obituaries for the day of February 9, 2012

By Observer Upload February 09, 2012 09:57 pm
Antles, Bingaman, Bluhm, Eckrich, Coates, Maszk, Sasser, Walker




Feb. 9 — Robert Griffin, celebration of life, 2 p.m., Loveland Funeral Chapel

Feb. 11 — Lynn Henderson, memorial service, 10 a.m., Loveland Funeral Chapel

Feb. 11 — Dorothy Williams, service, 1 p.m., Summerville Cemetery Chapel

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



Eleanor D. Antles

La Grande


A celebration of life for Eleanor D. Antles, who died Feb. 4, will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday at United Methodist Church in La Grande.

Eleanor was 98 and lived in La Grande. Loveland Funeral Chapel assisted with the arrangements.



Arla L. Bingaman



Arla L. Bingaman, 86, of Imbler died Feb. 8 at Grande Ronde Hospital. A service will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at Summerville Cemetery Chapel.

Daniels-Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center is in charge of the arrangements. A complete obituary will be available later.



Sherry A. Bluhm



Sherry A. Bluhm, 63, of Elgin, died Feb. 8 at her home.  A full obituary will be available later. Loveland Funeral Chapel & Crematory is in charge of the arrangements.



Claire Eckrich

La Grande


A celebration of life for Claire Eckrich, who died Feb. 7, will begin at noon Feb. 18 at Elgin Community Center. Claire was 53 and she lived in La Grande. Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.


Austin H. Coates

North Powder



Austin H. Coates, 85, long-time resident of North Powder, died Jan. 28 at his home with his two children close by. A service was held Feb. 4 at North Powder Cemetery. 

Austin was the oldest of five children and the only son of Alfred “Baldy” and Grace (Austin) Coates. He was born in Allen, Okla., on Aug. 29, 1926. The family moved west to Durkee and then later to Haines when the children were young.

Austin started working at age 14. He worked at the slaughter house that was located on Oregon Trail Road and as a butcher at the Huddleson Mercantile on E Street. 

He met Alta Mae Pearson and they married on Sept. 6, 1945, in North Powder. They bought several lots on Fourth and F streets and moved the greenhouse to the lot at 340 F St. from Fern and Mike Galligan’s ranch on Wolf Creek. It was here that they raised their two children, Charlotte and Wayne.

Austin walked to a job at a dairy on River Road twice a day where he milked cows and fed livestock. For many years and until he retired, he worked at the North Powder M&M Company, a busy place during the harvest of barley and wheat. Those who knew him say he could skillfully sew a sack of grain shut with the appropriate number of stitches at the correct spacing in just a few seconds. Because of his skills, those who knew him say he was tough competition at the Threshing Bees.

Austin enjoyed deer and elk season and went hunting every year with family and friends. He had a cooler full of game most years. He and Alta were a good team during the process with Austin making the cuts and Alta wrapping the meat.

The couple enjoyed bowling and participated in league play at the bowling alley in Baker. They celebrated 42 years of marriage before Alta died in October 1987. Austin kept busy mowing his lawn on his John Deere and hunting and being with the hunting parties.

He looked forward to the annual family reunion when his property would fill up with tents and campers full of family.

He joined the Eagles Club and went to dances a couple of times a month. Austin liked a sandwich at the café and ordered it so many times that eventually, it was named the “Austin Burger.”

He liked to feed the quail in his backyard, which he called “chickens.” He had fun watching them and provided them with water.

Austin was preceded in death by his wife, Alta Mae; parents and step-father, Ted Harsin; and sisters, Pauline Courtney, Allene Parker and Eula Aldrich.

He is survived by his daughter, Charlotte and her husband, Jess Allen, of Longview, Wash.; son, Wayne and his wife, Yvonne Coates, of Charlotte, S.C.; sister, Betty and her husband, Chester Newman, of Estacada; and two sisters-in-law, Phyllis Fettig of North Powder and Barbara Baker of Baker City. He has eight grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Wolf Creek Grange at P.O. Box 352, North Powder, OR 97867.


Robert L. Maszk

Formerly of La Grande



Robert Leon Maszk, 80, formerly of La Grande, died Feb. 2 at his home in Crooked River Ranch of natural causes. 

He was born May 15, 1931, in Minto, N.D.

