Obituaries for the week ending Dec. 17, 2005

December 18, 2005 11:00 pm

Hubert Halton Hays Jr., 73, of La Grande died Nov. 28 at St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla. A celebration of life will begin at 1 p.m. Dec. 23 at the Governor Hotel in Portland.

Mr. Hays was born Sept. 3, 1932, to Hubert Halton and Janetta Bell Eldred Hays in Roff, Okla. He served in the Army and graduated from Sul Ross University in Texas with a bachelor's degree in geology. He worked in petroleum exploration and lived in Texas, Oklahoma, California, Alaska, Scotland, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, China and Venezuela.

Survivors include his wife, Cat Hays of La Grande; children, Paul and Clark Hays; stepchildren, Miles Binger and Nancy Binger; two grandchildren; and five sisters, Vera Brannon, Jean Goodman, Peggy Holcomb, Treva O'Neil and Erma Tiger. A sister, Jo McAdams, died earlier.

Memorials may be made to the St. Mary Regional Cancer Center, the Herring House or the grants in aid scholarship program of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in care of Professional Funeral Director and Crematory, 2112 S. Second St., Walla Walla, Wash. 99362.


Audrey Awmiller, 77, of Union, died Dec. 9 at a local care center.A celebration of life will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 15 at Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St.A private burial will be at Hillcrest East Cemetery.

Mrs. Awmiller was born May 8, 1928, to Alfred Emerson and Hazel Galbreth Winslow in Weiser, Idaho.In 1946 she graduated from La Grande High School, and on Sept. 12, 1947, she married Kenneth Awmiller in La Grande.They ran Awmillers Market, The Pebble and, later, Boulder Market and Caf in Union until 1989.

She enjoyed water colors, reading, going for drives in the mountains, bird watching, collecting swans and plates, but most of all being with her family.

Survivors include her children and their spouses, Dale and Mylinda Awmiller of La Grande, Letha and Bob Joseph, and Linda Awmiller, all of Union; two grandchildren; two great grandchildren; a brother, Fred Winslow of La Grande; and other relatives.

Memorials may be made to the Lions Eye Bank in care of Daniels Chapel.


Hazel Ruth Christensen, 79, of Spokane and formerly of La Grande died Dec. 11. Graveside services will be at Woodlawn Cemetery in Bellingham, Wash. Hennessey-Smith Funeral Home in Spokane is in charge of arrangements.

Ms. Christensen was born Jan. 21, 1926, to James and Juliet Christensen in Maybutt, Alberta, Canada. She graduated from high school in Bellingham, Wash., and attended Eastern Oregon Normal School, Brigham Young University, the University of Southern California and Eastern Washington University, studying education and music.

She taught third grade and music for 34 years in La Grande, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, and Spokane. She was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where she directed the choir, assisted in genealogy research and participated in other church activities. She was also a member of the American Association of University Women.

She enjoyed singing, and performed in operas and operettas at BYU and at the Spokane Civic theater. She was known for her joy of life, beautiful smile and love for others.

Survivors include her brother Gordon Christensen of Mead, Wash., and other relatives. A sister, Mary Christensen, died earlier.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Welfare Program of the LDS Church, in care of Bishop Larry R. Larsen, Northpoint Ward, 308 E. Shiloh Hills Drive, Spokane 99208-5817.


Norman O. Ayars, 82, of Pendleton and formerly of La Grande died Dec. 9 at St. Anthony Hospital. A memorial service wil begin at 10 a.m. Saturday Dec. 17 at the First Church of God in Pendleton. Burial will be at 1 p.m. at Hillcrest Cemetery in La Grande. Burns Mortuary of Pendleton is in charge of arrangements.

Mr. Ayars was born Nov. 19, 1923, to William Oscar and Maude Banton Ayars in La Grande. He attended school in La Grande and graduated from high school in Ukiah. He attended the Polytechnic College of Engineering in Oakland, Calif., and served in the Army Air Forces during World War II. He worked in the lumber and logging industry in Eastern Oregon and Idaho, and on Aug. 17, 1949, married Marjorie Carter in Lewiston. In 1969 the family moved to Lewiston where he joined the police department. He was appointed chief in 1976 and retired in 1979.

He was a member and charter president of the Lewiston Police Association and served on the Lewiston Police Retirement fund board and in both local and state police officers associations. He was a member of the Idaho Peace Officers Association, the National Sheriffs Association, the Elks and Masonic Lodge 10. He was a 32nd degree Mason with the Scottish Rite and was a noble of the Calam Temple of the Shrine. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and reading historical novels, and was partial to humor.

