Obituaries for June 5, 2013

By Observer Upload June 05, 2013 11:00 am
Coe, Nave, Phifer, Simonis

Kenneth Dale ‘Kenny’ Coe



Kenneth Dale (Kenny) Coe, 70, of Elgin, died May 31 at home surrounded by his family. 

A viewing will be at Loveland Funeral Chapel from
5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. Services will be at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Elgin Mormon Church. Graveside services will follow at the Summerville Cemetery. Following graveside services there will be a dinner at the Elgin Stampede Hall. 

He was born Sept. 28, 1942, in La Grande to Harsley Andrew Coe and Lee Ellen Breshears-Coe. He attended school in Elgin, graduating in 1960. He played basketball and was student body president. 

Kenny married Eulenna Cheryl Corley May 2, 1970. They were the first to be married at the new Elgin Christian Church. They welcomed a daughter, Melissa Coe, and lived in Redmond. He worked at a pumice quarry for a year before returning to Elgin.  

There, he leased the Husky Service Station for a few years. In 1973, they had a son who didn’t survive. The following year, they welcomed a daughter, Carmen. That year he also purchased equipment to start his own business; they also had rental property. 

He worked for Boise Cascade in the log yard for 10 years; he was laid off every winter and worked for the Oregon Department of Transportation plowing snow. He also used his backhoe to plow out the neighborhood.  

He enjoyed helping people in the community. 

They purchased Consolo’s Pizza Parlor, and after the closure of the business he became a heavy equipment operator. He later purchased his own heavy equipment, gaining his general contractor’s license and starting KC Coe Construction. He enjoyed building ponds, roads, stream restoration, preserving nature and running his equipment. He was a master with his machinery and meticulous that every job be cleaned up properly and left better than when he started. He continued to work until 2011 when he suffered a spinal cord stroke that prevented him from driving.   

He was a member of the Lions Club, Elgin Fire Department, Eagles, Elgin Stampeders and was in the National Guard.

He loved spending time with his family. He enjoyed nature and the outdoors, oil painting and colored pencil drawings. 

He enjoyed going to the mountains for huckleberries and mushrooms with his family, fishing, hunting, camping, photography,
landscaping and stream preservation.  

He had a great sense of humor, enjoyed giving people a bad time and had an infectious laugh.  

He is survived by his wife, Eulenna Cheryl Coe; daughters, Melissa Coe; Carmen Gentry and fiancé Mike Pearson; six grandchildren; four great-grandchildren and four nieces.  

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Nathan Coe; and his son, Baby Coe. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the Elgin Fire Department “Operation Santa” in care of Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508
Fourth St., La Grande OR 97850.

Online condolences to the family may be made at



Veda June Nave

Formerly of La Grande, Union


Veda June Nave, 87 of Heppner died June 1 at the Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Heppner. 

She was born on June 9, 1925, in Cyclone, Mo. Veda dedicated 40 years to the care of the sick and elderly, first in Union and La Grande and for the last 16 years in Morrow County, where Veda worked at Pioneer Memorial Hospital for the Morrow County Home Health Care Program. 

Veda’s compassion and nursing skills touched many lives. In 2003, Veda was honored by the Oregon Association of Home Care as Oregon’s Home Health Aid of the Year. Veda worked in nursing and volunteered for hospice until the age of 82, when her children convinced her to retire and enjoy a little traveling.

Veda was preceded in death by her husband, Ralph Nave, and mother, Opal Green. Veda is survived by her 10 loving children, their spouses, three generations of grandchildren, two sisters and one brother.

At her request, there will be no public service. Disposition was by cremation.

Veda’s life will be celebrated by her loved ones in a private service.

Memorials may be made to the Pioneer Memorial Hospice, P.O. Box 9, Heppner OR 97836.

Sign the condolence book at

Burns Mortuary of Hermiston is in care of arrangements. 

 Charles Wayne ‘Chuck’ Phifer

La Grande


Charles Wayne “Chuck” Phifer, 66, of La Grande, died at Grande Ronde Hospital May 24 from complications of diabetes. At Chuck’s request, there will be no services. Loveland Funeral 

Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.

Chuck was born March 31, 1947, in Lexington, Neb., to Ralph and Mary Arlene (Line) Phifer. He was raised in Nebraska until his family moved to
La Grande, where he graduated from La Grande High School. He attended Eastern Oregon University and Culinary School in San Francisco. 

Chuck lived in many places throughout his life, including Eugene; Albuquerque, N.M.; San Francisco; and
La Grande. He was a restaurant owner and chef. 

While living in San Francisco, Chuck received several awards for excellence as a chef. He has had many of his recipes published in magazines and cookbooks. 

Chuck was a good friend
to many and loved by his family.

Surviving are three siblings and their spouses, Claudine and Larry Nice of La Grande; Roger and Peggy Phifer of Eugene; and Dale and Sandy Phifer of Bend; his aunt and uncle, Jim and Betty Phifer of Bandon; and Max, his dog, one of his best friends.

Chuck was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Arlene Phifer.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Charles Phifer Memorial Fund, in care of Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., La Grande OR 97850.

Online condolences to the family may be made to

Darleen Simonis

La Grande


Darleen Simonis, 81, of La Grande, died May 28 at her home. A celebration of life took place Sunday at Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center, 1502 Seventh St. in La Grande.

Darleen was born on Oct. 25, 1931, the daughter of Lee and Elsie Marie (Boness) McLaughlin, in Alliance, Neb. When she was 14, the family moved to Oregon and she graduated from Imbler High School in 1949. 

On May 11, 1949, she married George Raymond Simonis. She was a dedicated wife, mother and grandmother and was a hard working farmer alongside her husband.  

She enjoyed gardening, her flowers, canning, animals of all kinds and wildlife.  She worked at the voting site at Hot Lake for many years and was a longtime blood donor.

Survivors include her children, Sandra “Jeanne” Simonis of Walla Walla, Susan and Bill Thomas of Union and Janet Stowell of La Grande; siblings, Kate Cochran of
La Grande, Gerry Marcum of La Grande, Ed McLaughlin of Twin Falls, Idaho, Linda Timmons of Newberg and Connie Leavitt of Salem; nine grandchildren; 25 great-grandchildren and another on the way; and other

She was preceded in death by an infant daughter, Nancy Lee Simonis in 1950, her husband on Dec. 5, 2011, and siblings, Marge Riggs and Howard, Lee and Ivan McLaughlin.

Contributions may be made in her memory to the Shriner’s Hospital for Children, 3101 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland
OR 97239, or Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, 1121 S.W. Salmon No. 100, Portland OR 97205-7058.