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Home arrow Obituaries arrow OBITUARIES FOR THE WEEK ENDING DEC. 16, 2006

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OBITUARIES FOR THE WEEK ENDING DEC. 16, 2006

Helen Elizabeth Gregory, 78, of La Grande died Dec. 7 at St. Mary's Medical Center in Walla Walla. A celebration of life is planned for 2 p.m. Wednesday at Daniels Chapel of the Valley.

Mrs. Gregory was born March 17, 1928, to Henry Walter and Florence Hazel Wellington McDonald in Ketchikan, Alaska. At the age of 8 she moved with her family to Washington and later to Union and Elgin. She graduated from Elgin High School.

On April 27, 1951, she married Robert Gregory in La Grande. She was employed as an educational secretary for many years and worked at all the La Grande schools except Greenwood. She retired in June 1988. She was a member of the La Grande Educational Secretaries Association and was a former member of Beta Sigma Phi.

Helen's life was devoted to her family and her work. She loved to read and cook and enjoyed classic musicals and movies.

Survivors include her husband, Bob Gregory; children and their spouses, Michael and Sally Gregory and Cheryl and Ron Miles, all of La Grande; four grandchildren; and other relatives. She was preceded in death by one brother.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society or Doernbecher Children's Hospital in care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh Street, La Grande, 97850.

____________________

Guy Harry Gilliam, 69, a lifetime resident of Elgin, died Dec. 9 at his home.

A celebration of his life will begin at 2 p.m. Friday at the Elgin Community Center. Private burial will be at the Highland Cemetery in Elgin.

Mr. Gilliam was born May 26, 1937, the son of Harry and Irene (Geiger) Gilliam in Elgin. He graduated from Elgin High School and then served with the Army. After his honorable discharge he returned to Elgin where he worked in ranching and logging. He loved trucks and traveling.

Survivors include his daughters and their husbands, Jill and Kelly Coles of Boise and Shelby and Jeff Flowers of San Diego; a brother, Larry Gilliam of Elgin; sisters, Sharen and Steve Anderson of La Grande and Karen Ricker of Union; three grandchildren; and other relatives.

Memorials may be made to the American Heart Association in care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St., La Grande 97850.

____________________

Enterprise native and Battle of the Bulge veteran Wilford Grant Sasser, 81, died Dec. 9 at the Veterans Nursing Home in Vancouver, Wash.

Public viewing will be held Friday with memorial services taking place at 2 p.m. in the chapel of Bollman's Funeral Home. A military graveside service will follow at the Enterprise Cemetery.

Following the service at the cemetery there will be a reception at the VFW Hall in Enterprise. All of those choosing to honor this fallen soldier are encouraged to wear their uniforms.

Grant Sasser was born March 1, 1925, in Enterprise, the son of Chester "Chet" Henry and Ella Mae (Buchanan) Sasser. He lived most of his life in Wallowa County, attending school in Enterprise.

In July 1943 he enlisted in the Army as a combat paratrooper and served as a light machine gunner. He served in World War II and was involved in the Battle of the Bulge with the Goya 151st, a unit of 800 men. After the fighting, with only 200 men returning from that battle, he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne and the Rhineland Campaign, until being wounded in Germany. He received his Combat Infantry Badge on Aug. 15, 1944.

In addition to the Battle of the Bulge, he valiantly fought in the Rome-Arno Campaign, the Southern France Campaign GO#33 1945 and the Rhineland Campaign GO#40 1945. Grant received the Presidential Unit Citation, Good Conduct Medal and the European African Middle-Eastern Theater Campaign Medal. He was honorably discharge Sept. 13, 1945, due to injuries received in battle.

In the summer of 2002, he attended his first military reunion in San Diego with his daughter and son. To see the faces of his military buddies again was an experience he never thought he would have. It had been more than 50 years since he had seen them, and the first thing he said was, "They all look the same, just a little older."

Grant was married three times. In 1947 he married Elaine Breshears in Enterprise during a holiday ceremony on Dec. 24. Two children, Dixie and David, were born of this union. The marriage ended in 1973.

The second and briefest marriage was to Winifred Skillings in 1977. In 1980, he married his present wife, Sue Freels-Strong.

In 1948 he attended the Mohler Barber College in Portland. After graduating, he and Elaine moved to Nyssa to begin his barber practice. In 1952, he returned to Wallowa County and set up practice, first in Wallowa for more than 20 years and then in Enterprise where he retired in 2000 after 52 years in the business.

Grant was an active member in the Elks in Enterprise for many years, serving as the lodge's exalted ruler in 1968-69. He was a member of the Enterprise VFW. He enjoyed hunting, bowling, shuffleboard, playing cards, carpentry and gardening.

