May 18, 2003 11:00 pm

Benjamin Ortega



Benjamin Ventura Ortega, 90, of Wallowa died April 29 at his home. A graveside service will begin at 11 a.m. Monday at the Wallowa Cemetery. Bollman Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Mr. Ortega was born Oct. 9, 1912, to Jose E. and Dolores E. Ruiz Ortega in Oxnard, Calif.

Survivors include his wife, Hazel of Wallowa, whom he married Oct. 10, 1971; a daughter and son-in-law, Kathleen and Roy Hogue of La Grande; three grandchildren; a sister, Luz Verdugo of Kent, Wash.; a brother, Abraham M. Ortega of Hesperia, Calif.; sisters- and brothers-in-law, Judy Shoopman of Wallowa, Virginia McClellan of Hood River, Diana and Earnest Smalley of Rochester, N.Y., Charlie and Peg Brandenberg of Wallowa, and other relatives.

Eight brothers and sisters died earlier.

Memorials may be made to any charity in care of Bollman, 315 W. Main St., Enterprise.

John B. Forstner Sr.

A celebration of life service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Riverside Park for John B. Forstner Sr. of La Grande.

Mr. Forstner, 56, died April 21.

Loveland Funeral Chapel in handling arrangements.

Marlin Ediger

North Powder


Marlin Irvin Ediger, 72, of North Powder died April 21 of heart failure. At his request there were no services. Burial was in North Powder. Gray's West and Co. was in charge of arrangements.

Mr. Ediger was born Jan. 16, 1931, to John D. and Martha Stannel Ediger of Dallas.

He married Mildred Louise Ediger on Aug. 22, 1952, in Dallas. In 1960, the couple moved to a ranch in North Powder. He worked for Boise Cascade until his retirement. He was also dog ordinance officer and had a lifelong love of animals, especially horses and dogs. He was pure country and enjoyed rodeos and gambling, and taught his children to ride before they could walk. He was a member of the Oregon National Guard and the Lions Club, and held office for several years.

Survivors include children, Linda Louise Ediger of Tillamook, and Matthew Chet Ediger of Bakersfield, Calif.; a granddaughter; a great-grandson; a sister, Dorothy Jurgenson of Dallas; a brother, Larry Ediger; sisters- and brothers-in-law Ed and Jo Luthe of Salem and Don and Pat Swenson of Dallas, Doug Shore of Willowcreek, Calif., and other relatives.

His wife died in 1996, and his sons, Mitchell and Lamar Ediger and a brother, Edwin Ediger, also died earlier.

In lieu of flowers or cards, memorials may be made to the North Powder Fire Department in care of Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, P.O. Box 26, Baker City 97814.

Elva Lovely

La Grande


Elva Sopha Lovely, 97, of La Grande, died April 30 at her home.

A graveside service will begin at 11 a.m. Monday at Grandview Cemetery. Arrangements are being handled by Daniels Chapel of the Valley.

Mrs. Lovely was born Dec. 6, 1905, the daughter of Wood and Bertha Karrels Cox in Estatoe, N.C. She went to Colorado as a young girl and later came to Oregon. In 1940 she married Thomas Lovely, and they lived in Perry. He died in 1963.

Mrs. Lovely loved her home and gardening. She raised chickens, birds and rabbits and loved animals of all kinds. She was an accomplished seamstress and quilter and enjoyed doing crafts.

Survivors include her children, Eddia Lovely of La Grande, Essie Wagoner of Summerville, Cecelia Lovely of

La Grande and Lola Morgan of Union; 20 grandchildren; many great-grandchildren; and other relatives.

She was preceded in death by sons Emmett White and Everett White, seven brothers and sisters and one grandchild.

Corabelle Winn

La Grande


Corabelle Magdalene Winn, 82, of La Grande, died May 1 at her home.

A graveside service will begin at 2 p.m. Monday at Grandview Cemetery with the Rev. Vernon Slippy of the Grande Ronde Community Church and Pastor Art Evans of the New Life Center officiating. Friends may call Monday from 9 a.m. to noon at Daniels Chapel of the Valley.

