OBIT SwordJan. 14, as the morning sun first peeked through the curtains, surrounded by family and cloaked in the prayers of innumerable friends, our beloved Laura Sword left us to be with Jesus. Fighting with faith, strength, and dignity, she inspired, and continues to inspire us all. Her life was filled with both challenges and triumphs, but, primarily, it was filled with love.

A celebration of her beautiful life will take place at the Drewsey Community Hall at 11 a.m. (PST) on Sunday, Jan. 25. Please come prepared to fellowship, share memories and eat. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Laura Sword Memorial Fund, located at US Bank.


Standley Ausmus, 84, passed away Jan. 16.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 25, at East Salem Seventh-day Adventist Church, 5575 Fruitland Road NE in Salem.

A full obituary will follow at a later date.


OBIT Pelroy-Kendall webAlice Helen Pelroy-Kendall, 76, of Yuma, Ariz. passed away Dec. 24.

Alice was born in Eureka, Calif., in 1938. She married Calvin Pelroy, a Marine of Orick, Calif., in 1955, and they moved to southern California. After Calvin left the service, they moved to northern California, where they had two children, and then to the high desert in Oregon, where their last two children were born.

Alice worked at Harney 4-C for the Burns Paiute Tribe in Burns. Then the family moved to Culver, where she worked with the Oregon Department of Health and Welfare as a social worker when her family moved to Kamiah, Idaho. After a few years, Alice commuted and attended Eastern Oregon State College in La Grande. She received two degrees, a bachelor of science in anthropology and sociology with high honors, and an associate degree in community service. She received her Idaho certification and went to work at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare as a social worker until her retirement at age 62. Calvin passed away in 1991, and she married Dennis Kendall in 1993. They traveled extensively all over the continental United States, Mexico and Europe for four years. They moved to Yuma, Ariz., in 2007, and enjoyed an amazing  church family and friends in Yuma, early morning breakfasts out, and many road trips with family and friends.

She was a dedicated wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister and friend. She loved the Lord and lived out her faith daily, spending much of her life helping others and making sure they knew God loved them and that they were special to Him. She served the Lord, and her joy was to be in the Lord’s house and about His work.

She recently left this written on a scrap piece of paper: “When life deals you lemons, it’s been said, ‘Make lemonade.’ When life opens pit falls, just wait awhile, you’ll rise when it seems God isn’t listening again. Remember King David once felt the same. He dwelt on God’s answers to his past dangers and felt his fearful heart begin to understand our God is faithful through all our troubles…even to the very end.”

Alice is survived by her husband, Dennis V. Kendall; son, Fred Pelroy of Burns and his wife, Linda Pelroy, their children Heather Pelroy, Katrina Pelroy and Rachael Pelroy; Grayce Lopez of El Centro, Calif., her husband, Rene Lopez, and their son, Calvin Lopez; and January Kolar of Burns and her husband, Michael Kolar, and children, Cynthia McGinty and husband, Darren McGinty, Katherine Batie and husband, Trent Batie, Jerimiah Kolar, Angel Kolar-Pratt and Joshua Kolar; as well as her step-daughter, Nancy McLean of Meridian, Idaho, and her children, Nicholas McLean and Amanda McLean; her many great grandchildren, Alexander, Jiriaya, Zechariah, Sean and Brooklynn, Annastasia, Jack, Rayna and Natalie.

Alice was preceded in death by her parents, Don Fulwider and Rosemary and Albert Wolf; her first husband, Calvin Pelroy; and their daughter, Coralie Pelroy.

There will be a celebration of life and potluck to follow at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 17, at Faith Baptist Church Fellowship Hall.


Carol Nadine Nygaard 1938-2014

Posted on December 31st in Obituaries

OBIT NygaardCarol Nadine (Haugen) Nygaard, 76, of Vancouver, Wash., passed away at home, surrounded by family, following a lengthy illness.

She was born July 12, 1938, in Silverton to Esther (Koloen) and Randall J. Haugen. In 1941, her family moved to Burns, where she graduated from high school in 1956. She attended Oregon State University and later worked for Portland Public Schools.

