Obituaries for the week of Dec. 27 to Dec. 31

December 31, 2004 12:00 am

M. Dale Spencer

M. Dale Spencer, 75, a lifelong Baker City resident, died Dec. 28, 2004, at St. Elizabeth Health Care Center.

His graveside funeral will be Monday at 1 p.m. at Mount Hope Cemetery. Bishop David Richards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will officiate. Friends are invited to join the family following the service for a luncheon at the L.D.S. Church, 2625 Hughes Lane.

Dale was born Oct. 10, 1929, at Baker City to Maurice Leslie and Esther Mae (VanLeuven) Spencer. He graduated from Baker High School in 1948 and went on to Penn State University where he graduated with a degree in business.

In 1951 Dale enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. He was honorably discharged in 1955. He served during the Korean War and was stationed in Japan. Dale was a very intelligent man — after reading the military's manual on discharges and finding it incorrect, he rewrote the manual and it was accepted word for word. He served as a staff sergeant and received two medals, the medal of Good Conduct and the Korean War Medal.

After the war, Dale returned to Baker City and worked for Ellingson Lumber Co. In 1968, he purchased a farm on Pocahontas Road. The family lived on the farm until 1990, when they sold and moved to Ben Dier Road.

Dale was an avid hunter, fisherman and outdoorsman, but most of all he was a family man. He loved his children and grandchildren more than anything. He was a former member of the Elks, and a member of the L.D.S. Church.

Dale is survived by his wife of 56 years, Connie. Dale grew up as Connie's next-door neighbor, and the couple were married on Sept. 3, 1948, in Baker City. He is also survived by his two sisters, Dorothy Cupples of Irrigon and Dolores White of Baker City; his son and daughter-in-law, Robert and Sue Spencer of Boise; his grandchildren, Brandon and Kara Spencer of Boise; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Maurice L. and Esther M. Spencer; and two sons, Larry Dale and Michael Trent Spencer.

Contributions in Dale's memory may be made to the Alzheimer's Association in care of Gray's West & Co., P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814.

Virgil Wunder

Virgil A. Wunder, 92, a lifelong Baker City resident, died Dec. 27, 2004, at the Boise Veterans Hospital.

His funeral will be Monday at 10 a.m. at the Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St. Canyon City Masonic Lodge No. 34 will accord ritualistic rites. Military rites will accorded by Baker City Amvets Post No. 1874. Vault interment will follow at Mount Hope Cemetery. Visitations will be Sunday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the funeral home.

Mr. Wunder was born Jan. 8, 1912, at Baker City to Albert and Lois (Nichols) Wunder. He received his education in Baker City and enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, serving in a bomber group. He was wounded in action and received the Purple Heart.

After being discharged, he retuned to Baker City. He worked for the Baker Creamery, Stoddard Lumber Co., and then worked for several theaters, including more than 40 years at the Eltrym. He retired in 1996.

Mr. Wunder enjoyed blacksmithing at his home and had a love for mining, which was his favorite hobby. He also enjoyed hunting, shooting his last elk at the age of 82. He was a member of the Eastern Oregon Mining Association, a life member of the National Rifle Association, and he had been very active with the Masonic Lodge in Baker City and was a member of the Scottish Rite. He helped with the rebuilding of the Rabbit Mine at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center and also helped with the park in Haines.

He is survived by his nephews and nieces; Edward and Lena Powell of Florida, Shirley and Mitch Sanchotena of Middleton, Idaho, Linda and Wayne Wall of Sun City, Calif., and Ray and Gwen Wunder of Medford; sister-in-law and her husband, Rachel and Herman Webb of Baker City; and by several cousins.

Mr. Wunder was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters and two brothers.

Contributions in Mr. Wunder's memory may be made to the Disabled American Veterans Van Fund in care of the Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Bill Knoblauch

William "Bill" Knoblauch, 89, a longtime Richland resident, died Dec. 21, 2004, at Baker City.

His funeral was Dec. 27 at Richland. Interment was at Eagle Valley Cemetery.

