Randall H. Graves 1940-2015

Posted on February 11th in Obituaries

OBITGravesRandall H. Graves, 74, passed away Jan. 27 in Burns.

He was born May 24, 1940, in rural Tennessee to John and Juanita Graves.

Randy grew up in Burns, and attended Burns High School. He worked for Edward Hines Lumber Co. before joining the Army and serving overseas.

He worked on several ranches around Harney County before returning to work at Edward Hines Lumber Co. He married Carolyn Hurst in 1973.

Randy moved to Alabama, where he continued his career in the lumber industry. He was remarried, to Ethyl, who preceded him in death. He returned to Burns in 2012 to care for his mother. Randy enjoyed hunting and fishing, and being back in Harney County.

Randy is survived by his mother, Juanita of Sublimity; sister, Shelley Jean of Eagle Point; brothers, David of Burns, and Brian and his wife, Carol of Lyons; son, Wayne Graves, and his wife, Tammy of Greenleaf, Idaho; daughter, Vickie of Boise, Idaho; grandson, Dillon Graves; granddaughters, Kaitlyn Graves and Allyson Smith; and several nieces and nephews.

Randy was preceded in death by his father, John K. Graves, in 1998.

A celebration of life will be held later this spring.

Donations may be made to the Harney County CAN Cancer fund, 557 West Washington, Burns, OR 97720.


Brent Smith 1948-2015

Posted on February 11th in Obituaries

OBITSmithBrent Smith passed away Jan. 12, after a long and heroic battle with colon cancer.

He was born Jan. 20, 1948, in Burns, to Betty N. Choate Smith and Fredrick A. Smith. Brent was the seventh of nine children. Brent spent his early years growing up and going to school in Burns, moving to the Springfield area as a young man.

Brent married Gwen, his beloved wife of 43 years, in 1971. Together they made their home in Springfield. Over the years, Brent worked in machine maintenance for Agripac, as a millwright and prior to retirement , as an unemployment supervisor for Barrett Business Services. Brent loved spending time with his brothers and sisters, his dearest and best friends. He was an accomplished mechanic. He enjoyed classic cars, owning first a 1966 Nova, and finally, a 1956 Chevy, lovingly referred to by his wife as, “the other woman.”

Brent is survived by his wife, Gwen; children, Kelly Chasteen, Cindy Pinkerton and Joshua Smith; four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; brothers, Jack Smith and Denton Smith; sisters, Naomi (John) Lynch, Sonja (Art) Morin, Susie Stear and Melody (Tim) McCauley.

He was preceded in death by his brothers, Fred and Wayne. Brent will be greatly missed and long remembered for his kind and gentle spirit. Per Brent’s wishes, there are no services planned.


Leland Pat Miller 1928-2015

Posted on February 11th in Obituaries

OBITMillerLeland Pat Miller, 86, passed away peacefully at his home Feb. 4, with his family at his side.

Pat was born June 10, 1928, in Prineville to Lyle and May (McCullough) Miller of Paulina. Pat attended schools in Paulina, Maury, and Prineville. He married Naida Louise Evans Jan. 17, 1951. Pat and Naida had four daughters, and were married 64 years.  Pat ranched in Paulina and Powell Butte the rest of his life.

He proudly served in the U.S. Army from 1954-56.  He had fond memories of his fellow servicemen that he met while serving in Germany. Pat was a founding member of the Paulina Rodeo Club, a 50-plus year member of the Prineville Elks Club, and a long-time supporter of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association.

He greatly enjoyed political debates and all politics. He enjoyed watching all sports, especially football, basketball, baseball, and volleyball. Pat was an avid rodeo fan, with saddle bronc riding as his favorite event.

Pat is survived by his wife, Naida of Paulina; daughters, Dana (Gary Millin) of Powell Butte, Patti (Mike Sturza) of Paulina, Toni (Jim Lewis) of Prineville, and Lisa (Rob McLean) of Paulina; grandchildren, Kaki McLean Morehead, Chance Millin, Rylee Lewis, Jace Lewis, Kade McLean, and Presley Smith; and four great-grandchildren, Crae Millin, Jaide Campbell, Brymlee Morehead, and Cy Millin.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Lyle and May Miller; sister, Bette Valley; and son-in-law, Mike Sturza.

No services will be held at Pat’s request.

Because education was so important to Pat, memorial contributions may be sent to the Pat Miller Educational Scholarship Fund, in care of Dana Millin, 14221 SW Miller Trail, Powell Butte, OR 97753.  Friends may send a card with a short story or memory to Naida Miller, 8023 SE Wolf Creek Rd, Paulina, OR 97751.

Juniper Ridge Funeral Home is in charge of these arrangements.


Joseph Toelle, 30, passed away suddenly Feb. 5.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, at the Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building. A private family burial will be held on Friday.

Contributions in Joe Toelle’s memory may be made to the Toelle boys’ college fund, checks can be made out to Autumn Toelle, and sent to LaFollette’s Chapel, P.O. Box 488, Burns, OR 97720. Please visit www.lafolletteschapel.com to sign the online guestbook. LaFollette’s Chapel is in charge of funeral arrangements.


Death notice – Dale White

Posted on February 11th in Obituaries

Dale White, former Harney County judge, 83, passed away Feb. 7.

Funeral services are pending, and will be announced at a later date. A full obituary will follow.


Michael Schnitker 1956 – 2015

Posted on February 4th in Obituaries

OBIT SchnitkerWORKEDMichael Lynn Schnitker was born March 15, 1956, in Seattle, Wash. He was the first born of Darrell and Billee (Jacoby), and was the life of the party from that point on. As a young boy, Mike moved a bit because his dad was in the military, but eventually, the family settled in Gooding, Idaho. Mike became a big brother and fulfilled the role with gusto. Holly and Julie took equal parts of love and torment.

