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Home arrow Obituaries arrow OBITUARIES FOR THE WEEK ENDING JAN. 27, 2007



Alice Opp, 96, of La Grande died Jan. 17 at Grande Ronde Hospital. A funeral service is planned for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Munselle-Rhodes Funeral Home Chapel in Milton-Freewater. Private interment will be in the Milton-Freewater Cemetery.

Mrs. Opp was born Dec. 26, 1910, in Herdsfield, N.D., to Fred and Lizzie Free Aichele. The first of eight children,

she had a great deal of responsibility at an early age, caring for her siblings, cooking for harvest crews, tending horses and milking cows, in addition to attending school.

On June 12, 1930, she married John Opp in Fessenden, N.D. Shortly after her marriage, the entire Aichele family and her new husband moved to the Milton-Freewater area. The couple worked for area farmers picking fruit and vegetables. The Opps would take their only child, Bernice, with them to the fields and orchards, where she would play or sleep on a blanket nearby. On occasion they traveled into Washington to work and live in the camps provided by the farmers. They later also worked for greenhouses in Milton-Freewater and Walla Walla.

Alice loved working with plants, and it carried over into her own yard. She enjoyed knitting and crocheting and participated in many craft shows, where she enjoyed meeting people who visited her booth. She was a member of the Church of God and attended services in Milton-Freewater and Walla Walla.

In 1999 the Opps moved to La Grande to be near their daughter and son-in-law. In 2004 Alice moved to Evergreen Vista.

Survivors include her daughter and son-in-law, Bernice and Orville Miller of La Grande; a sister, Inez Seholm of Pasco, Wash.; two grandchildren and one great-grandchild; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband in 2004.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association in care of Munselle-Rhodes Funeral Home Chapel, 902 S. Main St., Milton-Freewater 97862.


Norman W. Croucher Sr., 74, of McMinnville and formerly of Elgin died Jan. 19 at home. A funeral service is planned for 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Chapel of Macy & Son Funeral Directors in McMinnville. Burial will be at the Evergreen Memorial Park Cemetery in McMinnville. A memorial service will be held in Elgin at a later date.

Mr. Croucher was born Sept. 29, 1932, in Burlingame, Kan., to William and Ethyl Davis Croucher and was raised and educated in Kansas. He was employed by the Santa Fe Railroad as a lineman until he joined the Air Force, for which he worked as a flight mechanic.

On April 17, 1956, he married Eueva Marlene Jarvis in Sutherlin. They lived in Auburn, Wash., and then Puyallup, where he worked for Boeing. In 1960 they moved back to Sutherlin, and he worked in the wood products industry.

Upon moving to Elgin in 1965, Mr. Croucher worked for Boise Cascade in the plywood plant, eventually becoming a supervisor for 25 years until retiring. The Crouchers moved to McMinnville in 1998.

Norman loved to fish, golf and square dance with his wife. He was a member of the American Legion and volunteered at the Evergreen Aviation Museum.

Survivors include his children, Norman Croucher Jr. of Elgin, Alan Croucher of Harrisburg and Euvira Beaty of Oregon City; siblings, Wilford Croucher and Evelyn Edlin, both of Osage City, Kan., and Sondra Steffensen of Sacramento, Calif.; and five grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife in 2005.


Gladys Mabel Culp, 85, of Hermiston and formerly of Elgin, died Jan. 20 at Ashley Manor in Hermiston. A 2 p.m. graveside service is planned for Thursday at the Veterans Shelter in the Hermiston Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Burns Mortuary of Hermiston.

Gladys was born Sept. 8, 1921, to Carl Eli and Susan Eddy Hurd Tracy in Navesink, N.J. She attended school in Elgin and graduated from high school in New Jersey. She won a beauty contest on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J.

Gladys married Milton Harrison "Cub" Culp on Sept. 25, 1945, in Elgin. She was a homemaker and a bookkeeper for her husband, who owned and operated a sawmill in Elgin and later a welding shop in Hermiston.

