Obituaries for Aug. 14, 2013

By Baker City Herald August 16, 2013 02:55 pm

Jim Breen

Baker City, 1947-2013

Franklin James “Jim” Breen, 66, of Baker City, died Aug. 5, 2013, at Evergreen Hospice Center in Kirkland, Wash.

A celebration of his life will be on Sunday, Aug. 25, at 4 p.m. at Quail Ridge Golf Course, 2801 Indiana Ave., in Baker City. His life will also be honored on Friday, Aug. 30, at the Methodist Church in Bridger, Mont., at 11 a.m. followed by a reception at the Bridger Senior Center. 

Franklin James Breen was born on March 6, 1947, at Sheridan, Wyo., the son of John E. “Jack” Breen and Mary Ann Breen Astrope. He attended grade school in Billings then moved to Bridger. He graduated from Bridger High School in 1967 as president of his class and also student body president. He attended Northern Montana College for two years before joining the Marine Corps Reserve.

Jim worked for 33 years in railway maintenance in Montana, Washington and Wyoming. In 2002 he retired after 14 years as road master for BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) and moved to Baker City in 2006. Jim shared his smile and great sense of humor readily, with a natural ability to remember and interact with people. 

Talented musically, he played the guitar and could often be heard singing or humming, especially country songs. He enjoyed fishing, hunting and camping throughout his life, but his first recreational love was golf, and he spent countless hours on various courses where he developed many valued friendships. Golf buddies often commented on “Breener’s” admirable swing. 

Jim’s first love and priority was always his family. High school sweethearts, he married Penny Steffan on July 25, 1970, and they were blessed with three children, Jami, Jennifer and Jay. He dearly loved his eight grandchildren and was proud to have one great-granddaughter.

Jim was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in March of 2013 and remained hopeful throughout the following months as he fought a valiant battle against the cancer. After sharing last goodbyes with his family and reassuring them of eternal life, Jim departed this life in the serene surroundings of Evergreen Hospice Care Center in Kirkland, Wash.

Survivors include his wife, Penny; his daughters, Jami (Eric) Wollan of Mount Lake Terrace, Wash., and Jennifer Luchi of Baker City; his son, Jay (Naomi) Breen of Sandy; his grandchildren: Michael and Macy Wollan, Alexus and Adrianna Luchi, Jahlee Troyer, Penelope, Mia and Cole Breen; his great-granddaughter, Carley Sheldon; his sisters, Judi (Gary) Taylor of Wheatland, Wyo., Shirley Miller of Fromberg, Mont., and Bonnie Scarbro of Great Falls, Mont.; his brother, Chris Johnson of Missoula, Mont. Jim was loved by numerous sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews as well.

He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Micki Sticka.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to a hospice service or charity of one’s choice.

Terri Bothwell

Formerly Baker City

Terri Bothwell, a 1977 graduate of Baker High School, died July 15, 2013, at her home in Portland after a courageous two-year battle with ovarian cancer.

She was with her mother and husband when she passed.

There will be a family gathering at the end of August. 

Terri attended Eastern Oregon University at La Grande, graduated from Bowling Green University in Ohio and received her master’s degree from Portland State. She taught school in Chicago and Los Angeles before returning to Portland to teach. 

She was assistant principal at several elementary schools in Gresham and was principal of Highland Elementary School when her cancer was diagnosed. She touched many children’s lives during her career.

Survivors include her husband, Gregg Pellegrini of Portland; her mother, Carole, of Gresham; her sister, Sherry, of Baker City; her niece, Alyssa, and nephew, Kyle; her brother, Christopher, and his wife, Maria, of Ecuador, and nephew, Jove; her beloved dog, Roscoe; and many friends and coworkers who have been by her side through all of this.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Ovarian Cancer Research at OHSU or the Oregon Humane Society in Portland.

Trudy Lien

Formerly Baker City, 1923-2013

Trudy Lien, 90, died on Aug. 11, 2013, in La Grande.

Her funeral will be at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 16, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ontario with Pastor James Aalgaard officiating. Her graveside service will be afterward at Evergreen Cemetery.

Trudy was born on Nov. 6, 1922, at Mason City, Iowa, to Ole and Laura Gregerson, both immigrants from Norway. She spent most of her life in Mason City and met Darold Lien after finishing school. They were married on Nov. 1, 1941. They had one son, Dennis, born on Jan. 18, 1944.

Trudy’s father took a defense job in Boise and loved the area as well as the weather. Darold and Trudy moved to join him in Boise in 1950. Darold’s work eventually took him to Ontario.

Trudy loved Ontario and made many, close friends. She worked for many years at the Vogue dress shop, and later opened her home to child care. 

She learned tole painting and decorative art and began to teach others out of an art studio in her basement. She continued taking classes for herself to expand her knowledge of folk art. 

She studied under Master Artist Jo Sonja Jensen at Redland, Calif. Tole painting became Trudy’s true talent and she went to many artist conventions and studied with several famous artists, who also published the tole books Trudy used in her own studio, the Strawberry Cellar.

During the summer, Trudy and Darold traveled throughout the Northwest to display and sell her art at craft shows. Darold spent countless hours in his woodshop cutting the boards for Trudy to paint. Trudy and Darold enjoyed spending time away camping and fishing at their property in Cascade, Idaho. 

Darold died in February 1993. Trudy’s son, Dennis, died in July 2003.

Trudy met her friend and companion of many years, Ron Marlow, who died in January 2012. She was also preceded in death by her brothers, Arnold and Oliver Gregerson; and her sister, Clarice Pfaltzgraff.

