Obituaries for July 15, 2013

By Baker City Herald July 15, 2013 09:35 am

William Tebeau

Formerly Baker City, 1925-2013

William Henry “Bill” Tebeau, 87, of Salem, a Baker City native, died July 5, 2013, surrounded by his loving family. 

The family welcomes all in celebrating Bill’s life on Saturday, July 20 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Center 50+, 2615 Portland Road NE in Salem. Arrangements are by Howell Edwards Doerksen Funeral Directors. To make online condolences visit

Bill was born on Nov. 23, 1925, at Baker to Henry and Frances Tebeau. Bill was a history maker. He exuded both humility and pride when reminiscing about his life and achievements. At age 12, he joined the Boy Scouts and worked his way up to the Eagle Scout designation and the Order of the Arrow. In 1943, Bill graduated from Baker High School, and was admitted to Oregon State College (later named Oregon State University). In June 1948 he became the first African American male student to graduate from Oregon State University, receiving his bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering.

He talked of a normal college experience in the 1940s, except for the less than a warm welcome when he checked in for his campus housing assignment. He had not indicated his race on his application, so as you can imagine, his arrival created quite a stir. Remember, this was nearly a decade before Oregon’s first fair-housing law. Deeds for many homes in Corvallis still contained clauses that restricted occupancy to Caucasians, unless employed as servants.

Bill was told by the college Dean of Men that the school could not accommodate him, and suggested he would be better off down the road at the University of Oregon. Bill was not about to budge. A wonderful woman who ran a boarding house for many of the school’s foreign students found him a job with the fraternity next door, where Bill tended the furnace in exchange for a room in the basement. He earned his meals by helping in the kitchen, and worked summers at a bottling company. It was not easy attending school during a time of racial unrest, but Bill had nothing negative to say about his experience. During his college career, Bill was a member of Pi Mu Epsilon, an organization for promoting math proficiency. He also belonged to Alpha Phi Omega, the national college fraternity for those who had been involved in Boy Scouts.  

After college, Bill returned to Baker and studied on his own for his license as a civil engineer, during which time he met his lovely wife, Genevieve. Bill was hired by the Oregon State Highway Department in Baker (later renamed the Oregon Department of Transportation) in November 1948, and upon receipt of his civil engineering license, was promoted within the Department, and moved the family to Salem in 1956. Bill did everything from construction, surveying, planning, hydraulics, and highway/bridge design in his 36-year career, retiring in 1984, leaving an exceptional impact on the Department.

In a 1988 article, the director of the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) said that Bill was a cornerstone for the planning and research of Oregon’s highway construction and improvement programs and was responsible for mapping Oregon’s cities, counties and urban areas. He also said that Bill had more influence on the education, personal development, and mentorship of ODOT employees than any other individual he could think of.  Also, a deputy director at ODOT is quoted in a 2008 article that Bill was a great resource for any type of question you had – he was an endless volume of information and had tremendous engineering knowledge. Bill was also a part-time engineering instructor at Chemeketa Community College beginning in 1958 and continuing after retirement from ODOT. Through this vehicle, he had the pleasure of teaching math, economics, thermal dynamics, physics, chemistry, engineering and other courses to many ODOT employees who were studying for engineering degrees.  

Bill worked with the Association of Engineering Employees to write a study guide for state examinations for engineering aide and highway engineering positions. In 1970, he was granted Teacher of the Year for his part-time work as an instructor at Chemeketa. Bill also had the honor of receiving Employee of the Year by the Oregon State Employee’s Association in 1971, and during that same period he received a Communication and Leadership award from Toastmasters International, District 7, based on his community achievements.

His commitment to education did not stop at ODOT or Chemeketa. He was involved in a program at Jefferson High School in Portland that recruited high school seniors and prepared them to pass the engineering aide exam. Bill spoke proudly about his work and contributions as an engineer for ODOT and as an instructor at Chemeketa.  

Bill’s interests ranged beyond the technical. The product of a musical family, he was a musician of some accomplishment himself, playing violin in his early years, and then the trumpet in high school. When he got to Corvallis, he played trumpet for both the Oregon State Band and for a studio band at the college’s radio station, KOAC. He and his friends in Baker formed a dance band that toured Eastern Oregon, and during World War II, he and a close friend played Taps for fallen soldiers. While working in Baker at the Highway Department, he helped set up the Boy Scout Drum and Bugle Corps. Later, he worked with the Flamingo Drum and Bugle Corps in Salem.   

More recently in 2008, Bill was honored by the Oregon Northwest Black Pioneers in an exhibit at the Salem Multicultural Institute celebrating Black History Month. This exhibit, titled “Stories From a Peculiar Paradise,” highlighted the lives of six Black men who made their marks in Oregon history. On Jan. 30, 2008, during the exhibit reception, in addition to being one of the six men highlighted, he became the first recipient of the Oregon Northwest Black Pioneers Trailblazer Award that honors people of African American heritage who have blazed a trail for others being a pioneering first by excelling in their field, and an example of courage, determination, resilience and service. Also, Bill was featured in a book written and published by the Oregon Northwest Black Pioneers, titled “Perserverance.” 

