OBIT Hochhalter WEBKathryn Marie (Vanderdasson) Hochhalter, 95, of Nampa, Idaho, passed away May 21.

Kathryn was born March 14, 1920, in Kalispell, Mont. She married Ralph Vanderdasson on May 10, 1938. Ralph and Kathryn had five children.

On Nov. 26, 1983, she married Edwin Hochhalter, and from this marriage, Kathryn gained four step-children.

Kathryn worked as a cake decorator and decorated wedding cakes for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. At age 84, she authored the book Analytical Rhyme Bible for Adults.

She is survived by three children; three step-children; 36 grandchildren; 56 great-grandchildren; and 22 great-great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husbands; two children; one step-child; and three great-grandchildren.

Remembrances may be left for the family online at


OBIT Blackburn WEBMisa Kei Blackburn 22, passed away June 7, with her family by her side in Portland.

Misa was born in Bend Dec. 16, 1992. She was an extraordinary person who amazed all who knew her.  She was born with spina bifida and needed a shunt in her brain to drain the excess fluid. As a result of her open spine, she was also paralyzed and had a seizure disorder. While this may all sound daunting, we were blessed in so many ways.

Being the first child, her parents, Curt and Kaeko Blackburn, had no clue to what was normal. Her weekly doctor appointments seemed routine and if she was a bit behind, her parents never knew because they had nothing to compare her too. It wasn’t until her brothers were born that they had several “a-ha” moments.

Misa was a Snow Mountain Pine baby and went to work every day with her mother for her first year.  She attended preschool at the Early Childhood Center where her Aunt Dina worked. At Slater Elementary, she met Heidi Hofman and Kaitlyn Osborne and together they would become the “three musketeers”. Their relationship would change and evolve like any other school aged friendships – there was a bit of posturing for attention, sprinkled with bullying, but at the end of the day there was love. Misa loved her teachers and aides and how they would dote on her hand and foot. She had her favorite class, P.E., and her not so favorite activity, speech, and she loved her bus rides home to Grandma Jassmann. Misa graduated from Burns High School in 2013.

To her family and friends, Misa was an adjective – how many times did we just explain “Oh, that’s just Misa.” She was a tough little cookie who had a wicked sense of humor.  She loved good food, chocolate milk, listening to Barney and her popper.   She loved her family and friends. Misa’s spirit and smile will be missed by all who knew her.

Misa is survived by her parents, Curt and Kaeko; brothers, Beau, Garrett, and Jake; grandmother, Dorothy Blackburn;  grandmother, Hatsuyo Jassmann; and her numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Misa was preceded in death by her grandfather, Jett Blackburn; grandfather, Larry Jassmann; and uncle, Ed Jassmann.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Portland Shriners Hospital and mailed to LaFollette’s Chapel at P.O. Box 488, Burns, OR 97720.

OBIT Fishel WEBArthur (Butch) R. Fishel, 72, passed away June 6 in Salt Lake City, Utah, following a short illness.

He was born Dec. 21, 1942, in Belle Fourche, S.D., to Clarence and Edith (Diedrich) Fishel.

He graduated from high school in Cut Bank, Mont., in 1960. After school, he joined the Marines Corps for four years and was honorably discharged after serving his country. He went on to become a sprinkler fitter at Local 699 for many years.

Arthur loved Harney County and all it offered. He also spent a lot of time at the opal mines in Nevada. He never met a stranger. A lot of people will remember him as a jokester — what a sense of humor he had! He loved wood carving, coin and metal detecting, traveling, and a good, traditional Native American vision quest.

He is survived by his  brothers, Donald of Sekiu, Wash., Harry of Washougal, Wash. and Gary of Toronto, Kan.; sister, Rose Mary of Placerville, Calif.; son, Greg of Kent, Wash.; daughter, Shelly of San Antonio, Texas; grandchildren, Brandon and Rebecca of Kent, Wash, and Nick, Stephanie and Thomas of San Antonio, Texas; and partner, Karen Zimmerman.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

A celebration of life will be held Friday, June 19, at Hines Park. A pot luck will be held from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. A celebration of life will also be held on the Fourth of July weekend at the Rainbow Ridge Opal Mine near Denio, Nev.

