Obituaries for Sept. 20, 2013

By Baker City Herald September 20, 2013 10:54 am

Norma Ratliff

Baker City, 1936-2013

Norma Jane Ratliff, 76, of Baker City died Sept. 13, 2013, at Settler’s Park. 

 Norma Jane was born on Oct. 30, 1936, at Honolulu, Hawaii, to Adam and Violet Freitas Jose. She was raised in Hawaii and moved to Baker City in 1980.

 Norma was a homemaker and worked as a waitress most of her life.

 She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Virgil; and son, Mitchell Trotter.

 Survivors include her son, Warren Thompson, and his wife, Sheila, of Baker City; her daughter, Debbie Bear of Selma, Calif.; her son, Michael Trotter and his wife, Danielle, of Medford; eight grandchildren and great- grandchildren.

 Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of one’s choice through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR  97814.

Jessica Wright

Baker City, 1981-2013

Jessica Wright, 32, of Baker City died Sept. 15, 2013.  Her memorial service will be Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, at 11 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Baker City with Pastor Katy Nicole officiating.  Friends are invited to join the family for a reception in the Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall following the service. 

Jessica Erin Wright was born March 26, 1981, at Baker City to Mike and Ruth Wright and John Birkmaier.  She was raised at Haines, graduated from Baker High School and attended Future #1 College of Cosmetology to become a hairstylist.

Jessica was a sweet soul and gave much to others.  She knew the meaning of forgiveness.  She knew sorrow and because of it, she knew great kindness. Her kindness will live on in all who knew her, family members said.  

Survivors include her siblings,  Jason Wright of Eugene, Judd Wright of Haines, Jenna Hendriksen and her husband, Tom, of La Grande, Krista, Michelle and Travis Birkmaier, all of Baker City; grandparents,  David and Jeannie Wright of Baker City, and Ron Tye of Enterprise; aunts and uncles, Trish Everson and her husband, Chuck, Susy Kaser and her husband, Kurt, Molly Mansfield and her husband, Wes, Jim Wright and his wife Cindy, Robbie Sorn and her husband, Jeff, Rene Layton and her husband, Ron,  Loretta Tye, Rosemarie Preston and her husband, Baron, Rhonda English, Randy Tye, and John Tye and his wife, Terri; and an extended family of many aunts, uncles and cousins.

 She was preceded in death by her father, Mike Wright; her mother, Ruthie Wright; her uncle, Joe Tye; and grandmothers Jane Tye and Mary Ann Moore Wright.

 Memorial contributions may be made to the family to help defray expenses through Gray’s West & Co., 1500 Dewey Ave, Baker City, OR   97814.

Von Miller

Baker City, 1981-2013

Von Conrad Miller, 66, of Baker City, died Sept. 10, 2013, at his home.

His funeral was Tuesday at Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave.  Friends were invited to join the family for a reception and time of sharing at Von’s home after the service.

Von was born on Nov. 4, 1946, at Ashland to Jesse Ellis and Jayne Elizabeth Murray Miller. He was a 1964 West Anchorage High School graduate and a 1969 graduate of the University of Oregon School of Architecture. He attended many workshops and conferences in architecture, art and science throughout his life. 

Von was a licensed architect in both Oregon and Washington. He retired as architect emeritus for the state of Oregon after 41 years of service. 

 He met and married Sharon Young in Eugene while they were students at the University of Oregon. Upon graduation, they moved to Coos Bay where they raised their two daughters. Von joined HGE, Engineers and Architects where he was vice president and principal. 

 After moving to Portland, Von married high school friend, Gaynelle Marie Nielsen, in November 2001. In 2007, he joined Seattle-based Trinity ERD. He retired Dec. 31, 2011, when he and Gaynelle moved to Baker City.

 Von fell in love with Baker City working with local officials to move and transform the Baker City train depot. He loved fly-fishing and exploring the mountains, streams, lakes and forests. He checked river levels and everything concerning fishing on a daily basis. Artistic by nature, he was a skilled photographer, painter and model builder.

 He contributed to the communities he loved as a member of the Coos Bay and Portland Rotary Clubs, a Board Member of the Coos County Library, and most recently, he was appointed to the Baker City Parks and Recreation Committee. 

