Obituaries for May 17, 2013

By Observer Upload May 17, 2013 11:02 am
Cribbs, Davis, Simons


Claire Cribbs

Formerly of Enterprise,
La Grande


Claire Cribbs, 94, formerly of Enterprise and La Grande, died May 4 in Medford.

She was born Sept. 21, 1918, in Eau Claire, Wis., to William and Bertha Stillmen. She was the last born of eight siblings, who are now all deceased.

The family moved to Vancouver, Wash., where she met her first husband, Ned Boyce. They had two daughters and divorced after 25 years. She then married Vern Gentry and was later divorced. She lived in Wallowa County for a  time until she married Virgil Cribbs. They then moved to La Grande, where she lived until his death. She later went to Medford to live with her grandson, Tom.

She is survived by a daughter, Dorothy Keener of Clarkston, Wash.; four grandchildren; and many great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her brothers and sister and her daughter, Edith McGee.



Earnest Earl Davis

La Grande


Earnest Earl Davis, 87, of La Grande, died in St. Luke’s Hospital at Boise, Idaho, May 9. Graveside services will be held at Valley View Cemetery in Vale at 11 a.m. June 3.

Earl was born on Christmas day, Dec. 25, 1925, in Santa Rita, N.M., to Christopher C. and Ollie Mae (Moore) Davis.

Earl was a veteran of the United States Navy. He received an honorable discharge after serving his country during World War II. He was stationed in Guam and Saipan and received the Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.

When Earl returned from overseas, he was married to Mildred (McVicker) Davis on Jan. 13, 1946. They have three children. 

Earl owned a barbershop in Vale until the family moved to a small farm in Gresham in 1961. Earl barbered for more than 50 years, owning a shop in Troutdale and working in shops in Estacada and Woodburn. He also retired from Wagner Machining in Portland. Earl and Mildred moved to a hilltop farm in Estacada in the late 1970s. They were divorced in 1984.

Earl and Della Vinson were married Oct. 17, 1986. She died May 12, 1988.

Earl’s favorite activities were working on his farms and in his yard as well as going to auctions and garage sales. With his welding skills, he constructed garden animals from recycled material. He enjoyed going to lunch at the senior center and sat at the same table every day, called the “Grumpy Old Men’s table.” Earl was a member of the Masonic Fraternity for more than 60 years.

Survivors include three children and their spouses, Earlene and Mike Lamb of
La Grande; Charlene and Bryan Phinney of Puyallup, Wash.; Bill Davis of Portland; nine grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

Earl was preceded in death by his wife, Della; his parents, Christopher and Ollie; and two siblings, C.C. Davis Jr. and Peggy Mendive.

Memorial donations may be made to the senior lunch program at the Union County Senior Center, in care of Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., La Grande OR 97850.

Online condolences to the family may be made at 


Lewis A. Simons

Formerly of Elgin, La Grande


Lewis A. Simons, 89, of Nampa, Idaho, and formerly of Elgin and La Grande, died peacefully at home in his children’s presence May 11. 

He was born on March 12, 1924, at Chandler, Okla., to Arthur and Naomi Simons (Wright), the first of seven children. He moved to Idaho with his family to the farm at Riverside near Caldwell in 1932.

Growing up on the family farm in the 1930s was a lot of hard work for Lewis, the first-born son. Many of the skills acquired, though, helped him throughout his life. He had excellent mechanical and fabrication ability and could build and repair many things. Lewis worked various jobs, mostly agriculture based due to his government deferment during World War ll.

He married Doris Berkenbile on Nov. 30, 1944, at Caldwell. They had two daughters, Leverda and Leona. They were later divorced. 

In 1946, at age 22, he was involved in a near-death automobile accident. His physical strength allowed him to overcome his injuries in spite of physician’s remarks that he would “never walk again.” 

He married Norma Huckabee on Oct. 5, 1950, at Wilder, Idaho. They moved to Meacham, where Lewis started work for the Oregon Highway Department in 1951. While at Meacham, son Steve was born, and after a subsequent transfer to the Elgin maintenance district, sons Greg and Gordon were born. 

He was in demand by many of the highway maintenance districts around Northeast Oregon due to his high proficiency on a road grader. Lewis spent many days working on Highway 204 — “The Mountain” — that at times received 20 feet of snow. He once helped save the lives of three people who were nearly asphyxiated in their vehicle from drifting snow. 

The crew enjoyed working with “Louie,” as he was known because he could “operate anything.” He retired in 1985 after 34 years of service for the state. 

Lewis moved to La Grande in 1994 and spent 17 years with his companion, Janice Warnock.

Lewis is survived by daughters, Leverda (Jim) Packwood of Parma, Idaho, and Leona (John) Mettille of Caldwell; sons, Steve (Debbie) Simons of La Grande, Greg (Penny) Simons of Nampa and Gordon Simons of Elgin; siblings, Betty Straight of Portland, Kenneth Simons of Portland, Norma Oliphant of St. George, Utah, and Robert Simons of Nampa. 

Lewis is also survived by 14 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, Marvin, a sister, Phyllis, and his wife of 42 years, Norma. 

Services are under the direction of Alsip-Persons funeral home. A burial will be at the Elgin Cemetery. A celebration of life for Lewis will be held later.