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Home arrow Obituaries arrow OBITUARIES FOR THE WEEK ENDING NOV. 25, 2006



B. Joyce Colter Garner, 59, of La Grande died Nov. 15 at St. Alphonsus Hospital in Boise. No public services are planned at this time. Arrangements are under the care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley.

Joyce was born March 21, 1947, in Birmingham, Ala., to Hermit and Opal Garner. She was educated in Alabama and moved to Oregon in 1970. She loved spending time with her grandchildren and talking with her family living in the South. She also enjoyed crocheting and knitting.

Survivors include her daughters, Erica Garner, Lillian Keeling and Kelly Thweatt, all of La Grande; six grandchildren; one brother, Anthony Garner; three sisters; and other relatives. She was preceded in death by an older sister and two brothers, Wayne and George Garner.

Memorial contributions may be made to Erica Garner in care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh Street, La Grande 97850.


Lois Janet Fihn, 87, of Salem and formerly of La Grande, died of natural causes Nov. 17 at a care facility in Salem. Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Loveland Funeral Chapel, with burial to follow at the Island City Cemetery. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. A celebration of life service begins at 2 p.m. Dec. 2 at Tierra Rose Care Center, 4254 Weathers St. NE, in Salem.

Mrs. Fihn was born March 28, 1919, in Moro to James and Lotus Kenny, the second of five children. She moved to La Grande at 19 and attended Eastern Oregon Normal School.

She married Lyle Fihn on April 21, 1939, in Moro, and the couple made their home in La Grande. She lived in La Grande until 2004 when she moved to Salem to be close to family.

Lois was active in the community. She acted as secretary for the Union County Fair Board, volunteered at Grande Ronde Hospital for more than 50 years, was involved with the First Christian Church and Mount Emily Chapter of Good Sam and was a life member of Oregon Eastern Star Hope Chapter No. 13. She was Oregon Grand Ruth for Eastern Star and National President of the Junior Old-Timers Railroad Ladies Society.

Lois enjoyed golf, fishing, gardening and bridge. She loved spending time with her grandchildren and helping people.

Survivors include her children and their spouses, Loren and Cindy Fihn of Salem and Lou Anne and Ruben De La Cruz of Oklahoma City, Okla.; sisters and their spouses, Jessie Simila of Longview, Wash., and Mary and Ralph Balzer of Dayton; and six grandchildren and many great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband in 1977 and two brothers, Glen and Cliff Fihn.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Oregon Eastern Star in care of Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., La Grande 97850.


Faye Helen Sheehy Hannah, 74, of Union died Nov. 12 while working for the Salvation Army World Services in Vryheid, South Africa. A memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Union.

Ms. Hannah was born Aug. 16, 1932, to Hugh Sheehy and Beth Critchlow Sheehy Fisher in Baker City.

She was raised in Durkee and Baker City until age 10, when the family moved to California.

In her capacity as a public health administrator, she worked on projects in Central America, the Middle East and Africa. She was also the social service coordinator for the La Grande Salvation Army Food Bank.

Survivors include her sister and brother-in-law, Kathleen and Bud Gassett of Gig Harbor, Wash.; her companion, William Albright of Baker City; her children and their spouses, Marie and Gary Harmer of Union, JoAnne Hannah and Gary Yarbrough and BriAnna and Ray Burton, all of Sacramento, Calif., Jeannette and James Benton of Baker City, Julie and Richard Walker of Antelope, Calif., Kevin and Mary Hannah of Carmichael, Calif., and Helen Hannah of Elk Grove, Calif.; 15 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and numerous relatives. She was preceded in death by her parents and two grandchildren, Christina Law and Michael Benton.

Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of choice or to The Salvation Army World Service Office, Box 269, Alexandria, Va. 22313.


Patrick Charles Sudway, 25, of Elgin died Nov. 3 in an automobile accident. A memorial service is planned for 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Catholic Church in Elgin.

Patrick was born April 9, 1981, and recently moved to Elgin from Walla Walla, Wash. He worked as a handyman in the construction business and enjoyed motorcycles, fishing, camping, track, skiing, swimming, music, movies, hiking, football, wrestling, animals and being around people.