Bill was born March 11, 1915, at Portland to Paul and Mary Elizabeth Knoblauch. He grew up in Richland on the family ranch. He attended school in Richland and after graduation he attended the Gem State Academy in Caldwell, Idaho.

Bill married his high school sweetheart, Veda Ewing, on June 5, 1935, in Caldwell. They made their home on the family ranch in Richland. During World War II Bill worked as a welder in the Vancouver, Wash., shipyards.

Bill was an avoid reader and sports fan. He loved his home and family. In 2001 Bill and Veda left the family home in Richland and moved to Baker City.

Bill is survived by his wife of nearly 70 years, Veda; their children, Carleton and Anne Knoblauch of New Orleans, Sharla Stevens and her husband, Wayne, of Oldtown, Idaho; grandchildren, Ronda Stevenson and Carol Peterson, both of Baker City, Dennis Knoblauch and his wife, Cheryl, of New Orleans, and Cathy Knoblauch of New Orleans; great-grandchildren, Sami Garrett and her husband, Justin, Bo Stevenson, Cody Peterson and Landon Peterson, all of Baker City; a special niece, Iva; and a nephew, Harvey.

Contributions in Bill's memory may be made to the Eagle Valley Grange in care of Tami's Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

Ava Russell

Ava Russell, 64, of Baker City, died Dec. 29, 2004, at St. Elizabeth Health Services.

A celebration of her life will be held on Sunday, Jan. 2, at 1 p.m. at Community Connection (the Senior Center), 2810 Cedar St.

Friends are invited to join the family following the service for a luncheon prepared by the V.F.W. Auxiliary.

Ava Jane was born on April 17, 1940, in Carson to Henry and Luella Thompson Hunsaker. She was raised early on in Carson, attending schools in Halfway, then onto Baker City and Umatilla. Ava also attended Business College for two years in Baker City.

Ava married Paul Russell on Aug. 8, 1970, in Baker City. Together they lovingly blended a family of seven children. Ava loved to crochet, do any craft, play cards, cheer on her favorite baseball team and work puzzles. She also enjoyed a good yard sale and reading mystery books.

Elvis Presley was her heartthrob, and peanuts in her Pepsi was her gift to family tradition.

Ava enjoyed bowling — at one time she bowled in three leagues. An unknown accomplishment was that she had held the state champion arm wrestling title for five years running earlier in her life.

Ava has worked for Community Connection and the Senior Center for well over 20 years. During her career with them, she wore several hats. First she was the Meals on Wheels driver, then the assistant cook and later the bus driver. During these last years her title was receptionist.

She always had a pleasant word, a wonderful smile and a hug for all who met her in a day. She will be missed by all who knew and were touched by her kind heart and sweet spirit.

Ava is survived by her husband, Paul; daughters, Jamie Little-Bottoms and her husband, William, Laura Love and her husband, Brian, and Darcy McCauley and her husband, Travis; sons, Lance Holt and his wife, Starla, Danny Little, Rusty Little and his wife, Kerri, and Michael Little; a brother and his wife, Bert and Glenda Hunsaker; sisters, Wanda Zemmer, Berdene Tidwell, Linda Blakley and her husband, Mike, and Ione McCraney and her husband, Dick; brother-in-law, Larry Hottell; 16 grandchildren; five great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her twin sister Iva Hottell in 1994, sisters, Marion Sloan, who died in 2000, and Anna Mae Schneider, who died in 1948 and brother-in-law Jerry Zemmer, who died in 1991.

Those who wish to make a memorial donation in memory of Ava may do so to the Senior Center through Tami's Pine Valley Funeral Home P.O. Box 543 Halfway, OR 97834.

Nancylee Warnecke

Nancylee Warnecke, 76, of Baker City, died Dec. 28, 2004, at St. Elizabeth Health Services.

At her request, disposition was by cremation, and a family memorial service will take place at a later date.

