Robert Lee Novak 1952-2015

Posted on September 2nd in Obituaries


OBIT Novak WEBRobert (Bob) Lee Novak passed away Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Bob was born Dec. 5, 1952, to Donald and Patricia Novak. He was the oldest of five siblings, and held the position of big brother to four younger sisters. He was raised and educated in Redmond, where in his youth he was an all-around athlete who played football, baseball and basketball. A highlight of his high school career was when his basketball team made it to the state tournament.

Always known as a hard worker, Bob worked as a millworker, owned and managed a mobile home park, and was a contractor responsible for grounds keeping for the city of Burns parks and the cemetery. He was very conscientious about his work and always did more than the job required.

He married Wendy Withee in 1988, and soon after started a family. He took great pride and joy in his children, Marc and Kelly, and supported all their activities over the years. He coached all levels of baseball and even coached an Oregon Baseball Association traveling team taking his team to Florida and Arizona. He assisted with girls softball, helped his kids raise 4-H animals and was his children’s best fan.

Bob was an avid Denver Broncos and Oakland A’s fan, but enjoyed most sports. After high school, and over the years, he found a way to continue to play or participate in sports. He bowled, played softball and pool, and after moving to Harney County, took up hunting. He kept stats for the high school football team, played in fantasy football and baseball leagues, and loved to talk sports to whoever would engage in the subject. Between the Novaks and the Withees, he usually could find a willing participant. Bob’s quiet presence will be missed. His many nieces, nephews and his children’s friends can all attest to his willingness to help when help was needed.

He enjoyed being with his family and all the events associated with belonging to two big families. Some of his favorites were the many Withee family “Eat Ins” (potlucks), a trip to the casino every now and then, getting wood at Jim’s cabin, and the families’ yellow Labradors; Heidi, Molly and Bostyn.

Bob is survived by his son, Marc Novak; daughter, Kelly Novak; sisters, Joanne Pickles (Dave), Marcia Thanem, Mary Larson (Bryan), and Julie Novak (Rick); and many nieces, nephews, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Wendy Novak; and his parents, Donald and Patricia Novak.

A church and graveside service will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4, at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Burns. Contributions in Bob Novak’s name can be made to Harney County Little League/ Babe Ruth or the Local Cancer Society in care of LaFollette’s Chapel, P.O. Box 488, Burns, OR 97720.


OBIT Pepin WEBFrances Elfrieda Hager Hildebrand Pepin, 97, passed away peacefully Aug. 22.

She was born Nov. 21, 1917, to Artie Ray Hager and Valley Hildebrand Hager in Stillwater, Okla. She was the oldest of five children. She worked for the telephone company in Oklahoma before moving to Oregon.

In 1945, she married Count Pepin. The couple lived in Shevlin, a small mill town in Central Oregon, before moving to Burns, where they purchased a portable saw mill with other business partners. They worked and lived in the Ochoco National Forest in the summers and spent the winters at their home in Burns. Frances was a housewife, mother, and, later in life, volunteered. Frances loved animals, and she saved many stray cats and dogs.  These lucky animals found a safe place to live and plenty to eat at her home.

Frances is survived by her daughter, Arlene Simpson; granddaughters and sons-in-law, Jennifer and Sam Housley, and Shelly and Ben Spence; and great-grandson, Caden.

She was preceded in death by siblings, Jack, Leroy, Audrey, and Mary Lee Hager; grandson, Timothy; and ex-husband, Count Pepin.

A celebration of life and memorial dinner for Bill Robertson, who passed away in July 2015, will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 6, at the Drewsey Hall in Drewsey. The meat will be provided, salads and desserts will be appreciated.

Bill was a longtime rancher in Drewsey, and then moved to Ontario to retire and enjoy life.

Deborah Lynn Smith 1950-2015

Posted on August 19th in Obituaries


OBIT Smith WEBDeborah Lynn Smith, 65, passed away Aug. 3 at Harney District Hospital.

