Frank N. Blagen Jr., 93, died on Feb. 11 with his family by his side.

He was born Dec. 23, 1919, in Hoquiam, Wash., the third of three children born to Frank and Helen Blagen.

Frank married Dolores Ring in January 1938 and they had six children.

In 1924, when he was 5, Frank’s family moved from Hoquiam to Calpine, Calif., where his father managed a lumber mill. Growing up during the years at Calpine, and later in his family’s White Pine Mill in West Point, Calif., Frank learned the lumber business under his father’s guidance. Not surprisingly, most of Frank’s own working career was in building, owning and managing lumber mills in Northern California or Oregon. Early in his career, he also worked in construction while living in San Rafael, Calif., and with the U.S. Army on Ie Shima during World War I.

Frank and his wife, Delores, along with son Frank III moved to Hines in 1967. Frank managed the Edward Hines Lumber Co. until 1980, living in the manager’s home at the top of Pettibone Hill. Frank built a hangar on a small landing strip on the edge of Hines. From there he flew his plane on many business and personal trips. Frank always said that his years as general manager of the Edward Hines Lumber Co. were, by far, the most satisfying of all the years during which he was employed.

In the 1980s and ’90s, he continued his lumber-related career as a partner in Redwood Coast Trucking Company. During this time, he and Delores moved into the home they built in Willow Creek, Calif., where they lived together until 2003, when Delores died.

In September 1987, after partially retiring, Frank went to Europe with a tour group for six weeks. The following year, he went to the Orient with another tour group for a month. Frank thoroughly enjoyed both trips and kept a daily journal for each one. In 2004, Frank and his daughter Judy traveled to the Galapagos islands and Machu Picchu.

Besides travel, Frank had many interests including building furniture, flying his airplane, building sailboats and gardening. He was always learning and was an avid reader. He especially enjoyed sports and working on his computer. As those close to him knew, he was very generous and had a wonderful sense of humor.

Over the years, Frank served on local and county school boards and served as director of the junior chamber of commerce, the chamber of commerce and the Ingomar Club.

Frank is survived by his children, Anthony M. Blagen of Oakland, Phyllis A. Stockel of Willow Creek, Calif., Dolores D. Schneider of Garden Valley, Calif., Judy L. Bankert of Citrus Heights, Calif., Virginia L. Bender of Rocklin, Calif., and Frank N. Blagen III of White City; nine grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his brother, Howard Blagen, and sister, Marilyn McIntosh.

This spring, the family will gather in Eureka, Calif., for a special time of remembrance.


Roy W. Norris, 80, lost his battle with cancer on Feb. 16, surrounded by his family in Hines.

Roy was born Aug. 11, 1932, in Brighton, Colo., to Simon and Bertha (Thomas) Norris.

He served in the U.S. Army. He spent 18 months in Germany and was honorably discharged in 1961.

He married Barbara J. Kutch on Sept. 11, 1953. He worked many different jobs to provide for his family. Roy could accomplish anything he set his mind to do. He worked in the timber industry in Oregon and Idaho. Roy’s most passionate thing he enjoyed after retirement in 2010 was to buy and remodel homes for resale.

Roy is survived by his wife of 58 years, Barbara (Kutch) Norris; sister, Betty Norris of Milton-Freewater; sons, Scott Norris of Redmond and Michael Norris of Burns; daughters, Rebecca Norris-Fulton and husband Mike of Hines and Mary Camper and fiancé Scott Sanseri of Redmond; grandchildren, Jessie Norris, Tashell and husband Paul Erichsen and Charlene Norris, all of Washington, Sky Norris of California, Amanda Camper of Dubai-United Arab Emirates and Justin Camper of Redmond; great-grandson, Dillon of Washington; numerous nieces and nephews; and many family and friends.

Roy was preceded in death by his parents, Simon and Bertha Norris; son, Douglas Norris; sisters, Virgie Carlson, Cleo Swopes, Dorothy Murr, Goldie Buell and Lois Norris (infant); and brothers, Chester, J.B., Elmer (Curly) and James Norris.

