Obituaries for the day of January 5, 2012

By Observer Upload January 05, 2012 09:06 pm
Mack, Willoughby, Faro

John L. Mack

La Grande

A celebration of life for John L. Mack, who died Dec. 19, is set for Saturday at Catherine Mack’s home at Stonewood, 1809 26th St., No. 2 in La Grande. His family invites friends to drop-in between 2 and 4 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

John Mack was 86 and lived in La Grande. His obituary appeared in The Observer Dec. 22.


Waneta Willoughby

La Grande

Waneta Willoughby, 100, of La Grande, died this morning at a local care center. Daniels-Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center is in charge of the arrangements.


Margaret J. Faro

La Grande


Margaret Jean Geist Faro, 71, of La Grande, died Jan. 1 at Grande Ronde Hospital. A celebration of her life will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at Union County Senior Center.

To view the service on the Internet, go to, select “watch a service” and enter memorial ID No. 3357. Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.

Margaret was born July 9, 1940, in Monmouth, Ill., to Robert Gowdy and Grace (Luke) Gowdy. She grew up in South Dakota and graduated from Chamberlain High School in Chamberlain. She went on to attend the University of New Mexico and graduated summa cum laude from Eastern Oregon State College with a bachelor’s degree in community services focusing on senior services.

Margaret lived in many places throughout her life, including Rapid City, S.D., Princeton, N.J., Phoenix, Ariz., Albuquerque, N.M., Fort Collins, Colo., and Winslow, Ariz. She was married first to Jon Michael Geist in 1959. In 2003, she married Patrick Faro.

Margaret was employed as a law secretary in Winslow. After moving to La Grande, she held many positions in the community, including secretary and Christian education director for the First Presbyterian Church, where she taught various levels of Sunday school and led the “Senior Highs” group. She was a secretary and nutritionist for the Head Start Program; librarian at the La Grande Middle School; secretary for the special programs office at ESD; secretary for the La Grande School District business office; and secretary and aide at Greenwood school. She retired from the La Grande School District after 25 years of service.

Margaret enjoyed sewing, quilting and cooking, and she participated in swimming, tennis and bicycling. She was a member of several organizations, including Chi Omega Sorority, Quilt Questers and AARP. She was a board member for Seniors Inc., and treasurer for Wes Lynn Women’s Circle. Margaret served as a leader for the Girl Scouts and Brownies for many years.

Margaret enjoyed a close relationship with her father, her family said. He was the only one that could soothe her as a young child by taking her for long drives in the car. He was killed by friendly fire in World War II while attempting to land his airplane on an aircraft

carrier. Shortly after his death, Margaret was told by an old American Indian woman that a man in a light colored suit would be looking over her all of her life. The family lived across the street from Albert Einstein during their time at Princeton University. Margaret always remembered the day Einstein gave her a lollipop.

At the end of Margaret’s career at the school district, she said she chose to retire early in order to save three other job positions.

Margaret is survived by her husband, Pat; three children and their spouses, Jeffery Geist of Rainier, Donna and Charles Thomas of Gresham and Jonathan and Deanna Geist of Victor, N.Y.; her sister, Joey Hastings and spouse, Ron Lute, of Redding, Calif.; her uncles, Bob Luke and Tommy, Billy, Dale and Donny Luke; 13 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; and 35 nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her father, Robert Gowdy; her mother and step-father, Grace and Oscar Wieszorek; a second step-father, Rudy Mosqueda; and Ruby Wieszorek, the second wife of Oscar Wieszorek, who cared for Margaret like a step-mother.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society in care of Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth Street, La Grande, OR 97850.


The Observer publishes free obituaries as a community service. Obituaries are edited to fit news guidelines. Photos are encouraged. Paid space is available for families who would like to include more information. Daniels-Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center posts unedited obituaries at, and Loveland Funeral Chapel & Crematory posts obituaries at