Obituaries for May 24, 2013

By Observer Upload May 24, 2013 09:33 am
Collins, Thornhill, Stillman



Jewell Dean Collins

La Grande


Jewell Dean Collins, 85, of La Grande, died May 20 at a local care facility. 

A graveside service for family and friends will be announced at a later date by Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center.

Jewell was born on May 29, 1927, the daughter of Paul A. and Bertie L. (McCulley) Farmer in Dunlap, Tenn. As a young girl, she helped her father on their farm milking cows and putting up hay from their fields and was known as “Dad’s Tomboy.”

In high school, she was in 4-H clubs of crafts, sewing and needlework and was also in the Latin Club. 

She was married to Marshall Collins for 18 years, and they had two sons together. The family logged in Dunlap, and logging brought them out west in 1955 when they moved to La Grande from Monterey, Tenn. She was a bookkeeper, was a member of the Credit Women’s Breakfast Club, was a lifetime member of Eastern Star Chapter No. 13 and was a Den Mother for Cub Scouts. She enjoyed working with ceramics. 

In 1979, she moved to Huntsville, Ala. After the death of her mother and oldest son, Steven Collins, she moved back to La Grande in 1997. She enjoyed plants and gardening. She never lost her Southern drawl and had a unique laugh that was recognized by anyone who knew her.

Survivors include her son, Alan Collins of La Grande; six grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and other relatives. She was preceded in death by sisters, Maxine Dunn and Ann Bilbrey.



Anita Louise Thornhill

La Grande


Anita Louise Thornhill, 69, of La Grande, died at her residence on May 22. No services are planned at this time. Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.

Louise was born June 20, 1943, in Portland to Leo Nelson and Geneva Lillian (Gillis) LeVasseur. She was raised in Portland, where she attended Madison High School. 

She also lived in Cottage Grove and Springfield before moving to La Grande two years ago to be near her sister, Rosie.

Louise was married to Forest Thornhill, who died in 2000. Louise was a caregiver her entire life. She became a Certified Nurse Assistant and served in nursing homes. Her greatest achievement, however, was raising two children. Louise enjoyed reading and needlepoint. 

She had a great love and care for animals.

Louise is survived by two children, Joe Dixon of Springfield and Carol Bryant of Shallowater, Texas; two stepchildren; three sisters, Bonita B. McConnel of Portland; Rose (Henry) Boyd of Elgin; Audrey Clinton of Vancouver, Wash.; and two grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Forest; her parents, Leo and Geneva; and her sister, Lillian Sasser.

Online condolences to the family may be made at



Virginia Rae Stillman

Formerly of Imbler


Virginia R. Stillman, 81, of Heppner died May 20 at Good Shepherd Hospital in Hermiston. A graveside service will be held 1 p.m. Saturday at the Elgin Cemetery.  

She was born May 24, 1931, at Pumpkin Ridge near Imbler, the daughter of Harry and Lois Coffin Barton. She was raised and attended school at Imbler where she graduated from high school in 1949.

On May 30, 1949 she married George Stillman at Walla Walla.  The couple lived in Ione for a time then moving to Condon and Klamath Falls before settling in Heppner in 1952.  

She enjoyed horses, gardening, taxidermy, hunting and woodcarving.

Survivors include sons; Randy Stillman his wife Barbara of Boring, Beryl Stillman and his wife, Susie of Lexington, 17 grandchildren and 32 great grandchildren.  

She was preceded in death by her husband, George; son, Rory; and daughter Rebecca Harshman.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Morrow County Museum, PO Box 515, Heppner, Oregon 97836 

Sweeney Mortuary of Heppner is in charge of arrangements.