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Obituaries for Oct. 16, 2017

Justus, Hansberger, Butler

Norma Justus

Baker City, 1934-2017

Norma L Justus, 83, of Baker City, died Oct. 11, 2017, with her daughters by her side.

In honor of her request, a private graveside service will take place at a later date.

Norma was born on Aug. 31, 1934, at Vale to a large family of three brothers and five sisters. She has lived in Baker City for the last 45 years and was married to the love of her life, her only husband, Alva, for 63 years.

Norma was a proud mother of four daughters and spent most of her life at home

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Norma Justus

Baker City, 1934-2017

Norma L Justus, 83, of Baker City, died Oct. 11, 2017, with her daughters by her side.

In honor of her request, a private graveside service will take place at a later date.

Norma was born on Aug. 31, 1934, at Vale to a large family of three brothers and five sisters. She has lived in Baker City for the last 45 years and was married to the love of her life, her only husband, Alva, for 63 years.

Norma was a proud mother of four daughters and spent most of her life at home being a homemaker and Mom. She was blessed with creative skills and enjoyed hobbies like sewing, crocheting, knitting, reading, gardening and canning the fruits of her labor. Norma and her daughters managed, and played on, an alfalfa farm in Central Oregon along with all the farm animals and adventures that went with it. She was a self-taught ragtime piano player and filled her home with music and life.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Alva E. Justus; her parents, John and Beulah Jackson; two brothers; one sister; and one granddaughter.

Survivors include her four daughters and sons-in-law: Lynn Miller and Bruce, Toni Goss and Milo, Jeannie Olson and Roger, and Jill Walker and John; seven grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to Mayday, Inc. through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814. To light a candle in honor of Norma or to offer condolences to her family, go to

Heidi Hansberger

Formerly of Huntington, 1958-2017

Heidi Lynn Hansberger, 59, of Parkdale, Oregon, died Oct. 9, 2017.

A celebration of life will take place Sunday, Oct. 22 at 2 p.m. at the Parkdale Community Church, 4910 Baseline Drive, Mt. Hood/Parkdale. A meal and reception will follow.

Heidi was born on April 13, 1958, at Huntington to Bonnie and Percy Raney. She grew up the definition of a small-town girl under the watchful eyes of her two older brothers, Michael and Lon Raney. She was a dedicated member of her school’s volleyball, softball and track teams. She was a cheerleader, and she played the trumpet in her school’s marching band. She always went hunting with her brothers and their father, and she was a devoted rodeo gal — winning belt buckles and trophies, everywhere she went! She earned quite a name for herself, with Socks, her prized barrel horse.

In the summers of her childhood, Heidi could always be found with her friends, Carla, Tammy and Shawn. They did everything together! Many hot days were spent waterskiing on the Snake River or swimming their horses at the Burnt River’s falls. If they weren’t soaking up the sun or shopping in Ontario with Heidi’s mom, they could be found trail-riding over the vast hills and through the gullies and draws that made up their home’s high desert landscape. She never lost touch with her girlfriends, making many more along the way. One of her closest friends, in fact, was her sister-in-law, Sarita Raney, who completed the quintet splendidly. The five friends have remained tight-knit throughout their lives, taking “Girl’s Trips” every summer, where they would share stories and achievements, and make lasting memories with one another.

Heidi attended classes at Eastern Oregon University, in La Grande after graduating high school. She then transferred to the University of Oregon to pursue a degree in Parks and Recreation. During her last year in college, Heidi landed a job as a park ranger at Viento State Park in the Columbia Gorge, becoming the lead ranger at Memaloose State Park soon after. This is where she built a career for herself, retiring after 30 devoted years of service. This is also the place where she first met a young carpenter named Ted Hansberger. They were married on July 17, 1982, and immediately started planning for a family. On Dec. 12, 1991, they were blessed with a baby girl, and they named her Bonnie.

Heidi was always active in her daughter’s life: coaching her in barrel racing, chaperoning Girl Scout campouts, cheering her on at every game and competition she participated in — from elementary school all the way through Bonnie’s senior year of high school. And she always made sure the neighborhood kids were well taken care of whenever they would come to visit. No one ever went hungry at Heidi’s house.

