Obituaries Autumn/November 2015 Issue

Homer Dickerson

Homer Dickerson was born September 26, 1926 to Lady Faye and Hollis Dickerson. Homer was raised in Ewan, Washington, one of seven siblings: Virginia, Joyce, Yvonne, Retha, June and Larry. As a child, he hitched rides on combines and wheat trucks going through town, staying at one place or another working on whatever he could. His favorite thing to do when his wasn’t in school was to grab a pole and go fishing at Rock Lake. Homer’s father took him to sign up for the armed services at 16, where he chose the U.S. Navy. Right after graduation from Ewan High School, Homer was shipped out to ports in the Pacific, including Hawaii and China. When his tour of duty ended, he returned home to work for Whitman County, running road graders and snowplows. After moving to Cheney, he worked for Turnbull Refuge, building fences; then Edgett Brothers Hardware where he began full time plumbing. Homer and Joan married in 1957. Homer continued to work for Jarms Hardware and then began his own business, Homer Dickerson Plumbing. Homer’s son, Dana, who was born in 1973 and granddaughter, Athena, who was born in 1997, were a source of joy and happiness, including two trips to Disneyland and San Diego on Amtrak. The Cheney community became Homer’s family and the feeling was mutual. Homer had an ongoing smile and enjoyed the good-natured teasing of everyone around him, including friends and strangers alike. Homer loved convertibles and old cars and brought many of them home from surrounding rural areas with the intention of restoring them all when he retired. Homer retired in 2003 at the age of 77. He parked the familiar red plumbing truck in the yard, complete with tools and parts, and didn’t move it for the next three years. Zips became the favorite spot with the entire coffee crowd, who met on a daily basis. He spent time working on the RV Park and restoring the Tyler Store, which was open for business for three years until finally closing when it was unable to support itself. When Homer’s health began to fail, a good friend from Zips, Lee Beedle, set out to support Homer in many ways. He brought Homer bunches of tools, bolts and plumbing parts to sort so he could work at what he enjoyed. The family is grateful to Lee for undertaking and completing many projects, which Homer could no longer do. Homer is survived by his wife Joan, son Dana, granddaughter Athena and many nieces, nephews and other relatives. Graveside services were held at the Spokane Memorial Gardens, at 1pm on Thursday, November 12th. Homer did not like funerals and social gatherings afterward. Because the family wanted to do what Homer wanted, they left the cemetery immediately after the service ended. We love you beyond words, Homer, you’ll always be with us.

Helen Horlacher

Helen died at the age of 86 on November 6, 2015, at her home in St. John. She was born August 31, 1929, in Malden to Martin and Della Lavina Wyrick. She married W. Homer Horlacher September 6, 1947, in Spokane and they had five children. She was a farmer’s wife who drove the wheat truck, enjoyed camping, fishing, making wedding cakes, decorating, playing cards, dice and having family and friends around. She is survived by her children: Darlene Kinney, Ron (Jan) Horlacher, Sandy (Travis) Fletcher, Fay (John) Cornthwaite and Karen (Jim) Mahoney; brother, Charles, and numerous grand, great-grandchildren and great-great- grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband and siblings Marvin and Gladys. Memorial donations may be made to the St. John Fire Department or the St. John 4H Club. A graveside service was held at the Rosalia IOOF Evergreen Cemetery followed by a memorial service at the St. John Community Building.

William Perry

William R. “Bill” Perry, 64, longtime resident of Endicott, passed away unexpectedly at his home on November 8, 2015 from natural causes. The family held a remembrance on November 13 at the Endicott Food Center.
Bill was born on October 16, 1951 in Colfax, Washington to Clifton and Nedra “Pat” (Rogers) Perry. He completed his primary schooling years at St. John, Steptoe and Colfax. He was a graduate of Colfax High School. In the spring of 1971, Bill enlisted in the United States Navy and served during the Vietnam War. He was honorably discharged after two years of active duty and continued as a reservist for an additional four years.
After his discharge, Bill moved around eastern Washington, working in various positions within the agriculture industry. When working in Royal City, Bill was struck by lightning while moving irrigation pipes. He survived the strike, often bragging that he was still able to drive the truck out of the field and back to the shop to seek medical aid. What he neglected to say was he crashed the truck into the shop. Bill loved agriculture and all things farming. He worked for 21 years as a field tech for CPS and recently started his “second career” working at Four Star Supply, a job that he enjoyed immensely.
Bill reconnected with Rose Mack in 1980 and they married on May 21, 1982 in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. The two had first met at the wedding of Rose’s sister to Bill’s best friend from the Navy. The couple moved around eastern Washington after their marriage, eventually settling in Endicott in 1990. Along the way, they welcomed two children to their family, daughter LeeAnna in 1982 and son Brandon in 1985.
Bill was a loving husband, father and grandfather. He enjoyed all things sports, including cheering on the Mariners, Seahawks and Cougars. He loved spending time with his children and grandchildren and was incredibly proud of all of them. Quite often you could find Bill around Endicott, picking up the mail and visiting with everyone along the way – the post office, the Endicott store or the fertilizer plant. He was a true conversationalist who never met a stranger.
Bill is survived by his loving wife of 33 years, Rose, at their home in Endicott; daughter LeeAnna (Jared) Webley of Cheney; son Brandon Perry of Cheney as well as his beautiful twin granddaughters Reagan & McKinley Webley, with one more grandchild on the way. He is also survived by his brothers Roger Perry of Vancouver and Wes Perry of Walla Walla. He was preceded in death by his sister Linda and his parents. Memorial contributions in Bill’s honor are suggested to the Endicott Fire Department or to the St. John Parks Fund. The family wishes to express their gratitude to the volunteer EMT’s who responded with such care and compassion on Monday morning.

