Obituaries for August 19, 2013

By Observer Upload August 19, 2013 10:45 am
Evens, Cleveland, Short, Savage, Pierson, Anderson

Helen Evens

La Grande

Helen Evens, 91, of La Grande, died Sunday at a local care facility. Arrangements will be announced later by Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center.

 Deborah Cleveland

La Grande

Deborah Cleveland, 60, of La Grande, died Aug. 16 at Grande Ronde Hospital. Arrangements will be announced later by Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center.

 Steven Allen Short

La Grande

Steven Allen Short, 56, La Grande, died Sunday at a local care facility. A full obituary will be published later. Loveland Funeral Chapel & Crematory will be handling the arrangements.


Lorence ‘Doc’ Savage

La Grande


Well-known beloved coach, teacher and former Union County commissioner and orchardist Lorence “Doc” Savage left his family and numerous friends when he died at his residence on Aug. 17.

In 1933, Doc was born into a large family in St. Francis, Kan., to R.M. and Blanche Savage, who migrated during the Dust Bowl catastrophe to Ontario, where the family settled. Doc became a popular student and outstanding football and track athlete, graduating in 1951.

He continued his education at Eastern Oregon College and was named “Outstanding Football Player” three years running in the 1950s. Doc received the Eastern Oregon University “Athletic Alumnus Award” in 1992.

Doc’s teaching and coaching career began in Elgin in 1956 and continued in Redmond for 10 years until 1967, when he returned to La Grande as head football and track coach and taught many students political and behavioral science.

Doc turned the football program around and led the team to many winning seasons, including the state football championship in 1974. He retired in 1988, but continued his connection to the community by serving as Union County commissioner for two terms, spearheading the building of the Chaplin Building, which houses the county clerk, assessor and planner offices. He also instigated changing the county court from a judgeship to a three-member commission system and headed the Union County Planning Committees for several years.

Doc was also able to fulfill a lifelong desire to farm by establishing a successful fruit orchard, providing many in the valley with peaches, apples and cherries from his home at the base of Mount Emily.

In 1989, he married Mickey Corbat, whom he lured from Corvallis, where she managed health care at a large clinic, to Eastern Oregon, where she had a successful varied nursing career for many years.

Doc kept in touch with and retained interest in all of his former students and colleagues to the point that store and restaurant visits often became long social events where he and friends would enjoy discussing many memories. Many people wanted to tell him how much he had added to their lives as an unusually kind, generous, competent and compassionate human being.

In 2004, there was a surprise reunion of the 1974 state champion football team. Members came from many miles and states far away to honor Doc and present him with a trophy naming him as “Coach of the Century.” Doc, who was well known for his quiet modesty, was pleased and overcome.

Surviving “Doc” (so named by Eastern Oregon College coach Roy Tatum after a 1950s paperback here, “Doc Savage — Man of Bronze”) are his wife, Mickey of La Grande; son, Daniel Savage of Portland; son, David Savage of San Diego; brother, Vance Savage and his wife, Jill, of Omaha, Neb.; stepsons, Steve and Jon Tracy and their families of Michigan; and three grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents and seven siblings.

His request was for no funeral services. Loveland Funeral Chapel is handling the final arrangements.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association in care of Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., La Grande OR 97850. 

Online condolences to the family may be made at 


Elenor Jane Pierson

Formerly of La Grande


Elenor Jane Pierson, 86, died Aug. 12, at her home in Salem. 

Viewing will be held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday at Howell, Edwards, Doerksen with Rigdon-Ransom Funeral Home in Salem. A graveside service will begin at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Summerville Cemetery.

Elenor was born Aug. 31, 1926, to Ray H. and Mary (Ruckman) Hayes in
La Grande. She grew up in Northeast Oregon, living in the Imbler area of the Grande Ronde Valley and the Wolf Creek area near North Powder. She graduated from North Powder High School in 1944 and from Eastern Oregon College of Education (now Eastern Oregon University) in 1948.

On July 24, 1948, Elenor married Dale W. Pierson. They moved to Salem shortly after their marriage and lived there the rest of their lives. Elenor was an elementary school teacher and spent more
than 40 years teaching in several Salem area schools, eventually retiring from Grant Elementary.

Elenor had a dry wit and strong sense of humor, which she retained until the end. She enjoyed music, reading and animals.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Dale, in 2006. Survivors include her cousin, Mary Bennett of Lincoln City as well as several other cousins. Memorial contributions may be made to the giver’s local Humane Society.

 Christine (Chris) Anderson



Christine (Chris) Anderson died Aug. 14 at the Wallowa Senior Living Center. A celebration of life and picnic will be held at Buckhorn Lookout at 

4 p.m. Saturday. 

Chris was born on Jan. 26, 1923, in New York City to Henry Johnson and Helen Enquist. She grew up in suburbs of New York City and spent summers traveling the United States with her mother and father, who was a professor of education at Columbia University. 

Chris graduated from Vassar College. After college, she worked as an accountant for several businesses including Price Waterhouse on Wall Street and learned how to fly a J-3 Cub airplane.

 The summer of 1954 she traveled to Colorado and joined a trail ride in the mountains out of Maroon Bells Colorado. On this ride, she met and fell in love with a wrangler named Johnny Anderson. They were married in Merrimack, N.Y., on Dec. 27, 1954. Chris left the bright lights of New York City and moved to the wilds of Colorado, living in cow camps near Gypsum, Colo., where she cooked and canned on wood cook stoves and packed water from nearby creeks. 

Her four children — Kris, John, Peggy, and Bob — were born in Glenwood Springs, Colo. In 1962, the family moved to Oregon, living at Fence Creek, Indian Village, Marr Flat and Mahogany cow camps. Chris home schooled her children each fall until the snow got too deep in the high country, at which time they moved to winter quarters near Imnaha and her children attended the Bridge school.

 In 1965, the family moved to Liberty Road near Joseph and Chris worked as a secretary at the Joseph Grade School and tutored children in math and reading. In 1973, they bought their home on McCully
Creek. Johnny died on Dec. 18, 1977. 

Chris returned to college at Eastern Oregon State College and received her master’s degree in elementary education. Her first teaching job was in the one-room schoolhouse at Imnaha, where her children attended earlier. In 1981, Chris moved to bush Alaska and taught elementary grades in Good News Bay, Toksook Bay and Kasilik. 

She retired after 12 years of teaching and returned to Joseph to the home she had build on the west side of Wallowa Lake.

 While sipping coffee on the deck overlooking Wallowa Lake, she came across an article in Travel Tips, a travel magazine, about being a passenger on freighter trips. Chris spent the next five years traveling around the world on freighters and on one trip went around the horn of Africa.

Her final years were spent writing her memoirs, attending Fishtrap events and writing with her many friends in the writers group known as the “Write Group.” 

She is known for her adventurous spirit and determination in giving all children the best education possible. 

Chris is survived by her brother, Eric Johnson and wife Lillian of Santa Ana, Calif.; and her children, Kris Fraser and husband Chuck of Joseph, John Anderson of Joseph; Peggy Kite Martin of Joseph  and Bob Anderson of Buena Vista, Colo..; seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. 

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Johnny, and son in law Marty Kite.

Donations in her memory may be made to Imnaha Scholarship Fund in care of Jean Cook.