Obituaries for November 16, 2012

By Observer Upload November 16, 2012 01:12 pm
Cable, Lathrop, Moore, Scott, Bechtel, Ficken, Laughlin, Pieper, Roper



Lois M. Cable



Lois M. Cable, 85, of Elgin, died Nov. 15 at her home. A complete obituary will be published at a later date. Arrangements are under the direction of Loveland Funeral Chapel & Crematory.





Emra C. ‘Duke’ Lathrop



Emra C. “Duke” Lathrop, 87, of Lostine, died Nov. 2. A funeral service and meal will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Enterprise Elks Lodge. Arrangements are under the direction of Bollman Funeral Home.





Luverne Gerald ‘Jerry’ Moore



A memorial gathering and tribute to the life of Luverne G. “Jerry” Moore of Union will be held at 3 p.m. Nov. 24. The previously published address was incorrect; the gathering is at 2702 Adams Ave., La Grande.





Will Lowe Scott



Will Lowe Scott, 96, of Cove, died Thursday at a local care facility.  A full obituary will be published at a later time. Loveland Funeral Chapel & Crematory is handling the arrangements.





Jack M. Bechtel

La Grande



Jack Martin Bechtel, 81, of La Grande, died Nov. 10 at Grande Ronde Hospital. A celebration of life will be held at 3 p.m. today at Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center.

Jack was born Nov. 26, 1930, to Audas and Mary (Schaeffer) Bechtel in Wallowa. He graduated from Wallowa High School and served honorably in the U.S. Army. 

On Feb. 9, 1955, Jack married Berniss Caudle at the First Christian Church in La Grande. They lived in various places before settling in La Grande in 1972. Jack worked as a helicopter pilot for a variety of companies including the USFS and then for Rambling Rotors. He retired from piloting in 1992 and went to work for Union County as a mechanic until his retirement in 2002.

Jack was an active member of the La Grande Rifle and Pistol Club and was a member of the Grande Ronde Bush Pilots. Since his retirement he has enjoyed spending time with his family.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Survivors include his wife, Berniss Bechtel of La Grande; children, Lori Bechtel of Scappoose, Lisa Bechtel of La Grande, Christopher Bechtel of La Grande and Brian Bechtel of Scappoose; four grandchildren; and siblings, Verle Bechtel and Beth Mosher, both of Salem. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the Oregon Heart Association.





Donald S. Ficken




Donald Stanley Ficken, 87, of Elgin, died Nov. 11 at Grande Ronde Hospital. At the family’s request there will be no public services. Interment will be at the Summerville Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Loveland Funeral Chapel & Crematory.

Known as Don, he was born May 10, 1925, to John Stanley and Minerva Richie Ficken in Portland. He attended schools in Spray and Viola. Don was married to Hazel Meeker. She died Oct. 23, 2010.

Don was employed as a heavy equipment operator and truck driver for most of his life. His early career was based in Estacada. In 1978 he moved to Elgin.

A ham radio enthusiast, Don was a longtime member of the Dip Sea Net, the oldest amateur radio group west of the Mississippi. He was the second-oldest member at the time of his death. Don also enjoyed hunting, fishing and snowmobiling.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Hazel; parents, John and Minerva; and sisters, Barbara Jiroch and Lona Mae Groves.

Survivors include his children and their spouses, Marilyn and Dick McGraw of Estacada and Bill and Shannon Ficken of La Grande; and four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Online condolences to the family may be made at





Jack L. Laughlin

Formerly of La Grande


Jack Lee Laughlin, 75, of Vancouver, Wash., and formerly of La Grande, died Nov. 11 in Vancouver after an extended illness. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Jack was born in Prineville to Erie and Helen Laughlin. Along with his sister and brother, he grew up on the 101 Sheep Ranch, where his family raised livestock.

After graduation from Mitchell High School in 1955 Jack moved to La Grande to attend Eastern Oregon College, majoring in mathematics. While in La Grande he met Barbara Jeanne Chadwick. In 1959 the couple eloped to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. They moved to Seattle, Wash., and had four children, Kelly, Chad, Bryan and Tammy.

In 1984 Jack received one of the first computer science degrees from Eastern Oregon University. Jack’s logic and intelligence allowed him to spend many years working as a computer system analyst for several different companies before and after receiving his degree. This included working with classified government contracts in Cuba and Iceland during the 1960s. He also spent time in La Grande working as a plumber for his father-in-law, Don Chadwick.

Jack was passionate about genealogy and Oregon history. He liked to spend time at the Oregon Historical Society and online, researching and writing a family history. Every year Jack produced a much admired family calendar. Jack also volunteered for Southwest Washington AA Jamboree and celebrated 24 years in recovery.

