Obituaries for Sept. 7, 2011

By Baker City Herald September 07, 2011 05:22 pm

Gordon Pennington
Gordon Jacob Pennington, 80, a lifelong Baker County resident, died Sept. 1, 2011, at his sister’s home in Medical Springs.
His funeral will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St. Visitations will be from 9 a.m. to noon at the center. Jerry Baxter of Medical Springs will conduct the services. Interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery.
Gordon was born on Aug. 2, 1931, at Baker City to William C. and Mildred Liddie Rohner Pennington. He was home schooled and went to work at a young age as a sheep shearer/ranch hand for various ranches throughout Baker County.
This was his lifelong profession, where he enjoyed the many friendships that were made during his life. 
He was married to Pat Waelty. The couple later divorced. They had two daughters: Christy and Judith.
Gordon loved hunting, reading and fishing. 
Survivors include his daughters,  Christy Lynn Whalen of Heppner  and Judith Irene Hall of Wright, Wyo.; his sister, Vera Grace Southard of Medical Springs; six grandchildren, two great-grandchildren; one grandson-in-law; and numerous nephews and nieces.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and brother-in-law, James Lane Southard.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association or Heart ‘n’ Home Hospice through Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place Street, Baker City, OR 97814.

Tommy Burchfield
Tommy Burchfield, 63, died Sept. 2, 2011, at Baker City.
No service is planned at this time.
Tommy was born on Aug. 17, 1948, at St. Vincent Hospital in Sherman, Texas, to Clarence Otto and Juanna Ruth Andrew Burchfield. He attended Sunset High School and graduated in 1966.
Tommy served in the U.S. Army for six years and gained the rank of Specialist 4. He went on to work as a mail carrier until he retired.
Tommy liked old cars and enjoyed going to car shows.
Survivors include his mother, Juanna Burchfield of Republic, Mo.; brother, Bobby Burchfield of Republic, Mo.; daughters, Lacy Girard, and her husband, George, Crissy Dunkel and her husband, William, and April Williamson and her husband, Rob, all of Baker City; and five grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his father, Clarence Burchfield; grandson, Timothy Burchfield; and sister, Donna Burchfield.
Memorial contributions may be made to assist with service expenses through Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

Robert Pifher
Robert A. Pifher, 93, died Sept. 4, 2011, at Baker City.
Visitations will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at Coles Tribute Center, 1490 Place St. The rosary will be said at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at St. Francis de Sales Cathedral, First and Church streets.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Cathedral. The Rev. Julian Cassar will celebrate the Mass. Interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery. Military honors will be conducted by the Oregon National Guard Honor Guard. 
Bob was born on June 13, 1918, at Madison, Wis., to Charles and Mary Raffety Pifher. The family lived in northern Minnesota.
After the death of his mother, Bob’s father and five of his children, Joe, Charlie, Fran, Bob and Mary, moved from northern Minnesota to Baker City in 1929. Bob was only 9 years old. Two of his sisters, Lucille and Magdaline, stayed behind.
When Bob was a very young man, he worked for the Meadow Brook Dairy as a dairy worker milking cows. After serving in the war, Bob started a masonry business called “Pifher Brothers.” He did amazing tile work and there are many houses in Baker City where his work still remains.
In 1983, at the age of 65 he retired, but continued to work until he was 78 years old.
Bob enjoyed fishing with his friend, Charlie Lewis, his brother, Charlie, and his grandchildren. He loved hunting with his nephews, Jack and Jim Pifher.
Bob spent a lot of time in his vegetable garden. He made the best pickles and beans in town, his family said.
When he had any spare time, one of his favorite pastimes was reading. In Bob’s early years, he was on a bowling league.
Bob was affiliated with several different clubs and groups, including the Elks Lodge and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He joined the Knights of Columbus in 1953 where he became a 3rd Degree Knight.
Bob also became a member of the American Legion. He was a member of the Catholic Church and attended every Sunday.
Bob accomplished many different feats while he was alive. He fought for his country in World War II. Bob received his GED in 1951 at the age of 33.
Ten years earlier, in 1941, he joined the U.S. Army as a private, specialist 4th class, technician 5th grade service, of the 757th Tank Battalion. He was stationed in North Africa and Italy.
Bob received several decorations and citations while serving his country: the African Middle Eastern Service Medal, American Defense Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Good Conduct Medal European and the Croix Deguerre Go  No. 127 HQ CEF 44 with Vermillion Star. Bob served until 1945, when he was honorably discharged.
Survivors include his many nieces, nephews and cousins; D.J. Riley; and his adopted family, Jim and Cheryl Penland, and their children, Tim Penland, Michele Best, Ina Penland, Emily Stagnaro, and Grace Penland; his adopted great-grandchildren, T.J. and Erica Penland, Wyatt and Maxx Best, Reeve and Remy Damschen and Gracelynn and Sammie Stagnaro. 
He was preceded in death by his father, mother, and eight siblings.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Francis de Sales Cathedral Food Bank through Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

‘Si’ Saunders
Elton Silas “Si” Saunders, 96, died Sept. 5, 2011, at Meadowbrook Place.
A celebration of his life will be scheduled later.
Si was born on Jan. 7, 1915, at Richland to Earnest and Catherine Orr Saunders. He attended Eugene High School and graduated in 1936 from Oregon State College (now Oregon State University at Corvallis).
In 1939, he married Jane Elizabeth Collett at Portland. For 35 years, Si was a logging manager at Ellingson Timber Co.
He was a member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, the Elks Lodge, the Masonic Lodge, the Oregon State Board of Forestry and the Western Wood Products Association Forestry Committee.
He served on the Baker City Planning Commission, the City Council and as acting mayor in John Day. He was also the president of the Southern Oregon Grading and Scaling Bureau.
Survivors include his sons, Alan, and his wife, Alice Saunders, of Banks; Ted and his wife, Martha Saunders, of Redmond; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Jane E. Saunders; and daughter, Carolyn Saunders.
Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel is in charge of arrangements.