Obituaries for Oct. 24, 2012

By Baker City Herald October 24, 2012 01:06 pm

Donna Densley

Baker City, 1923-2012

Donna Densley, 89, of Baker City, died on October 18, 2012 at St. Alphonsus Hospital in Baker City. 

Her funeral will be held in the warmth and beauty of spring, family members said.

Donna J. Densley was born at home in Twin Falls, Idaho, on May 22,1923, to Burton and Edith Dunn. She was just 18 months younger than her only sibling, Mary Jane.

Her father farmed and her mother was an elementary school teacher. When her father decided teaching would be more profitable than farming, his quest for more education led the family from Idaho to Corvallis, where her parents attended and graduated from Oregon Agricultural College.

Donna attended first grade at Corvallis; then, after her parents’ graduation, the family moved to Shedd where her father was principal and her mother taught English and home economics.

She had fond memories of her grandmother living with them, cooking the meals and making wonderful chair beds in the kitchen when she or her sister were ill. Tap dancing and piano lessons were begun for both girls.

Three years later, her father’s profession dictated another move, this time to Woodburn. As those were the Depression years and two incomes for only one family was frowned upon, her mother did not teach. 

Donna enjoyed Woodburn except for the summers, picking berries eight hours a day and receiving just $1.

The next move was to Coquille, where Donna attended and graduated from high school. Always a “doer” and not a “sitter,” playing trombone in the marching band and cheerleading were just two of her extracurricular activities. After school hours she worked, first at a café then a creamery.

Oregon State was the natural choice for college and that was where she met Dave.

World War II had begun; they were married in December 1943, and soon after Dave was in Europe with the 89th Division. Donna lived in Eugene with her mother. 

Their daughter was born in 1945. In April 1946, Dave returned, completed his college degree and the move was made to his hometown of Richland.

Besides being a homemaker, who in the summer prepared daily meals for the hay crew and then canned, she took leadership roles in 4-H, PTA, CowBelles and Eastern Star. She played bridge, sewed, knitted, crocheted and took pleasure in entertaining family and friends. 

Later for a time, she volunteered as an aide at Richland Elementary and knitted caps to be given to newborns at the hospital.

After Dave’s heart surgery in 1987, life changed from a focus on ranching to a focus on golf. She loved it and the people involved. 

In 1989 she made a hole-in-one. Wintertime meant golfing trips to southern California, Nevada and Utah. In 1996, the ranch was sold and they moved next to their dearly loved spot next to the golf course.

For years, until no longer physically active, Dave and Donna attended every Pine-Eagle High School football and basketball game and music program.

She fiercely loved their little dachshund, and he was devoted to her. She referred to him as her best friend in the whole world.

Donna was always busy, gregarious, full of fun, a joy to be with, small in stature, big on spunk, family members said. She had a passion for chocolate, clothing, purses, shoes, hankies, dancing, ’40s and ’50s big band music, and was wicked with a can of spray paint. For 10 years, dementia slowly stole all of her joys of life except her love of chocolate, music and dance.

The family expressed “many thank yous and blessings upon the dear friends who made more than a special effort on Wednesday evenings to continue to come to Dave and Donna’s home.” They also expressed their gratitude to the staffs of Heart ‘n’ Home, Ashley Manor and St. Alphonsus for their professional and compassionate care. 

“You are appreciated more than words can express.”

Survivors include her husband, David; her daughter and son-in-law, Janice and Tim Heater; two grandsons; two great-grandsons (plus one soon-to-be great-grandson); and several nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

Floyd Duncan

Baker City, 1928-2012

Floyd Earl Duncan, 83, of Baker City died Oct. 21, 2012, at his home. 

His memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at First Presbyterian Church, 1995 Fourth St.

 Floyd Earl Duncan was born to Doris Melville Duncan and Herman Duncan on Dec. 30, 1928, at San Diego. He joined his older sister, Evelyn, and a few years later his brother, Clifford, was born.

 Floyd was always a hard worker; he learned by example and through necessity. A well-known motto that Floyd lived by was, “If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right!” He gave quality work and expected the same in return, family members said. 

 In 1948, he married his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth “Betty” Aidem. He managed the La Puente Redi-Mix Plant near their Southern California home. 

