Bobby Dean Ellis 1931-2011

Posted on April 27th in Obituaries

Bobby Dean Ellis, 80,  died on April 18 at Catabaw Valley Care Center & Hospice, N. C.

He was born March 8, 1931, in Greensboro, N.C., to Lonzo and Lillie Ellis. He was one of 13 children.

Ellis grew up in Hickory, N.C. At the age of 21, he was drafted into the army and served a year in the Korean War as a lineman.

In 1959 Ellis came to Oregon. In 1961 he met and married Karen Everhart (Spease). Together they had four children — one daughter and three sons.

Ellis worked for Edward Hines Lumber Company for 24 years as a choker setter and heavy equipment operator. He also drove a logging truck for Lt&L Logging Company for a few years. He retired at the age of 62.

Ellis enjoyed his salvage yard, gathering old cars and working on them.

He also enjoyed hunting with his family, camping, woodcutting and the Demolition Derby of Harney County, Klamath and John Day.

Ellis is survived by his daughter, Janet Frazier of Lewiston, Idaho; three sons; Robert Ellis of Chandlier, Ariz.; Tony Ellis of Bend and Brady Ellis of Burns; 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Ellis was preceded in death by his parents and four of his siblings.

Bass-Smith funeral Home in Hickory, N.C., was in charge of cremation arrangements. A private family service will be held at a later date in Burns.

Audrey Whiting Grisel Olson died on Dec. 17, in Klamath Falls. She was born and raised in Harney County

Steven James Wagner, 56, died on Dec. 23.

He was born on Nov. 27, 1954, in Prairie City, to Dorothy and William (Bill) Wagner.

Wagner lived the first years of his life in John Day  with his parents and siblings, Lanette, Kerry and Mark, until moving to Burns. He graduated from Burns Union High School in 1973.

After high school, Wagner attended college for a short period of time and worked for the U.S. Forest Service. He began working at Wagner’s Furniture in 1977 until 2003, when he began working at the Oregon Youth Authority.

In March 1979, he married Sharon Watkins and they had four children, Amanda, Jim, Jennifer and Emma. He had two grandchildren, Ava Bunger, and Liam Shepherd, and was awaiting the birth of his newest grandchild any day.
Wagner delighted in watching his children’s successes throughout their lives, especially their sporting events. His children and grandchildren were the love, pride and joy of his life.  He will be remembered as an easy-going, loving man with a unique and wonderful sense of humor. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and the outdoors.

Wagner is survived by his wife, Sharon;  children, Amanda Bunger and husband and Brent of Klamath Falls, Jim Wagner and wife  Miranda of Burns, Jennifer Shepherd and husband  Josh of Mt. Angel, and Emma Wagner of Reno, Nev.; and grandchildren, Ava Bunger, Liam Shepherd and soon-to-be born, baby Wagner. He is also survived by his sister, Lanette Howard of Ogden, Utah; brothers, Kerry Wagner and Mark Wagner of Burns; stepmother, Patti Wagner; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents Dorothy and William (Bill) Wagner.

A celebration of  Wagner’s life will be held at Pioneer Presbyterian Church on Dec. 30 at 2 p.m. Contributions in his memory can be made to the Burns High School sports program or the Hi-Desert Swim Team, in care of LaFollette’s Chapel, P.O. Box 488, Burns, OR 97720.

George Harald Nobel 1936-2010

Posted on November 17th in Obituaries

George Harald Nobel died on Nov. 8, in Burns.

He was born on Feb. 22, 1936, in Ross, Calif., to Frank and Bertha Nobel.

As a young boy, Nobel moved to Burns with his family. After graduating from Burns Union High School in 1954, he worked at Edward Hines Lumber Company for a couple of years.

In 1958, Nobel enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he received a Rifle Sharp Shooter award. After leaving the army, he returned to Burns, where he met his wife, Patricia Thompson. They were married on July 8, 1963, in Carson City, Nev.

Nobel worked the green chain in the sawmill, and as a forklift mechanic for 31 years for Edward Hines Lumber Company and Snow Mt. Pine. After retiring from the mill, he spent several years building fence for the U.S. Forest Service, and logging with his son, Bob.

Nobel was very active in the community. He served on the Hines City Council and was a life-long member of the Burns Elks Lodge #1680.

From his life-long home in Hines, Nobel enjoyed going hunting, fishing, camping, doing wood work, working in his yard and being with his friends. He will be remembered as a great husband, father and friend.