Greg Morasch

Greg Morasch, a lifelong resident of St. John, passed away Wednesday, September 23, 2015, at St. Joseph Regional Hospital in Lewiston from complications of multiple myeloma. He was 65. Funeral services were held September 29 at the St. John Methodist Church.
Gregory Walter Morasch was born in Colfax June 23, 1950, to the late Walter and Ruby Schreiber Morasch. He grew up on the family farm near St. John along with his older sister, Carol. Greg was a social student, well liked by many, and he liked playing on the football team. After he graduated in 1968 he attended Central Washington University in Ellensburg where he studied to be a teacher. A nagging football injury to his shoulder had him back home in St. John recuperating from surgery when a job opportunity came up with Larry Dickerson. Thus began a long career with the St. John Phone Company and Cable Company. Greg met Sandra Kay Aiken of Spokane through mutual friends and after a courtship of a year or so they married October 11, 1975, in Endicott. They made their home in St. John where Greg also kept busy as a volunteer fireman. He was instrumental in the formation of the first EMTs in St. John and was an instructor for them and for many others in the area. The implementation of the St. John EMS and Rescue was a direct result of Greg’s efforts. He was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Endicott. Greg was a licensed pilot and he truly loved to fly his Cessna plane. He and Sandy traveled throughout the years and hold very special memories of time spent in the Hawaiian Islands. He loved to ride his motorcycle and would go on road trips whenever he could. He and Sandy custom designed and ordered a 2014 Corvette C7 Stingray nearly two years ago and that became a proud moment they shared together. He loved his family and his grandchildren very much and always wished he could spend more time with them. Greg became the manager of the St. John Cable Company in 2002 and held that position until May of this year when a diagnosis of multiple myeloma and declining health forced him to the sideline. He is survived by his wife of nearly 40 years, Sandy, at their home; two sons, Jim and his wife Crystal of Greenwood, Indiana, and Wes and his wife Brandy of Collierville, Tennessee; five beautiful grandchildren, Shelby, Cooper, Colby, Carson and Cali; and by his sister, Carol and her husband “Bud” Frank Rockwell of Walnut Creek, California. The family suggests memorial gifts to the St. John EMTs, St. John Methodist Church, Trinity Lutheran Church or to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation 383 Main Avenue, 5th Floor Norwalk, CT 06851

Margaret Ruth Smith

Margaret Ruth Smith was born at the Wagner farm near Ewan, Washington, on February 5, 1924, to Fred J. and Ruth (Lee) Wagner. She passed away on September 2, 2015, following a brief stay at Whitman Rehabilitation and Care Center in Colfax. She graduated from St. John High School in 1942 and married Floyd James “Pete” Smith on November 14 of that year. The couple
made their home on a farm near Rock Lake. Marge loved fishing and boating on Rock Lake and being a wife, mother and grandmother. She lived most of her 91 years in the St. John- Ewan area, moving to Tekoa to be near family in recent years.
Marge was preceded in death by her parents, husband Pete in 1990, her sisters; infant Dora, June Hoaglund, and Hazel Sampson and her brother Virgil “Bud” Wagner. She is survived by her brother, Fred Wagner (Darlene), her children Ken Smith (Tricia) of Chula Vista, California, Linda Burke of Tekoa, grandchildren Jason Burke, Laurie Overton and John Smith and her great-grandchildren Alex and Nikki Overton, Tyler Smith, Eamon Donnelly, and Fox Burke, and sister- in-law, Jean Wagner of St. John.
A family gathering was held at the Pleasant Valley Cemetery on September 2, 2015.
Memorials are suggested to the St. John Endicott School foundation, PO Box 411, St. John, Washington, 99171, the Higher Ground Animal Sanctuary in Spokane or the donor’s choice.

