Obituaries for June 28-July 2

July 16, 2004 12:00 am

Gerard Blair

Gerard Blair, 70, a longtime Baker City resident, died June 25, 2004, at St. Elizabeth Health Services.

There was a vigil service for Mr. Blair at 7 p.m. Sunday at St. Francis de Sales Cathedral. A Memorial Mass was at 11 a.m. Monday at the cathedral. The Revs. Robert C. Irwin and Camillus Fernando concelebrated the Mass. There was a reception in Gerard's memory at the Baker Elks Lodge after the service.

An outpouring of both grief and hope marks the passing of Gerard Blair, born in Baker City in 1933. He was an athlete at St. Francis Academy; letterman, captain of the basketball team, and member of the football team. He graduated from high school in 1951. He was a war veteran who served in Korea. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force in 1960.

At Basche-Sage, John Day Hardware and Blair's Coast to Coast, among others, Gerard showed an exceptional knowledge in his field of trade and tireless dedication to helping and advising his customers. He was an accomplished outdoorsman who loved to go hunting and fishing with his friends.

He also was a handyman, woodworker, a crafter of fine violins and a gardener with a green thumb (just like his father before him). He was a past trustee of the Benevolent Order of Elks. He was named Elk of the Year in 1986 for his loyal and meritorious services. He was a member of Bishop Leipzig General Assembly, Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus. He was also a supporter of Baker City athletes.

Gerard will be remembered for a number of things: He was a man of impeccable integrity, a believer in the principles of ethics, a Catholic of firm belief in our Lord and hope of resurrection of the saints.

More than all this, however, Gerard will be remembered as a father of six children who he loved with unflagging devotion and a grandfather and great-grandfather of many children who he cared for with an abundance of patience and kindness. Gerard will be remembered as an affectionate brother with a sense of humor that kept everyone laughing.

He also was the neighbor who watched over those around him — from widows needing a helping hand to children needing popsicles on hot summer afternoons.

How many friends has Gerard asked to go first or offered his hand for support? How many travelers has he pulled out of snow banks or given directions on remote roads? Nobody knows. As a humble man, he quietly went about his business bringing us closer to God by example.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Francis de Sales Cathedral through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Helen Foster

Helen E. Foster, 92, a longtime Baker resident, died June 25, 2004, at her home.

At her request cremation was held and there will be no services.

Helen Elizabeth Foster was born Oct. 22, 1911, in Poland, one of seven children. She attended Catholic schools in the Chicago area.

Upon graduation from high school, she packed her bags, got on a train and ventured out West to Sun Valley, Idaho, where she was employed as a personal maid to the movie stars who vacationed there. She proudly told stories of meeting many of the big screen actors and actresses and became friends with many of them.

While working at Sun Valley, she met Marvin L. Foster, a bellboy at the same resort. They were married on May 26, 1940. After staying in Sun Valley awhile longer, they moved to California where their first two children were born.

They eventually moved to Boise, where they stayed for several years. In 1959, on a trip to Portland, they stayed overnight at the Tower Motel and a few months later moved to Baker City as the new owners of that establishment.

They went on to purchase the Green Gables Motel in Baker City and made that their home for many years. In 1988, they sold the motel and bought a residence in Baker City to retire to. Mrs. Foster was always very active and truly enjoyed being with people.

Survivors include her husband of 64 years, Marvin; a daughter, Gail Foster, and her husband, Bruce Stofer, and a daughter and son-in-law, Pat and Tim Pope of Baker City.

She was preceded in death by her beloved son, Allan, in 1988.

Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of one's choice through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Oscar Coen

Oscar Hoffman Coen, 87, of Baker City, died June 23, 2004, at the Idaho State Veterans Home in Boise.

There will be no funeral. His wife, Virginia, will be happy to receive friends and relatives at her home in a few days.

Oscar Coen was born at Hannaford, N.D., on May 11, 1917, to Archie and Mary Coen. He grew up in Pound, Wis., and received his bachelor of science degree at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Shortly thereafter, Col. Coen crossed into Canada to take basic training in flying aircraft with the Royal Canadian Air Force. It was a short time before he found himself in England, flying with the British 71st all American Eagle Squadron, where World War II was in pursuit of victory for the allies.

In 1941 he took a long detour through France, after his fighter plane was damaged by debris from an ammunition train he attacked. Two months later he was back in England, where he proceeded to fly again with the 71st Eagle Squadron. Col. Coen returned to the United States after the war, and flew with the U.S. Air Force until he and his wife, Virginia, retired in 1962 and came to live in Baker City.

Survivors include his wife, Virginia, and three daughters, Carleen Baily of Pennington, New Jersey, Robin Coen of Boise, Idaho, and Tymera Coen of Portland, Oregon.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Marilyn's Music's Friday Night Sessions, 1821 Main St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Madeline Pifher

Madeline Josephine Pifher, 79, of Baker City, died June 21, 2004, at Avondale, Ariz.

