Obituaries for March 6, 2013

By Observer Upload March 06, 2013 09:50 am
Cantrell, McKie, Baxter, McClain, Butler, 



Elaine Cantrell

La Grande


Elaine Cantrell, 93, of La Grande, died Tuesday at a local care facility. A viewing will be held from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center, 1502 Seventh St. A full obituary will be published later.


Joyce McKie



Joyce McKie, 72, longtime Baker City and Haines resident, died at her home on Monday.  Arrangements are under the direction of Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home.



Jeffrey Baxter




Jeffrey Drake Baxter, 55, of Union, died at his residence of natural causes on March 3. Funeral services will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Union at 10 a.m. Friday. Interment will immediately follow at the Union Cemetery. Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.

Jeff was born March 26, 1957, in The Dalles to Kendall W. Baxter and Janet Lea (Drake) Jenkins. He graduated from Union High School, continuing his education career at Eastern Oregon University. He received his degree in dentistry from OHSU Dental School and enjoyed a successful career as a dentist.

He enjoyed hiking, fishing, camping and being in the woods, but mostly he enjoyed being with his family, especially his beloved grandchild, Samantha. Reading and traveling were also his favorite things to do.

He was a member of the American Dentistry Association and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for which he served a mission in Arizona.

Jeff is survived by his daughter, Kimberley Noel of Jerome, Idaho; his parents, Kendall Baxter of Union and Janet Jenkins of Portland; brother, Gregory Drake of La Grande; sister, Linda Nusser (Jeff) of Layton, Utah; sister, Angela Schow (Doug) of Island City; one grandchild; and six nieces and nephews.

Online condolences to the family may be made at



Margaret  McClain




Wallowa County’s oldest resident, Margaret McClain, died from natural causes at her home in Joseph on March 2, two weeks shy of her 103rd birthday. She was surrounded by her family for the last three days of her life and a promise made by her sons that she would die in her home was fulfilled.

A Rosary in her honor will occur at 4 p.m. Friday, beginning at St. Katherine’s Catholic Church in Enterprise. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Katherine’s. Graveside services at Prairie Creek Cemetery will follow. Margaret loved the color red and even had her house painted a vibrant red. For those so inclined, feel free to wear something red to the Saturday funeral service. As her celebration of life continues, the family invites her many friends to join them at the Outlaw Restaurant in Joseph from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for an informal time of sharing.

Margaret was born on March 16, 1910, in Wallowa to John and Mary Murphy. Her father was a logging camp cook, and her mother was a busy housewife with eight children. She was preceded in death by her brothers, A.I., Henry, Frank, George and Jerry Murphy, and her sisters, Marie Wade and Agnes Dilks.

Margaret attended school in Wallowa, graduating from high school in 1928.

At the age of 25, she married Wallowa County farmer James McClain. The McClains and their life-long friends, Brick and Velma Buchanan, were married on the same day and honeymooned together. Margaret and Jim were married for 53 years and spent the majority of them on their farm in Upper Prairie Creek. Their two sons, James “Gary” and Mike, were born while they lived on the ranch. In retirement, they moved to Joseph. Husband Jim preceded her in death in 1989.

Margaret was a devout member of St. Katherine’s Catholic Church in Enterprise for 78 years. At age 90, when quizzed about the secrets of a long life, Margaret, noted for her sense of humor, recommended the following adages: 1. Eat when you are hungry, not when someone tells you you should. 2. Always have friends who are younger than you so when you get old you’ll still have friends. 3. Have a strong foundation in faith to help get you through the tough times that everyone will have. 4. Use Ponds cold cream and take a multi-vitamin every day. 5. Drink a beer a day to whet your appetite.

Margaret loved her family with a passion and relished in their achievements, although she was not averse to giving them some strong advice when she thought they needed it. Likewise, she had a mission of cultivating friends of all ages. She always believed that to have friends you had to be a friend and will be remembered by friends and family for her many random acts of love and kindness.

She is survived by her sons and their wives, Gary and Nancy McClain of Neskowin, and Mike and Kandee McClain of Jacksonville, six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the American Cancer Society or the Wallowa County Museum.



Phoebe Irene Butler




Phoebe Irene “Jeannie” Butler, 85, died March 3 in Meridian, Idaho

A funeral service will take place at 1 p.m. Friday at the Wallowa Christian Church with interment at the Wallowa Cemetery.

Phoebe was born Jan. 22, 1928, in Caruthersville, Mo., to Johnny Clifford Lovette and Mabel Isabelle Burns. Phoebe attended several grade schools but quit school in the seventh grade. She and Robert M. Butler were married for 57 years. Most recently she lived in Wallowa. She retired with her husband in the Imnaha River Woods from 1982 to 1999.

Prior to retiring, she lived in Ventura, Calif., from 1961 to 1982. She retired from Rexall’s Drug King in Ventura, where she was employed first as a cashier and then as receiving clerk and assistant manager.

Phoebe won many awards for her creative merchandising displays at Drug King. In Imnaha, she was awarded a certificate of appreciation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for her contribution to the Wild and Scenic Rivers management plan. In Wallowa, she was recognized for growing the largest tomato.

Phoebe loved gardening, and shared her produce with neighbors and the Wallowa Senior Center. She was also an avid crafter who displayed her jewelry, Christmas ornaments, knitted and crocheted items, miniature doll cradles and doll clothes at the Handcrafter’s Guild bazaars and craft shows.

She was also a gifted seamstress. She made the wedding gowns for two of her granddaughters. She also sewed matching outfits for her 10 siblings for one of the many family reunions that her close-knit family enjoyed. She also made many baby blankets and quilts. Her daughter, Linda, never lacked for dresses because Phoebe made all of her dresses and outfits when Linda was growing up.

Phoebe was active in the Wallowa Christian Church and Wallowa Senior Center. At the church, she shared produce from her garden and her excellent cooking. At the senior center, she volunteered as a cashier and contributed to their pantry.

Phoebe is survived by son, Eddie Butler, and daughter, Linda Simpson; 12 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; sisters, Virginia Dietz, Gayle Lovette, Nadine Stellman, Laverne Faughn and Neva Lee; and brothers, Dale, Ray and Ron Lovette.

She was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers.