OBIT MillerDavid “Rosko” Miller lost his long battle with cancer on July 25.

He was born Jan. 1, 1959, in Mountain Home, Idaho, and lived in places such as Burns; Sitka, Alaska; Pullman and Seattle, Wash.; and finally, in Louisiana.

David joined the United States Marines, where he served from October 1979 to May 1985. After his service to his country, he went on to get his certification as a diving technician and became a commercial diver. In his endeavors as a commercial diver, he adopted the nickname “Rosko.” That’s the name people came to know him by.

David had a passion for riding Harleys and was the road captain for the motorcycle club, Hole-N-Da-Wall chapter in Lafayette, La. He had many adventures in his life, including his time in Key West, Fla., overseas, and of course, his time in the Northwest, where most of his family resided.

Although David never had children or family of his own, he had a strong sense of family and came to the Northwest for regular visits.

He is survived by his mother, MaryAnn Gohl; his girlfriend, Susan Herbert; brothers, Bruce Miller and wife, Valerie, Robert Gohl and wife, Tricia; sisters, Debbie Miller and husband, Bing, Tammy Downing and husband, Chris; several nieces and nephews, including Crystal Miller and Alisha Bender; one great-nephew and one great-niece, who nicknamed him “Uncle Pirate.”

He was preceded in death by his father, Archie Jackson Miller.

David will be laid to rest at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, Wash.

OBIT James SmithJim Smith, 83, passed away peacefully July 22 at his home in Canon City, Colo., surrounded by family.

James Maurice Smith was born in Chehalis, Wash., Feb. 24, 1931, to Maurice James Smith and Clara (Taylor) Smith. His parents lived their whole lives in the small town of Chehalis. His dad was a railroad engineer, carrying lumber down from the mountains, and his mother was a faithful wife, mother of four boys, and kept a beautiful large garden even to the very end of her life.

Jim went to school in Chehalis, and then attended Northwest Christian College in Eugene. There he met his first wife, LaDonna Mariam Ross. Being very tall, he played basketball, got his degree in theology and was married to LaDonna June 14, 1953, in Hood River by her father, the Reverend Donald Ross. Feeling the need for discipline in his life, he enlisted in the Air Force on Oct. 5, 1955.

Jim and LaDonna were first stationed at Tyndall AFB in Florida, where they had two sons, Michael on March 29, 1957, and David (Mark) on Dec.13, 1959.  Jim was then stationed in Greenland for a year while his family lived in Chehalis. Their third son, John, was born April 17, 1961.  In 1961, they moved, and were stationed in Colorado Springs, Colo., for two years. In 1963, they moved to Alva, Okla., where Jim was in the reserves, completed his seminary studies at Phillips University in Enid, Okla., and was the youth pastor at the First Christian Church.

In 1965, they moved to Hoxie, Kan., their things carried in wheat trucks with the help of the farmers there. In this small town, Jim pastored his first church (First Christian Church) for 10 years. He faithfully labored there in the church, drove school bus, raised his family and was well loved and respected by the community.

In 1975, their oldest son, Michael, attended Northwest Christian College in Eugene. In a desire to be closer to their family in Washington and Oregon, Jim and LaDonna moved again to a small town, Burns, where Jim pastored his second church (Burns Christian Church). (David) Mark and John completed high school there, and moved away as Jim and LaDonna continued to serve the community and church there.

After her third bout with cancer, Jim’s first wife, LaDonna, passed away Dec. 16, 1997, in Burns.

In 1998, while still ministering in Burns to Son Rise Christian Church, Jim was introduced to Margaret Gard of Colorado Springs.  They were married on June 28, 1998, in Green Mountain Falls, Colo. After Jim retired, the Smiths moved to Springville, Calif., for one year. They were active in the Lindsay Christian Church in Lindsay, Calif. They then purchased a home in Strathmore. Jim took a position as pastor of the Community Church in Camp Nelson, Calif., for a few months. After retiring once again in 2005, the Smiths moved to Delta, Colo. The family enjoyed the fellowship of Delta Christian Church.