Gladys was a longtime member of the Elgin VFW Auxiliary and a member of the Episcopal Church. Her hobbies were doing creative art such as painting and crocheting.

Survivors include her husband of 61 years, Milton "Cub" Culp of Hermiston; children and their spouses, Dennis and Judy Culp, Gary and Vicki Culp and Phyllis Martin, all of Hermiston, and Charlotte Deary of Kennewick, Wash.; nine grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter; a sister, Marjorie Breshears of the McMinnville area; and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents and siblings, Carl E. "Buster" Tracy Jr., Mary Lou Owens, Betty Jane Volle and Helen Sue Miller.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, Vange John Memorial Hospice or a charity of choice.


Alfred Leroy Fuller, 68, of Meacham died Jan. 11 at the Grande Ronde Hospital. A celebration of life took place Jan. 20 at the office of his daughter, Colleen Harris, in Beaverton. An open house potluck is planned for noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at Alfred's house, 400 Hot Rod Alley, in Meacham.

Mr. Fuller was born June 30, 1938, to Leroy Alfred and Effie Mae Remington Fuller in Toledo. He was raised in Portland and graduated from Grant High School. He was married to Deloris Culver, who preceded him in death. For the past 30 years he was a resident and member of the Meacham


He worked as a truck parts salesman for Woodpecker Truck in Pendleton until retiring in 1989. During his working years he became friends with his many loyal customers, and they kept in touch even after he retired. He was a very active member of the National Hot Rod Association and was involved with many rod runs. He was also a member of the Eagles Lodge in Pendleton.

Mr. Fuller was known for his great sense of humor and had many friends. He loved his Meacham family and enjoyed special times with them throughout the years.

Survivors include his mother, Effie Fuller of Lake Oswego; children and their spouses, Colleen Harris of Tigard and Alan and Chong Fuller of Yuma, Ariz.; daughter-in-law, Lori Fuller of Milwaukee, Wis.; siblings, Richard Fuller of Oregon City, Donna Burnside of Sherwood and Sharon Kukoricza, Vicki Skinner and Patti Matchett, all of Lake Oswego; three grandchildren; and other relatives. He was preceded in death by his father; son, Bryan Fuller; and two granddaughters.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Oregon Lung Association in care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St., La Grande 97850.


Shane Howard Huntsman, 40, of Paradise died unexpectedly Jan. 18. At his request there will not be a funeral service. A private family memorial will be held. Arrangements are under the direction of Bollman Funeral Home, Enterprise, and Aftercare Cremation Services, Portland.

Mr. Huntsman was born Oct. 31, 1966, in La Grande to Floyd and Judy Brown Huntsman. He was raised in Wallowa County and attended Wallowa High School. He owned and operated a logging conservation business for more than 20 years.

Shane resided with his best friend, Donna Dunning, and they raised horses on her Paradise ranch for the past nine years. He was an avid outdoorsman and had a love for gardening instilled by his grandmother. He honored the Native American traditions and believed in land stewardship and the preservation of wildlife.

Survivors include his parents, Judy Johnston of Union and Floyd Huntsman of Reno, Nev.; friend, Donna Dunning of Paradise; sister, Tracy Wyllie of Union; grandparents, Jack and Joy Brown of Woodburn; and numerous other family members. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Ralph and Janet Huntsman.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the Nez Perce Interpretive Center, Shane Huntsman Memorial, 209 E. Second St., Wallowa 97885.


Helen Doris Johnson, 82, of Pendleton and formerly of

La Grande died Jan. 20 in Pendleton. A private family memorial service will be held at a later date at Lake Mary Ronan, Mont. Arrangements are under the direction of Burns Mortuary of Pendleton.

Mrs. Johnson was born Sept. 7, 1924, to Aldon and Amanda Hagen Parsons in

La Grande. She grew up and attended school in La Grande and after high school graduation attended what is now Eastern Oregon University.