He spent the majority of his worklife as a radio broadcaster. Robert worked as the news director for KLBM radio in La Grande for 25 years, where he was known as “The Voice of La Grande.” He retired from radio in 1986 and moved to Central Oregon in 1989 to be closer to family.

Robert was also a master woodworker. He spent many hours in his shop building furniture and decorative pieces for family and friends. He also enjoyed spending time hunting for shells and rocks on the Oregon Coast, attending an annual reunion of radio buddies, and traveling with his wife, Carol.

Robert served as an aviation radioman in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, spending a tour of duty in the Sea of Japan on an Essex-class aircraft carrier, the USS Kearsarge.  

Robert is survived by his wife, Carol; and his five children, Jon of La Grande, Mark of Portland, Darla Terry of Portland, Matt of La Grande and Michael Payne and his wife, Shelly, of Redmond; sister-in-law, Chris Shanley of Crooked River Ranch; and six grandchildren. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the local hospice chapter.


Beulah ‘Penny’ Sasser




Beulah Rose “Penny” Robirts (Perry) Sasser, 72, of Enterprise, died Jan. 19 after a long battle with cancer. A celebration of life was held Jan. 28 at Bollman Funeral Home. Burial was at Enterprise Cemetery.

She was born Oct. 30, 1939, in Winnemucca, Nev., to Dorsey James and Priscilla Mary (Lucas) Robirts. They moved around a lot, but Penny was primarily raised in Drewsey with siblings, Mary Frances and Ernest James. Their father worked as a bronc buster in Drewsey.

On June 21, 1956, Penny married Edwin T. Perry. Together, they had three children, Theodore E., Dorseia I. and Earl W. They lived in the Vale area and later moved to Wallowa where they raised the three children. Edwin died March 4, 1980. 

After Edwin’s death, Penny went to work as a CNA at Wallowa Memorial Hospital. While working at the hospital, she met Bunk Sasser. Both being widowed, they found they had a lot in common and started spending some time together. Bunk and Penny married Dec. 26, 1981, and for the next 30 years, those who knew
the couple say they were inseperable.

Together, they went to barber school and then came home to open the E&B Valley Barbers in Enterprise.

Those who knew Penny say she was known for her hugs and love of children. She enjoyed weekend drives with Bunk, crocheting, writing poetry, “pretty hankies” and spending time with her family and friends.

Those who knew Penny says she loved God and enjoyed reading the Bible. She gave little Bibles to people.

Penny is survived by her husband of 30 years, Bunk Sasser of Enterprise; sister, Francie Barclay of Lebanon; brother, Jim and Harriett Robirts of Jacksonville, Fla.; children, Jimmy Hill of Kennewick, Wash., Ted and Toya Perry of Richland, Wash., Dorseia Perry of Enterprise, Earl and Dana Perry of Canby and Pam and Don Kiser of Joseph; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Josephine Anderson; and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; first husband, Edwin Perry; son, Tim Sasser; and granddaughter, Jaime Homan.



Neva J. Walker




Neva Jane Walker, 76, of Elgin, died Feb. 3. At Neva’s request, there will be no services. She will be buried at Pleasant Grove Cemetery in Poordo, Ill. A guestbook is available online at

Neva was born June 26, 1935, in Pittsburg, Ill., to Terelius and Allie (Rice) Mocaby. She was one of 18 children. Six survived.

On June 25, 1955, she married Clifford George “Ted” Field in Chicago. He preceded her in death on Feb. 2, 1982. 

On Oct. 17, 1984, Neva married Ronald Walker in La Grande.

Neva worked as a caregiver to others and enjoyed her home and yard. She was a member of the Christian Life Center in Elgin. Her family says she’ll be remembered for her love of Jesus, her Godly wisdom, faithfulness, generosity and sense of humor. 

Lisa Gibson was Neva’s caregiver.

She is survived by her husband, Ronald; her children, Vicky and Tom Raymond of West Frankfort, Ill., Paul and Kathy Field of Roseburg, Marlene and Louis Ligon of Benton, Ill., Rebecca and Keith Stubblefield of St. Johns, Fla., Barbara and Brett Dunston of West Frankfort, Ill.; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. She is also survived by step-children, Rhonda and Jerry Roe of Pilot Rock, Keith and Holly Walker of La Grande and Brian Walker of La Grande; and five step-grandchildren; and seven step-great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her first husband, Ted; and her granddaughter, Chastity Field, in August 1999.



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