December 19, 2002 11:00 pm

Thomas Gibson

Formerly of La Grande


Thomas S. Gibson, 55, formerly of La Grande, died Nov. 21 at his home in St. Helens after a battle with cancer. No local services will be held.

Mr. Gibson was born on Aug. 14, 1947, the son of Clarence Eugene and Jean Williams Gibson in La Grande. He attended schools in

La Grande and served with the United States Army during the Vietnam Conflict. After his honorable discharge he returned to La Grande.

He later moved from La Grande to Portland and back to La Grande several times. He worked as a chrome worker and built cabinets for trailers. He recently moved to St. Helens to be near family.

Mr. Gibson served as vice president of the La Grande Post of the American Legion and worked on the committee that put up the flags for the Avenue of Flags each year at Grandview Cemetery. He loved to fish and enjoyed camping and riding horses. He was an all-round good friend to everyone in the community and often fed those who could not feed themselves, family members said.

Survivors include his companion of 22 years, Bobbi Smith of Elgin; daughter, Tina Jean Woods of St. Helens; son, Michael Thomas Gibson of Elgin; identical twin brother, Timothy Gibson of Portland; nephew, Jacob Gibson of Portland and other relatives. His parents died earlier.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Oregon Cancer Society in care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 7th St., La Grande 97850.

Gerald Leavitt

Formerly of La Grande


Gerald Ray Leavitt, 71, of Salem and formerly of La Grande, died Dec. 1 in a Salem hospital as the result of injuries from a fall.

He was born Feb. 28, 1931, to Gerald and Clara Hofmann Leavitt. He married Connie McLaughlin on Jan. 17, 1953.

Mr. Leavitt was a longtime employee of the state parks and state building division. He enjoyed hunting, ocean fishing, gardening and canning. He made clocks mounted in hardwoods.

He is survived by two children, Jerry Ray Leavitt of Warrenton and Tommy Lee Leavitt of Salem; a brother, Ken Leavitt of La Grande; a sister, Una Mae Harmon of The Dalles, and four grandchildren. A brother, Wayne, died earlier.

H. Ava Gregory

La Grande


H. Ava Gregory, R.N., 82, a longtime La Grande resident, died Nov. 30 at Grande Ronde Hospital.

A celebration of life will be start at 1 p.m. Thursday at Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St. The Rev. Roy Obermeier of the Willowcreek Community Church in Willowcreek will officiate. Friends may call for visitation on Wednesday between 3 and 7 p.m. in Loveland Funeral Chapel.

Interment will be at Grandview Cemetery.

Mrs. Gregory was born Nov. 29, 1920, in Enterprise. She was the daughter of Robert and Hattie Stockdale Harper. She was raised and educated in Halfway. After high school she attended college, and in 1942 she became certified as a registered nurse.

She married Dr. John B. Gregory on Jan. 20, 1946, in Pine Valley. She had worked as a registered nurse in La Grande for most of her life.

Mrs. Gregory enjoyed outdoor activities, especially hunting and fishing. She liked spending time with her grandchildren at the park or dining out. She also enjoyed time spent with her dog and landscaping. Earlier she earned her pilot's license and enjoyed flying.

She was a member of the United Methodist Church in La Grande, where she was active in the Wesleyan Circle. She also has been active in the Order of Eastern Star La Grande Chapter 13, the Union County Nile Club, the La Grande Knife and Fork Club, the Oregon Registered Nurses Association and American Nurses Association.

She had been the director of nursing at Grande Ronde Hospital.

Survivors include her son, Robb Gregory of La Grande; a sister, Mina Hutchenson of Irvine, Calif.; a brother, Robert Harper of Pendleton; three grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Her husband and two sisters, Del Nora Sherrill and Shannon Harper, died earlier.

Memorials may be made to the La Grande High School's A Capella Choir New York City trip fund.

Fannie Knight

La Grande


Fannie Melissa Knight, 93, of La Grande and formerly of Wallowa County died Nov. 29 at a local care center.

A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Summerville Cemetery, with the Rev. Norman Shrumm of the First Presbyterian Church


Mrs. Knight was born on Dec. 11, 1908, to William and Lula Smart Winkles in Eufaula, Okla.

The family later moved to Wallowa County, and in 1944 she moved to La Grande. She married Ray Knight in Astoria on June 15, 1947. She worked as a cook in Hoke Center on the Eastern Oregon University campus until illness forced her retirement. Mr. Knight died Jan. 6, 1988.

Mrs. Knight was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in La Grande. She enjoyed horses and sewing.