Nobel is survived by his daughter, Regina Nobel of Hines; son, Bob Johnson and wife Debbie of Burns; nephew, Fred Thompson of Washington; brothers, Joe Nobel of Eugene, Ernie Nobel of Klamath Falls, Carl Nobel of Sterling, Alaska, and Ben Nobel of Oroville, Calif; and sister, Linda Reynolds of Hines. He is also survived by grandchildren, Ty Johnson of Burns, Samantha Gillespie of Corvallis, and Derek Nobel-Woodfin of Hines.

A memorial service for Nobel will be held on Nov. 20, at 3 p.m. at the Burns Elks Lodge. Contributions in his memory may be made to the Harney County Home Health and Hospice, or the Burns Elks Lodge #1680, in care of LaFollette’s Chapel, P.O. Box 488, Burns, OR 97720.

By Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

The fall sports season is here once again and the expectations of coaches and players at Burns High School are running high.

The Burns volleyball team placed fifth at last year’s state tournament and returns a strong nucleus of players.

The football squad has nearly every starter back from last year’s playoff team and that experience should translate into another post- season game for the purple and gold.

The Hilanders’ cross country and soccer teams are both low in numbers, but there’s good talent returning in both sports.

VolleyballThe Hilanders practice their serving. (Photos by RANDY PARKS)

While this year’s Burns volleyball team may not feature a lot of height, head coach Paula Toney is confident of their abilities and expects to challenge for the Eastern Oregon League (EOL) title and a state playoff berth.

“We don’t have much height, but we do have really good ball control,” Toney said. “And I would say our strong suit is defense.”

Toney’s team opened some eyes this past summer when they competed in an elite tournament in California featuring about 40 of that state’s top teams. The Hilanders hung tough and finished in the top 20 by the tournament’s end. “The girls jump well and they played well defensively. That helped them frustrate the high-powered hitters.”

This year’s team will include seniors Chelsea Siegner, Stefani Sanders, Teri McConnell, Kaci Nonnenmacher and Jennifer Higle, juniors Maddye Dinsmore, Maggie Thompson and Abbey Fenton and sophomore Charli Siegner.

As far as the EOL goes, Toney expects the main challenges to come from Vale and Grant Union. “Vale does have a new coach, but I expect them to be tough again, and Grant Union is working hard. You don’t want to overlook them,” Toney said.

The Hilanders should be battle-tested by the time the end-of-season playoffs roll around as they will compete in several tough tournaments this season including the Hermiston Invitational, Santiam Christian Tournament and Mazama Tournament.

Burns will open their season at the Hermiston event this Saturday, Sept. 4.

FootballThe team works on the kickoff return.

It’s easy to see why head coach Dally Swindlehurst is excited about the upcoming season. Of the 48 players who reported the first week of practice, 35 were with the team last year, including 12 seniors.

“We’ve got the experience,” Swindlehurst said. “We moved Cole Potter from tailback to quarterback, and will have Nolan Stampke and Cody Bennett at that tailback position. Other than that, we’ve got everybody back on both sides of the ball.”

The offensive line is anchored by senior center George Swartzlender, who received second team all-state honors last year. He’s flanked by seniors Raymond Wright, Jake Swindlehurst and Gabe First Raised and junior Austin Piper. Landon Hanner will handle the fullback duties, Gus McConnell is back at tight end and wideouts Casey Thein and Casey Heinz provide speed and sure hands on the outside.

Swindlehurst expects the defense to be solid as well, with probably only one outside linebacker position yet to be decided.

This past summer, Swindlehurst took 30 kids to a football camp in Gold Beach and the coach reported the experience was, “Awesome. Simply awesome.”

Playing against bigger schools from Nevada and California, as well as Oregon, the Hilanders had success. “The third time we scrimmaged Klamath Union, their coach came over at halftime and said they were done. They were tired of getting banged around,” laughed Swindlehurst.

Swindlehurst pointed out the schedule got a little tougher this year when they dropped the game with Elgin and picked up Baker. “We’ve got Ontario and Baker back-to-back just before we head into league games,” Swindlehurst said. “Baker was a 4A finalist last year and Ontario was in the semifinals, so we’ll get tested.”

As for the EOL, Swindlehurst said it’s a toss-up, but the Hilanders should be in the mix. “Vale has a new coach, so I don’t know what to expect there, but they’re always tough,” Swindlehurst said. “Grant Union should be good again even though they graduated some good players. Nyssa and Umatilla are still kind of young, and Riverside will be a revenge game.”