On July 22, 1944, she married William E. Johnson in San Antonio, Texas, where he was stationed in the Army. After World War II they moved to Milton-Freewater and in 1950 to Walla Walla, Wash. In 2002 Helen moved to Pendleton to be near her son and daughter-in-law.

While raising her family, Helen spent most of her adult life as a librarian at the Walla Walla City Library. She loved to read and spend time with her family and friends, fishing at Lake Mary Ronan in Montana.

Survivors include her children and their spouses, Tom and Betty Johnson of Vancouver, Wash., and Robert and Kathy Johnson of Pendleton, and two grandsons. She was preceded in death by her husband in 1997.


Claud Mead, 91, of Milton-Freewater and formerly of Wallowa County died Jan. 21 at Evergreen Nursing Home in Milton-Freewater. Services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Bollman Funeral Home in Enterprise. Burial will be at the Joseph Cemetery.

Mr. Mead was born Aug. 4, 1915, to William and Emma Mead in Florence. He graduated from Florence High School. On March 20, 1942, he married Frances Briggs in Lewiston, Idaho. They owned and ran a farm on Prairie Creek for 30 years.

For several years Claud logged for various logging companies in Wallowa County with his longtime friend and neighbor Harold "Shorty" Lathrop. He was later employed by the U.S. Forest Service until retirement.

Claud and his wife sold the family farm in 1974 and moved to Joseph. Frances died in 1994. In 1996 Claud and his last remaining sister, Gladys Davenport, built and moved into a house in Milton-Freewater.

Survivors include his children, Jeanie Mead Warnock of College Place, Wash., Rosemary Mead of Milton-Freewater and Claudia Mead of Enterprise; three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; and five nieces.

Memorial contributions may be made to cancer research in care of Bollman Funeral Home, 315 W. Main, Enterprise 97828.


Long-time Wallowa County rancher Dennis Alan Beach, 55, died tragically Jan. 18.

A recitation of the Rosary will take place at 7 p.m. today at St. Katherine's Catholic Church in Enterprise. A Mass of Christian burial for family and close friends is planned for 10 a.m. Friday at St. Katherine's. Following the burial a celebration of life potluck will begin at noon at the Elks Lodge in Enterprise. Contact Bollman Funeral Home for viewing times at 426-3838.

Mr. Beach was born May 9, 1951, in Enterprise to Norman Dale and Dolores Alice Perren Beach. He was raised on the William J. Beach Century Farm in Northeast Oregon. After graduating from Enterprise High School in 1970 he attended Lane Community College in Eugene and received an Air Frame and Power Plant Associate Degree in 1973.

When Dennis returned to Wallowa County after receiving his degree, he bought an airplane and acquired his pilot's license. This provided him many hours of enjoyment checking on cattle, going for short trips and looking at wildlife.

Dennis and his father, known as Sam, raised registered Shorthorn and Hereford cattle, later adding Saler and Angus to their herd. They also raised a variety of crops.

Dennis married Nancy Jean Walsh Dixon on June 14, 1977, in Lewiston, Idaho. Together they raised three children who all had a loving relationship with their father. He was a great mentor for many and a lover of the outdoors. His grandchildren were the twinkle in his eye.

Dennis was a member of St. Katherine's Catholic Church, the Enterprise School Budget Committee and Wallowa County Grain Growers Board of Directors and an alternate member of FSA Board of Directors. He received the State Farmer Degree awarded by FFA.

Recently he was working to promote bio-diesel products as an alternative fuel. His vision on this endeavor was to create a co-op to benefit the community. Wallowa County was a big part of his life.

Survivors include his wife, Nancy; children and their

spouses, Paula Beach, Dena-Marie and Melvin Stonebrink and Travis and Holly Beach; three grandchildren and a fourth due in May; great-aunt, Zelpha Beach Spencer; father and step-mother, Norman and Esther Beach; sisters, Audrey Wedin and Rebecca Self; and nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother, Dolores Beach, who was known as Dee.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society and/or the Wallowa County EMT.


