Obituaries for the day of February 21, 2012

By Observer Upload February 21, 2012 12:47 pm


Needham, Flegal, Tyler, Graybeal, Hardy




Feb. 22 — Wanda Withycombe, celebration of life, 2 p.m., Loveland Funeral Chapel; entombment, Grandview Cemetery/Mausoleum, La Grande

Feb. 23 — Stellina Tyler, funeral service, 2 p.m., Loveland Funeral Chapel

Feb. 25 — Jennie Lou Hardy, memorial service, 1 p.m., Elgin Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Feb. 25 — Betty Hocker, funeral service, 1 p.m., Wallowa Christian Church; burial, Wallowa Cemetery

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



Alice A. Needham



Alice A. Needham, 52, of Cove, died Feb. 18 while being life-flighted to Portland. A full obituary will be available later. Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.



Ryan T. Flegal

La Grande



Ryan T. Flegal, 35, of La Grande and formerly of Clearfield, Pa., died Feb. 14 at his home. Funeral services are set for today at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Clearfield, Pa. Rev. Dr. Robert L. Rupp and Pastor Debra Rogosky are the officiants. Burial will be at Crown Crest Memorial Park in Hyde, Pa.

Local arrangements were handled by Daniels-Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center.

He was born Dec. 23, 1976, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. His parents are Richard L. Flegal of Hollidaysburg, Pa., and Deborah L. (Nelson) Michuck of Penfield, Pa.

Ryan was a graduate of the Clearfield Area High School and Pennsylvania State University with an associate degree in forest technology. While in high school, he was on the all-star soccer team at Clearfield Senior High School and the North Star Soccer League.

He was a member of the Trinity United Methodist Church of Clearfield.

In 2003, Ryan moved from Clearfield to Salt Lake City, Utah, where he took a position as a wild fire specialist with the Salt Lake County Hot Shot Crew. He later relocated to McCall, Idaho, where he was with the Idaho Hot Shots and trained as a smoke jumper. He last served as a wild fire specialist and crew boss at the Salmon-Challis National Forest with the United States Forest Service.

Ryan loved the outdoors, hiking, camping, hunting, skiing and snowboarding.

He is survived by his mother and father; step-mother, Christine (Swistock) Flegal; step-father, Rick Michuck; a sister, Jennifer Horner and her husband, Joshua; a nephew and two nieces; maternal grandfather, Rodney Nelson, of Princeton, N.C.; an uncle, Terry Nelson and his wife, Tina, and their two sons; uncle, Doug Knapp and his two sons; and his girlfriend, Britney Gulick of Halfway.

Ryan was preceded in death by his biological father, Scott Knapp; his biological paternal grandmother, Verden Knapp-Smith, formerly of Phillipsburg; paternal grandfather, Marion M. Flegal; paternal grandmother, Beatrice L. Flegal; and maternal grandmother, Phyllis Sawyer.

The family suggests that memorial contributions be made to Ryan’s Memorial Fund. Checks may be made payable to Richard L. Flegal or Deborah Michuck.

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Stellina Tyler

La Grande


A funeral service for Stellina Tyler, who died Feb. 20, will begin at 2 p.m. Thursday at Loveland Funeral Chapel.

Stellina was 91 and lived in La Grande. A full obituary will be published later. Loveland Funeral Chapel and Crematory is in charge the arrangements.



John ‘Paul’ Graybeal

La Grande



John “Paul” Graybeal, 49, of La Grande, died Feb. 10 at his home. A celebration of his life will begin at 2 p.m. today at Daniels-Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center.

Paul was born Sept. 10, 1962, to Jack and Carole (McMahon) Graybeal in Redmond. He graduated from Sandy Union High School in Sandy. He attended A&P Mechanic School in Tulsa, Okla., and finished his education at Portland Community College. 

He spent 20 years in Alaska where he worked as a commercial fisherman and as an aircraft mechanic. He built his own fishing vessel, the “Grey Wolf.” He later moved to Key West, Fla., where he worked for Island City Flying Service. He then moved to Spring Hill, Fla., before moving to La Grande with his parents on Nov. 19, 2011. 

He and his dad were building a log cabin by hand in Trego, Mont. Those who knew him say he had a big heart and was considered a mountain man and a Redman. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and the outdoors. 

He was a wanderer and traveler always looking for a new adventure. He was a chef and loved animals, especially his dog. 

Survivors include his parents, Jack and Carole Graybeal of La Grande; son and his wife, Kirk and Valentina Thompson; a granddaughter; siblings, Michael Graybeal of Portland, Elizabeth Wooten of Wallowa and Julie Cooke of Sandpoint, Idaho; uncle, Raymond McMahon; and other relatives.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude’s Hospital or the Cancer Society in care of Daniels-Knopp, 1502 Seventh St., La Grande, OR 97850.


Jennie Lou Hardy



Jennie Lou Hardy, 79, of Elgin, died Feb. 19 at her home with her family present. Her memorial service will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Elgin Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.

Lou was born Nov. 5, 1932, in La Grande. Her parents were Farrell Garrett Murray and Lorena Ladd (Wood) Murray. She grew up in the Grande Ronde Valley and graduated from Union High School in 1950. 

She married Lawrence “Ross” Hardy on Feb. 13, 1953, and they became the parents of three children. 

In addition to her responsibilities at home, Lou was employed as a secretary at various businesses in the area, including the telephone office, the courthouse and the college. She enjoyed cooking, hunting and fishing. She was an avid “garage saler.” She loved spending time with her family. 

Lou was a former member of the community women’s service club, Pythian Sisters, and Stampeders. She had been serving on the county election board and was secretary of the Elgin Ward Relief Society.

Lou is survived by three children, Lou Ann (Ted) Thamert of Elgin, Duane (Joy) Hardy of Elgin and Susan Hardy of Elgin; sisters-in-law, Barbara Murray and Donna Murray; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Lloyd and Betty Knapp; eight grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Lawrence “Ross” Hardy; her parents, Farrell and Lorena; two brothers, Otis Murray and Verner Murray; and great-granddaughter, Kiah Schmittle.


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