Obituaries for Aug. 5, 2011

By Baker City Herald August 05, 2011 05:22 pm

Melvin Durgan

Melvin Fred Durgan, 88, died July 31, 2011, at Baker City.

His memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Aug. 6, 2011, at Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St. An urn burial will be at Mount Hope Cemetery. There will be a reception after the service at Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St.

Mel was born on Sept. 10, 1922, at Baker City to Fred and Lora Mae Durgan Yusko. He attended Baker schools and was a 1940 Baker High School graduate.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps at the start of World War II. While stationed in St. Louis, Mo., he married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Rae Clabough.

At the end of one month, Dorothy returned to nursing school in Spokane, Wash., and Mel traveled to the Gold Coast of Africa for the duration of the war.

Mel and Dorothy lived in Baker City for 20 years, moved to Salem for another 20 years, and then returned to Baker City for retirement. In Baker City, Mel owned a service station and worked as a loan officer for Eastern Oregon Finance and Baker City Finance.

In Salem, he was the auditor and supervisor in the Inheritance Tax division of the Department of Revenue for the State of Oregon.

Mel was a member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church where he served on the Vestry, St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Salem, the Baker Elks Lodge and the Baker Golf Club.

Although he was an avid outdoorsman, Mel’s favorite activity was golf. He continued to play until shortly before his death.

Survivors include his son, Mike Durgan of Baker City; and daughters, Leslie Prather and her husband, Carl, of Puyallup, Wash., and Judy McKenzie of Baker City; brothers, Al Durgan of Baker City, and Jerry Durgan and his wife, Darlene, of Tigard; sisters-in-law, Shirley Clemens of Salem, and Sharon Hindman and her husband, Joe, of Pullman, Wash.; brother-in-law, Oliver McCord, and his wife, Kay, of Spokane, Wash.; four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy, in May 2011; his parents, Fred and Lora Mae Yusko Durgan; stepfather, George Yusko; brother, LaVon, who was killed during World War II at the Battle of the Phillipines; a baby sister, Dorothy; sister, Minnie Durgan; son-in-law, Leon McKenzie; sister and brother-in-law, Ken and Barbara Sturgill, sisters-in-law, Iris Durgan and Pattie Durgan, and brother-in-law Robert Clemens.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Hopewell Hospice of Portland, Pathway Hospice, or a charity of one’s choice through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.

Barbara Murdoch

Barbara Ann Daugherty Murdoch, 88, of North Powder, died July 28, 2011. 

Her graveside service will be at 10 a.m. Aug. 12 at the Haines Cemetery. There will be a memorial lunch afterward at the North Powder School cafeteria.

Barbara was born on Sept. 12, 1922, at Haines to William Daugherty and Florence Jeffords Daugherty. Barbara was raised at Haines and attended school there through graduation. 

Barbara met John Murdoch while attending grade school, and by her own account, had fallen in love with him by the eighth grade. John and Barbara were married on Feb. 13, 1943, at Weiser, Idaho, and enjoyed 61 wonderful, loving years together.

They enjoyed many outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, and boating. One of their favorite places was Porcupine Guard Station.

Barbara attended business college after graduating from high school, and worked at Haines as a telephone operator and at Pondosa for the railroad before moving to California to live while John was serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

They returned to Oregon after the war, and Barbara worked hard as a housewife while John did ranch work. She and John settled at North Powder to raise their three children, and purchased the Chevron Station in 1959.

Together they operated Murdoch Chevron at North Powder for 36 years. John worked on cars, and Barbara kept the books as well as helping out in the station. 

Barbara had a special place in her heart for dogs, and began raising Schipperkes for show in 1981.  Barbara was very passionate and successful, earning several awards for Best of Breed, 1981 Highest Scoring Novice Obedience Dog from the Schipperke Club of America and Best Adult Handler. She earned champion status in both America and Canada with two different dogs. Although she retired from raising Schipperkes, she never lost her passion for dogs, and is survived by her Corgi companion, Jessie.

Barbara was a wonderful cook, a very talented seamstress, an accomplished ceramics painter and she produced many beautiful crewel embroidery pieces. She loved flowers, antiques, and spending time with her family.

Barbara loved living in North Powder, enjoyed supporting the local school and community, and was honored to have been the Huckleberry Festival Queen in 2009.

Survivors include her daughters, Donna Dias, and her husband, Ernie, and Lora Murdoch and her partner, Doug Fialkowski; grandson, Scott Murdoch; granddaughters, Lorrie Murdoch, and Tonya Dias and her partner, Jake Jones; five great-grandchildren, Zachary, Joshua and Logan Valentine; Waylan and Liela Thompson; and her brother, Glen Daugherty.

She was preceded in death by her parents, William and Florence; her husband and the love of her life, John; son, Dennis; and brother, Kenneth. 

Memorial contributions may be made to Best Friends of Baker.

Jessie Christie

Jessie Louise Christie, 79, died July 23, 2011, in Ontario at St. Alphonus Hospital.

A private graveside service was held at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Jessie Suitter Christie was born on Nov. 20, 1931, at Durkee. She grew up on the ranch of her parents, Homer and Daisy Suitter.

At age 15, she fell in love with 21-year-old, Walt Clark, of nearby Rye Valley. They were married in 1947.

By the time Jessie was 21 they had four children: Viola, Wade, Vivian and Randy. After the death of Vivian in 1952, Jessie left Walt and moved to Salem.

After a later move to Reno, Nev., she married Clarence Roderick with whom she had two sons: Robert and Vernon.

In 1965 she married Gene Wacaster and became a loving mother to his three children: Jeannie, Cheryl, and Jimmy. While living as an Air Force family they traveled to Arkansas, Japan, and Kansas.

In 1972 Jessie had a cerebral aneurism. She had two brain surgeries and overcame many obstacles to get back to health. Her doctors called her their “miracle patient,” her family said. Jessie convalesced with the help of her parents as she moved back to their ranch to recover.

In 1974 she moved to Baker City.  She married Dennis Butterfield in 1983 and after being widowed she married Bill Christie in 1990.

In 2006 she and Bill moved to Dorian Place Assisted Living at Ontario to be near her daughter. Bill died in 2008.

Jessie’s total trust and faith in Jesus Christ her Lord and Savior dominated her life, her family said. She constantly prayed for her children and grandchildren.

“She faced life with courage and a healthy dose of laughter. She was always the optimist and believed the very best about people,” family members said.

Survivors include her children, Viola Fisher (Ian) of Ontario, Wade Clark (Paula) of Ethridge, Tenn., Robert Roderick (Patty) of Bremerton, Wash., and Vernon Roderick (Sandy) of Carthage, Mo.; and grandchildren and great-grandchildren all the way from Florida to New Jersery to Nevada and Oregon.

She was proceeded in death by her parents, Homer and Daisy Suitter; her brothers, Lyle Suitter and Earl Suitter; her daughter, Vivian Clark; a son, Randy Clark; and granddaughter, Lisa Fisher.

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