Survivors include his parents, Darlene Johns of Elgin and Charles Sudway of Strafford, N.H.; sisters, Catherine Johns of La Grande and Renee Swagger of Strafford, N.H.; grandparents, Edward and Agnes Sudway of Elgin; great-uncles and great-aunts, John Kelnock of Pennsylvania and Anna Wydra and Richard and Dorothy Magagna, all of Cheyenne, Wyo.; many cousins; and his best friend and fishing partner, Richard Kelly of Walla Walla. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Raymond Johns of Summerville and Catherine Johns of Pennsylvania, and an uncle, David Johns of Pennsylvania.


Alvin Campbell, 87, of La Grande died Nov. 18 at his home. There will be a celebration of life service at 11 a.m. Friday and viewing prior to the service from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday and from 9 to 10 a.m. Friday at Loveland Funeral Chapel.

Mr. Campbell was born Nov. 10, 1919, in La Grande. In 1944 he joined the Army and was deployed in the Asiatic Pacific theater as a combat infantryman in the 172nd Infantry, 43rd division in Luzon, Philippines. He received numerous medals, including the Bonze Star for Heroism. He was honorably discharged in 1945.

Early in his working life he was employed by Union Pacific Railroad, Mount Emily Lumber and Inland Machinery in La Grande. He retired in 1984 as Union County Roadmaster after 32 years of service.

Mr. Campbell enjoyed the outdoors, hunting, fishing and gardening. He was an artist and received many awards for his oil paintings.

A believer in the Second Amendment, he was an avid supporter of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Survivors include his wife, Myrtle Campbell of La Grande; children and their spouses, Dale and Ellen Campbell of Juneau, Alaska, Larry and Karen Campbell of Cove, Judy and Greg Nordang of Twisp, Wash., and Ron and Rita Campbell of Pendleton; former spouse and mother of his children, Joan Bright; 10 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of choice or to the National Rifle Association, 11250 Waples Mill Road., Fairfax, Va. 22030.


Clemma Aileen Hackler, 81, of La Grande died Nov. 20 at her home. A memorial service will be held at later time. Arrangements are under the direction of Daniels Chapel of the Valley.

Mrs. Hackler was born March 6, 1925, to William and Eunice Hughes Barber in Mankato, Kan. Her family moved to Steamboat Springs, Colo., where they lived for a short time before moving to Hermiston.

She married Clarence Hackler and the couple raised watermelons in Hermiston before moving to Weston, where they logged. Mrs. Hackler cooked at numerous restaurants over the years. Whan she moved to

La Grande she continued cooking at Spout Springs ski lodge until her retirement. She enjoyed hand quilting, needlework, painting and birthday parties, but most of all loved crafts.

Survivors include her children and their spouses, Judy and Lew Hunter of Priest River, Idaho, Bill and Linda Hackler of Bogue, Kan., and Ed Hackler and Gail and Keith Hescock, all of La Grande; siblings, James Barber of Milton-Freewater, Wayne Barber of Ukiah, Earl Barber of Burns and Ethel Geer of Hermiston; nine grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren; and other relatives. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband and a sister, Opal Geer.

Memorial contributions may be made to Heart and Home Hospice in care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St., La Grande 97850.


Johnny Fred Rorden, 59, of Enterprise and formerly of Union, died Nov. 15 at a hospital in Clarkston, Idaho. A graveside memorial service is planned for Memorial Day weekend 2007 at the North Powder Cemetery. The details of the service will be announced at a later date.

Johnny was born July 19, 1947, to Beatrice and Fred Rorden, in Culberson, N.C. His family moved to Adrian, in Malheur County, shortly after his birth, settling in the Big Bend area on the banks of the Snake River.

Johnny loved the outdoors and was an avid hunter until ill health took its toll on him. He would still ride out into the woods with his brother, Clarence, and help him "sight out the game" and "keep him from getting lost."

He was an auto mechanic, learning very young from his uncle Earl Rorden, then the head mechanic at the Bronson Wrecking Yard between Union and La Grande. After crushing his hand at the job there, Johnny went to trade school and became an auto parts salesman. He worked in Boardman for many years, then moved to Enterprise in 1986, where he was a carpenter-handyman.

Johnny loved children and had a happy and contagious sense of humor. A caring and gentle man, he would go out of his way to help anyone in need. He had a strong will to live and accept life as it came, always finding the good in each situation. A strong Christian, Johnny read the Bible daily until poor eyesight prevented him from doing so.

