Denzil Eugene (Denny) Jones died April 25 at home from natural causes.

He was born Sept. 10, 1910, in Ione to Eugene Sullivan Jones and Ruth Baker. His mother died when Denny was 5 years old leaving him, his older brother, Harland, 7, and younger sister Mae, 3, to fend for themselves as their father worked on many different ranches around the Spray area. Mae went to live with a friend on an adjoining ranch, and Denny and Harlan lived with the buckaroos in the bunkhouse when their father was gone.

Denny’s father remarried when he was 7 years old.

Denny started working at an early age. His first job, at the age of 8, was to deliver wood to Spray with a team of horses. He loaded the wood, unloaded it and stacked it. There were times when he would be coming home in the dark with a bridge to cross, and he always wondered if he’d end up in the creek, but never did and always credited his horses to “knowing where they were going.”

When Denny was 14, the family moved to Prineville, a place Denny had only heard about. He was given a herd of 37 cattle and told to drive them from Spray to Prineville, a distance of 85 miles. It took him seven days, and when asked what he thought about on that trip, he said, “I wondered where the hell I was!” His dad informed him that there would be places to stay and buy meals along the way, but Denny barely managed to find something to eat every day.

Denny attended high school in Prineville. Every morning, he milked 32 cows, and then rode his horse seven miles to school. One morning it was 36 degrees below zero. He didn’t have any rubber galoshes (overshoes) and his feet were about to freeze. He came by a teepee, where a friend lived. Denny stopped and went in, no one was home but there was a fire going so he thawed out his feet and hands and went on to school. He was in the 10th grade when his father was asked if Denny could go on the race circuit caring for horses. There was always a need for money so a contract was signed (but never fulfilled in payment). He was glad to be rid of his living situation but was sorry he did not finish high school as he felt an education was essential.

During his racing career he lived in the boxcars with the horses, caring for them traveling from Vancouver, B.C., to Tijuana, Mexico. He exercised the horses, which eventually got him mounts at races. He was a successful jockey until, after getting two meals a day, he gained too much weight, making it difficult to make the 106-pound weight restriction.
Denny returned to Oregon working herding sheep in 1927 and 1928; however, he was too horsey to enjoy being a sheepherder so he then moved to Jonesboro Ranch working as a buckaroo. He eventually bought that ranch, which was his passion, and he received much enjoyment out of the ranch life and hard work.

He married Mildred Altnow in 1931 and together, they raised two children, Eugene and Karen. Denny and Mildred dedicated 67 years to each other throughout ranching and political endeavors.

Denny served as president of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association from 1968 to 1969, he was director of the American Cattlemens’ Association, president of the Malheur Co. Livestock Association, director of the Pacific International Livestock Expo and president of the Malheur County Pioneer Association. He was also a member of the Public Land Council board, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the Juntura School District, the Malheur Juvenile Council and the Agri-Business Council of Oregon. Denny served as a lobbyist for the Oregon Cattlemens’ Association and was a member of the BPOE and the Freemasons.

Denny was elected to the Oregon State Legislature in 1973, serving until 1999. During those 26 years, he served on the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, where he was co-chair, the Emergency Board, and the committees for agriculture, transportation and education.

He is survived by his companion, Fannie Myers; son, Eugene (Miriam) Jones of Ontario; daughter, Karen Dinsmore, of Ontario; grandchildren Dan (Donna) Jones, Greg (Teresa) Jones, Wes Jones, Rebecca Jones, Jennifer (Todd) Koch, Todd (Jan) Dinsmore, Cherie (Harry) Jaques, and Rodd (Karen) Dinsmore; 14 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.

Services will be held May 3 at 2 p.m. at the Four Rivers Cultural Center, 676 SW Fifth Ave. in Ontario. There will be a fellowship immediately following at the Elks, 20 SW Third St. in Ontario.

The family requests any memorial contributions to be sent to the FFA Denny Jones Scholarship fund at Ontario FFA Alumni, 4865 John Day Highway, Vale, OR 97918 or Lienkaemper-Thomason Funeral Center, 78 NW First Ave., Ontario, OR 97914

Mary Lavonne Wallace died March 25 at her home in Burns.

She was born July 12, 1941, in Fresno, Calif., to John and Cynthia. Mary was one of nine children.

She married David Harrison Wallace in Benicia, Calif. Mary and Dave raised five children as they moved around the word with Dave’s Air Force career.

Mary is survived by her husband of 55 years, David H. Wallace; five children, Mike Wallace, Barbara Wallace, David (Sara) Wallace, Brenda (Joe) Rabb and Bill Wallace; three grandchildren, Aubrey Rabb, Mikey Wallace and Suzie Wallace; two brothers, Calvin and Charlie; and one sister, Zedna.

Respecting Mary’s wishes, no services will be held. In lieu of flowers, consider directing any remembrances to an animal rescue organization of choice.

Della Fay Steel, 91, of John Day died Dec. 26, 2011, in John Day. A memorial graveside service will be held Saturday, May 5, at 1 p.m. at the Burns Cemetery. A potluck reception will follow at the American Legion Hall in Burns. Driskill Memorial Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, May 5, at 11 a.m. for Mary Lynn Carter. The service will be held at New Harvest Church, 4290 Portland Road NE, Salem, OR 97301.

