Obituaries for the week of May 3 to May 7

May 07, 2004 12:00 am

Clarence Ruddell

Clarence Wilber Ruddell, 82, of Baker City, died at his home May 2, 2004. Pathway Hospice made it possible for Clarence to spend his last days with his friends and family near him.

His graveside service was at 10 a.m. today at Mount Hope Cemetery. Pastor Ed Niswender of Calvary Baptist Church officiated.

Clarence was born in Baker City, on June 22, 1921. He spent his first years living with his parents on their ranch along Burnt River near Hereford. After the death of his mother, Nellie, Clarence's father Byron Ruddell eventually remarried and moved the family to Independence. There Clarence finished his schooling and "learned" farming along with his new brothers, Ron and Glen Hardman.

During World War II, Clarence joined the U.S. Navy where he became a combat engineer and served in the Pacific. While on leave in the Los Angeles area, he found the woman he would treasure for the rest of his life. He married Sylvia Munoz on Dec. 19, 1945. They had two sons, Byron Jim, and Maurice.

Jesus Christ became very important to Clarence at an early age and this relationship produced a life of service and ministry that often extended to the Hispanic community. Clarence left a legacy that can be seen in the people he spent time with. He left behind an example, wise words, and changed lives.

Clarence's life was marked by variety and activity. His work history included farming, aircraft mechanics, logging, highway construction and mining. Years didn't seem to slow him down.

He was still hunting deer and elk, camping, fishing and mining into his 80s. Clarence was a long-term member of the Eastern Oregon Mining Association and served on its board of directors.

Survivors include his wife, sons, seven grandchildren and 13 great- grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Ruddell family or to New Tribes Mission through Gray's West & Co., P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814.

Gregory Groshens

Gregory Allan Groshens, 42, of La Grande, and a former Heppner resident, died recently of natural causes at his home in La Grande.

A memorial service will be scheduled later at Heppner. Disposition was by cremation.

Mr. Groshens was born on Dec. 23, 1961, at Heppner to Victor L. and Judy Darnielle Groshens. He was a 1981 Heppner High School graduate. After graduation, he entered the U.S. Navy to begin a 17-year career as a Seabee. He was proud to serve his country and received several meritorious commendations while he was stationed at Adak, Alaska; MuMurdo, Antarctica; San Jose, Calif.; and Corpus Christi, Texas. As a Seabee he operated heavy equipment, which helped with the relief effort after Hurricane Andrew in Florida as well as another project involving a natural disaster in the Philippines.

After he was honorably discharged, he returned to Oregon in 1998 where he drove truck for Swift Transportation and Hale Trucking in Hermiston, Gary Smith Trucking in Baker City and Eastern Oregon Fast Freight of La Grande until the time of his death.

He enjoyed spending time in the mountains and he loved to fish. He was an avid watcher of old movies and was very good at trivia on the subject. He liked to spend time with his extended family and will be greatly missed by all.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Judy; brother, Scott W. Groshens; paternal grandfather, Vic Groshens; and maternal grandparents, Burt and Eunice Darnielle.

Survivors include his father and stepmother, Vic and Wanda Groshens of Baker City; brother, Harry Groshens, and his wife, Laura, of Pendleton; niece, Nicole Groshens of Pendleton; nephew, Brandon Groshens of Pendleton; stepbrothers, Steve and Lynne Hawkins and Scott Hawkins of Baker City; grandmother, Virginia Groshens of Hermiston; stepgrandmother, Mary Boyd of Baker City and special aunt, Jo Irvin of Irrigon.

Memorial contributions may be made to Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland through Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St., La Grande, OR 97850. To view the obituary, sign the guest book or leave a condolence on-line, visit

Bettie Beal

Bettie Cook Beal, 74, a former Baker County resident, died May 1, 2004, at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Nadine and Milt Rantz, in Oregon City.

Her funeral will be at 1 p.m. Friday at Crown Funeral Home in Milwaukie.

She was born Jan. 15, 1930, at Oxford, Kan., and moved to Halfway with her family at the age of 10. She moved to Baker City as a teen-ager.