The Duncans moved with their two daughters, Nancy and Linda, to the remote hills of northern California to work on a ranch in preparation for their dream of owning a ranch themselves. This was a very happy 18 months when Linda and Nancy were presented with their first horse, “good old Joe,” and attended a one-room, one-teacher schoolhouse, complete with eight grades and 16 students.

 After searching for property during this period, Floyd and Betty turned to Baker, Ore., where Floyd long remembered the Blue Mountains and the fertile Baker Valley from a high school graduation trip. 

They bought the “old Satterburg” place on Pocahontas Road west of Baker City in 1960, where they began ranch life in earnest. They later sold this property to purchase the nearby “Ebell” ranch, which offered more acreage and better water rights. The ranch was sold in the late 1970s, but Floyd and Betty maintained their home on a small acreage on the ranch.

 Always intrigued with cars and machinery, Floyd was a fine mechanic. After ranching, the Duncans bought a semi-truck. 

Floyd hauled products for P&E Distributing and other firms. He loved to drive and put on a lot of miles over the next several years between Southern California and his beloved Baker County. 

Always a big adventure, his grandsons were often invited to ride along with their grandpa. When the boys got old enough, he sometimes let them off at Disneyland, building a lifetime of memories with his grandchildren.

 Floyd could also famously be seen in many car shows with his unique one-owner 1950 Dodge one-ton truck that he and Betty purchased and drove home from Detroit in 1950.

After its long service followed by decades of neglect, Floyd rebuilt the truck from the axles up and enjoyed car shows and tinkering with his truck for many years. He is the recipient of too many trophies and awards to count.

 Floyd was presented with the Legacy Man of the Year Award by the Baker County Chamber of Commerce in 2004. He lived naturally by the Golden Rule and was known by all as a kind and giving man who went out of his way to make life a bit easier for others, especially as friends aged and needed extra help, family members said.

He famously plowed the snowy roads of his neighbors, without any expectation of payment, during the winters for many, many years. He said “That’s just what good neighbors do.”

Through much hard work, Floyd and Betty achieved their goal of providing their daughters with storybook childhoods. 

A man of few words, Floyd’s friends and family will miss his easy smile and good-natured manner. He always said he was a lucky man — he even had a plaque attached on the front grill of his semi-truck that displayed the words: “Lucky Dunk.”

“He lived a good life; he knew how to work hard and played with the same enthusiasm; he enjoyed the bounty of profession and friendships that he originally sought when making Baker County his home,” family members said.

Survivors include his wife, Betty (known to all the grandchildren as “Cutie Pie, a moniker given her by Floyd) his partner in life for 64 years; his daughters, Nancy Duncan Berdahl (Alfred Berdahl) and Linda Wooters (Michael Wooters); grandsons, Travis, Trenton (Carrie), and Trevor (Alynn) Jones and Brandon and Tyson Wooters; eight great-grandchildren: Athena Wooters, Keath, Kaden, Elliyah and Kyrick Jones and Alexander, Elizabeth “Beth” and Amelia Jones.

 In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to a charity of one’s choice through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.

Bob’ Balderston

Baker City, 1924-2012

Robert W. “Bob” Balderston, 88, of Baker City, died Oct. 1, 2012, at St. Alphonsus Care Center in Baker City.

His memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Friday at Coles Tribute Center. There will be a reception afterward at Coles Tribute Center. Private interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Bob was born on Nov. 10, 1924, at Philadelphia. He was the younger of two sons of Canby C. and Gertrude Emery Balderston.

Bob received his early education at Westtown School in Westtown, Pa., graduating in 1942.

As a Quaker, Bob had conscientious scruples against bearing arms. He was 18 when he and his brother, Fred, volunteered with the American Tield Service as ambulance drivers in September of 1942. They sailed to the Middle East with the AFS Unit Middle East 37 in January of 1943.

They both served with the British 8th and 9th Armies in the Middle East, North Africa, Italy and Austria in 1943-45. Bob returned to the states in 1945.

After his service, he attended the University of Colorado where he met the love of his life, Dorothea Bea “Dode” Ellingson. They were married in September 1950 and moved to Unity where bob assisted in managing the Ellingson Lumber Co. sawmill. They remained active in the operation, moving to Baker City in 1955.

