Obituaries for November 12, 2012

By Observer Upload November 12, 2012 01:52 pm
Bultman, Ficken, Gerlach, Lewis, Patten, Snodgrass



Margaret Bultman

La Grande


Margaret Bultman, 91, of La Grande died Sunday at the Wild Flower Lodge. A full obituary will be published at a later time. Loveland Funeral Chapel & Crematory is handling the arrangements.





Donald S. Ficken



Donald S. Ficken, 87, of Elgin, died Sunday at Grande Ronde Hospital. A full obituary will be published at a later time. Loveland Funeral Chapel & Crematory is handling the arrangements.





Harlin Gerlach

Island City



Harlin W. Gerlach, 84, of Island City, died Nov. 5 at Grande Ronde Hospital. A graveside service will begin at 1 p.m. today at the Island City Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center.

Harlin was born July 20, 1928, to Henry and Hilda (Isaac) Gerlach in Madrid, Neb. When he was 12 years old the family moved to La Grande, where he graduated from high school with the Class of 1947. He married Emma LaVelle Hemphill on Nov. 5, 1955, in La Grande.

In 1950 Harlin was drafted into the U.S. Army and served during the Korean War and in Germany. After his honorable discharge he worked as a highway engineer for the Oregon State Department of Transportation until his retirement in 1988, after 40 years with the department. Harlin was a member of the La Grande Elks Lodge #433, the Eagles Lodge #259 and the American Legion.

He was preceded in death by his daughter, Terri Lynn Gerlach; wife, LaVelle in 2008; and brother, Ronald Gerlach.

Survivors include his daughter, Tammy Lee Gerlach of Scappoose; sister, Donna Booth of Ontario; and six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of choice.





Elvamae E. Lewis

La Grande



Elvamae E. (Ontko) Lewis, 99, of La Grande, died Nov. 2 of complications from pneumonia and congestive heart failure at Kadlec Medical Center in Richland, Wash. A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. Nov. 16 at Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center.

Elvamae was born July 17, 1913, to Grover and Agnes Keeton on the homestead near Mitchell. The first child in a family of five siblings, she attended and graduated from Prineville schools. She married Tom Ontko in 1940, and they moved to La Grande in 1950. Tom died in May 1961.

Elvamae worked at J.C. Penney for several years before working at Melville’s gift store, where she met Nylic Lewis. She and Nylic were married in November 1971. He died in January 1984.

Elvamae enjoyed working in her yard, sewing, crocheting and knitting. She liked to paint and was often found cleaning. She sewed quilt tops for Zion Lutheran Church and also liked to fish and go camping.

She was preceded in death by her parents and siblings, Oma Hagerty, Velma (Ammons) Monroe, Wilbur Keeton and Robert Keeton.

Survivors include her daughter and son-in-law, Janet and Weldon Gorham of Benton City, Wash.; stepchildren and their spouses, Brent and Susan Lewis of La Grande, Brian Lewis of Hermiston and Susan Kubler of Portland; sisters-in-law, Nelda Keeton of The Dalles and Mildred Keeton of Madras; four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be to the Zion Lutheran Church in La Grande.




Ethyl M. Patten

La Grande



Ethyl Marie Patten, 88, of La Grande, died Nov. 7 at Grande Ronde Hospital. A funeral will begin at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, at Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center. Committal and interment will follow at the Hillcrest Cemetery.

Ethyl was born March 28, 1924, to Herman and Jesse (Knox) Stein in La Grande. She graduated from La Grande High School with the Class of 1942. On Sept. 26, 1943, she married Charles Patten in La Grande. They moved to Spokane for a period of time before moving to Baker, where Ethyl worked for Leo Adler in his magazine agency before returning to
La Grande.

Ethyl and Herman owned and operated Patten’s Market, which later became Red Barn Market. After selling that business they owned and operated C&E True Value for many years in downtown La Grande.

Ethyl was a member of the United Methodist Church, where she was active with the Wesleyan Circle and the Mr. & Mrs. Club. She was also an active member of the Rusty Wheels Car Club and a former member of the Knife and Fork Club. She was an avid reader and loved listening to music. Ethyl enjoyed rides around the valley, especially Catherine Creek in the fall to enjoy the beautiful colors.

She was preceded in death by one brother and three sisters.

Survivors include her husband, Charles Patten of La Grande; children and their spouses, Rodney and Nancey Patten of Wasco, Kathy and Terry Cobb of Wilbur, Wash., Alan and Linda Patten of Peachtree City, Ga., and Pamela and Ward Walker of Damascus; sisters, Margaret Conrad of Oregon City and Wanda Byrnes of Boise, Idaho; and 16 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Oregon Heart Association.


Ross LeRoy Snodgrass 

Formerly of La Grande



Ross LeRoy Snodgrass, 75, of Athena died at his home on Nov. 6 from esophageal cancer.  Graveside services will be held on Friday at 3:30 p.m. in the Athena Cemetery.  

A time for visitation will also be on Friday at the Athena First Baptist Church from 1 to 3 p.m. 

Memorial services will be on Saturday at the Athena First Baptist Church at 1 p.m., followed by a time of fellowship and refreshments.

Ross was born Dec. 13, 1936, one of identical twin sons, in La Grande. He grew up in the Grande Ronde Valley graduating from La Grande High School in 1955. After graduating, Ross joined the U.S. Navy and served for more than 22 years, obtaining the rank of chief petty officer. Before his honorable discharge in July of 1977, Ross served on a destroyer in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in administration in New Orleans, and then with Mobile Construction Five (Sea Bees) in Ventura, Calif.

While stationed in Seattle, he met his wife to be, Bonnie, and they were married in April of 1963. Their daughter was born in Seattle in December 1964 and their son in March 1967 while they were stationed in Japan. 

At his Seattle duty station, Ross’s primary job at the time and for the years to come was with the Naval Investigative Service Office (NISO, now known as NCIS) He attended Naval Justice/Intel Schools in Washington, D.C., and was stationed at NIS Offices in Japan and San Francisco, CA. After more schooling, Ross was then assigned to the Defense Attache Offices at the American Embassies in Ankara, Turkey and then Copenhagen, Denmark.

After his retirement in 1977, Ross and family moved briefly back to La  Grande and Pendleton before settling in Athena. While in Athena he was employed as the city recorder for more than 10 years and at one time was the mayor for two years. During this time, Ross attended Blue Mountain Community College, studying for what he would be best known for in the future, emergency medical technician and later obtaining paramedic. While studying, he worked on the Athena-Weston Ambulance, now known as the East Umatilla Health District. 

With the help of many before him and since, Ross was the driving force for helping to establish the Health District as well as increasing the designation of the ambulance to advanced life support, which includes advanced cardiac, pediatric and trauma life support a designation it still hold today.

Ross and Bonnie, also an EMT, taught first aid, CPR and EMT classes during their time with the ambulance. For all of his service, Ross, along with others, was Athena Citizen of the Year in 2004. He reluctantly retired from the ambulance in February of 2009 after almost 30 years of compassionate and dedicated service. He was 72 at the time.

Ross and Bonnie enjoyed 48 years of marriage and traveled before her death in January 2012. Ross enjoyed hunting with his twin brother and son, fishing and especially running. He walked up to five miles a day before his diagnosis. Although he never played himself, he loved golf. He also enjoyed music and was one of his daughter’s biggest fans.

Dying earlier were his wife Bonnie, his identical twin brother Russell, his parents William and Mildred and his brother and sister, Bill and Barbara. Ross is survived by his daughter and grandson, Holly and Wyatt Mays of Weston, and his son, Forrest Snodgrass of Portland.