Survivors include her daughters, Nadine, Wardean and Jeanette, and a son, Bill, all living in the Portland area; 12 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; a brother, Lloyd R. Cook, and sister-in-law, Iona Cook, and a sister and brother-in-law, Nita and Robert Hendriksen, of Baker City; and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Will and Grace Ward Cook; four brothers, Ralph, Fred, Carl and Glenn; and two sisters, Marie and Ruby.

Donny Murrell

Donny Eugene Murrell, 62, of Baker City, died April 26, 2004, at St. Elizabeth Health Services.

His memorial service was today at Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave. Ed Niswender of the Calvary Baptist Church officiated.

He was born on June 13, 1941, at Frogville, Okla., to Edgar and Inez Arnold Murrell. He grew up in the Red River bottoms of Oklahoma.

At 17 he left home and joined the U.S. Navy. Enchanted by the Pacific Northwest, Donny moved to the Portland area after his discharge. He continued to remain active in service to his country through the National Guard.

At this time he also re-entered the work force, first with the Army Corps of Engineers and then with the Veterans Administration. Donny retired from the VA after 35 years of service, bridging positions from union president to management.

After his retirement, Donny began the first of many more adventures, including an energy consulting business, a sub-sandwich shop that turned into an Italian food carryout, partnership in a tile business and maintenance work for an assisted-living community. Throughout these trials, he was bitten by gold mining. He was finally able to relocate nearer his claims and back to a more common-sense way of life.

A member of the Eastern Oregon Mining Association, he was an avid gardener, and most recently had enrolled in square dancing lessons. Past enjoyments included hunting, fishing, farming, raising animals, home winemaking, teaching Sunday school, holding Bible study, and acting in community plays.

While on a trip to Milwaukee, Wis., Donny met his soul mate, Elizabeth Naparlinski, and the two began a whirlwind romance. "Esa" moved to Portland in February of 1994, where the couple were married. They moved to Baker City in October of 2002.

Donny touched the hearts of many as a dear son, brother, husband, father, mentor, friend, and neighbor and will long be remembered by those who knew him, his family said.

Survivors include his wife, Esa; his son, Jacob Murrell of Vancouver, Wash.; his daughter, Jessica Poffenroth, and her husband, Thomas, of Vancouver, Wash.; his mother, Inez Cochran, of Hugo, Okla.; five brothers, Larry Murrell and his wife, Ann, of Dallas, Texas, Ronnie Joe Henderson of Dallas, Louis Ray Henderson of Hugo, Okla., and twins, Joe Cochran, and his wife, Sondra, of Dallas, and John Cochran of Missouri; three sisters, Vernie Faye Smart, and her husband, Oscar Lee, of Rosebud, Texas, Johnny Kay Rosenthal and her husband, Jack, of Hugo, Okla., and Donnie Lois Burk of Missouri; his aunt, Lydia Burnett of Paris, Okla.; and many dear cousins, nieces, nephews, great- nieces and great-nephews.

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

Nellie Vannice

Nellie Delia Vannice, 94, of North Powder, died April 29, 2004, at Grande Ronde Hospital in La Grande.

Her funeral will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the North Powder Methodist Church. There will be a graveside service at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Alford Cemetery, near Harrisburg. Pastor Sally Wiens will officiate.

Nellie was born at Halsey on Dec. 21, 1909, to Henry and Esther Nemchick Falk. She married Kenneth Vannice on June 29, 1929, at Halsey. They were married for almost 72 years.

Nellie was noted for her cooking and sewing abilities.She graduated from Halsey High School, raised three sons and then returned to college studies.She attended 13 consecutive summer sessions to achieve her bachelor's degree. She was a music educator.

Nellie was a longtime member of the Rebekah Lodge, the Grange and the Methodist Church.She will be missed.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Kenneth Vannice, who died on May 22, 2001; two sisters, Pearl Boots and Grace Thompson; one brother, Everett Falk; one grandchild and one great-grandchild.

Survivors include three sons, Kenneth Jr. and his wife, Holly, of Lillooet, British Columbia, Donald and his wife, Bonnie, of Halfway, and Vernon and his wife, Martha, of Lacey, Wash.; 11 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association through Fisher Funeral Home, 306 Washington St. S.W., Albany, OR 97321 or Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St., La Grande, OR 97850.