Obituaries for March 27, 2013

By Observer Upload March 29, 2013 10:51 am
Zielke, Wilson, Louthan, Muilenburg



Frederick James Zielke

Formerly of Elgin

Frederick James Zielke, 87, died March 23 in Hermiston.  

A funeral service will be held at First Christian Church in Hermiston beginning at
1 p.m. Friday, with military honors and interment to follow at the Hermiston Cemetery.  

Contributions in Fred’s memory may be made to Habitat for Humanity.

Please sign the condolence book at

Burns Mortuary of Hermiston is in care of arrangements. 



Mary Lou Wilson

La Grande

Mary Lou Wilson, 85, of La Grande, died Tuesday at her home. A celebration of life will held Monday, at Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration, 1502 Seventh St. A full obituary will published later. 



Marie Louthan

Formerly of La Grande


Marie Louthan of Corvallis and formerly of La Grande died March 22. She was 91 years old and is survived by her five children. 

Marie Eckroth was born on Aug. 9, 1921, in Mandan, N.D. She was roughly in the middle of the large brood of 14 children raised by Louis and Hattie Eckroth. He was employed by the railroad, and the family was devoutly Catholic. Marie remained deeply religious throughout her life, later bringing her husband into the faith, and raising her children in the church.

A defining event in her life was the Great Depression, which had a lasting impact on almost everyone in the U.S. at that time. 

Upon graduating high school, Marie took off to Seattle with a friend in search of work. She did quite well, starting in a bakery and
eventually getting a job at Boeing.

Marie was 20 years old when World War II broke out. She had met her future husband, Wayne, during this time, and after the Pearl Harbor attack, he enlisted in the Army. Marie traveled to North Carolina in August 1942, where she and Wayne were married. 

At the time they were married, Wayne was not a Catholic (he later converted) and he had not met her parents; they were not likely to approve of the union. Ever resourceful, Marie bypassed North Dakota on her way to
North Carolina, thereby avoiding some significant unpleasantness.

After the marriage, she went back to Seattle, where she bucked rivets on the flight deck of the Boeing B-17F. There was a brief time spent living in the woods around Mount Rainier while Wayne was on deferment from the Army. He then deployed to the South Pacific and she moved to Aberdeen, Wash.

When the war ended, they moved to Fortuna, Calif., and began a family with two girls, followed by three boys over the course of 12 years.

In 1963, Marie, Wayne and the family moved back to Washington, where they settled on a small farm outside of Chehalis. 

The children grew and moved away to various parts of the country. Wayne and Marie moved into a house they built across the river.

Later in life, they moved in with one of the daughters, Carolyn, settling for five years in La Grande. In 2007, they moved across the state to Corvallis where their son, Louie, lived.

Marie was part of what has become known as the “Greatest Generation.” Certainly the Depression shaped her life; literally on her death bed she continued to ask her children: “Do you have a job?” She was devoted to her family throughout her life, and is survived by Mary Jane Jefferis, Carolyn Jensen, Louie, Mike, and Lenny. There are also 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Private family services will be held. Contributions may be made to Benton Hospice c/o Fisher Funeral Home, 306 S.W. Washington St., Albany OR 97321. Online condolences for the family may be posted at



Elton Martel Muilenburg

Island City


Elton Martel Muilenburg, 85, a well-known local masonry contractor, and farmer of Island City, died at Grande Ronde Hospital March 23. Funeral Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Loveland Funeral Chapel. 

Interment will immediately follow at the Island City Cemetery.

Elton was born on July 3, 1927, to Thomas and Florence Muilenburg in Baker City. He was raised on the family farm east of Island City, the third of five children. 

Elton worked on the family farm, where for many years they milked cows by hand, and farmed with horses. He attended Island City Grade School and La Grande High School, where he graduated in 1945. 

He then joined the Army, and landed in Tokyo after the Japanese surrendered. There he worked officer’s mess. He also spent time in Korea.

After leaving the Army, Elton attended the In Glass School of Bakery and learned to decorate cakes. He would later decorate incredible wedding cakes graced by swans and baskets of roses. It was about this time he met the sweetheart of his life, Nita Lee Hicks, at a rollerskating rink. They fell in love and were married in Weiser, Idaho, on Sept. 27, 1950. They purchased a lot in Island City, and built a brick home, which they lived in ever since.

Elton took a job in the summer with a local bricklayer named Leo Hansen as a hod carrier, where he developed a love for the trade. He worked many years with Leo, Roy Miller, Jack Jenson, Marvin Fager, his sons (Mike, Rick and Rod), whom he taught, and others of the trade. He was a master craftsman, building beautiful fireplaces, masonry homes and commercial structures that have stood the test of time. 

Elton also took over the family farm upon his father’s retirement, and raised wheat, barley, peas, potatoes, corn, along with cattle and pigs. He loved to watch plants grow, and had fruit trees and vegetable gardens. They were family projects.

His hobbies included camping, hunting and fishing with family and friends. He loved dancing, often spending hours on the floor with Nita. They would travel to Arizona during the winter when he retired, and loved to spend time at the Union County Senior Center dancing. 

He was active in community service, volunteering for many organizations. 

He loved and cherished his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and those who knew him on earth will greatly miss him, and forever be indebted to

He is survived by his wife, Venita (Hicks) Muilenburg; brother, Dean Muilenburg of Pilot Rock; sister, Betty Bristow and her husband, Dean of Sacramento, Calif.; along with children, Michael and Kate, of Bakersfield, Calif., Linda and Bob Price of Kearney, Neb., and Rick and Janice, and Rod and Regina of La Grande. 

His parents and brothers, Tommy and Clarence, died earlier.