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McMahan, Gertrude Fay Hancock – Obituary

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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

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