She enjoyed traveling, birdwatching, archaeology, and spending time with family and friends.

She is survived by her daughters, Karen (Todd) Jones, Kathy (Paul) Martin and Kristi Nygaard; and grandchildren, Kristen (Ryan) Campbell, Kevin Jones, Erik Martin and Alexandra Martin.

She was preceded in death by her parents and brother, Randall E. Haugen.

The family suggests contributions to the Oregon Humane Society. The online guest book may be signed at www.oregonlive.com/obits


Rod Presley - Natl. GuardRoddy Duane Presley, 70, passed away Dec. 25 at his home in Burns.

Roddy, or Rod, as he was best known, was born May 12, 1944, in Ontario to Eldon (Cyc) and Juanita Presley. He grew up and lived all his life in Burns, except for a few years in Washington state.

He married his high-school sweetheart, Gayla Houston Hebener, in May 1966, in Winnemucca, Nev. To this union two sons were born, Robby Morgan and Anthony Martin Presley. After Gayla passed away in April 2010, Roddy married Terri Swearengin Holt of Burns in July 2012 in a garden ceremony at their home in Burns.

Rod attended Oregon Technical Institute in Klamath Falls after graduation from Burns High School in 1962. He then went to work for Edward Hines Lumber Company most of his working career, rising to the job of electrician. With the prospect of the Hines mill closing, he then moved to the Snohomish, Wash., area as an electrician for their lumber mill for the next five years. Upon retirement, he and Gayla returned to their home of many years in Burns. Throughout his entire working life, he was known as a dependable and loyal employee who rarely used a sick day.

Saying Rod was a dedicated soldier in the Oregon National Guard for 22 years is putting it mildly; he loved talking about his career and experiences as a tank commander and 1st sergeant, especially around a campfire; it was a big part of his life. He was a long-time member of the Oregon Hunters Association.  Rod was also a member of The American Legion Harney County Post No. 63, and on Sunday, Dec. 21, seven members of the local Post presented Rod with an Officer Award in recognition and appreciation of his devoted service as a commander, vice commander, chaplain and membership chairman for the American Legion Post.

Besides being a loving husband to Gayla and Terri, and a father to two boys and two step-daughters, he was an avid outdoorsman, being introduced to the wide open spaces of Harney County at an early age by his parents.  Throughout his entire life, he took every opportunity to be out camping, hunting, four-wheeling, rock-hounding, exploring, and just enjoying the great outdoors he adored.

Many of the local folks can tell you that Rod was the kind of man who was always available to help out others. Whether it was lending a hand or fixing things, he “had your back.” He will be sorely missed by so many whose lives he touched.

He is survived by his wife, Terri; son, Anthony of Seattle, Wash.; brother, Denny Presley and his wife, Judy of Burns; sisters, Sharon Showers of Elko, Nev. and Linda Schmidt and husband, Charles of Hines; grandchildren, Lodi Presley of Burns, Jarryd Presley of Nellis AFB, Nev., Chance Presley and Robby Colton Presley of Prineville, and Elizabeth Merritt of Seattle, Wash.; great-granddaughters, Haily Lohf and Ashton Runnels of Burns; step-daughters, Jessica and husband, Jake Berry of Burns, and Chelsi Ferris of Phoenix, Ariz.; step-granddaughters, Bobby Jo and Jordynn Berry of Burns; step-grandsons, Tye Rookstool and wife, Jenny of John Day, Zane Rookstool and wife, Heather of John Day; and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, and extended family and friends.

Rod was preceded in death by his brother, Ronald Presley; his son, Robby Presley; his wife, Gayla Presley; and his parents, Eldon and Juanita Presley.

A funeral service will be held Saturday, Jan. 3, at 11 a.m. at Faith Baptist Church, followed by graveside services at the Burns Cemetery. Fellowship and potluck will follow at a location to be determined.

Contributions in his memory may be made to The American Legion Harney County Post No. 63, in care of LaFollette’s Chapel.


Lois “Betty” Jones 1915-2014

Posted on December 31st in Obituaries

obit - Betty JonesBetty Jones, 99, passed away Dec. 23 at home in Richland.