In 2010, a move was made to Canon City, Colo. to be close to family. For a short while, he led Bible study for a small group and a Sunday afternoon Bible study at Canon Lodge Nursing Home. Jim and his wife, Margaret, were members of Grandview Christian Church

Jim was a faithful pastor, a faithful husband and a faithful father. He had a quiet sense of humor, and to the end of his days, thought of the needs of others before himself.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret Gard Smith of Canon City; eight step children, Gail Gard of Canon City, Tiffany Gard of Canon City, Patrick Gard (and Susan) of Cedar, Minn., Beth Hamilton (Mark) of Canon City, Joyce Whitzel of Burlington, Colo., and Guy Gard (Rhonda) of Montrose, Colo.; and extended family, Sherl von Dohren (John) of Omaha, Neb., and Susie Waldrop of Herrin, Ill.; as well as many family members and friends. He is also survived by his brother, Chuck Smith; and his three sons, Michael Lawrence Smith, Fr. (David) Mark Smith and John Maurice Smith, all now living in Washington and Vancouver, B.C.; 29 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service was held July 26. Interment will be held in Burns, with a memorial service at Burns Christian Church.


OBIT SmithHilda Marie Smith, 75, of Burns passed away July 9 at her home, surrounded by family. Her death followed a six-year battle with cancer.

Marie, as she was known to most, was born Sept. 17, 1938, in Emmett, Idaho, to Paul and Virginia Mannen.

Marie’s family moved to Hines when she was in the fifth grade after her father got a job at Edward Hines Lumber Co. She was active in 4-H, band and many church activities. She graduated from Burns High School June 1, 1956, and two days later she married the love of her life, Keith Smith. They had only been married one month when Keith was drafted into the army and was gone for the next two years. While Keith was gone, Marie filled her time helping her parents and working at the local electric company, Cal-Pac.

In September 1960, they welcomed their first daughter, Nancy. The family quickly grew over the next few years, with the arrival of Laura, Randy, Steve, George and Ron. The family spent some time in Nyssa, and five years in Crane, as Marie’s husband worked for the Union Pacific Railroad. In the summer of ‘73, the family moved back to Burns.

Marie spent most of her life as a homemaker and stay-at-home mom, and felt that was her most important job. But she also enjoyed her time as a cook at Burns High School and a reading assistant and tutor at Pioneer School in Ontario, where she worked following the move the family had to make in 1984 after the railroad was flooded out in Harney County.

Marie also loved sewing, crocheting, cooking, canning, flowers and camping, but her involvement in her church was of most importance to her. Her earlier years were spent at the Baptist Church in Hines, which then became Faith Baptist Church, and the last 28 years at Bible Baptist in Payette, Idaho. She was most known for her sweet smile and love for others, and her strong faith in God.

In September 2013, Marie moved back to Burns to be closer to her daughters.

Marie is survived by her six children: daughters, Nancy, and husband, Roger Stampke, Laura, and husband, Duane Neuschwander; sons, Randy, Steve and Ron Smith, and George, and wife, Kerri Smith; 13 grandchildren, Nathan, and wife, Amie Stampke, Chris, Patrick and Nolan Stampke, Karla, Julie and Peter Neuschwander, Trevor, Ryan, Josie and Eli Smith, Allyson Smith and Adam Smith; two great-grandchildren, Ethan and Carter Stampke; brothers, Tom, and wife, Merilee Mannen, Ben Mannen, Dan and wife, Laurel Mannen, John and wife, Erica Mannen, George and wife, Sylvia Mannen, and Bob and wife, Pat Mannen; as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Keith Smith, and parents, Paul and Virginia Mannen.

A memorial service will be held Friday, Aug. 1, at 2 p.m. at Faith Baptist Church.

Contributions in Marie’s memory may be made to Payette Bible Baptist Church or Faith Baptist Church for missions, in care of LaFollette’s Chapel, P.O. Box 488, Burns, OR 97720. Condolences may be made to the family online at


Richard (Dick) Roscoe Deming passed away Tuesday, July 22, in Dickinson, N.D.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at the Harney County Church of the Nazarene.

A full obituary will appear at a later date.

