Obituaries for Sept. 4, 2013

By Baker City Herald September 04, 2013 09:57 am

Claire Hobson

Milwaukie, 1929-2013

Claire Hobson, a longtime Baker City resident, died Aug. 28, 2013, at Milwaukie, the day after her 84th birthday.

Her graveside funeral will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, at Mount Hope Cemetery in Baker City. Remembrances may be shared on the Peake Funeral Home website:

Claire was born on Aug. 27, 1929, at South Dartmouth, Mass., the only child of George and Antonia Bernier. She was a 1947 graduate of Holy Family High School at New Bedford, Mass.

Claire was a wife, mother, great-grandmother, pianist and teacher, a church musician and a beautiful child of God, family members said. She loved and cared for her family most of all and made their interests hers as well, whether a concert, a play, a recital, a camping or fishing trip, a party or a sporting event — if it was family she was “all in.”

She was an avid sports fan cheering on all her home state teams and later favorites, the Trail Blazers and Oregon Ducks. And she followed her own athletic children, grandkids and great-grandchildren from one sport to the other, often traveling hours to attend.

Guinness World Records won’t confirm it, but she may hold at least the Oregon record for most lifetime hours spent on bleacher seats, family members said. And when she sought something softer, it was most often the sand at the coast, where her love for the ocean led the grandkids to name her Sea-Granny, which she was happy to accept.

“With Claire, her family truly did come first,” her family said.

Survivors include her husband, Dave, just short of their 66th anniversary; her 13 children, Ken (Charlene) and Matt (Lynn) of Bend, Randy (Shannon) of Portland, Darrell (Anita), Terry (Marge), Nathan (Claire) and Jason (Heather) of Milwaukie, Curtis (Michele) of McCall, Idaho, Shireen (Dean) of West Linn, Deirdre, Rachelle (Todd) and Toni (Andrew) of Kennewick, Wash., and David (Anne) of Black Diamond, Wash.; 37 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. 

‘Tiny’ Byrne

Baker City, 1932-2013

Ralph Walter “Tiny” Byrne, 81, of Baker City, died Aug. 15, 2013, at St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Boise, surrounded by his loving family.

His Celebration of Life Memorial Service will at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, at the First Presbyterian Church, 1995 Fourth St. Friends are invited to join the family for a reception afterward.

Burial was Aug. 20, 2013, at Mount Hope Cemetery in Baker City.

Tiny was born on June 25, 1932, at the family home in Sparta. He was one of eight children born to Ralph and Gladys Garrett Byrne.

Tiny’s education from first through eighth grade was at the one-room Goose Creek School. At times there were only eight children in the school.

He lived a country boy’s childhood on the family ranch in the Keating and Sparta areas. Many days were spent haying with a horse team, hunting, fishing or horseback riding. Tiny loved horses and rode all the way from Keating into town so he could ride his horse in the Baker Fourth of July parade or compete in FFA competitions. 

Tiny was a 1950 Baker High School graduate. He then joined the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Ord, Calif.

In 1954, he met and married Sandra Shaklee. They had three children, Ramona Byrne Helgerson, Valerie Byrne Morrow and Kyle Byrne. The family moved to Ontario for a time while the children were growing up and then returned to Baker in 1972.

Tiny spent much of his career operating heavy equipment for various freeway/highway construction companies including Morrison-Knudson and Rogers Construction. He also worked on the construction of Oxbow, Brownlee, and Bully Creek dams.

He was well-respected by his employers and peers for his expertise in operating dozers and other heavy equipment. He belonged to Local 701 Operating Engineers Union. He was occasionally still working in this field well into his 70s.

In the 1970s he bought his parents’ ranch at Keating and began ranching. Soon after, he also purchased the Wellingham Ranch at Keating, which included Love Reservoir. 

Ranch work would continue for three decades. He was a self-made man known for his hard work and resourcefulness, family members said.

Tiny moved into town after selling his ranches. One of his favorite pastimes was card playing. He loved the strategy involved in playing poker and prided himself on being a good player. 

His circle of card-playing friends grew to be very large as he loved the social aspect of the game as well. Other hobbies included square dancing and membership in the Odd Fellows Lodge.

His greatest joy was his children and grandchildren, never missing an opportunity to spend time with them whenever possible.

Tiny was deeply loved by his family and will be greatly missed by them and all who knew him, family members said.