Jo Ann Rose, 82, of Payette, Idaho, passed away June 11 at her home. Services are pending at Shaffer-Jensen Memory Chapel in Payette.


OBIT BeamerHarold “Hal” Lee Beamer Jr., 77, passed away May 26 at his home in Oakridge, from multiple system atrophy.

Hal was born on Mother’s Day, May 8, 1938, in Pulaski, Va., to Harold Lee Beamer Sr. and Mary Smith Beamer.

Mutual friends introduced Hal to Mary Frances Sumner, and a romance blossomed. They were married three years later on June 18, 1960.

Hal graduated from Pulaski High School in 1955.  He attended Duke University, receiving his bachelor of science degree in 1959 and his master of forestry degree in 1960. Hal remained an avid Duke fan all his life and kept up with all events, especially basketball.

Hal first worked for the U.S. Forest Service as a summer employee in Idaho in 1956 and in Michigan in 1959. As a permanent employee of the U.S. Forest Service in 1960, he was assigned to the Olympic National Forest in Quilcene, Wash.; the Willamette National Forest in Eugene, and then in Oakridge; the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in North Bend, Wash.; and he retired as district ranger on the Burns District of the Malheur National Forest.

Upon retirement, Hal took up woodworking and especially enjoyed making many rocking chairs of his own design which he donated to various people and organizations. He was a member of the Society of American Foresters and the National Society of Retired Federal Employees.  He was an active member of the Oakridge United Methodist Church.

Hal is survived by his wife, Mary; three sons and their wives, Mark and Tracy Beamer of  Solvang, Calif., Hal and Kerri Beamer of Albany, and Benjamin Beamer of Oakridge; grandchildren, Jonathan, Alyssa, Nathaniel and Molly; brother, Robert Beamer and his wife, Joan of Columbia, S.C.; sister, Elizabeth Beamer of Blacksburg, Va.; niece, Janelle; and caregiver, Kathy Nelson.

A Celebration of Life will be held at the Oakridge United Methodist Church on Saturday, June 13, at 11 a.m. Remembrances may be made to the Oakridge United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 405, Oakridge, Ore.


Cleone Strand, born Feb. 9, 1925, in Grandview, Idaho, passed peacefully in her sleep May 17 in Las Vegas, Nev. The youngest of six children, she graduated from St. Luke’s School of Nursing in Boise, Idaho. Upon her marriage to Jack Strand of Burns, she began her career as a registered nurse in Burns. From there, she continued her career as an RN in Washington and Hawaii, before retiring in Nevada.

Cleone is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Gaii and Don Creed of Nevada; daughter-in-law, Karen and grandson, Scott Strand of Arnold, Calif.; granddaughter, Kristen and great-granddaughters, Abigail and Nichole Overton of Elk Grove, Calif.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Jack, of 65 years; and son, Max.

As per their request, Cleone and Jack’s ashes have been returned to Harney County.

Misa K. Blackburn, 22, passed away Sunday, June 7, at Emanuel Hospital in Portland.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, June 12, at the Burns Elks Lodge No. 1680.

Contributions in Misa’s memory may be made to the Shriners Hospitals for Children, in care of LaFollette’s Chapel, P.O. Box 488, Burns, OR 97720.


OBIT KnightLeonard L. Knight, 88, passed away May 25 at Harney District Hospital, surrounded by family.

Leonard was the middle child of seven children born in La Grande to James and Matilda (Pfel) Knight. He loved life and made friends with the people he met throughout his life. He attended school through the eighth grade in La Grande. At about that time, World War II began and the family moved to Portland. His ninth grade was divided between Portland’s Jefferson High School and Hood River High School. Leonard enjoyed playing football. He soon saw that those Portland boys did not play in the same way he had been coached in La Grande. He went to Hood River, found a dairy farm, and was hired for room and board and a small wage. He had found a home at school, playing football with a bunch of rough, tough boys.