Deborah was born Jan. 28, 1950, in Kremmling, Colo., to Fred Jr. and Marjorie Jones. During her younger years, she lived in many places, including Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, California and Nevada.

Deborah attended high school in Reno, Nev., where she met and married William L. Grillo. They had three children, Sebrina, Chris, and Gena. Bill and Deborah relocated to Sonoma County, Calif., after Sebrina was born. After their divorce, Deborah continued to raise their children in Sonoma County.

While living and working in Alexander Valley, Calif., Deborah met and married Mark Smith. Shortly after marrying, Mark and Deborah moved their family to Burns. That is where they built their life together and their home that Deborah loved tending to. She had an amazing knack for growing and nurturing plants and flowers, which was apparent when you visited her home and saw the gorgeous planters full of color. Deborah loved being involved in the Harney County community and was always volunteering to help with one thing or another.

She is survived by her children, Sebrina Grillo of Santa Rosa, Calif., Chris Grillo of Santa Rosa, Calif., and Gena Anderson and her husband, Kenny of Twin Falls, Idaho; grandsons, Wacey and Brenden Anderson, both of Twin Falls, Idaho; sisters, Phyllis Scheierman of North Charleston, S.C., Melanie Boyer and Michelle Guilford, both of Sun Valley, Nev.; mother-in-law, Claudia Smith of Willits, Calif.; brother-in-law, Ken Smith and his wife, Rose of Willits, Calif.; four nephews and one niece.

Deborah was preceded in death by her husband, Mark; her mother and father; an infant son, Anthony; and brother, Donald.

Contributions may be made in Deborah’s name to either the Kiwanis Club or the Burns High School band. They may be mailed to LaFollette’s Chapel, P.O. Box 488, Burns, OR 97720.

A memorial gathering will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, at Big Bear Lodge in Hines. Another memorial gathering will be held in Willits, Calif. on Sept. 19.


OBIT Libbey WEBGertrude Lorna Libbey, 101, passed away Aug. 11 at Harney District Hospital.

She was born to Charles and Jenny Bown on Dec. 23, 1913, in Rancagua, Chile. She lived in Chile until 1970 when her husband, Rainey, retired from Anaconda Copper Mining Co. and they moved to Tucson, Ariz. Rainey passed away in 1996, and in 2008, Gertrude came to live in Burns with her daughter, Lorna Cagle, and husband, Charlie.

She is survived by her daughter, Lorna (Charlie) of Burns; daughter, Ellen (Rico) of Port Townsend, Wash.; sister, Ruth Bates of Tucson, Ariz.; grandsons, Jason (Krista) of Washougal, Wash. and Bryan (Leslie) of Eugene; great-grandchildren, Aidan, Addy, Laila, Bailey, and Aaron; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her brothers; her husband, Rainey; and her son, John.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Aug. 29 at 1 p.m. at St. Andrews Episcopal/Peace Lutheran Church in Burns. Burial will be at Evergreen Mortuary in Tucson, Ariz., at a later date.

Donations may be made to Gallery 15 at P.O. Box 695, Burns, OR 97720, or to a charity of one’s choice.


OBIT Averill WEBHerbert “Rusty” Averill, 88, passed away July 23 in Las Vegas, Nev.

Rusty was born July 21, 1927 to Herbert and Wilhelmina Averill in Philadelphia, Pa. At the age of 17, Rusty enlisted in the Navy where he did several tours that took him around the world. During his time in the Navy, he and his crew were sent to the Bikini Atoll Islands where they endured the nuclear testing in the 1940s.

Rusty loved being out on the ocean so much that after his time in the Navy ended, he joined ranks with the Merchant Marines. After a failed first marriage, he wed Tiffany Joann (Morning Star) Zimmerman in 1950. Rusty had a son from his first marriage and three sons and five daughters with Tiffany. After the Merchant Marines, he and Tiffany settled down in Upper Darby, Pa. They later relocated to Delaware, where Rusty became a long-haul truck driver, which later led to him hauling large boats. He loved this type of work, but the long hours of driving eventually took their toll on his back. He retired from truck driving after having back surgery.