 Survivors include his wife, Gaynelle Nielsen of Baker City; daughters, Jennifer M.S. Miller and her fiance, Benjamin C. Findley, of Atlanta, Ga., and Sarah Anne Miller of Oakland, Calif.; stepson, Scott Roberts Nielsen and his wife, Rayna, of New Orleans, La.; one grandson, Chance Warren Nielsen, also of New Orleans; sisters, Jamie Miller Rongo of  Cottonwood, Ariz., and Nancy Miller Lipsner of Kent Island, Md., and brother, Jerrery Miller of Half Moon Bay, Calif., and their families.  

He was preceded in death by his parents. 

 Memorial contributions may be made to a favored organization, Save Our Wild Salmon through Gray’s West & Co., 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.

Claudine Prowell

Baker City, 1931-2013

Claudine Jane Prowell, 82, of Baker City, died Sept. 11, 2013, at St. Alphonsus Medical Center-Baker City after a short illness.

Her memorial graveside service will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Claudine was born on Sept. 7, 1931, at Haines to Jesse and Helen Locken. Claudine attended grade school at North Powder and Haines. She was a 1952 Baker High School graduate.

Claudine worked as a switchboard operator for the Haines Telephone Co. and then as a certified nursing assistant at the old St. Elizabeth Hospital. She later worked at the new St. Elizabeth Hospital. After retiring from the hospital she worked for Mountain View RV Park.

In October 1956, Claudine married Patrick Richard Morang. Patrick and Claudine had one daughter, Cathy. 

They later divorced. Claudine married Virgil Prowell on Feb. 17, 1963, at Baker City. They had two sons, Sidney and Jeffrey. Claudine and Virgil were married for 18 years before Virgil died in September of 1981.

Claudine then met her best friend and companion, Denny Thacker, and they had 31 wonderful years together.

Claudine and Denny loved to go to the Eagles Lodge to dance. Claudine loved to dance, and one of her favorite TV shows was “Dancing with the Stars.” She was also an avid bowler and was in a bowling league for many years, winning a first-place trophy with Denny for the Sunday Night Mixed League. 

Claudine was a member of the Eagles Lodge for 28 years. She served as past president for one year, and was also a member of the Baker Elks Lodge for many years.

Survivors include her children, Cathy Brandhagen, and her husband, Dave, of Pendleton, Sid Prowell, and his wife, Lisa, of Baker City, and Jeff Prowell, and his partner, Melinda Gettings of San Antonio, Texas; grandson, Jace Prowell, and granddaughters, Shelby Prowell and Lora Beth Brand Hagen; and her longtime friend and companion, Denny Thacker.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Jesse and Helen Locken; husband, Virgil Prowell; and granddaughter, Amyjane Brandhagen.

Memorial contributions may be made to help defray burial expenses through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

Jan Merriman

Baker City, 1949-2013

Jan Merriman, 64, of Baker City, died Sept. 18 2013, at her home. 

There will be a Celebration of Life service at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Baker City Christian Church, 675 Highway 7. Pastor Randy McElveen of Calvary Baptist Church at Milton, Fla., will officiate. Friends are invited to join the family for a reception at the Baker City Christian Church Fellowship Hall after the service.

Janis Lynn Merriman was born on Sept. 1, 1949, to Richard Lee and Helen Cecilia (Janis) McGuffin at Alameda, Calif. She was raised at San Diego and graduated from Monte Vista High School. 

Jan married Roy Allen Merriman on May 25, 1967, at San Diego. They moved to Baker City in 1991.  She was assistant director for the Baker City YMCA for 20 years.

 Jan enjoyed gardening, riding motorcycles with her husband and serving Jesus Christ. She was a member of Blue Mountain Baptist Church.

Survivors include her husband, Roy Merriman of Baker City; daughters, Nicole Adamson, and her husband, Jason, Dawnyel Dishman and her husband, James, all of Denton, Texas; son, Joel Merriman, and his wife, Lisa, of Canby; sister, Wendy Gentry of Spring Valley, Calif.; and grandchildren, Brennen Merriman, Dru Dishman, Zoe Dishman and Ford Adamson.

She was preceded in death by her parents; and brother, Richard McGuffin.

Memorial contributions may be made to Vapor Sports Ministries through Blue Mountain Baptist Church, 2145 21st St., Baker City, OR 97814.