Obituaries for December 12, 2012

By Observer Upload December 12, 2012 01:31 pm
Lucas, Irvin, Thomas, Waits



Opal Rose Lucas


Opal Rose Lucas, 99, died Nov. 22. Memorial services will take place next spring.





Iola ‘Oly’ Irvin




Iola (“Oly”) Maxine Kirkland Irvin died Dec. 8 in Union at home after an extended illness. A funeral service will begin at 1 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Union, followed by a graveside dedication at the Union Cemetery and then a potluck dessert at the Union LDS Church. Arrangements are under the direction of Loveland Funeral Chapel & Crematory.

Known as Oly, she was born March 3, 1941, to George and Maxine Erwin Kirkland. She married Duane W. Irvin on Sept. 11, 1956, and they had four children.

Oly’s greatest joy was her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and all “little people.” She also loved gardening, especially working with roses, making her yard and home beautiful, sewing and crafting. She enjoyed being in the mountains with her husband, family “girl” weekends and all family gatherings.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Faye Carlson and Dee Harn; and nephew, Clint Kirkland.

Survivors include her husband, Duane; children and their spouses, Kim and Kelly Kotter of Island City, Kelly and Jack Beverage of Idaho, Karen and Troy Whiteid of Bend and Travis and Marni Irvin of La Pine; 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren; siblings, Marilyn Weatherby of Utah, Roger Kirkland of North Powder and David Kirkland of Imbler; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Memorial donations can be made to the Bobcat Booster Club, Union School District, in care of Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., La Grande 97850.

Online condolences to the family may be made at





Florinda Ray Thomas

Formerly of Elgin



Florinda Ray Thomas,  56, died in her sleep Nov. 15 at home in Spanaway, Wash.

Services are planned for 11 a.m. Dec. 15 at the Nazarene Church of Elgin. 

Known as Linda, she was born July 15, 1956, in the 11th Evacuation Hospital in Sendei, Japan, to Alvie Raymond and Haruko Kataoka Estes. She came to the States when she was 3 months old and grew up in a military family.

Linda spent her childhood in California, Colorado, Idaho and eventually Elgin. As a child, she helped her mother raise her siblings, Sherill (“Butch”) Deleno Estes and Sheila Kay Estes. 

Linda enjoyed school and loved participating in track and field, basketball, volleyball and most of all music. She was a very accomplished singer and musician and as a student at Elgin High School received the highest award for most outstanding in both choir and band in 1975. Linda played the flute and piccolo in the high school band and was allowed to participate with the high school band even when she was still in grade school.

When Linda graduated from high school in 1975, she and her future husband, Jess, were already accomplished dancers; she worked at the local roller rink and as a nurse’s aid in a nursing home in La Grande. Linda attended what is now known as Eastern Oregon University on a music scholarship, but due to financial constraints had to give up her dream of becoming a music teacher.

On March 27, 1982, Linda married her childhood sweetheart, Jess, who had already enlisted in the U.S. Army and made the rank of E-4, in the Nazarene Church in Elgin. As an army family, Linda and Jess and their two daughters lived all over the country and world, traveling to Kansas, Germany and Texas. They spent 13 of their 21 years at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash. 

Later in life, Linda touched many hearts in the local square dance community and will be missed in many squares.

Linda and Jess helped raise her nephews, Galen Joseph Estes and Justin Metchio Estes. In their later years they took in their grand-nephew, Daemonn Ethen Ray Brannon.

Survivors include her husband of 30 years, Jess Milo Thomas; daughter, Brandi Haruko Thomas; daughter and son-in-law, Holly Satchiko (Thomas) and Justin Alfonso; two grandchildren; nephews, Galen Estes and Justin Estes; and grand-nephew, Daemonn Brannon.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Daemonn Brannon trust fund, which has been set up at the Elgin U.S. Bank. 




Nova LaVerne Waits

Formerly of La Grande



Nova LaVerne Waits, 86, formerly of La Grande, died Dec. 8 at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Dec 15 at the Hermiston Christian Center, 1825 W. Highland Ave. Private burial will be at the Hermiston Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Burns Mortuary of Hermiston.

Nova was born July 23, 1926, in Milton-Freewater to Jacob and Lois (Miller) Dougherty. She was raised in Milton-Freewater and graduated from McLoughlin High School. On May 1, 1945, she married Donald Wayne Sanderson of La Grande. They were married in San Diego, but moved back to La Grande and eventually settled in Hermiston. They had three daughters, but later divorced. Don died in a car accident in January 1968. 

On Jan. 28, 1968, Nova married Edward S. Waits in Oregon City. They traveled all over the United States in their RV. Nova was a member of the Hermiston Assembly of God Church. She enjoyed music, gardening and spending time with her grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Leo Dougherty; and grandson, Kenny Odoms.

Survivors include her husband of 44 years, Ed Waits of Hermiston; daughters and their spouses, Cheri and Terry Lamb of Enterprise, Terrie and Keith Odoms of Bend and Debby and Terry Anderson of Pilot Rock; and 10 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of choice or to the Hermiston School District Music Department in care of Community Bank in Hermiston. 

Online condolences may be made at


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