OBIT SwisherbwDolores “Dee” Swisher passed away July 7 in La Grande. She was 80 years old.

Dee was born Aug. 22, 1933, in Ogden, Utah  to Condido and Cecilia (Alzola) Acurio. The family moved to Winnemucca, Nev., when Dee was 5 years old.

Her father died when she was 7 years old. Her mother later married her stepfather, Joe Churruca, who purchased a cattle ranch in Paradise Valley, Nev., where Dee spent the remainder of her childhood.

Many of her favorite stories were from her days in Paradise Valley and the lifelong friendships she made there.

It was at the “fish pond” in Paradise Valley that she met her future husband, Bill Swisher.

After high school in Winnemucca, Nev.,  Dee attended St. Alphonsus Nursing School in Boise, Idaho. During this time, Bill was drafted into the Korean War and sent to Fort Smith, Ark. They married in 1952, and Dee joined Bill in Arkansas.

Bill was discharged from the army in 1954, and the couple returned to Nevada and a job on the Lucky Seven Ranch in McDermitt. They moved to Harney County in 1956 to work for Walt McEwen.

For many years, they were hired as a couple. Bill managing the buckaroos and cattle operations and Dee cooking for the ranch and hay crews.

Their last 10 years in the ranch management business was spent in the Riley area with Silver Creek Ranches.

When Silver Creek sold in 1978, Dee went to work for the Harney County Clerk’s office. She worked as deputy clerk for 10 years, and then became clerk in 1989. She held that office for two terms until she retired in 1999. During this time, the office saw many changes, including implementing elections by mail and automatic ballot counters.

Dee was known for her ready smile and fun attitude. She was a joy to be around and expressed an uncanny interest in many things. She loved family gatherings, having company over, sharing something good to eat and a good story. She had many, many friends and was always eager to meet new people and make more!

She was an author, self-publishing a book, The Good Old Days?, a collection of true stories from her life of pioneer cattlemen, buckaroos and cowboys she had known.

Dee was quick to volunteer and involved with the community serving on school boards, Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Business and Professional Women’s Club and Harney County Democratic Society to name a few.

She was also an artist, illustrating her book with drawings. She was a gifted painter and seamstress. She enjoyed gardening, antiques and needlework.

Dee was especially proud of her grandchildren and often boasted of their obvious (to her) superior looks and intelligence, often saying, “There isn’t a bad one in the bunch!”

Dee is survived by her son, Cam Swisher (wife Kathy) of Burns; daughters, Martha Rogers (husband Ross) of Bend, and Cecelia Gerlach (husband Mike) of La Grande; grandchildren, Savannah and Garrett Swisher and  Mathew Tiller.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Bill, in 2007.

The family wishes to express their gratitude to Riverside Adult Foster Home in La Grande where owner Bob Kennon helped make Dee’s last two years happy and comfortable.

At Dee’s request, there will be no formal service. Contributions in her memory may be made to Harney County Library in care of Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 4th Street, La Grande, OR 97850.

Online condolences to the family may be made at


OBIT MeditzbwRoberta Joyce Meditz passed away at her home Tuesday, July 8.

She was born Dec. 31, 1940, in San Diego, Calif., two years after the fall of Wall Street, and began a lifetime of traveling.

Her parents, Bob Cooper and Bertha (Mosier) Whittier, bought a house on the side of a canyon, which was later rented out as they finally bought a trailer to chase jobs. Her father, an iron worker/welder, found work in Washington on a dam being built there, and so, after visiting her mother’s relatives in Portland and Seattle, the trailer became one of a caravan of other ironworkers. Roberta talked of nights around a bonfire where she learned to play a violin as the families sang and talked. Her father would later brag,“his girls (Roberta had a younger sibling by then) had been in every state west of the Mississippi, with the exception of three.”

Every Sunday, Roberta’s mother would take the girls to whatever Christian church was near, and when they got to Sandy, Utah, she bought another house. The ironworkers had found jobs in Provo, and each day and night, would drive back and forth in a 1940 Hudson. Roberta talked about their coal stove in Sandy, and the milk frozen on the doorstep after delivery.