Mrs. Winn was born on Aug. 21, 1920, the daughter of Clyde and Julia Knapp Leonard in Kent, Ohio. The family lived in various places before settling in

La Grande when she was still in school. On Nov. 2, 1940, she married Deward Winn in Weiser, Idaho. He died in 1991.

Mrs. Winn enjoyed camping, fishing and especially long drives because she loved nature and saw beauty in what other people might define as ugly and dried up. In spite of her extra poundage and rheumatic heart condition, she was active, showing her children how to jump rope, pogo stick and run from the ocean waves. She has left her children numerous remnants of her enthusiasm for collecting in her dolls, salt and pepper shakers, books, rocks and more. She loved to embroider, sew, write poems and bake bread.

Though she was timid, in her need to touch the lives of others, she gladly volunteered much time and work to Salvation Army activities. She became a member of the organization in her early teens and held nearly every commission possible. She taught Sunday School and sang in the open-air meetings on Sunday night. She was involved in civic fund-raisers by standing kettles (bell-ringer) for the Christmas appeal, selling War Cry magazines door to door and collecting donations from the local taverns on Saturday night. She served as a "Doughnut Girl" during World War II.

Survivors include her children, Dennis Winn of La Grande and Charlene Snider of Island City; six grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; sister, Charlotte Jones of La Grande; and other relatives.

A son, Duane Winn, and a brother, Arthur Leonard, died earlier.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Grande Ronde Hospital Hospice, P.O. Box 3290, La Grande, or the Oregon Diabetes Association, La Grande Chapter, 404 First St., La Grande, 97850.

Margaret Best

La Grande


Margaret Rose Best, 93, of La Grande died May 1 at St. Luke's Regional Medical Center in Boise. A celebration of life will begin at 1 p.m. Monday at Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., with the Rev. Janet Farrell of the United Methodist Church officiating.

Mrs. Best was born Feb. 14, 1910, to Mark and Rose Hoenof Reffner in Conneaut, Ohio. On Aug. 3, 1930, she married Hudson Alfred Best in Ripley, N.Y. She lived at Valley Creek Adult Foster Care and was a member of the VFW auxiliary and several ladies' circles that produced handcrafted crochet and knit articles for charity. She was a devout Christian and enjoyed traditional Gospel music.

Survivors include a daughter, Lillian Darwood of Burlington, Iowa, nine grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren. Her husband, a daughter, Pauline, a son, Donald, and five brothers, Glenn, Maxwell, Ellsworth, Mark and George, all died earlier.

Memorials may be made to Shelter From the Storm in care of Loveland Chapel.

‘Stan' Wilde

Stanley "Stan" Wilde, 60, a longtime resident of La Grande, died Wednesday at his home. Loveland Funeral Chapel is handling arrangements. A full obituary will be published later.

Joseph James Gribling


Joseph James Gribling, the infant son of Emmett D. and Melissa B. Gross Gribling of La Grande, was stillborn on May 1 at Grande Ronde Hospital.

A private family funeral service will be conducted. Burial will be at the Island City Cemetery in Island City.

Survivors include his parents; a twin brother, Jacob E. Gribling; paternal grandparents, Gregory and Julie Gribling of La Grande; maternal grandparents, Mark and Tirrell Gross of La Grande; and several aunts and uncles.

Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

Nell Grace Steffen

La Grande


Nell Grace Steffen, 109, of La Grande, died May 6 at a La Grande adult foster care home.

A memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. Monday at the First Presbyterian Church, with the Rev. Norman Shrumm officiating. Private burial will be at the Hillcrest Cemetery. Daniels Chapel of the Valley is in charge of arrangements.

Mrs. Steffen was born Jan. 23, 1894, to Robert and Bertha Brainerd Lloyd in La Grande.

After graduating from Oregon Normal School in Monmouth, she taught at Bigalow School in Klondike. She later moved to Portland and then to Huron, where she worked for the railroad.

She married P.J. "Jim" Steffen on Nov. 21, 1922, in Spokane. He died on Sept. 5, 1958.

They lived in La Grande, where she was the cook for Central Elementary School,

La Grande Junior High School and La Grande High School from 1944 until 1958.

