Obituaries for February 6, 2013

By Observer Upload February 06, 2013 02:06 pm
Bell, Abell, Tye, Romine, 



Jadin Robert Joseph Bell

La Grande



Jadin Robert Joseph Bell, 15, of La Grande, died with his family by his side, on Feb. 3 at Doernbecher’s Children Hospital in Portland. The family has rented the Light House Church event center, 10501 W. First St., Island City, for the funeral service beginning at 10 a.m. Friday. Burial will be at Grandview Cemetery.

Jadin was born June 4, 1997, in La Grande to Joseph Michael Bell and Lola Ramona Lathrop. He grew up in La Grande and attended Central Elementary and La Grande Middle School. He was a sophomore at La Grande High School and a member of the cheerleading squad.

Jadin enjoyed photography, fashion, music and reading. Most important to him, however, were his friends and family. He played soccer and participated in cheerleading. Jadin was a member of PFLAG.

Jadin is survived by his parents; four siblings, Dustin Bell of Maryland; Amber Bell of Redding, Calif.; Joseph Bell of La Grande; and stepsister Ronda Eaton of Pendleton; two “honorary” sisters, Devon Bennett of La Grande; and Trinity Thomas of La Grande; his aunts and uncles, Bill and B.J. Thale; Tina Harder and John Cagely; Tom and Kim Lathrop; Pat and Ron Guentzler; Allen and June Lathrop; Bud and Cindy Hill; Jody Bullock and Bob Sunderman; Bill and Karen McGinnis; grandparents, Bob and Bonnie Bell; and his “second mom,” Nicole Wolfe, life daycare provider.

He was preceded in death by his grandmother, Marlene Waasdurf, and grandparents, Kirk and Mary Jane Lathrop.

Memorial donations to assist with medical and funeral expenses may be made to Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., La Grande OR 97850.

For those unable to personally attend services for Jadin, his funeral service will be broadcast live on the Internet at To view the funeral service, use the Memorial ID code 4053.

Online condolences to the family may be made at


Leon Abell

Formerly of Island City



Leon R. Abell, 84, of Milton-Freewater, and formerly of Island City, died Jan. 31 at the Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla. A graveside service will begin at 1 p.m. Friday at the Island City Cemetery with Pastor Quinton Kimbrow officiating. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the Disabled American Veterans (Blue Mt. Chapter No. 46) in care of the Munselle-Rhodes Funeral Home, 902 S. Main, Milton-Freewater, OR 97862.

Leon “Leeander” Abell was born on July 1, 1928, the son of George and Bertha Jo (Graham) Abell in Ewing, Mo. At an early age, Leon moved with his family to Island City, where he attended area schools. On March 5, 1946, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving his country in Germany. Upon his honorable discharge he returned to Oregon. 

Leon married Vivian Sue Robinson and the couple had two children, Karen and Ricky. The marriage later ended in divorce.

In the early 1980s, Leon settled in the Walla Walla and Milton-Freewater area, working at the VA hospital. While there he met his life companion, Beverley Britain, and the couple shared many great times together. 

Leon was a member of the Elks Lodge, past president of the Eagles Lodge and participated with the Main Street Cowboys in Pendleton. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, traveling and gardening.

Survivors include his companion, Beverley Britain of Milton-Freewater; children, Karen Hawkins of Echo and Ricky Abell of Eminence, Mo.; four grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; brothers, Bernard Abell of La Grande and Homer Abell of Summerville; sister, Eva Kimmelshue of Hood River; numerous extended family and other children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren whom he loved as his own. 

His parents, brothers, Robert Earl Abell and Wendell Abell, and a nephew, Terry Abell, all preceded him in death.



Joseph Martin Tye




Joseph “Joe” Tye died Jan. 29 in Lewiston, Idaho.

Mass will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at St. Katherine Catholic Church in Enterprise, with burial to follow at Alder Slope Cemetery.

Joe was born Dec. 30, 1961, in Enterprise, the eighth of nine children born to Ronald and Jane Tye. He lived on Alder Slope all of his youth. Growing up with all those siblings, he never lacked someone to play ball with or to go to the “Big” ditch or the mountain. He helped with haying, pipe setting and chores. Joe and his brother, John, could be often heard “singing” at each other because they weren’t allowed to yell at each other. Mom’s orders.

