Obituaries for the week ending Sept. 2, 2006

September 04, 2006 11:00 pm

Wendell H. Abell, 81, of Island City died Saturday at St. Luke's Medical Center in Boise. Viewing will be from 4 to 6 p.m. today at Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St. A graveside service will begin at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Island City Cemetery.

Mr. Abell was born Dec. 23, 1924, to George and Josephine Graham Abell in La Grange, Mo. He had polio as a child. The family made three trips to Oregon before finally settling here. He began working in a lumber yard in Portland at the age of 16. On May 6, 1952, he married Constance Ott in La Grande. He worked for Hydes' Market and Zimmerman's until his retirement but continued to work part-time at Zimmerman's.

He served as mayor of Island City in 1961 and 1962, and was a member of the Island City Fire Department. He served on the Island City School Board and Island City City Council, and was a past member of the Lions Club. He enjoyed fishing on Catherine Creek, trips to the Mormon Basin with his brothers, trips around the valley, working in his yard and socializing.

Survivors include his wife of Island City; a son and daughter-in-law, Steve and Debra Abell of Portland; siblings and their spouses, Bernard and Shelly Abell of La Grande, Leon Abell and his companion Beverly Britian of Milton-Freewater, Homer Abell of North Powder, and Eva and John Kimmelshue of Hood River; six grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and other relatives. Two sons, Terry Lee Abell and Robert Earl Abell, two brothers Roy Lee and Robert Earl Abell, and a sister, Thelma Abell, all died earlier.

Memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association in care of Daniels Chapel.


Dr. Robert Neil Blackburn, 77, of Cushing, Okla., and formerly of Joseph died July 27.

Dr. Blackburn was born Aug. 1, 1929, in Cushing, Okla. He served as a jet fighter pilot in the Korean War and taught other pilots how to fly by instrument. After leaving the military, he graduated from medical school at the University of Oklahoma, and served his residency at Deaconess Hospital in Spokane. He bought Dr. Coffman's practice in Joseph and practiced there for nearly 25 years. He delivered many of the babies in Wallowa County for two generations. He worked in Asotin, Wash., for five years before retiring to Oklahoma.

He volunteered his services at every Chief Joseph Days Rodeo, and was grand marshal of the Chief Joseph Days parade. He also started Joseph Little League Baseball.

Survivors include five sisters, all in Oklahoma. Four brothers died earlier.


Dallas Dean, 81, of Baker City died Aug. 26 at his home. A reception and celebration of life will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at his son's home, 44431 Anthony Lakes Highway in Haines.

Mr. Dean was born July 1, 1925, to Marvin and Edith Hodgkins Dean at Keating. The family lived near Pondosa, and he graduated in 1943 from Union High School. He served in the Army during World War II, and was disabled by frozen feet at the Battle of the Bulge. He received the EAMC and Combat Infantry citations, the Bronze Star and unit citations.

In 1946 he married Beverly White in Baker City, and worked for Silven Cleaners and Lew Bros. Tire Service. He owned the Shell service station at Main Street and Auburn Avenue, and later bought the Shell ownership from Lloyd Wells. After an early retirement he worked for Levinger Drug, B&K Chevrolet and the Best County car dealership. He finally retired in 1990.

After his wife's death he married Charlene Lee Moffit in 1990. The couple maintained a winter residence at Indio, Calif., for 12 years. They settled in La Grande in 2003 and recently returned to Baker City.

He was a sports fan who followed his son's high school track activities, and was a loyal fan of the New York Yankees. He met Yogi Berra and got to see the Yankees play in Seattle last fall.

He was an avid hunter and fisherman and enjoyed watching the activities at his son's horse ranch.

Survivors include his wife of Baker City; his son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Anna Dean of Haines; a daughter and son-in-law, Rhonda and Tim Culley of Baker City; a stepson, R.J. Larsen of Umatilla; 10 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. A brother, James Dean, died earlier.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Heart 'n Home Hospice Foundation, 1435 Campbell St., Baker City 97814.


Doris Arlene Baxter, 76, of La Grande died Aug. 27 at a local care center. Viewing will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Loveland Funeral Home, 1508 Fourth St. The funeral will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at the LDS Chapel in Union. Burial will follow at the Union Cemetery.

Mrs. Baxter was born Jan. 13, 1930, to Lester and Mary Daggett in Minam. She graduated from Union High School, and on March 13, 1951, she married Bryce Wight Baxter in the Temple in Idaho Falls, Idaho. They raised their family in North Bend where she was a homemaker. She was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and enjoyed cooking, crochet and crafts.

Survivors include children, Duane Baxter and Chris Baxter, both of La Grande, Reed Baxter and Trisha Baxter, both of Eugene, and Kevin and Blaine Baxter and Kathy Price, all of Salt Lake City; 23 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and two sisters, Donna Brodhead of North Powder and Blanche Hutchison of Walla Walla. Her husband died earlier.