Martha Marie Pitkin, 88, died April 15 in Meridian, Idaho, surrounded by her children.

Martha was born Jan. 26, 1924, in Burns to Lithuanian immigrants, Peter and Marie Kvekshas.

She was a woman who had a deep love of God, great humility, wisdom and gentle strength. She had a great sense of humor, enthusiasm for life and a tenacious spirit for finding the goodness and joy in people and life’s challenges. She had a great love for her family and friends, with dark chocolate and Mexican mochas following close behind!

Her life in the small town of Burns was filled with wonderful memories and friends. She attended St. Francis Academy in Baker for her high school years. She later worked at Edward Hines Lumber Mill in Hines before marrying Donald Eugene Pitkin on May 5, 1948. Martha and Don raised nine children. In 1963, the family moved to Meridian, where Martha and Don continued to reside and raise their family. She was born and raised Catholic and was a member of Holy Apostles Catholic Church in Meridian.

Martha was preceded in death by two sisters and a brother in Lithuania; her parents, Peter and Marie; her daughter, Ramona; and her husband, Donald.

She is survived by her children and their families, Suzanne (Mike) Revak of Fernley, Nev., and family Keri, Kelley, Adam, Shawna and Stephanie; Deborah (Mark) Klein of Reno, Nev.; Stephen Pitkin of Long Beach, Calif.; Christopher Pitkin of Ketchum, Idaho; Mary (Larry) Ossenkop of Boise, Idaho, and family John and Michelle; James (Kimberly) Pitkin of Middleton, Idaho, and family Natalie, Nicholas, Scott and Garrett; Elizabeth Meyer of Caldwell, Idaho, and family Casey, Jake and Danny; and Michael Pitkin of Meridian, Idaho; great-grandchildren, Kedrick and Gavin; sister-in-law, Norma (Greg) Thiel of Nyssa; and numerous nieces and nephews and their families.

Memorial contributions can be made to a favorite charity.

A Rosary Vigil was held April 20 at Holy Apostles Catholic Church. A Funeral Mass was held April 21 at Holy Apostles Catholic Church. Burial will be held at the Burns Cemetery in Burns at a later date. Services are under the direction of Accent Funeral Home, Meridian. Remembrances may be left for the family at:

Elmer Kirkendall 1921-2012

Posted on April 25th in Obituaries

Elmer Kirkendall, 91, of Burns died April 16.

Elmer was born Oct. 12, 1921, in Hanna, Okla., to Sarah Jane and Andrew Jackson Kirkendall.

Elmer enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on Feb. 23, 1942. He achieved the rank of corporal and also the status as a sharpshooter with a rifle and marksman with a pistol. He also became a drill instructor. He served in the Pacific area from 1943 to 1945 and engaged in action, battles and skirmishes at Bougainville, B.S.I.; Consolidation of Northern Solomon Islands; Guam; and Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands. While on leave in Long Beach, Calif., he met Frances Audrey Bornhauser, and they were married May 27, 1945, in Alhambra, Calif. Corporal Elmer Kirkendall was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps Feb. 26, 1946.

He resided in Duarte, Calif., with his wife and raised three children while working at Sears Roebuck. His favorite thing to do was to take the family camping and fishing in the High Sierras in California, where he loved to fish the Kern River for German browns and hike to Convict Lake and fish for golden trout. Before retiring, he decided to sell out, move to Wimer and buy a 36-acre farm. He enjoyed having horses, gardening and having his children and grandchildren nearby. Elmer was a man of faith and attended the Wimer Church. He loved singing in the choir and at retirement homes with his wife, Frances.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother and sister; his wife of 48 years; and his son, Donald Lee Kirkendall.

He is survived by his daughters, Audrey Kirkendall-Harrison (Lowell) of Boyd, Mont., and Deborah Jay (Larry) of Hines; grandchildren, Shawn, Shannon, Selena, Jennifer, Christine, Christopher and Jonathan; 12 great-grandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren.

Military services and interment will be held Thursday, April 26, at 2 p.m. at the Eagle Point National Cemetery, 2763 Riley Road in Eagle Point.

Gary M. Choate died at his home in Burns April 17.

Graveside services will be held Friday, April 27, at 2 p.m.

Wilberta (Speaker) Shoemaker, Willie, was born in El Dorado, Kan., Oct. 29, 1931, to Wilber Bell Speaker and Helen Dorothy (Schirmer) Speaker. She had no brothers or sisters. She moved to Gladewater, Texas, when she was 6 years old and lived there until shortly before her 13th birthday.

In 1944, she and her parents moved to Oregon. They spent the first couple of months in Salem and then moved to Tillamook, where she lived until after her marriage. She was an active member in the Tillamook Methodist Church and Sunday school and as a choir member and had many happy memories from the Methodist Youth Fellowship (M.Y.F.) meetings before the evening services. Some of these memories were the trips the M.Y.F. groups made to Camp Magruder at Rockaway as it was being built. The M.Y.F. helped clear and make trails around the camp buildings down to the lake and out to the beach at the ocean. Willie was baptized, married, and her first two children were christened at this church.

