former students, friends and family are invited to share memories at: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it