Obituaries for Dec. 12, 2012

By Baker City Herald December 12, 2012 10:02 am

Wanda Kaser

Part-time Granite resident, 1933-2012

Wanda May Kaser, 79, who for the past 20 years had traveled with her husband, Sam, back and forth to their homes at Granite, Hines and Soldotna, Alaska, died Nov. 30, 2012.

There will be a celebration of her life at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at the Moose Lodge in Redmond. 

Wanda was born on May 30, 1933, the only child of William and Virginia Miethke. She grew up at Evans Valley and attended school at Silverton where she was a drum majorette for the high school band.

She married her high school sweetheart, Sam Kaser, on June 30, 1951. He was stationed at Tongue Point Naval Air Station in Astoria.

After serving in the U.S. Navy, the family moved to Corvallis in 1953. Sam went to college while Wanda stayed home to raise four children.

After college, the family moved to Coos Bay. Wanda worked as a nurse’s aid. While visiting her father at Orick, Calif., Wanda sang with Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline.

The family moved to Burns in the fall of 1960. Wanda worked as a dispatcher for the Burns Police Department. While at Burns, Wanda received her student pilot’s license and soloed in their 1949 Aronca Champ aircraft.

She was an active member of the Harney County Women’s Horse Club.

In 1975, after all the children were off to college or the military, Sam and Wanda moved to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. They both worked for the Arabian American Oil Co.

During the next eight years they visited Switzerland, Germany, England, Africa, Thailand, India, Spain, Holland, The Philippines and Alaska.

In 1983, Wanda and Sam moved to Winnemucca, Nev., for a short time before making their home at Soldotna, Alaska.

In 1990, Wanda purchased a franchise to market JC Penney’s domestic goods overruns. She operated JD’s Factory Outlet at Burns for two years. Wanda loved people and enjoyed working as a waitress and a bartender.

In 2004, the Kasers purchased a home at Hines to be closer to their family.

Wanda loved to travel. She also enjoyed going to rodeos, playing bingo, oil painting, digging clams and fishing. 

She was an avid crafter and learned many different methods of crafting. She blessed her family and friends with her handiwork. She had a large collection of stuffed animals. Gorillas were her favorite.

Wanda was a life member of many charitable organizations such as the American Legion Auxiliary, Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary, AMVETS, the Eagles Lodge, Moose International, Eastern Star, Ladies of the Shrine and the Lady Elks.

She was preceded in death by her son, Danny Kaser.

Survivors include her husband of 61 years, Sam Kaser; sons and daughters-in-law, Kurt and Susan Kaser of Redmond and Dusty and Connie Kaser of Bend; daughter and son-in-law, Melodi and Louie Molt of Burns; five grandchildren and 12 great-granddaughters.

Florinda Thomas

Formerly of Elgin, 1956-2012

Florinda Ray Thomas, 56, a former Elgin resident, died in her sleep on Nov. 15, 2012, at her home in Spanaway, Wash.

Her funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, at the Elgin Nazarene Church.

She was born on July 15, 1956, in the 11th Evacuation Hospital at Sendei, Japan, to Alvie Raymond Estes and Haruko Kataoka Estes. Linda came to the United States through Seattle,Wash., when she was 3 months old, traveling with her mother to start a life as part of a soldier’s family. 

Linda grew up in California, Colorado, Idaho and eventually at Elgin. She had two siblings, Sherill Deleno “Butch” Estes and Sheila Kay Estes. As a child, Linda helped her mother, Haruko, raise her brother and sister. 

Linda loved school, track and field, basketball, volleyball and most of all, music. She was a very accomplished singer and musician, receiving the highest award for most outstanding in both choir and band combined in 1975. 

Linda played the flute and the piccolo in the Elgin High School band and was allowed to participate with the high school band even when she was still in grade school.

When Linda graduated from High school in 1975 she and Jess were already accomplished dancers and working at the local roller rink. She also worked as a nurse’s aid at the La Grande nursing home.

Linda attended Eastern Oregon State College (now Eastern Oregon University at La Grande) on a music scholarship, but when times became hard she had to give up her dream and Linda never got to complete her schooling to become a music teacher.

In 1982, Linda married her childhood sweetheart, Jess, who had already enlisted in the U.S. Army and made the rank of E-4. Linda and Jess were married on March 27 at the Nazarene Church in Elgin. Linda followed Jess all over the country and world as an Army wife with their two daughters, Brandi Haruko Thomas and Holly Satchiko Thomas Alfonso. 

As an Army family they traveled to Kansas, Germany and Texas. They spent 13 of their 21 years at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash.

Florinda Thomas

Formerly of Elgin, 1956-2012

Linda had such a great heart that when her sister, Sheila, fell on hard times and needed someone to care for her sons, she and Jess took in the boys, Galen Joseph Estes and Justin Metchio Estes, and raised them as their own. Then in later years, when Linda and Jess would have had time to themselves, once again they took in their grandnephew, Daemonn Ethen Ray Brannon, to raise as their own son.

Linda and Jess celebrated 30 years of happiness together. There were never two people more in love, family members said.

Survivors include her husband, Jess Milo Thomas; two daughters, Brandi Thomas and Holly Alfonso and her husband Justin Alfonso; grandchildren, Brooke Alfonso and Elizabeth Alfonso; and her second family members, Galen and Justin Estes and Daemonn Brannon; Linda touched many hearts in the square dance community and will be missed in many squares. 

In lieu of flowers, a trust find for Daemonn Brannon has been set up at the Elgin branch of US Bank.

Lula Bobo

Baker City, 1918-2012

Lula E. Bobo, 94, of Baker City, died Dec. 9, 2012, at her home. There will be a private family funeral at 10 a.m. Saturday at Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St. Interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery.

 Lula was born on June 28, 1918, at Stidham, Okla., to William and Nancy Canady. She attended Emeryville High School in California through the ninth grade. 

She married James Henry Bobo on July 1, 1934. James and Lula were both only 16 at the time so in order to be married they had to be in international waters three miles off the coast of California.

 Lula worked as a homemaker. She loved keeping her yard and flowers beautiful and going for rides to see the wildlife.

She was preceded in death by both her parents; her husband, James H. Bobo; her daughter, Betty Ann Spicer; and grandson John Spicer.

Survivors include her son, David W. Bobo, and his wife, Carol, of Baker City; son, James H. Bobo Jr. of Baker City; grandchildren, Deborah Crumpler, James H. Bobo III, Lynda D. Amundson, Keith A. Bobo, David M. Bobo, Christi Ann Linscott, Kathryn L. Pointer, Michelle L. Remien, Stephanie J. Bobo, Marie Landis, Deborah, Christi, and Stephanie; 24 great-grandchildren and many great-great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society through Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.