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Home arrow Obituaries arrow OBITUARIES JUNE 18-23, 2001



Robert Wagner

La Grande

Robert Wagner of La Grande died Saturday at his home.

Daniels Chapel of the Valley is in charge of arrangements.

Keith Johnston

La Grande

Keith D. Johnston, 57, of La Grande died Saturday at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eugene after an automobile accident. Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements. A complete obituary will be published later.

Robert Holland

Formerly of La Grande


Former Grant County Commissioner George Robert Bob Holland died June 15 in Astoria. He was 74.

Visitation will be at Driskill Memorial Chapel, 241 S. Canyon Blvd., John Day, from 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

A celebration of life will begin with a rosary at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Driskill Chapel and a Mass at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church. A graveside service will follow at Canyon City Cemetery. A reception will follow at Mount Vernon Grange.

Formerly of John Day, Mr. Holland lived in La Grande for three years. He was active in Union County Senior Center events. He moved to Astoria last year.

He was on the board of directors of the Northeast Oregon Housing Authority for 13 years until illness forced his retirement from that board.

Mr. Holland was a county commissioner for eight years. He was especially proud of helping establish the Grant County Food Bank and the WIC program in John Day.

He was born July 26, 1926, at the Smith ranch between John Day and Prairie City to George Leslie and Josephine Landrum Holland.

The family lived in John Day, then moved to a Mount Vernon ranch. He went to school in Mount Vernon and then Grant Union, where he was center for the 1943 state championship football team. He graduated in 1944.

He served in the Marines in the South Pacific, then returned to the family ranch. He married Pauline Bell on June 17, 1950. They had four daughters.

He bought his fathers ranch, then sold it in 1972 and purchased a ranch in Dayville. He sold that in 1978 due to an illness.

He belonged to the Grange, Elks, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Catholic Church.

He loved to travel, going on several cruises, and was an excellent rancher, family members said. They said he was a life-long liberal Democrat who believed in helping all people.

He is survived by his wife; daughters and sons-in-law, Cathy Holland and Bob Waggener, Barbara and Terry Oien, Patty and Bill Wilson, and Beth and Roger Upshaw; eight grandchildren; a sister, Ruth Aydelotte, and other relatives. A sister, Margery Holland and a granddaughter died earlier.

Memorials may be made to Grant County Food Bank or Grant County VFW in care of Driskill Memorial Chapel, 241 S. Canyon Blvd., John Day 97845.

Dorothy Ann Dempsey



Dorothy Ann Dempsey, 63, of Elgin died June 15 at her home. She was a health care worker for many years.

A service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Elgin Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-say Saints, with Brad Meyers officiating.

Mrs. Dempsey was born on March 9, 1938, to Clare J. and Lydia A. Suchaneck Potter in Flint, Mich. She married Boyd Lee Dempsey in Santa Rosa, Calif., in September 1975. They moved to Elgin from Eureka, Calif., in 1978.

She was a member of the LDS Church, serving in many capacities, including relief society worker, activities committee, primary secretary and teacher.

Survivors include her husband, three brothers-in-law, a sister-in-law; and several nieces and nephews.

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

Jeremiah Lillegard


La Grande

Jeremiah Todd Lillegard, 2, of La Grande, died Saturday following a traffic accident in Imbler.

A celebration of life will begin at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Christian Life Center in Elgin, with Pastor John Barnhart officiating. Committal and interment will follow at Hillcrest Cemetery in La Grande. A potluck picnic will follow at Riverside Park. Family and friends may call until 5 p.m. today and from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday at Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St.

Jeremiah was born June 3, 1999, in La Grande to Jeremy Jerry and Melissa Barnhart Lillegard.

He loved Sunday school, Jesus, his Papa and all his family, and was called Our Little Man, family members said. He was full of joy and always smiling, they said.

