Obituaries for March 11, 2013

By Observer Upload March 11, 2013 10:29 am
Ratzlaff, Tanzey, Sullivan, Williams, Neer, Huff, Whitney



Billee Ratzlaff

Formerly of Elgin



Billee Ratzlaff, 86, formerly of Elgin, died March 1 following complications with congestive heart failure.  

Born as Billee Steele Townsend on Oct. 6, 1926, in Philadelphia, Billee grew up in Ocean View and Ocean City, N.J., where her father, Henry Townsend, operated a restaurant on the Boardwalk. When Billee was 9, her father died of typhoid fever, and her mother, Lola (Woodward), raised the family including two older brothers, Floyd and Haines.

During World War II, Billee began corresponding with a young Army soldier, Sidney Ratzlaff, who was stationed in Germany. 

They were married in June 1946 in Ocean City, N.J. Billee and Sid lived in New Jersey, South Dakota and Oregon, where they raised six children. Billee was active in children’s work in Sunday school and church for many years and considered this a privilege of service for Jesus Christ.

In 1970, the family built a home on a scenic acreage outside Elgin, where Billee lived for 40 years and enjoyed family activities along with sewing, quilting and bird watching. 

She was beloved by friends and family for her unique wit perfectly blended with a gift for hospitality and kindness to others.  

Billee is survived by her husband, Sid, now of Boise, Idaho; sons, Stephen of La Grande, Dan (Jeanette) of Sahuarita, Ariz., David of Elgin and Mark (Margie) of Veneta; and daughters, Dona (Greg) Eidam of Crooked River Ranch and Carol (Robert) Dunn of Boise. Billee is also survived by seven grandchildren. 

At Billee’s request, no service will be held. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to Compassion International, where Billee had sponsored a child. They can be reached at 12290 Voyager Parkway, Colorado Springs, CO 80921, 800-336-7676 or

Online condolences to the family may be made at



Ethel June Tanzey



Ethel June Tanzey, 84, Wallowa, died March 6 at Wallowa Memorial Hospital in Enterprise. 

The daughter of Paul Lamm and Orpha Bettis was born in La Grande June 25, 1928.

She was raised in Palmer Junction, Elgin, Minam and Wallowa. She attended schools in Palmer Junction, Minam and Wallowa.

A former employee of Lamb Cannery in Weston, Tanzey also received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Wallowa County Nursing Home.

Her hobbies included needlework, baking and cooking.

She married Walter Tanzey Nov. 17, 1945, where they made their first home. The couple moved to Enterprise in 1979.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Walter; her mother and father, Paul and Orpha Lamm; her brother, Charles Lamb and her great-great grandchild Braedyn Fowler.

She is survived by her sons, David Tanzey of Imnaha, Darvin Tanzey of Wallowa and Paul Tanzey of Wallowa, her sisters Evelyn Southwick of Roseburg, Lola Maxwell of Riggins, Idaho and her brother, Dale Lamm of Washington, Utah. She is also survived by eight grandchildren, five great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to senior meals.

There will be a celebration of life March 11 at 11 a.m. in the Enterprise Christian Church. Bollman Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.



Maria Sullivan

La Grande


Maria Sullivan, 83, of La Grande, passed away on March 8 at a local care residence.  

A full obituary will be published at a later time. Loveland Funeral Chapel and Crematory will be handling the arrangements.



Cynthia Williams



Cynthia Gail Williams, 67, of Union, passed away Sunday, March 10 at her residence. 

A full obituary will be available at a later date. Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.



Mary Neer

La Grande


Mary A Neer, 77, of La Grande, passed away on Saturday, March 9, at Grande Ronde Hospital.  

A full obituary will be published at a later time.  

Loveland Funeral Chapel & Crematory will be handling the arrangements.



Ila C. Huff 

La Grande


Ila C. Huff, 98, of La Grande, passed away on Sunday, March 10, at a local care facility. 

A full obituary will be published at a later time. Loveland Funeral Chapel & Crematory will be handling the arrangements.



Thomas F. Whitney

La Grande

Thomas F. Whitney, 66, of La Grande, passed away  March 10 2013 at Grande Ronde Hospital. A full obituary will be published at later time. 

Loveland Chapel & Crematory will be handling the arrangements.