Lois “Betty” Adelle was born May 22, 1915, in Adams to Frank and Zelma (Lewis) Henry. The family moved to Catlow Valley by train when Betty was one-and-a-half years old. They lived in a dugout until lumber could be brought in by wagon to build a house. School days were spent in a one-room schoolhouse and the Crane Boarding School. Her parents raised the children with all the joys of the outdoors, including trapping jackrabbits for five cents for a pair of ears. She was so proud she could buy clothes and a saddle with her own earnings.

Betty loved horses and loved to tell her many tales of riding through the hills of the Steens, Wallowas and more. She loved helping others, including leading a 4-H riding club for young people. Her days were filled with laughter, fishing, and her great cooking.

On May 25, 1936, Betty and Henry T. Bunyard were married in Burns by the justice of the peace. They made their first home at Crane, and owned a gas station in Ashland. It was in Ashland that they had their first child, a son, Jim. They later moved to St. Johns Woods (which was in Portland) in 1942, and they both went to work for the Kaiser shipyard. Betty worked as a welder on the Victory Ships. The next child, daughter, Gayle, was born in Portland. The family moved to Elgin in 1947, and son, Gene, was born several years later. While in Elgin, they ranched, raising horses and sheep. Betty’s husband, Henry, followed construction from 1956 through 1959, then relocated the family to Richland on March 9, 1959. While in Richland, Henry started a land-leveling business. Betty always felt slighted that they didn’t have a real wedding ceremony, so on their 50th wedding anniversary in 1986, Henry and Betty renewed their marriage vows on horseback at the Pine Valley Fairgrounds. Henry passed away in March 1987.

Betty later married Herschel Jones in December 1989. Herschel passed in 2001.

During Betty’s life, she worked as a welder, waitress, cook, bartender and housewife, in addition to selling Avon products and Sarah Coventry jewelry. She belonged to the Eastern Star, Eagle Valley Grange, the Pine Valley Fair Board, Rebekahs, was Grand Marshall of the Baker County Fair, Grand Marshal of Eagle Valley Days in 2014 and a member of the New Bridge Church of the Nazarene.

Betty is survived by her son, Jim Bunyard and his wife, Sandi; daughter, Gayle Haga and her husband, Bob; son, Gene Bunyard and his wife, Bonnie; step-children Clifford Jones, and Nona Jones Burr (deceased); 15 grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins.

Betty was preceded in death by her husbands, Henry and Herschel; two sisters, Norma Myers and her twin sister, Peggy Cockrell in 1988; step-son, Butch Jones; and step-daughter, Nona Jones Burr.

There will be a viewing on Friday, Jan. 2, at Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. A traditional funeral service will be held on Saturday, Jan. 3, at 11 a.m. at the Eagle Valley Grange (which is in the newly remodeled Richland Elementary School at the corner of Main and Moody roads) in Richland. Interment will follow at Eagle Valley Cemetery. Friends are invited to join the family for a potluck reception to be held immediately following the interment at the Eagle Valley Grange.

Those who would like to make a memorial contribution in memory of Betty may do so to either the Eagle Valley Grange or the Eagle Valley EMTs through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834. Online condolences may be shared at www.tamispinevalleyfuneralhome.com.


Robert “Bob” Clair 1951-2014

Posted on December 31st in Obituaries

Robert “Bob” Clair, 63, of John Day, passed away Dec. 5 at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, with his children by his side.

Bob was born Jan. 12, 1951, in McMinnville.

Bob loved being in the great outdoors; whether it was hunting, fishing or just taking a drive. His favorite hunting spot in his younger days was Crane Mtn. in Lakeview, and he would fish wherever he could cast a line. He loved to tell about the crazy hunting escapades he and his brothers would get themselves into. He enjoyed taking his dog, Fritz, for a run, with his good friend, Mickey.  Bob worked in the mill his whole life, driving forklift for Goose Lake Lumber and Fremont Lumber in Lakeview, and Edward Hines Lumber in Burns.  Bob wasn’t a man of many words, but he always made sure his kids knew that he loved them very much.

