February 04, 2003 11:00 pm

J. Shirly Bothum



J. Shirly Bothum, 65, of Joseph died Jan. 20 at St. Joseph's Hospital in Lewiston, Wash. Merchant Funeral Home in Clarkston, Wash., was in charge of arrangements. A funeral service was held Saturday at the Joseph Civic Center.

Mr. Bothum was born July 30, 1937, to John and LaVonne Bothum in Seward, Kans. He graduated from high school in Woodburn and began working on a ranch for Tony Vey. He joined the Rodeo Cowboys Association in 1960 and in 1961 he married Judy Stockdale. The couple had a ranch on the Grande Ronde River and lived there when he was named Cattleman of the Year. The family moved to Imnaha and then Clarkston, Wash., in the early 1970s before moving to the Wallowa Valley in 1988.

He placed three major bronze art commissions in the Lewis and Clark Valley, the Sacajawea fountain in Pioneer Park, The Saint Joseph Hospital diorama and his final work, the Corps of Discovery trio at the foot of 21st street in Lewiston.

He was a member of the Joseph Chamber of Commerce and the Chief Joseph Days Rodeo Committee. His life-size sculpture, "Tracking the Intruders," is part of the Main Street improvement project in Joseph.

Survivors include his wife of Joseph; three daughters, Sheila Klausen, Jill Hansen and Katy J. Bothum; four grandchildren, four brothers and three sisters. Four brothers died earlier.

Memorials may be made in lieu of flowers to the J. Shirly Bothum Wildest Ride Award in care of Merchant Funeral Home, P.O. Box 107, Clarkston, Wash. 99403. This award will be presented for the saddle bronc event at the Chief Joseph Days Rodeo.

LaVaughn Walker

Formerly of La Grande


LaVaughn Albert "Oscar Myers" Walker, 90, of Baker City and formerly of La Grande died Jan. 23 at a local care center. A graveside service will begin at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Island City Cemetery with Pastor Wilfred Nitz of the Faith Lutheran Church officiating.

Mr. Walker was born April 26, 1912, to Albert R. and Emma Huntley Walker. His mother died when he was a young boy and he spent most of his youth in foster homes. He lived in La Grande until a few years after his wife, Jessie Vess Walker, died in 1963. On Dec. 22, 1970, he married Cleo Sword of Baker City. In July 2002 he moved to the Twin Firs Retirement Center.

He worked for the railroad while in La Grande and made TV repairs as a hobby and an extra job. He enjoyed ham radio and made contacts all over the United States and Canada using the name Alligator. He enjoyed telling stories.

Survivors include children, Darrel of Bakersfield, Calif., Thomas of La Grande, and Mary Sutton of Pahrump, Nev.; 13 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. He was married three times and all three wives died earlier.

Memorials may be made to GRH Home Health Hospice in care of Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City 97814.

G. Berniece ‘Bee' Coalwell

La Grande


G. Berniece "Bee" Coalwell, 84, of La Grande, died Jan. 25 at the AmeriCare home after a brief illness.

A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Summerville Cemetery.

Bee's oldest son, Bernell Coalwell, will officiate.

Daniels Chapel of the Valley. is in charge of arrangements.

Ms. Coalwell was born on Aug. 12, 1918, in Caldwell, Idaho, to Gus and Myrtle Fowler. She graduated from La Grande High School in 1938. She worked as a "Rosie the Riveter" in the Portland shipyards during World War II and was a nurse's aid for many years. She was also a wonderful singer, artist, author and poet, family members said.

Survivors include her children, Bernell Coalwell of Springfield, Dennis Coalwell of Seattle and Manchal Curry of Gilbert, Ariz. She is also survived by four grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, a sister Gusta Hall of Perry and other relatives.

Four brothers and four sisters died earlier.

Nadine Forsyth

La Grande


Nadine Forsyth, 69, of La Grande and formerly of Kansas, died Jan. 25 in

La Grande at the home of her daughter.

A celebration of life will start at 11 a.m. Thursday at Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St. Rev. Raymond Bates of the SonRise Free Methodist Church in La Grande will officiate. A private burial will be conducted in Kansas.

Mrs. Forsyth was born June 3, 1933, in Jefferson City, Mo., to Jerry and Grace Ash Bond. As a young girl she moved to the Kansas City, Kan., area where she was raised and educated. She married Henry Ridenour on Nov. 19, 1950, at Kansas City. Six children were born of that marriage.

