Obituaries for Sept. 17, 2012

By Baker City Herald September 17, 2012 10:09 am

‘Billie’ De Grofft

Baker City, 1923-2012

Betty Jean “Billie” De Grofft, 89, of Joseph, died June 12, 2012, at Enterprise in the Wallowa Valley Care Center, where she had lived for the past month and a half.

Her funeral will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at the United Methodist Church. There will be a celebration of her life from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Masonic Hall in Joseph. Her ashes will be scattered by family members Sunday in Baker County.

She was born on March 22, 1923, at Baker City to Daniel Price and Pear Thena Long Thrasher.

Billie was raised in the Baker Valley and was a 1942 Baker High School graduate.

During high school and after, she worked at the theater and at the J.C. Penney store in Baker City.

Billie’s future husband Hollis De Grofft, moved to Baker County in 1942 to manage a ranch at Auburn for his dad. Billie and Hollis met because of a dare from a mutual friend. The friend dared Hollis to ask Billie out on a date.

He asked her and they were married on May 5, 1944. They lived on the Auburn ranch until the spring of 1948.

Two of their three children were born at Baker City: Darrel was born in June 1945; and Lynda in October 1947. The family then moved to Wallowa where they were partners in a ranch with Holllis’s parents and his brother and sister-in-law.

Their third and last child, Duane, was born in Wallowa County in December 1948. Billie worked as a housewife and mother until the spring of 1956 when the ranch was sold.

In the fall of 1956, Hollis and Billie bought a hardware store in La Grande and Billie helped out in the store part time. The hardware store was sold in the spring of 1961 and the family moved back to wallowa County to Joseph where Billie was once again a housewife and mom before taking a part-time job at Paul’s Sports Corral.

In the late winter of 1965, the folks took a job of managing the Summit Creek Ranch on upper Imnaha where he worked until 1973. During this time, the “drive around the loop” was a popular Sunday drive for the local friends and family, and they always seemed to arrive about lunchtime at the ranch and Billie always seemed to have plenty, family members said.

She usually served barbecued chicken (at least four or five), a tossed salad and garlic bread — enough to feed whoever showed up.

Billie and Hollis lived at Joseph from 1973 to 1977 when they moved to High River, Alberta, Canada, for 20 years. During this time, Billie worked at Ruby’s dress shop in High River part time and was an organizer of the local coffee group.

The couple moved back to the states in July 1997 to Joseph, just before Chief Joseph Days. Billie enjoyed the excitement of Chief Joseph Days and was the driving force of a picnic at their house every year after the parade.

Billie was baptized on Feb. 25, 1945, at the Methodist parsonage and was a member of the United Methodist Church. She also was a 50-plus-year member of the Order of Eastern Star.

Her interests also included traveling, camping (picking huckleberries), growing flowers, volunteering (dance chaperone and various jobs at Chief Joseph Days), cooking and recipe swapping and knitting. She made many beautiful afghans, outfits and sweaters during her lifetime.

Survivors include her children: Dr. Darrel De Grofft (Marty) of Fort Collins, Colo., Lynda (De Grofft) Kooch (Reid) of Enterprise and Duane De Grofft (Patti) of Pendleton; grandchildren: Michelle (Kooch) Capps (Todd, David Kooch, Dan Kooch (April), Shari (De Grofft) Powell (Darin), Shaw De Grofft (Dena), Ryan De Grofft (Jen) and Tiah De Grofft; 11 great-grandchildren; five nieces and one nephew; and a brother-in-law and sister-in-law.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Hollis; her parents; here sister, Juanita; and brother-in-law, John Osborn Sr.

Memorial contributions may be made to the OHSU Cancer Research Fund through OES or to a charity of one’s choice. Those contributing to the cancer fund are asked to make checks to Joseph’s Valley Chapter, No. 50, and send them to Barbara Roberts, 806 W. Greenwood, Enterprise, OR 97828.

Frank Michaels

Baker City, 1946-2012

Frank John “The Flyer” Michaels, 65, of North Powder, died Sept. 13, 2012, at a Boise medical center.

His funeral will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the North Powder Methodist Church.

Frank was born on Dec. 9, 1946, at La Grande to Lewis Albert and Evelyn Pearl Collins Michael. He was raised educated at La Grande and Cove.

Frank and Luella “Susie” Soles were married on April 11, 1967, at Weiser, Idaho.

Frank was a truck driver, operating both long-haul and log trucks.

He was a life member of the NRA and he participated in CB clubs earlier in his life. He enjoyed fishing, hunting and gun collecting. He loved spending time with his grandchildren.

Survivors include his wife of 45 years, Luella “Susie” Michaels of North Powder; children, Louie Michaels and his wife, Susan, of Pilot Rock, Dee Dee Wise of La Grande, Jessie Wilson and her husband, Jason, of La Grande; sister, Chris Funk of Pendleton; brother, Lewie Michael and his wife, Leslie, of La Grande; grandchildren, Anthony Jacoby, Patrick Michaels, Katie Flowers, Craig Michaels, Kenny Michaels, Michael Wilson, Nora Wilson, Jordan Wilson, Alisha Wilson, Nicholas Wise and Alexander Wise; great-grandchildren, Gentry Flowers, Lacey Sue Flowers, Jasmin Flowers, Dakota Michaels, Noah Michaels, Konner Michaels, Collin Michaels and Xavier Michaels; and other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and a very special grandmother, Jessie Etta Michael.

Friends and family can see complete obituary, sign the guest book or leave a condolence at

Memorial contributions may be made to the Frank Michaels Memorial Fund through Daniels-Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center, Seventh Street, in La Grande.