If one thing’s for sure, Heidi loved her family and friends. She would go above and beyond, planning for every birthday and holiday, picking out the perfect gifts for everyone. She was a beacon of strength and hope through her perseverance and positivity in the hardest of times. She was a “walking miracle,” having overcome so many obstacles and health-related pitfalls. She was told once that she would likely never walk again. You know what?… she did. She walked! She walked her dog two miles, every day that she was able. She walked as she operated a push-behind lawn mower; she walked into church services and Bible studies; she walked into Senior Meals, and the FISH Food Bank where she volunteered her time on a regular basis…. She walked for the six years after she was told she couldn’t. And she walked right into the heart of every person who was lucky enough to have known her.

She will be forever missed, her family said.

Heidi is survived by her husband, Ted Hansberger; her daughter, Bonnie Garver; her grandson, Zander Garver; her brothers, Michael (Sarita) Raney and Lon (Barb) Raney; and many beloved nieces and nephews, cousins and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Bonnie and Percy Raney.

Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson’s Tribute Center in Hood River. Visit to leave a note of condolence for the family.

Melva Butler

Baker City, 1958-2017

Melva Marie Butler, 58, a longtime Baker City resident, died Oct. 12, 2017, at St. Alphonsus Medical Center-Baker City.

A celebration of Melva’s life will take place Saturday, Oct. 21 at noon at the Veterans Memorial Club, 2005 Valley Ave. in Baker City.

Melva was born on Dec. 31, 1958, at the Wallowa Memorial Hospital in Enterprise to Jerry and Hazel Lovell. She attended Emmett High School and later graduated from Capital High School in Boise in 1976.

She married Dan Lees in 1978 and they became the proud parents of two wonderful and loving children: Jennifer and Michael Lees, whom both graduated from Boise State University with bachelor of science degrees in civil engineering.

Dan and Melva shared 28 years together and later divorced. While living in Emmett, Idaho, they competed in dirt bike racing. Few people know that Melva was the statewide motocross champion of Idaho for two years. She took home many trophies and was an inspiration to all female riders.

The family moved to Prairie City in 1988, where Melva worked for the U.S. Forest Service fighting wildfires. She also coached the high school ladies’ volleyball and basketball teams.

In 1990 they moved to the Sumpter Valley and Melva worked in Baker City at Safeway, and later at Marvin Wood Products. Melva was best known for her business, Melva’s Upholstery, which she opened full-time in Baker City in 2010. With limited knowledge and massive determination, she became extremely competent in her profession, gaining a huge following and an outstanding reputation. She not only met customers, but easily developed friendships with many of them due to her smile and personality. She was very proud of the business that she started from scratch.

Melva met her true love in Sumpter. She wasn’t necessarily looking for a life partner, but then she met a “flatlander.” Ryan swept her off her feet and on Sept. 27, 2014, Melva married the love of her life and best friend, Ryan Butler. They were inseparable and their commitment to each other was truly visible to all who knew them.

Melva enjoyed cooking and entertaining her friends and family. Everyone cherished an invitation to spend time and have a meal at the Butlers’. She was also a member of the local VFW.

She was dedicated to her children and grandchildren. She loved gardening, home canning, laughing, smiling and being kind to everyone, and her generosity was as big as her heart. She loved going to work, producing beautiful workmanship with her upholstery work. But her most cherished accomplishment was being an awesome “Nana.”

Melva’s legacy is one of compassion, unconquerable spirit, and a work ethic that far surpassed most people. “Love-you-buh-bye” was one word to her. Her life philosophy was to always see the best in people, care unquestionably and love immeasurably. All who knew her felt blessed to have had her in their lives because she represented all that is good.

Melva is survived by her loving husband, Ryan Butler of Baker City; her mother, Hazel Emery of Baker City; her daughter, Jennifer Long and her husband, Justin, of Baker City; her son, Michael Lees and his wife, Angela, of La Grande; grandchildren Hunter, Hailey and Brook of Baker City, and Rhiley, Ella and Tripp of La Grande; her brother, Darell Howard and her sister, Sherry Given, both of Baker City; Furbabies CC, her dog, and two cats, Olivia and Leon; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Melva was preceded in death by her father, Jerry, and her brothers, Danny and David Lovell.

Those who would like to make a donation in memory of Melva may do so to the VFW through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home and Cremation Services, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834. Online condolences may be made at