Obituaries for July 11, 2012

By Kari Borgen July 11, 2012 01:52 pm

Elsa Albrecht

La Grande



Elsa Albrecht, 93, died on July 6 at Grande Ronde Retirement Residence in La Grande.  She was born on Nov. 1, 1918, to Jakob Heihn and Wilhelmina (Tarnaske) Heihn in Friedland, Oberschlesien-Germany.  Her childhood was spent in Bessarabia, part of the Russian Empire, that later became a Bessarabian Governorate. 

As a young woman she moved to Mediasch, Siebenbuergen, Romania, where she met and married her husband, Michael Albrecht, Sr.  Their eldest son, Michael Jr., was born in Mediasch.

In 1941, they were transported to Germany as refuges and resettled via several war-relocation camps. In 1956 they immigrated from Schwetzingen, Germany, to Chatsworth, Ill., with their five children.  Chatsworth was their home until 1972 when she, Michael and daughter Angelika moved to Lodi, Calif. 

Her husband died in 1994 and Elsa left Lodi in 1998 to move to Bend and later to Grande Ronde Retirement Residence in La Grande to live near her daughter Angelika and family.

Elsa enjoyed cooking, pattern design and sewing, crocheting, ceramics and painting by numbers, but most of all bowling and golfing.  As a young girl she could run like the wind and loved riding and working with horses. She excelled in all these activities and loved being active.  

Elsa is survived by her three sons, Michael (Kathleen) Albrecht of Arizona; Otto (Anne) Albrecht of California; Siegfried (Sharon) Albrecht of Illinois; two daughters, Erika (David) Bekermeier of Oregon; Angelika (Larry) Brooks of Oregon; nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Michael; daughter, Elsa; and grandson, Sean.

A service was held at the Donahue Funeral Home in Lodi, Calif., Wednesday, July 11, at 10 a.m. She will be buried next to her husband at 11:30 a.m. at Lodi Memorial Park and Cemetery.

Helen Gover

formerly of Summerville



Helen Marguerite (“Marg”) Gover, 94, died at the Colonial House in Kennewick, Wash., on July 8. She was born Feb. 12, 1918, to W.S. and Lizzy Saunders. She married Ron Gover on Dec. 27, 1932. Together they had five children Helen, Roberta, Ronnie, Duane & Danny. She is preceded in death by her husband Ron, parents Walter (W.S.) and Elizabeth (Lizzy) Saunders, her five sisters Clara, Mat, El, Libby and Ranny, her two brothers, Merritt and Buck, her son Duane, son in law Clayton, two grandsons, Eddy Barnette and Rick E Gover. She is survived by her brother Walter Saunders Jr., four children, Helen (Ed) Barnette, Roberta Mann, Ronnie (Sherryl) Gover, and Danny (Wanda) Gover. She is also survived by 13 grandchildren, 31 great grandchildren, 18 great-great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

 She enjoyed traveling, going to Wyoming, Hawaii, Branson Mo., Mexico, Reno, Nev., and Alaska. 

She enjoyed country western music, fishing and family get togethers. Give her some sweet pickles and she was happy, family members said. She helped her husband and sons in the logging business and taking care of her family. 

Viewing will be Thursday from 3 to 5 p.m. at Hillcrest Bruce Lee Memorial, 2804 W. Lewis St., Pasco, Wash. Services will be at the Summerville Baptist Church at 507 Jefferson St., Summerville on Friday at 2 p.m. with reception to follow.  

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Alzheimer Association, 910 W. Fifth Ave. Suite 256 Spokane, Wash. 99204 or to The Lower Valley Hospice Care, 3920 Outlook Road, Sunnyside, Wash. 98944 or at For condolences please visit:

Barbara Westby

Formerly of North Powder



Barbara Westby died June 15 in Portland.

She was born in Metropolis, Nev., March 21, 1929, to Bernice and Delbert McCanse. She was raised near North Powder. Her large, close-knit family (seven sisters and one brother) was a source of joy and strength throughout her life. 

After attending Eastern Oregon College, she taught grade school in Oregon City, Spokane and Seattle. She married Dick Westby in 1952. They had three children. In 1968 the family moved to Lake Oswego. 

Barbara worked for many years at Village Drug, where she made life-long friends. She thoroughly enjoyed her years at the store and often spoke of her fondness for helping others. 

In retirement, Barbara finally had time to spend with — and play with — the grandchildren she’d waited so long for.

Her last years were spent at Oswego Springs Assisted Living Community. Barbara was a kind and loving soul, a wonderful wife, and the best mother and grandmother one could hope for, family members said.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, siblings Mary Alice, Buss, Olive, Judy, and son-in-law Will Guthrie. She is survived by her children; Susan (Portland), Rick (Tigard), Julie (West Hollywood, Calif.), daughter-in-law Denise, and three grandchildren.

The family would like to give special thanks to Oswego Springs, Legacy Meridian Park and Hopewell House.

A memorial gathering near Union will take place on July 28 at 1:30 p.m. for friends and family.

Arrangements are with River View Cemetery and Funeral Home in Portland.


Ethan DeMedina

La Grande



Ethan DeMedina, 20, of La Grande, died Saturday, July 7 in La Grande. For those who would like to pay their respects, please feel free to come by the Grandview Cemetery on Friday, July 13 from 4 to 6 p.m. and meet with the family.

Ethan was born Feb. 19, 1992, in La Grande. His mother is Erica Garner. He grew up in La Grande where he attended Central Elementary and Greenwood Elementary. He also attended one year of grade school in Union. Ethan attended La Grande Middle School and La Grande High School where he graduated with the Class of 2010. He also attended Eastern Oregon University.

Ethan was very active in school activities. He had participated in football from fifth grade through high school and was on the high school track and field team. He lettered in football and track and field, receiving numerous awards and achieving many personal bests. 

He was named as High School Outstanding Senior in Agriculture. Ethan was very active in the FFA program and served as treasurer his sophomore year, adviser his junior year and sentinel his senior year. 

He was awarded the “Built Ford Tough” FFA Scholarship and received an Oregon State FFA Degree. During the summer he enjoyed working at the Union County Fair.

Ethan was employed with RISE for the past two years. His favorite activities were football, clay shooting and hanging out with his best friend Logan Hedden. He enjoyed being with his family, gaming online with his cousin Cory, and going to movies. He liked old cars and being with his friends who will miss him very much.

Ethan is survived by his mother Erica Garner and his sister Kassandra Turner of La Grande; his aunts and uncles, Lillian and Dexter Keeling and Kelly and Charles Thweatt; cousins Cory and Katherin Arnold, Kyllie Wilbanks and Jacob Canfield He was preceded in death by his grandmother, Joyce Garner.

An account has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank to assist with the funeral expenses. Contributions may be made to the account of Erica Garner at any Wells Fargo Bank. Online condolences to the family may be made at

Robert K. Froyd 



Robert K. Froyd, 85, of Elgin, died on Tuesday, July 10, 2012, at the Grande Ronde Hospital.  

A full obituary will be published at a later time.  Loveland Funeral Chapel & Crematory will be handling the arrangements.

Bernard C. Downing 

La Grande


Bernard “Bud” C. Downing, 83, La Grande, died on Wednesday, July 11, 2012, at his home.  

A full obituary will be published at a later time.  Loveland Funeral Chapel & Crematory will be handling the arrangements.

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.