He is survived by his wife, Sue, of Enterprise; brothers and their wives, Dean and Bonnie Sasser of Portland, and Bunk and Penny of Enterprise; sister and husband, Cheyrl and Bob Zacharias of Joseph; daughter and son-in-law, Dixie and Lorin Ricker, Franktown, Colo.; son and daughter-in-law, David and Jan Sasser of Boring; nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren

Grant was preceded in death by his parents and older sister, Wilda Trump.

The family wishes that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Enterprise VFW, to the Wallowa Memorial Hospital Fund, or by giving blood donations to the American Red Cross in Grant's memory.

____________________

Patricia Ann Shirk, 54, of La Grande died Dec. 8 at Grande Ronde Hospital.

A celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at Grande Ronde Community Church.

Patricia was born May 11, 1952, in Encino, Calif., to Frank and Audrey Shirk. She graduated from Reseda High School in Encino. She had one son, Chad Shirk. They both moved to La Grande in 1984 to be close to family.

Patty, as she was known, worked at Wal-Mart until she had a heart attack and stroke in September 2001. She had lived with her longtime partner, Terry Van Luevan. She then moved to the Grande Ronde Retirement Residence.

She always had a positive and encouraging word for everyone, no matter what challenges she was facing in her own life. She never met a stranger and was loved by all.

She is survived by her son, Chad Allen Shirk and his wife, Catherine, of La Grande; mother, Audrey Hines of Ohio; two sisters, Shirley Glenn of Oklahoma and Linda Stuplich of La Grande; two grandchildren; and several other relatives.

She was preceded in death by her father, Frank Shirk, and stepfather, Herbert Hines.

Memorial contributions can be made directly to Loveland Funeral Chapel to help assist with funeral service costs.

____________________

Alta L. Ryan, 92, of Baker City and formerly of North Powder, died Dec. 10 at St. Elizabeth Care Center in Baker City. Funeral services will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Haines Methodist Church. Viewing will be from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. before the service. Burial will follow at North Powder Cemetery.

Mrs. Ryan was born June 11, 1914, in North Powder to William R. Lund and Alma E. Lund. She attended school in North Powder, graduating from Power Valley High School. She continued her education at Eastern Oregon College.

She married Albert Harrison and had three sons, Darwin, Larry and Veryl. The couple later divorced.

She then married Jack Ryan. They had a son, Bill, and a daughter, Mary Lou.

The famly worked hard, raised chickens, had a large garden and Mrs. Ryan worked at both St. Elizabeth Hospital and later at the Haines Post Office.

After retiring, she "blanketed" her grandchildren and great-grandchildren with handmade quilts and afghans. She loved making mincemeat pies and cookies. She looked forward to her card club days, and meeting with special friends. Her special angel was her daughter-in-law, Janis, wife to her son, Bill.

Mrs. Ryan is survived by her children, Larry and Phyllis Harrison, Veryl and Harriet Harrison, Bill and Janis Ryan, and Mary Lou Ryan; numerous grandchildren, great- and great-great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. Dying earlier were her husband, Jack, son Darwin, daugher-in-law Barbara, and sisters, Edna and Lola.

Memorials may be made to the American Cencer Society in care of Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City 97814.

____________________

Enterprise native and Battle of the Bulge veteran Wilford Grant Sasser, 81, died Dec. 9 at the Veterans Nursing Home in Vancouver, Wash.

Public viewing will be held Friday at Bollman Funeral Home. A memorial service will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home. A military graveside service will follow at the Enterprise Cemetery.

Following the service at the cemetery there will be a reception at the VFW Hall in Enterprise. All of those choosing to honor this fallen soldier are encouraged to wear their uniforms.

Grant Sasser was born March 1, 1925, in Enterprise, the son of Chester "Chet" Henry and Ella Mae (Buchanan) Sasser. He lived most of his life in Wallowa County, attending school in Enterprise.

In July 1943 he enlisted in the Army as a combat paratrooper and served as a light machine gunner. He served in World War II and was involved in the Battle of the Bulge with the Goya 151st, a unit of 800 men. After the fighting, with only 200 men returning from that battle, he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne and the Rhineland Campaign, until being wounded in Germany. He received his Combat Infantry Badge on Aug. 15, 1944.

In addition to the Battle of the Bulge, he valiantly fought in the Rome-Arno Campaign, the Southern France Campaign GO#33 1945 and the Rhineland Campaign GO#40 1945. Mr. Sasser received the Presidential Unit Citation, Good Conduct Medal and the European African Middle-Eastern Theater Campaign Medal. He was honorably discharge Sept. 13, 1945, due to injuries received in battle.

In the summer of 2002, he attended his first military reunion in San Diego with his daughter and son. To see the faces of his military buddies again was an experience he never thought he would have. It had been more than 50 years since he had seen them, and the first thing he said was, "They all look the same, just a little older."

Grant was married three times. In 1947 he married Elaine Breshears in Enterprise during a holiday ceremony on Dec. 24. Two children, Dixie and David, were born of this union. The marriage ended in 1973.

The second and briefest marriage was to Winifred Skillings in 1977. In 1980, he married his present wife, Sue Freels-Strong.

