The latest obituaries and death notices for Malheur County

Babe Yraguen

June 29, 1928 – September 6, 2020

 Wilhelmina Maria “Babe” Yraguen, 92, of Vale, passed away peacefully on Sunday morning, Sept. 6, 2020. She was born on June 29, 1928, in Ontario, Oregon to her Dutch parents, Marinus and Paula Heinink Smit. She was raised on the family farm at Cairo Junction and attended grade school at Valleyview, a small country school between Cairo and Nyssa. Her high school years were spent in Baker, Oregon where she attended St. Francis Academy Catholic High School. She graduated in 1946 after spending four years as a sassy student and cheerleader known as “Willie” for the fightin’ Leopards. 

We once asked her if she received a good education in Baker and she said the only thing that she learned in Baker was how to smoke. But we are sure that she received a proper education that paved her way of a love and faith in a church that gave her great guidance and comfort for her entire life.

After graduating from high school, she came back home to Ontario and in the fall of 1946, she met a handsome young Basque boy, Joe Yraguen. Their romance was a whirlwind and on Dec. 28, 1946 they were married in the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Ontario. They celebrated 54 years of marriage living in the Vale and Ontario areas, raising six boys.

Babe was the ultimate “Mom” in her boy’s lives. She raised her family with a strong and loving hand and never backed down whenever the boys challenged back. Her greatest lesson that she taught was kindness. She always insisted that her kids were respectful and kind. She never missed a ball game that the boys played. There must have been more than one “Babe” because there were ball games all over town and each boy always insisted that Mom never missed one of their games even though the games were played at the same time. She was a huge sports fan and knew the games inside and out. Even in her later years when you would go to see her at her apartment, she would always have a ballgame on TV that she would be watching.

She was also a Mom to many in the town of Vale where she always had a meal or some good advice for all of the kids of Vale. She was a school bus driver for 17 years for the Vale School District and became one of the “Community Mothers” in a town that believed in raising a child by a community.

Babe leaves a legacy of love and kindness throughout her family and will be missed by all.

She was preceded in death by her siblings and their spouses; all of Joe’s siblings and their spouses; her beloved husband, Joe; and her very loved firstborn son, Joe “Joey”.

She is survived by her children, Susan Yraguen, Dan and Karen Yraguen, Dave and Robyn Yraguen, Bill and Tina Yraguen, John and Nicole Yraguen and Rick and Kris Yraguen; grandchildren and spouses, Kimi and Wade Gipson, Kristi and Britton Stuart; Jeremy Yraguen, Brynn Yraguen, Angela and John Calovich, Katie and Shaun Impomeni, Hailey Yraguen, Michelle and Randy Rice, Mandi and Corey Maag, MacKenzie and Chet Williams, Macy Yraguen, Chloe Yraguen, Sawyer and Nick Harris , Seve Yraguen, Cody Bennett, TJ and Abbie Bennett; great grandchildren, Brylie Gipson, Chace Gipson, Amaia Stuart, Addison Stuart, Bodie Stuart, Jasi Yraguen, Blakely Yraguen, Casey Calovich, Carley Calovich, Cameron Calovich, Jack Impomeni, Allison Rice, Alexa Rice, Isabella Maag, Brooklyn Maag, Avery Maag, Evan Williams, Marli Bennett, Lillian Bennett, Leveah Bennett. 

A visitation and viewing will be held for the public at the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church Parish Hall on Saturday, Sept. 19, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. Due to the Covid restrictions, masks are recommended but not required. The immediate family will have a private family Rosary and Mass with burial to follow in Sunset Cemetery in Ontario. Arrangements are under the direction of the Nampa Funeral Home, Yraguen Chapel assisted by Lienkaemper Chapel. An online guest book and full obituary is available at www.nampafuneralhome.com

Memorial contributions may be made to Pioneer Place in Vale and the Vale Alumni Association for Scholarships.


Joyce Louise Elfering 

May 13, 1930 ~ September 2, 2020

Joyce Louise Elfering, age 90, peacefully passed away on September 2nd at a local hospital of natural causes. 

Joyce was born in Caldwell, Idaho, on May 13, 1930, to Mark and Edna Cawdery.  She grew up in Wilder, Idaho on the family farm with an older sister and brother, Patrice & Dale, as well as a younger brother, Carl. Being raised during the Great Depression was impactful on her. She mentioned remembering that a loaf of bread cost 10 cents and wages paid to farm workers were 10 cents an hour.

After graduating from Wilder High School in 1948, Joyce headed off to Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. She graduated with a degree in Education. At that time, three years of college was the requirement for a teaching degree. She was quite adventurous, given when and where she was raised. During the summers, Joyce worked at a soda fountain in a store located next to Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. 

