Obituaries for the day of March 20, 2012

By Observer Upload March 20, 2012 01:48 pm
Burford, Desparois, Bradley, Rigney, Rohweder, Ross



Geneva ‘Jean’ Burford



A celebration of life get-together for Geneva Marie “Jean” Burford, who died March 11, will run from 3 to
6 p.m. Saturday at the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show clubhouse, 760 E. Delta in Union. Snacks will be provided.

Sign the online guestbook at 

Jean was 73 and lived in Union.

Memorial contributions may be made to College Place Presbyterian-Wasser House, 325 NE Damson, College Place, Wash., 99324. 


Michael R. Desparois



Michael R. Desparois, 69, of Cove, died March 19 at Grande Ronde Hospital. A full obituary will be available later. Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.


Donald L. Bradley

La Grande



Donald LaVerle Bradley, 80, died March 15 at his home in La Grande. A service will begin at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Daniels-Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center, 1502 Seventh St. Burial will follow at the Island City Cemetery.

Viewing will be held today from 4 until 6 p.m. at Daniels-Knopp.

Donald was born Aug. 24, 1931, the son of Asa Francis and Anna Pearl (Hansen) Bradley in Phillpsburg, Kan. He started grade school in Nampa, Idaho, and graduated from
La Grande High School with the Class of 1949.

During his youth, he worked at the Liberty Theatre and made ice cream for the original Hought’s 24 Flavors. 

He served with the United States Army during the Korean War. On Aug. 15, 1954, he married Audrey McNair in Baker.

After his honorable discharge, he worked in a hardware store in Burns. He returned to La Grande and worked for Western Auto, Hallmark Furniture and Globe Furniture before opening his own business, The Carpet Bag, which he owned and operated until his death. 

His Number 1 love was his family. He loved fishing and enjoyed snowmobiling, boating and playing in a pinochle group.

Survivors include his daughter, Cammie Whitmore of La Grande; two grandsons; three great-grandchildren; siblings, Arthur and Barbara Bradley of Otter Rock, Lois Moore of La Grande and Dorothy Evans of La Grande; close friend, Donna Dalton; and other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, one brother and two sisters.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Grande Ronde Hospital hospice in care of Daniels-Knopp.



Thomas F. Rigney

Formerly of La Grande


Thomas Francis Rigney, 61, of Amherst, N.H. and formerly of La Grande, died March 16 at home from liver disease. No service or visitation is planned in accordance with his wishes. Smith & Heald Funeral Home in Milford, N.H., is in charge of the arrangements. Leave a message at

Tom was born Aug. 10, 1950, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Frank and Rita Auth Rigney. He married Jeannine M. Weber on Jan. 29, 1972, in Hamilton, Ohio. He and Jeannine have lived in Amherst for the past 15 years.

He was a graduate of Elder High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. During his Army service he was stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska, from 1972-1974. He began college at the age of 25 when he attended the University of Cincinnati. He and Jeannine later moved to La Grande to continue his education at Eastern Oregon State College. He received a bachelor of science degree in physics at EOSC in Corvallis in 1979. He was awarded a Microelectronics Graduate Fellowship in 1982 and continued his education at University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he completed a master’s degree in engineering in 1984.

Tom was employed as an engineer at McDonnell Douglas Corporation in St. Louis, Mo., for 10 years from 1984-1994, working finally as a lead engineer in Electro-Optic Design. In 1996, he was hired by Sanders (now BAE) where he worked in many different areas including as a principle systems engineer in avionics and as a manager in engineering sensor systems until retiring in 2009.

Tom enjoyed hiking, fishing, traveling, museums, going to zoos, construction projects around his home and racing his 2003 Cobra Mustang at the New England Dragway in Epping, N.H.

He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Jeannine; brothers, Steve Rigney and his wife, Janet Enderle Rigney, and Kenneth Rigney and wife, Judy Nordmeyer Rigney, all of Cincinnati; his sister, Susan Rigney Oliverio and husband, Jim Oliverio, of Cincinnati; and his mother’s brother, Bob Auth, of Cincinnati. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews; and two great nieces. He was preceded in death by his sister, Karen Rigney Carson.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions be made to any charity.


Alice Rohweder

Formerly of La Grande



Alice Price Richmond Rohweder, 70, died March 8 in her home overlooking Bellingham Bay. Friends are invited to help plant a garden in her memory at Highland Care Center, 2400 Samish Way in Bellingham, beginning at 11 a.m. May 12. Bring gloves and hand tools. A picnic lunch will be provided.

She was born Sept. 6, 1941.

She called herself a collector of pebbles and stones. She said they reminded her of the places she had been and often the person who was with her. 

Those who knew her say she was curious, independent and loving — “a woman of faith who marveled at the mysterious and wonderful/fearsome
world that God had placed her in.”

She loved books, music and nature. She enjoyed gardening. Alice was a 20-year breast cancer survivor.

She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Ron, in La Grande in 1984. She is survived by her sons, Troy and Paul; daughter-in-law, Einav; one grandson; two granddaughters; and her brother-in-law, Lewis Rohweder of Lake Oswego. 

Memorial contributions may be made to Whatcom Hospice in Alice’s name or to any charity. 



Homer L. Ross

La Grande



Homer Lavern Ross, 88, of La Grande, died March 15 at his home. A graveside service will begin at 2 p.m. Friday at the Grandview Cemetery Veterans Circle. 

Homer was born Feb. 13, 1924, to Francis M. and Margaret (Spencer) Ross in Othello, Wash. The family moved to Oregon when he was 5 years of age. They lived in Gibbon and he graduated from Westin High School. 

After graduation, he enlisted with the United States Army and served for 20 years. 

He was married to Muriel Helene Cline on Aug. 3, 1943, in Corvallis. She preceded him in death on May 13, 1986. 

After his honorable discharge, he worked at the Post Exchange at Fort Lewis and later at Camp Adair, between Albany and Corvallis, until that post closed. He then was a department manager for Payless Drug Store in Corvallis until his retirement. 

On Nov. 4, 1993, he married Phyllis Sjogren in Winnemucca and they made their home in La Grande. He enjoyed camping and fishing and was a member of several bowling leagues throughout his military career.

Survivors include his wife, Phyllis Ross of La Grande; children, Virginia “Ginny” Ross of Lebanon, Karen Dunning of Albany and Edwin Ross of Hillsboro; step-daughter, Shannon Posey of La Grande; brother, Merle Ross of Ukiah; three grandchildren; and one great-grandson with another on the way.

Memorial contributions may be made to the GRH Hospice in care of Daniels-Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center, 1502 Seventh St. in La Grande.



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. Both Daniels-Knopp and Loveland Funeral Chapel post unedited obituaries on their websites.