Obituaries for the week of March 8 to March 12

March 12, 2004 12:00 am

Opal Halberg

Opal Ellen Halberg, 75, died March 3, 2004, at her home in Baker City.

Her private graveside service will be Tuesday at the Odd Fellows Cemetery at Myrtle Creek.

Mrs. Halberg was born at Enid, Okla., on July 6, 1928, to Jacob and Rachel Abbott. She married her high school sweetheart, Lewis Cox, in 1945 and shortly afterward moved to the West Coast.

She lived at Myrtle Creek and at Canyonville for several years before relocating in Baker City in 1991. She was a caring neighbor and enjoyed her hobby of collecting cookie jars.

Survivors include her sisters, Theda Needles and Pearl Robinson, both of San Antonio, Texas, and Audrey Hoover of Beaver, Okla.; two sons, Lewis Cox Jr. of Walla Walla, Wash., and Michael Cox of Riddle; a daughter, Bonnie Church of Condon; four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by three husbands, Lewis Cox, Bert Newton, and Bill Halberg; her sister, Ester Mock; and her brother, Richard Abbott.

Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

Aletha Shannon

Aletha Gray Shannon, 98, a former Baker City resident, died Feb. 19, 2004, at Lake Oswego.

Her body was cremated and she was buried in the Gray family plot at Ashland. At her request, there was no funeral.

There will be a celebration of her life from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. March 27 at 45 Eagle Crest Drive at Lake Oswego.

She was born on March 26, 1905, at Baker City to Charles E. and Pearl Osborn Gray. She was the oldest of their five children.

She was preceded in death by her brothers, Neil, Richard and Marshall; and a sister, Geneva.

Survivors include her sister-in-law, Alice Gray of Portland; nephews, Joe Gray of Oregon City and David Gray of Hillsboro; a niece, Cheryl of Troutdale; and cousins, Elaine Wood, Kenneth Sturgill, Gary Hester and Tootie Johnston, all of Baker City, Afton Crocher of Corpus Christi, Texas, and Francis Chaves of Oklahoma City; and many friends.

Sheri Ann Fain

Sheri Ann Fain, 23, of Soldotna, Alaska, died of natural causes on March 5, 2004, at Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna.

Her memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Peninsula Memorial Chapel. Bishop William Thomas will officiate.

Sheri was born on June 17, 1980, at La Grande to Daniel and Carla Putman. She attended Powder Valley Schools at North Powder through the 11th grade and graduated from Skyview High School at Soldotna.

She married Jorel Fain in 2003. The couple made their home at Soldotna. They started their family with the birth of their son, Brayden. Sheri worked as a caregiver through Frontier Community Services.

Survivors include her husband, Jorel Fain; her son, Brayden Mathew; parents, Daniel and Carla Putman; sister and brother-in-law, Melisa and Clay Hodge; grandmothers, Nancy Stone and Marga Lee Simonis; uncles and aunts, Dusty and Nancy Simonis, Margie Lange, Kim and Cris Larkins, Mark Putman, Shawn Schisler, Lorrie and Robert Buckland, Doug and Linda Williams and Lori and Russ Grove; great-uncles and great-aunts, Bill and JoAnn Clark, Frobin and Sue Putman, Stephen and Carol Proebstel, John and Marie Gard and Noralle Evans; and many loving cousins.

Memorial contributions may be made to an account set up for Brayden through AlaskaUSA Federal Credit Union, account number 1129544.

Peninsula Memorial Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

Lee Ragsdale

Lee Verdell Ragsdale, 91, a former Baker City resident, died March 4, 2004, at Medford.

His memorial service will be at 11 a.m. March 22 at the First Congregational Church of Christ in Portland.

He was born to Lee A. and Mable Ragsdale on Dec. 25, 1912, at Baker City. On May 29, 1939, he married Elizabeth "Betty" Crow. She died in 1998.

He was a 1930 Baker High School graduate. He attended Eastern Oregon College (now Eastern Oregon University) at La Grande where he was student body president from 1933 to 1935. He received a bachelor's degree in physical education and health from Willamette University at Salem in 1938. He later attended the University of Oregon at Eugene, receiving a master's degree in P.E. in 1952 and a doctorate in physical education in 1966.

