Obituaries for the day of June 27, 2012

By Observer staff June 27, 2012 02:49 pm

Elmer “Eddie” K. Edvalson, Minnie Bell Alexander, Garry A. Looslie, Kirby Ferris 

Elmer “Eddie” K. Edvalson

Formerly of Union



Elmer “Eddie” K. Edvalson, 87 of Milton-Freewater died June 23 at the Park Manor Rehabilitation Center in Walla Walla. 

Funeral services will be held Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Church of  Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Milton-Freewater.  Burial with Military Honors to follow in the Union Cemetery in Union at 2:30 p.m.  Contributions can be made to the Wounded Warriors through the Munselle-Rhodes Funeral Home, 902 S. Main St, Milton-Freewater OR 97862

Eddie was born on a homestead in High Valley near Union on March 26, 1925.  He was the son of Theodore “Eric” and Alena Freida Kohler Edvalson. He spent his growing up years learning the skills of farming, breaking horses, hunting and fishing.  He graduated from Union High School in 1943 and immediately joined the United States Army to fight for his country during World War II.  He was assigned to C company with the 84th Division’s 335th Infantry Regiment, known as the Abraham Lincoln Rail Splitters. Eddie served in the European Theater as a staff sargent and his motto was “Freedom is never free.”

Elmer returned home in 1946 and married Glenda Lorraine Curl on Jan. 2, 1948. The couple raised six children and just recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. In 1969 Elmer and his family moved to Milton-Freewater where he has resided ever since. He spent most of his years as a salesperson and truly loved his family and community, spending much of his time reaching out and helping those he loved.

He would go in the early hours to help a friend with a heart condition irrigate his crops. Glenda and Elmer canned 100s of jars of food for those in need. If you were someone in need, Elmer would find you. In his retirement years, Elmer would go to the schools to share his World War II experience. He has been to schools in Walla Walla, Beaverton, Spokane and Milton-Freewater. He was proud that he could still fit into his uniform. After suffering a stroke in 2008, Elmer was kindly cared for at Park Manor Nursing Home until his passing. 

Survivors include his wife, Glenda at home; daughters, Lorraine and Brent Maughan of Spokane, Sherri and Kent Walton of Tigard, Kelly Campbell-O’Dell and Randy of Milton-Freewater; 21 grandchildren and 34 great-grandchildren.

His parents, sons, Tommy and Allen Edvalson, daughter Janell Taylor; granddaughter Natalee Walton and brothers, Donald, Lloyd and Gene Edvalson all preceded him in death. 

Minnie Bell Alexander

Formerly of Union



Minnie Bell Alexander died June 21 in Missoula, Mont.

Minnie was born July 15, 1942, in LaGrande to Edgar and Dora Barton. She grew up in Union and attended Eastern Oregon College, where she met her future husband thanks to alphabetical seating in biology class.

Minnie Barton married Elwyn “Alex” Alexander on June 9, 1963.

After earning her bachelor’s degree and teaching credentials from the Eastern Oregon College of Education, Minnie taught grade school in Elgin, and later was a popular substitute teacher for several school districts in Portland, family members said.

Always artistic, Minnie’s favorite canvas was cake and she had a gift for painting and sculpting with icing and sugar that turned a hobby into a successful home business for more than three decades, hundreds of celebrations in Oregon and Montana were made more memorable by “Minnie Cakes”.

In 1979, the Alexander family moved to Missoula where Alex and Minnie bought the Christian Book Center that they managed for 25 years.

Minnie is survived by her husband, three sons, two sisters, and eight grandchildren. A memorial service was held  Tuesday at Frenchtown Community Church. 

In lieu of flowers honorariums can be made in the name of ‘Minnie Belle Alexander’ to Camp Utmost care of Rocky Mountain Bible Mission: 1515 Fairview Ave. No. 200 Missoula, MT 59801.

Garry A. Looslie

Formerly of North Powder



Garry A. Looslie, a longtime resident of Pendleton, died June 23 at his home. He was 79 years old. He was born in North Powder, Oregon, on Oct. 2, 1932, to George A. Looslie and Alice L (Miller) Looslie.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at Burns Mortuary Chapel in Pendleton, with a reception to follow at the Pendleton VFW Hall. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to St. Anthony Hospice and may be sent directly or in care of Burns Mortuary of Pendleton, PO Box 489, Pendleton, OR, 97801. Sign the online guestbook at Burns Mortuary of Pendleton is in charge of arrangements.

