Obituaries for the day of May 2, 2012

By Observer Upload May 02, 2012 01:02 pm
Collins, Knox, McNeill




May 4 — Dan Hale, viewing, 5 to 8 p.m., Loveland Funeral Chapel

May 5 — Dan Hale, funeral services, 10 a.m., Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Island City



Allen E. Collins

Wallowa County



Allen Eugene Collins, 89, died April 7 at Wallowa Valley Care Center with his son, Jim, at his side. He had lived with his son for some time prior to his death. Memorial services were held April 10 with Archie Hook officiating. Bollman Funeral Services was in charge of the arrangements. 

Allen was born Oct. 1, 1922, to Jesse and Mattie Prince Collins on Powwatka Ridge north of Wallowa. Allen grew up on Powwatka with three brothers and a sister, Pud, Bud, Roy and Mary. 

Allen’s mother died when he was a little boy. He and his siblings went to live with their aunt and uncle, Will and Ona Prince Collins. His dad was Will’s brother, and his mother was Ona’s sister. The Prince family lived a very short distance from where the Collins family homesteaded and they knew each other in West Virginia before coming west in 1902 (Prince) and 1905 (Collins).

Survivors include his wife, AvaLe; daughter, Sandy and her husband, Rick Jeffers, of Wallowa; son, Jim Collins, of Wallowa; son-in-law, Ken Shelly of Spokane, Wash.; sister, Mary Cathcart of La Grande; and step-children, Beverly Larson of Washougal, Wash., and Mike Biedler of Halfway.

He is also survived by many nieces and nephews, cousins and his aunt, Eva Dern of Wallowa. He leaves two grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and a soon-to-be born great-great-grandson. 

He was preceded in death by his daughter, Cathy Shelly of Spokane; and his brothers, Pud, Bud and Roy.

Memorial contributions may be made to Wallowa Valley Care Center.



William ‘Bill’ Knox



William Joseph “Bill” Knox, 56, of Joseph, died unexpectedly April 25 in La Grande. A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date. 

Bill was born in Springfield, Ill., one of five children of Rita and Robert Knox. He grew up in Keokuk, Iowa, attending local schools and graduated in 1974. He attended Southeastern Community College before transferring to Iowa State University and in 1978 completed a bachelor of science in fisheries and wildlife resources and a master’s of science degree in fisheries from the University of Idaho in 1982. Bill married his high school sweetheart, Diane Johnson, on Nov. 28, 1980. She was the true love of his life.

Bill lived a busy life: fishing, hunting, cutting firewood or working. He held many jobs beginning as a Des Moines Register newspaper boy in Keokuk; quality assurance lab technician at a local wet-corn milling plant; and working summer conservation jobs with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Bill found his vocation during graduate school as a research assistant studying fish populations on the Little Goose Reservoir on the Snake River in Southeast Washington.

In 1982, he joined Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife working in the Umatilla and John Day basins. Preferring Oregon’s drier side, Bill became the assistant district fish biologist in Enterprise in January 1986. An active member of the American Fisheries Society, he received an Award of Merit from the American Fisheries Society in 1999 for his work in Northeast Oregon on threatened spring Chinook salmon.

Recently, Bill successfully secured grant funding to purchase hydroacoustic sampling equipment for use in developing the first accurate estimates of kokanee populations in Wallowa Lake.

After retiring from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife this February, Bill began a second career as a biological consultant with Anderson-Perry & Associates in La Grande. As a true scientist who often challenged conventional wisdom, Bill was respected for his critical thinking and forthright opinions, his family said.

Bill knew all the best fishing spots. He was known for saying “Let’s go fishing!” When not fishing, he was either hunting, watching the St. Louis Cardinals or hanging out at local music venues. An accomplished musician, guitar player and baritone, Bill was a founding member of the local band Yellah Dog.

He loved spending time with his two Labrador retrievers, Bella and Hank, who died earlier. 

Bill is survived by Diane, his wife of more than 30 years; his mother, Rita Knox of Keokuk; siblings, Robert Knox, Brenda Knox, Laura Knox and Mary Knox; parents-in-law, Lorraine and Richard Johnson of Keokuk; sisters-in-law, Debra (David) Zimmerman and Denise (Kirk) Haack; brother-in-law, David Johnson; and many nieces and nephews. 

He was preceded in death by his father, Robert Knox. 

Memorial donations may be sent to Sterling Bank c/o Diane Knox account No. 1009, 205 W. Main St., Enterprise, OR 97828.



Sidney D. McNeill

Formerly of La Grande



Sidney D. McNeill, 89, died April 20 at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla. A graveside service with military honors will begin at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Blue Mountain Memorial Gardens, 300 S.E. Myra Road, in College Place, Wash.

Sid was born Jan. 13, 1923, in Pendleton to Louis and Arvilla McNeill.

Times were hard in the 1930s, and because Sid’s mother died quite young, he and his three sisters were separated and sent to live with various relatives. He worked to earn his keep at neighboring ranches in Idaho and family farms in Oregon as a youngster. Through it all, he never forgot the importance of family and friends.

After graduation from high school in La Grande in May of 1941, Sid immediately joined the U.S. Marines and served four and a half years. After a short stint on the USS Arizona, he was transferred to the USS Chester in the Pacific. He was 70 miles out to sea from Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He saw action in the Marshall Islands, Coral Sea, the Solomon Islands, Marianna Islands and on Saipan and Tinian, where he was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart. He was honorably discharged in October 1945 as a sergeant.

After the service, Sid went to work for the Pepsi Cola Bottling Co. in La Grande. He later transferred to Walla Walla, where after only three years, he was promoted to manager of the Walla Walla plant. He stayed there until his retirement after 27 years with Pepsi.

He was an avid hunter and fisherman. He enjoyed gardening, camping, being a rock hound and playing pinochle. In his later years, he enjoyed keeping in touch with his relatives and friends. 

He is survived by two daughters, Susan Wood of Grants Pass and Kris (Jimmie) Brown of Walla Walla; a son, John (Rita) McNeill of Dixie; and many cousins, nephews, nieces, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his ex-wife and friend, Doris McNeill; and his three sisters, Geraldine Haydock of
La Grande, Leah Van Pelt of Forest Grove and Jean Calvert of Sioam Springs, Ark.

Memorial contributions may be made to Toys for Tots in care of Mountain View-Colonial Dewitt, 1551 Dalles Military Road, Walla Walla, WA 99362.

Friends may write memories and sign the online guestbook at


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. The sites are and, respectively.