Obituaries for November 7, 2012

By Observer Upload November 07, 2012 02:24 pm
Andrews, Butler, Gerlach, Lathrop, Holloway, Kopetski, Sorweide


Local funerals and visitations

Nov. 10 — Fern Davis, memorial service, 11 a.m., Elgin Methodist Church

Nov. 10 — William Aschenbrenner, memorial dinner, 1 p.m., VFW Hall, Enterprise

Nov. 10 — Charles R. Butler, funeral service, 1 p.m., La Grande First Baptist Church

Nov. 10 — Robert K. Sorweide, memorial service, 1 p.m., Joseph Baptist Church

Nov. 11 — Crystal A. Strobl, celebration of life, noon, Terminal Gravity Brewing, Enterprise

Nov. 12 — Harlin Gerlach, graveside service, 1 p.m., Island City Cemetery

Nov. 16 — Elvamae Lewis, celebration of life, 11 a.m., Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center

Nov. 17 — Duke Lathrop, funeral service, 11 a.m., Lostine Presbyterian Church 





Zela J. Andrews



Zela J. Andrews, 80, of Union, died Nov. 5 at Grande Ronde Hospital. A complete obituary will be available at a later date. 

Arrangements are under the direction of Loveland Funeral Chapel & Crematory.





Charles R. ‘Bob’ Butler

La Grande


Charles Robert “Bob” Butler, 85, of La Grande, died Nov. 6 at Grande Ronde Hospital. Services will begin at 1 p.m. Nov. 10 at the First Baptist Church in
La Grande. 

A complete obituary will be available at a later date. Arrangements are under the direction of Loveland Funeral Chapel & Crematory.





Harlin Gerlach

Island City


Harlin Gerlach, 84, of Island City, died Nov. 5. A graveside service will be held Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. at the Island City Cemetery.

A complete obituary will be published at a later date. Arrangements are under the direction of Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center.





Duke Lathrop



Duke Lathrop, 87, of Lostine, died Nov. 2. Services will begin at 11 a.m. Nov. 17 at the Presbyterian Church in Lostine. A complete obituary will be available at a later date.




William G. Holloway

La Grande



William George Holloway, 80, of La Grande, died Oct. 31 at his residence. At the family’s request, there will be no services. Arrangements are under the direction of Loveland Funeral Chapel & Crematory.

Known as Bill, he was born May 5, 1932, in Oregon City to George and Katira “Peggy” Holloway. Bill lived in La Grande, Bend, Baker City, Hermiston and Irrigon. He was married three times, to Essie Ella Dunn, Lillian Tutt and Marie Holloway.

Bill was a truck driver. He enjoyed football. He served his country in the Korean War and received an honorable discharge.

Survivors include his children and their spouses, Lonny Holloway of Ashland, Rachelle and Todd Metcalfe of Lathrop, Calif., and Valorie McFann of Tracy, Calif.; sister, Ellen Flannigan of Washington; and four grandchildren.

Online condolences to the family may be made at 


John P. Kopetski




John Patrick Kopetski, 59, of Pendleton, died Nov. 1 at his home. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Vert Auditorium, Pendleton, and will be followed by a reception in the Vert Club Room. Arrangements are under the direction of Burns Mortuary of Pendleton.

John was born July 11, 1953, in Pendleton. He attended St. Joseph’s Academy and graduated from Pendleton High School in 1971. He worked many jobs as a youth. He worked as a gas jockey at a gas station, at the Tapadera as a bus boy and at the U.S. Forest Service as a watch tower guard. 

John attended Blue Mountain Community College and Whitman College. On June 30, 1984, he married Lisa Daboling in the St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Pendleton. They shared 28 years together. He worked for Union Pacific Railroad, Prudential and Trusttime and finally settled into a career as a financial consultant for Smith Barney. His office became D.A. Davidson, and John was named vice president. In October of this year, he achieved his CWS Capstone certification through D.A. Davidson, making him a very proud certified wealth strategist.

John was a proud sponsor of the Chief Joseph Days Rodeo in Joseph, and was in charge of the queen and court run-ins. His love for Oregon drove him to volunteer in many programs statewide. He was a dedicated volunteer of the Lions Club, Knights of Pythias and the Pendleton Animal Welfare Shelter (PAWS) and served three terms on the Blue Mountain Community College Board of Directors.

An avid outdoorsman, John was appointed by Gov. Kulongoski to the Bottle Bill Task Force, for which he served as chair for nearly two years. He then served four years as a member and chairperson of the Oregon Government Standards and Practices Commission. He was most recently appointed a member of the Oregon Medical Board in Portland and was a member of the Investigative Affairs Committee and the Administrative Affairs Committee.

John enjoyed horseback riding, hunting, fishing, camping and hiking with his wife and children. He also enjoyed photography, reading and spending time with his family. 

He was preceded in death by his father, Joseph V. Kopetski.

Survivors include his wife Lisa Kopetski; mother, Margaret “Marie” Kopetski; children and their spouses, Lincoln and Leanne Kopetski of Puyallup, Wash., Lisette Kopetski of Moscow, Idaho, and Seren Kopetski of Pendleton; siblings and their spouses, Yvonne Stredwick of Pasco, Wash., Jane and Ron Flink of Cascade, Mont., Mike and Frances Kopetski of Washington D.C. and Dorothy and Randy Svetich of Pendleton; and two grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Memorial donations may be made to the Pendleton Animal Welfare Shelter (PAWS) at the shelter or in care of Burns Mortuary.

Online condolences to the family may be made at


Robert K. Sorweide

Formerly of Joseph



Robert Kenneth Sorweide, 88, formerly of Joseph, died Nov. 1 in La Grande. Services will begin at 1 p.m. Nov. 10 at the Joseph Baptist Church. As per his wishes, he was cremated and ashes will be distributed at a later date.

Known as Bob, he was born in Potlatch, Idaho, on March 21, 1924, to John and Ethel Sorweide. He joined brothers Harold, John, and Art and sisters Mabel, Claire and Lois, all of whom preceded him in death. Bob attended elementary school in Potlatch, Idaho, and high school in Sprague, Wash.

While in the service, Bob studied engineering. He served his country in World War II and was instrumental in the building of the Manilla Airport located in the Philippines. 

Once out of the service, Bob returned to a ranch in Cheney, Wash., where he helped raise registered cattle, wheat, hay and turkeys and built roads for neighbors. Here he met his future wife, Wanda Denney. They were married Feb. 18, 1944, and had five children.

Bob ranched on Prairie Creek for five years. He then became a caterpillar operator for William Dougherty, where he worked for 27 years. Other achievements include receiving a letter of commendation from the USFS recognizing his abilities with the caterpillar, fighting fire and no-trace logging practices.

Bob built a family home in Joseph, where he enjoyed gardening, hunting, fishing and attending church. His later years were lost to dementia, and he spent his last two years at Vista House in La Grande.

Survivors include his wife of 68 years, Wanda; children, Sharon Lee, Kenneth Luane, Patricia Kaye, Terri Rae and Renae Ann; and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.