While having a lot of experience should provide a solid foundation, Swindlehurst said he’s been impressed by the kids’ motivation. “We’re working on conditioning quite a bit because I keep telling them we’re going to be better than other teams in the fourth quarter,” he said. “Then at practice, I ask them if they’ve had enough and they say, ‘No coach! Let’s keep going.’

“They want a home playoff game and a deep run into the playoffs.”

The last time Burns hosted a playoff game was in 2001 when they beat Sweet Home 26-10. That playoff run ended the following week with a loss on the road to Pleasant Hill.

The Hilanders kick off the season Friday, Sept. 3, when they host La Pine at Corbett memorial Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Cross CountryBurns cross country runners train in the early morning hours.

Second-year coach Erron Mertz may have a small team this year, but she’s excited about the possibilities.

The girls team has six runners including three from last year’s team: Kiely Banton, Anna Clemens and Hannah Caldwell. Rounding out the team are Keely Root, Alex Sell and Madison Winn.

“I feel like we have a strong girls team and can work our way to state,” Mertz said. “I think we have a couple of really top runners and the rest are solid, so we have the depth.”

The boys team is comprised of just two runners, Victor Kegley and Kyle Krause.

The Hilanders open the season on Saturday, Sept. 11, at the Lakeview Invitational. Because of commitments to the Harney County Fair, a couple of runners will miss the opening race, but Mertz is looking forward to it. “That’s a tough course to open with, but that’s what cross country is all about. We’ll see how they do,” Mertz said.

SoccerRunning through the soccer drills.

Four teams from Special District 5 will make the state playoffs this year, and Burns coach Jodi McLean figures the Hilanders have a good shot at being one of them.

“We have seven returning starters, and I see improvement in all those coming back,” she said.

McLean said the team will be led by seniors Jay Masterson and Anthony Frail. She’s also pleased with the play of Max Hill as goalie.

McLean said the team is strong defensively, but the offense needs to focus on more team work. “We need to work on the fundamentals until we get more comfortable working the ball around,” McLean said.

Burns opens their season by hosting Umatilla at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10. “That’s a tough opener. They always seem to place at state every year,” McLean said.

She then pointed out the match-ups with Central Christian and Culver later in the season. “We always seem to split with them, and I think we can beat them both twice this year. Plus, we seem to play Irrigon tough every game, and I think we can stay with Grant Union,” she said. “I think we have the skill and athletic ability to pick up more wins this year and that would get us to state.”

Harney County Judge Steve Grasty makes presentation before U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

Oregon county commissioners and members of Oregon’s Congressional delegation made a compelling argument for a long term reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act during a roundtable discussion with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack last Friday in Portland.

The elected Oregon officials were joined in their request by representatives of Trout Unlimited, the Wilderness Society and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

“We asked Secretary Vilsack to include a long-term reauthorization of Secure Rural Schools in the President’s 2012 budget,” Harney County Judge and Association of Oregon Counties (AOC) President Steve Grasty said following the meeting. “He seemed receptive to the concept, and we hope that translates into concrete action.”

“Everyone has a stake in the survival of rural America,” Secretary Vilsak said. “I’m here on your side.”

Federal agencies are currently working on the final drafts of their 2012 budget requests, which will go the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) by Labor Day. Having a commitment from Secretary Vilsack would be a major step forward for the reauthorization of Secure Rural Schools to be ultimately included in President Obama’s 2012 budget request to Congress.

“We tried to convey the urgency that these programs are a lifeline for the people of Oregon. On our watch, we are going to prosecute the case relentlessly to insure that a historical compact is honored. This is the No. 1 priority for Oregon’s Congressional delegation,” U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-OR said.

Secretary Vilsack and the members of Oregon’s congressional delegation briefed 38 elected Oregon county commissioners and judges from 24 of Oregon’s 36 counties Friday. Thirty-three of Oregon’s 36 counties receive funding under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. Douglas County Commissioner Doug Robertson, who is also president of the Association of O&C Counties, told the secretary and members of Congress that reauthorization is vital to preserving vital public services in impacted Oregon counties.

Robertson said “It was a very frank discussion, a good dialogue between the secretary and the commissioners. He (Secretary Vilsack) came away with a very different view of Oregon than when he came to the state.”

Judge Steve Grasty told Secretary Vilsack that rural communities will be adversely impacted economically and roads in and out of federal land will suffer from a lack of maintenance if Secure Rural Schools isn’t reauthorized. Clackamas County Commissioner Bob Austin said Secure Rural Schools impacts 39 other states, notably California, Washington and Idaho as well as Oregon. “The Secretary heard us,” Austin said, “and asked for more of the human side of the story.”

