Obituaries for October 5, 2012

By Observer Upload October 05, 2012 01:27 pm
Smith, Harklerode, Lucius


Ernest E. Smith

La Grande



Ernest Emil Smith, 94, of La Grande and formerly of Baker City, died Sept. 30 at Wildflower Lodge in La Grande. A funeral service is planned for 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 6 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Baker City. Arrangements are under the care of Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel of Baker City.

Know as Ernie, he was born in Emmett, Idaho, Feb. 13, 1918, the seventh of nine children of Martin and Nancy (Webb) Smith. His father managed a boxing gym in their home basement and Ernie considered a career as a boxer. He was underage and his mother refused, for which he was later very grateful.

After graduating from high school, he followed his older brothers to Medical Springs, where he found employment on a cattle ranch. His employer proved to be his future father-in-law, Robert Wanker. Ernie married Hazel Ann Wanker in Emmett, Idaho, in 1940.

During World War II, because of a health issue and a farm deferment, Ernie worked on the farm by day and served his country at night building ammunition boxes at the Pondosa Mill. In 1944 he managed one of his father-in-law’s ranches and eventually bought the 6,000-acre parcel. The ranch became a destination for friends and family and many great times were had there. Ernie and Hazel’s first son, Gary, was born in 1942, followed by Dallas three years later and Larry three years after that.

Ernie was a very successful rancher, cowboy and farmer who loved his family and his job. Some said he looked like he was part of his horse by the way he rode and carried himself. He was always in good health and good spirits. He was trust-worthy and expected the same from his fellow man. Hazel was in poor health much of her life and he stood by her side and cared for her through tough times. Even in their older age they would sit together holding hands.

In 1972 the boys had moved on to other vocations rather than ranching so Ernie and Hazel sold the ranch and bought a two-unit apartment in Baker City, where they lived and rented out the other apartment. They later purchased 20 acres just north of Baker that had an existing house, which he rebuilt into their dream home. This was the home most of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren knew best and have the fondest of memories of. 

Ernie and Hazel lived there peacefully until Hazel had to be moved to a private care home. After her death, Ernie sold the large family home and moved to La Grande to be closer to family. His health deteriorated to the point he had to be cared for in an assisted living center. He was the last surviving member of his immediate family.

Survivors include his sons and their wives, Gary and Judy Smith and Dallas and Peggy Smith, all of Utah, and Larry and Deby Smith of La Grande; 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, with two more great-grandchildren due very soon.

Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of choice in care of Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City 97814.


Thelma J. Harklerode




Thelma Janette Harklerode, 85, of Cove, died at her residence Oct. 3. No services are planned at this time. Arrangements are under the direction of Loveland Funeral Chapel & Crematory.

Thelma was born March 27, 1927, on the Cherokee nation reservation in Oklahoma. On April 7, 1947, she married Lee E. Harklerode in Eugene. She worked as a secretary-bookkeeper and dental assistant in San Luis Obispo, Calif. She loved to read and crochet.

She was preceded in death by her husband and a daughter, Marita Stolp.

Survivors include her children and their spouses, Evan and Karen Harklerode of San Luis Obispo, Calif., Carolyn and Roger Hinckley of Cove, Yvone and Douglas Franklin of Grass Valley, Calif., and Mark and Lexie Harklerode of Salem; and 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Online condolences to the family may be made at


Joseph W. Lucius

La Grande



Joseph Walter Lucius, 51, died Sept. 24 at his home in La Grande after a battle with colon cancer. A celebration of life is planned for 11 a.m. Oct. 20 at the La Grande First Christian Church. Following the service, lunch will be served in the church’s fellowship hall. Arrangements are under the care of Loveland Funeral Chapel & Crematory.

Joe was born April 27, 1961, to Thomas Terry and Darline Junell Potter Lucius in Norwalk, Calif. He graduated from Bell Gardens High School in 1979. Joe served four years in the U.S. Navy, traveling to Hawaii, Australia, Japan and the Philippines.

Joe’s career as a machinist began in California. In 1988, Joe married his first wife, Jennifer Goodman. They moved to North Powder, and he worked as a machinist at Eagle Carriage and Machine in La Grande. Joe and Jennifer had one son, Taylor Henry Lucius. They later divorced. Joe married Carla Horn in 1992. They were also divorced.

On Oct. 18, 1997, Joe married Judy Spears in Elgin, and they made their home in La Grande. Joe and Judy have two sons: Joey, age 14, and Joshua, age 12. In 2008, Joe began working for Boise Cascade Particle Board Plant as a machinist. He enjoyed his job and coworkers at the particle board plant but had to quit in November 2011 due to being diagnosed with and undergoing treatments for colon cancer.

Joe loved his family very much and was extremely proud of his three boys, Taylor, Joey and Josh. He enjoyed going to the boys’ band concerts, soccer, football and basketball games, track meets and various other school functions.

In previous years, Joe was active as a volunteer fireman of the City of La Grande Fire Department. He bowled on Pepsi Cola’s team and inspired his sons’ love of bowling. He enjoyed camping, fishing and hiking. Joe was a member of the First Christian Church, where he sang in the choir and was on the diaconate team.

Joe, Judy and the boys loved to go to the beach. They had a favorite yurt they stayed in at Brookings. A short time before Joe’s death, the Lucius family adopted two dogs, Sarge and Siku, who gave him much happiness. Joe and Judy enjoyed doing community, church and school activities together and loved being with family and friends as much as possible. They hoped to renew their wedding vows on Oct. 18.

He was preceded in death by his parents; aunt and uncle, Josephine and Cecil Brown; mother-in-law, Bette Spears; father-in-law, Claude Spears; and nephew, Christopher Helton.

Survivors include his wife, Judy; children, Taylor Lucius of Boise, Idaho, and Joey and Joshua Lucius of La Grande; siblings and their spouses, Tim Lucius of Colorado and Teri and Danny Stevens of California; many nieces and nephews; and numerous great-nephews and great-nieces.

Memorial contributions may be made to the La Grande High School Band Boosters in care of Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 4th St., La Grande 97850.

Online condolences to the family may be made at, where a recording of Joe’s celebration of life will be available to view after the October 20 service.


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