In 1948 he attended the Mohler Barber College in Portland. After graduating, he and Elaine moved to Nyssa to begin his barber practice. In 1952, he returned to Wallowa County and set up practice, first in Wallowa for more than 20 years and then in Enterprise where he retired in 2000 after 52 years in the business.

Mr. Sasser was an active member in the Elks in Enterprise for many years, serving as the lodge's exalted ruler in 1968-69. He was a member of the Enterprise VFW. He enjoyed hunting, bowling, shuffleboard, playing cards, carpentry and gard-ening.

He is survived by his wife, Sue, of Enterprise; brothers and their wives, Dean and Bonnie Sasser of Portland, and Bunk and Penny of Enterprise; sister and husband, Cheryl and Bob Zacharias of Joseph; daughter and son-in-law, Dixie and Lorin Ricker, Franktown, Colo.; son and daughter-in-law, David and Jan Sasser of Boring; nine grandchildren, including two he was helping raise, Beverly and Bethany Bemrose; and three great-grandchildren

Grant was preceded in death by his parents and older sister, Wilda Trump.

The family wishes that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Enterprise VFW, to the Wallowa Memorial Hospital Fund, or by giving blood donations to the American Red Cross in Mr. Sasser's memory

____________________

Eva L. Magden, 92, of La Grande, died Dec. 10 at Grande Ronde Hospital.

Mrs. Magden was born Aug. 22, 1914, in the Grande Ronde Valley. She also attended college here.

She married Forest Henry Magden. He died May 18, 1973.

She was a member of the Soroptomists, VFW Auxiliary and the Knife & Fork Club.

Mrs. Magden is survived by two stepsons, Forest H. Magden of Tillamook, and Leonard Jay Magden, of El Paso, Texas; a grandniece and grandnephew, and several grandchildren. Both brothers and sisters preceded her in death.

There will be a viewing at Loveland Funeral Chapel Friday from 4 to 7 p.m., followed by funeral services at 2 p.m. Saturday at Loveland's. A graveside service will follow at Hillcrest Cemetery

____________________

Rex Jay Watson, 55, of La Grande died Dec. 13 at a local care center. Family and friends are invited to a gathering at 3 p.m. Saturday at the American Legion in La Grande. Daniels Chapel of the Valley is in charge of arrangements.

Mr. Watson was born Feb. 21, 1951, in Dayton, Ohio, to Finley James and Wilma (Edmiston) Watson. He attended schools in Dayton.

Later he enlisted in the U.S. Army where he was proud to serve his country in the 82nd Airborne Special Forces Ranger division during the Vietnam era. After his honorable discharge, he returned to Dayton for a time before moving to Laramie, Wyo., before finally settling in La Grande.

On Jan. 21, 1978, he married Sharon Ann Redden. Together the couple not only raised their own children but many other children over the years.

Rex received a bachelor's degree of fine arts from Washington State University in 1992 and became an accomplished artist in oil painting and was known as an expert in the art of flint-knapping. He volunteered his gift of art to children every year at the Cove Cherry Festival and at Arts For All.

He also enjoyed fishing and had a great sense of humor, wisdom and creativity.

Survivors include his wife, Sharon, of La Grande; his mother, Wilma Ohler of Kettering, Ohio; children, Kiley Watson of Eugene, KB Watson, Ben Waln and Dan Waln, all of La Grande; brother, Kenneth Ullery; sisters, Iris Hicks and Joyce Barger, all of Ohio; and numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives. He was preceded in death by his father, Finley James Watson.

Memorials may be made to GRH Hospice in care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St., La Grande 97850.

____________________

Robert Raymond "Ray" Buckley, 94, of La Grande, died December 14 at the Grande Ronde Hospital. A graveside funeral service will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Grandview Cemetery Mausoleum.

Mr. Buckley was born July 16, 1912, to Frank and Margaret (Wildman) Buckley in Deer Lodge, Mont. He came to La Grande when he was 5 and was raised by his aunt and uncle, Eleanor and Bert Carr. He graduated from La Grande High School.

He worked for the Piggly Wiggly stores in La Grande and Baker City.

On Oct. 13, 1935, he married Magdalene Buckley at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Baker City.

During World War II, he served with the 4th Marine Division and was recalled to service during the Korean War.

In 1942 he began working for the Union Pacific Railroad and retired in 1971. In 1977 he went to work for the La Grande School District No. 1 until retiring.

He was a member of St. Peter's Episcopal Church, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2990, the American Legion and the Elks Lodge. He received the Founder's Memorial Lifetime Appreciation Award at the Union County Senior Center in 2005.

Survivors include his son and daughter-in-law, Peter and Teresa Buckley; sisters, grandchildren, Jacob and Sara Buckley; a new great granddaughter; nieces and nephews and other relatives.

Memorials may be made to the Union County Senior Center in care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St., La Grande 97850.

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