Survivors include a son, Bill Carter of Wallowa; a daughter, Lucille Highland of Tacoma, Wash.; foster sons, Jerry Page of Medford and Tim Page of Billings, Mont.; six grandchildren; two foster grandchildren; numerous great-grandchildren and other relatives.

Her brothers, Allen, Andy and Neal, and sisters, Alice, Amanda, Pearl and Ada, died earlier.

Daniels Chapel of the Valley is in charge of arrangements.

Bernice Astwood

Formerly of Imbler

and Enterprise


Bernice Stringham Edwards Astwood, 95, of Orem, Utah, and formerly of Imbler and Enterprise died Dec. 3. Her funeral will take place Friday in Provo, Utah. A local service will begin at 1 p.m. Monday at the LDS Ward Chapel in Enterprise. Viewing will begin one hour before the service. Burial will be at the Enterprise Cemetery.

Mrs. Astwood was born in Imbler Feb. 15, 1907, to Luther Adelbert and Eliza Roxey Kellar Stringham, who were Union County pioneers. She graduated from Imbler High School in 1925 and married Elmer Edwards at the Logan, Utah, LDS Temple in 1928. After a divorce she married Walter Astwood in 1942. She was a homemaker and an accomplished pianist. She was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served as ward organist for many years. She lived in Enterprise for 62 years until relocating to Utah to be near her children.

Survivors include her children and their spouses, Howard and Carolyn Edwards of Park City, Utah, and Lynne and Gary Hammond of Springville, Utah, and Fort Valley, Ga., 11 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren. Her husband, a daughter, Joan Dieterle, a sister, Delta Zaugg and brothers, Lyle, Kellar, Walter and Grant Stringham, all died earlier.

Alvin Bjerke



Alvin Oscar Bjerke, 88, of Cove died Dec. 2 at Grande Ronde Hospital. A memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday at Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St., with the Rev. Lance Kittleson of Zion Lutheran Church officiating. A private burial will take place later.

Mr. Bjerke was born May 2, 1914, in Clearbrook, Minn. He worked as a farmer and later for Boise Cascade Corp. in International Falls, Minn.

He married Petra Quam on Oct. 12, 1940, in Crookston, Minn. The couple moved to Cove in October of this year to be near family.

He enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren.

Survivors include his wife of Cove, children and their spouses, Monte and Rosemary Bjerke of San Jose, Pat and Norman Gorze of Cove, Barbara Woodbridge and Bob Kruzel of Norwood Young America, Minn., Denni and Steven Stott of Merced, Calif., eight grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and other relatives.

Memorials may be made to the Heart Association in care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley.

Vivian Hovis

La Grande and formerly

of Joseph


Vivian Hovis, 95, of La Grande and formerly of Joseph died Nov. 25 at a local care center. A celebration of life will be held later.

Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

Mrs. Hovis was born June 26, 1907, to Leonard B. and Bertha Wright Emmons in Joseph. She attended Hurricane Creek School and Joseph High School, and on June 26, 1924, she married Earl Hovis in Joseph. The couple had dairy farms in various locations in Wallowa County, the last one on Prairie Creek. They lived in Joseph and owned a bowling alley for a short time. When they retired they moved to Coos Bay.

She loved to dance, and she sang with her sisters at the Hurricane Creek Grange Hall. She was a good cook and a Master Gardener who was known for her beautiful flowers.

Survivors include a son, Robert Hovis of San Francisco, a sister, Mildred Santoes of La Grande, a daughter-in-law, Marjorie Black of Enterprise, two grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and other relatives. Her husband, a son, Ivan "Butch" Hovis, four brothers, Lester, Earl, Milford "Murf" and an infant brother and two sisters, Elnora Davies and Macel Reece, all died earlier.

Roy Smith

La Grande


Roy Ray Smith, 80, of La Grande, died Nov. 26 at St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Boise. At his request there will be no public service. Daniels Chapel of the Valley is in charge of arrangements.

Mr. Smith was born Feb. 10, 1922, to Charles and Bertha Wood Smith in Nighthawk, Wash. He served in the Army during World War II, and on March 30, 1946, he married Nora Wergin in Omak, Wash. In 1949 the couple moved to La Grande where he worked for 28 years for the Mount Emily Lumber Co., later Boise Cascade.

He enjoyed flower gardening, making wooden animals, hunting, fishing and spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Survivors include his wife of La Grande, sons and their wives, Chester and Cindy Smith of La Grande and Richard and Kathy Smith of Baker City, four grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and other relatives. A daughter died in 1950.

