Baker City, 1935-2019
Leo George Haw, 83, beloved husband, father, chief, grandfather, great-grandfather, and Unc, died peacefully Feb. 26, 2019, at his home surrounded by family.
The rosary will be said at 7 p.m. Friday, March 8, followed by a celebration of Mass at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 9 at St. Francis de Sales Cathedral, First and Church streets in Baker City. Vault interment with military honors will follow at Mount Hope Cemetery, followed by a reception in the parish hall at St. Francis.
Leo was born on Oct. 3, 1935, at Baker to Marie Molnar Fuzi Haw and Leo Horace Haw. He lived at Huntington and Baker, attending Churchill Elementary School and St. Francis Academy. Leo was the youngest of 10 siblings and enjoyed hunting, fishing and playing football in his early years.
At the age of 17, Leo joined the United States Navy and began his Navy career, attending boot camp in San Diego.
Leo served his country for 24 years, retiring as hospital corpsman senior chief in 1976. During his naval career, Leo earned the Bronze Star Medal for his acts of heroism in Long Phu, Vietnam, and many other medals and ribbons.
Leo served in Hospital Corpsman School at San Diego; U.S. Naval Hospital in Oakland, California; Air Corps Station in El Toro, California; Naval Sea Bee Base, Port Hueneme, California; Naval Optometric Fabrication School, Bethesda, Maryland; Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington; Advanced Medical Training, San Diego; USS Coral Sea (CVA 43); USS Purdy (DD 734); Long Phu, Vietnam; and Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, California.
While stationed at Camp Pendleton, Leo served as the personal corpsman for President Richard Nixon and his wife, Pat Nixon, at their home in San Clemente, California. In addition, when the Vietnamese fled Vietnam in 1975, Leo spearheaded the medical care of thousands of Vietnamese refugees at Camp Pendleton.
As his tour at Camp Pendleton was nearing the end, Leo was personally asked to serve as the top corpsman at the White House. After much consideration, Leo decided to retire from the U.S. Navy.
After retiring in 1976, Leo and his family moved to Baker. A pillar in his community, Leo founded Eagle Optical and was a co-founder of the Northeastern Oregon Medical Science Center a couple of years later. Leo owned and operated Eagle Optical for approximately 15 years and was a lifetime member of the Elks Lodge, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and St. Francis de Sales Cathedral.
Leo is survived by his wife Tonna Portera Haw; sister, Mary Peterman; children, Michael (Gail) Haw, John Haw, Patricia (Kevin) Vaive, Barbara (Tim) Oliver, George (Lisa) Haw and Scott Portera; 14 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Leo was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Joe, Bill, John and Mike Fuzi; sisters, Marguerite (Fuzi) Sherman, Helen (Fuzi) May Jensen, Ann (Fuzi) Reagan and Elizabeth (Fuzi) Todhunter Thomas.
The family would like to express their heartfelt thanks to Art and Catalina Corona, Scott and Kerry Sherman, David and Kathy Sherman, Scott and Shelly Shively, and John Fuzi for the unwavering support of Leo, Tonna and their children. In addition, the family is forever grateful for the support of their extended family and church family. Lastly, the family extends a warm thank you to the Heart ‘n Home Hospice team for the compassionate care of their husband and dad.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Fleet Reserve Association and the American Cancer Society through Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.
To light a candle in honor of Leo or to leave a condolence for the family, go to www.colestributecenter.com
LaVera (Dubois) Porter
Formerly of Richland, 1926-2019
LaVera Porter, 92, a former Richland resident, died Feb. 16, 2019,
She will be laid to rest in Richland alongside her husband, Mac, and a celebration of her life will be scheduled this spring.
LaVera lived a very full and vivacious life. She was well-studied, with two master’s degrees — from Portland State University and the University of Oregon. Her passion was instruction. After retirement, she again returned to education as principal of Umatilla. She was a well-loved teacher and her greatest joy was making children’s lives better.
LaVera loved to hear of adventures from her son, David, who preceded her in death. He was a well-respected man with many talents, and his children, Bodhi and Yati, enjoyed spending time with LaVera. She especially enjoyed spending time watching football games with her grandson, Bodhi. As well, she was extremely proud of Yati and his accomplishments in Edinburgh.
Her hobbies included a love for gardening and fishing, as well as traveling. Her later years were spent in Richland and in Pahrump, Nevada, where she enjoyed creating beautiful outdoor spaces and well as entertaining friends with her husband, Oakley. She and Oakley enjoyed cruising in Oslo, Norway, and along the Rhine River in Germany.
