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Home arrow Obituaries arrow Obituaries for the week ending October 6, 2007

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Obituaries for the week ending October 6, 2007

John Ray Heitz, 67, of Island City, died at his home Sept. 28 from mesothelioma. Funeral services will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Island City. A viewing will precede the service beginning at 9 a.m.

John was born Sept. 7, 1940, to John Helmic and Vera W. Heitz in Chicago. At 2, his family moved to Fruitland, Idaho, where they eventually acquired a small farm. John learned to work as he attended school. He hoed beets, picked fruit, worked at the cannery and graduated from high school. He also learned carpentry.

After graduation in 1958, John joined the Air National Guard where he worked as an airplane electrician. On his way to basic training at San Antonio, the plane's wings iced up while flying over the Texas panhandle. The plane went down and killed two of the crew. After John spent a week in the hospital, he no longer dreamed of being a pilot.

After graduating from basic training he returned home to begin dairy farming in New Plymouth, Idaho. He married Kay Kelly on Aug. 5, 1960. They lived on the dairy farm for the first 11 years of their marriage. Health issues forced John out of farming and back into construction full-time. He fell in love with the Grande Ronde Valley at first sight and moved his family there 34 years ago. He pursued hobbies and interests such as hunting, cutting wood, making knives, black powder shooting, gardening, motorcycles and bow hunting. John fulfilled one of his dreams by building their family home on Mt. Emily with his own hands. He spent his life working for his family and fulfilling his dreams in many ways.

He is survived by his wife Kay Heitz; children, John and Linda Heitz of Kennewick, Wash., Jay and Karin Heitz of Marsing, Idaho, and Mike and Angie Billman, Joe and Anieta Heitz, Jake Heitz, Alaina and Jake Stockhoff and Kelly Heitz, all of La Grande; adopted granddaughter, 21 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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Betty Doris Heitz, 79, died on Oct. 20, 2006, of a stroke at Yuma Regional Medical Center in Yuma , Ariz. A memorial service will begin at 2 p.m. Monday Oct. 8, at Burns Mortuary in Pendleton. Inurnment of ashes will be at Olney Cemetery in Pendleton.

She was born May 9, 1927, to Frank E. and Luva (Roberts) Messersmith in Alliance, Neb., one of seven children. She attended high school in Curtis and graduated in 1945. She studied for one year at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, then taught at a country school in Box Butte County, Neb.

She married Lyle Dunham Rogers on Sept. 27, 1947, and moved to La Grande. In late 1959, they moved to Pendleton where they held various jobs and were involved with the Pendleton Round-Up for ten years as members of the Main Street Cowboys and Sidesaddlers, promoters of the city. They were also active members of the Allons dance club and Blue Mountain Good Sams RV club.

In 1975 Betty became a cosmetologist and owned her own salon for many years. In 1987 Lyle retired and they became winter visitors in Yuma , Ariz. They sold their house in Pendleton in 1996 and purchased a home in the Foothills area of Yuma. They summered in Pendleton through 2005.

Betty is survived by her husband of 59 years, Lyle; son, Dennis Lee Rogers and his wife, Kathy Weddell, of Mount Angel; daughter, Connie Lu Snowberger and her husband, Gary, of Cupertino, Calif.; several grandchildren; three brothers and one sister in Nebraska; numerous nieces and nephews; and many friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the American Diabetes Association or the Northwest Parkinson's Association in care of Burns Mortuary of Pendleton, P.O. Box 489, Pendleton 97801.

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Richard "Dick" R. Weber, 77, of La Grande died Sept. 30 at his home. At Dick's request, there will be no services.

Dick was born Dec. 10, 1929, to Otto P. and Jewel B. (Cunningham) Weber in Wellston, Okla. He and his sister, Chrissy, later moved with their mom to Ventura, Calif., where they grew up. Dick later joined the Air Force and was stationed in Tillamook where he met Dorothy Wehinger. They were married for 26 years and she was a life-long friend for an additional 29 years.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Weber; their children, Sandra Weber McGinn, Tana Weber Harlan, Rob Weber and Lori Weber Hines; nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to any charity in care of Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City 86714.

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Alvin Wayne Stitt, 90, of Portland and formerly of La Grande died Oct. 1. A funeral service will be held Friday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 3722 NE Going St. in Portland.

Alvin was born July 1, 1917, in La Grande. He moved to Portland in 1937 and served in the US Army during World War II. He was stationed in North Africa, India and Burma. On June 14, 1950, he married Hilda Stitt. Alvin was a baker at Safeway.

Alvin's wife, Hilda Stitt, survives him. Family Memorial in Portland is in charge of arrangements.