Memorials may be made to Grande Ronde Hospice or the LDS Family History Center in care of Loveland Chapel.


Frank David Guthrie, 81, of Wallowa County died Aug. 24 at a local care center. A graveside service will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 9 at the Enterprise Cemetery. A dinner will follow at the Enterprise VFW.

Mr. Guthrie was born Dec. 21, 1924, to Franklin Peter and Anna Theresa Nichols Guthrie in Quincy, Mass. The family moved to Wallowa County and after graduating from high school he joined the Marine Corp. He retired after 26 years and then began farming. On Sept. 9, 1946, he married Helen Marie Burdett. She died in 1996.

He was a member of the Alpine Meadows Golf Course, the Enterprise Elks Lodge and Eagle Cap VFW Post 4307, and enjoyed golf, fishing and hunting.

Survivors include his daughter and son-in-law, Jan and Richard Halverson of Kahlotus, Wash.; two granddaughters; three sisters, Anna Marie Meyer of Santa Barbara, Calif., Delores Riddle of Honolulu, Hawaii, and Patricia Lunday of Castle Rock, Wash.; five great-grandchildren and other relatives.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to any charity in care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St.


Mary Jo Bruce, 81, formerly of Hermiston died Tuesday at the home of her daughter in Palmer Junction. A graveside service will begin at 10 a.m. Friday Sept. 1 at the Hermiston Cemetery with a reception following at the First Christian Church on Highland Ave.

Mrs. Bruce was born June 1, 1925, to Patrick Donald and Mary Josephine Stubbs Quinn in Burwell, Neb. She married Owen Lee Bruce in Grand Junction, Colo. on Jan. 25, 1944, and graduated from high school in Ouray, Colo., the same year.

The couple came to Oregon in 1947 and lived in Hermiston and on the Oregon Coast. She moved to her daughter's home three weeks ago.

She earned a nursing degree at Blue Mountain Community College at the age of 49, and retired from Good Shepherd Hospital in 1987.

She was a former member of the Women's Civic League in Hermiston and MEOW, Machine Embroiderers of Oregon and Washington; and was a member of a sewing group at the First Christian Church, the Hospital Auxiliary, the American Legion Auxiliary. She enjoyed fishing, playing bingo, sewing, being with her family and machine embroidery.

Survivors include children and their spouses Donna and Bill Barnes of Palmer Junction, and Harold and Sarah Bruce of Hermiston; a brother, Harold Quinn of Pendleton; a sister-in-law Eva Quinn of Prosser, Wash.; 6 grandchildren 16 great-grandchildren and 7 great-great-grandchildren.

Her husband and two brothers,Gaylord and Ralph Quinn, died earlier. Memorials may be made to Walla Walla Veterans Hospital, Good Shepherd Hospital Auxiliary or any charity in care of Burns Mortuary of Hermiston.


Janette L. Beeler, 59, of Elgin died Aug. 28. Viewing will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 4 at Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St. A graveside service will begin at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5 at the Elgin Cemetery.

Mrs. Beeler was born April 7, 1947, to J.D. and Loys Osborn Thwreat in Mena, Ark. She lived most of her life in Laramie, Wyo. She worked as a janitor for the University of Wyoming and on Aug. 5 moved to Elgin to be closer to her mother and her family. She was a member of the Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah's Witnesses, and enjoyed photography, birds and animals. She was known for her work ethic.

Survivors include her mother; a son, Gene Beeler; siblings, David Thwreat, Fred Thwreat and Dorsie Terrell, all of Elgin, and Becky Ginsbaugh of Estacada; and other relatives. Her father and two children, Julie and Jessica Beeler, died earlier.

Memorials may be made for cancer research or GRH Hospice in care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh St.


Gladys Lucille Gassoway, 88, of Portland and formerly of Cove died Aug. 30. The funeral will begin at 1 p.m. Tuesday Sept. 5 at the Sellwood Baptist Church. A graveside service will begin at 1 p.m. Wednesday Sept. 6 in Sumner, Wash.

Mrs. Gassoway was born Gladys Ryan April 1, 1918, in Sumner. She married the Rev. M. Murl Gassoway in 1940. He died in 1990. She worked as a chaplain Nursing Home Ministries Inc., and lived in Cove from 1957 to 1960.

Survivors include children, David LeRoy Gassoway of La Grande, Daniel Lee Gassoway of Portland and Murline White of Wheaton, Ill; two brothers, Warren and Robert Ryan; a sister, Lucy Ebert; six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. A son, John Howard Gassoway, a daughter, Carol Jean Gassoway, a brother, Lewis Ryan, and a sister, Edith Flynn, all died earlier.

Memorials may be made to Nursing Home Ministries Inc. in care of Wilhelm Funeral Home, 6637 S.E. Milwaukie Ave., Portland 07202-5651.