Phaedra Dune Baxter, 62, of La Grande died on Oct. 26. A celebration of Phaedra’s life is planned and the details will be announced later by Daniels-Knopp Funeral, Cremation and Life Celebration Center.
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She was born Pamela Bernice Bishop on Oct. 13, 1945, to Edward Fletcher Bishop and Bernice May Bedford in Vancouver, British Columbia. She was raised in Sumas, Wash., then moved to Wenatchee, Wash., where she attended grade school. The family moved to Los Angeles where she graduated from Lynwood High School in 1963. There, Phaedra became active in school and community theatre, nurturing a lifelong love of drama and costume.
In 1964, she married Lloyd Woolery and they had two children, David and Douglas. During that time, she worked as a draftsman and was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, a disease she battled throughout her life and that ultimately led to her death.
After a divorce, she married Kenneth Hoke, a chemical engineer. She convinced him to apply for jobs overseas and they moved to Tripoli, Libya, in 1973. Her ability to attract adventure moved front and center, capped by requesting a meeting with Moammar al-Qaddafi after her villa had been appropriated by one of his generals. The upshot was a new villa.
She traveled extensively in Europe and maintained a flat in Malta upon her divorce in 1977. She moved to Eureka, Calif., and changed her name legally to Phaedra Dedra Dune and received an eclectic education from Humboldt University.
She moved to Juneau, Alaska, in 1982 and worked in advertising sales for the local radio station. For five years, she lived in her 32-foot diesel cruiser, exploring Southeast Alaska. In 1988, she married David Baxter and was commissioned by the State of Alaska to perform marriages. She and David operated a bed and breakfast, The Feather Bed and Breakfast, in Juneau, giving her a chance to indulge in her love of cooking and entertaining.
In 1991, they moved to La Grande, buying the Macky House on First and Jefferson. The couple showed golden retrievers.
She studied art and produced watercolors and pen-and-ink drawings for the Northern California Kennel Club for fundraisers. One of her pen-and-ink drawings was used as a cover for Golden Retriever World. Needing more space to expand their interest in breeding and showing the dogs, they moved to Indian Creek on Metchek Lane, where they spent the next 10 years surrounded by their dogs. She shared her cooking enthusiastically with their friends. While in Indian Creek, Phaedra became a Gold Wing Diva when she received her motorcycle certification.
In December 2005, Phaedra’s lupus worsened and they moved to Stonewood Mobile Home Park in La Grande. The couple visited hot springs of the Northwest, and enjoyed gardening. Those who knew her say her roses were stellar and her dahlias and peonies added beauty and joy to the neighborhood. She and Dave traveled with friends to Mexico, Moab, Utah, and the Oregon Coast, turning each trip into a rousing adventure despite her worsening health.
Those who knew Phaedra say she was unique, madcap, spirited and kind and lived life with style and panache and left it with dignity and courage.
She is survived by her husband, David; and two sons, David and Douglas Woolery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Blue Mountain Humane Association.
La Grande Observer – Obituaries for the week ending November 24, 2007 – Published: November 24, 2007