McMahan, Gertrude Fay Hancock – Obituary

Discover your
family's story.

Enter a grandparent's name to get started.

choose a state:
Start Now

La Grande, Oregon

Gertrude Fay (Hancock) McMahan, 95, of La Grande, died Feb. 27 at a local care home. Viewing will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Daniels Chapel of the Valley. A celebration of life is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at the Faith Center, 10300 South D St., in Island City. A private burial service will take place at a later date at the Oddfellows Cemetery in Council, Idaho.

Gertrude was born Sept. 5, 1911, to James and Ora Hancock on a homestead in Indian Valley, Idaho.

She went to high school in Council, where she met Lester George McMahan. On Oct. 24, 1931, she and Lester — along with Lester’s sister, Mildred, and Gertrude’s brother, Joe Hancock — eloped to Vale. The foursome remained the best of friends throughout their lives and celebrated 65 anniversaries together.

The couple lived for some time in Council, where they had four children.

After the family moved to La Grande, two more children were born.

The McMahans operated a creamery together in the Council area until Lester went to work for the Union Pacific Railroad in 1942 in Payette, Idaho. The UPRR job took the family to Huntington and then to La Grande in the fall of 1945 at the end of World War II. In La Grande they served in the Ground Observer Corps, spotting and identifying aircraft from atop the Sacajawea Hotel.

Lester suffered a severe stroke in 1974, and Gertrude was his faithful caregiver for more than 25 years until he died in 1999. She will always be remembered for being selflessly devoted to her husband and children.

Gertrude was a lifetime member of the Eagles, and she bowled on the Eagles’ team for many years. She participated in the Women’s National Bowling Tournament for more than 20 years, traveling all over the United States, accompanied by Lester on many of the trips.

She was an avid gardener and spent many summer afternoons in her kitchen, canning vegetables and fruit. She enjoyed crocheting and embroidering gifts.

Survivors include her children and their spouses, Phyllis and Larry Mardis of Elgin, Lyle and Sharlee McMahan of Edmonds, Wash., and Dr. Jim and Rita McMahan of La Grande; sister-in-law, Lillian Mortensen of St. George, Utah; 15 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren; and numerous other relatives. She was preceded in death by three sisters; two brothers; her husband; a daughter, Beverly, died in 1990, and two infant children, Sandra and John.

Memorials may be made to the Grande Ronde Hospital Hospice in care of Daniels Chapel of the Valley, 1502 Seventh Street, La Grande.

The Observer – Obituaries for the week ending Mar. 3, 2007 Published: March 3, 2007

MLA Source Citation:

White, Judy Wallis. Union County, Oregon Obituaries. Published by Copyright 1999-2013, all rights reserved. Web. 26 January 2015. - Last updated on Nov 10th, 2011

Categories: ,
Locations: , , , , ,

Contribute to the Conversation!

Our "rules" are simple. Keep the conversation on subject and mind your manners! If this is your first time posting, we do moderate comments before we let them appear... so give us a while to get to them. Once we get to know you here, we'll remove that requirement.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Newsletter Signup

We currently provide two newsletters. Why not take both for a run?

Genealogy Update: We send out this newsletter whenever we feature a new, or significantly updated, collection or database on our website.

Circle of Nations: We send out this newsletter whenever we feature a new (or significantly updated) Native American collection or database on our website.

Once you've clicked on the Subscribe button above you'll receive an email from us requesting confirmation. You must confirm the email before you will be able to receive any newsletter.

Connect With Us!

Pin It on Pinterest


Share This

Share this post with your friends!