Esther Elaine Akes of Milton-Freewater died June 27, 2006, at Evergreen Nursing Home. She was 86.
Mrs. Akes was born August 23, 1919 in Pendleton to James Wallace and Lucia Mae Tilton Spencer. On February 27, 1943, she married Charles Leonard Akes, Sr. at Olympia, Wash. She worked at Boeing Aircraft in Seattle as a “Rosie the Riveter,” putting the metal skin on B-17 bombers, while her husband served overseas during World War II.
After the war the couple ranched in Bickleton and Roosevelt, Wash and Mrs. Akes started Oasis Aviaries, marketing her birds in the area.
They owned a cattle ranch out of Joseph from 1956 until 1961. Moving to Milton-Freewater they started Char-El Morgan Horses and Akes Backhoe Service. Mrs. Akes showed her horses, was a horse show judge, taught young people horseback riding and was leader of the Crystal Springs 4-H Club.
Mr. and Mrs. Akes traveled extensively and enjoyed steelhead fishing.
The couple joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1971, where Mrs. Akes served as the Relief Society President for several years. She was a talented seamstress and homemaker. Mrs. Akes was also a member of the Rebekah Lodge.
She is survived by three daughters Lucia J. Kelly of Virginia Beach, Va., Roberta G. Isley of Burbank, Wash. and Esther E. Danner of Umatilla; a son Charles L. Akes Jr., of Milton-Freewater; two sisters Jean Boyce of Salem and Mae Hosley of Gladstone; a brother Frank E. Spencer of Needham, Ala; 16 grandchildren; 23 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild. She was preceded in death by her husband in 2003, three sisters and one grandson.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Missionary Fund of the Latter-day Saints Church or the M-F Junior Show through Munselle-Rhodes Funeral Home, 902 S. Main St. Milton-Freewater, OR 97862.
A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. July 8, at the Milton-Freewater Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1151 N. Elizabeth Street. Interment will follow at the Milton-Freewater Cemetery.
Wallowa County Chieftain July, 6, 2006