Obituaries for Feb. 15, 2012

By Baker City Herald February 16, 2012 12:59 pm

'Woody' Surber

Ellwood "Woody" Surber, 79, died peacefully Feb. 13, 2012, from complications associated with a long fight with diabetes.  He was at his home surrounded by his loving family.

 Visitations will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Harvest Church, 3720 Birch St. The service will begin at 2 p.m. at the church. Interment with military honors will be at Mount Hope Cemetery. Friends are invited to join the family afterward for a reception at the Harvest Church Fellowship Hall.

Woody was born on May 30, 1932, at Enterprise to Richard and Edith Wilson Surber. He was the 11th of 13 children.  He attended Enterprise schools, joined the Army Reserve in 1950, and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in November 1951. 

He worked in security police and law enforcement for more than 20 years, retiring as a technical sergeant in 1972.  Woody served his country in various locations, including Guam, Japan, the Philippines, Hawaii, Goose Air Base, Labrador, in northeastern Canada, and several tours at locations in Montana.

Woody met Alice Wick from Columbus, N.D., while he was assigned at Fortuna Air Force Station, Mont. They were married on July 10, 1955, and had four sons.

Sgt. Surber was extremely proud of his military career. His knowledge of both military and civil law led  to assignments supporting the Air Force Office of Special Investigations working with the FBI on drug enforcement operations and working for the Office of the Inspector General.  At Goose Air Force Base, he also worked as the Air Force liaison with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Upon retirement from the Air Force, Woody moved to Baker City and worked for Lew Bros. Tires and Basche-Sage Hardware. He also managed Don's Freeway 76 Station and the Texaco Food Mart until his retirement due to an accident on the job. 

Woody was well-known for his work ethic and his honesty.  He was a hard-working man whose love of God, country, and family was always evident, family members said. Woody also loved playing jokes on others and there were always the water fights at family get-togethers.  He will be missed by many as a favorite grandpa, uncle and friend, his family said. 

Survivors include his wife, Alice; and sons, Keith (Carolyn) of Silver Spring, Md., Steven (Marilyn) of Medical Lake, Wash., Eldon (Rochelle) of Baker City, Michael (Gretchen) of Monmouth and a special family member who was like a son, Bernard Thomas of Issaquah, Wash.; sisters, Esther Evans of Baker City and Rosemary (Lloyd) LeSollen of The Dalles; nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Oregon Diabetes Foundation through Tami's Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 541, Halfway, OR 97834.