When he turned 16, he moved back to Portland with his family and went to work at the shipyards where ships were being built for the war with Japan in the South Pacific.

At age 17, his mother signed the paper to allow him to join the Navy. He spent the next two years serving his country aboard the USS Crittenden in the South Pacific. Shipboard food was not to his liking. One day, while standing in the “chow line,” he was heard to say, “If I couldn’t do any better than that, I would hang it up.” He was immediately escorted to the captain’s quarters. He was now one of the ship’s cooks for the balance of his time in the Navy. Leonard had many amusing stories to tell about his cooking experiences aboard ship, but this same experience paved the way to a lifetime of getting up to his elbows in food preparation, whether it was at a hunting campfire, a back yard barbecue, the Senior Center’s kitchen, or the Lions Club fundraisers.

Following his honorable discharge at the end of World War II, Leonard went back to La Grande and worked for the Union Pacific Railroad. It was during his travels, maintaining the railroad’s telephone system, that he met and married Clara Williams, who had two little girls, Virginia, known as Jennie, and Nancy.

Leonard realized he needed more education if he wanted a career with the U.P. Railroad. He took a leave of absence from his job and completed the radio/electric course, graduating in the spring of 1953, and was back to work for the U.P. Railroad for the next 23 years. He kept the telephones working, and later, the microwave system in the northeast corner of Oregon.

In the next eight years, Leslie and Claire joined the family. Leonard was a good and loving father to all his girls. The daughters remember the family outings of fishing, picnics, and picking huckleberries during their years living in La Grande. Leonard and Clara divorced, and his family moved to Portland. He remarried, but that marriage was not to be, and he was divorced again. Within a few years, he renewed a friendship with Mildred Red and they were married at the Yellowjacket Lake cabin in 1976. They lived in their home in Hines until his death.

Leonard was not a shy man. He was active in several organizations. He was a 56-year member of the Elks Lodge, a past president of the Junior Oldtimers (a railroad organization), the La Grande Eagles Club and the Burns Lions Club. He also served on the Harney County Hospital board.

Leonard was the first to cook for the Senior Center. He worked part time and volunteered as needed. He and his job were a good fit, telling a few jokes and visiting with everyone who came to lunch. He made many friends.

Leonard loved the outdoors, but elk hunting was his passion. When elk season rolled around, all else was set aside. He hunted where the elk were, and always brought an elk home.

Leonard is survived by his wife, Mildred; daughters, Leslie Blanchard and Claire Agner; stepdaughters, Jennie Rockwell, Nancy Saltos, Teresa Johnson and Laurie Red, all of Oregon; Stepson, James (Barbara) Red of Henderson, Nev.; nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Loretta and Lois, and their spouses; brothers, Richard, Dewey, Clifford and Albert and their spouses; and son-in-law, Bob Agner.

A celebration of life was held June 1 at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Burns. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Burns Lions Scholarship Fund, Peace Lutheran Church, or to the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center, in care of LaFollette’s Chapel, P.O. Box 488, Burns OR 97720.


OBIT NewtonElizabeth Jane Newton, 51, passed away April 13.

She was born Feb. 21, 1964, in Fort Bragg, Calif.

She had aspiration pneumonia three or four times a year. She got it on April 3 and quit eating, so her Aunt Jane put her on comfort care, and she lasted until April 13.

Her Aunt Jane was the conservator guardian for her after her grandfather, Calvin Polston, got cancer. She saw her once a year for her annual meeting around her birthday.

Elizabeth is survived by her mother, Judith Choate; brother, Sam G. Newton Jr.; aunt, Jane Morgan; uncle, Bill Morgan; and several cousins.


OBIT BucknerMichael Edward Buckner, 55, passed away May 23 from complications following surgery to repair a damaged aorta.