Robert Howard Sawyer, 92, of Prineville and formerly of Imbler died Jan. 19. At his request, no services will be held. Arrangements are under the direction of Prineville Funeral Home.

Mr. Sawyer was born April 27, 1914, to Frank D. and Louie Mae Sawyer on a homestead outside of Burns. He earned degrees from Oregon State and Linfield Colleges in 1936. He married Neta Wilson on June 16, 1940, in Baker.

Robert worked as a seed salesman for Pacific Seed. He was a teacher in Imbler for 10 years and taught vocational agriculture in Prineville for 21 years. He enjoyed hunting and fishing and was very active in the Lions Club after his retirement. He was known locally as the Lion's Mint Man.

Survivors include his wife of 66 years, Neta; children and their spouses, Terry and Mary Sawyer and Karen and Randy Cottrell, all of Prineville, and Lynn and Linda Sawyer of Powell Butte; and 5 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Lions Club, P.O. Box 412, Prineville 97754.


Robert William Blacker, 56, of Durkee and formerly of

La Grande died Jan. 22 at his home from complications of West Nile virus. A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Durkee Community Church.

Mr. Blacker, known as Bob, was born Sept. 13, 1950, to Lora Riley Wright and Lee Arthur Blacker in Baker City. His great-grandparents were Charles and Minerva Baldock, early pioneer settlers in the Baker Valley. His father was a construction worker, and the

family moved frequently. He lived in many towns in Oregon, Washington and Montana while growing up and made many lifelong friends along the way.

After graduating from

La Grande High School in 1968, Bob followed his father's example and went into the diversified field of construction, mastering working with concrete. He eventually worked on the Interpretive Center in Baker City.

In 1977 he married Roberta Hanna in Durkee, and the couple resided in Portland. They later divorced. Bob lived most of his life in his beloved Eastern Oregon.

Some of his greatest pleasures were sharing hunting and fishing adventures with his brothers and friends. He especially loved the Snake River area. He enjoyed gardening, cooking, rodeos and ranching. His charismatic laugh and generous nature will be missed.

Survivors include his girlfriend, Jody Nickerson, and her daughters of Durkee; children, Eric Blacker of Los Osos, Calif., and Tara Cheatum of Seattle, Wash.; sister and brother-in-law, Faye and Jerry Winkle of La Grande; and other relatives. He was

preceded in death by his parents and brothers, Chris Blacker of Durkee and Gary Wright of Portland.


Raymond Francis Carpenter, 85, of Cove died Jan. 10 at a local care center. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Feb. 3 at Daniels Chapel of the Valley.

Mr. Carpenter was born Oct. 28, 1921, to Alfa Ray and Jennie Marie Trapp Carpenter in Deerfield, Mo. One of 12 children, he grew up in Missouri and Nevada and served in the Navy. On Aug. 5, 1958, he married Doris Cady in Weiser, Idaho.

He owned and operated a diesel truck repair and radiator repair shop in Baker City for many years. After he sold his shop he worked as a shop foreman for the City of Baker City until retiring in the fall of 1983. He also owned a ranch in Baker City, where he raised cattle, sheep and pigs.

The Carpenters moved to Cove in 1982, and Doris

preceded him in death in 1983.

Mechanic work was his main trade, but he was a "jack of all trades." He loved the outdoors, farming, ranching, fishing and hunting, and he enjoyed traveling to visit friends.

Survivors include his children, Sharon Carpenter of Corvallis, Larry Carpenter of

La Grande, Dianne Miller of Kent, Wash., and Laurie Hargett of Cove; siblings, Delta Barker of Joplin, Mo., Bonnie Devore of Mountain Home, Ark., Ima June Frost of Topsham, Maine, and Jack Carpenter of Blanchard, Idaho; eight grandchildren and several great-grandchildren; and other relatives.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Cove High School Sports Program, P.O. Box 68, Cove 97824.


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