Nancy was born June 7, 1928, in Los Angeles to Clinton and Gertrude (Rassmussen) Nielsen. She received her education in the San Francisco Bay area and made her home there. She assisted her parents in operating a large swimming pool in the Bay Area. In 1999 she moved to Baker City to be closer to her daughter. She enjoyed people and the sun. She loved the water and was an avid fisherwoman. She enjoyed spending time with her daughter and grandchildren.

Nancylee is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Debbie and Frank Snowden of Sumpter; a son, Clint Keeney of Grass Valley, Calif.; grandchildren, John Snowden, Ben Snowden, Jennie Snowden, Chad Snowden and Kimberely Keeney; great-grandchildren, John Snowden Jr., Alex Snowden, Dayton Doss and Lucas Snowden; and one nephew.

She was preceded in death by her parents; a sister, Diana Tricarico; and her husband, Jack Warnecke.

Contributions in Mrs. Warnecke's memory may be directed to Pathway Hospice, in care of Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place Street, Baker City, OR 97814.

Russell Williams

Russell Davis Williams, 91, who grew up on his family's ranch in Muddy Creek, died Dec. 13, 2004, in Sun City, Calif., of emphysema.

He is a descendent of two early pioneer families of North Powder: his grandparents, Lemuel and Amanda Ellen Stewart Williams, and John Samuel and Susan Dealy Davis.

Mr. Williams was born Sept. 16, 1913, at Muddy Creek to Harry Chatterton and Ida Belle Davis Williams. He was the youngest of seven children and graduated from Muddy Creek High School.

He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1935 and served on the USS Minneapolis, which took him to Hawaii, through the Panama Canal, and to Central America.

After being discharged he married Cleo Maxine McGrath of North Powder Nov. 13, 1939, in Weiser, Idaho. He and his late brother, Ed Williams, a longtime Baker City resident, both worked for Basche-Sage Hardware Company for more than 30 years.

In 1951 Russell and Maxine moved to Payette, Idaho, where he served as Basche-Sage's sales representative in southwestern Idaho and they raised two daughters. In 1978 they retired to Sun City.

Although he gave up trout fishing when he left the Northwest, he remained an avid fan of big band music and the New York Yankees throughout his life.

Mr. Williams is survived by his wife of 65 years, Maxine Williams of Sun City; two daughters, Diane and her husband, Gary Wilson, of Washington, D.C., and Maryann Green of Tacoma, Wash.; a sister, Hazel Toney of Baker City; four grandsons, Mark Russell Wilson, Matthew Christopher Wilson, Christopher Glenn Wilson and Justin Robert Green; one granddaughter, Carrie Elizabeth Green; four great-grandchildren and a sister-in-law, Vivian C. Davis of Spokane.

Mr. Williams was preceded in death by his parents; an infant daughter, Leila Belle Williams; and siblings, Lena May Cavin, Elmer Harry Williams, Maude Susan Nielson, Dora Ellen Lethlean, and Edward Samuel Williams.

Chris Wyatt

Chris George Wyatt, 53, died Dec. 6, 2004, at Dugway, Utah.

Funeral services were held on Dec. 9 at the Dugway LDS ward and burial was at the Tooele City Cemetery.

Mr. Wyatt was born Oct. 22, 1951, at Baker City, the son of Cantril and Theoria Wyatt. He married Sharon Louise Hansen on May 18, 1979, in Manti, Utah.

He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and taught history and drivers education for 24 years.

He loved reading, journal writing and the national parks.

He is survived by his wife, Sharon, of Dugway, Utah; son, Bradley Wyatt, of Cedar City, Utah; and brothers, Gary Wyatt and his wife, Karla, of Roseburg, Bob Wyatt and his wife, Billie Jo, of Woodland Hills, Utah; Roger Wyatt of Idaho and Randy Wyatt and his wife, Dena, of Riverton, Utah.

He was preceded in death by his parents; five brothers, David, Dick, Don, Jack and Ross, and three sisters, Judy, Sylvia and Mary.