Bob is survived by his three children, April Prince of Grants Pass, Robby Clair of Klamath Falls, and Molly Clair of Burns; as well as, Julie, Martin, Grant, Sydney and Dustie, sons and daughters raised as his own; brothers, Mike and Ron; four grandchildren, Tallen, Adam, Konner, and Kylie; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins; longtime friends, Charlie, Mickey, Loretta; and his faithful dog, Fritz.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Claude and Dolores Clair; sisters, Claudia, Goldie and Dee; and brother, Norman.

Bob was cremated per his wishes and will be scattered at his favorite hunting and fishing spots at a later date. There will be no service at this time.


OBIT Barber worked webRobert “Bob” William Barber passed away Dec. 13.

Bob was born Sept. 10, 1933, in Burns, to Bryan and Ida Barber. Bob graduated from Burns Union High in 1951, and after attending a year of college, Bob enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving active duty from 1952 to 1956. After his honorable discharge from the Navy, Bob continued his service in the National Guard until 1967.

Bob was employed at the Hines Lumber Company until its closure, and continued to work security on the property until his retirement in 1998. Bob remained a bachelor until his marriage to Lana Deiter in December 1980.

Bob is most remembered for his love for his family and kindness to animals. Bob loved the outdoors and never missed an opportunity to go camping, hunting or just spending time out admiring the beautiful scenery. Bob was highly respected and a positive influence for many,  a wonderful husband and stepfather for his wife’s children.

He is survived by his wife, Lana; brother, Stanley; sister, Dalores Dalton; stepchildren, Everett Burgess and wife, Ada, Dee Burgess and wife, Pam, David Burgess and wife, Dawn, Lori Hansen and husband, Jimmy; 16 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, numerous nieces, nephews and other extended family.

He was preceded in death by his father, Bryan, his mother, Ida, and his brother, Donald.

A funeral service was conducted at the First Lutheran Church in Burns Dec. 18. Donations may be made in Bob’s memory to the First Lutheran Church, 349 S. Egan Ave., Burns, OR 97720. Please visit www.lafolletteschapel.com and sign the online guestbook.


OBIT ThreadgillBeverly June Threadgill passed away Nov. 8 at Harney District Hospital.

Beverly June Sevey was born Jan. 30, 1940, at Holy Rosary Hospital in Ontario to Harold Frank and Nell (Whitley) Sevey.

Beverly loved to tell stories of her growing up, and the fact that her father helped make the broadbreasted turkey when he was employed with Fish and Game.

Sadly, Bev’s beloved daddy died when she was 11.

The family moved to Burns/Hines in 1952.

Beverly later joined the Army, and received an honorable discharge in 1960.

On June 19, 1961, Beverly married the love of her life, Ronald Threadgill, becoming a wife, and a mother to Ronny, Ron’s son. They soon added to the family, with Don in 1962, Gereldine “DeDe” in 1963, Gary in 1964, and Jon in 1965.

Beverly worked at Boeing until her retirement in 2002.

Beverly loved her family and had a deep faith in God. She also loved volunteering at the Harney County Senior Center until her health no longer allowed it.

She is survived by her husband of 53 years, Ron Threadgill; sons, Ronny (Kathy), Don (Tina), and Jon (Tonia); daughter, DeDe (Scott Malin); brothers, Don (Mary), Gene (Lynn), Loren and Tom; sister, Joanie (Earl Hofman); many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Beverly was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Nell Sevey; brother, Lloyd; sister, Ellen; and her son, Gary.

Donations in her memory may be made to the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center.


Norman Byron McRae 1921-2014

Posted on December 17th in Obituaries

Norman Byron McRae, 93, passed away Dec. 9.

He was born on May 3, 1921, in Portland to Forbes William and Marte Else (German) McRae I, the second of three sons.