This book chronicles African American citizens of Oregon’s Marion and Polk counties that have moved the communities in which they lived ever forward toward full acceptance and recognition of their contributions. 

Bill’s most recent honor was being inducted into the Oregon State University Engineering Hall of Fame. He received the College of Engineering Oregon Stater Award on Feb. 26, 2010.  This award honors OSU graduates who have made sustained and meritorious engineering and/or managerial contributions throughout their careers.

God gave many gifts to Bill. He is loved and adored beyond belief by his wonderful family and will be remembered by his soft-spoken voice and quiet, but huge presence.  Pride overflows from his family for his trailblazing and positive example of living a life with humility and courage. Whenever anyone left his home after visiting, he would always say to them “Make it a great day.” Bill loved to watch the TV Land cable channel. His favorite shows included “I Love Lucy,” “Andy Griffith,” “Gunsmoke,” “Bonanza,” “Star Trek” and “The Cosby Show.” He loved all John Wayne movies, “Sister Act 2,” “Snowdogs” and both “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Wiz.”  You could find him watching these movies every Friday and Saturday night with his family. 

Bill is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Genevieve, and seven adoring children: Nancy, Camille, Cherilyn, Deni (William), Janine (Roland), Gale (Michael), and David (Diane). He had 13 grandchildren: Randy, Charlotte, David, Kimberly, Stacie, Janie, Mya, David Jr., Kahreen, Morgan, Aaron, Genevieve and Josiah; and 12 great-grandchildren: David, Allan, Kaila, Madison, Nicole, Randy Jr., Eliscionne, Cherelle, Jennifer, Anthony, Demitrius, and Tija. He also had eight great-great-grandchildren.   

He was preceded in death by his father, Henry William Tebeau, his mother, Frances Binor, and his brother. Edwin Tebeau.  

Bill’s family would like to thank the Oregon Health Sciences University for the care they gave to our daddy and the support they gave to us.

Teresa Schoen

Formerly Baker City, 1959-2013

Teresa Sue Schoen, “Lil Bit,” 53, died July 10, 2013, at a Boise hospital due to an extended illness.

A Celebration of Life service will be Wednesday, July 17 at 11 a.m. at the Union Baptist Church.

Teresa was born on Nov. 12, 1959, at La Grande to Russell and Patricia (McDowell) Freels of Elgin. She attended Elgin Elementary and Elgin High School. Teresa married Mike Vernholm and later was divorced. Ronnie Matthews was her longtime companion before she met and married Terry Schoen.

 Teresa worked as a bartender and manager at several different establishments, including Stockmans and Baker City VFW.  She enjoyed reading, songwriting and poetry, gardening, playing pool and cribbage. Teresa was a member of the Union Baptist Church and the Baker City VFW. She had unbelievable strength in the face of insurmountable odds.

Teresa will always be remembered as the world’s greatest mom, aunt and sister.

 She is survived by her husband, Terry, and daughter, Krishna Vaughn; her sisters, Helen Moore and her spouse, David, of Union, and Wanda Harvey and her spouse, Wade, of Elgin; her brothers, Clay Freels of Elgin, and Tom Freels and his spouse, Susan, of Elgin; four grandchildren; six nieces and nephews; and her aunt and uncle, Bonnie and Reed Freels of Mt. Grove, Mo.

Teresa was preceded in death by her mother, Patricia.

 In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., La Grande, OR 97850 to help the family with funeral expenses.

Online condolences to the family may be made at

Michael Hendrick

Baker City, 1958-2013

Michael George Hendrick, 54, of Baker City died suddenly on July 12, 2013, during surgery at St. Alphonsus Hospital in Boise. 

A Celebration of Life will be Thursday, July 18 at 10 a.m. at the New Bridge Nazarene Church in New Bridge, three miles north of Richland. This will be followed by a graveside service at the Eagle Valley Cemetery in Richland, with a reception immediately following at Eagle Valley Park in Richland. 

Michael was born on Aug. 21, 1958, at Baker City to Bill and Beverly Hendrick. He lived in Lakeview for many years where he graduated from Lakeview High School, worked, and had a cabinet shop.

Michael loved to work with all kinds of wood and could build anything. He loved a good story and loved to listen to tall tales, and maybe tell a few! His laugh was soul-felt and infectious.

He went to Boise State University in 2004 and 2005 and majored in art. It was during this time he reconnected with his childhood sweetheart, Diane Culbertson, and they married on June 29, 2005. Michael and his beloved wife moved to Baker City where he had several small businesses. His favorite was operating a food cart where he specialized in smoked and barbecued meats and his own “secret sauces” for his salads and sandwiches. Michael and Diane also attended the Calvary Baptist Church in Baker.

He is survived by his wife, Diane, and stepchildren Emily and James; his mother, Beverly Hendrick; his sister, Sherie Dills and her husband; her brother, Larry and his wife; his niece, Jody Minker and family, and niece, Ashley Givens and family.

Michael was preceded in death by his father, Bill Hendrick.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Mike’s honor can be made to the Baker City Food Bank or Rachel Pregnancy Center through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home. P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.