Garry attended school and grew up in North Powder. He married Lela M. Powell June 22, 1952, in Baker City, and joined the U.S. Army in May of 1953. Following an honorable discharge from the Army in May of 1955, the couple lived in La Grande. They moved to Pendleton in 1964, where they made their home.

Garry worked in the meat packing business most of his life, retiring from Hill Meat Co. in 1995 after more than 30 years. Garry enjoyed traveling. He loved the outdoors, camping, hunting, and fishing, and spending time with his family and friends.

Garry is survived by his wife Lela of Pendleton, their two daughters Debbie and husband Tom Schmidt of Warrenton, and Lynda and husband Steve Garner of Pendleton, three granddaughters; one great-granddaughter; one brother Dan and wife Phyllis of Elgin; one sister Georgia Wright of La Pine, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father George and mother Alice, brothers: Marvin, Grisson and Wilna, and sisters: Ruth Conaway, Esther DeVore, Leona Younce and Bonnie Rumley. 

Kirby Ferris




Kirby Ferris, 62, died on June 13 in Cove. Kirby was born on June 18, 1949, in Ross, California to Melton and Mary Jane (Kirby) Ferris.  

Kirby grew up in the San Francisco, Bay Area in Northern California,  graduating from high school and receiving his associate of arts degree from Community College  of Santa Barbara.  

Kirby owned a Surf Shop in Stinson Beach, Calif. His large presence there  resulted in people referring to him as the Mayor of Stinson Beach. Upon  his passing the flag was flown at half mast in Stinson Beach by the fire department 

In the surf world he is known for a No Sharks Allowed Sticker.

His last position was as the public affairs director of JPFO, a Pro Second  Amendment Organization. Defending the second was a passion of his. He  was a writer.

Kirby will be remembered as a deeply spiritual, eccentric, highly intelligent,  humorous, inspirational, one-of-a-kind man. Among his friends he was known  as a storyteller and the mad scientist.

Six years ago Kirby and Katherine moved to Cove.

He was preceded in death by his parents. Kirby is survived by longtime companion, Katherine Treffinger; brother Rudi Ferris, and sister Roxana Ferris.

Donations may be made in his name to the Grande Ronde Hospital Home Health and Hospice.

Dianna Carole Smutz

La Grande



Dianna Carole Smutz, 62, of La Grande, died at St. Luke’s Hospital in Boise, Idaho on June 22. Funeral services will be Friday at 2 p.m. at the First Christian Church in La Grande. A viewing for family and friends is Thursday evening from 5 to 7 p.m. at Loveland Funeral Chapel. There will be a memorial dinner at the fellowship hall following the funeral service on Friday. Dessert and salad contributions would be greatly appreciated.

 Carole was born on May 11, 1950, in McAndrews, Ky., to her parents James Catron and Florence Irene (Honeycutt) Catron. She grew up in Norwood, Ohio where she graduated from high school. She married Irwin Smutz in 1969 and they have been married 43 years.

 Carole has lived in many places during her lifetime, including Abington, Va., Creswell, Turner, as well as La Grande. She has been employed with the Union Baker ESD as well as La Grande Middle School and La Grande High School.

 Carole was active in the Oregon Trail Christian Fellowship. However, she is best known as an outstanding wife, outstanding teacher, and rescuer and encourager of hundreds of children and adults.

 She is survived by her husband, Irwin and son Nathan I. Smutz of La Grande; sister Deborah Faye Poore of La Grande; and two aunts, Barbara Bostic of Cincinnati, Ohio and Phyllis Holt of Bristol, Tenn.

Carole was preceded in death by her parents, James and Irene; Evelyn Bostic, Virginia Brown, Tilman Honeycutt and Mary Wells.

Memorial donations in honor of Carole may be made to the Carole Smutz Memorial GED Assistance Fund, in care of Oregon Trail Christian Fellowship, PO Box 1253, La Grande OR 97850. Online condolences to the family may be made at

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