Obituaries for January 23, 2013

By Observer Upload January 23, 2013 10:12 am
Mellish, Skeen, Hardy, Smith, Gregory, Hug Jr., Pearson



Miriam M. Mellish

La Grande


Miriam M. Mellish, 92, of La Grande, died Tuesday at her residence. A full obituary will be published later. Loveland Funeral Chapel & Crematory will be handling the arrangements.



Flora Skeen

La Grande


Flora “Grandma Duffer” Marie Skeen, 89, of La Grande, died Dec. 26 at her home. A memorial service will take place at 2 p.m. Feb. 2 at Lighthouse Church, Island City.



Eloine Leota Hardy




Eloine Leota Hardy, 89, of Elgin died at a local care facility Jan. 21. A celebration of life will begin at 2 p.m. Friday, at the Elgin Christian Church. Loveland Funeral Chapel is handling the arrangements.

Eloine was born on Oct. 22, 1923, in Elgin to Orris and Pearl Blanchard Evers. She attended school in Elgin and Vernonia. She married Albertus Hardy on Nov. 1, 1946. 

Eloine enjoyed gardening, painting, traveling and crafts. She was a 50-plus year member of the American Legion Auxiliary and also very active in the Garden Club.

She is survived by her children, Don, David, Jeff, Steven and Alice Hardy, all of Elgin; her sister, Necia DeWitt of Vernonia; her brother, Jack Evers (LaDon) of La Grande; two grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband and a sister, Lorena Ralls.

Memorial contributions can be made to a charity of choice in care of Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., La Grande, OR 97850. To sign the online guestbook or leave a condolences, visit 



Janice ‘Jan’ Smith




Janice “Jan” Smith, 73 of Union died at her home on Jan. 18. A graveside service will be held at the Hermiston Cemetery at 1 p.m. Thursday. A reception will follow at the Stanfield Senior Center.

Jan was born on Nov. 10, 1939, in Eau Claire, Wis., to Francis and Elsie Hewitt Bain. When she was young, the family moved to Oregon and she lived in Pendleton, Mitchell, Stanfield and Union.  

She married Robert Smith on Sept. 17, 1957, in Pendleton. Robert was in the U.S. Navy, stationed in Seattle, where they lived the first years of their marriage. Living in Stanfield from 1960 to 1998, Jan spent a lot of her time volunteering for the community. Jan was active as a 4-H leader, and she enjoyed camping, quilting and crafts. In 1998, Bob and Jan moved to Union, where they became life members and volunteers at the Union County Museum.

She is survived by her husband, Robert; a daughter, Val Stockhoff, and son-in-law, Hank, of Union; daughter, Robbin Swales of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.; eight grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and 16 nieces and nephews; brothers, Marshall and sister-in-law Melba, Dudley and sister-in-law Linda, and Loren; and sister Marjorie.

Jan was preceded in death by her parents; a daughter, Carrie Smith; and a brother, Robert Bain. 

Memorial contributions can be made to Union County Museum Society in care of Loveland Funeral Chapel.



Verla C. Gregory




Verla C. Gregory of Enterprise and formerly of La Grande died Jan. 16, 10 days before her 100th birthday. A family service is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday at the Wallowa Christian Church. Bollman Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Verla Carolyn (Eddlemon) Gregory was born in Flora Jan. 26, 1913, to Charles Ruskin and Martha Marion (Casteel) Eddlemon. Her father died when she was 1-1/2 years old. She and her sister, Vera, were raised by their grandmother, Martha Jane (McQuistion) Casteel, at the Monroe Casteel homestead on Day Ridge, while her mother taught school and worked.

When Verla was 7, the family moved to Wallowa for school. She was captain of her girls’ 1928 basketball team and graduated from Wallowa High School with the Class of 1929. 

Verla was an active member of the Wallowa Methodist Church, Epworth League and the Chi Chi Club. In 1939, she married John J. Gregory, and they farmed east of Wallowa until 1947. They then moved to La Grande, where her husband was a rancher in the south end of the valley. 