Survivors include her daughter-in-law, Diana Lien of Salem; her grandson, Donald Lien and his wife, Angie, of Albany; her grandson, Douglas Lien and his wife, Lori, of Baker City; granddaughter, DeAnn Lien of Salem; great-grandchildren include Meghan, Jayce and Camryn of Albany, and Hannah, Eli, and Noah of Baker City; and several nieces and nephews.

Memorials may be made to St. Paul Lutheran Church in care of Lienkaemper Chapel, P.O. Box 970, Ontario, OR 97914. Condolences to the family at

Lawrence Johnson

Baker City, 1930-2013

Lawrence Homer Johnson, 83, of Baker City, died Aug. 4, 2013, at his home with his longtime friends, Mike and Linda Cowen, who cared for him for the past 20-plus years.

In lieu of a memorial service, the family will have a private gathering with close friends at a later date.

Lawrence was born on March 16, 1930, at Versailles, Ill., to Arthur and Iva B. (Surratt) Johnson.

He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1947 and was stationed in Oklahoma near the town of Aline, where he met and married


Juanita Zudora Shippy, who lived at Aline. They traveled the U.S. and Europe and finally settled at Haines in 1967.

A short time after moving to Haines, Lawrence started his career working for the Oregon Department of Transportation where he worked for a few years until he started logging.

After he became disabled in 1981, the couple moved to Baker City. After battling many years of health issues, he moved to an assisted living home on Schoolhouse Road near Haines where he spent the remaining years of his life with close friends and caregivers, Mick and Linda Cowen.

He loved hunting and spending time with his sons in the Elkhorn Mountains, especially the areas of Muddy Creek and the North Fork of the Powder River.

Survivors  include three daughters, Sue Olsen and her husband, Steve, of Baker City, Pam Donicht and her husband, Mike, of Baker City, and Brenda Chandler and her husband, Daren, of La Grande; four sons, Larry Johnson and his wife, Barbara, of Baker City, Ron Johnson of Tigard, Mitchel Johnson and his wife, Lisa, of Baker City, and Scott Johnson and his wife, Veronica, of Baker City; 15 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Iva B. Rigger (Surratt); his father, Arthur Johnson; his stepfather, Truman A. Rigor; his wife, Juanita Johnson (Shippy); and his oldest son, Truman Johnson.

Memorial contributions may be made to The American Heart Association through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.

‘Fran’ Rode

Formerly Baker City, 1923-2013

 Juanita Frances “Fran” Rode, 90, a former longtime Baker City resident, died Aug. 9, 2013, at Pueblo, Colo.

There will be a private graveside service on Friday, Aug. 16. A reception to celebrate Fran’s life will be at 6 o’clock that evening at the Sunridge Inn in Baker City.

Fran was born on April 21, 1923, at Dallas, Texas, to Lewis and Velma Toan. She was raised at Dallas. After graduating from high school, she attended Texas Women’s University at Denton, Texas.  In 1944 she met Robert “Boots” Rode at a dance while he was in the Navy and stationed at Dallas. They were married in 1945 and moved to Baker City, where they lived for 60 years and raised their family.

Fran’s passions were golf, playing bridge, reading, and her family.  She loved watching her sons’ sporting activities when they were growing up in Baker City. Her favorite pastime was playing golf with her sons, her friends, and her father, “Big Lew.” Fran and Boots had many friends in Baker City during a postwar era when dressing up, dining, dancing and going to parties with friends was a way of life.    

Fran moved to Pueblo in 2003 to be closer to her family. In the later stages of her life, she was fortunate and blessed to have some of the best caregivers any family could possibly hope for. 

The family extends special thanks to Kathy Aguero, Grace Aguero, Theresa Diaz, Mary Garcia, Rosie Lucero, Marty Mondragon, Lori Naranjo, and Kathy Romero, all of whom they are eternally grateful for. Family members also expressed their appreciation to Sharmar Village and its staff for the wonderful care they provided for Fran, and to hospice for her care in her final days.

Survivors include her brother, Fred (Barbara) Toan of Dallas; her three sons and their wives, Bob (Mary Ann Rode) of Boise, Tim (Katherine) Rode of Pueblo and Greg (Gretchen) Rode of Pueblo; and her grandchildren, Kelsey Rode, Ben Rode, Hannah Rode, Tyler Rode, Kurt Rode and Carly Rode.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Lewis and Velma Toan; and her husband, Robert “Boots” Rode, who died in 1998. 

 In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Alzheimer’s Disease Research through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.

‘Bill’ Balfour

Baker City, 1930-2013

William B. “Bill” Balfour, 80, a longtime Baker City resident, died Aug. 9, 2013, at St. Alphonsus Care Center.

His graveside memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Mount Hope Cemetery. Baker City Veterans of Foreign Wars will conduct the service with military rites accorded by the Oregon National Guard Honor Guard.

 Mr. Balfour was born on March 21, 1933, at Ogden, Utah, to  William H. and Mildred Bryson Balfour.  He served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War.

 Mr. Balfour worked for Burnt River Lumber Co.  for many years as a loader operator. He also worked for the U.S. Forest Service on the road crew for a time.

 He married Louise Whitlatch Robinson; she preceded him in death.

He was very active in the VFW Club where he had served as a past post commander. Mr. Balfour’s main hobby was gold mining and panning.

Survivors include his family, John and Lorrie Balfour of the Philippines; Lorrie Perkins of Myton, Utah; a daughter, Carla, and sister-in-law Margaret Balfour of Baker City; stepchildren, Darlene Featherstone of Omaha, Neb., John and Connie Robinson of Baker City, and Mike and Tammy Robinson of Waldport; numerous grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

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