The latest obituaries and death notices for Malheur County

Emma Lou Sunderland

July 13, 1934~ December 4, 2018

Emma Lou Sunderland, age 84, of Kennewick, WA, walked into the arms of her Lord and Savior on December 4, 2018. 

Emma Lou was born on her dad’s birthday, July 13, 1934, in Jefferson City, Missouri, to Howard Bell and Katherine “Ruth” Nicholson. She was the youngest child, with an older brother Bobby Dean, (who proceeded her in death on Dec. 5, 2006). In December 1934, her family left Missouri and moved to Kuna, Idaho. Emma Lou graduated from Kuna High School in 1952. Upon graduation, she attended Bob Jones University and ended up graduating from Northwest Nazarene College in 1956. 

In June 1956, she married Dirk L. Dirksen. They lived in Portland where she taught school, until they moved to Colorado as missionaries with the American Sunday School Union. While there, their two children, Dirk (Jon) and Lou Anna, were born. They were then reassigned to Nebraska for three years, where their third child Nathan was born. In 1968, they moved to Vale, where their last child, Sam, was born in 1968. In 1974, she began teaching at Willow Creek Elementary. Dirk and Emma Lou were divorced in 1975, after 19 years of marriage. 

In 1985, Emma Lou married Wes King and moved to Middleton, Idaho. She gained four stepsons and a stepdaughter. In 1987, Wes passed away.

From 1986 until 1999, when she retired, Emma Lou taught at Notus Elementary. In 1990, Emma Lou married her longtime friend Henry “Hank” Sunderland, where she gained two more stepdaughters, a stepson and four grandchildren. 

In 1991, they moved to Nyssa. Hank and Emma Lou loved spending time together with their family (especially welcoming every new baby, child or spouse to the family), traveling in their motor homes (they wore out the first one) and collecting more thimbles for her prized collection. In December 2011, Hank passed away. At that time, Emma Lou moved to Boardman, where she lived with Jon and Rosemarie. She cherished this time with two of her great grandchildren, Averi and Eli. In February 2018, Emma Lou moved to Park View assisted living for additional care in Kennewick, Washington, where she could be near Sam and April and their family. 

She is survived by her children, Jon (Rosemarie) Dirksen, Lou Anna (Norman) Boyer, Nathan (Pavla) Dirksen, and Sam (April) Dirksen. Step children Connie, Ty (Karen) King, Tip (Lisa) King, Tim King, and Heath King, Melda (Charlie) Montgomery, Glenda (Joe) Miner-Boyd, Melvin (Jan) Sunderland; grandchildren, Tracie Cherry, Shawn Dirksen, Beth (German) Campos, Shane (Nada) Boyer, Sarah (Fan) Burge, Karli Dirksen, Brady (Michelle) Dirksen, Tristan (Keralynda) Dirksen, Jacob Dirksen, Trey Arland, Chloe Dirksen, Peyton Arland, Kristi (Alan) Green, Jordan (Claire) King, Morgan King and Robert King, Cameron King, Wesley King, Keegan King, Cian (Mindy) Montgomery, Jackie (Mike) Ready, Reba (Tyler) Stoller, Sandra Miner (Matt Cooper) and Kyle Sunderland; and several great-grandchildren. 

Emma Lou wanted to invite anyone who does not know the Lord to come to know him. She recognized how much the Lord Jesus meant to her and how faithful he had been to her over the years. She also wanted it known how much she loved her family-all of them. They truly brought her joy, she praised God for them every day, and loved every minute with them!

A graveside service will be held in Vale on Dec. 29, at 2 p.m. She would like all memorial donations to go to Shiloh Bible Camp, as she has many fun memories there and loved being the camp cook during the summer for many years. Shiloh Bible Conference 13165 Gestrin Rd, Donnelly, ID 83615. The family invites you to sign their tribute wall at www.muellersfuneralhomes.com.


• Virgil L. Carpenter, 74, of Nyssa, died Nov. 30 at a Boise hospital. Haren- Wood Funeral Chapel, Ontario.

• James Johnson, 92, of Payette, died Dec. 3 at a hospital in Ontario. Haren-Wood Funeral Chapel, Ontario.

• Joe Y. Saito, 100, of Ontario, died Dec. 3 at a local assisted living facility. Lienkaemper Chapel, Ontario.

• Karen McCombs, 71, of Vale, died Dec. 3 at her home. Lienkaemper Chapel, Vale. 

• Manuel Apodaca, 86, of Nyssa, died Dec. 5 at his home. Haren-Wood Funeral Chapel, Ontario.