Formerly of Imbler
Ronald Wilford Westenskow, 87, of Walla Walla and formerly of Imbler, died Oct. 24. A private graveside service for family and friends will begin at 10 a.m. Friday at Blue Mountain Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Walla Walla. A memorial service will follow at 11 a.m. at the chapel of Herring Funeral Home. Burial will be at the Blue Mountain Memorial Gardens Cemetery.
A full obituary will be available later. Memorial contributions may be made to any charity in care of Herring Funeral Home, 315 W. Alder, Walla Walla, 99362.
La Grande Observer – October 29, 2009
Ronald Wilford Westenskow, 87, of College Place, Wash., and formerly of Imbler, died Oct. 24 at his home. A private graveside service for family and friends was held this morning at the Blue Mountain Memorial Gardens Cemetery. A memorial service followed at the Herring Funeral Home with the Rev. Albert Gillin of First Presbyterian Church officiating.
Ronald was born March 13, 1922, to Wilford and Ruth Celesta McBride Westenskow in Imbler. He also had one brother, Garth Dean Westenskow.
He attended Imbler Grade School and Imbler High School. He graduated from Eastern Oregon College in La Grande and obtained a bachelor of science degree from Brigham Young University in Utah. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy as a lieutenant midshipman and served in the South Pacific. His landing craft was waiting to send troops ashore when the atom bomb was dropped over Japan. He served his enlisted time and was sent home. He was proud to serve his country and was proud of his rank as naval officer.
After his discharge from the service, he returned to his home near La Grande. He married Carol Butt March 10, 1944, in Salt Lake City. They had five children.
Eventually, he became involved in agriculture in the Grande Ronde Valley. Those who knew him say he was instrumental in the beginning of the grass seed industry here. He was one of the first to introduce producing grass seed in rows, and he also introduced the machinery to harvest and clean and package the seed for marketing.
Later, those who knew him say he was one of the founders of the mint-growing industry and the process of distilling mint in the field.
He always maintained acreage in wheat, harvested it and stored it in silos, ready for profitable marketing.
Ronald became an ordained bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His wife and mother of his children, Carol Butt, preceded him in death.
After attending a high school reunion, he found his high school girlfriend, Audrey. She and Ron had grown up together two blocks apart if you went through the apple orchard and the school yard. They had attended the same schools and colleges and also went to a lot of movies together. They were married March 24, 2002, in the Presbyterian Church in Gold Canyon, Ariz.
He attended the First Presbyterian Church of Walla Walla and belonged to a social group in that church. They spent all their 10 years together traveling extensively with several travel clubs and groups.
He is survived by his wife, Audrey Westenskow; sons, Dwayne Ronald Westenskow of Salt Lake City and Glen Dean Westenskow of Livermore, Calif.; three daughters, Arla Westenskow of Salt Lake City, Terri Zurbrick and her husband, Jeff, of La Grande and Kathy Westenskow of North Bend; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
Memorial contributions may be made to any charity in care of Herring Funeral Home.
La Grande Observer – October 30, 2009