She made and sold bread and hand-pulled taffy for many years.

Mrs. Steffen was a member of the First Presbyterian Church and a member of Hope Chapter 13 Order of Eastern Star for over 75 years.

In the summer she enjoyed gardening and huckleberry picking, and in winter she enjoyed quilting and was an avid Trailblazer basketball fan.

Survivors include her children, Stan Steffen of Elgin, Ellen Olcott of Medford and Kathleen Smith of Albany; five grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren and other relatives. Nine brothers and a sister died earlier.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Presbyterian Church or a favorite charity.

The unedited obituary is available online at where friends may sign the register and leave a condolence.

Stanley Wilde

Island City


A funeral will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday in the LDS Church in Island City for Stanley Wilde, a longtime La Grande resident who died at his home in Island City May 7 after an extended illness. He was 60.

Burial for the former Boise Cascade chief forester for the Timberlands Department will follow at the Island City Cemetery.

Mr. Wilde was born in La Grande on Dec. 28, 1942, the son of O.C. and Elma Orton Wilde. He was raised in Union, graduating from Union High School in 1961.

After a church mission in Toronto, he attended Oregon State University, graduating in 1968 with a degree in forest engineering.

He married Linda Hugie on Sept. 10, 1968, in Salt Lake City, and they made their home in La Grande. He began working for Boise Cascade.

Mr. Wilde enjoyed camping, sports and other outdoor activities.

A member of the Third Ward of the LDS Church in Island City, Mr. Wilde had been active in various leadership positions and was active in Scouting and in other young men's programs.

He is survived by his wife, five children and their spouses: Debbie and Dan Phillips of Farmington, Utah; Denise and Jeff Hamberger of Cordova, Alaska; Matt and Diana Wilde of Sandy, Utah; Kevin and Brittani Wilde of Kearns, Utah; and Krisi Wilde of Island City. Also surviving are two brothers, Waldo Wilde of Goleta, Calif., and Howard Wilde of Salisbury, N.C.; four sisters, Ardythe Wood of Pendleton, Joyce Baxter of Union, LoRene Hatchet of Marion, Ill., and Melanie Vest of North Bountiful, Utah; nine grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. A brother, Errol Wilde, and a sister, Natalie Venn, died earlier.

Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society or to the LDS Church Perpetual Education Fund in care of Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., La Grande 97850.

Juanita M. Droke

Formerly of Union County


A graveside service will begin at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the Union Cemetery for Juanita M. Droke, 96, who died May 8 at the home of her daughter in Washington.

Mrs. Droke was born March 30, 1907, in Telocaset, to Charles Alfred and Ellen Hug Hill. She attended schools in Telocaset and Union. She married Franklin Droke on June 21, 1932, in La Grande. He died in 1971.

During the early years of their marriage, the couple lived in various locations, including La Grande, Portland, Elgin, Union and Echo. Before returning to Union in 1966, she lived at the ordnance depot near Pendleton. In 1997 she moved to Washington, where she lived with her daughter and family until her death in the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Waldo. Mrs. Droke was a homemaker and enjoyed raising a garden and working in her yard and flowers.

Survivors include her daughter, Phyllis Zaugg of Washington; her sister, Fern Wilkinson of The Dalles; four grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren. Three brothers — Willard, Gorge and Glenn Hill — and a grandson died earlier.

Belva Staab

Baker City


Belva Harriet Staab, 94, a longtime resident of Baker City and for a time La Grande, died April 8 in Bothell, Wash. She had been a resident at the Franciscan Health Nursing Home in Bothell.

A graveside service will be conducted at 4 p.m. May 17 in Baker City at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Mrs. Staab was born Jan. 5, 1909, to David and Harriet Scott in Ansley, Neb.

She married Carlyle H. "Buster" Staab in her hometown March 25, 1928. He died Aug. 28, 1990. After their marriage, the couple lived in Lincoln, Neb., where both attended the University of Nebraska.

Mr. Staab spent worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the couple lived in DeSoto, Paris and Monroe City, Mo. After a stint in the Army, the Staabs moved to Baker City and lived there for 40 years.