He battled many severe illnesses, including congestive heart failure and diabetes, and underwent heart bypass surgery about 10 years ago. He enjoyed making others laugh, even when he was in severe pain himself.

Survivors include his siblings and their spouses, Gary and Barbara Payne Erwin of Otis, Clarence Rorden of Enterprise and Ted Rorden of Union, and several nieces and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents and a half brother, Jim Payne, all formerly of Union.


Edna H. Jordan, 101, of Grants Pass and formerly of Haines, Imbler and La Grande, died Nov. 16 at her home. A memorial service will be held at a later date in Imbler. Arrangements are under the direction of Hull & Hull Funeral Directors of Grants Pass.

Mrs. Jordan was born Edna Grace Henner Sept. 18, 1905, in Baker City and grew up in Haines. In 1931 she married Ben Rich Jordan. They lived in Imbler from 1936 to 1989, when they moved to La Grande. Her husband died in 1999, and she moved to Grants Pass in 2002.

Survivors include her son, Kim L. Jordan of Grants Pass, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband and a son, Daniel Jordan.

Memorial contributions may be made to Lovejoy Hospice, 939 S.E. Eighth St., Grants Pass 97526.


Patrick Howard Collins, 48, of Seaside and formerly of

La Grande and Union, died Nov. 19 in Seaside. A memorial service is planned for 1 p.m. Saturday at Coastline Christian Fellowship Church in Olney. Prior to the service, visitation will take place from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday at Caldwell's Luce-Layton Mortuary in Astoria.

Mr. Collins, known as Pat, was born Sept. 11, 1958, in Waterbury, Conn., to Theodore M. and Mary E. Brooks Collins. He grew up and was educated in Anaheim, Calif. In 1974 he moved to Clatsop County and began a career in the drywall business with a brother-in-law.

On May 11, 1983, he married Diana I. Pender in Warrenton.

In the early 1990s he and his family moved to Eastern Oregon, where he continued his construction business and worked for McReynolds Cabinets and Pine Eagle Freight Lines in La Grande.

The family moved to Union in 1992 and lived there until 2001, at which time they returned to Clatsop County. They made their home in Seaside, where he owned his own company, Pat Collins Construction.

He was a member of and served as a deacon at the Bread of Life Fellowship Church in La Grande, and was a member of the Coastline Christian Fellowship Church in Olney.

He will be remembered as a hard-working person, devoted to his wife and family. He enjoyed spending time with his family, going to amusement parks, walking on the beach, camping, water-skiing and fishing. He loved the early morning hours and watching falling stars.

Survivors include his wife, Diana of Seaside; children and their spouses, Cherrisse Pedro of southern California, Katrena and William Smith of Hoquiam, Wash., Gena and A.J. Duryea of Astoria and Malena Collins, Leesha Collins, Nena Collins, Brandon Collins, Briana Collins, Alena Collins, Megann Collins and Judah Collins, all of Seaside; parents, Mary Collins Jenkins and J.P. Jenkins Jr. of Warrenton; siblings and their spouses, Addy and Gary Heiner, Carl and Beverly Collins and Timothy and Debra Collins, all of Maui, Hawaii, Theodore and Lynnada Collins of Sheridan, Harold and Leah Collins of Vancouver, Wash., Patrick and Natalie Jenkins of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., James P. III and Darla Jenkins of Warrenton and Gayla and Dana Mebus of Los Flores, Calif.; five grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and in-laws.

Memorials may be made to the Pat Collins Memorial Fund in care of Caldwell's Luce-Layton Mortuary, 1165 Franklin Ave., Astoria 97103.


Doris Ross, 80, of La Grande died Nov. 18 at her home. A memorial service begins at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Peter's Episcopal Church. Arrangements are under the direction of Daniels Chapel of the Valley.

Mrs. Ross was born Sept. 7, 1926, in Pasco, Wash., to William D. and Lucille C. Skeen Reinhardt. While in high school she was in a violin ensemble that won first place in the state of Washington.She graduated from Pasco High School in 1944.

The following year she married Donald C. Ross at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Walla Walla, and they had two children.

She worked in banking most of her adult life. Although polio struck her at age 26, she overcame many obstacles and kept a positive attitude for the remainder of her life.