In high school, she was a member of the Silverwave Assembly of Rainbow for girls. She graduated from Tillamook High School in 1949. She worked a short time at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. In 1950, she went to work for “Ma Bell” at the telephone company. Through her job she met her husband-to-be, Ronald Phillip Shoemaker. They were married on New Year’s Eve in 1950.

In 1952, with baby daughter Shelley, they moved to Los Angeles, Calif., when Ron’s hitch was up in the Coast Guard. They bought their first home in Whittier, Calif., where their second and third children, David and Terri, were born. In 1957, they returned to Oregon and lived approximately one and a half years in Portland and then to Salem, where their fourth child, Andrew, was born.

In the spring of 1969, they moved to Hines. Willie worked at the old Tiller Grocery as a checker and then later in the meat department. She was a part-time bookkeeper at Burns Automotive Parts and at the Burns Times-Herald and owner-operator of her yarn shop, “Willie’s Wire Bird,” for about one and a half years.
In 1984, she and Ron went into partnership with Steve and Cindy Grasty and opened A Parts Store, and it was back to bookkeeping again.

Willie joined the Burns Christian Church in 1992. She was a member of the Harney County Arts and Crafts Association since 1978, during which time she held all of the offices at different times. In addition, she served several years as supervisor of the art department at the Harney County Fair. In 1992, she became a member of the library board.

Since moving to Hermiston on Labor Day 2006, she had met several close friends and joined a card making class at Danica’s Scrapbooking Store. She was so very creative, and she made a card for every event, birthday, holiday and special occasions. All her family and friends enjoyed the heartfelt emotion and caring put into every card they received.

She enjoyed her Red Hat friends from her clubs in both Burns and Hermiston. Through the years she made many friends through this club and remained in contact with many members.

Willie was an avid reader, mostly mysteries, and loved her collection of giraffes. Most of all she loved crafts of any kind: knitting, crocheting, sewing and oil and water color painting. In her 50s she bought a scroll saw and really got into decorative woodworking.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Ron; her mother, Helen Speaker; and her grandson, Nickolas Shoemaker.

She is survived by her two sons, David and wife Mary Jo of Burns and Andrew of Benton City, Wash.; two daughters, Shelly and husband Reed Jassmann of Sammamish, Wash., and Terri and husband Pat Ward of Hermiston; six grandchildren, Holly (Jassmann) Hall, Christopher Ward, Nicole (Ward) Malmberg, Candice (Shoemaker) Every, and Joseph Shoemaker; and five great-grandchildren, Patrick Ward, Taylor Ward, Nickolas Malmberg, Whitney Malmberg and Quinn Hall.

Her final wish was to be cremated and to have her ashes scattered with her husband and mother, Helen Speaker, at Burnt Cabin Creek above Emigrant Creek. She wanted the poem “Beyond the Rainbow” read that she left with Pastor John Leffler and the music “Claire De Lune” played and “In the Garden” sung.

At her request, there are three different places to make donations in her memory. The first is to the Harney County Arts and Crafts Department at the Harney County Fairgrounds, Fairgrounds Road, Burns, OR 97720; the second is to the Harney County Library, 80 West “D” St., Burns, OR 97720; and the third is to the Vange John Memorial Hospice, 1050 W. Elm Ave., Suite 220, Hermiston, OR 97838.

Helene Hensen Streeter (formerly Helene Clark) died Friday, April 6, in Paradise, Calif.

Helene was born in Burns on Sept. 17, 1923, to Roy and Ethel Clark. Both parents were second generation Harney County pioneers. Roy was an active stockman on several ranches throughout his life in Harney and Lake counties. He was married to the former Ethel A. Turner of Burns, who worked as a bookkeeper during their ranching years.

While growing up, Helene was also very active and involved with her family in ranching.

She graduated from Ashland High School in 1942. Then she worked in Burns and Lakeview before marrying Henry “Hank” Hensen on April 21, 1946. They moved to California. She primarily worked for 20 years in car dealerships in Oregon and California, and concluded her career of 25 years with the Department of Water Resources in Oroville, Calif.

Her retirement years in Paradise, Calif., were spent traveling with her loving and caring companion, Arley Emmons.

Helene was preceded in death by her parents, Roy and Ethel Clark, and her sister, Donna Santos.

Helene is survived by her companion, Arley Emmons; daughter, Sonja Lund of Chico, Calif.; granddaughter, Brittany Lund of Paradise, Calif.; cousin Bunny Pope of Burns; and other nieces and cousins.

Private family services will be held in Burns.

John Henry Penland 1918-2012

Posted on April 18th in Obituaries

Former long-time Harney County resident John Henry Penland, 93, died March 6 in Puyallup, Wash.

He was born Oct. 4, 1918, in St. Louis, Mo.

John was preceded in death by Betty Penland.

He is survived by his daughter, Laurie Penland Monette of Puyallup, Wash., and four grandchildren.

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Destination Harney County

Destination Harney County 2012


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