Oakley Porter and LaVera met in grade school. They lived a ranch away from each other in Alturas, California. They even attended prom together. After many years Oakley and LaVera married after losing their previous spouses. Because of their lifetime of friendship and relationship they had wonderful companionship for almost eight years. Oakley will miss LaVera very much and the stories they shared.
LaVera will be missed by many for her infectious laugh and candor when analyzing your handwriting.
LaVera was healthy and vibrant most of her life, which allowed her to travel extensively into her 90s with Oakley. She suffered a stroke in September 2018. Her rehab brought many caring people into her life in Medford. Oakley was by her side every day, holding her hand all the way up to her last breath.
LaVera was preceded in death by her husband, Mac McDaniels, whom she cared deeply for.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your local animal shelter in LaVera’s honor, as she always loved animals.
Baker City, 1935-2019
Gerald Wesley Howard, 83, of Baker City died Feb. 12, 2019, at his home with his wife, Viola, at his side.
A private family interment took place at the Sumpter Masonic Cemetery.
A celebration of Jerry’s life will be Saturday, April 13, at 11 a.m. at Blue Mountain Baptist Church in Baker City.
Gerald “Jerry” was born on Oct. 1, 1935, at Boise to Elbert and Ruth Howard and joined siblings Mary, Buzz, Robert and Ken. His sister could not pronounce her brother’s name, so she called him “Bubba” instead, a nickname he carried throughout his life.
Jerry grew up in Sumpter. He had many fond memories of visiting his dad while he was working at the gold dredge and of his mother bringing lunch while they played on the dredge. He had a beautiful tenor voice and he sang over the radio and high school choir. His class of 1954 meant so much to him and even recently, he talked of being a Yell Duke singing during high school years.
After graduation he went to work at Bates Sawmill. Early one morning he did not show up to work, which was unusual, so a phone trace was put out. They searched for him and found that his 1948 Ford had run off a sharp curve this side of Unity Dam.
He was transported by an ambulance which unfortunately broke down on the way to the Baker hospital. It was hours before he was brought to hospital and was transferred to Boise, where he remained in a coma for 21 days. Later, after some recuperation, he recalled being lead to “Lord Jesus” by Charlie Wright of Calvary Baptist Church. He always shared that he knew that was why he came through the car wreck. He also said, it was so that I could find you, love (Viola).
He later went to Oakland, California, and worked at the Fred Finch home for boys and Mission work. After a few years, he moved back to Baker and worked for the U.S. Forest Service, and Dick Culley was his crew boss in 1997.
Jerry attended Oregon Tech, graduating in 1958 in auto and diesel technology. In 2018 he attended the Golden Owl Reunion when some 40 alumni attended dressed in golden gowns and caps and symbol of the Owl. This tradition of pride was shared among the alumni.
Jerry met Viola in Smith River, California. They were married in his parents’ home on June 5, 1970, and made their first home in Brookings, where he worked for schools from 1970-1981.
He started his own janitorial and maintenance business. He had a large number of businesses he maintained including UPS, the Post Office and many shopping centers. They bought property in Harbor, Oregon, and attended the First Baptist Community Church for 35 years where he served as a Deacon and an Elder on nominating committees. Jerry also did janitorial work, but most important he sang in the church choir. Both he and Viola were baptized in the Chetco River with their church family attending. There are always trials, struggles in life, and Jerry overcame them with the guidance of the Lord.
They moved back to Baker City on Sept. 5, 2005. Jerry became the president of Dredge in Sumpter where he contributed many volunteer hours to both the Dredge and Cracker Creek Museum.
“He was the best husband,” Viola said. “Never a day went by that he told me he loved me and I was beautiful. We were planning our golden 50th anniversary, but the Lord Jesus Christ called him home. He will forever be in my heart.”
Jerry is survived by his wife, Viola; his brother, Buzz Howard; his niece, Debbie DeMastus; many grandchildren and great-grands; numerous nephews, nieces, cousins; bonus family, Mark Jr., Debbie and her husband, Wright, and Randy and his wife, Michelle.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Stub and Ruth; his sister, Mary Morin; and his brothers, Robert Howard and Ken Howard.
For those who would like to make a memorial donation in memory of Bubba, the family suggests the Blue Mountain Baptist Church or Community Connections Senior Center through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home & Cremation Services, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834. Online condolences may be made at www.tamispinevalleyfuneralhome.com