Obituaries for the week ending Aug. 13, 2005

August 08, 2005 11:00 pm

Don Keeling, 60, of La Grande died Aug. 4 at his home after a long illness. A celebration of life will begin at 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Blue Mountain Conference Center, 404 12th St.

Mr. Keeling was born April 17, 1945, to Kenneth H. and Beatrice M. Keeling in Snoqualmie Falls, Wash. He graduated from La Grande High School in 1963, and attended Oregon Technical Institute and Eastern Oregon College. He served in the Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton in California.

He married Nancy Johnson in 1968. Don and Nancy had three children, Jacque, Stacy and Sean.

He owned Don Keeling Chevron Service in La Grande where he received the Hallmark Award and the CTSE award from Chevron for having the highest scores for Commitment to Service Excellence. Don stayed in business on Adams Avenue for 34 years.

After a divorce he married Becky Vernon on Dec. 31, 1988, in Lakeview. The couple worked in real estate in Union County and were partners in the local RE/MAX Real Estate Team office. He was known for his sense of humor and his knowledge of the county.

He was active in many community organizations and was often the first to arrive when someone needed a hand. He joined the La Grande Volunteer Fire Department in 1971 and moved up the ranks to serve as chief of volunteers. He was a member of the Union County Chamber of Commerce, the Anthony Lakes Ski Patrol, the Elks Lodge, the Eagles Lodge and the American Legion. In 1995 he was named Union County Man of the Year.

He helped develop the Eastern Oregon Fire Museum and Learning Center, and spent many hours researching the history of fire protection in Eastern Oregon and restoring antique fire trucks and apparatus. He encouraged children to ride with him in parades and other community events. He recently received the Chief Ted Miller Historical Preservation Award from the Oregon Fire Service Museum.

Survivors include his wife, of La Grande; a brother, Kenneth Keeling of Corvallis; children and their spouses, Jacqueline and Treve Rasmussen of Bakersfield, Calif., Stacy and Neal Olson of Monmouth, and Sean Keeling of La Grande; and five grandchildren.

Memorials may be made to the Eastern Oregon Fire Museum and Learning Center in care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St.


Cleve Lee Berry, 71, of Pendleton and formerly of Wallowa, died July 30 after a long illness. Burial was at the Wallowa Cemetery.

Mr. Berry was born May 30, 1934, to Charles and Ione Berry in Wallowa. He attended Wallowa High School and worked for the B.W. James Logging Company. The family moved from Joseph to Brookings where they lived from 1956 to 1975. He worked at South Coast Lumber Company for a time before joining the Brookings Police Department. He worked as a city patrolman for five years, and from 1964 to 1969 he was a deputy sheriff for Curry County. He married Lita Inman and was later divorced.

At different times he worked as a professional security guard, a livestock broker, a professional trapper, a commercial fisherman, a school bus driver, co-owner of Our Place Pizza Parlor at Harbor and a Curry County brand inspector.

He was a member of the Pelican Bay Archery Club, the Elks, the National Rifle Association and the Trappers Association. He was an active outdoorsman, and enjoyed riding, camping, sightseeing in the Wallowa Mountain lakes and the Eagle Cap wilderness, fishing and hunting big game with his family in Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.

Survivors include his wife, Dolores Berry, of Pendleton; siblings, Charlene Hauser of Ontario, Earl Berry of Wyoming, and Duane Berry of Imbler; children and their spouses, Edward Lee Berry and Daniel and Tena Berry, all of Brookings; stepchildren and their spouses, Debbie and Stuart Harris, and David Kerr, all of Pendleton, and Dawn and Bob Countryman of Kansas; and nine grandchildren.


Bertha M. Fisk, 78, of Redmond and formerly of La Grande died Aug. 2. Burial was at Hillcrest Cemetery in La Grande. Autumn Funerals of Redmond was in charge of arrangements.

Mrs. Fisk was born March 15, 1927, to James and Alice White Palmer in La Grande. In 1952 she married Walter Fisk in La Grande. He died in 1988, and she moved to Redmond in 1994.

She worked as a waitress and a foster-care provider. She enjoyed playing the piano, bowling, needlepoint, watching baseball, especially the Atlanta Braves, and watching John Wayne movies.

Survivors include children, Lucky Hylton and Fred Fisk, both of Redmond, Cheryl Fisk of Terrebonne, and Larry Covey and Daniel Fisk, both of Newport News, Va.; 10 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and siblings, Frank Palmer of Idaho, Alfred Palmer and Margie Flanagan, both of Arizona, Irene Mabe of Troy, Idaho, Loretta Palmer of Kennewick, Wash., and Florence Armstrong of Spokane.


George Raymond Locke, 90, formerly of Enterprise, died July 14. A graveside service will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Lostine Cemetery.

Mr. Locke was born Feb. 8, 1915, to Thurman and Georgia Locke in Bozeman, Mont. He graduated from Santa Clara University n 1939 and played in the Sugar Bowl in 1938 and '39. He served in the Navy during World War II and was part of the post-war military administration in Japan. He was sent to Harvard, Princeton and Annapolis for training.