At his request, no service will be held. Donations may be sent to Harney County Hospice, 415 N. Fairview in Burns.


Laura Burwell Ortiz of Burns died on Feb. 18.

A celebration of life will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 11, at the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center.

A full obituary will follow at a later date.


Donald Opie 1935 – 2013

Posted on February 20th in Obituaries

Donald Opie, 77, died Tuesday evening, Feb. 12, at Harney District Hospital in Burns following a long battle with degenerative lung disease. (However, Donald made it a point to let everyone he came in contact with know that he never smoked a day in his life.)

Donald was born on Sept. 8, 1935, in Mesa, Ariz., to Henry and Gertrude Opie, the youngest boy of 13 children. Because he lost both his parents before entering the sixth grade, Donald spent most of his time raising heck with his brothers and sisters.

Shortly after his sophomore year of high school began, he made the move from sunny Arizona to the land of Harney County to live with his brother Dan. Life with Dan was a bit more structured than what Donald had previously been experiencing in Arizona, and he soon came to find that going to school really wasn’t all that bad.

Following graduation in 1953, he joined the Army. He loved to make jokes that he had the easiest job during his time of service because other than his combat medic training, he spent the majority of his time playing basketball, football and volleyball for the Army teams. Due to his 6-foot, 6-inch build and rather large stature, it was easy to see why athletics played a huge role in his life. Soon after returning home, he was asked to walk on at Oklahoma. He was also visited by the Oregon State football coach. After the coach witnessed him getting bucked off a broncy colt, he offered him a full-ride scholarship. At that point in time, however, Donald had no desire to be anything other than a rancher.

Directly after his discharge, he married Betty (Jenkins) on Dec. 1, 1956. From that point on, it was understood that Betty was the only person on the planet that could strike any sort of fear in Donald.

Together, the two raised three kids: Ross, Dawna Sue and John. It didn’t matter what the sporting event may have been or where the rodeo was located, you could bet that Donald and Betty both would be the first to arrive and the last to leave.

Soon after Donald and Betty’s marriage, the couple moved to Anderson Valley and worked for Betty’s grandma (Adele Paul) and parents (Tom and Dorothy Jenkins) for five years. At the completion of that stint, Donald went to work for his brother Dan on the Spurlock Ranch for three years, until he took over the management position for an additional 16 years. In 1976, he and Betty purchased a portion of the Spurlock Ranch, which included the Slokum and land at Lawen.

In the early 1980s, the family lost everything in a devastating flood that leveled their house, barns, shop, corrals and a few other things. With seemingly nowhere to turn and virtually no money for rebuild, Donald moved his family to Crane and began driving the activity bus for Crane High School athletic teams, as well as, hauling hay for various ranchers in order to make a living. He chose not to rebuild their house in Lawen but rather, continued to rebuild their ranching operation in Crane.

Among his many talents, Donald certainly never had a problem voicing his opinion or “telling it like it was.” Because of this, he served on numerous different boards throughout the county starting with the Lawen Elementary School Board for 21 years, Crane High School Budget and School boards for eight years, Harney County Stock Horse Futurity Board for 10 years, Harney County Fair Board for 21 years, and his most favorite job of all, deputy sheriff of all the county dances when he and Betty were young. Due to his dedication and service to these fine organizations, he was named the Harney County Fair Grand Marshal in 2006 and the Harney County Senior Man of the Year in 2010.

Donald thoroughly loved being a father to his three children and jumped at every opportunity to teach them aspects of the ranching lifestyle and give guidance in the game of life. To top it all off, these children granted him five grandkids who were his whole world. From 1992 on, he was no longer just “Dad” or “Uncle Donald” … he became “Grandpa” to five wide-eyed kids, eager to mimic his every step.