Joe played varsity basketball at Enterprise High School and graduated in 1980. He enjoyed deer and elk hunting and fishing. He would often go to the mountain or accompany his dad to the canyons of Day Ridge, while hunting for deer and elk.

Joe joined the Navy in 1982. He completed Equipment Operator Class “A” School and became part of the Seabees. He traveled to various countries, including Japan and Spain, working on heavy construction projects. While in the Navy, Joe received the Service Deployment Ribbon, the Navy Expert Ribbon (with pistol), the National Defense Ribbon and was qualified with an M16 rifle, receiving a Sharpshooter medal. He made some good friends in the service that he maintained for a lifetime.

Joe returned to Wallowa County after being honorably discharged from the Navy. He worked in logging and ranching and enjoyed spending time with his family and friends.

Family members said Joe had a great sense of humor and a lot of patience. People were never sure what he might say. He did not have children of his own, but he loved children and enjoyed all of his nieces and nephews’ visits.

In July 1988, Joe’s life changed forever when a car accident left him with a brain injury. After the accident, he lived with his parents on Alder Slope for 24 years until his mother’s death in October 2012.

Before the accident, he met Laura Brown who was the love of his life. Even after the accident, she remained close to him.

Joe was preceded in death by his mother, Jane Tye, and sister, Ruth Wright.

He is survived by his father, Ronald Tye; brothers and spouse, Randy Tye and John and Terri Tye; sisters and their spouses, Rose and Baron Preston, Ronda English, Roberta and Jeff Sorn, Rene and Ron Layton and Loretta Tye; and numerous nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Community Connections, STF Transportation, 702 N.W. First St., Enterprise OR 97828.



Michael Ivan Romine

Formerly of La Grande



Mike Ivan Romine, 66, formerly of La Grande, died Jan. 19. He was living at the Oregon Veterans’ Home in The Dalles. When fair weather returns, Mike’s ashes will be returned home and a remembrance get-together for friends and family will be held.

Mike was born April 1, 1946, at Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital in Baker City to Robert and Josie (Foster) Romine of Halfway. He grew up in Halfway and attended the Jimtown school until the age of 14. Mike’s dad had died years before, and his mother found stable work in La Grande, where Mike attended high school. When his mother remarried, they moved to Hood River, where he finished his final year of high school and graduated in 1965. Mike was drafted into the U.S. Army and served two years active duty in Vietnam, returning to Oregon in 1970.

Mike spent the rest of his life working and living throughout Eastern Oregon, including Hood River, Hermiston, La Grande, North Powder, Haines, Richland, Oxbow and his favorite places, Halfway and Cornucopia. Seemingly always good-natured, Mike was thought of as a “gentle giant” to his friends.

Mike was employed as a cook in a variety of restaurants. He loved being with people in the context of serving food, even on pack trips into the wilderness where he enjoyed cooking extravagant meals in locations of breathtaking scenery. Mike was an EMT volunteer for the Oxbow/Halfway/Richland ambulance service and also worked at the Cornucopia pack station, cooking and doing a variety of chores.

One of Mike’s favorite pastimes was attending flea markets and estate sales. He was an avid collector of antiques and participated with friends in a number of small antique businesses. A Saturday drive to an estate sale was always a pleasure. Attendance at the Sumpter flea market was always required.

He also enjoyed drives in the countryside, camping, hiking, hunting mushrooms, picking huckleberries and panning for gold. Mike spent as much time as he could at the family ranch in Halfway, where he loved to garden and tend plants and trees originally started by his parents.

Another of his passions was local history. Mike had an incredible memory for all things Halfway. He knew local family lineages better than most, listened to oral stories of friends and acquaintances his entire life, and read any bit of local historical material he would come across. He was also a voracious reader of fiction and was especially fond of Western writers such as Louis L’Amour and Larry McMurtry.

Survivors include his sister, Thayle Best of Hood River; niece and her husband, Robin and Mark Smith of Cornelius; and a great-niece.