Obituaries for July 17, 2013

By Observer Upload July 17, 2013 11:47 am
Whipple, Williams, Austin



Rachel Whipple

Formerly of La Grande and Elgin

Rachel Indlee (Thomas) Whipple, born Feb. 2, 1932, in La Grande, died July 7, 2013, in Kennewick, Wash. A celebration of life, graveside service and potluck will be announced later. 



Charles ‘Chuck’ J. Williams


Charles “Chuck” J. Williams, 76, of Elgin, died Tuesday at Grande Ronde Hospital. A full obituary will be published later.  A celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Elgin Stampede Hall with a reception to follow. The family requests that the dress be casual. Loveland Funeral Chapel and Crematory is in charge of arrangements.  



Richard ‘Dick’ David Austin



Richard “Dick” David Austin, 78, of Cove, died at his home with his family by his side on July 11. A celebration of life service will be held at Cove Sportsmans Club in Cove at 10 a.m. Saturday.  

Richard was born on April 22, 1935, in Berkley, Mich., to John Thomas and Sally Tina (Shadko) Austin. Richard attended elementary and high school in Berkley. He served his country while in the U.S. Army National Guard and Reserves for eight years. The G.I. Bill from his military service enabled him to earn his master’s degree in agronomy from Montana State University.

Richard married Luanna May Page in August 1958. They divorced in 1989.  He then married Karla Kay Peters on Sept. 3, 1993.

Richard was employed as a smoke jumper for the Forest Service from 1953 to 1959, with his final jump in West Yellowstone, Wyo.  

Following college graduation, he became the vo-ag teacher in Plevna, Mont., and Bridger, Mont. Richard then worked for the State of Washington Highway Department as a landscape architect and later returned to the profession he most loved, teaching. Dick retired in 1995, after 24 years as the horticulture instructor at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, Wash.

Richard enjoyed gardening, landscaping and woodworking. He was actively involved with the Oregon Rural Action, Cove Food Pantry and the Oregon Native Plant Society. Richard enjoyed creating his own patch of green in the high desert of Eastern Oregon, both in Joseph and in Cove.

Surviving members include his three children, Ian Austin of Missoula, Mont., Dan Austin of Olympia and Christina and her spouse, Bob Airhart, of Crawfordville, Fla., along with 10 nieces and nephews; inlaws, Rita Kidder and family; Brian Peters and family; Laura Thompson and family; Marvin and Marion Peters; and Shelly, Jesse and Bradley Austin.

Richard was preceded in death by his wife, Karla; Luanna Page Austin; brothers, John and Jim Austin; and parents, John and Sally Austin. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Cove Food Pantry or La Grande Habitat for Humanity,  in care of Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., La Grande OR 97850.

Online condolences to the family may be made at