Virgil Jordan

Loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Virgil Wayne Jordan, 86, longtime Winona area resident, was called home to his Lord in Heaven on Sunday, September 27, 2015. Funeral services were held October 2 at the Endicott Bible Church. Interment followed at the Winona Cemetery.
Virgil was born on August 25, 1929, in Garfield, Washington, to Frank and Virgie (Judson) Jordan. He grew up during the Great Depression and work was scarce. His family moved around the west to wherever his father could find work. Virgil eventually moved to Butte, Montana, to live with his sister, graduating from Butte High School in 1948. After graduation, he served in the Naval Reserve for one tour. He returned to Butte and worked for a smelter in Anaconda.
In the fall of 1949 Virgil returned to the Palouse doing carpentry work and driving pull combine. In the summer of 1951, he went to work for Ralph Walker and it was there that he met Betty Bartleson, Ralph’s niece, who spent summers at his farm. After a little flirting and a courtship of a couple years, they married in Federal Way, Washington, on June 12, 1953. They made their home in the Winona area. Virgil worked for a couple farmers until he was hired by Palouse Ammonia. He put in a distinguished 40-year career as manager, retiring in 1993.
Virgil was an avid golfer, enjoyed playing cards at the gun club and, in his younger days, played baseball for the Winona Grange team. He was a 40-year member of the Winona Fire District. His children and grandchildren were his pride and joy. Virgil is survived by his wife of 62 years, Betty Jordan, at the family home in Winona; his four daughters and their spouses, Teri (Alan) Hurley of Auburn, Washington; Sherry (Bill) Dunham of Bath, Michigan; Amy (Eric) Warren of Toronto, Canada; and Kelly (Jeff) Moys of Brush Prairie, Washington; nine grandchildren and 12 great- grandchildren with one more on the way. He is also survived by his sisters, Jeanne Gough, Caryl Jacobson; sister-in-law, Ramona Crutchfield; and one Aunt, Mae Tough. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers, Orval and Mark, and sisters, Jeri Jordon, Norma Schmidt, and Lois Bowman.
Memorial contributions in Virgil’s honor may be given to Village Missions, 696 E. Ellendale Ave, Dallas, OR 97338.

William Bertsch

William A. “Bill” Bertsch, 49, of St John, died September 19, 2015, at his home.
Bill was born March 11, 1966, in Atwater, California to George and Barbara Ann (Cormier) Bertsch. With his father serving in the U.S. Air force, Bill grew up in different parts of the country. He completed his education in San Diego, where he graduated from high school.
Bill attended National University for a while. He went into the landscaping where he worked as a landscaper at Sea World in San Diego. During this time Bill operated his own hauling company called We-Haul. He met Florence Reyes and they moved to St. John, Washington, in 2003. The couple married April 14, 2008. Bill enjoyed working until his health made it difficult to continue. His interests included astronomy and spending time with his family. Bill was a member of the Catholic Church. He is survived by his wife, Flo, at their St John home; daughters Nicole and Tiffany; son Billy; his father George; three brothers, Tom, Steve and Matt Bertsch; two sisters, Mary York and Tammy Myers. Bill was preceded in death by his mother, Barbara Ann Bertsch. A graveside service was held September 24, 2015, at the Pleasant Valley Cemetery in St John.

Dana Dechenne

Dana Dechenne, a long-time St. John, Washington, resident passed away October 31, 2015 at Touchmark Nursing Center in Spokane. A memorial service and luncheon was held on Thursday, November 5, 2015, at the St. John Community Center followed by a family graveside service at the Pleasant Valley Cemetery. Dana was born September 27, 1925, in Spokane. She grew up in Cusick and graduated from high school there. She moved to Spokane after high school and met a St. John farmer, Joe Hargrave. The couple married and Dana moved to St. John where she has resided since. Mr. Hargrave preceded her in death in 1959. Dana married Virgil Dechenne on August 14, 1961. She was a farm wife all of her life, assisting with the many duties of operating a farm. Dana also raised the family as well. She was a loving wife, mother and grandmother who always put others ahead of herself. Dana was a wonderful cook who will always be remembered for her Dana rolls. She also enjoyed sewing, crocheting and playing cards. Dana was a member of the Eaton Grange through the years and was an active member of the St. John community. She is survived by her daughters, Janice Hargrave of St. John, Cindy (Allen) Lyden of Valleyford, Washington, Charlene (Gary) Smick of Mukilteo, Washington; one sister Helen Giles; four grandchildren, Jolee (Guillermo), Kara (Sid), Tessa and Kate and five great-grandchildren, Konrad, Charlie, Gabriel, Claudia and Luisa. Her husband, Virgil, preceded her in death in 2007. Memorial donations are suggested to the St. John EMTs/Fire Dept. or to the St. John Park Fund.
Online condolences may be sent to