After the family left Utah, they returned to San Diego when Roberta was in the fifth grade, by way of Brawley, Calif. Living in their San Diego home, Roberta and her sister graduated from high school. Roberta started junior college there, working at a child care facility in the afternoons and going to nurse’s aide classes at night.

She soon got a job at Scrips Memorial Hospital as a nurse’s aide when an RN class was advertised in Modesto, where her parents were living. At her mother’s urging, she applied and was accepted for the first class of the school. She now had two children, but lived close enough to the school to go home for lunch and return for afternoon classes. Her mother now had foster children and at one time, there were seven children under the age of 7, with five cribs set up in the house. Lunch time could be very busy.

After graduation from nursing school, Roberta got a job in Martinez, Calif., at the VA hospital. There, she met and married Jeanie Lewis, and had her daughter. They bought a home in Pittsburg, Calif., where the older boys started school. Three years later they moved to Southern California, and divorcing Jeanie, bought a home in Compton. Later, they moved to Torrence, then Long Beach, and then returned to Compton while working at Kaiser in bellflower.

Roberta worked at the Kaiser emergency room in Oakland, and living in San Leandro, when she met and married Dave Meditz. Dave owned some land in Harney County and wanted to “make a go of it,” so he started on the 40 acres in a pickup with a cabover camper. Meanwhile, Roberta would drive back and forth every two weeks until she finally quit Kaiser in Oakland and moved to the land in Harney County.

It didn’t take long before Roberta was taking traveling jobs under contract for six weeks to nine months, traveling home at one to two week intervals. Finally, Roberta retired at the age of 72.

She is survived by her husband, David; sister, Bonnie Sue; and sons, Nick and Phillip.

She was preceded in passing by her parents and daughter.

Donations in her memory may be made to Harney County Hospice.

A private service will be held.


OBIT EckleybwJoseph Ray Eckley, 61, passed away July 10 at his home in the Keating Valley area of Baker City.  No services are planned at this time.

Joe was born in Silverton Nov. 24, 1952, to Ben and Gloria Eckley.

He married Lois Patchin on Jan. 26, 1974. In 1979, they moved to Harney County where Joe worked for Turner Brangus Ranch for several years until buying property south of Burns. Together, they built an alfalfa hay and cattle ranch. In 2008, they sold the ranch and bought a small farm in Keating Valley.

Joe served in the Army National Guard for six years, earning the rank of staff sergeant. He was a past president of the Harney County Farm Bureau and a member of the Lower Powder River Irrigation District.

Joe loved farming and took special joy in the challenges of working the land.  He could fix anything and was endlessly creative when it came to making things work. He was quick to help a neighbor and was much respected by those who knew him. He enjoyed hunting, reading and gunsmithing. He loved life and lived it to the fullest.

Joe is survived by his beloved wife of 40 years, Lois; daughter, Jennifer Schick, and her husband, Mark, of Aloha; grandson, Joseph Schick, of Aloha;  mother, Gloria Eckley, of Woodburn; brothers, Stan Eckley and his wife, Mary Pat of Tillamook, and Keith Eckley and his wife, Corinne of Keizer; and sister, Diana (Kingsley) Kelley of Central Point; along with several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by father, Ben Eckley; brother, Jim Eckley; and grandson, Tyler Schick.

Contributions in Joseph Eckley’s name may be made to the Burns or Crane chapters of FFA through Gray’s West & Company Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.


Britt Lay 1942-2013

Posted on July 23rd in Obituaries

OBIT LayWORKEDAs longtime cowboss at the White Horse Ranch near Fields, Britt Lay made an impression on many local residents and aspiring buckaroos during his 71 years before his passing last December. At his request, no services were held, but a celebration of life is planned for July 26 in Denio, Nev. There will be a potluck at 1 p.m. at the Denio Community Hall, and an engraved bench will be placed at the Denio Cemetery in memory of Britt.