In 1958, Bob and Dode moved to Englewood, Colo., where Bob continued his career. He was a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity and remained an active supporter of Westtown School.

Although they had no children, Bob was a favorite uncle of his many nieces and nephews. Bob and Dode’s home at Englewood was always a welcome stop for visits, family members said.

The couple were also avid boosters of the Denver University hockey team and provided part-time employment and support for many of the players.

He was preceded in death by his mother, father and brother.

Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Dode; and many nieces, nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews.

June Wilson


June Wilson, 89, a former Richland resident, died the first part of October at Chewelah, Wash.

She was raised in Wyoming. During her life, she worked for Sears as a home interior decorator. In the 1950s, June and Gilbert ran the Chevron Station at Richland after her father’s death. When she and Gilbert retired, they moved back to Richland until their move to Washington to be closer to their children. 

Survivors include her husband of 70 years, Gilbert; and their three children, Butch, Diane and Dawn all of Washington; and her sister, Jewel Koopman of La Grande. 

Judy McLeod

Baker City, 1941-2012

Judy Nadine McLeod, 71, of Baker City, died Oct. 21, 2012, at her home surrounded by her family. 

In the final days of her life, she was comforted to know all four of her children and many grandchildren were at her bedside.

Visitations will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St. 

Her memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Friday at the Baker City Christian Church, 675 Highway 7. Interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery. There will be a reception afterward at the McLeod residence where Judy will be celebrated and remembered for the beauty, life, and laughter she brought us all, family members said. 

“There is a big empty space in our hearts that can never be filled and we want you back, Mama,” her family said.

Her primary caregivers, her loving and dedicated husband, Ron, as well as her equally dedicated daughter, Sonya, were always at her side.

Judy was born on Sept. 15, 1941, at Soledad, Calif., to Warren and Vestie Baker. Her fondest childhood memories were of her life in Jordan Valley, and the aroma of fresh-baked bread made by her Grandma Boatman.

When Judy was 18, she married and soon had four children. Her first husband disappeared and for several years she courageously supported her family on her own.

In 1970, Judy met the love of her life, her pillar-of-support, her constant companion, Ron McLeod. They soon married and without hesitation, Ron legally adopted her “brood of wild banshees.” The man still smiles today.

Judy had many successful careers: She began in the medical industry as a certified nurses assistant at Natividad Medical Center.

She also worked as a meat wrapper for Safeway, a bakery deli manager for Lucky Stores, and for a period of five years, she operated a day care in her home. 

Her life’s passion was rescuing and caring for all animals. Throughout her life, and in every capacity, Judy helped those less fortunate. 

Many people give testament that they would not be alive today if it were not for the love and support Judy unselfishly provided.

Judy was also an extremely gifted artist. Given any image, Judy could replicate exactly what she saw while simultaneously giving the image a life it lacked before her touch. 

Whether Judy had created another life-like portrait done with charcoals or painted another beautiful still-life, all were awed by her talents. It wasn’t an uncommon occurrence to walk into Judy’s home and listen to her family argue over which one of Judy’s paintings they would be allowed to take home with them.

Survivors include her loving husband of 42 years, Ronald S. McLeod of Baker City; her four children, Warren McLeod (Virginia), Beth Canales, Ronald S. McLeod Jr., (April — life partner), Sonya Delatorre (Julian), as well as Diana Monzo-(Padilla); grandchildren, Amber, Cody, Devin, Crystal, Tori, Melissa, Kayla, Tonya, Juliana, Kenny, Jett and Kaitlin; great-grandchildren, Kayden, Averi, Mile, Lillian, and Makayla; siblings, Angie Twyman and Earl “Buzzy” Baker; extended grandchildren; some ofher closest friends, Carla McDonald, Barbara Claxton, Joyce Beauther, Judy Clark, and Virginia Warsha; and pets, Champ, Coco, Brownie, Snow, Baby and Peek-a-boo.

The family expressed its appreciation to these people for the love, support, and care they provided to the family, and especially to Judy: Betty Shields, Bobby Neff, Ashley Dixon, Amber Waggoner, April Bennett, Seth P (hospice nurse), Dr. Schott, Dr. Lamb and many others.

Memorial contributions may be made to Best Friends, P.O. Box 183, Baker City, OR 97814.