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Kovach, Florian Michael – Obituary

Dr. Florian Michael “Jeff” Kovach, 87, of La Grande, died Oct. 12 at a local care center. A celebration of life will be planned for sometime in the spring. The announcement will be published later. He was born on July 3, 1920, to Michael and Elizabeth (Farkas) Kovach in Tacoma, Wash. He graduated from Washington State University with a degree in veterinary medicine and served with the Air Force in Korea. In 1946 he moved to the Grande Ronde Valley as the county’s first professional veterinarian and opened the Animal Health Center on Island City strip. On Aug. 30, 1948, he married Ruthe Dusenberry from Halsey in La Grande, initially living above the original clinic. He took care of large and small animals throughout the county, and was known by many. He later built a new clinic in Island City proper and loved his work there. He retired in 1987. In retirement, he enjoyed gardening and spent many hours growing a large garden and lots of flowers. He enjoyed fishing, especially with his pals, Joe Fredricks, Dick Crawford and many others. He was preceded in death by his wife, Ruthe Kovach. Survivors include his children and their spouses, Florian Michael Kovach Jr. of Florida, Peter Anthony and his wife, Rebecca Kovach, of Eugene, Rebecca Jo and her husband, Mark Sullivan, of La Grande and Nicholas Lee and his wife, Jan Kovach of Bellevue, Wash.; brother, Arnold Kovach of Fircrest, Wash.; three granddaughters; and other relatives. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions be made to the Blue Mountain Humane Association in care of Daniels Chapel of...

Heitz, John Ray – Obituary

John Ray Heitz, 67, of Island City, died at his home Sept. 28 from mesothelioma. Funeral services will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Island City. A viewing will precede the service beginning at 9 a.m. John was born Sept. 7, 1940, to John Helmic and Vera W. Heitz in Chicago. At 2, his family moved to Fruitland, Idaho, where they eventually acquired a small farm. John learned to work as he attended school. He hoed beets, picked fruit, worked at the cannery and graduated from high school. He also learned carpentry. After graduation in 1958, John joined the Air National Guard where he worked as an airplane electrician. On his way to basic training at San Antonio, the plane’s wings iced up while flying over the Texas panhandle. The plane went down and killed two of the crew. After John spent a week in the hospital, he no longer dreamed of being a pilot. After graduating from basic training he returned home to begin dairy farming in New Plymouth, Idaho. He married Kay Kelly on Aug. 5, 1960. They lived on the dairy farm for the first 11 years of their marriage. Health issues forced John out of farming and back into construction full-time. He fell in love with the Grande Ronde Valley at first sight and moved his family there 34 years ago. He pursued hobbies and interests such as hunting, cutting wood, making knives, black powder shooting, gardening, motorcycles and bow hunting. John fulfilled one of his dreams by building their family home on Mt. Emily with...

Jones, Charlotte – Obituary

Island City, Oregon Charlotte Jones, 91, of Island City, died Nov. 20 at her home. A funeral service will begin at 2 p.m. Monday at Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center, 1502 Seventh St. Private interment will be held at the Grandview Cemetery. Mrs. Jones was born on Aug. 17, 1916, the daughter of Clyde and Julia (Knapp) Leonard in Kent, Ohio. She was a Salvation Army officer and worked in the Salvation Army Home and Hospital. After her marriage to Wesley Jones in 1951, she was employed as a nurse for the Grande Ronde Hospital for many years and then moved to Pendleton where she also worked in a hospital. Her husband preceded her in death in 1981. Mrs. Jones was an active member of the New Life Center, and as illness came into her life, the members of the church were gracious to help her and to visit her. She loved to read and to crochet, making dresses, tablecloths, doilies and bedspreads. She enjoyed making bread and candy and doing embroidery work. Those who knew her said she was a quiet person who never complained. Survivors include her niece, Anna Carol Keele of Milwaukie; twin nephews, Jay Leonard of Elgin and Joe Leonard of La Grande; nephew, Dennis Winn of La Grande; niece, Charlene Snider of Island City; good friends, Rev. and Mrs. Denny of Pendleton; and other relatives. She was preceded in death by her brother, Clyde Arthur Leonard; sister, Corabelle Winn and 13-year-old nephew, Duane Winn. Memorial contributions may be made to the Salvation Army. La Grande Observer – Obituaries for the week ending...

