Rene C. (Roberts) Stevens

La Grande


Rene Cheer (Roberts) Stevens, 90, of North Powder, died March 9. A graveside service will begin at 11 a.m. March 18 at Grandview Cemetery in La Grande. On April 6, a memorial service will be held at the Summerville Baptist Church at 2 p.m.

Rene was born April 1, 1928, in North Wales, to Sidney Cheer and Elizabeth Daisy Roberts. She spent her formative years among a lively, fun-loving and caring extended family.

In 1938, the family moved to Canada. She came to know the Lord as a teenager, and her faith remained the center of her life. After high school, Rene received a degree in Christian education from London Bible College. She then enrolled in nurses training in England. While there, she met a Cyril A. Stevens, a Londoner, at a Bible study. In 1954, after receiving her state registered nurse status, Rene and Cyril were married in England.

Rene and Cyril served in a church in London for a year and then moved to Buckinghamshire, where Cyril became pastor of Newtown Baptist Church. Throughout the years, Cyril pastored churches and preached in England, Canada and the United States. His partner in ministry, Rene led ladies’ Bible studies and children’s classes and provided many meals and nights of lodging to those who needed it. She also worked as a nurse in many of the places they lived and cared for their children — Sharon, Paul, and Judith — plus sewed, knit and embroidered clothing and household accessories. She was a true example of industriousness and hospitality.

In 1972, Cyril and Rene moved to La Grande to pastor the First Baptist Church. Toward the end of 1978, they moved to California, where Rene worked as a nurse at a doctor’s private practice. In 1988, Cyril and Rene returned to Oregon, pastoring in Molalla and Christmas Valley.

Cyril died May 26, 2016, after a short battle with cancer. Recently diagnosed with multifocal motor neuropathy, Rene lived with Paul in Cove and later with Sharon in North Powder. She spent her last days in a La Grande care home whe she continued “sharing cheer” until the end.

Survivors include her children and their spouses, Sharon and Lyle Umpleby of North Powder, Paul and Joyce Stevens of Payette, Idaho, and Judith and Gene Heckenberg of Algonquin, Illinois; 10 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; five nieces and nephews; and cousins, Glenys and Gill.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sister, Cora Tull; and husband, Cyril Stevens.

Memorial donations may be made to The Gideons in care of Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway 97834.

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Paula G. (Neill) Gerlinger

Formerly of La Grande


Paula Gaye Gerlinger, 48, of Forest Grove and formerly of La Grande, died March 9 at the OHSU Tuality Community Hospital in Hillsboro. A celebration of her life was held March 16 at the Assembly of God Church in Forest Grove.

Paula was born May 6, 1970, to Larry and Patricia (Parrent) Neill. She was raised in La Grande and graduated from La Grande High School Class in 1988. Paula was an avid and accomplished athlete and played softball in high school. She passed her athletic passion and ability on to both of her daughters.

In addition to attending business college in Washington, Paula went to Eastern Oregon University, where she met her future husband, James “Jim” Gerlinger. After dating for two years, Paula and Jim were married in La Grande on Dec. 3, 1994. During the nearly 25 years that followed, Paula and Jim moved to Forest Grove and raised two daughters — Riley and Karlie.

Paula worked for Wells Fargo Bank in Forest Grove for two years and then became an instructional assistant in the Forest Grove School District, primarily at Tom McCall Middle School. Each student she worked with both benefitted and learned from Paula’s strong sense of self, generosity of spirit, patience and humility. It was these same qualities Paula consistently modeled for Jim, Riley and Karlie.

Paula cherished quality time with her family over all else. She was her daughters’ No. 1 sports fan and watched countless hours of soccer, softball, basketball and volleyball. Perhaps born of her days as an athlete, Paula was obsessed with her Nike shoes, a passion she shared with her daughters. She also enjoyed family road trips, camping, visiting the Oregon Coast, interior design, art, crafting and creating photo albums to store her most treasured memories of her family.

Survivors include her husband, Jim; daughters, Riley Gerlinger and companion, Jacob Urbach, of San Francisco and Karlie Gerlinger of Forest Grove; siblings and spouses, Larry and Angela Neill of La Grande, Trisha and Jim Chatfield of La Grande and Lonnie and Ginger Neill of Boise, Idaho; in-laws, Ted and Carol Gerlinger of Forest Grove; and five nephews, one niece and three great-nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents and a brother-in-law, Todd Gerlinger.

Robert L. Bullock

Formerly of Cove


Robert L. (Bob) Bullock, 91, formerly of Cove, died March 1 at his granddaughter’s home in Santa Maria, California. A private service will held.

Known as Bob, he was born Aug. 31, 1927. He worked as a cowboy on many ranches in California, Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Later on he raised hogs, chickens and his own cattle. Getting into the food service industry, Bob started with buying a small company in the San Luis Obispo area called PMK and later Glenn Webb and Company (Glencoe), which he then sold to Sysco Foods. After retiring, Bob returned to his first love, being a cowboy, and ran a pack string in the Sierras, Central Coast and Northeast Oregon.

During World War II, Bob enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard and served in the major theaters of war with the Transportation Command on the General H. F. Hodges (AP 144). In recognition of his service, Bob was escorted to the WWII monument in Washington, D.C., by his two sons on an Honor Flight with other veterans.

Survivors include his wife, Shirley Bullock; sons and daughters-in-law, Robert and Rosemarie Bullock and Rickey and Christine Bullock; stepchildren and their spouses, Sally and Bob Byard, Scott and Maggie Moore, Gail and Ernie Grubb and Dale and Kelly Moore; and two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Laura.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Dignity Health Hospice of Santa Maria or Honor Flight of the Central Coast.

Karen R. (Porter) Frentress



Karen Rae Frentress, 76, of Enterprise, died March 13. At her request, there will not be a service.

Karen was born March 3, 1943, in Portland, to Comer Charles and Kathryn (McConnell) Porter. Her family moved to Clackamas, where she graduated from Clackamas Elementary School and continued with the same classmates to Clackamas High School, being in the school’s first class to attend four years and graduate.

In 1960, Karen married Darrel Frentress and had three children. The marriage ended in 1964, but the two ran a successful interstate trucking business that fulfilled Karen’s dream of sending her children to college. In addition to her career in bookkeeping and dispatching, Karen coached her daughter’s All-Star softball team and served as a Boy Scout den mother and Girl Scout leader.

After caring for her parents until their deaths, Karen was able to add a chapter to her own life. A lover of the outdoors, nature and family, she moved to Wallowa County to run a small farm, be near her daughters and be a part of grandchildren’s lives. In Enterprise, Karen enjoyed being a caretaker of and spending time with her beloved grandchildren. She also became involved in 4-H.

Always a champion of animals, Karen filled her hours with horses, goats, dogs and other small animals. She was also an avid gardener with a beautiful yard full of flowers, trees and plants.

Beema, as she was known to her family and friends, loved books and birds, little children and living creatures, music, red licorice and popcorn.

Survivors include her children and their spouses, Julie and Ed Gomes, Jim Frentress, and Jennifer Frentress and Guillaume Gendre; cousin, Kathy Mendenhall; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren and one on the way.

Memorial donations may be be made to the Wallowa County Humane Society, P.O. Box 565, Enterprise 97828.

Online condolences may be made to the family at