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Home arrow Obituaries arrow Obituaries for the day of October 12, 2011


Obituaries for the day of October 12, 2011

Wright, Wilhelm, Bates, Copley, Keller

Gary Bangs


Gary Bangs, 69, of Union, died Oct. 11 at La Grande Post Acute Rehabilitation Center. Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.


Delores J. Wright

Formerly of La Grande

Delores Jean Wright, 78, of Otis and formerly of La Grande, died Oct. 6. A funeral will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Lincoln City. A viewing will run from 10 to 10:30 a.m.

The graveside service will begin at 12:30 p.m. Monday at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland.

A full obituary will be available later.


Edna Mae Wilhelm



Edna Mae Wilhelm, 82, of Imbler and formerly of Elgin, died Oct. 9 at Grande Ronde Hospital. A celebration of life will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at Daniels-Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center.

Edna was born May 17, 1929, to Emil Robert and Vida Mae (Livermore) Wischnofsk  in Blodgett.

She graduated from a one-room school house that she and her siblings walked to every day. After school, she migrated to Spray to help a sister babysit. She met her husband, Alfred Wilhelm. He was home on leave from the Army. They married July 25, 1947, in Goldendale, Wash.

They ranched in the area then moved in 1948 to the Elgin area to farm. She worked for Boise Cascade from 1975 until 1991.

She loved to fix fence, go for rides and go fishing and hunting. She loved spending time with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She belonged to the Ladies VFW No. 2990.

Survivors include her children, Alfred Wilhelm Jr. of Prineville, Peggy Frizzell of Summerville, Cinda Childers of Kodiak, Alaska, and Barbara Williams of La Grande; 12 grandchildren; many great-  grandchildren; nieces and nephews; sisters, June Nanta of Eugene and Norma Derr of Elgin; brothers, Larry and Jerry Wischnofske, both of Philomath; sister-in-law, Ollie Howell of Spray; and other relatives.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Alfred Wilhelm in 1996; her parents; five brothers; four sisters; two great-grandchildren, DeChalynn Ruth and Dustin Young; and son-in-law, Dennis Williams.

Edna requested that donations be made to the Oregon Cancer Society or ALS in lieu of flowers in care of Daniels-Knopp.


M. Iris S. Bates

La Grande


M. Iris Severns Bates, 86, of La Grande, died Oct. 7 at her home in the care of her good friend, Jody Bullock. A funeral service will begin at 3 p.m. Saturday at First Presbyterian Church, 1308 Washington Ave., La Grande. A private burial will be at Island City Cemetery. Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.

Iris was born Feb. 23, 1925, in La Grande to James Monroe Severns and Myrtle Olive Jones Severns. She attended Greenwood Elementary School and graduated from La Grande High School before enrolling in the Eastern Oregon College of Education.

She was active in the community, serving as a 4-H leader for 15 years. She was also a den mother for the Cub Scout program for three years.

Iris liked collecting postage stamps, sewing and eating candy. She enjoyed her Birthday Club, picnicking, gardening and visiting with family and friends. She was a member of the Presbyterian Church and was its financial secretary for 13 years.

Iris is survived by her children, Ranee, Chris, Leslie, Kim, Garret and Denise; 10 grandchildren; four great-grandsons; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; one sister, Etta True; and three brothers, Dean, Jay and Don Severns.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Jody’s Country Care, the Osteoporosis Foundation or a charity in care of Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., La Grande OR 97850.


David E. Copley

La Grande


David Eugene Copley, 58, of La Grande, died Sept. 28 of complications from a stroke at a local care center in La Grande. He was also known as David Meehan. There will be no services in La Grande. Burial will be in Houston at the Veterans National Cemetery. Loveland Funeral Chapel has been in charge of the arrangements.

David was born March 11, 1953, in Canon City, Colo., one of nine children of Eugene Robert Copley and Goldie Mae Baker Copley.

He served his country in the military from 1971 to 1972, receiving an honorable discharge from the Army.

David is survived by his siblings and their spouses, Chuck and Joy Copley of Houston, Jack and Nancy Copley of Kissimmee, Fla., Bill and Elizabeth Copley of Las Vegas, Joe Copley of Houston, Bob Copley of Fort Worth, Texas, Tammy (Copley) and Dan Valentine of St. Petersburg, Fla.; and 13 nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Eugene and Goldie; and two sisters, Judy Korte and Sharon Kay Copley.


 Jack Keller

Formerly of La Grande


Jack Keller, 76, formerly of La Grande, died Oct. 5 surrounded by family after a battle with a blood-related illness. Services will be held at All Saints Episcopal Church in Tacoma, Wash., Saturday with a reception to follow at Parklane Court Clubhouse.

Jack was born June 10, 1935, to Carl and Lila Keller in La Grande.

He was a member of the National Guard for eight years and co-owned and operated the River Products meat cutting and packing plant until the early 1970s. He later partnered in the creation of The Rangler Steakhouse in La Grande. He operated the business until 1991 when he moved to Tacoma to be closer to his kids and grandchildren. The business had been recognized by Ford Times as a well known restaurant. In Tacoma, he worked for Safeway until he retired at age 68.

He loved the outdoors, enjoying hunting, fishing and picking berries and mushrooms. He enjoyed crafts and produced many stained glass creations for friends and family. Those who knew him say he made some of the best homemade jerky. He was an avid card and game player and played regularly with friends and family and at the community center where he lived.

Jack is survived by his wife of 52 years, Faye; his son, Robb and his wife, Misti; daughter, Sandy and her husband, Normand; and his son, Greg and wife, Kenra. He had five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.


The Observer publishes free obituaries as a community service. Obituaries are edited to fit news guidelines. Photos are encouraged. Paid space is available for families who would like to include more information.


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