Baker City, 1925-2019
Lois Jean Bryant, 93, of Baker City, died July 25, 2019, at Settler’s Park Assisted Living Community.
Her graveside service will be at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 2, at Mount Hope Cemetery in Baker City.
Lois was born on Dec. 31, 1925, at South Bend, Indiana, to Ford and Iva (White) Bunch. She attended high school in South Bend and graduated in 1941, at the age of 16.
On Feb. 14, 1944, she married Harland H. Bryant and together they had five children. Lois enjoyed word puzzles, she had crossword books in every room of the house; playing the piano, coloring, and artwork in her later years.
She spent over 60 years as a pastor’s wife playing the piano for church services. She also taught piano lessons for over 30 years.
After raising five children, she was proud to have earned a Doctorate of Sacred Laws and Letters. She was also proud to have worked as assistant editor for Here’s Life Publishing in Southern California. She published the Christian woman’s magazine “Jean”.
Lois loved her Savior, her husband and her family her whole life.
Survivors include her husband, Harland Bryant of Baker City; children, Daniel Bryant of San Bernardino, California, Janet (Jim) Bushong of Somis, California, Clayton (Pam) Bryant of Brownsville, Beth (Chuck) Goodman of Baker City, and Adam (Terri) Bryant of Imperial Beach, California; brother, Chet Bunch; and sister, Marilyn Hutchins. She is also survived by seven grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Ford and Iva Bunch; and her brother, Dick Bunch.
Memorial contributions may be made to Settler’s Park or the charity of one’s choice through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Avenue, Baker City, OR 97814.
To light a candle in memory of Lois, or to leave a condolence for the family, go to www.grayswestco.com
Baker City, 1934-2019
Mabel M. Dreher, 85, of Baker City, died July 28, 2019, at Settler’s Park Assisted Living, surrounded by her children.
Her memorial service will take place Friday, Aug. 2 at 11 a.m. at Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave. Pastor Ian Wolfe of the First Lutheran Church will be officiating the service.
Mabel was born on April 9, 1934, at Marsing, Idaho, to Katie (Sweep) Saul and William Saul. She was one of eight children.
Mabel’s family moved a lot during her childhood, living in Idaho and Eastern Oregon for the most part. Her family eventually settled in Baker City, where Mabel and her siblings attended school. She graduated from Baker Senior High School in 1952, and married Leroy Phillips. Mabel and Leroy welcomed three children, Michael, Judith and David Phillips, prior to their divorce in 1969.
Mabel moved to Singleton, Texas, in 1971, and married Dalbert Dreher. She worked briefly for Sam Houston State University and Texas A&M, prior to joining her husband in the running of their farm equipment sales and repair business until Dalbert’s retirement. After the closure of their business, Mabel worked until her retirement, for the state of Texas in a senior employment program.
Mabel’s husband passed away in 2005, and she returned to Baker City to be closer to her children and grandchildren in 2009.
In 2013, she fell and broke a hip and subsequently moved into Settler’s Park, where she enjoyed becoming reacquainted with some friends from her youth. She loved to embroider and many of her friends and family were recipients of her pillowcases and tea towels that she kept busy producing in between games and field trips with her fellow residents of Settler’s Park.
Survivors include her three children, Michael (Toni) Phillips, Judith (Don) Chastain, and David (Carol) Phillips; and five grandchildren: Brian Phillips, Wayne Chastain, Toni Zikmund, Katie Reid and Billy Phillips. She is also survived by 12 great-grandchildren.
Mabel was preceded in death by her husband; her parents; five of her siblings; a grandson, Ryan Chastain; and a granddaughter, Kyla Phillips).
Contributions in memory of Mabel can be made to Community Connections of Baker County through Gray’s West & Company, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.
To light a candle in memory of Mabel, or to leave a condolence for her family, go to www.grayswestco.com
La Grande, 1927-2019
William Everett “Willie” Free, 92, of La Grande, died July 19, 2019, at a local care facility.
His memorial service will take place Friday, Aug. 9 at 4 p.m. at the La Grande Church of the Nazarene, 109 18 St..