Richard A. Willson

Richard Allen Willson, age 79, longtime St. John area farmer, passed away Thursday, November 5, 2015, at the Whitman Hospital in Colfax. A potluck gathering for family and friends will be Saturday, November 14 at 11:30 a.m. in the St. John Community Building. Richard will be laid to rest in a private ceremony at the Pleasant Valley Cemetery in St. John.
He was born February 21, 1936, between Colfax and Steptoe at the family farm at Green Hollow. Richard was the youngest of eight children born to William and Mary Kate (Hall) Willson. He grew up on the farm and attended school in Steptoe through the eighth grade and graduated from Colfax High School in 1955. Richard learned a strong work ethic early in life and always kept busy helping his family or his neighbors on their farms. Following high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served his country for two years before being honorably discharged and returning to the farm.
A mutual friend introduced him to Karen Reid of Pullman and the couple married a short time later on April 19, 1958. They made their home northwest of St. John on a farm and spent their lifetime working the land together. Richard loved to always be working outside and Karen drove truck or cooked meals for the crew right alongside. Richard was a 50-plus year member of the Steptoe Grange; he once served on the St. John School Board and the Board of the St. John Grain Growers and was a member of the Cougar Club. In his younger years he liked to bowl or shoot trap and he was a good golfer, too. Richard liked to hunt on occasion and he rarely missed an auction sale. Karen and Richard spent nearly 20 years traveling to Phoenix in the winter months.
Richard is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Karen, at their St. John home; four sons, Mike of St. John, Gary and his wife, Erica, also of St. John, Daniel of Edmonds, Washington, and Tim and wife, Casey, of St. John; nine grandchildren and two great- grandchildren; his sister, LaVonne Mader of Hermiston, Oregon, and brother, Norman Willson of Colfax. He was preceded in death by a son, Donald, in 1967 and by siblings Mary Jane Woodruff, Bill Willson, Nana Lou Harwood, Beverly Hale and Barbara Weaver. The family suggests memorial gifts be made to the St. John EMTs or to the Community Club. On-line guest book is at Bruning Funeral Home of Colfax is caring for the family.

Norman Cesko Donaldson Jr.

Norman Cesko Donaldson Jr., a longtime resident of Colville, Washington, passed away October 29, 2015, in Colville at the age of 98. Norm was born October 8, 1917, in Pomeroy, Washington, the son of Norman Cesko and Talitha Mary (French) Donaldson.
Norm was raised and attended school in Pomeroy, graduating from Pomeroy High School in 1935. Following high school, he attended Washington State College (now Washington State University) where he studied agronomy, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1940. He then entered the U.S. Army, serving in the Army Aircorps for three years. He was honorably discharged on October 19, 1945, from the Fort Lewis Base in Washington state.
In November 1945 he began working with Garfield County engineer’s crew. He then worked as a field man in the Production Marketing Administration until 1952 in Pomeroy. It was in 1952 that Norm began his career with the Soil Conservation Service. He began as a scientist working on soil surveys and then transferred to Spokane in 1959 where he accepted the position of party leader. In 1962, Norm married Dorothy Freeman. They shared their life in marriage until 1977 when Dorothy passed away. Norm continued his work as a soil scientist party leader in the counties of Spokane, Stevens, Whitman and Pend Oreille. He retired in 1982.
Norm was an active community service volunteer in Colville offering his assistance as a volunteer for Rural Resources, community blood draws, soup kitchen, Meals on Wheels, Gideons, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. He also enjoyed yard work, showing films at Pinewood Terrace Nursing Home, fishing, boating, hiking, traveling, reading, making hook rugs and square dancing. He was an active member in the United Methodist Church for many years. His friendly wave, long community walks, manicured rose garden and woodcutting adventures will be dearly missed.
He is survived by his wife’s sister, Lois Lunden and her husband, George, Newport; their children, Karen Loius and Eric Lunden; and his “adopted” family, Lynn Andrews and his wife, Johanna, Colville, and their children, Jennifer, Deborah, Timothy, Jason and Christopher Andrews; and a host of friends and his faith community.
Services were held November 6, 2015, at the Colville Community Church with a graveside service and ash committal on November 18, 2015, at the Pleasant Valley Cemetery in St. John with Pastor Beth Calkins officiating.