‘Jack' Ladd

John "Jack" Ladd, 80, died Dec. 23, 2004, at Mountain Valley Care and Rehab Center in Kellogg, Idaho.

His funeral will be Thursday at 11 a.m. MST at St. Rita's Catholic Church in Kellogg. Father Tom Loucks will officiate. Interment will be Friday at Pine Haven Cemetery in Halfway.

Jack was born July 25, 1924, at Wardner, Idaho, to George and Ella Mae (Irwin) Ladd. He spent most of his life in Idaho, graduating from Kellogg High School. He worked for the Kellogg YMCA until it closed.

Jack was a member of the Kellogg-Wardner Lions Club. He enjoyed providing service to his community, and he took part in all that he could.

Jack is survived by his sister, Sister Marie Emmeline Ladd of Spokane; and by four nieces and one nephew.

He was preceded in death by his parents, George and Ella; a sister, Catherine Crawford; and a brother, Jim.

Contributions in Jack's memory may be made to the charity of your choice in care of Tami's Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

Elaine Joseph

Margaret Elaine Maynard Joseph, 63, of Baker City, died Dec. 25, 2004, at her home after a nine-year battle with cancer.

A celebration of her life will be Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Stephens Episcopal Church, 2177 First St.

Elaine was born April 1, 1941, in McMinnville to John Carroll Maynard and Betty Mae Hackney Maynard.

Elaine graduated from high school in McMinnville in 1959. She was married to Claude Talley for many years and they had three children: Debbie, Ted and Dan. She and Claude lived in the Carlton area before moving to Baker in 1972. She and Claude later divorced. She married Keith Joseph and together they raised a granddaughter, Laura Talley. Elaine and Keith later divorced.

Elaine worked at many professions but the one she enjoyed and loved the most was working as an alcohol and drug counselor at Powder River Correctional Facility. She was very proud of her state and national counseling certification and never stopped reading and studying to increase her knowledge in her profession. She touched many people's lives through her work, both clients and peers.

Elaine was a very courageous lady and was an inspiration to many. She never gave up, she fought long and hard during her illness, getting strength for her battle from her church and her Native American heritage, as well as her family and friends. She was always ready to give advice, wanted or not. Those who knew her knew when she shook her finger, she meant business.

Elaine had a very full life. She surrounded herself with friends and family. She was active in the Elks, she loved to listen to the Drum and Bugle Corps and she loved dancing and country music. When her children were at home she was very active in their lives and as they became adults and had children, she became very active in the lives of her grandchildren and later her great-grandchildren. She loved her family and always had a project she was making for "one of the kids." Elaine loved the outdoors and loved to hunt and fish.

Elaine is survived by her daughters, Debbie Gorte and Laura Talley; sons, Ted Talley and Danny Talley; her father, John Maynard; her brothers, Ken Maynard and John Maynard; five grandchildren, April, Randi, Michael, Shaun and Anthony; nine great-grandchildren; many aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews and special friends, Norm and Bev DuBosch, Nina Hipperson and Doug Ferrel.

Memorial contributions may be made to Mountain States Tumor Institute in care of Tami's Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

Curt Voeller

Curt Stanley Voeller, 43, of The Dalles, died Dec. 15, 2004, at The Dalles.

At his request there will not be a public funeral. Private cremation was at The Dalles Win-quatt Crematory, with Spencer, Libby & Powell Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

Curt was born July 17, 1961, at Baker City, the beloved son of Stanley Carroll and Winifred "Joanne" Voeller. He was the youngest of four children.

The family moved to the Willamette Valley, and Curt attended school in Salem.

He worked construction in Portland, Salem and The Dalles areas. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and spending time with his fiance.

Curt is survived by his fiance, Nancy Cryes of The Dalles; his parents, Stan and Joanne Voeller of Salem; his siblings, Carol W. Voeller of Baltimore, Chris Voeller and his wife, Kim, of Bend, and Catherine Voeller of Salem; and a niece and nephew.

Contributions in Curt's memory may be made to the Wasco County Animal Shelter, 200 River Road, The Dalles, OR 97058.