Besides his parents, he is survived by his sisters, Brittany and Katie Lillegard of La Grande; his grandparents, John and Sherry Barnhart of Elgin and Judy and Daniel Lillegard of Stevenson, Wash.; his great-grandmothers, Bea Scott of Cascade Locks and Earnestine Blessing of Smiths Ferry, Idaho; four uncles, three aunts, many cousins and other relatives.

Contributions may be made to the Jeremiah Lillegard Memorial Fund in care of Daniels Chapel.

R.J. Wagener

La Grande


R.J. Buck Wagener, 76, of La Grande, died June 16 at his home in La Grande.

A service will start at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Light-house United Pentecostal Church in Island City. Committal and interment will follow at Grandview Cemetery. Daniels Chapel of the Valley is in charge of the arrangements.

Mr. Wagener was born Oct. 27, 1924, the son of Trustin and Cora (Workman) Wagener in Leavenworth, Wash. He graduated from high school in Kalispell, Mont., and worked for the Conservation Corp before enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.

On Nov. 8, 1945, he married Roma Rae Ginger Beers in Boise. In 1950 they moved to La Grande. He worked for the Union Pacific Railroad as a brakeman and retired as a conductor. He was a member of the Eagles Lodge since 1976, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and was a former member of the Elks Lodge.

Mr. Wagener was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping and horseback riding. His family was the most important part of his life.

Survivors include his wife, Ginger of La Grande; children, Sid Wagener of Yakima, Wash., Janitta Carper of Union, Dave Wagener of Colorado and Robert A. Wagener of Colorado; 13 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; mother, Cora Neal of La Grande; brother, Gary Wagener of Whitefish, Mont.; sister, Dollene Lewis of Pinehurst, Idaho, and other relatives and friends.

Contributions may be made to GRH Home Care Services in care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St., La Grande, 97850.

Flores Kelly

North Powder


Flores A. Flo Kelly, 70, of North Powder, died June 15 at her daughters home. At her request, there will be no public service. A private family service will be held at a later date. Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

Mrs. Kelly was born July 7, 1930, to Bert and Agnes Beach Nickels in Bend. She graduated from Baker High School and lived in North Powder for 15 years before moving to Bullhead City, Ariz., and then Gold Beach. She returned only recently to North Powder. She enjoyed gardening, crocheting, the ocean and spending time with her family.

Survivors include her sons and their wives, Keith and Kathy Montgomery of Union, Gary and Becky Montgomery of Pilot Rock; her daughters and their husbands, Karen and Roger Kirkland of North Powder and Maureen and Tony Smith of Bullhead City; 12 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren; her brothers and their wives, Nick and Betty Nickels of Gold Beach, and Randy Black of Walla Walla; her sister, Mary Aldrich of Gold Beach; a stepsister and her husband, Jewel and Dick Gates of Hillsboro; and other

relatives. A brother, Bob, a stepbrother and a grandson all died earlier.

Neva Witten

Neva Witten, 82, of Union died Monday at her home.

A funeral service will start at 2 p.m. Friday at Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St., with the Rev. Lance Kittleson officiating. Interment will follow at Hillcrest Cemetery.

A full obituary will be published later by Daniels Chapel of the Valley.

Tandi Dawn Slack



Tandi Dawn Slack, 36, died June 20 at Good Shepherd Medical Center in Hermiston after an illness. A service will begin at 4 p.m. Friday at Burns Mortuary Chapel in Hermiston. Disposition was by cremation.

She was born in Enterprise on Nov. 24, 1964, to Gale and LaVonne Prince.

Mrs. Slack has lived in Hermiston the last 10 years. She was a long-time assistant manager at Taco Time in Hermiston.

She married Kevin Ludviksen in 1984. They later divorced.