Verla was a past Matron of Eastern Star and a member of the La Grande Country Club. She was an excellent pianist and seamstress. She enjoyed knitting, reading, bridge, golf, bird watching, crossword puzzles and sudoku. She was a great cook and canned pickles, peaches, green beans and tomatoes for many years. 

Her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were especially important to her, and she was special to them. She is survived by her daughters and their spouses, Margaret and Sam Wade of Lostine and Jean and Neil Cooper of La Grande, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Verla was preceded in death by her husband of 72 years, John, and her sister, Vera. 


Bernal Dean Hug Jr. 

La Grande



Bernal Dean Hug Jr., known as “Gabe,” died Jan. 12 at his son’s home in La Grande.

A memorial service will be held at Elgin Christian Church at 2 p.m. Saturday with a reception at the Elgin Community Center following.

Born Dec. 31, 1920, near Elgin to Bernal and Carmi (Holbrook) Hug, he graduated from Elgin High School in 1939. In the fall of 1941, he attended bible college in Enid, Okla. When the U.S. entered WWII, he returned to Elgin to farm with his father. There he met Virginia Hodge, who came to Elgin to teach school in the fall of 1943. Bernal and Virginia were married June 11, 1944, by her father in California at the Covelo Presbyterian Church.

They farmed and ranched in the vicinity of Elgin for the next 68 years. Bernal was honored as the Union County Cattleman of the Year in 1983. He enjoyed fixing machinery and riding horseback. He was a member of Elgin Christian Church, where he served as an elder.

In 1971, he was honored as Union County Father of the Year. His family said they have been greatly blessed from his example as a devoted husband, father, grandfather and follower of Jesus Christ.

Bernal is survived by his wife, Virginia; daughter Beth Wiseman (Roger), St. Louis, Mo., sons, Celas Hug (Margaret), Camas, Wash., Kent Hug (Cheryl), La Grande, Joel Hug (Tamara), Spanaway, Wash., sister, Caryl Dawes (Bob), brothers, Edwin Hug (Martha), Elwyn Hug (Carol), 24 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.

Bernal was preceded in death by his parents, brother Philip, sisters, Betty Hulse and Anna Louise Scafidi, and great-granddaughter, Rebecca Carmi Hug.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Gideon’s International Bible Fund in care of Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., La Grande OR 97850.


Swannee Herrmann Pearson

Formerly of La Grande



Swannee Herrmann Pearson died Jan. 6 in Olympia, Wash., after a prolonged battle with cancer.

A memorial for Swannee will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday at Faith Center, 10300 South D St. in Island City. 

She was born on Oct. 9, 1977, in Cottage Grove to Tom and Swannee Herrmann. She grew up in La Grande with her siblings, Amanda, Sarah, Seth, Catherine, Matt and Elizabeth.  

From an early age she was involved in music and dance. She loved the outdoors, hiking, camping and skiing. Swannee earned her Bachelor of Arts in music at Eastern Oregon University followed by a year teaching in Mexico. She then enrolled at Washington State University, where she earned her Master of Arts in violin performance and her teaching certification. 

Swannee was an accomplished violinist and pianist who performed in every community in which she lived. Shortly after graduating from WSU, Swannee accepted a position with the North Thurston Public Schools as orchestra teacher at Timberline High School and other community schools. 

She later created the orchestra program at Aspire Middle School.  

In 2005, Swannee married Brent Pearson of Olympia. Along with Daniel, Brent’s son from his previous marriage, Swannee was mother to Caleb Anthony (born in 2007) and Esther Joy Pearson (born in 2010). While she found fulfillment in all aspects of her life, it was her role as mother that always brought her the most joy. 

Swannee had a strong faith and attended Grace Community Covenant Church. 

She is survived by her husband, children, parents and siblings. Family members said she will always be remembered for the enthusiasm she had for life and for the kindness and love she had for others.