Survivors include his daughter, Ramona Helgerson, and her husband, Ken, of Baker City; daughter, Valerie Morrow of La Grande; son, Kyle Byrne of Baker City; former wife, Sandra Byrne of Baker City; grandchildren, Erica Munsey and her husband, Ryan of Walla Walla, Wash., Alena and Janae Helgerson of Boise, Tara Byrne and her husband, Nathan, of Portland and Laura Helgerson of Corvallis; great-grandchildren Zoe Carlson-Morrow of Baker City and Brock Munsey of Walla Walla, Wash.; brother, Bob Byrne, and his wife, Roberta, of Nampa, Idaho; sisters, Bonnie Dunn, and her husband, Delaine, of Union, and Betty Myers and her husband, Carl, of Baker City; sister-in-law, Marilyn Dudek of Baker City; brother-in-law, Gerald Dudek of North Powder; numerous cousins, including special cousins, Tiny and Wink Trickel; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents Ralph and Gladys Byrne; sisters Freda Byrne, Ada Patton, and Myrtle Whittaker; brother Joe Byrne; and beloved grandsons, Ryan Morrow and Paul Helgerson.

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

Joan Long

Baker City, 1937-2013


Joan Alene Long, 76, of Baker City, died Aug. 28, 2013, at St. Alphonsus Medical Center-Baker City.

A visitation is scheduled from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. today at Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave. Her memorial graveside service will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Mount Hope Cemetery. Friends are invited to join the family for a reception afterward at the multipurpose room of The Church of Jesus Chris of Latter-day Saints, 2625 Hughes Lane.

Joan was born on Feb. 14, 1937, to Marion Louis Duncan and Geneva I. Blize Duncan at the Worthy Ward Cabin on Big Muddy Creek near Haines. She attended various schools in Baker and Union counties. She married Bruce McMurren and they had three children, Jody, Mary and Robert.

Joan and Gerald Long were married on Feb. 14, 2007, by Gerald’s brother, Keith Long, at Keith’s home.  It was one of the happiest days of Joan’s life.

 She loved planting flowers and vegetables, quilting, crocheting, riding in the mountains to hunt and sightsee with Gerald, fishing, sewing and walking with her best friend, Dolores White. She also enjoyed her “Girls Night Out” adventures with Delores and her travels to visit children and grandchildren who were so very special to her. Joan was deeply in love with “the love of her life,” Gerald, whom she always put first in their short marriage.

Joan will be greatly missed by family and friends, family members said. 

She was preceded in death by her parents and her first husband, Bruce.

 Survivors include her husband, Gerald Long; her three children, Jody Califf, and her husband, Chuck, Mary Williamson and her husband, Russell, and Robert McMurren;  her three siblings, Tommy Duncan of Haines, Jerry Duncan and his wife, Susan, of Halfway and Ilene Storm and her husband, Charles, of Beaverton; six grandchildren, Amber McMurren, Ryan McMurren and Rachel McMurren Critchfield, Courtney Williamson Springer, Charles W. Califf and Zachary Califf; and four great-grandchildren, Theron Springer, Mark Springer, Alexander Califf and “Baby” McMurren.

 Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society through Gray’s West & Co., 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR  97814.


 Darline Berry

Baker City 1924-2013

Darline Berry, 89, of Baker City, died Sept. 2, 2013, of injuries received from a fall. 

 Darline was born on Aug. 3, 1924, at Milton-Freewater to Jack Earl and Hazel Dorothy Clark Davis.

She owned and operated the Trading Post at Sumpter in the early 1980s. She also enjoyed taking part in the Women’s Club and local activities.

After living in the Tacoma, Wash., area for 20 years with her daughter, Darline had just recently moved back to the Eastern Oregon area and was looking forward to the arrival of her first great-granddaughter, Ava Eastin.

Darline was a devoted mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother (fondly known as GG’MA) who loved sewing, quilting, and crafts, family members said. She had a green thumb in the garden. She also went on extensive international travels.

Survivors include three children, David Berry of Portland, Linda Miller of Tacoma, Wash., and Richard Berry of Sumpter; three granddaughters, Jennell Stoker, Lisa Miller, and Renea Eastin; and a great-grandson Colby Mahan.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Sumpter Women’s Club through Grays West & Co., 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.