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Gwendolyn Marise Watson, 66, of New Plymouth, Idaho, died Sept. 29 at her home. Funeral services will begin at 1 p.m. Friday at the Highway Assembly of God in Fruitland, Idaho. Burial will follow at Parkview Cemetery in New Plymouth, Idaho. Haren-Wood funeral Chapel in Payette, Idaho, is in charge of arrangements.

Gwendolyn was born on Dec. 6, 1940, to Ted and Ida (Celestine) Hixson in Baker City. She married Richard Watson on Dec. 24, 1963, in Baker City.

She attended Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton and received a degree in nursing in 1962. She worked for 35 years doing what she loved. For many years, Gwen's greatest enjoyment was teaching CNA Classes in La Grande.

Those who knew her say Gwen enjoyed doing things for other people — especially for her family and her church.

She is survived by her husband, Richard Watson of New Plymouth, Idaho; sons, Ronald Watson of Payette, Idaho, Gary Watson of Bethel, Alaska, and Dale Watson of Ontario; daughter, Kaylene George of Meridian, Idaho; eight grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; two sisters, Lornalee of Boise and Arletha of Heppner; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents.

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Lyle Walter Headley, 80, of La Grande, died Oct. 3 at his home. A memorial service will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday at the La Grande Church of the Nazarene. Daniels Chapel of the Valley is in charge of arrangements.

Lyle was born on July 7, 1927, to Clarence and Margaret (Paulison) Headley in Omaha, Neb. During World War II he served with the Merchant Marines. On Jan. 8, 1950, he married Lillian Ruth McIntyre in Ralston, Neb. They lived in Nebraska for a time before moving to California where he was a self-employed heavy equipment operator. In 1969 they moved to the Gresham area. They later returned to California before residing in Chiloquin. His wife preceded him in death on June 28, 1998. In 2002 he moved to La Grande, which quickly became a favorite place of his.

Lyle was a member of the Lions Club and the American Legion. He was a former member of the Elks Lodge. He was a handyman that could fix about anything. He enjoyed woodworking, mechanics and remodeling. He also enjoyed car racing and vintage automobiles. Those who knew him say he was best known for his quirky sense of humor that will be missed by many.

Survivors include his children, Ruth Russell of Sweet Home, Sharon and Steve Helfrich of Boring and Mary and Pat Hoffman of La Grande; several grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and sister, Dorothy Thompson of Nebraska. He was "Poppa" to Max and Mark MacDonald and their families. He was preceded in death by brothers, Frank and Jay.

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Stephen Wariner, 49, of Sisters and of North Powder, died in a traffic accident in Pyles Canyon outside of Union Sept. 29. Celebration of life services will begin at 2 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Chapel in the Pines at Camp Sherman.

Stephen was born Aug. 9, 1958, to Lee Roy and Norma Wariner in Fairbanks, Alaska. He graduated from Diamond High in Anchorage and joined the Ironworkers Local and worked as a journeyman in Alaska, Hawaii and Washington. He crabbed and fished commercially in the Bering Sea. Later he started his own business building homes.

He married Dorothy Gallowa-Wariner June 23, 2006, in the Valley of Fire, Las Vegas. They lived in Sisters. He joined the Ironworkers Local 29 and was living temporarily in North Powder while working at the Telocaset wind farm erecting windmills.

Those who knew him say Stephen was very creative and artistic and enjoyed building and creating custom furniture. He loved riding his horse, Max, and playing with his dog, Murdock, as well as spending his free time with family and friends.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Gallowa-Wariner of Sisters; mother, Norma Wariner of Anchorage, Alaska; brothers, Wade Wariner of Wasilla, Alaska, and Ronald Wariner of California; sister, Phyliss Burney of Palmer, Alaska; three children, Timothy Wariner of Anchorage, Alaska, Stephanie Krontz of Albion, Ind., and step-son, Kyle Benzo of Sisters; one grandson; and several aunts and uncles. He was preceded in death by his father and a brother.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made for education expenses for his children and grandchild in care of Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth Street, La Grande 97850.

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Randall Dean Conrad, 57, of Union, died unexpectedly at Grand Ronde Hospital Oct. 2. Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

He was born on Aug. 31, 1950, to Robert and Camille Conrad in La Grande. On May 8, 1982, he married Donna Zerber in Nampa, Idaho. He entered the U.S. Army in September 1969, serving in Vietnam until his honorable discharge in March 1971.

He is survived by his wife, Donna of Union and brother, Stephen Conrad of Nampa.

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Dorothy Julia McLaughlin, 95, formerly of Summerville and Union, died June 24, 2007, at Wilcox Arizona Nursing Home. A service will begin at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Summerville Cemetery.

Dorothy McLaughlin was born in Hastings, Neb., Jan. 14, 1912. She lived in Summerville from the early 1940s to the late 1960s. She lived in Union before that.

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