Obituaries for Jan. 27, 2014

By Baker City Herald January 27, 2014 09:38 am

Joyce Calhoun

Baker City, 1935-2014

Joyce Calhoun, 78, died on January 12, 2014 at St. Alphonsus Care Center in Baker City. 

Her funeral will be at 1 p.m. Friday at the Elkhorn Baptist Church, 3520 Birch St. Interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery. Friends are invited to join the family afterward for a reception at the Missouri Flat Grange at 1050 Hughes Lane. The Grange Hall will be open at noon for those bringing food items for the reception.

Joyce was born on Feb. 10, 1935, at Baker City with her twin sister, Janice, to Edna and Gene VandeVanter. She was raised in Baker County and was a 1953 Baker High School graduate.

Joyce married Silvan Calhoun in 1957 at Weiser, Idaho. They had two daughters, Vicki and Jan. Joyce and Silvan divorced in 1984.

During Joyce’s life she worked at the Blue and White Café for many years, the Baker Credit Bureau for 10 years, for attorney John L. Jacobson for 10 years, was co-owner of the Haines Steak House for several years, was employed by the State of Oregon Welfare Division for several years and worked at Big V Department Store for nine years.

 She had lived at Haines, Eugene and St. Helens but mostly at Baker City for more than 72 years of her life.

Joyce was a life member of Beta Sigma Phi. She loved traveling and in 1981 she took a trip to Germany and England. In 1984, she cruised all of the islands in Hawaii and she made four trips to Disneyland. 

She enjoyed camping, dancing and fishing and she cherished spending time with her grandchildren, friends and family. One of Joyce’s favorite sayings was “It is a great life if you don’t weaken, but who the heck wants to be strong.”

She was preceded in death by her sister, Janice VandeVanter, who died in April of 1935; Maggie, Jake and Lora Gilkison; Gene and Jo VandeVanter; Edna and Jim Blair; Aunt and Uncle Helen and Orville Fisher; son-in-law, Elwyn Justus; and cousins, Cecil and Sylvia Fisher. 

Survivors include her children, Vicki Justus of Haines, and Janice Bennett and Elmer of Kelso, Wash.; grandchildren, Bill Justus and his wife, Krystine, of Haines; Cody Barton and his wife, Marci Barton of Colton, J.D. “Scooter” Barton and Tanya; stepgrandchildren, Andy Bennett of Irrigon, Ryan Bennett and his wife, Heather, of Condon, Josh Bennett and his wife, Nicole, of Columbia City, Miranda Carlin and her husband, Chris, of Monument; first cousins, Gail and Jack McAllister and Marilyn Delfatti; and many extended family and friends.

Memorial contributions may be made to Heart ‘n’ Home Hospice or St. Alphonsus Care Center through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

Donald Johnston

Formerly Baker City, 1956-2013

Donald Lee Johnston, 57, of Hamilton, Mont., died Jan. 23, 2014, due to multiple medical issues at the St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Mont.

A memorial service with Marine Corps funeral honors will take place on Feb. 1 at 5 p.m. MST at the City Hall/Bedford Building, 223 S. Second St. in Hamilton. There will be a reception afterward at the Hall.

He was born on March 30, 1956, at Baker City to Goldie Lee (Lewis) and Clarence H. “Slick” Johnston.

First a logger by family tradition, Don was able to grow and change with the times. He owned a hardware store in Wallowa County and expanded to Milwaukie. Don eventually found his way into banking.

At the time of his death, he was working for American Federal Savings Bank at Hamilton.

Don was a United States Marine, serving from 1974 to 1976 with the Headquarters Co., 1st Combat Engineers, 1st DSG, 1st Marine Division.

Don enjoyed serving the community as a Rotarian in the Rotary Club and also was a member of the Chamber of Commerce, BBIA, Youth Home of Montana and numerous other community services.

He left an indelible mark on everyone who met him, family members said.

Don and Karla have loved and lived the perfect life. “I will carry on for both of us my love, I’ve got your six, at ease,” she said.

Survivors include his wife, Karla D. Johnston of Hamilton; children, Melissa Trujillo, Sara Juniper and Jeremy Johnston; and grandchildren, Maykayla Johnston, Nathaniel Juniper and Aaron Hoarau.

Don and Karla made many friends in the Wilds of Montana. Their “family” of friends includes: Po Hemry, Sara Cox, Lauren Cox, Kate Cox, Tim Cox, Elijah Hemry and Noah Hemry.

Brothers Mortuary and Crematory is assisting the family with services. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at

TJ Blissenbach

Formerly Baker City, 1947-2013 

TJ Blissenbach, 65, of Eugene died Nov. 16, 2013. 

His memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Friday, April 18, at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland. 

He was born on Dec. 18, 1947, at Astoria. In January 1948, he was adopted by Joseph and Lilian Blissenbach. He was joined by his adopted brother, Jerry, in 1950 and the family lived at The Dalles until 1962.

TJ graduated from Baker High School in 1966 and received a liberal arts degree from Steilacoom Community College at Tacoma, Wash., in 1970. He joined the U.S. Army in 1970, serving in Vietnam and Germany. He received an honorable discharge with the rank of sergeant.

TJ had lived at Eugene for the past 32 years. He worked in the window covering business for many years and retired in 2010 from Monaco Coach.

TJ was a very social and giving man. He was a sesquipedalian and enjoyed music, movies, the arts, gardening, world events, cars, skiing, and travel, his family members said.

“His loss will be keenly felt by his wide circle of friends,” they said.

Survivors include two nephews, a niece, and cousins. 

He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in his name to the HIV Alliance at 1966 Garden Ave, Eugene, OR 97403.