Mike was born June 24, 1959, in Oakland, Calif., and grew up in the Salinas area. Although Mabe was Mike’s birth name, as a young man he assumed the last name of Buckner after a family friend who came into his life, had great influence and took on a fatherly roll. Mike set out on his own at age 15, and eventually teamed up with some friends and distant cousins, James and David Mabe. This led them to Nevada and eventually Harney County in 1986.

Mike worked on the Roaring Springs Ranch and in Castle Rock before settling in Burns and opening the U-2 Saddle shop, where he created new saddles and tack, made reproductions of old saddles, and did repairs and restorations. Many original and ornate items came from that shop. It was not unusual to see custom woolies and chaps hanging on the walls or even a full length coyote coat, all awaiting the new owners. His shop sewing machine and some of the tools came from the world famous Visalia Stock Saddle Shop in California, which closed in the 1960s.

Mike became an impassioned member of the Assembly of God Church in Hines under Pastors Lance and Rochelle Lovlin. He strongly believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and tried to live by the scripture 2 Timothy 4. He was a member of the Harney County Christian Cowboys, and his shop motto was “Saddle Maker to the Saints.” His shop was a frequent gathering place for buckaroos to hear about a job, or just join in the constant conversation. No one could forget Mike’s chuck wagon operation, and the many Dutch oven meals he prepared for ranch events and gatherings.

The Jordan Valley Big Loop and cowboy camp meetings were a regular gathering place for Mike and so many of his friends. In July 1993, through friends, Shirley and Destry Campbell from Likely, Calif., it was at a camp meeting in Fields on the Defenbaugh Ranch that Mike met the love of his life, Cherie McCarthy from Likely. It was not long before the smitten saddle maker closed up shop in Burns and moved to the Flournoy Ranch in the Jess Valley to marry the ranch cook, Cherie. Then the chuck wagon really thrived! Cherie and Mike moved to Vale in 1996, where they re-established the U-2 Saddle Shop and Mercantile. It was once again a gathering place, and Cherie’s influence in the mercantile had it a wonderful place to find new and old items for sale. Mike also served as an EMT on the Vale ambulance crew.

Tragedy struck their family in the spring of 1998 when Cherie was killed in a single-vehicle accident outside of Vale.  Mike continued on in the business there, continuing to evangelize, and apprentice and train aspiring craftsmen to work with leather and build saddles.  Over the years, Mike added a multitude of friends to his life as he found real family amongst the rendezvous and motorcycle folks. Holidays and special occasions found him included in many family gatherings, all claiming him as their own! He truly hardly knew a stranger.  Mike was a trusted and respected friend of Ken and Kim Gross, and served as a doorman at their V Twin Club in Payette, Idaho, and taught Ken’s stepson, Dakota Pearson, to shoot cannons and muskets. Ken tells of the annual runs they made to California, the Southwest and Northwest.  Mike’s custom purple cycle, with the hand-tooled leather seat and chrome accessories, is a sight to see!  It was not unusual to see him rolling through town with a bedroll on the back.

The filming in Harney County of the 2010 movie, Meeks Cutoff, found Mike as a consultant and supplier of period props for the sets and oxen-drawn covered wagons. Rendezvous friend Jimmy James Joyce said, “We all teased him that the movie was really just advertising for U-2 Saddle Shop & Drygoods in beautiful downtown Vale (at the time). The movie was fun to watch because you could point out all the fun pieces he usually wore himself as well as the great stuff he had for sale in the store!”

The past few years had been a challenge for Mike as he suffered an aortic dissection and was not able to resume the full time shop duties in Vale. He moved to Frenchglen in the winter of 2013 and set up camp on long time friend Malena Konek’s property. Most recently, the U-2 Saddle Shop reappeared in Frenchglen next to Malena’s Frenchglen Mercantile, and Mike was a colorful addition to the main street.

Mike is survived by his brothers, Brian and Kenneth Rogers; and his vast family of friends.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Cherie; and mother, Joan Rodgers.

A memorial service/celebration service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 13, at the Frenchglen School. Following the service, there will be a potluck gathering at the nearby Page Springs campground.  The meat will be provided, so those who wish to bring a dish might consider a side dish, salad or dessert.

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