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

August 31, 2001 12:00 am

Irene Augenstein

Irene Augenstein, 94, of North Powder died Aug. 27, 2001.

Her memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Smith-Lund-Mills Funeral Chapel. Private inurnment will be at the Rest-Haven Memorial Park in Eugene.

Mrs. Augenstein was born on Sept. 2, 1906, at Wendling to Ira James and Sarah Jane West Calvert. She married Jim Augenstein on June 21, 1941, at Eugene. They were married for 47 years. Mr. Augenstein died in 1989.

Mrs. Augenstein spent most of her adult life at Goshen and Cottage Grove before moving to Baker City in 1992 to be near her family. When she could no longer care for herself, she moved to foster care at North Powder.

She was a homemaker and worked to raise her family. She enjoyed gardening, flowers and sewing. She was a longtime member of the 6th and Gibbs Church at Cottage Grove.

Survivors include her son and daughter-in-law, Del and Ruth Hollis of Klamath Falls; daughters, Gwen Yeager of Owosso, Mich., and Laureen Purkey of Port Orford; and daughter and son-in-law, Jan and Jack Durflinger of Baker City; 15 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her first husband, Seth Hollis, who died in 1937; her second husband, Jim Augenstein, who died in 1989; her sons, Harold Hollis Sr., and Jimmy Augenstein; daughter, Dorothy Mills; granddaughter, Carla Yeager; grandson, John Hollis; sister, Nell Strange; and a brother, David Calvert.

Patrice Weber

Patrice Weber, 43, of Moses Lake, Wash., and formerly of Baker City and La Grande, died Aug. 21, 2001, at her home after a long illness.

Kaiser Chapel of Memories in Moses Lake is in charge of arrangements. A private service will be held.

Mrs. Weber was born Sept. 22, 1957, at Muencheller, Germany, to Charles Willard and Louise Mary Hoagy. She attended school in San Antonio, Texas, and modeling school in San Diego. On Sept. 12, 1987, she married Rob Weber, and the couple moved to Baker City, where she worked at Pioneer Bank.

Later they moved to La Grande where she worked at Alayan, and then to Moses Lake, Wash., where she was office manager for Furniture West and also managed a Botan Hair Salon. She was an enthusiastic gardener, but her greatest love was her family.

She is survived by her husband and children, Keven, Reed and Suzanne Lee Weber, all of Moses Lake; her father, who lives in Texas; and her mother, who lives in Arizona; and three sisters and four brothers.

Victor Neiger

Victor O. Neiger, 96, a longtime Baker City resident, died Aug. 27, 2001, at his home.

Vigil services will be today at 7 p.m. at St. Francis deSales Cathedral. Mass of the Christian Burial will be Friday at 11 a.m. at the Cathedral. Most Reverend Elden F. Curtiss, Archbishop of Omaha, and Reverend John R. Jasper of St. Francis deSales Cathedral will concelebrate. Vault interment will follow at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Visitations will be today until 5 p.m. at the Coles-Strommer Funeral Home, 1950 Place St.

Mr. Neiger was born March 20, 1905, in Trzic, Slovenia. In 1912, he came to America with his mother and sister, Mary. His father had come over two years earlier and worked in the coal mines in Rock Springs, Wyo., until he could send for the rest of his family. His family resided there until moving to Cove in 1919, when Mr. Neiger was 14 years old.

He worked at various labor jobs, but especially enjoyed picking fruit. He worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1934. On May 22, 1937, he married Helen Guyer in Weiser, Idaho. From this union his three children, Corrine, Dick and Sherry, were born. After their marriage, they returned to Baker City.

In 1943, Mr. Neiger entered World War II where he guarded prisoners until his discharge in 1945. Prior to the war, he owned and operated the Western Auto store in Baker City. After the war, he worked for California-Pacific Utilities Company for 18 years until his retirement.

Mr. Neiger loved the mountains, fishing and camping with his family. He was very athletic and excelled in baseball, swimming and boxing. He had a profound love for music and he loved to sing along with his family and friends whenever the opportunity arose.

He is survived by his daughter, Corrine Blair of Corvallis; son and daughter-in-law, Richard and Kathy Neiger of Germany; and daughter and son-in-law, Sherry and Rick Davidson of Beaverton; grandsons, Richard Blair, Robert Blair, Erick Davidson and Jeremy Davidson; granddaughters, Christina Vinson and Sarah Metlen; a brother, William Neiger of Portland; sisters, Oberta Lich of Southern California, Marcella Smith of Bend; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Helen; his mother, Frances, and father, Frank; two sisters, Christina and Mary; and a baby brother, Guito, who died in Slovenia.

Contributions in Mr. Neigers memory may be directed to Pathway Hospice. This may be done through Coles-Strommer Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, Ore., 97814.

Erman Bell

Erman Bell, 89, of La Grande, and a former Baker County resident, died Aug. 25, 2001, at his home.

At his request there will be no public service. A private burial will be at the Haines Cemetery.

Mr. Bell was born May 30, 1912, at Rock Creek to Alfred and Ethel Gray Bell.

He attended school in Haines and married Leona Hearing. He worked as a mechanic for the state of Oregon shops in La Grande. He lived in Union for many years before moving to La Grande two years ago. He enjoyed hunting and fishing.

Survivors include a daughter, Dawn Vedder of Spokane; two grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; a sister, Virginia Dufour of Salem; and other relatives.

He was preceded in death by his wife, two sisters and a brother.

Contributions in Mr. Bells memory may be made to the Oregon Cancer Society or Grande Ronde Hospital Home Care Services in care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St., La Grande, Ore., 97850.