After leaving the military he became a construction contractor and moved to Wallowa county in 1948. He was a member of the Enterprise Elks and the VFW. In 1953 the family moved to Othello, Wash. He served as president of the Grand Coulee Water District for 12 years, and chairman of the school board from 1954 until about 1966.

He enjoyed making tables and clocks, and spent the winter with a son in Florida and his summers with another son in Clinton, Wash., or with his sister in the Wallowas.

Survivors include sons, Richard Locke of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Charles Locke of Clinton, Wash.; one grandchild; siblings, Don Locke of Enterprise and Irene Barklow of Wallowa; and other relatives. His wife, Edith, and a sister, Doreen Lawson, died earlier.


Irene Lee, 68, of Union died Aug. 6 at her home. A graveside service will begin at 11 a.m. Friday at the Union Cemetery. Daniels Chapel of the Valley is in charge of arrangements.

Mrs. Lee was born Sept. 16, 1936, to John Henry and Erma Florence Taylor in Bothwell, Utah. She lived in Idaho and Utah and on Nov. 24, 1954, married Gordon Lee in Farmington, Utah. They lived in California and in Halfway before moving to Union in 1967.

She worked as a waitress for 17 years at local restaurants including The Hut in Union and the truck stop before going to work for the Union Shell gas station. She enjoyed crafts and spending time with her family.

Survivors include her husband of Union; a son and daughter-in-law, Troy and Michelle Lee of Ontario; three grandchildren; sisters and step-sisters, Nadine Robertson of Wallowa, Kathy Gillihan and Nancy Bush, both of Ogden, Utah, Shirley Scully of Florida; a step-brother, Dick Gillihan of Ogden; and other relatives. A brother, Albert John Taylor, and a sister, Darlene Gillihan, all died earlier.

Memorials may be made to the Union Little League, P.O. Box 784, Union 97883.


Ralph Arnold Hill, 85, of La Grande died Aug. 7. Viewing will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., and from 10 to 10:45 a.m. Saturday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Gekeler Lane. The funeral will begin at 11 a.m.

Mr. Hill was born Aug. 6, 1920, to Joseph Orla and Marnie Woodruff Hill in Tremonton, Utah. He grew up on a farm near Bear River City, Utah, and graduated from Bear River High School in 1938. He attended Utah Agriculture College and worked in the shipyards in Portland during World War II.

On June 22, 1945, he married Mariam Carter in Logan, Utah. They lived in Modesto, Calif., for a while before returning to the Grande Ronde Valley. He ran a service station and worked at Zimmerman's Furniture and Hardware, eventually buying the business and running it until he retired.

He bought 30 acres on Mill Creek in Cove, which became a favorite place for reunions and family gatherings, and the last few years spent winters in St. George, Utah.

He was a member of the LDS Church and enjoyed camping, hunting, fishing, woodworking, gardening and being with his family.

Survivors include his wife of La Grande; children and their spouses, Bill and Marcia Hill of Carson City, Nev., Frank and Linda Hill of Lake Forrest, Calif., Duane and Dawn of Boulder, Colo., JoAnn and John Huntsman of Athena, and Tamra and Craig Hooton of Hyrum, Utah; 25 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; four brothers, Clinton, Wendell, Burton and Kenneth Hill; and a sister, Dorothy Denton. An infant son, David, and a brother, Jim Hill, died earlier.


Stephen Glen Robinson, formerly of La Grande died July 29 in Ocoee, Fla., after a long illness. At his request there will be no service.

Mr. Robinson was born June 13, 1950, to Gene and Enid Robinson in LaGrande. He graduated from high school in Billings, Mont., in 1968, and served two tours of duty in the Navy in Vietnam. In 1979 he married Toni Dawn Witherup of Hampton, Iowa. They lived in the Pacific Northwest and Minnesota, where he graduated from Mankato State University.

For the past 20 years the family lived in Ocoee, where he was an operations manager in the automotive industry. He was known for an infectious smile, a dry wit and creativity. He often used his artistic talents to design and build things for his family, neighbors and friends. He focused his attention on others, and above all was a kind man.

Survivors include his wife of Ocoee; a son, Christopher Niles Robinson of Ocoee; his mother, Enid Davis of Salem; siblings and their spouses, Tim and Becky Robinson of Woodland, Calif., Mark and Linda Robinson of Salem, and Ann and Jon Hooper of Seattle; and other relatives. A son, Matthew Stephen Robinson, and his father, Gene Robinson, both died earlier.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the VITAS, Innovative Hospice Care, Attn.: End of Life Care Foundation, 5151 Adanson Street, Suite 200, Orlando, Fla. 32804 or The American Cancer Society at or P.O. Box 102454, Atlanta, Ga. 30368-2454.


Thelma Allen, 96, of La Grande died August 7 at a local care center. There will be no memorial service. Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

Mrs. Allen was born June 19, 1909, in Detroit, Mich. She married Clarence Allen, and was a school teacher. She lived in this area for the past 11 years after moving from Tampa, Fla.

Survivors include her son, Dr. David Allen and his wife Cherlyne of La Grande; three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Her husband died earlier.