Rusty went on to work for a lock and key company. In 1978, Rusty and Tiffany decided to leave Delaware and head out West. They ended up settling in Las Vegas, Nev., where Rusty had his own locksmith company for a while. He then decided to do some security work, and this change in careers landed him a job as Deputy Constable with the Constable’s Office in Clark County, North Las Vegas. In a few years’ time, he was promoted to Chief Deputy Constable, which is where he worked until a botched back surgery in 1997 left him no alternative but to retire from the profession he loved.

Rusty and Tiffany continued to live in Las Vegas. They bought their first home together in 1998. Sadly, it was in this very home that Tiffany was murdered in 2001 during a home invasion robbery. However, Rusty decided to continue living there because, “It was the first home he and his wife had ever purchased together.”

From the time of his wife’s murder up until March 2015, Rusty was robbed in his home four more times, with the last time resulting in him being hospitalized with a gunshot wound to his leg. His family had tried several times to encourage him to move, but he loved Las Vegas and didn’t want to leave a place that had become such a big part of his life. It was late 2014 to early 2015 that he actually started considering moving up to Harney County to live with his daughter and her husband (Cheryl and Glenn Jakubowski of Burns). While Rusty was in the hospital after the last robbery, with the help of his youngest daughter and her spouse, Pamela West and Judy Rhodes, of Coventry, Conn., Cheryl Jakubowski made the trip to Las Vegas to pack up his belongings and move him to Burns. Rusty remained in the hospital at the time of Cheryl’s departure from Las Vegas because he was in no shape at that time to make the long drive.

After being bounced around from the hospital to skilled nursing facilities, Rusty’s health began to rapidly decline. With the help of her best friend, Amzel Prokop, Cheryl made another trip down to Las Vegas in a rented van with a hospital bed in the back with the intention of transporting Rusty up to Harney District Hospital. However, after battling back and forth with the hospital staff about whether or not he would be able to endure the trip, the hospital made the decision that Rusty’s health was too serious for him to be moved, especially for a 12- to 14-hour drive. The hospital staff felt that Rusty’s time was short, so they made the decision to place him in a hospice facility. He passed away less than a week later, just two days after his 88th birthday.

Throughout his life, Rusty enjoyed many hobbies, including model trains, building model ships, and spending precious time with his family. He was always the jokester and loved making people laugh.

Rusty is survived by his son, John Averill and wife, Joyce, of Indianola, Iowa; son, Bruce Averill of Las Vegas, Nev.; daughter, Tiffany Bartolomei and husband, Tony of Smyrna, Del.; son, Ronald Averill of Townsend, Del.; daughter, Susan Durnan of Middletown, Del.; daughter, Cheryl Jakubowski and husband, Glenn, of Burns; daughter, Pamela West and spouse, Judy Rhodes of Coventry, Conn.; grandson, Wayne R. Averill of Delaware;  granddaughter, Erin Berglund-Burns of Louisiana; granddaughter, Amy George of Maryland; granddaughter, Christine Colvin-Chun of Hawaii; grandson, Corey Wainikainen of Florida; grandson, Sean Averill of Delaware; granddaughter, Jennifer Averill of Delaware; grandson, Sean Averill of Iowa; and granddaughter, Susan Averill of Iowa; as well as numerous great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Tiffany Joann (Morning Star) Zimmerman Averill; son, Brett Averill; and daughter, Beverly “Jan” Averill.

For those wishing to make a donation in Rusty’s name, an account has been set up at Umpqua Bank to help the family with final expenses.


OBIT Donovan WEBBetty Powell Donovan, 92, passed away at home on July 23, with her family by her side.