U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-OR said Secretary Vilsack challenged the Oregonians in the roundtable to tell their stories so the president and other members of Congress will get a better understanding of the challenges Oregon faces with the potential loss of Secure Rural School payments. Rep. Schrader was instrumental in setting up the round table with Secretary Vilsack, his colleagues in Congress and the county officials.
“We deeply appreciate Congressman Schrader’s efforts on our behalf,” said AOC Executive Director Mike McArthur. “He’s brought a hugely important issue to the attention of the Secretary of Agriculture and hopefully, the President will respond.”

O&C Executive Director Rocky McVay offered that Oregon’s entire Congressional delegation has been working tirelessly for a long term reauthorization of Secure Rural Schools.

“This was a great opportunity for our members of Congress to express their commitment to the secretary,” he said.

Many of the county commissioners who participated in the roundtable offered personal stories from their counties on the loss of the federal funds. Lake County Commissioner Dan Shoun said, “I think the secretary left with a much better appreciation of the situation.”

Klamath County Commissioner Cheryl Hukill said, “The stories Secretary Vilsack heard about the impacts on children and public safety made a deep impression on him.”

The current act expires Sept. 30, 2011. The final 2011 payments will be distributed in January 2012. Oregon has historically received an average of $250 million a year from Secure Rural Schools. That amount represents the revenue lost from the unprecedented reduction in timber harvests.

Opie earns second place

Posted on July 21st in Sports

Tyler Opie of Crane finished in second place in the team roping during the 2010 Junior High National Rodeo Tyler Opie (Submitted photo) Finals in Gallup, N.M., June 28-July 3.

Opie was teamed with Colton Campbell of Klamath Falls.

The duo won the first round of the finals with a time of 8.969, roped their second steer in 15.723 and downed their final steer in 12.691.

In addition to the second place in team roping, Opie’s horse, Gizmo’s Pearl, was named the AQHA Horse of the Year. Opie ended the year in third place in the nation in the All-Around race.

He earned $2,500 in scholarship for his achievements.

Joyce Avon Kerns 1935-2010

Posted on June 30th in Obituaries

Joyce Avon (Cole) Kerns, 74, died at her home on June 17 surrounded by family.

Kerns was born on June 18, 1935, in Mound Valley, Kan., to Rolland and M. Irene ( Wilkinson ) Cole. She and her family moved to Baker City in 1941.

Music lessons at St. Francis Academy were a special treat for her. Kerns graduated from Baker High School in 1953. She was very fortunate to have made and kept many good friends from her school days in Baker City.

This group of friends met yearly even when Kerns and her family had moved to locations all over the United States.

On June 21, 1953, Kerns married the love of her life, Tom “Mac” Kerns. They celebrated just short of 57 years together.

Kerns attended and graduated from the Baker Business College in 1955. She later engaged those skills as an employee of the OSU Dairy Science Department while her husband, Mac, attended classes.

Kerns was fortunate enough to be working at home while her children were young. Baking was one of her talents, and any event or gathering could count on pies, rolls or sheets of cookies.

She worked hard at making her house a home. Kerns and her young family lived in 24 houses in 32 years, which was no mean feat. She and her husband designed and built three of these 24 homes. Kerns was the general contractor (emphasis on the general) on each of these projects. When building supplies were needed, she drove the family’s 1947 International  truck to Portland and Baker City. She was responsible for roofing the family home in Klamath Falls and John Day.

When her children left home, she started a career in the insurance business. When her husband was transferred to Washington D.C., she accepted a job with the CIA. She told her family that of all her jobs that one was the most interesting and enjoyable. When she left the CIA, she worked for the U.S. Forest Service.
She finished her career at the Wallowa Whitman Forest office in Baker City. Her work continued as a partner in the family ranch at Haines.

She was always active in the United Methodist Church wherever they lived. Most recently, Kerns was a member of the Haines United Methodist Church. She also attended Methodist Women’s Circle meetings in Baker. She played bridge weekly and was a hard working member of the Haines Mutual Improvement Club.
Weekly Kerns read to students at the Haines Elementary School, supporting their SMART Reading Project.

Kerns supported the livestock industry and was a member of the Baker County Cattlewomen.