Britton “Britt” Lay was born Sept. 9, 1942, in Elizabeth, N.J. After leaving home at age 12, his adventures began. He started hitchhiking and hopping trains headed West, doing odd jobs and meeting all sorts of folks. He returned back home at times until he joined the U.S. Army at age 17. After boot camp, he was stationed in England, and then Germany, where he drove truck clearing wreckage in East Germany. He was later shipped across the globe where he did tours in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

After his tour was over, he returned home in 1961, and married his first wife, Sandy. After a short-lived marriage, they divorced and he married Diane. They had a son, Tommy. Britt then took to the deserts of Nevada, Montana and Wyoming to learn the cowboy ways. He worked many ranches, camps, feed lots and sale yards doing all sorts of jobs from buckarooing to hauling cattle. He and Diane separated in 1971.

Britt met Alice, whom he married in 1972, and had two sons with, Winston and Wilson. He was with her till the day he died. The family lived and worked at various ranches until moving to the White Horse Ranch in 1982, where Britt was the manager for 24 years. Many buckaroos in this area worked for Lay and tell stories about how much he taught them.

After leaving the White Horse, Britt and Alice moved to Missouri, where he enjoyed being part of hot rod car clubs. After seven years, they moved to Phoenix, Ariz. to be closer to family.

Britt is survived by his wife, Alice Lay; sons, Winston Lay and wife Gloria and their sons Erik and Joseph; Wilson Lay and his wife Terra and their son Gage Wall; sister, Elizabeth Lay of Phoenix, Ariz.; and brother, Richard Lay of Albuquerque, N.M.

He was preceded in death by his parents, John and F.T. Britton Lay.


Hilda Marie Smith, 75, of Burns passed away July 7. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1, at Faith Baptist Church in Hines


Ferne Cagle 1921-2014

Posted on July 16th in Obituaries

OBIT CagleStephanie Ferne Barnes Cagle, 92, passed away Monday, July 7, at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend.

She was born Nov. 2, 1921, to Charles and Fannie Holloway Barnes in Burns. She was the first of six children, including a set of twins. Ferne was raised on the family ranch just south of Frenchglen.  She attended grade school in Frenchglen, and would walk one and a quarter miles to school most days. She attended Crane Union High School in Crane, staying in the dormitory. She was not able to go home very often, except for holidays, because of the distance and lack of transportation. In the summers, she would help during haying season by cooking for her father’s hay camps at Brenton Cabin and the P Ranch.

During WWII, she worked at the Portland ship yard doing office work and later worked for CC Anderson, a clothing company in Boise, Idaho. After WWII, she married Noel L. Cagle, whom she met before the war when he came west with the CCC to work on projects on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

They lived in Salinas, Calif., for a while where their son, Charles, was born. They moved back to Harney County and worked for Joe Fine on the Roaring Springs Ranch.  Later, they were hired on at the refuge and lived at Three Mile, Buena Vista Station, and Sod House, where their daughter, Nancy, was born.  After retiring, they moved to Hines.

Ferne’s passions were gardening and flowers.  For many years, she entered flowers in the county fair. She was a clerk for the Frenchglen School District,  a member of the Harney County CattleWomen,  the Sunrise Garden Club, American Auxiliary,  and was a life time member of the Elks Lodge No.1680.

She is survived by brother, Don “Jiggs” Barnes, and his wife, Lucille, of Burns; sisters, Jen Otley of Happy Valley, and Donna Jordan and husband, Lauren, of Pilot Rock; son, Charlie, and his wife, Lorna, of Burns; daughter, Nancy, and her husband, Tom, of Bonanza; grandsons, Jason, Bryan, Wes, Clint; great-grandsons, Dominic and Aidan; great-granddaughters, Laila, Addy and Bailey; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Ferne was preceded in death by her parents, Charlie and Fannie; her husband, Noel; and two sisters, Thelma Otley and Jo Urizar.

Contributions in Ferne Cagle’s memory may be made to the Harney County CattleWomen Scholarship Fund or to a charity of one’s choice, in care of LaFollette’s Chapel, P.O. Box 488, Burns, OR 97720. Go to to sign the guestbook and send your condolences to the family.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, July 19, at 10 a.m.  at St. Andrew’s Episcopal/Peace Lutheran Church in Burns.


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