Obituaries for the day of June 1, 2012

By Observer Upload June 01, 2012 12:57 pm
Tarvin, Babb, Tarter




June 2 — Betty Beith, memorial service, 2 p.m., First Christian Church

June 5 — Donald Townsend, funeral service, 2 p.m., Elgin Christian Church

June 10 — Jay Trumbo, memorial and barbecue, 3 p.m., Riverside Park pavilion

June 16 — Jimmy Stone, memorial service, 1 p.m., First Baptist Church, La Grande

June 30 — Rod and Jeanne Gilstrap, celebration of life ceremony, 1 to 4 p.m.; family presentation, 2 p.m., 69789 Antles Lane, Cove



Francis Tarvin

La Grande


Francis Tarvin, 92, of La Grande, died June 1. Daniels-Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center is in charge of the arrangements.



Franklyn P. Babb

La Grande



Franklyn Peterson Babb, 85, of La Grande, died May 16 at his home. Services are not planned at this time. Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.

Frank was born May 7, 1927, in St. Clair, Mo., to Franklyn Briggs Babb and Velma Peterson Babb. He married Mary Louise Nappier and was employed as a certified life underwriter with Prudential Life Insurance until his retirement. 

Frank served his country in the United States Navy during World War II. He was stationed in the Philippines, and afterward received an honorable discharge. 

Frank enjoyed fishing and boating.

Surviving are his wife, Mary; and his children, Christopher (Linda) Babb of San Diego, Pamela Everett of Cambridge, England, Frances Stahnke of Kernersville, N.C., and Matthew Babb of La Grande; two brothers, Robert (Diane) Babb of Lubbock, Texas, and David (Rosemary) Babb of Denver, Colo.; 10 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren. Frank was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Velma.

Online condolences to the family of Frank Babb may be given at


Walter R. Tarter




Walter Robert Tarter, 91, of Union, died May 25 at his home. A memorial service was held at Loveland Funeral Chapel May 27, and burial was at Union Cemetery May 29.

He was born in Weiser, Idaho, May 24, 1921, the ninth child to Alexander Davis Tarter and Ethel Rodelia Hill Tarter. He moved to Union at 7 years old. He worked as a farmhand and horse handler for Conley Brothers of Cove and attended Union schools until he was 18. He was a jockey, riding at a few small racetracks in the Northwest. He worked briefly at the shipyards in Vancouver, Wash., as a welder.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1944 and was honorably discharged on a hardship in 1945 to care for his two daughters when his wife became ill. After his discharge, he worked on a chicken farm in Hockinson, Wash., and as a bellhop at The Redwoods Hotel in Grants Pass. He was a jockey at various racetracks in Canada.

He moved back to Union and started working for the Union Pacific Railroad as a fireman and later as an engineer. He finished his railroad career as an engineer for Amtrak, retiring in 1986.

Walter married Juanita Aliene Hough in 1940 and they had four children. Juanita died in 1953. Walter then married Gracie Mae Dunn in 1954 and they had three daughters.

Walter and Gracie purchased their first racehorse in 1956. Walter was a thoroughbred horse breeder, owner and trainer who ran horses at Portland Meadows, Yakima Meadows, Les Bois Park, Longacres, as well as Eastern Washington and Oregon fair circuits. He finished his horse-racing career at Playfair Race Course in Spokane, Wash.

He was a member and past president of the Union Range Riders Riding Club; and a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, the Fraternal Order of Eagles and National Horsemen’s Benevolence & Protective Association. 

He and Gracie were grand marshals of the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show in 2004. He was hired for the movies “Thunderhead, Son of Flicka,” “Rogue River” and “Pillars of the Sky.” In each of these films, he could be seen in full screen shots, which always thrilled his kids.

Walter was a sports fan and loved to watch Seattle Seahawks, Portland Trailblazers and Seattle Mariners games.

He is survived by his wife, Gracie; and six children, Brenda Cantrell (Dan Hoogen) of Tacoma, Wash., Rita Bangs of Union; Bob Tarter (Ho’onani) of Honolulu, Hawaii; Jacqui Tarter of Spokane, Wash., Kathy Miller of La Grande and Cindy Tarter of Spokane; 14 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and a great-grandson on the way. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Jessie Tarter of Hermiston; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father, Alexander Tarter; his mother, Ethel Hord; an infant son, William Lee Tarter in 1948; his first wife, Juanita Tarter in 1953; eight brothers, Dreyfus, Alfred, Floyd (an infant who died in 1909), Lyle, Bill, Vic, Donnie and Marvin; three sisters, Louticia Simonis, Florence (an infant who died in 1909) and Edna Snively.

Memorial contributions in Walter’s memory may be made to the Union Food Bank in care of Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., La Grande, OR 97850. Online condolences to the family of Walter Tarter may be made 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.