Vonita Lee Hinkle-Nelson, 86, of Pilot Rock died at her home with family by her side on Feb. 1.

Vonita was born in George, Ark., on April 7, 1926, to Carl and Jessie (Davidson) Ward.

Vonita married Elmer Norris in Kingsburg, Colo., on July 3, 1945.  They later divorced.  On Dec. 6, 1952, she married William Hinkle.  He died on Sept. 28, 1996.  On April 16, 2005, she married John Nelson at the Historical Church in John Day.

Vonita worked several different jobs.  In 1951 she worked at St. Anthony Hospital.  She also did day care at her home.  In 1959 she went to work at the Pendleton Woolen Mills, and in 1967 she was employed by Kerns Furniture Factory.  Following that job, she worked at Eastern Oregon State Hospital, from which she retired in 1988.  Not being one to sit around, she did home care until she was 75.

She loved being with her family and friends, camping, fishing, Bingo and watching wrestling.  She also loved crocheting and giving it away.

She was a member of the Pilot Rock Assembly of God Church,  Pilot Rock Senior Center,  Eagles and the Lions.

Vonita is survived by her husband, John Nelson of Pilot Rock; daughter, Katherine Johnson of Pendleton; daughter-in-law, Martha Wensenk of Burns; sons, Bill Hinkle of Pilot Rock and Jay Hinkle of Ukiah; daughters, Bonnie Zick of John Day, Rhonda Henshaw of Pendleton and Sue Hinkle of Union; son, Jim Hinkle of Pilot Rock; step-children, Teresa Brown of Milton-Freewater, Barbara Ward of Goldendale, Wash., Patty Simons of Milton-Freewater, Richard Nelson of Irrigon and Mike Nelson of Pilot Rock; brother, J. C. Ward of Arkansas; 36 grandchildren, 56 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, William Hinkle; infant daughter, Linda Jean; son, Larry Norris; grandson, Dylon Johnson; great-granddaughter, Mabry Zick; two sisters; and two brothers.

Visitation will be from noon until 5 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 14, and 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15, at Pendleton Pioneer Chapel, Folsom-Bishop.  Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16, at the funeral home.  Interment will immediately follow the service at Pilot Rock Cemetery.  A reception will follow at the Pilot Rock Community Center.

Condolences may be sent to Pendleton Pioneer Chapel, Folsom-Bishop, 131 S.E. Byers Ave., Pendleton, OR 97801 or online at: www.pioneerchapel.com

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