Survivors include stepchildren, Vicki Lee Carter of Salt Lake City and Wayne "Pat" Jones of San Jose, Calif.; a brother, Wesley Ayars of Pendleton; and two sisters, Alladeen Weatherspoon of Lacey, Wash., and Doris Foster of Bellingham; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His wife and a step-son, Richard, died earlier.

Memorials may be made to the VFW Let'er Buck Post 922, P.O. Box 787, Pendleton 97801.


Marian A. Hescock Kinzer, 63, of Summerville died Dec. 9 at Grande Ronde Hospital. A memorial service will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday Dec. 17 at the Elgin Stampede Hall. A reception and potluck dinner will follow. The memorial will also be for her son, Keith Hescock Jr., who died June 5, 2001. Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

Mrs. Kinzer was born Jan. 20, 1942, to Crawford Lee and Ethel Doris Hays Hunter in Lostine. She attended school there and lived in Idaho Falls, Idaho, before returning to Oregon in 2002. She enjoyed hunting, fishing, horse-back riding, singing, playing cards and playing her guitar and accordion with her family.

Survivors include children, Randy Dean Hescock, Teena Maria Rodriguez, Tammy Kay Hescock and Julie Ann Sanders; seven grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; four sisters, Wyliegh Carper, Carol Creswell, Martha Velasquez and Ruth Shuman; and one brother, William Hunter.


Vernon Wesley Adkins, 86, of Union, died Dec. 11 at his home. At his request there will be no public services.

Mr. Adkins was born Nov. 3, 1919, to Wesley and Anna May Ego Adkins in Baker City. He was raised in Cove and Union. On Oct. 5, 1940, he married Iris Taylor in Weiser, Idaho. He worked for the Union Railroad of Oregon for a number of years before working as a meat cutter for Union Cash Grocery until 1983 when he retired.

Mr. Adkins was a life member of the Grande Ronde Valley Masonic Lodge and the Royal Arch Masons. He enjoyed square dancing, and served on the Union School Board, the Union City Council and the Union Volunteer Fire Department for many years.

Survivors include his wife of Union; children and their spouses, Linda and Dale Conklin of Heppner and Kerry and Kim Adkins of Union; six grandchildren; six great-grandchildren and other relatives. Two brothers, Bernard and Dewey Adkins, and a sister, Iola Childers, all died earlier.

Memorials may be made to the Union Athletic Complex or any charity in care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St. An on-line guest book can be found at .


Kael Dylan Lathrop, infant son of Jason and Lisa Lathrop of Elgin, was born and died on Dec. 9 at Grande Ronde Hospital. Burial was at the Elgin Cemetery.

Survivors include his parents and a brother, Joe Lathrop, all of Elgin; grandparents, Gary and Toni Lathrop of Elgin, Joe and Kathy Lathrop of Wallowa, Lisa Johnson of Elgin and Robert Medellin of Pendleton; great-grandparents, Larry and Betty Thompson of Elgin, Melvin and Joan Lathrop of Lostine and Corinne Crowson of Elgin.

Memorials may be made to Doernbecker Children's Hospital in care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 502 Seventh St. To sign the online guest book go to: .


David Gregory Beickel, 58, of La Grande, died Dec. 9 at his home. At his request there will be no public services. .

Mr. Beickel was born July 19, 1947, to Elmer and Pauline Bach Beickel in La Grande. He graduated from La Grande High School in 1968 and served in the Army. In the early 1970s he moved to England and worked in the printing industry. He returned to La Grande in 1998.

He enjoyed sports of all kinds, being with his family and friends, and was a pastor of the Universal Life Church. He had a keen sense of humor and was kind and generous.

Survivors include his companion, Debra Keltz; his father and step-mother, Elmer and Barbara Beickel; and a brother, Roger Beickel, all of La Grande; and other relatives. His mother died earlier.

Memorials may be made to any charity in care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St. An on-line guest book can be found at .


John Paul Curran, 85, of Enterprise died Dec. 16 at a care center. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Katherine's Catholic Church at 11 a.m. Wednesday with Father Peter Fernando officiating. Burial will be in the Enterprise Cemetery.

Mr. Curran was born Aug. 19, 1920, to Richard and Madeline Dumas Curran in Chicago, Ill. He served in the Marines Corps during World War II, and worked as a truck driver for many years.

He was a member of the VFW and served as a commander.

Survivors include a daughter, and her husband, Linda and Steve Testerman of Enterprise; a sister, Nanette Wazniak of California; three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. His wife, Katherine, and a son, Michael, died earlier.