Bruce, Braddie May – Obituary

Braddie May Bruce, 79, of Island City, died Jan. 11 at a local care center. A service will be held later in Canyon City. Braddie was born Jan. 26, 1928, to Clyde Willis and Grace Irene (Herburger) Laughlin in Prairie City. She was raised in Dayville and graduated from high school there. On Jan. 12, 1947, she married Ralph Bruce in Canyon City. She worked as a school secretary in Canyon City, Ukiah and John Day. For several years they lived in Fairbanks, Alaska, where she worked for the Episcopal bishop and for a co-op drug company. In her younger years she was a Rainbow girl and then a member of Eastern Star, of which she was a past worthy matron. She was an active member of the Canyon City Episcopal Church and a 4-H leader in the 1960s. In more recent years, Ralph and Braddie spent their winters in Arizona and visited family in San Diego. She loved to dance, square dance, sing in church and go on picnics. She enjoyed people, cooking and playing cards. Survivors include her husband, Ralph of Island City; children, Sandra Rysdam of Elgin, Craig Bruce of Bend and Sheila Bruce of Bend; brother, Willis Laughlin of San Diego; two grandchildren in La Grande and Elgin; two step-grandchildren in Portland and Bend; two great-grandchildren; and other relatives. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association in care of Daniels-Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center, 1502 Seventh St., La Grande. La Grande Observer – Obituaries For The Week Ending January 19, 2008 – Published Jan. 15,...

Coy, Glendolla Jacqueline – Obituary

La Grande, Oregon Glendolla Jacqueline “Jackie” Coy, 78, of La Grande, died Jan. 3 at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland. A celebration of her life will begin at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 20 at “The Place,” 62872 Buchanan Lane, in Island City. Jackie was born July 12, 1929, to George Earl and Ida Mae McDanell in Tulsa, Okla. The family traveled quite a bit, often living in rustic conditions. Jackie was the oldest of four siblings. She would tell stories of how she and her two sisters and brother would hunt or fish for the evening meal, pick greens, fruit, nuts and if luck had it they would find berries for supper. Her personal favorite was blackberries. She washed clothes in creeks and did not have indoor plumbing many times in her earlier years. Over the years she worked at Woolworths, a dog food factory and dry cleaners. In January 1952 she married Frank Coy. They were married for 38 years before he died of heart and kidney failure. Shortly after, she moved to La Grande where she made her home. Those who knew her say Jackie loved people and loved to play with kids and have lots of sleepovers, barbecues and tea parties. She also loved to fish and her eyes always lit up when she saw a big catfish. Camping with Jackie was an event. She had a way of making a campsite a home with extravagant, mouthwatering meals. She was active in her church and mothered many. She formed a small group of older ladies who would visit even older ladies who were shut away. They...

Stickney, Genevieve Blanche – Obituary

La Grande, Oregon Genevieve Blanche “Jean” Stickney, 90, of La Grande, died April 1 at the Grande Ronde Hospital. A graveside service will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Island City Cemetery. Friends may call Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. at Daniels-Knopp, Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center. Jean was born on Aug. 26, 1917, to Charles “Bob” and Anna Gertrude Reasland Heisner in Hazard, Neb. On Dec. 3, 1935, she married Wayne Rufus Stickney and they moved to Imbler in 1936. After a year they moved to La Grande. Jean enjoyed fishing, gardening, quilting and cooking. She loved spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Survivors include her son and daughter-in-law, Duane and Betty Stickney of Hermiston; daughter and son-in-law, Sharon and Lee Snyder of La Grande; and daughter and her companion, Velva Richardson and Rich Good, of La Grande; siblings and their spouses, Charles and Betty Heisner of Kamloops, B.C., Canada, and Donna and Don Anderson of Salt Lake City; 12 grandchildren; 28 great-grandchildren; 15 great-great-grandchildren; and other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband of 44 years, Wayne; and a great-granddaughter, Genevieve Louise Powell. The family suggests that memorial contributions be made to the Shriners Hospital, 3101 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd., Portland 97239-3009. The Observer – Obituaries for the week ending April 5, 2008 – Published April 3,...

