Obituaries for September 11, 2013

By Observer Upload September 11, 2013 10:51 am
Davidson, Palmer, Darrow, Emple, McCrae, Wagner

William F. Davidson


William Francis Davidson, 70, of Elgin, died Monday at his home. A full obituary will be published at a later time. Loveland Funeral Chapel & Crematory will be handling the arrangements.

 Eugene A. ‘Gene’ Palmer

La Grande

Eugene A. “Gene” Palmer, 90, of La Grande, passed away at Grande Ronde Hospital on Tuesday. A full obituary will be available at a later date. Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.

Ellen Darrow



Ellen Tillotson Darrow, of Elgin, 60, died Saturday at her home after battling breast cancer for three years, with her husband and daughters by her side. A private funeral and interment at the Elgin Cemetery with family and close friends is planned. There will be a celebration of life in Elgin and another at her family’s homestead in Wisconsin; dates and details will be announced at a later time.

Ellen was born Aug. 7, 1953. According to her family, she was what some might call a quiet extrovert, subtly providing support, motivation and stability for all around her, yet maintaining a vivacity for life and an ever curious zeal for all that she put her mind to. She enjoyed orchestrating family get-togethers and meals. She was determined and hardworking right up until her death.

Ellen was close to her large extended family living near her ancestral home of Faville Grove in Lake Mills, Wisconsin.

Survivors include her husband, Grant; daughters, Rose and Delia; son and daughter-in-law, Giles and Rachel; father, David Tillotson of Lake Mills, Wisc.; siblings, Tim Tillotson of Wisconsin and Ann Schneider of Baker City; and one grandson.

Online condolences to the family may be made at

 Robert F. Empie

Lewistown, Mont.


Robert Foster Empie, 82, of Lewistown, Mont., died Aug. 25. Cremation has taken place. At his request, there will be no services.

Known as Bob, he was born Sept. 16, 1930, in Globe, Ariz., to Augustus and Katherine Empie. Bob enjoyed hunting and fishing, and playing games of cribbage with anyone who was up to the challenge.

Survivors include his wife, Caryl, of Lewistown; sons, Robert and Brian of Kalispell; daughters and sons-in-law, Terri and Bryan Block of Kalispell, Lynda and Joel Peters of Columbia Falls and Brad and Teresa of Lewistown; and eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Memorials may be made to a charity of choice.

Susan ‘Jill’ McCrae

La Grande


Susan “Jill” McCrae, 54, of La Grande, died at her residence Friday. A celebration of life service will begin at 2 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Faith Center in Island City.

Known as Jill, she was born Sept. 10, 1958, in Enterprise to Keith and Ielene (Kuhn) Searles. She was raised in Enterprise, where she graduated from high school.

Jill was active in volleyball and cheerleading during her high school years. She attended Blue Mountain Community College and earned an associate’s degree in social science. Jill was active in FFA and was chosen as Chief Joseph Rodeo Court Queen.

Jill married Blake McCrae. She was employed at Albertsons and worked as a veterinary technician for the Animal Clinic. She enjoyed caring for animals and spending time with her children and grandchildren. She liked to go swimming and camping and attending church. She especially enjoyed watching her grandchildren play sports.

She was preceded in death by her father, Keith Searles.

Survivors include her children and their spouses, Tadd and Tina McCrae of Dayton, Wash., Amanda and Billy McCrae of La Grande, Goldie McCrae of La Grande and Cody and Kendra McCrae of La Grande; mother, Ielene Searles; siblings and their spouses, Kent Searles and his wife Nancy, Kerry Searles and his wife Vicki and Jolene Searles; and seven grandchildren. 

Memorial donations to help with funeral expenses may be made to Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 4th Street, La Grande 97850.

 Online condolences to the family may be made at www.lovelandfuneralchapelcom.

 Mildred ‘Millie’ Wagner

Baker City


Mildred Irene Wagner, 91, of Baker City, died Sept. 5. Visitation was held Sept. 10. A funeral service will begin at 2 p.m. today at Gray’s West and Co. Pioneer Chapel in Baker City. Graveside services will follow at Mt. Hope Cemetery. Edward Stoaks will officiate. Following the services the Women’s Auxiliary of the VFW Post 3048 will provide a fellowship luncheon at the Baker City VFW hall.

Known as Millie, she was born Jan. 28, 1922, to Lyle and Lizzie (Breshears) Anderson in Sunnyside, Wash., where she lived until her family moved to Ontario when she was 15 years old. She was a member of the Ontario High School class of 1941. 

On Oct. 8, 1945, she married Fred Wagner in Reno, Nev. They lived in Burns from 1945 until moving to Baker in 1959. In Baker she and her husband owned and operated Wagner Brothers Beer Distributing, selling Blitz and Lucky Lager beers. They operated the business until 1969.

Millie was a member of the Baker VFW Post 3048 women’s auxiliary and the Baker City Lady Elks. She was an active volunteer at the Baker Historical Museum. Millie loved socializing and hosting events for her family and friends and was known as the family caregiver.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Fred, on June 25, 1989; and one brother. 

Survivors include her sister, Viola Russel Wagner of Klamath Falls, and 12 nieces and eight nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made in to the VFW auxiliary, the Baker Historical Museum, Heart and Home Hospice or to a charity of choice in care of Gray’s West and Co., 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City 97814.

The Observer publishes free obituaries as a community service. Obituaries are edited to fit news guidelines. Photos are encouraged. Paid space is available for families who would like to include more information.