Her funeral will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave.Vault interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery. The Rev. Robert C. Irwin of St. Francis de Sales Cathedral will officiate. Friends are invited to join the family for a reception at the American Legion, 2129 Second St., after the services.

Visitations will be Wednesday from noon to 8 p.m. at Gray's West & Co.

Madeline was born on Feb. 10, 1925, at Baker City to Elbert and Alma Bernice Baisley Luster.

In February of 1941, she married Francis L. Pifher in Weiser, Idaho, just before he was leaving to join the U.S. Navy. The couple later were remarried at St. Francis de Sales Cathedral.

After Francis returned from the war, he and Madeline lived at North Powder. The family later moved to Hermiston and then back to Rock Creek.

Madeline was a member of the Ground Observer Corps, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary, and the Moose Lodge.

In her later years, Madeline kept her home in Baker City, but would travel to her children's homes spending time with them.

Survivors include her sons, Darl Pifher, William Pifher, and Tom Pifher, all of Baker City, Wayman Pifher and his wife, Karen, of Verona, Va., Louis Pifher and his wife, Tacy, of Boise, and Richard Pifher of Pendleton; and daughters, Marjorie Leary and her husband, Mike, and Marilyn Williams and her husband, Don, all of Phoenix, Ariz.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 51 years, Francis; a son, Elbert "Dude" Pifher; and an infant daughter, Jean Pifher.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association through Gray's West & Co., P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814.

Robert White

Robert Monte White, 63, a longtime Baker City resident, died June 22, 2004, at Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

A private service is planned. Yates Funeral Home, Coeur d'Alene Chapel, is in charge of arrangements.

Robert was born on March 1, 1941, at Minneapolis to Robert Albert White and Nona Lucille Reese White. He moved to California at the age of 7.

After he graduated from high school, Robert joined the U.S. Air Force and served time overseas at Guam. After his discharge from the service, Robert worked for Shelby Corp. testing racing prototypes.

Robert loved being a mechanic and being part of a racing crew. He also worked for L.A. City Water and Power and then for the City of Los Angeles as a general services mechanic.

He retired in 1991 and moved to Oregon where he met his wife, Ronda Myers. They were married on Nov. 5, 1994, at Lake Tahoe, Nev. In April of 2004 they relocated to Post Falls, Idaho.

Robert enjoyed classic car shows, air shows, building and flying RC planes, fishing, camping, and especially watching Nascar and going for lattes with Ronda.

Survivors include his wife, Ronda White of Post Falls; sons, Robert A. White and Michael White of Santa Clarita, Calif.; stepchildren, Gail Searles, Aimee Searles and Jason Searles of Post Falls; grandchildren, Ricky, Lucas, Jordan, Micki, Wesley, Tyler and Madison; a brother, Marty Keegan of California; and three sisters, Kathleen Pena, Nancy Hill, and Alta Morgan of California.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his uncle, Monte Reese; and two nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association, 270 S. Orchard St., Suite B, Boise, Idaho 83705.

Michael Hogg

Michael Dee Hogg, 48, of Juliaitta, Idaho, a former Baker City resident, died June 25, 2004.

His graveside service will be at 1 p.m. Thursday at Mount Hope Cemetery. Bob Harrison will officiate.

Michael was born on June 22, 1956, at San Diego to Ronald L. and Evelyn Golar Hogg. For the past 10 years Mike had worked in northern Idaho building custom homes, a job he loved.

Survivors include his parents, Ronald and Evelyn Hogg of Baker City; two brothers, Joseph, and his wife, Gloria, of San Diego, and Theodore and his partner, Darlene Schnoor, of Hillsboro; two daughters, Katina Hogg of Prineville and Vanessa Star of Phoenix, Ariz.; two stepdaughters, Megan Poffenberger and Corrie Grammond, his second mom, Mary Poffenberger, and Sue Grammond, a longtime friend and partner, all of Juliaitta, Idaho.

Survivors also include his uncle and mentor, Vern Golar, and his aunt, Val, of Baker City; uncle, Lee Golar, and Nancy of Salem and aunt, Norma Hogg, of Santa Maria, Calif.; two nieces, one nephew, six cousins and a new granddaughter, Jade Edelman; and his two beloved dogs, Reno and Mia.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents and an uncle.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Oregon Trail Regional Museum Elevator Fund through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

John Martin

John Gregory Martin, 32, of Portland, a former Baker City resident, died June 22, 2004, in a fatal car accident in Portland.

His memorial service was Saturday in Portland.

John was born and raised in Baker City. He moved to Portland in 1988.

He enjoyed the outdoors and loved to fish and camp. He will be missed dearly by all who knew him.

Survivors include his mother, Phyllis Martin; brothers, Randy Martin, Earl Martin, Richard Martin and Jeffrey Martin; and a sister, Theresa Cole.

