Obituaries for Sept. 16, 2013

By Baker City Herald September 16, 2013 09:57 am

Verdell Davis

Halfway, 1923-2013

Verdell Davis, 90, of Halfway, died Sept. 8, 2013, at a care facility in La Grande.  A private family service will be held at a later date.

Verdell was born on April 5, 1923, at Richland.  He was raised in Richland and attended a one-room schoolhouse near Richland. Verdell joined the Army at the age of 17.  He served from September of 1940 until August of 1945 during World War II and was stationed in New Guinea and the Philippines.  He received a Bronze Star for his service.

He married Leslie Fitch in Tacoma, Wash., on Aug. 25, 1945, in a double wedding with Leslie’s sister, Bettye, and Verdell’s stepbrother, William Willette.

During Verdell’s life he worked at Albers Milling as a millwright and then worked for the Eugene Airport from which he retired. Verdell enjoyed hunting, reading and photography. He moved to Halfway in the late 1980s. 

Verdell is survived by his daughter, Melody Davis; his son, Roy Davis; his grandson, Dan Davis; and six great-grandchildren: Brooke, Corrine, Kaeden, Adrie, Angelicah and Natalie.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Leslie, in 1990; one brother; and three sisters. 

The family expressed a special thank you to Yolanda Brown for her friendship and the care she provided to Verdell during his life.

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

‘Ed’ Stevens

Baker City, 1924-2013

Edwin N. “Ed” Stevens, 89, of Baker City, died Sept. 11, 2013, at Settlers Park Assisted Living in Baker City. 

A private family service will be held at a later date.  

Edwin was born on Jan. 28, 1924, at Holden, Utah, to Alma and Francis Nixon Stevens.

He was the youngest of six children. He spent his childhood at Holden, Utah, working on the family cattle ranch and farming.  Many a day was spent during the summers haying with a team of horses or checking cattle in the mountains east of Holden. One of Ed’s favorite sayings was “If you want to move fast with cattle, go slow.” He was known for always having a “good working cow horse” that he had trained. 

He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on June 10, 1943, and served as a boatswain mate second class on a minesweeper near New Caledonia in the South Pacific. He was honorably discharged in March of 1946, at which time he returned to Holden where he started raising registered quarter horses.

On May, 15, 1947, he married Nina Labrum of Meadow, Utah.

Ed moved to Moses Lake, Wash., in 1964 to work with his cousin, Dave Stevens, on his cattle and row crop operation.  

In 1970, Ed purchased a small ranch at Othello, Wash., where he raised commercial Hereford and Hereford/Simmental cross cattle.

In 1977 Ed sold his place at Othello and accepted a job as herdsman for Harrell Hereford Ranch near Baker City. Ed worked for the Harrells until his retirement approximately 15 years ago. He enjoyed attending the annual Harrell bull/horse sale until it become too hard for him to get around. 

Ed was very proud of his grandsons and their work ethic. One of Ed’s favorite things was to attend his grandsons’ sports or rodeo events, and he could always be heard cheering them on from the stands. 

Survivors include his wife, of 66 years, Nina L. Stevens of Baker City; his daughter Eris and her husband, Ray Merritt, of Baker City; his grandsons, Justin Merritt and wife, Candice, of Baker City; and Robert “Bobby” Merritt and his fiancee, Haylee Johnson, of Wyoming; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Catch-A-Dream Foundation or Hunt of A Lifetime through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

‘Bob’ Ward Jr.

New Bridge and Sparta, 1951-2013

Robert “Bob” Ward Jr., 61, died Sept. 8, 2013, at a care center in Payette, Idaho, with his son, Bob III, at his side.

He fought his illness for more than 10 years. He attributed the extension of his life beyond expectations to his nine cats. He said that he had been borrowing some of their 81 lives.

The family will have a  celebration of Bob’s life at the cabin after the bees leave and before the snow flies (time and date will be announced). 

Final arrangements provided by Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home.

Bob was a U.S. Navy corpsman during the Vietnam era, during which he helped deliver babies of military families and foreign dignitaries at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. After that, he attended medical school for a time while working as a retail grocery clerk in California. From there, Bob and his family moved to Oregon to follow his dream of living in the woods.

In Oregon, he worked as a fence builder, ranch hand, dairyman, or anything with animals or the outdoors. He also worked in the grain mill of Richland Feed & Seed Inc.

After that, he returned to the woods full-time to continue improving the place he loved and had worked on for the last 34 years.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Jane; his son, Bob III; three siblings: brothers Lee Ward of Hemet, Calif., and Randy Ward of Murrieta, Calif., and sister Janie Loibl of Havelock, N.C.; his aunt, Alice Hess of Voorhees, N.J., and his uncle, Robert Warner of Laurel Springs, N.J.; and numerous nieces and nephews.