Besides being the ultimate family man, model father and diligent friend, Donald’s absolute greatest passion in life was to help every kid that was ever in need of assistance. Whether loaning horses, giving horses, hauling kids to rodeos, organizing 4-H horse judging practices, rounding up roping cattle, providing a place for kids to practice, starting the Opie Arena Rodeo, attending ball games (which always included a fair amount of bellering at the referees) or raising money for a new elementary school gym, it was guaranteed that he would be at the forefront of absolutely any youth activity. He loved all kids in general, not only his own grandchildren, but every single kid he had the opportunity to be around.

For 11 years in a row, Donald insisted that the Opie Arena Rodeo would go on, despite some oftentimes not-so-generous weather. One year, the rain continued for days on end, making the arena a sloppy mess.

Fortunately, Donald spurred the entire family into action and managed to arrange, with the help of the Baileys, 52 belly dump loads of sand to be unloaded in his arena.

Donald was instrumental in acquiring funds to build the new Crane Elementary gym. Being an extremely unbashful person, he had no problem calling and asking for money. Ironically enough, he wanted it built entirely for the kids. He even went as far as volunteering family and friends to provide free labor while in the process of building. Without a doubt, he “volon-told” instead of “volunteered!” He was so proud to see the gym complete and would have been even more proud to see that the bathrooms were finally finished.

He was truly a horseman at heart and nothing made him prouder than to see his kids and grandkids mounted on the “good lookin’” horses, as he called them, that he worked so hard to create. From the bucking chutes to the roping chutes and from the show arena to the branding trap, you can bet your bottom dollar that his heart became a little happier each time he was able to both partake in and watch these fine events.

Last, but not least, he was an avid hunter. Come every fall, it was a given that you would find him down at the Slokum with Ross, John, the kids and many friends that he loved having around. Hundreds of deer and elk stories were repeated endlessly. There was little room for cow work during that time of the year.

Donald was and still is the boss of his family. His distinct ability to holler will never be replaced.

Donald is survived by his wife of 56 years, Betty (Jenkins) Opie; son, Ross Opie and wife Kerry; daughter, Dawna Sue Nyman and husband Skip; son, John Opie and Gwen Haigh; five grandchildren, Brooke Nyman, Ryan Opie, Nic Nyman, Tyler Opie and Quinton Nyman; two sisters, Dorothy Skinner of Crane and Mary Maupin of Seattle, Wash.; one brother, Delbert Opie of Mesa, Ariz.; numerous nieces and nephews; and many close family and friends.

Donations can be made to Crane Elementary Gym Memorial Fund in care of LaFollette’s Chapel, P.O. Box 488, Burns, OR 97720.

Condolences can be sent to the family at: www.lafolletteschapel.com


James Albert Bracken, 78, died Feb. 13 at Blue Mountain Nursing Home in Prairie City.

James was born on Oct. 28, 1934, in Rock Springs, Wyo. to William and Ruth (Gardener) Bracken. He attended high school in Jackson Hole, Wyo., graduating in 1951. He was in the U.S. Navy from 1953 to 1957, where he ranked as an E-5 and attended the Naval Aeronautical School. He then attended University of Wyoming and graduated in 1959.

He married Judith P. Story in Lakeview on Dec. 19, 1964. He worked as a project engineer for the U.S. Forest Service and retired in 1985.  James enjoyed hunting, fishing, gunsmithing, reading and traveling.

James is survived by his wife, Judith Bracken of Prairie City; daughter, Angie Hughes of Mountain Home, Idaho; and grandsons, Colton Schulze of Fort Campbell, Ky., and Sawyer Schulze of Boise, Idaho.

A memorial graveside service was held Feb. 16 at Prairie City Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to Prairie City American Legion, John Day Elks Lodge or Pulmonary Fibrosis Research through Driskill Memorial Chapel, 241 S. Canyon Blvd., John Day, OR 97845


Ronald Looney

Posted on February 20th in Obituaries

Ronald Looney died at his home in Hines on Feb. 17.

A funeral service will be held at 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22, at the Harney County Church of the Nazarene in Hines.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to offset funeral costs.

