Obituaries for April 5, 2013

By Observer Upload April 05, 2013 11:25 am


Michael O’Hara Jr.

Baker City

Michael O’Hara Jr., 89, a longtime Baker City resident, died April 2 at Wallowa Memorial Hospital in Enterprise. Arrangements are under the direction of Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home.



Helen Titus

La Grande

Helen Titus, 88, 

La Grande, died Wednesday at a local care facility. A full obituary will be published later. Loveland Funeral Chapel and Crematory is in charge of her care and arrangements. 



Vada Cameron



Vada Louise Cameron, 69, died March 27 at Robin’s Nest in Elgin. A graveside service will be held at the Welsh Hills Cemetery in Weathersfield Township, Ohio.

Vada was born Nov. 5, 1943, in Tunnelton, W.Va., to William and Ida (Ridenour) Sypolt. She was raised and attended school in West Virginia. On Dec. 19, 1960, she married Hale Burkholder in Youngstown, Ohio. They had two children, son Hale Jr. and daughter Vada. 

In addition to being a wife and mother, throughout most of Vada’s life she was a caregiver to many of her family members. She was known for putting other people’s needs ahead of her own.

Hale died in 1984 and Vada later married Leslie Cameron. They had 20 years together and moved out west to Oregon. Vada and Les lived in La Grande until her health began to fail. They then moved to Robin’s Nest in Elgin. 

Vada enjoyed country music, dancing and visiting family and friends in West Virginia. 

She was preceded in death by her parents; first husband, Hale Burkholder; sisters, Mary Johnson, Alice Sypolt and Edna Johnson; and brother, Charles

Survivors include her husband, Leslie of Elgin; daughter and son-in-law, Vada and Richard Reid of McDonald, Ohio; son, Hale Burkholder Jr. of Austintown, Ohio; brothers, James Sypolt and Carl Sypolt; sisters, Elizabeth Moore, Garnet Sypolt and Betty Lou Sypolt; and three grandchildren and six

Memorial donations may be made to the Oregon Chapter of the Cancer Society in care of Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home P.O. Box 543, Halfway 97834.



Bette Marie Lowe



Bette Marie Lowe, 81, of Union, died March 28 at a local care facility. 

Bette was born Aug. 4, 1931, the daughter of Ehrman K. and Lois E. (Gamble) Hall, in Union. She attended school in Cove. Many of Bette’s fondest memories were of her later childhood with her siblings and stepfather, Raymond Breshears, at his farm on Lower Cove Road. 

On July 27, 1948, she married Darrell “Pete” Lowe. They lived in California for a short time before returning to Union County, where they lived in La Grande and Pondosa before settling in Union to raise their family. 

On Jan. 8, 2004, Bette lost her loving husband of 55 years. 

Bette was a homemaker and a wonderful Mom and “Grama.” She was very involved with school activities and never missed an athletic event or school program in which her children, or grandchildren, took part. 

She was an active member of the community. She and Pete square-danced with the Whirlaways. She bowled on a league with friends and worked in the hamburger stand at the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show for many years. 

Bette loved family and friends, and her home was always the place where family gathered. She was an avid gardener. 

In later life, she spent many happy hours on her front porch swing listening to the birds and enjoying her flower garden.

Bette is survived by daughter, Eolyn and her husband, Wayne Paulson of Brookings; son, Michael and his wife, Debbie Lowe of
La Grande; five grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; siblings and their spouses, Keith and Dona Hall of Lewiston, Idaho, Connie and Jack DiGiovanna of Union, Rex and Mary Hall of Bend, Jay and Kathy Breshears of Cove and Sally Kelly of Peck, Idaho; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and adopted family. Her sisters, Velna Parker and Eolyn and Kay Hall, preceded Bette in death.

At Bette’s request, no public service will be held. As she loved the outdoors, gardening and flowers, the family suggests that flowers or a tree be planted in her memory or contributions may be made in her memory to the charity of one’s choice. To sign the on-line guestbook or leave a message for the family, visit


Paul Lynn Mortenson



After a courageous four-year battle with cancer, Paul Lynn Mortenson, 67, of Philomath died March 31 at his home. 

A graveside burial service will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Summerville Cemetery. Memorial services took place Thursday at the College United Methodist Church in Philomath.

Paul was born Sept. 21, 1945, in The Dalles to Jim and Agnes Mortenson and spent his first nine years in Mosier. The family relocated to Hood River in the early 1950s. There, Paul attended school, graduating from Wy’east High School in 1963.

The following December, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, earning the good conduct medal. He served in Vietnam for one year and completed his tour of duty in Germany.

Upon returning home, he attended Mount Hood Community College and graduated from the University of Oregon. He then returned to Germany for two years to teach English to German children. Paul remained in touch with his German friends as the years went by.

Paul returned to Oregon in 1974 and became employed by Starker Forests. He performed a number of jobs at Starker’s, but was primarily responsible for road maintenance. Paul thoroughly enjoyed working for the Starker family, and retired in 2012 after 38 years.

Paul found the love of his life in 1975 when his brother, Eric, introduced him to Genie Sanderson in
La Grande. They were married on June 26, 1976, in
La Grande. 

They built their first home at Mary’s River Estates and raised two children, John and Laura. In 1998, they bought their home in King’s Valley.

Paul’s first love has always been his family. They enjoyed many activities together, such as camping, hiking and water skiing, and following Oregon Ducks sporting events. Extended vacations included trips to Germany and Hawaii. He loved to fish and hunt, and knew where all the best spots were. He never missed a sporting event that his children were in.

Paul was also very community oriented, and loved his adopted hometown of Philomath. He was active in various civic groups including the Philomath Youth Activities Club, Society of American Foresters, American Legion Post 100, Veterans of Foreign Wars and
the Oregon Hunters

He found time to rebuild his grandpa’s 1941 Dodge pickup, and enjoyed taking it to area car shows.

Paul is survived by his wife, Genie; son John (Heather) of Lewiston, Idaho; daughter, Laura (Nathan) Weishaar of
La Grande; four grandchildren; sisters, Sheila (Brett) Tegen and Mary Ann (Kevin) Hay; brothers, Neil (Jill), Eric (Michelle), Denis and Robert (Ramona); and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Philomath Youth Activities Club, American Legion Post 100 or Benton Hospice.