William was born on July 19, 1927, at Knowles, Oklahoma, to Charles and Birdella (Brubaker) Free. He resided in Oklahoma, Colorado and Arkansas, and in Oregon he lived at Vale, Union, Ontario, North Powder and La Grande. He attended schools at Vale and Ontario.
William worked on the family farm in North Powder area and worked part-time for Floyd Dudek and Don Dodson.
Church membership, attendance and involvement were the top priority during his adult life. He had an intense love for God and his holy word. When others were in need, especially financially, he was one of the first to help. He was very active in the Union Nazarene Church as a board member, delegate and usher. He received the Distinguished Service Award NWMS, from the Union Church of the Nazarene as well as a certificate of appreciation for his service in the church. He was also a delegate to the District Assembly for the La Grande Nazarene Church.
William is survived by his brother, Delmer Ed Free of North Powder; 16 nieces and nephews and many great -nieces and great-nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Birdella; his brothers, Elson Free and Charles Free; his sister, Donna Dee Mann; one brother-in-law and three sisters-in-law; and two nieces and one nephew.
Online condolences may be made to the family at www.lovelandfuneralchapel.com
Formerly of Baker City, 1974-2019
Heather Mae Atkinson, 45, died July 25, 2019, in Boise.
A visitation took place today at Summers Funeral Home in Boise.
Heather was born on Feb. 16, 1974, to Vicki and James Randy Atkinson. Randy remembers that rainy Saturday with joy in his heart, at the birth of his beautiful daughter.
Heather attended Boise schools and after she located to Baker City she loyally managed the Albertson’s Butcher Block and worked in accounting during her years there.
Always ready for camping and fishing outings, Heather loved the outdoors and animals. One of her fondest memories was trailering a Harley-Davidson to the Sturgis, South Dakota, Motorcycle Rally.
Heather was a fabulous cook and her smile would light up the room, especially when she was being witty with her contagious laughter. Claiming she could not carry a tune, she loved, nonetheless, to sing away, cracking up her friends and her daughters, bringing them joy and bliss.
Thinking of the other person first, Heather had so much love and caring in her heart. She was always there for her loved ones showing strength and patience, projecting happiness, bringing peace and harmony, defusing even the most complicated situations.
Heather never got over the loss of her dear brother, Justin, in 1997. She lamented that terrible tragedy of a young life cut short, leaving her mourning the loss of her soul mate.
Heather is survived by her four lovely daughters: Bailey Lynn Bird (24), Lillie A. Atkinson (20), Gracie Miramontes (18), Lucie Miramontes (14), her parents, James Randy Atkinson and stepmother, Rheta Clingan, Vicki Hutchings Alexander and stepfather, Russ Alexander; her brothers, William C. Atkinson, Brandon L. Johnson and Trevor Alexander; and her sisters, Krista G. Atkinson, Lynsey Hansen and Lillie A. Atkinson.
Heather was preceded in death by her grandparents, Golden William and Edythe Matilda Atkinson, Robert Hutchings and Lilia Mae Shimonek; and her dearest brother, James Justin Atkinson.
“May Heather’s precious spirit blossom the Heavens,” said GW Atkinson.
Baker City, 1968-2019
Ronald Steven “Ron” Blincoe, 50, of Baker City, died July 20, 2019, at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise after a long battle with complications related to diabetes.
His memorial service will be Saturday, Aug. 3 at 2 p.m. at the Nazarene Church, 1250 Hughes Lane.
Ron was diagnosed at age 47 with type 1 diabetes. It was a diagnosis he struggled with but worked to control. He had some skin and stomach complications related to the disease and struggled to maintain his weight, ultimately leading to serious weight loss and nutrition-related electrolyte imbalances. In the end, he did not have the physical reserves to fight off a serious infection.