Donations in Ron Looney’s name  may be made to LaFollette’s Chapel, P.O. Box 488, Burns, OR 97720, or to his daughter, Kelli Beers, P.O. Box 1466, Hines, OR 97738.


David Shoemaker 1954 – 2013

Posted on February 13th in Obituaries

David Shoemaker, 58, died on Saturday, Feb. 2, at Oregon Health Science University Hospital (OHSU) in Portland.

Dave was born in Montebello, Calif., on April 15, 1954, to Ron and Wilberta Shoemaker. At the age of 3, his family moved to Oregon. The family moved to Burns when Dave was 12. He worked in his family’s parts store until his health would not allow it anymore. Dave married Mary Jo Temple in May of 1995. At that time he also became a father to Joseph.

Dave loved the outdoors and adventures. When Joseph was active in Boy Scouts, Dave was right by his side and loving every minute of it.

David is survived by his wife, Mary Jo of Burns; son, Joseph Temple-Shoemaker and fiancée Delanie Darnell; brother, Andrew of Benton City, Wash.; sisters, Shelly and husband Reed Jassmann of Sammamish, Wash., and Terri and husband Pat Ward of Hermiston; sister-in-law, Jennie Lee and husband Chris, father- and mother-in-law, Richard and Glenda Temple; nieces and nephews, Holly (Jassmann) Hall, Christopher Ward, Nicole (Ward) Malmberg, Candice (Shoemaker) Every, Terri Smith, Taylor and Megan Lee; great-nieces and nephews, Patrick Ward, Taylor Ward, Nickolas Malmberg, Whitney Malmberg, Quinn Hall and Jhett Smith.

He was preceded in death by his father, Ron; mother, Willie; grandmother, Helen; and nephew, Nickolas.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 16, at Faith Baptist Church in Hines at 1 p.m.

Contributions in David Shoemaker’s memory can be made to the High Desert Park & Recreation equipment fund in care of LaFollette’s Chapel, P.O. Box 488; Burns, OR 97720.


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


Rev. Titus J. Duncan, 86, of Sutherlin died Jan. 16. He was born Nov. 7, 1926, in Shelby County, Texas.

He honorably served in the U.S. Military for 11 years before becoming a “soldier in God’s Army” for the remainder of his life.

He was a minister of the United Pentecostal Church International for more than 50 years.

He was minister of the First Pentecostal Church in Burns from 1972 until 2001.

His wife, Rose Anne Gard Duncan, worked for Burns High School and Harney County School District 3 for 25 years.

Titus is survived by his wife, Rose Anne; daughters, Ileen Duncan Hardage and husband Bill and Patricia Duncan; nine grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren; and 11 great-great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Dennis and Iva Duncan; first wife, Eunice Priest Duncan; and two grandchildren.

A funeral service was held Jan. 26 at The Church on the Rise in Roseburg. Arrangements were under the direction of Taylor’s Family Chapel.


Hilda Schuh-Tice 1922 – 2013

Posted on February 13th in Obituaries

Hilda Schuh-Tice, 90, of Albany died Feb. 2.

Hilda was born April 9, 1922, to immigrant parents Christ and Sophia Schuh of Hazen, N.D., and was the third youngest of 16 children.

She married Lester A. Tice in January 1951. Together, they raised their family in Albany and later moved to Burns to retire, travel and work their 300-acre farm. Hilda loved to work the land and always had a flower and vegetable garden. She was creative with her hands and enjoyed cooking, canning, decorating cakes, sewing, crocheting and quilting.

Hilda is survived by her sister, Frieda, of Bismarck, N.D.; daughters, Wanda Grindel of Jefferson, Pamela Moulton of Caldwell, Idaho, and Donna Riley of Albany; eight grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Lester, and 14 of her siblings.

A service was held Feb. 7 at AAsum-Dufour Funeral Home.  AAsum-Dufour Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements (www.aasum-dufour.com).


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