She worked as a homemaker, raising her family in Kansas for many years. That marriage ended in 1969. She married Gene Forsyth in 1971 and continued to live in Kansas until she came to La Grande in 2000 in be near her daughter.

She enjoyed reading, dancing and spending time with her children and grandchildren.

Survivors include three children, Diana Poe of La Grande, Leslie Ridenour of Osawatomie, Kan., and Mark Ridenour of Garland, Texas; 11 grandchildren; four great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Her husband Gene, three children and two brothers died earlier.

Reatha M. McCormack


A funeral service will begin at 2 p.m. Friday at Bollman Funeral Chapel in Enterprise for Reatha M. McCormack, 86, who died Jan. 23 at Wallowa Memorial Hospital. Burial will be at the Enterprise Cemetery.

She was born Oct. 5, 1916, on Alder Slope to Murrel Raymond Chenoweth and Ethel McKinney Chenoweth and spent nearly all of her life in Wallowa County.

Memorials may be made to Community Connection or specifically to the Meals on Wheels Program.

A complete obituary will follow.

Agnes Fuller



Agnes E. Fuller, 87, of Union, a long-time teacher in Union and Wallowa counties, died Jan. 26 at a local care center. A celebration of life will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Cemetery. Viewing will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday.

Mrs. Fuller was born Sept. 21, 1915, to Elias Walter "Fisher" and Etta Pearl Sanner Lively in Promise. She graduated from Wallowa High School and Eastern Oregon Normal School, and taught at Promise, Gordon Creek, Cricket Flat and Union, where she was a sixth grade teacher for many years. She married Gene Fuller, who died in 1988. In 1967 at the age of 52 she earned a bachelor of science degree from Eastern Oregon College, and in 1970 she was named an Outstanding Educators of America. Her life was devoted to children. She instilled pioneer values, and was the one who listened.

Survivors include children and their spouses, LeRoy Fuller, and Pamela and King Spain Jr., all of Union; five grandchildren, two great-grandchildren; a sister, Opal Pruitt of Portland, a brother, Gene Lively of Springfield and other relatives. Four brothers, Leonard, Elvyn, Jack and Robert Lively, and a sister, Iris Nuvall, died earlier.

Memorials may be made to Shelter from the Storm or a charity for children in care of Daniels Chapel.

Eileen Lee

Baker County


Eileen Lee, 91, of Baker County died Jan. 27 at her home. A memorial service will begin at 3 p.m. Thursday at the First Presbyterian Church, 1995 Fourth Street in Baker City with the Rev. Susan Barnes officiating. A private burial will be at the North Powder Cemetery.

Mrs. Lee was born June 24, 1911, to Edgar and Susan Browning Cochrane in Baker City. She attended school in Haines and graduated from Baker High School in 1929. She attended Willamette University and Eastern Oregon University, and taught music and elementary school in New Bridge, La Grande, North Powder and Baker City. She retired in 1973.

On Dec. 27, 1938, she married George E. "Jimmy" Lee in Baker. The couple lived in several locations including North Powder, where they had a grocery store and locker plant. In 1955, they moved back to Baker City.

She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, where she was an organist and founder and director of the junior choir. She was a member of the Baker Education Association, Delta Kappa Gamma, International Chapter P.E.O., the Order of Eastern Star and the American Association of University Women. She enjoyed local history and genealogy. She was an early member of the Baker County Historical Society and a volunteer at the museum.

Survivors include children and their spouses, Luanne and Cliff Weeks of Brookings, Patricia and Tom Hunt of Ketchikan, Alaska, and Marilyn and Steve Carnine of Portland; two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Her husband and a grandson, J. Scott Carnine, both died earlier.

Memorials may be made to the Presbyterian Church, Pathway Hospice or any charity in care of Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place Street, Baker City 97814.

Dorothy Mattix

La Grande


Dorothy Elsie Mattix, 84, of La Grande, died Jan. 26 at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Baker City. The funeral will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St., with Merle Burling of Kingdom Hall officiating. A private burial will be at the Island City Cemetery.

Mrs. Mattix was born Jan. 14, 1919, to Robert and Dovey Rhymer Pointer in Baker City. She graduated from Imbler High School in 1938, and in 1940 she married Ted Mattix in Weiser, Idaho. They made their home in La Grande. She enjoyed fishing, crafts and playing pinochle.

Survivors include her brother and his wife, Robert and Wanda Pointer, and other relatives. Her husband and a sister, Lela Transue, died earlier.

Memorials may be made to Kingdom Hall in care of Daniels Chapel, 1502 Seventh St., La Grande 97850.

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.