The family moved from Portland to the hinterlands of Southeastern Oregon and settled in the Harney County seat, Burns. He always thought of this part of the world as his home, having spent countless hours hunting and fishing with his brothers, his father, and lifelong friends, the Clarks, in the area. He graduated from Burns Union High School, then attended Oregon State University (OSU) in Corvallis, where he was the first chair trumpet in the university symphony and also played in the marching band, concurrent with being the fourth-string center on the football team. The only time he ever got called in to play football, rather than his trumpet, he was back in Harney County hunting elk. While at OSU, he pledged the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, going through an initiation ritual that caused his lifelong disdain for liver and onions.

When the attack came on Pearl Harbor, Norman enlisted in the Navy, leaving his college education for a higher duty. While stationed in California, he met Selma Joy Banther and proposed before he was shipped out to the Pacific. He served as a radio operator and was thinking he’d be safe on the battleship Richard B. Anderson, but was sent in on the second wave at Bougainville. It was during his time in the Pacific that he gained an abhorrence for curry in all forms, since it was used to disguise spoiled meats.  Despite his problems with liver and curry, Norman was a gourmet chef, attending many James Beard cooking classes, and going on to prepare meals, not only for hunting camps and harvest camps at the Clark ranch in Drewsey, but also for meals at Kennewick First Presbyterian.

After the war, he was honorably discharged and returned stateside where he married Selma on Dec. 16, 1945. He and his new bride went to Eugene, where he finished his education, graduating with a degree in accounting. They then moved to Burns, where he managed the family lumberyard, and where two daughters, Martha and Kristine, were born. Norman so hoped for a son, someone to go hunting and fishing with him, but he settled for the poor substitutes he was given. While in Burns, he was active in many civic and veterans’ organizations, served as a volunteer ambulance driver, and played taps at sunset in the town cemetery on his Boy Scout bugle. In 1960, the family moved to Pasco, Wash., where he managed a lumberyard, then later worked for Ashgrove Cement until retirement. His lifelong passion for hunting and fishing led to many interesting family “vacations.” Most destinations were centered around lakes, streams, or oceans, where nature’s bounty could be caught and enjoyed. His two daughters learned that when camping, you should never forget the tent poles, especially if it’s raining; never, ever plan a fishing vacation around a place called “Mosquito Lake,” even if it did feature golden trout; that when on a logging road in the Olympic forest, one can, indeed, use baling wire and gum to reattach the gas tank to a Ford station wagon; and that family vacations always had the aroma of their dad’s Doublemint gum and mother’s black coffee, and they always featured whistling.

Norman’s whistling was his hallmark; those who spent time with him learned to tell his moods by the tune he featured. Yellow Rose of Texas meant that he was in a jolly mood, and nearly every phone call would end with him starting up the whistle before he hung up the receiver. When he was peeved, especially with Mother, the song would be It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie. Music was a big part of his life, although it usually manifested itself in his whistling. He finally took up square dancing in his later years, although Mother claimed he knew only one step, the Harney County Cement Leg Stomp.

Norman was a lifetime member of many organizations, including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Safari Club, Transportation Club, the Elks (Exalted Ruler of his lodge) and the Masons.  He supported wildlife conservation through Ducks Unlimited and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and returned annually to his beloved Harney County and the Clark  ranch for elk and deer seasons well into his 80s. In his early 80s, he also fulfilled a lifelong dream to go on an African safari with his good friend, Louis, and brought back kudu and impala trophies.

He is survived by his daughters, Martha and Kristine McRae; his grandson, Sam McRae-Skinner (Melissa); his granddaughter, Margaret McRae-Skinner; his two sisters-in-law, Ruth (Bud) McRae and Barbara (Milt) McRae; his first cousin, Chet Gardner (Barbara); and two nieces and three nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Selma; his older brother, Forbes William “Bud” or “Mac” McRae II; his younger brother, Milton Alexander “Milt” McRae; a sister who died in infancy; his first cousins, Florence and Mary; and the two best hunting dogs a man could have, his beloved Patches and Dutch.

In lieu of flowers, the family would ask that you donate to Ducks Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, HonorFlights for WWII vets, The Humane Society, or a charity of your choosing in Norman’s name.

The family invites you to sign their online guest book at www.muellersfuneralhomes.com.


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