Joyce was called “Miss Cawdery” when she and a girlfriend accepted teaching assignments in the Portland, Oregon area and then onto Las Vegas. While she rarely visited the casinos to gamble, Joyce enjoyed the local entertainment, seeing the likes of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis, Jr. One summer break, she and a girlfriend hit the road, traveling as far away as Tallahassee, Florida.

Joyce returned to the Treasure Valley to teach in Adrian and then in Vale, Oregon. A local dentist and his wife invited Joyce and an eligible bachelor named Frank Elfering to dinner. They started dating in January of 1958, were engaged in May, and then married at St. Patrick’s Church in Vale on July 16, 1958. The newlyweds honeymooned in Calgary, Canada.

Joyce put her teaching career on hold with the birth of her two daughters and one son. As her children grew, she went back into the educational world as a substitute teacher. She needed to complete her four-year-degree to go back into the classroom full-time. During the summers of 1968 – 70, she packed up her children and headed to Eastern Oregon College. They lived in family housing on campus and they would travel home to see Frank, Sr. each weekend. In August of 1970, Joyce graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree, at the age of 40.

From 1970 to 1990, Joyce taught 1st and 4th grades at Vale Elementary School. The number of students she educated over the years are many. It always made her proud to see her former students either in person or in a newspaper article. She knew she made an impact on many people’s lives. She retired at the age of 60 in May of 1990, which coincided with the births of her two first grandchildren.

Along with being an educator, Joyce loved to learn and be up on current events. She was an avid reader and read nearly every book on Oprah’s book list. Even though she lost sight in one eye a number of years ago, she continued to enjoy books, magazines, and newspapers.

Joyce’s love of adventure was elevated in retirement. She and Frank spent a number of winters in Green Valley, Arizona to get out of the Eastern Oregon cold. They enjoyed trips to Hawaii, National Park lodges in the west, a bike tour of Holland, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and trips to numerous other spots across the country.

Joyce was a regular walker and exercised before it was a real “thing”. She embraced the importance of a healthy diet and the need for movement. She made sure her children participated in school sports, 4-H, and had many opportunities to expand their horizons. It was also important to her that her children develop “lifelong sports” such as snow skiing. Fifty years later, her children and grandchildren enjoy skiing or snowboarding.

Many summer and holiday get-togethers at Sunriver or at the beach were organized by Grandma Joyce. She so loved visiting with her family and hearing what family members were doing. It was very special to her to be surrounded by her grandchildren during holidays and they all held a special place in her heart.

In 2003, Frank and Joyce sold their Vale farm, moving to Ontario. They built a home and Joyce continued living there after Frank died in 2007.

In 2015, Joyce needed more assistance and relocated to a local assisted living facility. She thoroughly enjoyed her friendships there and continued her walking and reading habits, as well as being the family information spreader, helping us all stay updated on each other’s family’s activities and travels.

Joyce is survived by her daughter, Joan (Gregg), of Troutdale, Oregon; daughter, Jean (Rhett), of Beaverton, Oregon, and son, Frank, Jr. (Elizabeth), of Eagle, ID. Her brother, Carl (Virginia) resides in Caldwell, Idaho. The eight grandchildren who lit up her life are Sean (Chelsea) and Kelly Holstrom, Taylor and Christian Boudreau, and Hannah, William, Emily, and Lauren Elfering. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews near and far.

Her family is so very grateful for the amazing care she received at St. Alphonsus Ontario and through Heart and Home Hospice as she transitioned to her eternal home.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a private funeral mass for the family was held at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Ontario with internment at Valley View Cemetery in Vale. Lienkaemper Memorial Chapel of Ontario provided the arrangements.

Donations, in lieu of flowers, can be made to the Vale Vikings Alumni Endowment Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 274, Vale, OR 97918. Thank you for helping to provide financial assistance to the generations coming after Mrs. Elfering’s many students.


Harlen V Garner

April 19, 1968 ~ August 29, 2020

Harlen V Garner passed peacefully in his home August 29, 2020, surrounded by his loved ones.

Harlen was born on April 19, 1968, in Caldwell, Idaho to Nadene May and Val Garner. Harlen was the fourth of five siblings; Dion, Jamie, Stacey, and Holly was the baby. He grew up in the Nyssa, Oregon area, attending school and church with many lifelong friends. Harlen excelled in sports and academics throughout his school years. His senior year he was awarded the prestigious Calvin Wilson award for excellence on and off the field. He performed above and beyond expectations in football, wrestling and baseball.

He enjoyed a lot of extracurricular activities such as hunting, fishing, motorcycle riding, and water sports. He was heavily involved in the Boy Scouts of America and spent many hours in service and camping out, which resulted in him earning badges and the Eagle Scout Award. Later he became a Scout leader himself and spent many hours with the boys.