Jack enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren. He especially enjoyed taking them to OMSI, Powell’s Books and the Oregon and Washington coasts. He also enjoyed treating them to dinner at Beaches in Vancouver.

Survivors include his wife of 53 years, Barbara Laughlin; children and their spouses, Kelly and Paul Anderes of La Grande, Chad and Karen Laughlin of Vancouver, Wash., Bryan Laughlin of Vancouver, Wash., and Tammy and Nick Greenwell of Tumwater, Wash.; seven grandchildren; siblings, Jane Anne Francis Wooton of Medford and Jon Laughlin of Poulsbo, Wash.; and numerous nieces and nephews.





Orpha M. Pieper

La Grande



Orpha M. Pieper, 85, of La Grande, died Nov. 13 at her residence. A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 19, at the Summerville Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Loveland Funeral Chapel & Crematory.

Orpha was born Jan. 14, 1927, to Arthur Leon and Della Sara (Wall) Berry in La Grande, where she grew up. She graduated from La Grande High School and attended what is now known as Eastern Oregon University. On Aug. 1, 1948, Orpha married Verne Henry Pieper. They were married for 63 years and one day. Verne died on Aug. 2,

Orpha was a homemaker all of her life. She loved being with her family. She was a member of the Eastern Star.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Verne; parents, Arthur and Della; and six brothers and five sisters.

Survivors include her daughters, Jan Pointer and husband, Mel, of La Grande and Debra Rosenow and husband, Donald, of Sioux City, Iowa; son, Gregg Pieper of La Grande; and six grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

Online condolences may be made to the family at 




Curtis Edwin Roper

La Grande



Curtis Edwin Roper, 88, of La Grande, died Nov. 14 at a local care facility.  A funeral will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center, 1502 Seventh St. in La Grande.  Those who wish may make contributions in his memory to any charity of choice.

Mr. Roper was born on Feb. 2, 1924, in Fort Collins, Colo., to James Purl and Anna Maude (Shoemaker) Roper. He lived in Mesa, Colo., until 6 years old when the family moved to Twin Falls, Idaho.  In 1936 they moved to Oregon where he attended the Pleasant Grove grade school and rode a horse to school each day.  After grade school he went to Imbler High School via the bus. He graduated from Imbler High School in May of 1943.  

He worked for H.L. Wagoner and Sons until November 1943 when he joined the Army Air Corps.  He was stationed at Fort Douglas, Utah; Buckly Field, Colorado; Kingman, Arizona (Gunnery School); Gulfport Air Base for Combat Air Crew Training. After completing Aircrew training he was off to Hunter Field, Georgia.  

There he picked up a B-17, flew it to New Hampshire, Goose Bay Labrador, over Greenland to Iceland and then to England. 

He flew 35 combat missions over Germany as a Ball Turret Gunner on a B-17 with the 487th Bomb Group, 838 Bomb Squadron, 8th Air Force with a credit for 1 Enemy Air Craft.  In 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge, they ran out of fuel returning from a mission and landed in Belgium.  

They were there for a week while the plane was repaired and refueled before returning to England.  He earned medals for: Army of occupation WWII, Victor Medal, American Campaign, European, African, Middle Eastern Campaign, Air Medal with 5 Oakleaf Clusters, and Good Conduct Medal.  He was honorably discharged from service on November 12, 1945.  He married Twila Marie Moon on Nov. 16, 1945 in Grants Pass. 

They made their home in La Grande where he worked as Parts Manager for Lynch Motor Co. (Gettings-Lynch Motor Co.) for 35 years retiring in 1981.  

He was president of Search and Rescue under Sherriff Bill Moore for two years.  He was a life member of Mt. Emily VFW 2990 and was commander for two years.  

He was a life member of the La Grande Elks Lodge where he was Elk of the Year two years in a row.  He was President of Grande Ronde C.B. Club for years and was Vice President of Grande Ronde Wheelers Good Sam Club. For 25 years he spent summers in Canada fishing.

Survivors include his wife, Twila Roper of La Grande; son, James P. Roper of Cove; 14 grandchildren and their spouses,Annette Lovejoy, Robert Ray, Shaun Roper, William Roper, Steven Roper, Michele Ray, Kimberly Steves, Kassie Santaguida, Joshua Roper, Angela Roper, Joel Roper, John Roper, Michael Roper; 17 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; and other relatives. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, granddaughter, Ronya Jean Roper and brother, Ralph Melvin Roper.