Obituaries for the day of February 3, 2012

By Observer Upload February 03, 2012 09:32 pm
Walker, Daniel, Reece




Feb. 3 — Retha Bowman, viewing, 5 to 8 p.m., Loveland Funeral Chapel

Feb. 4 — Retha Bowman, memorial service, 1 p.m., First Christian Church, La Grande

March 3 — Lenore Bigler, celebration of life, 1 to 4 p.m., Powder grange



Neva Walker



Neva Walker, 78, of Elgin, died Feb. 3 at her home. Daniels-Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center is in charge of the arrangements.



Emma D. Daniel

La Grande



Emma Dale Daniel, 91, of Albuquerque, N.M., died Jan. 31 at The Robin’s Nest home in Elgin. Services will be held in Albuquerque. Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.

Emma was born Dec. 5, 1920, in Dardanelle, Ark. Her parents were C.E. and Lorene (Fleming) Jordan. She recently moved to Elgin to be near her daughter.

Emma is survived by her daughter, Jan Petersen of La Grande; two grandchildren; one great-grandson; one great-great-granddaughter; and one great-great-grandson, all of Albuquerque.


Daniel R. Reece

Formerly of La Grande


Daniel Radjford Reece, 94, formerly of La Grande, died Jan. 5 at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., of natural causes. 

He was born March 7, 1917.

Daniel was a self-taught engineer and inventor, scientist, botanist, environmentalist, artist and steamboat enthusiast. He developed National Appliance Co. in Tigard in the 1950s, designing and manufacturing incubators and vacuum ovens that simulate special environments for scientific tests and research. He retired in 1969 and pursued engineering and entrepreneurial interests, including manufacturing of the Nordic Prince portable chain saw mill.

His family said Dan found solace in nature and the mountains and shared a lifelong passion for camping and trail riding with friends and family. On horseback, he covered many trails in the Wallowa Whitman National Forest and Bob Marshall Wilderness, as well as other trails in Oregon. As board member for Friends of the Earth, he was instrumental in working with Sen. Mark O. Hatfield to preserve 73,000 acres of the Minam River Canyon area as part of the Eagle Cap Wilderness (HB 92-521 1972). 

In WWII, Dan volunteered as a coast guard captain, patrolling the Willamette River. He went on to pilot wooden boats on the Columbia River and Puget Sound for years. A steam boat aficionado, he built a steam engine for his hand-built wooden dinghy. He was a long-time member of the Steam Boat Society. 

Dan married his childhood sweetheart, Martha McKennon, in 1939. They lived in La Grande and Portland until 1996, then moved to Rancho Mirage. Martha died in 1997. 

Dan is survived by his three daughters and their husbands, Sharon and Wayne Mascia of Woodside, Calif., Sally and Roy Deitchler of Bend and Melissa Over and Doug Kaigler of Cove; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the local hospice chapter. 


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