Obituaries for the week ending March 11, 2006

March 12, 2006 11:00 pm

Lilly R. Keefer Marr, 91, of La Grande died March 4 at a local care center. A graveside service will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 9 at Grandview Cemetery. Daniels Chapel of the Valley is in charge of arrangements.

Mrs. Marr was born Feb. 14, 1915, to Hyrem and Rose Wright Allen in La Grande. She graduated from La Grande High School, and married Clark Keefer and later Ross Marr. She lived in La Grande and Pendleton. Her husband died in 1963. She moved to Portland for a time before returning to La Grande.

She was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and enjoyed playing the piano and violin. Her family was her greatest joy.

Survivors include her daughter and son-in-law, Sally and Gary Harvill of La Grande; eight grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren and other relatives. Two sons, Phil Keefer and Dean Keefer; five sisters and two brothers all died earlier.


George Clair Grove, 73, of Prineville and formerly of La Grande died March 1 at Pioneer Memorial Hospital. Whispering Pines Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Mr. Grove was born Aug. 22, 1932, to Howard Joseph and Ruth Amelia Griffith Grove in La Grande. He attended school in Huntington and graduated from La Grande High School. He worked for Montgomery Ward for a short time and began working for the Union Pacific Railroad in 1956. He transferred to the Portland Terminal in 1980 and retired in 1993. He moved to central Oregon in 1996.

On Oct. 22, 1969, he married Beverly Glass Praegitzer in Boise.

He was a member of the La Grande Eagles Lodge and the union of railroad engineers. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, watching sports on TV, and being with his family.

Survivors include his wife of Prineville; children, Russell Howard Grove, Anthony Kent Grove, and Ruth Irene Frieboes, all of North Powder of North Powder, Robert George Grove of Island City, and Susan Faith Blake of Portland; 12 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. A brother and a sister died earlier.

Memorials may be made to Boys' Town, 234 Monsky Drive, Boys' Town, Neb. 68010.


Clifford Henry Cochran, 94, of Tri-cities and formerly of La Grande died Feb. 25 at a care center. At his request there will be no funeral.

Mr. Cochran was born Jan. 27, 1912, to Walter M. and Blanche Barnes Cochran in Enterprise. He graduated from La Grande High School where he played football and baseball. In 1934 he married Helen Conkey in Walla Walla. They lived in Klamath Falls and in La Grande, where he worked for the Mt. Emily Lumber Co. He retired after more than 40 years. He coached the fast-pitch softball team and a basketball team. He was instrumental in getting a semi-professional baseball team in La Grande, the Raiders. The couple moved to Kennewick in 1997.

He enjoyed hunting, fishing, bowling, watching sports, traveling to Jackpot, Nev., gambling, working jigsaw puzzles and reading Westerns.

Survivors include children and their spouses, Jack and Janet Cochran of Pasco, and Carole and Mac Sawyer of Lake Oswego; four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. His wife and three brothers, Harold, Otto and Clayton Cochran, all died earlier.

Memorials may be made to the Humane Society or Hospice of Kennewick.


F.B. Clarke, 88, of Baker City, died Feb. 26 at his home. A funeral Mass will begin at 10 a.m. Friday March 10 at St. Francis de Sales Cathedral with Father Julian Cassar officiating. A reception at the church will follow.

Mr. Clarke was born Jan. 2, 1918, to John L. and Ila Stauffer Clarke in Boulder, Colo. He attended school in Benton, Ill., and worked in the New Orient Mine No. 2. He served in the Army during World War II as a liaison pilot, and in Korea where he was an adviser with the XXIV Air Corps. He married 1st Lt. Zona M. Parker of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps Aug. 17, 1947.

They had a raised wheat at Wingville, and during the winter he worked at Levinger Rexall Drugs. In 1970, he bought an insurance agency, now Clarke and Clarke Insurance. After his retirement, the couple joined the Peace Corps and traveled to Katmandu, Nepal.

He was a gifted carpenter and enjoyed building projects, and especially being with his family.