Betty was born Oct. 18, 1922 in Denver, Colo., to Lawrence and Jeanne Gauthier. She graduated from Wheatridge High School in Colorado in 1941. Betty was an accomplished artist, dancer, bartender, 18-wheeler truck driver and rancher. She also was the postmaster in Black Hawk, Colo., for several years. She moved to Burns in 1973, where she ranched and worked for Oard’s Gallery and Indian Art Museum for many years.

Betty is survived by her daughters, Shirley Holloway Blanchfield, Donna Marshall Wheeler (Dennis), Kathleen Parks (Jim); son, Cuthbert Powell (Mary); grandchildren, Christopher Orblom, Lauren Orblom Frack, Shae Haley Williams (Ben), Jennifer Powell Van Zeipel (Patrick), and Amanda Marshall; great-grandchildren, Andrew, Hayley, Alycia and Sadie; nieces, Julie Simones, LariLee Lincoln, Ed Downs (Michelle); and one grand-nephew, Lee Lincoln Simones.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Jack Donovan; son, Jim Donovan; and sister, Shoo Downs.


Patricia A. Couzens, 83, passed away peacefully in her sleep July 14.

She was born May 29, 1932, in Baker City to Glenn and Edna O’Neil.  Pat spent most of her childhood in La Grande. She graduated from La Grande High School in 1950.

Soon after graduation, she married John F. Couzens.

They lived in La Grande until 1956. They then moved to Hines, living there from 1956 to 1971. From Hines, they moved to Glendale, and lived there from 1971 to 1986.  In 1986, they moved to the Portland area.

Pat is survived by her daughters, Susan Defebaugh of Gresham, Lynda Fine of Burns, and Lisa Blackmun of Forest Grove;  five grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Glenn and Edna O’Neil; brother, Thomas; and husband, John F. Couzens.

The family suggests remembrances to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

OBIT Tropf WEBDoris Fae (Breach) Tropf, 74, passed away July 20.

She was born Aug. 19, 1930, to John and Louise Breach, near the Great Divide, near Craig, Colo. John and Louise and their seven children, Mildred, Glen, Wilma, Doris, Margaret, Wanda and Lawrence, lived at their homestead in Colorado until 1940, when they moved to Greenleaf, Idaho.

In 1968, Doris married Arno “Ike” Tropf, and in 1970, the family moved from Caldwell, Idaho, to Burns. Ike and Doris owned the Jiffy Mart for 20 years. They enjoyed doing business in the community, seeing their many friends and meeting new friends.

Family time and little children were the things Doris loved most. Her children, Earlene, Dean, Cindy and Rex, and all the grandchildren were the most important things in the world to her, and she loved visits and big family gatherings. She also loved visiting with all of her friends.

Doris is survived by her four children, Earlene (Larry) Anderson of Burns, Dean (Susan) Draper of Burns, Cindy Schab of Benton City, Wash., and Rex (Laurie) Draper of Hines; sister, Margaret Crill; brother, Lawrence Breach; numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild; and many nieces and nephews.

Doris was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Arno “Ike” Tropf; siblings, Mildred Ivie, Glen Breach, Wilma Taulbee and Wanda Breach; and son-in-law Don Schab.

A potluck Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, Aug. 1 at noon at the home of Dean Draper, 620 East E Street in Burns.

Memorials may be made to the Boys and Girls Club of Harney County or Harney County Senior and Community Services Center, in care of LaFollette’s Chapel, P.O. Box 488, Burns, OR 97720.


OBIT Dalglliesh WEBJessie Joanne Anzini Dalglliesh passed away June 20 in Burns.

Jessie was born April 7, 1947, in Scotia, Calif. She filled the hearts of those who knew her with love – she was always positive, always smiling, and always hopeful. From the very beginning of her life, she was a pure joy to be around, and was loved by all. Jessie will be missed by many, but rejoice with many in the new system awaiting us all.

A memorial will be held Saturday, Aug. 1, at 3 p.m. at the Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall, 592 W. Madison in Burns.

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