Ron was born on July 22, 1968, at Ironton, Missouri, to Joe Blincoe and Julia (Griffith) Blincoe. Ron spent his early years in Lesterville, Missouri, and w as joined by a sister, Ellen (Blincoe) Dillard in 1971. Ron’s parents took teaching positions in Oregon and Ron and his family moved to Madras in 1976. Ron attended second grade through high school in Madras. He was active in school. He played briefly on the football team, ran varsity track, played varsity basketball, played on the golf team, was a member of the science club, performed in a school theater production and enjoyed various styles of gaming with his friends. Most notably, Ron was a champion chess player. He participated in several state chess tournaments in Portland, placing high among his peers. He was both a lover and student of the game all his life.
After graduating from Madras High School in 1987, Ron attended Eastern Oregon State College where he earned a bachelor of science degree in Biology. While at Eastern, he made many friends and met his future wife, Dawna (Davis) Blincoe. They started dating in February of 1988, during their fr eshman year, and married in June of 1994.
After college graduation, Ron began working for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. He worked out of the offices located on Eastern’s campus and was a part of many research projects, and played softball and basketball with his colleagues. He enjoyed working in the field and the outdoor components of his job, though he did not enjoy the flights via small aircraft into Red’s Horse Ranch to sample the streams in the region. Ron was an entertaining story and joke teller and liked to tell stories of his experiences in the field.
Ron was an avid gamer. Dungeons and Dragons, chess, darts, ping pong, cards — he enjoyed both competitive and social games. Throughout college, Ron, Dawna and various friends and roommates played Rook and other games most weekend nights. Dawna and Ron played in competitive dart leagues and were introduced to “Magic: The Gathering,” a collectible card game. It continued to be a game he enjoyed for the rest of his life. They both participated in Magic tournaments and Ron was invited to play at the World Championships in Seattle due to his success in regional sanctioned tournaments.
In college and into his teaching, Ron was a strong ping pong player. He spent hours playing in the dorms at Dorian Hall and rarely had to return to the line from losing a game. At Huntington, he played against his students after classes. He organized many tournaments for his students, from Magic to ping pong to Rock-Scissors-Paper because he felt gaming and strategy were so good for mental growth. Ron enjoyed teaching social and strategy games to his family and students including Magic and Werewolf.
Ron and Dawna moved to Baker City in the fall of 1994 where Dawna had just taken a teaching position at Baker High School. Ron commuted back and forth to La Grande for his ODFW job. Rather than chase ODFW jobs all over the state, Ron decided to return to university to get his teaching degree. In 1996, he student-taught at Huntington and then took over the science position the following year where he taught until his death. Ron taught many different courses at Huntington School and made amazing connections with his students. He always felt his job was not only to teach science but to create a safe environment for his students. That they did so well on state testing — that was a bonus.
During his time at Huntington, Ron created a gaming club and took students to various Magic competitions in the Boise area, helped coach basketball and track, and was the Leadership Advisor. He always hoped that he made a positive impact on his students’ lives.
Ron and Dawna welcomed their first daughter, Erin, in March of 1999, and their second daughter, Renee, in November of 2002. He loved his girls very much. He enjoyed sharing his love of games with them and came to as many of their activities and events as he could while teaching 45 miles away. He was the go-to for field trips, including to the Sumpter Dredge and the Oregon Trail Museum, and for science or history-related homework. He enjoyed seeing how their different personalities developed and seeing them grow into young adults.
He is survived by his wife, Dawna, and daughters, Erin and Renee of Baker City; his parents, Joe and Julia Blincoe of Madras; his sister, Ellen (Bill) Dillard and their children, Allison, Rachel, Kristen and Andrew of Carrollton, Texas; his uncles, Kenneth (Yvonne) Blincoe, Bob (Donna) Blincoe, Don “Buzz” Blincoe, David (Sue) Blincoe and Charles (Mae) Griffith; his aunt, Eloise Griffith, along with many cousins. He is also survived by his wife’s family and many beloved friends, coworkers, and students.
Ron was preceded in death by his grandparents, Willis and Madgie Griffith, and Elizabeth and John Blincoe; his great-aunt, Myrtle Rodgers; his uncle, Paul Griffith; his cousin, Karen Robinette; and his father-in-law, Don Davis.
The family asks that any donations people wish to make be directed to the Billie Ruth Bootsma Outpatient Clinic in Baker City to help purchase a wound treatment chair.