She is survived by her first husband; her father, of Burns; her mother, LaVonne Lessar of Pendleton; grandparents, Bertie Prince, Don and Marie Schaeffer, all of Wallowa; two daughters, Kaela Ludviksen and Kiley Slack; a brother, Todd Prince of Hermiston; a sister, Tanna Prince of Las Vegas. A brother, Terryhl Prince, and a grandfather, Ted Prince, died


Instead of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested for the Tandi Slack Childrens Memorial Fund at Columbia River Bank in Hermiston.

Norman Lawton

Norman Nate Lawton, 95, died Wednesday at a La Grande care home.

A full obituary will be published later. Daniels Chapel of the Valley is in charge of arrangements.

Russell N. Thoreson

Russell N. Thoreson, 81, of Haines, died this morning at Grande Ronde Hospital.

Arrangements will be announced later by Daniels Chapel of the Valley.

Oscar Shoemake

Formerly of La Grande


Oscar Leander Shoemake, 72, of Desert Hot Springs, Calif., and formerly of La Grande, died June 13 in Palm Springs, Calif. Burial will be in Willamette National Cemetery in Portland.

Mr. Shoemake was born Sept. 12, 1928, to Albert and Nora Todd Shoemake in Baker City. He graduated from La Grande High School around 1947 and attended Eastern Oregon State College, where he was a halfback on the football team. After graduating from Western Oregon University, he worked for the Oregon State Department of Education and later served as superintendent of schools in Malheur County. He served in the Army during the Korean Conflict in a hospital unit in Japan and married Virginia Alexanian on June 4, 1971, in Pendleton. The couple owned and operated The Hitching Post bistro at Boardman for a while. He enjoyed golf, hunting, fishing and athletic events.

Survivors include his wife of Desert Hot Springs; two sons, James Shoemake of Seoul, South Korea, and Randy Shoemake of Beaverton; three grandchildren; two sisters, Ora Olson of Anacortes, Wash., and Helen Webber of Rancho Mirage, Calif.; two brothers, Robert Shoemake of Desert Hot Springs, and James Shoemake of Bellevue, Wash., and other relatives. A son, David, died earlier.

Memorials may be made to any charity or to a local anti-smoking campaign office.

Neva Witten



Neva Witten, 82, of Union, died June 18 at her home.

A celebration of life began at 2 p.m. today at Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St., with the Rev. Lance Kittleson of Zion Lutheran Church officiating. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Cemetery.

Mrs. Witten was born March 21, 1919, to Irvin Ole and Rosie Walmer Mathson in Perry. She married Walter Witten on July 1, 1936, in Walla Walla. After his death in 1965, she began working for Eastern Oregon University where she was a custodian and cook for 20 years. She enjoyed traveling in Oregon, watching television and touring the Christmas lights. She loved animals.

Survivors include her sons, Irvin Witten of Union and Larry Witten of La Grande; a daughter, Linda Witten of Union; 14 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren; a brother, Theodore Mathson of Eugene; and other


Besides her husband, a daughter, Barbara Newcomb, two brothers, Louie and Alfred, and two sisters, Chrestina and Olga, all died earlier.

Memorials may be made to the Blue Mountain Humane Association in care of Daniels Chapel.

Nate Lawton

La Grande


Norman G. Nate Lawton, 95, of La Grande, died June 20 at a local care center. A memorial service will be held later in King City, Calif. Daniels Chapel of the Valley is in charge of arrangements.

Mr. Lawton was born Feb. 2, 1906, to William and Martha Shreeves Lawton in Delta, Colo. He married Martha Laughlin on March 31, 1932, in Long Beach, Calif. The couple lived in several places in California, where he operated a service station and drove a propane truck before coming to La Grande. He enjoyed fishing, hiking or walking and visiting with family and friends.

Survivors include his wife of

La Grande; their children, Juanita Duckworth of San Ardo, Calif., Lois Cattanach of Elgin and William Lawton of Salinas, Calif.; 10 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren; and other relatives. Four brothers and a sister died earlier.

Memorials may be made to the Alzheimers Association in care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St.


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