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La Grande, Oregon
Carlos Eugene Easley, 91, of La Grande, died May 10 at his home. A funeral service will begin at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the First Christian Church. Daniels-Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center is in charge of arrangements.
Carlos was born April 7, 1917, the sixth of eight children, to George Woodson and Della Jeanette (Whitton) Easley in Chillicothe, Texas. He spent his early years in Texas, and then the family moved to Southern California where he attended schools in Baldwin Park and West Covina. One of his earliest memories is of a house fire that burned the family home. Everything was lost.
He attended college at Fort Lewis, Colo., and graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder.
On July 6, 1940, he married Wilma C. Thomas. He taught physics at Boulder High School for a year before coming to Oregon in 1943 with his wife and newborn daughter, Elizabeth. He was hired to teach pre-flight training classes as part of the war training program to Naval and Army cadets, intending to stay a year. The following year he taught in Pendleton where his second daughter, Carol, was born. In 1945 he was offered a position at Eastern Oregon College teaching radio-electronics in La Grande, where son, Tom, was born.
Carlos received his master’s degree in 1948 from the University of Colorado in Boulder and his doctorate in education in 1952 from Washington State University in Pullman. He went on to become director of education at Eastern Oregon College in the early 1960s and taught many Extension classes.
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He served on the Teacher’s Credentialing and Professional Standards Committee for O.E.A. In 1965, he became dean of instruction at Eastern Oregon State College and in 1973 served as interim president during a presidential search. Carlos retired from the college in 1977 after 34 years.
Throughout his professional academic life he remained very active in the community, volunteering and remodeling houses. He was a 60-plus-year member of the local Lions Club, serving as president in 1949. He was active in all its fundraising endeavors and loved to lead the singing. He served as a member of the Salvation Army Board and the Grande Ronde Hospital Foundation Board and was president of the Chamber of Commerce in 1970.
In 1972 he spearheaded the fundraising drive for replacing the antiquated Second Street Viaduct over the railroad tracks. He helped create the baseball fields in Pioneer Park and was instrumental in helping the Lions Club create the George S. Birnie Lions Memorial Park on C Avenue in La Grande.
In 1973 he chaired the FOLKS (Friends of La Grande Kids) committee to pass a school bond levy. In 1977, Carlos and Wilma were named Man and Woman of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce. He served more than 30 years on the board of the DeWuhs-Keckritz Educational Trust Fund. In 1980 he co-hosted the United Way Drive and during the 1980s he chaired the city’s Fair Tax Base Campaign and helped organize funding for the new sewage treatment plant.
Carlos was part owner of a Cove cherry orchard. He created People’s Savings and Loan, serving as president and chairman of the board. During that time two buildings were erected in town now housing the Baker-Union-Wallowa Credit Union and Eastern Oregon Title.
Family was important and he took pride in his children and grandchildren and their schooling, projects, jobs and activities to the end. He was a past member of the La Grande Elks Club and a Mason. He was an active member of the La Grande First Christian Church where he sang in the choir, was superintendent of Sunday school, a deacon and an elder. He celebrated 67 years of marriage to Wilma, who kept a man with big dreams tethered to reality. He enjoyed remodeling houses, hiking, fishing, politics, barbershop singing, genealogy, poker, classical music and playing the organ.
He is survived by his children and their spouses, Elizabeth and Elburn Cooper of La Grande, Carol and Richard Haddock of La Grande and Tom and Mona Easley of Corvallis; several grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; siblings, Marjorie Bennett of Reno and Ruby Heflin of 19 Palms, Calif.; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Wilma, on June 9, 2007; and siblings, Grady Easley, Ora Ridgeway, Lena Atkisson, Cliett Easley and Lois Easley.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation, La Grande Public Library or the First Christian Church Memorial Fund.
La Grande Observer – Obituaries for the day of May 13, 2008
Former EOU Professor, Administrator dies at 91
Written by Dick Mason, The Observer May 13, 2008 10:34 am
The Eastern Oregon University community has lost a man who has an integral place in its history.
Carlos Easley, 91, a professor and administrator at EOU for more than three decades before retiring in 1977, died Saturday at his home in La Grande.
Easley was dean of instruction at Eastern during his final decade at the university. He also served as Eastern’s acting president in 1973 after President Averno Rempel had stepped down and a search was conducted for his successor.
“He was well known for his devotion to the campus and the community,” said Gerald Young, who worked under Easley as a science professor and later served as dean of Eastern’s school of arts and sciences.
Young credits Easley with providing him with instrumental guidance when he was starting his career as an administrator.
“He had a big influence on me. He always took the time to assist me,” Young said.
As dean of instruction Easley was second in command at Eastern. He had the same responsibilities that the provost and vice president for academic affairs has today.
Young said Easley had a special touch as a campus leader.
“He got to know the faculty on campus on a personal level,” Young said.
EOU President Dixie Lund credits Easley with providing her with instrumental support when she started working at the university in 1973 as a business teacher.
“I felt overwhelmed so I was very appreciative of the help he gave me. I always knew he wanted me to be successful and had my best interest at heart,” Lund said.
Easley spent a great deal of time reaching out to the community. The La Grande Chamber of Commerce recognized his efforts in 1977 when it named Carlos and his wife, Wilma, its Man and Woman of the Year.
Easley’s community service work included extensive time helping the La Grande School District get two major bond levies passed in the early and mid-1970s. The bonds had a major impact, paying for construction of La Grande Middle School and Island City Elementary School and the west addition to La Grande High School. Easley helped lead the committee that got the bonds passed.
Easley’s time at EOU dates back to 1943 when he was hired to teach pre-flight training courses for a U.S. Army air cadet program at Eastern. He taught at Eastern for a year, left in 1944 and then returned in 1945 when he was hired by the university to teach radio electronics.
A service for Easley will start at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the First Christian Church. Daniels-Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center is in charge of the arrangements.