Survivors include his wife of Baker City; children and their spouses, Vicki and Glen Herman and Patti and Ray Stinnett, all of La Grande, Terri and Kevin Bell, Tabor and Dee Dee Clarke, Nelson and Amy Clarke and Michael and Kim Clarke, all of Baker City; a sister and brother-in-law, Patty and Tom Hunter of Benton, Ill.; eight grandchildren; four great-grandchildren, and other relatives. A brother, John A. Clarke, died earlier.

Memorials may be made to the Baker County 4-H Leaders Association in care of Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, 97814.


Bruce Kirkpatrick, 84, of Baker City died March 5 at his home. A memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. Monday March 13 at the First Presbyterian Church in Baker City with Pastor Susan Barnes officiating.

Mr. Kirkpatrick was born Feb. 19, 1922, to Chauncey and Elizabeth Kirkpatrick in Baker City. He graduated from Baker High School in 1940, and worked at his father's Chevrolet dealership.

He served in the Navy during World War II and attended the University of Oregon and the University of California at Los Angeles through the officers training program. He was commissioned an officer at Columbia University in 1944. After the war he graduated from the University of Oregon with a bachelor's degree in business administration.

He opened a used car business in Baker City in 1946, and in 1949 married Anne Lumsden of La Grande. That year he bought the Studebaker dealership in Baker City. In 1950 he became a director on the board of Pioneer Federal Savings & Loan Association, now FirstBank. He served more than 50 years on that board.

In 1968 he became sales manager for Charles Haight Chevrolet in Baker City, and in 1973 he and Ken Dugan bought the business and renamed it B&K Chevrolet. He bought out his partner in 1979 and renamed the business Kirkpatrick Chevrolet Co. When he retired in 1986 the business was sold and became Ellison Motors.

He built and owned Valley Ho Marina in 1959 in Richland, and promoted the marina at Farewell Bend. He ran it for the state for several years.

He was the first economic director of Baker City, and served on the Baker Industrial Development Commission. He was president of Kiwanis and the Baker County New Car Dealers Association, and a member of VFW, American Legion, the Eagles, Elks, Delta Upsilon and Boy Scouts.

Survivors include his wife and his brother,Bill Kirkpatrick, both of Baker City; children and their spouses, Kathy Kirkpatrick of St. Petersburg, Fla., Susan and Brent Lewis of La Grande, and John and Jeannie Kirkpatrick of Clarkston; a daughter in-law Dana Kirkpatrick Kutsch and her husband Kim of Jefferson; and seven grandchildren. A son, Bill Kirkpatrick, died earlier.

Memorials may be made to the First Presbyterian Church Memorial Fund in care of Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place Street, Baker City 97814.


Vivian Pauline Axness, 81 of Haines and formerly of La Grande died March 3 at her home. Viewing will be today March 8 from noon to 7 p.m. . at Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place Street, Baker City. The funeral will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 9 at the Haines Methodist Church with Sally Wiens officiating. Burial will follow at the Haines Cemetery.

Mrs. Axness was born May 26, 1924, to Francis and Lena Johnson Benedict in Taylor, Wis. She graduated with honors from Taylor High School in 1942, and on June 22 that year married Aymaar Axness. After World War II they lived in Arcadia, Wis., before moving to Oregon.

She worked in retail stores and marketing most of her life, and finished her career as co-owner of the Top Shop in La Grande, which was known for its beautiful merchandise and superior service. After her retirement and the death of her husband, she moved to Haines with her son and daughter-in-law.

She enjoyed the changing seasons, harvest and particularly spring with its crop of newborn calves. She was a member of the Haines Mutual Improvement Club, PEO, CCI Investors, Crossroads Art Center and the Haines Methodist Church. She enjoyed needlepoint and being with her family and friends.

Survivors include a brother Freeman of Blair, Wis.; her son and daughter-in-law, Dennis and Terri Axness of Haines; six grandsons and other relatives.

Her husband; four brothers Levine, Basil, Ellsworth and Vilas; and a sister, Marion, all died earlier.

Memorials may be made to Crossroads Endowment Fund in care of Coles Funeral Home.