Obituaries for May 22, 2013

By Observer Upload May 22, 2013 10:20 am
Collins, Hug, Arnold, Wanichek



Jewell Collins

La Grande

Jewell Collins, 85, of La Grande, died May 20 at a local care center. Arrangements will be announced later by Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center.



Laura ‘Jo’ Hug

La Grande

Laura “Jo” Hug, 91, of La Grande and formerly of Elgin, died May 20 at her home. Arrangements will be announced later by Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center.



Denise Marie ‘Didi’ Arnold

Formerly of La Grande


Denise Marie “Didi” Arnold, age 61, of Kennewick, Wash., and formerly of La Grande, peacefully lost her battle with breast cancer May 17 at her home with her loving family surrounding her.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center, 1502 Seventh St. in La Grande.

Didi was born on July 12, 1951, the daughter of Edmond and Rosalie (Caron) Gagnon in Lewiston, Maine.

At the age of 23, she moved to Santa Barbara, Calif., where she worked as a waitress and eventually met her future husband, Johnny. They were married June 30, 1979, in Santa Barbara. 

In 1980, they moved to Elgin, where their two sons, Jesse and Simon, were born. In 1986, the family moved to Didi’s hometown of Lewiston, Maine, before returning to La Grande in 1995. She worked as a waitress at Ten Depot Street restaurant for 13 years, where she was affectionately known as “Flo.”

In 2008, she left her position at Ten Depot and moved to Portland to take care of her eldest son, Jesse, as he was waiting for a lung transplant. During this time, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and after successful treatment and surgery was in remission for 4-1/2 years when the cancer returned and was found in September 2012. They moved to Hermiston in 2009 and then to Kennewick in January of this year.

A loving, devoted wife and mother, Didi was also a talented seamstress and did many craft projects, specializing in bags, clothing and jewelry. She sold many of her wares at the La Grande Farmers’ Market. When she wasn’t watching her favorite ABC soap operas snuggled up with her kitties, you could find her out in her beloved vegetable and flower gardens.

Survivors include her husband, Johnny Arnold of Kennewick, Wash.; sons, Jesse Arnold of West Linn and Simon Arnold of Hillsboro; sister, Marge Carter of Poland, Maine; niece, Kathie Samson-Cortes of Lewiston, Maine; and other relatives. She was preceded in death by her parents.



Judy G. (Van Dusen) Wanichek

Formerly of Cove


Judy G. (Van Dusen) Wanichek died May 14 after a long and courageous fight with cancer at Hospice House in Bend, with family and friends surrounding her.

Judy’s celebration of life service was held at Partners in Care, Hospice House in Bend May 18 with Jack Dunaway officiating.  

Judy was born Dec. 2, 1942, in Lebanon to Glenn and Gladys Arnold. She graduated from Lebanon High School and went to work for the Democrat Herald newspaper in Albany. Judy married Vernon VanDusen and they adopted two children, Shelly (Jeff) Fisher and Scott VanDusen of Port Orchard,

Judy moved to Bend and worked for St. Charles Medical Center and later for Jim Wilkens Chiropractic. She married Vincent (Tim) Wanichek in 1999 and became step-mom to Tim’s three children: Teri Taylor of Tacoma, Wash., Janie (Steve) Winner of Haleiwa, Hawaii, and Ron Wanichek (deceased). 

Judy and Tim moved to Cove, and she worked for Grande Ronde Hospital as a pharmacy tech and later retired. 

Judy was preceded in death by her mother, father and husbands, Vernon VanDusen and Ron Wanichek. She is survived by her sister Connie (Don) MacRae, Portland; brother-in-law, Jack (Sharlene) Wanichek, Bend; sister-in-law, Joann Austin, Bend, along with several nieces and nephews. 

She was grandmother to three children. All her grandchildren knew her as “JuJu.”

Judy became so well liked at Grande Ronde Hospital that they used her as a patient on a billboard representing the hospital’s Oncology Department .

Graveside services will take place in Cove later. People can sign the online guest book at

Gifts of remembrance can be made to Hospice House in lieu of flowers in Judy and Tim’s name.