Mike was an animal lover from the start. He would recount numerous stories of being on his grandfather’s ranch in Twin Falls, Idaho. Great Grandpa Schnitker took Mike under his wing and fostered a love of cattle, horses, and anything else cowboy. Mike excelled in FFA, and soon learned he had a knack for dogs, especially Australian Shepherds.

Mike met and married Donna (Morris) in 1975 on Dec. 27. The two had only been dating for three months, but he knew he found the one. Soon after, they welcomed Katy and Justin. Not long after becoming a family of four, Mike got a call to manage a ranch in Burns and the family relocated.

Burns quickly burrowed deep in Mike’s blood. He put his heart and soul into ministry at the Nazarene Church and many were blessed by his guitar playing and his big laughter.   As his roots grew deeper, Mike expanded his ministry and found himself pastoring the Crane Fellowship. In fact, the building of the church was one of Mike’s greatest joys. His kids often recount that every conversation included a report on church happenings from Pastor Mike.

If you knew Mike, you knew he also loved dogs and cows. His small herd of Charolais was something that he was very proud of, and he loved to watch the babies being born each year. He also never traveled anywhere without one of his Aussies.  The dogs were his constant companions and it was not uncommon to see his favorite curled up at his feet at night.

Mike loved people and he loved his family. His tough exterior instantly melted as soon as he was around any of his grandchildren. He was “Noosh” to Gracie and Finnley Turpen and “Pappy” to Ayden and Jaxstin Schnitker. Regardless of who was calling him, he adored the role of grandpa and loved taking the kids for ranger and tractor rides.

Mike was known for being bigger than life, and he will be greatly missed.

He is survived by his mother, Billee Schnitker; sister, Holly (Mark) Sabala; wife, Donna Schnitker; children, Katy (Kyle) Turpen and Justin (Kierra) Schnitker; and his grandchildren, Ayden, Jaxstin, Gracie and Finnley.

He was preceded in death by his father, Darrell Schnitker; and sister, Julie Coates.

To honor Mike, donations may be made to Crane Fellowship or Adventure in Life Ministries: http://www.ailministry.org/


Curtis E. Denny

Posted on February 4th in Obituaries

OBIT C. DennyWORKEDCurtis E. Denny, 57, passed away Jan. 16 in Salem.

He was a legendary Hilander, called to make the last touchdown, the final field goal.

Curt graduated from Burns Union High School in 1975, where he was a stand-out athlete in football, basketball and track. In 1975, he set a new state record in the shot put, 64’ 9”, breaking his own record form the previous year. That record stood for more than 20 years.

He was a good brother and even better son, and after often wondering where to lay him to rest, it always came back to Burns. He never married, had no children, though he coached many to victory on the field, for the love of football and track. He had a rough way about him, but on the inside, a soft and gentle heart.

He is survived by sisters, Ruthanne B., Alexis C., Grace L., and Shirley; numerous nieces and nephews; and last, but not least, Janene P. and Chelle T .

He was preceded in death by his parents.

A memorial service will be held Feb. 24 in Burns at the old football field off of Foley Drive.


Leonard E. Oster 1937-2014

Posted on February 4th in Obituaries

Leonard E. Oster, 77, passed away Jan. 8, at Park Forest Care Center in Portland.

Leonard was the youngest son of L.E. “Red” and Fannie Oster, born May 16, 1937, in Madras.

He attended school at the one-room school in Frenchglen. He spent his younger years in the Burns area before the family relocated to the Dayville area, where he graduated from Dayville High School. It is there he met and married his high school sweetheart, Kathleen Cant.

Leonard and Kathy lived in the John Day area for many years, during which time they had two daughters. The young family relocated to Baker City and raised their family. Leonard was proud of his family, and especially so of the professional careers both daughters achieved.

Leonard retired from Ellingson Timber Co. after supervising the construction of miles of logging roads. He also had a saddle shop for more than 35 years, catering to the working cowboy with saddles in many states and Australia.

Leonard is survived by his wife, Kathleen; daughters, Luann (Ed) Cook, and Linda (Brian) Oster-Bainnson; granddaughters, Brynne and Elyah Oster-Bainnson, all of Portland; brother, Clarence Oster of Richland, Wash.; and is also survived by many brothers- and sisters-in-law and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Arlie and Jess.

No services will be held, and in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Grant County Ranch and Rodeo Museum, 241 E. Main Street., John Day, OR 97845.


Wayne Perry Lowe 1937-2015

Posted on February 4th in Obituaries

OBIT LoweWORKEDWayne Perry Lowe, 77, of Seabeck, Wash., passed away Jan. 26 following complications from cancer.

Wayne was born July 19, 1937, in Hines. He graduated from Burns Union High School June 1, 1956. Wayne served our country in the Air Force from May 1957 to May 1961. He enjoyed a long career as a computer repair/service technician.

The joy of his life was spending time with his family, friends, and especially his grandchildren. Wayne was very talented in areas of wood working, electrical, and so much more.

Wayne enjoyed being in the outdoors with his family, and loved having a camera in hand. Camping, fishing and traveling were some of his most very favorite pastimes.

Wayne’s greatest attribute was his loving, caring and dedication to his family and friends.

Wayne is survived by his wife, Marilyn Lowe; son, Derek Wayne Lowe; daughter, Sabrina Dawn Dikeman; step-daughter, Terry Crawford; along with many beautiful grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13, in Burns.


Death notice — West D. Martin

Posted on February 4th in Obituaries

West D. Martin, 53, passed away Jan. 27 at his home in Madras. A celebration of life will be announced at a later date.


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