Mrs. Staab was active in the Grange, the Methodist Church, other civic activities and also worked as a bookkeeper for her husband's businesses.

After retiring, the Staabs moved to the Grande Ronde Retirement Center in La Grande.

When her husband died in 1990, Mrs. Staab moved into adult foster care in Washington.

Mrs. Staab is survived by her sons and their spouses, Carlyle and Susan Staab of Chehalis, Wash., Richard and Joan Staab of La Grande, and Thomas and Barbara Staab of Bothell; nine grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

Memorials may be made to the Baker Sports Complex and the Baker Methodist Church, in care of Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City 97814.

Willie Stephens

La Grande


Willie Mary Johnson Stephens, 69, of La Grande, died May 7 at Grande Ronde Hospital.

A graveside service will be held Monday at 2 p.m. at Union Cemetery. Friends may call on Monday from 9 to noon at Daniels Chapel of the Valley.

Mrs. Stephens was born on July 31, 1933, the daughter of William David and Susie Walker Clark in Stevenson, Ala. In 1953 she married Riley Johnson in Rossville, Ga., and they moved to La Grande. He died in 1975. In 1977 she moved to Aloha and later to Hillsboro before returning to La Grande in 1988. Mrs. Stephens worked as a nurse's aide for various care centers and hospitals.

Mrs. Stephens will be remembered as a loving and caring mother and grandmother. She was known as "Grandma Red" to her grandchildren and great grandchildren because of her love of the color red. She enjoyed watching television, especially old western movies.

Survivors include her children, Lena Jo Thompson of La Grande, Sallie Bonner of Milwaukie, Ric Johnson of Gresham, William Johnson of La Grande, Ernest Johnson of Kenai, Alaska, Delbert Johnson of Portland and Raymond Johnson of Beaverton; 11 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren and one on the way; cousin J.T. of Alabama and other relatives. An infant son, James David Johnson, and a sister died earlier.

Memorials may be made to the Grande Ronde Hospital Home Care/Hospice, P.O Box 3290, La Grande 97850.

Ronald Zalewski



Ronald T. Zalewski, 56, of Summerville and formerly of La Grande, died Wednesday in the St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, Boise, from heart complications.

A funeral will be conducted Monday at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church. Father Hank Albrecht will officiate. Vault interment and military rites and honors will follow at Grandview Cemetery.

Friends may call for viewing from 4 and 7 p.m. Sunday at Loveland Funeral Chapel.

Mr. Zalewski was born Oct. 9, 1946 in Great Falls, Mont., the son of Valentine and Audrey Fraser Zalewski. As a young child, he moved with his family to Snohomish, Wash., where he was raised and educated. After high school, he enlisted into the Marine Corps. He later joined the Army and was a proud member of the America 1 Division. He served his country during the Vietnam War and later returned to the United States, continuing service in the armed forces. He served in the Air Force as well as the Army, and had served in Germany and other locations including Fort Lewis, Wash., where he was a drill sergeant.

He worked for four years as a Marine Corps recruiter in the early 1980s and received numerous awards for excellence. Mr. Zalewski retired from the service in 1988 as a staff sergeant.

After his retirement, he came to La Grande from Salem in 1989. He married Kristi Heidrick on Oct. 8, 1990, at La Grande. While here he had attended Eastern Oregon University from 1989 to 1992. He and his wife later moved to Summerville.

He was a true patriot, and also enjoyed sports. He helped coach basketball in Cove and baseball in La Grande. He was a member of the VFW, La Grande Post, and was Catholic by faith.

Mr. Zalewski was also an accomplished actor and was principal actor in several plays both at EOU and at the Pentacle Theater in Salem.

He is survived by his wife; four children and their spouses, Deeann and Dewayne Breaux of Killeen, Texas; Tammy Zalewski of Portland; Ronald T. Zalewski II and Crystal of Salem; and Jahmi and Joshua Zalewski-Fiscus of Summerville; a brother, Allan Zalewski and wife Carol of Edmonds, Wash., stepfather, Robert Robinson of Salem, and three grandchildren. His parents, and a son, Nathaniel, died earlier.

Memorials may be made to the Union County Humane Society, care of Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., La Grande 97850.