Asemissen, Maurice D. – Obituary

Island City, Oregon Maurice D. “Ozzie” Asemissen, 82, died March 21 at a local adult foster care home from the effects of a stroke he suffered on Oct. 20. The Island City Lion’s Club will host an informal celebration of life at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Island City City Hall. Pizza will be served. Ozzie was born July 1, 1925, in Moneta, Iowa, and attended school in South Dakota. On his 18th birthday he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in the submarine service. He observed the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay from the deck of his submarine. After the war, Ozzie returned to school and later graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in elementary education. He taught for four years, then left the education field to work in the emerging electronics industry in Mountain View, Calif. His first job was with Nobel Prize winner, Dr. William Shockley. He worked with the development of semi-conductors and lasers with various companies until moving to La Grande in 1970 where he worked at home building and contracting until starting the Island City Trading Post in 1975, a business he operated until retiring in 1996. Ozzie was always active in the Island City community. He was one of the co-founders of the annual Hog Wild Day celebration. He was an active member of the Island City Lions Club and helped with their many community projects. He received a number of awards for his Lions Club service. In recent years he was probably best known for operating the Lions Club “Pig Train” at parades and other area events. Ozzie...

Frison, Donald L. – Obituary

Island City, Oregon Donald L. “Don” Frison, 62, of Island City, died March 30 at his home. Private services will be held at a later date. Don was born Dec. 10, 1945, to Joseph and Alma I. Kluth Frison in Mobridge, S.D. He grew up and attended school in Weston. After his schooling he joined the U.S. Air Force, serving from 1962 to 1966. After his discharge from the service he worked in Portland for the Teamsters Union for 10 years and later for the Operating Engineers Union for 22 years, doing various jobs. He retired from the unions and moved to the Milton-Freewater area where he worked for Koncrete Industries for two to three years. On July 18, 1999, he married Dana VanWagoner in Reno. Don retired in 1999 and moved to the La Grande area. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, woodworking, his family and many friends. He was known to his nieces and nephews as Uncle Tickle. He is survived by his wife, Dana Frison at the home; a daughter and son-in-law, Michelle and Michael Mathews of Rochester, Wash.; a step-daughter and her fiancé, LeAnne Hughes and Joseph Ricci of Bayville, N.J.; brothers and sisters-in-law, Jerry and Dori Frison of Weston and Dick and Sara Frison of Portland; sisters and brothers-in-law, Christie and Jeff Thornton of Rainier, Wash., Linda and Bob Marsh of Pateros, Wash., and Bonnie Morrison of Weston; two grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. Don was preceded in death by his brother, Bob Frison, on March 5. Memorial contributions may be made to any charity in care of the Munselle-Rhodes Funeral Home, 902 S. Main,...

Taal, Beulah May – Obituary

La Grande, Oregon Beulah May Taal, 92, of La Grande, died April 21 at a local care center. A celebration of life will run from 1 to 3 p.m. May 3 at her home at 1903 Washington Ave. in La Grande. Loveland Funeral Chapel and Crematory is in charge of arrangements. Beulah was born Dec. 10, 1915, in Starkey. She lived there for a few years until she moved with her family to Island City. She went to grade school in Island City, then on to high school in La Grande. In 1937, she married Winnie Taal. They lived a few years in Owsley Canyon where they had a ranch. They then moved to Lakeview for a few years. Around 1945, they moved to the old Mount Emily lumber camp in Starkey. They lived there until 1955, then bought a home in La Grande. She and Winnie liked to go camping and fishing. She took pride in her yard and home and her card parties with friends. Survivors include a daughter, Annette Hoadley; several grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband; brothers and their wives, Ralph and Myrtle Hagey, Darl Hagey, Floyd and Evelyn Hagey and Cliff and Ruth Hagey; parents, Henry and Maggie Hagey; and son-in-law, Bob Hoadley. Memorial contributions may be made to Grande Ronde Hospital Home Health Hospice. La Grande Observer, Obituaries for the week ending April 26,...

Larkin, Alice – Obituary

Island City, Oregon Aug. 8 — Alice Larkin, graveside service, 10 a.m., Island City Cemetery; reception to follow, First Christian Church, La Grande August 4, 2008
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