Kerns is survived by her husband, Tom “Mac” Kerns of Haines; sons, Brent and wife Mary of Haines, Wes and wife Mary (Davies) Kerns of Princeton; daughter, Janni Kerns Eggers and her husband John of Haines; grandchildren, Jacque Cobb and husband Josh, Logan Kerns and wife Holly, Andy Johnson all of Haines, John Kerns and wife Catie of Baker City, Jeff Kerns, Mark Kerns of Princeton, Petty Officer Second Class Eli Eggers and Zach Eggers of Haines; great-grandchildren, Colt and Orin Cobb and Lance Kerns; brothers, Lloyd Cole and wife Midge of Palm Desert, Calif., Don Cole and wife Glenda of Baker City; sisters-in-law, Janice Cole of McMinneville, Ellen Stevenson and husband Philip of Haines and Jean Griffith and husband Tom of Belgrade, Mont.; brothers-in-law, Tim Kerns and wife Jan, James Kerns and wife Marge; and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Rolland and Irene Cole; brother, Bill Cole; and infant, daughter, Diane.

Kerns was born into a Great Depression Midwest. Her family came west to start a new life and have a future for her and her brothers. Her parents made many sacrifices and instilled an ability to conquer adversity and thrive. Kerns was happy with her life and happy to have just what she had been given. She made the best of it all.

A service was held on June  22  at the Baker United Methodist Church. Sally Wiens officiated.

Arrangements are with Gray’s West & Co., 541-513-3677. Memorials may be made to the Haines United Methodist Church.

Frank Aloise Killinger died on June 12.

He was born on May 21, 1924.

Killinger graduated from high school at 16 years of age and was immediately given a full scholarship to the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he studied agriculture. He was drafted into the service and served in the Army Air Corp for four years. He is a veteran of World War II.

He married Grace June Bellflower of Orlando, Fla., in 1947. Together they brought into the world five children.

Killinger worked at the Burns radar site in the 1960s. He was a member of the Burns Baptist Church, and his children all attended Slater Elementary and Burns Union High School. Killinger also worked part time at Wagner’s Furniture Store.

Killinger provided loving and constant care for his wife who was disabled by rheumatoid arthritis until her death in 2006.

Killinger loved to fly. He was a pilot who built his own airplane. He was a builder who built his own home and travel trailer.  He was a lover of U.S. National Parks, traveling America for nine years continuously with his wife after his retirement from the Federal Government in 1982.

Killinger was also a musician. He played violin, mandolin and keyboards, performing for many fans. When he was yet a teenager, he played fiddle in local bands within his home state of Wisconsin. In later years, he played his keyboards, performing for guests at Providence Place and the Gardens in Mt. Juliet.

Killinger is survived by his children, Kathy Heath of Mt. Juliet, Tenn., Michael Killinger of Orlando, Dennis Killinger of Denver, Colo., Susan Killinger of Klamath Falls, and Sharon Killinger of Lebanon, Tenn.

Donald A. Hammon died on Saturday, April 24, from complications following a stroke.  He was 78 years old.obit-hammon-bw.jpg

He was born on Oct. 4, 1931, to Orin and Mary Hammon in Shedd and grew up in Florence. After high school graduation, he attended Southern Oregon College, where he also played baseball.

In 1950, Hammon enlisted in the Air Force where he served four years during the Korean War, based in Germany, a member of the 814th Operations Squadron (SAC). After being honorably discharged in 1954, he returned to Florence, where he worked in a local sawmill.

Hammon also worked for U.S. Bank in Eugene and Klamath Falls.  In 1968, he moved his family to Burns.  He was hired by CP National (later Oregon Trail Electric Co-Op) in 1972, and retired in 1993.

Hammon was involved in several community service organizations including Lions Club, Burns Elks Lodge, Order of Masons and Valley Golf Club. He was instrumental in sanctioning Little League baseball in Harney County, making it possible for local teams to participate in state-wide tournaments.

In recent years, he and his wife, Pearl, enjoyed traveling to their home in Arizona during the winter months.  When in Burns, the highlight of Hammon’s day was morning coffee spent with good friends at the “deli.” But his greatest joy was his family.

Hammon is survived by his wife, Pearl; daughter, Sue and husband Brad of Portland; sons, Jim and wife Crystal of Caldwell, Idaho,  Matt and wife Shauna of Burns, and Mark of Prineville; and grandchildren, Channing and husband Chris and Andy of Burns, Adam, Ben and Elizabeth of Portland, Natalie and Zachary of Prineville, Tony and wife Melissa of South Korea, and Chase and wife Elizabeth of Dallas, Texas. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Ardie; and nephews and their families,  Asa and Charles of Florence, James and Patsy Ottoman and Richard and Betty Halousek of Klamath Falls.

A celebration of Hammon’s life will be held Saturday, May 22, at 3 p.m. at Valley Golf Club in Hines. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to Harney County Little League or Harney County Senior Center.

LaFollette’s Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

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