‘Jo' Jensen

Josephine J. "Jo" Jensen, 88, of Haines, died June 28, 2004, at St. Elizabeth Health Services.

Her graveside service will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Mount Hope Cemetery. Private visitations will be until 8 o'clock tonight at Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel. Friends are invited to join the family for a potluck reception at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall, 2005 Valley Ave., after the service.

She was born on March 2, 1916, at Denbigh, McHenry County, N.D., to Phillip Edward De Shaw and Jennie Janet Pritchett. She was the eldest of 5 children.

She married Norman O. Jensen on August 5, 1941, at Weiser, Idaho. They lived for several years on the family homestead at Pleasant Valley. In 1959, they purchased the home ranch behind Haines in the Muddy Creek area. They both lived there until their death.

Josephine was known for her participation in many civic organizations and community activities. She drove the school bus for the Baker School District for 17 years. She was passionately active in the Haines Rodeo Association, a lifetime member of the Baker County Posse and numerous other organizations.

She was preceded in death by a brother, Phillip Edward De Shaw Jr., and a sister Florence Francis.

Survivors include her daughter and son-in-law, Pamella and Steve Russell of Hermiston; granddaughter Naval Petty Officer 2nd Class Kristina A. Koontz, currently serving in the Persian Gulf area; grandson, Eric R. Koontz of Redmond; brother and sister-in-law, Eugene and Mildred De Shaw of Baker City; sister, Loretta Summeralls of Idaho; and eight nieces and nephews.

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

Bonnie McKay

Bonnie Leviathan McKay, 85, of Hermiston, a former Baker City resident, died June 26, 2004, at her home.

Her graveside funeral was at 10 a.m., today at the Hermiston Cemetery.

Bonnie had been a Hermiston resident since 1947. She moved from Kansas to La Grande while still a child and then to Baker City. She was a Baker High School graduate.

She married Eugene "Gene" McKay at Boise on Nov. 15, 1941. She traveled with Gene while he was in the service to Mississippi, South Carolina and Illinois. When Gene shipped overseas, Bonnie returned to Baker City.

After the war, the couple lived at Baker City for a couple of years before moving to Hermiston. In Hermiston, she worked for Dr. Morgan, US Bank and at Rexall Drug Store before becoming a full-time mother and homemaker.

She was active in the Cub Scouts for 15 years and received a national award for her involvement. In her younger years she attended the Methodist Church. She enjoyed crocheting, needlepoint and painting.

Survivors include her son, John McKay of Hermiston; and several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Gene McKay, who died in 2000; a brother, Buster Stuart; and three sisters, Cecil, Delores and Dorothy.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association, Northwest Affiliate-Oregon Office, 1425 N.E. Irving St., No. 100, Portland, OR 97232.

The Burns Mortuary Chapel of Hermiston is in charge of arrangements.

Lorna Dayen

Lorna Lee Dayen, 74, of Richland, died June 28, 2004, at Sunnyside Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Clackamas.

Her memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the First Church of the Nazarene, 1250 Hughes Lane. Pastor Lennie Spooner will officiate. There will be a reception afterward in the church fellowship hall.

Lorna was born on Feb. 24, 1930, at Albia, Iowa, to Earl and Helen Canning Alexander. Lorna was very special to all who knew her. She shared the love and grace that God had given her with everyone she knew. Her love for the Lord and her faith never wavered.

She read her Bible and prayed for her family and friends every morning. She believed that the Lord was waiting for her prayers each morning. It was her first priority. It was obvious that Christ dwelled in her. She emitted the love and grace of Christ from the moment she first opened her eyes each morning.

Her magnificent smile was a clue to the peace she had in her heart. She was drawn to others as others were drawn to her. She never thought of judging anyone. Her family and friends are left with a living example of how to apply Bible doctrine to their lives.

The last 12 years of her life she resided on a small farm at Richland. She loved the beauty and quietness of Eagle Valley. She loved to see the wildlife on her farm each day. She appreciated the creative genius of her Lord, Jesus Christ.

"We know that Lorna is in a better place, but we ache for her presence," her family members said. She is greatly missed by all who knew her.

Survivors include her husband of 35 years, Edward Dayen of Richland; her mother, Hellen Canning Dollis; three sons, Grant Williams, and his wife, Sherrii, Craig Williams and Ronald Dayen; two daughters, Laurie Dayen and Leslie Dayen; and eight grandchildren, Christopher Williams, Anthony Ward, Kelcey Williams, Aaron Ward, Dusty Staake, Sarah Dayen, Mallory Williams, and Cameron Dayen.

She was preceded in death by her father, Earl Scott Alexander in 1971; and by four uncles, Merle Smith, Clarence Canning, Ralph Alexander and Orrie Alexander; and by one aunt, Genevieve Canning.

Memorial contributions may be made to Gideons International through Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, P.O. Box 726, Baker City, Oregon 97814.