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

Willard Weise

Willard F. Weise, 79, of Union, died Wednesday at a La Grande care center. A celebration of life will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at Zion Lutheran Church. Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

Myrtle Running

Formerly of Elgin


Myrtle Helen Running, 102, of Ashland and formerly of Elgin, died Dec. 1 at Ashland Community Hospital. A funeral service is being held at 2 p.m. today at Litwiller-Simonsen Funeral Home in Ashland. Burial will be at Scenic Hills Memorial Park in Ashland.

Mrs. Running was born July 8, 1900, at Falls City, Wash., to Celia and Harvey Norton. The family lived in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

On June 30, 1923, she married Iver Simonsen in Union County. After his death she married Hans Running on Nov. 6, 1946. She lived in Elgin for 26 years before moving to Payette, Idaho, after her husband's death in 1959. She was a member of the First Baptist Church and was a charter member and active volunteer with the Payette County Senior Citizens. She enjoyed gardening.

She moved to Ashland in 1992.

Survivors include children, Ivan Simonsen and Wanda Coffman, both of Ashland, Nikki Roseboro of Springfield, and Nancy Strain of Milton Freewater, eight grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.

Memorials may be made to the Ashland First Baptist Church, 2004 Siskiyou Boulevard, Ashland 97520 or to any charity.

Jeffery Rushton

La Grande


Jeffery L. Rushton, 21, of Grass Valley and a student at Eastern Oregon University, died Nov. 20 in his dormitory room at Dorion East. A celebration of life will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday at Koinonia House, 900 Sixth St., with Pastor Dan Mielke officiating. Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

Mr. Rushton was born Aug. 5, 1981, to Dwayne E. and Mahrea D. Sherman Rushton at The Dalles. He attended several schools and graduated from Sherman High School in Moro, where he was active in sports, especially football and basketball. He enjoyed movies, reading, music, classic cars and spending time with friends. He was studying business and accounting at EOU and was baptized May 6, 2000, by Matt Carpenter at the First Baptist Church in La Grande. He participated in Koinonia House activities.

Survivors include his mother and step-father, Mahrea and Bruce Elliott of California, his father Dwayne of Cascade Locks, his fiancee, Kara Blagg of La Grande and Grass Valley, a brother, Anthony Rushton of Wasco, grandparents, Glenn and Gwen Brehm of Moiser, Merle and Judy Jackson of Redmond, Loretta Jackson of California, and Edwin and Pat Rushton of Wasco, and other relatives.

Memorials may be made to Doernbecher Children's Hospital, 3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland 97201, or to the Sherman High School Scholarship Fund, 65912 High School Loop, Moro 97039.

Duane Huston

Formerly of La Grande


Duane M. Huston, 62, of Fossil and formerly of La Grande, died Dec. 3 at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend. The funeral will begin at 11 a.m. Monday at the United Methodist Church in Fossil with a private burial at the Huston Family Cemetery. Sweeney Mortuary of Condon is in charge of arrangements.

Mr. Huston was born Nov. 22, 1940, to Louis and Roberta Bush Huston in Vancouver, Wash. He attended school at Fruitdale near La Grande and at La Grande High School. He served two tours of duty in the Navy from 1958 to 1963, and on July 28, 1964, he married Carole M. Petersen at Weiser, Idaho.

For 27 years the couple lived at Molalla, where he worked in the steel business and began his own steel fabrication business in 1974. They moved to Fossil in 1998.

He enjoyed riding his horse, working cattle, hunting, fishing, camping and seeing the view from his front porch. He was a member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the National Rifle Association.

Survivors include his wife of Fossil; children, Lisa Sandquist and Matthew T. Huston, both of Molalla, and Michael D. Huston of Canby; 10 grandchildren; his mother of Willamette; and a brother, Melvin Huston of Lake Oswego.

His father died earlier.

Memorials may be made to the Asher Clinic Trust Fund, P.O. Box 307, Fossil 97830 or to Haven House Retirement Center, P.O. Box 386, Fossil.

Willard Weise



Willard F. Weise, 79, of Union died Dec. 4 at a local care center. A celebration of life will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at Zion Lutheran Church, 902 Fourth St. Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

Mr. Weise was born June 28, 1923, to Frank and Ida Muvhill Weise in Baker City. He married Geraldine Lammert in 1948 in Boise, and the couple moved to Baker City where he opened his first barber shop. In 1954 they moved to Union, and in 1961 he moved his shop to La Grande where he worked until 1998. He was a member of the Elks Lodge for over 40 years and enjoyed hunting and fishing.

Survivors include a son and daughter-in-law, Duane and Pauline Weise of Union, two grandchildren and other relatives. His wife, a brother, Lester, and two sisters, Elinor and Eva, all died earlier.