She'll be remembered for her quick wit, kindness and love for her family, friends and the Grande Ronde Valley.

Mrs. Ross was a lifetime member of the Episcopal Church and was very active in the community, including membership in Soroptimist International. She enjoyed her church and attending concerts, plays and the symphony. She also enjoyed reading, working puzzles, swimming and playing the violin. In her later years, she learned to use the Internet and kept in touch with many out-of-town friends and family members via e-mail.

Survivors include her children and their spouses, Donna L. Ross of La Grande and Daniel M. and Crystal Ross of The Dalles; step-brother, Dale Parker of King Ferry, N.Y.; sister-in-law, Toni Ross of Walla Walla, Wash.; one grandson; and many cousins, nieces and nephews. Mrs. Ross was preceded in death by her parents, husband and a brother, Dale M. Reinhardt.

Memorials may be made to St. Peter's Episcopal Church in care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St., La Grande 97850.


Russell Simonis, 48, of Las Vegas, Nev., died Sept. 10. There will be a graveside memorial service at 2 p.m. Saturday at the North Powder Cemetery.

Mr. Simonis was born June 11, 1958, to Vernon and Earlene Baker Simonis and spent his early years in North Powder.

Survivors include his wife, Sandra Stone Simonis of Las Vegas; siblings, Ricky of North Powder, Rodney of New Plymouth, Idaho, Gary of Las Vegas and Marrsue; and uncle, Elvin Simonis of North Powder.


Harold Leon Griffith, 40, of Portland and formerly of La Grande, died Nov. 19. There will be a funeral service at 11 a.m. Friday at Highland United Church of Christ in Portland.

Mr. Griffith was born Feb. 18, 1966, in Portland. He was a graduate of Jefferson High School and Western Culinary Institute, both in Portland. He lived most of his life in the Portland area, but for a time lived in La Grande, where he was a chef at Ten Depot Street. Most recently he was employed as a chef at Jimmy's Italian Restaurant in Portland.

Survivors include his children, Jonathan Griffith of Bozeman, Mont., and Kegan Griffith and Kale Lanius, both of Belgrade, Mont.; mother, Rebecca Ross, of Troutdale and formerly of La Grande; and a brother, Jimmie Griffith of Welches.

Memorialbe made to OHSU AIDS Research in care of Ross Hollywood Funeral Chapel, 4733 NE Thompson St., Portland 97213.


Steve Matthew Svetich, 89, of Portland and formerly of La Grande, died Nov. 16. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Portland. Arrangements are under the direction of Riverview Abbey Funeral Home of Portland.

Mr. Svetich was born April 27, 1917, in Bingham Canyon, Utah.

He moved to La Grande at age 12 and graduated from La Grande High School. He attended Eastern Oregon State College then served in the Army during World War II.

He moved to Portland in 1946 and married Mary Ann Mehalovich in 1952. He retired in 1982 after working for Safeway Stores in the meat department for more than 35 years.

He was a member of Meat Cutters Local No. 555, the Croatian Fraternal Union and St. Ignatius Catholic Church.

Survivors include his wife, Mary Ann of Portland; children, Matthew Svetich, George Svetich, Donald Svetich and Marilyn Kuhnhausen, all of Portland; siblings, Matthew Svetich of Walla Walla and Mary Talbot of La Grande; and five grandchildren.

Memorials may be made to the St. Ignatius School Foundation in care of Riverview Abbey Funeral Home, 319 SW Taylors Ferry Road, Portland 97219.


Arthur Thomas Kelley, 88, of La Grande died Nov. 21 at St. Alphonsus Hospital in Boise. A funeral service will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at Daniels Chapel of the Valley. Committal and burial with military honors will follow at 1 p.m. Monday at Grandview Cemetery.

Mr. Kelley was born March 17, 1918, to Thomas and Ida Wright Kelley in Throckmorton, Texas. He was educated in Texas and attended Texas A&M before enlisting in the Air Force.

He made the military his career and retired as a lieutenant colonel.

In 1945 he married Jacqueline Wiese in California, and they were stationed in various places around the world during his military career.

In 1954 they moved to La Grande, where he owned the OK Barber Shop for many years until selling it to the current owners. After the sale he continued to work as a barber until five years ago.

