Obituaries for December 14, 2012

By Observer Upload December 14, 2012 11:01 am
Eckstein, Gandy Sr., McCoy, VanWinkle



Harry Ronald Eckstein

Formerly of La Grande



Harry Ronald Eckstein, 83, of Gladstone and formerly of La Grande, died Nov. 15 at home of congestive lung failure.

Harry was married to Mary Julette “Julie” Sather on May 7, 1955, in Hubbard. They were married for 57 years and had three children: Bill, Jamie and Mary. The family settled in La Grande in 1966 and lived there until 2005. They then lived in Dallas for four years before moving to Gladstone in 2009.

As per his request, there will be no services.





Terrance ‘Lee’ Gandy Sr.

La Grande



Terrance “Lee” Gandy Sr., 69, of La Grande, died Dec. 11 at his home. At his request there will be no public services at this time. Arrangements are under the direction of Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center.

Known as Lee, he was born May 24, 1943, to Clarence and Helene A. (Miller) Gandy in McCook, Neb. He served a short time with the U.S. Army and then worked for many years in the construction business in Weiser and Payette, Idaho; Susanville, Calif.; Salem and Ontario. While working near Ontario, he was involved in a near-death accident and spent three years in rehabilitation hospitals in the Boise area.

Lee came to La Grande in the early 1970s. In February 1976, he opened the Wooden Nickel, which he operated until his death. On Dec. 10, 1999, he married Melissa Ledderer in La Grande.

A longtime member of the American Cribbage Congress, Lee played in major tournaments all over the country, nearly always winning or placing. He was a member of the Blue Mountain Peggers, which met every Thursday at Denny’s. 

Lee was a member of the Eagles Lodge and the Elks Lodge as well as the La Grande Coin Club. He was a strong supporter of 4-H and FFA. Cribbage was his main hobby, but he also enjoyed fishing and dancing.

He was preceded in death by his father; son, Michael Gandy; first wife, Bonnie Gandy; and his beloved dog, Miss Tuffy, who went with him everywhere.

Survivors include his wife, Melissa Gandy of La Grande; children, Terrance “T” and his wife, Victoria Gandy, of La Grande, James Gandy of Willets, Calif., Daniel Gandy of La Pine and Kathy Valdez of Salem; stepchildren, Sherri Sherman and Matthew Ledderer; mother, Helene Teel of Pendleton; siblings and their spouses, Gary and Jan Keidatz of Salem, Cheryl and Wayne Willard of Pendleton and Rita and Jeff Hiat of Pendleton; aunt, Lucy Miller of Turner; several half-brothers and half-sisters; and two grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Blue Mountain Peggers in care of Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center, 1502 Seventh St., La Grande.

Those who wish may sign the online guest book or leave a condolence at





Frances McCoy

Formerly of La Grande



Frances Betty (O’Rourke) McCoy, 89, of Irrigon and formerly of La Grande, died Dec. 6 at her home. Funeral services will begin at 11 a.m. Dec. 22 at the Columbia View Community Church in Irrigon. Burial will follow at the Desert Lawn Memorial Cemetery in Irrigon. Arrangements are under the direction of Burns Mortuary of Hermiston.

Frances was born April 24, 1923, in Baker to Peter and Millie (Kirk) O’Rourke. She was raised in La Grande and graduated from La Grande High School. After graduation she moved to Portland, where she was employed as a telephone operator during World War II.

On March 6, 1945, Frances married Warren McCoy. They lived in Boston for seven months before moving to Irrigon, where they have been longtime residents. Frances enjoyed spending time with her family, reading, doing puzzles, volunteering, traveling and relaxing at the beach.

She was active in the Women’s VFW Auxiliary and in 1981 served as its state president. Frances attended Columbia View Community Church in Irrigon.

Survivors include her husband, Warren of Irrigon; children, Debbie Burns of Irrigon and Roger “Mike” McCoy of La Grande; sister Darlene Villines of La Grande; and seven grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

Condolences may be made at




Mary VanWinkle

Formerly of Cove



Mary Elizabeth (Aas) (VanBlokland) VanWinkle, 91, of Weston and formerly of Cove, died Dec. 10 at Elizabethan Manor in Pendleton. A private family memorial service will be held in the spring. Arrangements are under the direction of Burns Mortuary of Pendleton.

Mary was born June 18, 1921, in Northome, Minn., to Mary and Otto Aas. When she was 4 years old, her parents moved to Cove, and she was raised by her grandparents in Northome until she was 14 years old. At that time she traveled by herself by train to La Grande to be with her family.

Mary graduated from Cove High School in 1940. She was attending nursing school at the La Grande hospital when she met her future husband while he was a patient. She married Wilbur VanBlokland Nov. 7, 1943, and they had two boys, Gary and Dale.

During their early marriage, Mary and Wilbur lived in Hereford, Payette, Ontario and Condon before settling in Heppner. Mary went to work at the Heppner hospital, and then worked for Dr. Tibbles as his office nurse for several years.

Mary owned a variety store in Heppner for a few years and then went to work at Alma’s Apparel. She then worked at Sears and Peterson’s Jewelry until she retired.

Wilbur died in 1979. In 1981, Mary married Jack VanWinkle and they moved to Wickenburg, Ariz., before settling down in Sun City West, where Jack died in 2002.

In 2003, Mary moved to Weston to be closer to her family. Her hobbies over the years included entertaining, baking (especially wedding cakes), cooking, flower arranging and painting. 

She was preceded in death by her parents; husbands, Wilbur VanBlokland and Jack VanWinkle; and siblings, Oscar Aas, Otilla “Tillie” DeBorde, Jennie Smith and Margaret Farrington.

Survivors include her sons and their wives, Gary and Linda VanBlokland of Weston and Dale and Cheryl VanBlokland of Austin, Texas; stepchildren and their spouses, John and Sue VanWinkle of Henderson, Nev., Jim and Georgia VanWinkle of Fossil, Shirley and Kit George of Heppner and Trish and Ted Toll of Boardman; and seven grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, seven step grandchildren and 12 step great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association Oregon Chapter in care of Burns Mortuary, P.O. Box 489, Pendleton 97801. 

Online condolences may be made at 


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