He was a high school teacher and coach at White Salmon, Wash., and at Camas, Wash. He then taught and coached at Mount Angel Prep School at Mount Angel.

He moved to Medford in 1948 where he taught and was the head football coach at Medford Senior High from 1948 to 1952. He also was an assistant track coach during all his years with the Medford School District.

He served as the director of athletics, physical education and health for the Medford School District from 1952 to 1966. In 1966, he moved to Portland where he was head of the Health and Physical Education Department for Portland State University from 1966 to 1978. He became dean of the School of Health & P.E. at Portland State University in 1977, retiring from PSU in 1978.

Ragsdale was actively involved in a a number of professional organizations in his field. He was the president of the Northwest District American Association of Health, P.E. and Recreation from 1976 to 1978. He was a delegate to the National Physical Education and Health Assembly traveling to Washington, D.C., in 1959, 1969, 1977 and 1978. He served as a physical education and health consultant for numerous school districts throughout Oregon.

He loved athletics as a participant, coach and spectator. He enjoyed many outdoor activities throughout his life including camping, hunting and golf and was an avid salmon and steelhead fisherman.

He traveled extensively and had a lively, curious intellect always keeping a book at his side. He referred to himself as "just an Eastern Oregon boy."

Survivors include his daughter, Dana Kramer of Medford; a son, Richard Ragsdale of Skillman, N.J.; two brothers, Duane Ragsdale of New York and Orville Ragsdale of Baker City; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Medford School District Athletic Fund, 500 Monroe St., Medford, OR 97501 or to a charity of one's choice.

The Litwill & Simonsen Funeral Home of Ashland is in charge of arrangements.

Alice Loennig

Alice Helen Williams Loennig, 93, a longtime Muddy Creek community resident, died Feb. 27, 2004, at Yuma, Ariz., while visiting her daughter, Sally Ganter.

Alice suffered a fall while watering her petunias, survived hip surgery and a heart attack, but did not have the strength to completely recover.

There will be a celebration of Alice's life at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 27, at the Haines United Methodist Church. Pastor Sally Wiens will officiate. Private burial will be at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Alice was born at Terre Haute, Ind., on July 3, 1910, to Ralph and Carla Belt Williams. When she was 3, the family moved to North Powder. Her childhood years were spent at Rock Creek, Enterprise, Wallowa, Reseda, Calif., Hermiston and Van Nuys, Calif., where she graduated from high school in 1928.

She received her degree from UCLA in 1932 and returned to live with her parents, who then lived at Mount Carmel. She taught Grades 6-7 at North Powder for one year, then taught at Haines High School for three years. She lived with the Carl Loennigs at Haines and this was where she met William Roger Loennig.

Alice and Roger were married on Dec. 21, 1935, at the Baker Hotel. They moved into a new home on the ranch given to them by Roger's parents. Alice continued to live at the ranch home until her trip to Yuma.

Alice was a member of the Haines United Methodist Church and the Rock Creek-Muddy Creek Mutual Improvement Club all her married life. She was a 50-year member of PEO and was active in the PTA, 4-H and Eastern Star.

She enjoyed sewing, needlecrafts, ceramics, china painting and gardening — especially her spring tulips and daffodils. She was always particular about her home and yard and wanted things to be neat and clean and well-kept. She enjoyed reading and was always interested in what was going on in the world.

Alice and Roger enriched their retirement years by wintering in Yuma, Ariz., for 13 years. They also enjoyed traveling and pulled a trailer through Mexico, Guatemala and Belize in 1975.

They visited Sally, an Army nurse, in South Korea and Germany and traveled through the Netherlands, southern England, France, Switzerland and Austria. Visits to Alaska and Hawaii completed Roger's goal to travel to all 50 states.