Mr. Kelley was a member of the Elks Lodge and the Masonic Lodge. He loved aircrafts and flying and spent many hours at the airport. He enjoyed fishing and his dogs, always having one by his side. He also liked to travel.

Survivors include his wife, Jacqueline Kelley of

La Grande; children, Colleen Kelley of Waterford, Pa., Dan Kelley of Portland and John Kelley of La Grande; one grandson; and numerous nieces and nephews and other relatives. He was preceded in death by two brothers and three sisters.


William Carrington Dowdy, 83, of La Grande, died Nov. 24 at a local care center.

A celebration of life service will begin at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the United Methodist Church in La Grande. Private burial will be at the Grandview Cemetery. Viewing will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday at Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St., La Grande.

Dr. Dowdy was born Dec. 21, 1922, in Yakima, Wash., the son of William and Edna (Whitenack) Dowdy.

In 1942 he joined the Army and was deployed to the Pacific Theater as a combat infantryman in the 96th Infantry Division. He saw action in Leyte, Samar, Okinawa and other islands in the Philippines. He was awarded the Bronze Star of Heroism. After his honorable discharge, from active service in December 1945, he joined the U.S. Army Reserves as first lieutenant in the Dental Corps.

Following his active military service he attended the University of Oregon Dental School, graduating in 1950. While attending dental school, he met Christina M. Seidel and they were married in 1947.

Dr. Dowdy moved his family to La Grande in 1950 and began his dental practice. He retired in 1986.

Dr. Dowdy was very active in La Grande throughout his life. He was an active member of the La Grande Methodist Church, holding various pastoral and leadership positions, even serving as a certified lay speaker, and made presentation throughout the Grande Ronde Valley.

Dr. Dowdy's sense of service to others forged by his strong Christian beliefs and honored in his service to his country during World War II, further showed in his civic activities.

He became a member of the La Grande Rotary Club. For his years of service he was honored with a Paul Harris Fellowship. He was also a member of the La Grande Methodist Church Foundation and was a church trustee. For his service to the community he was named Volunteer of the Year in 1996.

Dr. Dowdy loved the outdoors. He was an avid tennis player and enjoyed fishing and hunting.

In appreciation of mother nature, Dr. Dowdy was a birding enthusiast and co-founded the Grande Ronde Bird Club. His love of nature extended to visiting schools, youth programs and granges to make presentations on the eco-system and wildlife of the Grande Ronde Valley.

Growing up in the orchards of the Yakima Valley, he continued his passion for growing fruits and vegetables, particularly grafting apple varieties to his favorite tree at his La Grande residence.

He was an energetic hiker, and with his companion dogs, roamed the foothills of the Grande Ronde Valley and walked the Oregon Trail. He and his family enjoyed annual harvesting of wild mushrooms and huckleberry picking at Kamela and Mount Emily. Dr. Dowdy was a caring and gentle Christian gentleman who made service to others his life's work.

Dr. Dowdy is survived by his wife of La Grande; children and spouses, Judith and Dan Schwenk of Vancouver, Wash., Kathryn and Ron Eggers of Lake Oswego, Nancy and John Schassen of La Pine, Richard and Jamie of Canby, Patricia and Baxter Dyer of Bend and Steven and Teresa Dowdy of La Grande; 10 grandchildren; five great grandchildren and other relatives and friends.

Memorial contributions may be made to the La Grande United Methodist Church Memorial Fund or to the United Methodist Church Foundation in care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St., La Grande 97850.


Garland D. Hocker, 81, of Wallowa died Nov. 20 at the Wallowa Memorial Hospital in Enterprise.

A celebration of life will begin at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Christian Church in Wallowa, with Mel Byers officiating. Burial will follow in Wallowa Cemetery. Arrangements are by Bollman Funeral Home, Enterprise.

He was born Aug. 15, 1925, in Lockhart, Texas, to John and Nancy (Snow) Hocker.

He married Betty Gordineer and served in the Army during World War II. Later he worked as a logger.

Survivors include his wife at the family home, sons Gayle and his wife Terri, Ray and his wife Connie, Steve and his wife Vicky and Randy and his wife Sheila; eight grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to Wallowa Christian Church in care of Bollman Funeral Home, 315 W. Main St., Enterprise, 97828.


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