He spent his first year in college at BYU Provo. His second year was at Ricks College and his third year back at BYU Provo, where he met his bride-to-be. He returned home to help his dad on the farm because Val’s health was failing. He learned and worked and finally purchased the farm he grew up on. Harlen took over the farm, making V-A-L Charolais Ranch the success it is today. On Dec. 27, 1991 he married the love of his life, Kendalee Harmer. They spent almost every waking moment together. In September 1993 they started their own family, Loughlin. Cyrus followed in ’95 and True in ’98. Maya was born in May 2000, Giles in 2002, and baby girl Lea surprised in 2004. The family spent their time working hard on the farm and ranch and playing hard always together. They took many trips to the coast, making memories no one will forget. Harlen worked with the cows and crops up until the leukemia kept him from doing the tasks. True and Giles stepped up and took over for their dad. Cyrus did what he could while earning his master’s degree from home. 

Harlen spent his life teaching his children to work. He taught them how to show and raise cattle. He loved his way of life and instilled it into them. He taught them to show cattle at the local fair to many successes. In January 2020 the family received the greatest gift, a grandbaby boy who lit up their life.

Harlen was preceded in death by his mother and father, Val and Nadene Garner; brother Stacey Garner; daughter Rhiannon; and son Loughlin Harlen.

Harlen is survived by his wife, Kendalee; his sons and daughters and their spouses, Cyrus (McKayla) Garner, True (Katlyn) Garner, Maya Garner, Giles Garner, Lea Garner; and August Cy Garner (grandson). 

In lieu of flowers the family has asked that you send donations to purchase 4-H and FFA steers at the Malheur County Fair in memory of Harlen Garner.

Funeral services and Visitation were held Sept. 5 at the Owhyee Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 848 Owyhee Ave., Nyssa, Oregon, 97913.

A live link to watch funeral: https://www.tvpbn.com/channels/funerals is available for two weeks.

Condolences may be left for the family at www.bowmanfuneral.com.


Erma “Kay” Lamb

1939 ~ August 4, 2020

Erma “Kay” Lamb of Eugene Oregon, peacefully ended this life’s journey on August 4, 2020.

Her story began in the spring of 1939 in Vale, Oregon. Born at home on the family ranch to Arthur and “Joney” Palmer, she was the youngest daughter of eight children. Kay attended the ‘Old Grove School’ and Vale Union High School, excelling in science and math. She enjoyed many professions including: florist, cook, artist, seamstress, her favorite being mother to her three children. As a dedicated mother, she treasured her children instilling in them her engaging humor and gifts of: grit, patience and a love of learning. A longtime resident of Malheur County, she participated in many local cultural events, such as the Oregon Centennial Celebration and the Oregon Trail Reenactments.

Kay lived a full life pursuing her passions. Always smiling, she was happy to share about painting, quilting and Family History but above all, her flowers. She moved to Eugene, Oregon, in 2007 to be closer to her children but as a farm girl at heart, her stories of Malheur County and the ranch were definitely her “good old days.”

She will be loved and missed by her children: Debra Bobadilla, Kay Lynne Keene and Jason Lamb; siblings: Donna Tolman, Phoebe Mendive and Carlton Palmer; as well as numerous family and friends worldwide.

Her enduring love of Christ led her to leave us these words,

“I’ve loved it all, the great, the small

Rejoice with me all those I love,

for God has called me from above.”

Kay will be laid to rest next to her mother and father in the Valley View Cemetery, Vale. In lieu of cards or flowers, Kay would have loved for you to plant a flower in her memory.


Rita Siglinde Bacher, 84, of Fruitland, died Sept. 4 at Parma health care facility. Shaffer-Jensen Memory Chapel, Payette. 

Lois Jean King, 88, of Payette, died Sept. 4 at home. Lienkaemper Chapel, Ontario. 

Donald D. Gugin, 89, Meridian, died Sept. 6 at home. Haren-Wood Funeral Chapel, Payette.

Willard J. Draper, 62, of Payette, died Sept. 7 at a Boise Hospital. Lienkaemper Chapel, Ontario 

Patricia Murphy, 82, of Ontario, died Sept. 5. Haren-Wood Funeral Chapel, Ontario.

Guillermo “Willy” Trujillo Jr., 62, of Fruitland, died Sept. 8 in Boise. Chapel Ontario. 

David Cuellar, 56, of Ontario, died Sept. 8 at a local hospital. Lienkaemper Chapel, Ontario. 

Steven F. Borwieck, 67, Payette, died Sept. 9 at a Boise hospital. Haren-Wood Funeral Chapel, Payette.

John Kurts, 89, of Lewiston, died Sept. 8. Haren-Wood Funeral Chapel, Payette.

LEARN HOW TO PLACE AN OBITUARY: Contact Autumn Butler, Enterprise office manager, at [email protected] or call 514-473-3377.