Survivors include her children and their spouses, Alice Anne and Norris Faringer of Yakima, Wash., Bill and Beverly Loennig of Haines and Sally Beatrice and Jim Ganter of Shelton, Wash., and Yuma, Ariz.; granddaughter, Felicia Anne Faringer and her husband, Chris Babin; grandson, Scott Norris and his wife, Helen Faringer; great-granddaughter, Elizabeth Mary Faringer, and stepgreat-grandsons, Nick and Alex Gosseen, all of Yakima, Wash.; her brother and sister-in-law, Volney and Ruth Williams of Las Vegas, Nev.; sister-in-law, Margaret Williams of Richland, Wash.; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Roger, and her brothers, Ralph and Ross Williams.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Haines United Methodist Church Building Fund or a charity of one's choice.

‘Buz' McCanse Jr.

Delbert Arthur "Buz" McCanse Jr., 75, a former North Powder-area resident, died Feb. 12, 2004, at Tri-Cities Chaplaincy Hospice House.

Plans for a memorial get-together to celebrate his life will be announced in the future through Einan's Funeral Home at under the obituary section.

Buz was born at Metropolis, Nev., to Delbert and Bernice McCanse. He was raised on a farm near North Powder along with his eight sisters.

He remained a farm boy at heart and always did seem more natural when wearing his cowboy boots. He was a ranch hand, a railroad worker, a U.S. Marine, a college student and a fruit farmer. He was a World War II veteran and he belonged to the American Legion, Post 115.

Out at the Hanford Site, Buz was known as "Mac." He retired as a power operator from Fluor-Daniel after 38 years at Hanford.

Buz met and married his life's love, Colleen Dewitt, in 1955. The McCanses raised four children during the 45 years that Buz lived at Benton City, Wash.

Some of the things he enjoyed throughout his life were fishing, rock hunting, camping, reading, sitting at the table with a cup of coffee shooting the breeze and taking five-mile walks.

He always had a green thumb and could grow any tree, flower or vegetable. He took pride in sharing from his garden with friends and family. Buz also enjoyed exploring the surrounding desert with any number of his children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren, and always with his dog.

Buz wasn't much of a traveler and preferred to stick close to home with his wife, Coll. When at home you could often find him on the front porch throwing the Frisbee to Sox Dog with Slipper Kitty close by. He was a tall, gentle man of few words, which included "mmmhu" and "haahoo!"

Buz was a master practical joker with an awesome sense of humor that he passed on to his kids. He also gave them a deep appreciation of nature and all God's creatures.

Survivors include his loving wife of almost 49 years, Colleen; his four children, Terrie McCanse of Benton City, Wash., Reed McCanse of Olympia, Wash., Carol McCanse of Benton City and Buzzy McCanse of Richland, Wash.; nine grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and many loving friends and relatives, including seven of his eight adoring sisters, who always called him Buss.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Tri-Cities Chaplaincy Hospice House or The American Parkinson Disease Association at 800/223-2732.

‘Annie' Nichols

Lucia Anabel "Annie" Nichols, 79, of Yelm, Wash., died March 9, 2004.

Her memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 20, at the Yelm Senior Citizen Center, 201 Yelm Ave. There will be a reception afterward.

She was born on Dec. 1, 1924, in West Virginia to Clarence Otto and Fannie Calhoun.

In her spare time she took in foster babies and anyone else who needed a hug. She leaves many good, close friends.

Annie was a little woman of great determination. She was able to overcome many obstacles that got in her way, including a stroke that left her paralyzed. In a short time she learned to walk, talk, and get on the bus that took her to the Senior Citizen Center, church and shopping. She was proud that she was able to live on her own until her death.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Leon "Nick" Nichols; stepson, Jackie Matthias; and great-grandson, Judd Wildman.

Survivors include her children and their spouses, Lois and Judd Wildman, James and Lynette Morrison, Geraldine and Bill Sheedy, Jesse and Linda Matthias, Ray and Vicki Matthias and JoAnn and Ray Charlton; stepchildren and their spouses, Frankie Loring, Linda and Brad and Curtis, Laura, Steve, Stuart and John Nichols; her siblings and their spouses, Rex and Reva Calhoun, Silvan Calhoun, Estella West, Otley Green and Donna and Hershel Scott; 36 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, who all loved her dearly and were each and every one special to her.