Virginia Steinmetz

Virginia B. Virg Steinmetz, 93, of Baker City and a former Fremont, Calif., resident, died Aug. 29, 2001, at an adult foster care home in Baker City.

Her funeral will be Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Berge-Pappas-Smith Mortuary in Fremont. Interment will follow at the Irvington Memorial Cemetery in Fremont.

Mrs. Steinmetz was born Nov. 17, 1907, at Pinole, Calif., to Joseph and Virginia (Silva) Feleciano. She was raised at Mission San Jose and was married to Leland Steinmetz on Sept. 7, 1941, at Carson City, Nev. They owned small mom and pop grocery stores. Mrs. Steinmetz also worked for more than 20 years as a telephone operator, and she also worked in a dry-cleaning business.

In 1983 the couple moved to Baker City to be close to her son and daughter-in-law, and her grandsons. Mr. Steinmetz died in 1987.

Mrs. Steinmetz loved crocheting, knitting and taking trips to Jackpot and Reno, Nev.

Mrs. Steinmetz is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Edward and Janet Steinmetz of Baker City; a grandson and his wife, Jason and Christian Steinmetz of La Grande; a grandson and his close friend, Shawn Steinmetz and Catherine Dickison of La Grande; and several nieces and nephews.

Mrs. Steinmetz was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; a daughter; and two brothers.

Contributions in her memory may be made to St. Francis deSales Cathedral in Baker City in care of Coles-Strommer Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, Ore., 97850.

Ethel Wirth

Ethel M. Wirth, 89, a longtime Eagle Valley and Baker City resident, died Aug. 27, 2001, at the Aspen Assisted Living Center in Hines.

Her memorial service will be Friday at 1 p.m. at Grays West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave. Pastor Roger Scovil of the Baker City Christian Church will conduct the memorial service, and Associate Pastor Bob Whiteman will conduct the graveside services at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Mrs. Wirth was born April 3, 1912, at Halfway to John W. and Jessie Shook Mills. She was raised on a farm on Pine Creek, above Jimtown. She graduated from Pine Valley High School.

She married Bert D. Wirth at Keating on April 6, 1935. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1985. Mr. Wirth died Jan. 1, 1995. They would have celebrated 65 years of marriage in April of that year.

Mrs. Wirth was raised on a farm. She and her husband lived on a homestead in the Medical Springs area when they were first married, later moving to a ranch in the same area. With the exception of a year living at Carson, before they bought their farm on Eagle Creek above New Bridge, she spent most of her life on a farm. She liked seeing things grow bountiful vegetables, beautiful flowers, and fruit. It was hard work, living on a farm, but Mrs. Wirth was never afraid of hard work.

During her kids growing-up years, Mrs. Wirth was matron of the New Bridge Junior Grange, in order to give her children that opportunity. She was a member of the New Bridge Grange for years, until she moved to Baker City. She was a longtime member of the Christian churches at Richland, Baker City and, more recently, Burns.

Mrs. Wirth was a dedicated wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, and she treasured each of them. She was proud of all her grandchildren and loved their spouses equally. She enjoyed family get-togethers and loved to visit. Her children valued their opportunity to grow up on a farm in a small community. They learned early on valuable moral responsibilities, as well as developing a strong work ethic that has carried them through their adult years. The kids even had a swimmin hole in Eagle Creek where they and their mom had many a happy summer afternoon splashing in the water.

Mrs. Wirth lived an uncompromising moral life. She was a person of honesty and integrity. She accepted what she needed to do and did not complain, but rather, made the very best of it. She was a woman respected and loved by all, most especially by her family.

After the Wirths retirement, they moved to Baker City, where they took a yard that was chest-high in weeds and turned it into a picture-perfect landscape of green lawn, roses, other flowers and a garden. This was surrounded by a white picket fence that she and her husband created together. She helped her husband with carpentry work, doing remodeling and building for others. This at an age long past the customary retirement age.

When they were forced to give up the carpentering because of Mr. Wirths failing eyesight, Mrs. Wirth started yet another career: being a foster grandparent volunteer in Baker City schools for 10 years. There she listened to classes of little kindergartners and first-graders read. This was the job she was destined for: she blossomed and so did the children. She loved the teachers and school staff, and they loved her. But most of all she loved the kids and they loved Mrs. Wirth. That job was her pride and joy, and truly made her days.

Later the Wirths moved into an apartment, where she continued to live until health forced her to move to Burns to live near her daughter. One would have thought that she would have been content to finally retire, but she quickly found another niche as a volunteer at the Christian Church Thrift Store. That job filled her Fridays and gave her once again a purpose in life and something to look forward to. She last helped out just two weeks prior to her death.

Mrs. Wirth finally had to adjust to one more change in her life: moving to assisted living. It was hard to give up her sense of independence, but she said, I made up my mind to be happy and I am going to be happy! The staff and other tenants loved her, and she loved them.

Mrs. Wirth is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Virginia and Richard Tabor of Burns; sons and daughters-in-law, Wayne and Deannie Wirth of Mead, Wash., Phillip and Ellen Wirth of Tacoma, Wash., and David and Bobbie Wirth of Anchorage; daughter and son-in-law, Sharon and Ken Anderson of Lake Stevens, Wash.; 12 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren; a sister, Lucy Cook of Keating; a sister-in-law, Glenola Wirth of Baker City; and numerous nieces and nephews. She loved all of her family very much.

She was preceded in death by her mother and father, her sister, Mary Snyder, and her husband.

Contributions in Mrs. Wirths memory may be made to the Baker City Christian Church of the Aspen Assisted Living Center in care of Grays West & Co., P.O. Box 726, Baker City, Ore., 97814.