Merna Bernice Adkins Vancil, 89, a former longtime resident of Northeastern Oregon, died April 17, 2008, at her home in Oregon City.

Her graveside service will be later at the Milton-Freewater Cemetery.

Merna was born near Weston on April 9, 1919, to Eva Lena and Marvin Adkins. She began her schooling at Fairview School on Reed and Hawley Mountain and then moved to Weston with her family when she was in third grade. She was a 1936 Weston High School graduate.

Merna married Marvin Vancil on Aug. 7, 1938, at Weston and they made their homes at Weston, Enterprise, Arlington, North Powder and Mount Vernon where Marvin was an educator and Merna was an active supporter of all school activities.

Merna was primarily a homemaker until her children were in school. After that time she worked as a school secretary at North Powder and Mount Vernon. She later was a secretary to the county Extension agent at Canyon City.

She reigned as queen of the Umatilla County Pioneer Associations annual Pioneer Reunion in Weston in 1985 as her mother had in 1960.

Merna loved life and being around people, whether it be family gatherings or associations with members of Neighbors of Woodcraft; Order of Eastern Star; the Rainbow girls in North Powder, which she served as mother adviser; and the 4-H girls she led in cooking and sewing. She enjoyed her bowling league, sewing for her family, doing handiwork and playing cards with family and friends.

After retirement, she and her husband made many memories golfing and spending time with their friends at the golf course in John Day. When her husband’s health failed, she was an inspiration to her family as she gave all of her time to his care.

She always put her family first and loved spending time with her children and grandchildren, cheering them on in their individual pursuits.

In 2004, she moved to Walla Walla, Wash., where she enjoyed the companionship of her sisters and in 2006 she moved to Oregon City to an assisted-living facility where her family said her loving spirit continued to touch those around her.

Survivors include her son and daughter-in-law, Bob and Judy Vancil of Redmond; daughters, Lynne and Tom Adams of La Grande and Dana and John Copenhaver of Burns; nine grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; sisters, Georgia Schisler and Marilyn Duffy of Walla Walla, Wash.; sister-in-law, Marie Vancil of Milton-Freewater; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband; her brother, Pete Adkins; son, Donald Vancil; and grandson, John Copenhaver.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church, where she was a member.

Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, April 18, 2008
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor