In the community

Obituaries for the Enterprise, for the week of May 22, 2024: IIse Witty and Dean Harrington

Ilse Witty

Aug 20, 1935 – April 27, 2024

Ilse was born in Tubingen and raised in Stuttgart, Germany, by her parents Dr. Med. Erich and Dr. Med. Gisela Schempp. Her father was the head surgeon of a hospital in Stuttgart. She had four sisters, Gisela, Irmgard, Ragnhild, and Gertrud. During the war the girls lived with their aunt in Schwabish Gmund, while their father was a Russian prisoner. 

In 1963 she was teaching school when she and her sister, Irmgard, came to the US to visit cousins. They took them on a tour of the US out to Oregon where she met her future husband, John Witty. He was heading to Cornell University in New York to obtain his doctorate, so he traveled back east with them. 

They courted long distance, then were married in Stuttgart in 1965. They honeymooned in Italy. In 1968 he finished his doctorate and they moved to Corvallis, OR. Ilse attended the University of Oregon where she received her Master’s in Germanics. 

In 1970 she became a US citizen while they lived in Portland. They then moved to Philadelphia, PA, where she studied at the University of Pennsylvania towards a PhD. She received her PhD in Germanics in 1966 and taught in a Catholic University. 

In 1979 her husband’s job took them to Washington DC, where she taught school in the George Mason University part-time. In 1981 her husband got the chance to work in Saudi Arabia for three years. She taught in the German school in Riyadh. They snorkeled in the Red Sea and did a lot of camping around, including the Empty Quarter in Saudi Arabia. 

In 1984 they were back in Washington DC. She traveled with her husband on some of his many trips to New Zealand and several European countries. In 1991 they moved to Lincoln, NE, where she helped her husband in editing the National Soil Classification System, which had never been officially edited before. 

In 1993 her husband retired and they moved to his childhood home in Adrian, OR. There she translated family documents and edited family books and poems. She took care of the house and yard, working to attract more birds and wildlife to their land, camping and bird watching trips to parks and wildlife preserves in OR, ID, the Southwest and three trips to Mexico. 

She was preceded in death by her parents, sisters & brother-in-law Gisela & Walter Buder, Irmgard & Gertrude Schempp, her in-laws Lorina & Herb Gillen, Bill Spears, & niece Ilse Buder. She is survived by her sister, Ragnhild Schempp, in-laws Carol Spears, Joe & Carolyn, Ben & Elma, & David Witty, 26 nieces and nephews and many great and great-great nieces and nephews. She never put herself first, she was always a very kind, gentle, and thoughtful person, and will be greatly missed by all. 

Her services will be held on May 23, 2024, at 11:00 at the KMCC church, 302 N 3rd Street, in Parma, ID. Memorials can be made to KMCC Parma, PO Box 789, Parma, ID, 83660.


Dean Louis Harrington

Apr 4, 1938 – May 10, 2024

Dean Harrington passed away on May 10, 2024, after battling pneumonia which was further complicated by dementia. He passed peacefully during medical transport with his son, James Harrington, by his side.

Dean was born to Glen and Irma Harrington in Emmett, Idaho, on April 4, 1938. He is the fourth child of six siblings: Neal, Bob, Edith, Bill, and Lola. Dean later moved to Hermiston, OR, where he attended grade school, and then to the Dalles, OR, where he attended high school. During his senior year in 1956, Dean joined the Air Force and became a B52 jet engine mechanic. He was honorably discharged after four years of service in 1960.

From 1961 to 1969, Dean shared his life with his first wife, Winifred Dinn, who passed away due to complications of multiple sclerosis. During their years together, Dean worked for General Dynamic as a missile mechanic in Lincoln, NE, and Rocketdyne in Canoga Park, CA, as an instrumentation mechanic. Dean and Winifred moved to Butte, MT, before her passing to be near her family, and Dean continued there until 1969, working at Anaconda Company as a machine operator.

Dean moved to Portland, OR, to be closer to his family and stayed with his sister, Edie, and her family. There he met a close friend of Edie’s, Marlene Klugherz, and her daughter, Denise. Dean and Marlene then married on February 14, 1970, and purchased a home in Gresham, OR. In addition to Denise, the two had a son, James, in 1971. During this time (1969-1976), Dean worked for the Housing Authority of Portland.

In 1976, Dean and Marlene moved their family to Adrian, OR, to help Dean’s father, Glenn Harrington, with his rock shop. Dean also worked for Gale Martin in the blacksmith shop until they returned to Portland in 1979. Dean returned to the Housing Authority of Portland until 1989 when Dean and Marlene decided to return to Adrian for the remainder of their lives.

Dean and Marlene purchased four acres on the Snake River in Adrian, OR, where they spent the remainder of their lives and a total of 43 years of marriage. Over the years, they touched many lives, caring for countless friends, family members, foreign exchange students, and foster children. They were both generous with their time and resources, including Dean’s involvement with the Adrian Lions Club for 28 years, making the Annual Duck Race on the river in front of their home a tradition for the town, neighbors, friends, and family.

Dean was considered a second father to many, and no one could ask for a better father, grandfather, or friend who was always present and supportive. His favorite quote by Will Rogers was, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” Dean loved to fish, hunt, golf, and spend time with family and friends alike.

Dean is preceded in death by his wife Marlene, brothers Neil and Bob, and sister Edie. He is survived by his brother Bill Harrington, sister Lola Kromm, his son James Harrington (Jeni), and daughter Denise Ashton (Sammy); five grandchildren: Meghan Villegas (Oscar), Kallie Welham (Jason), Brian Ashton (Kaydee), Kendall Harrington, and Kaley Walter; and six great-grandchildren: Dean, Aubree, Evander, James, Cassidee, and Charlotte.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Adrian Lions Club at PO Box 227, Adrian, OR 97901.

A graveside service will be held on Saturday, June 8, 2024, at 2:00pm at the Owyhee Cemetery, Nyssa, OR. Celebration of Life will be held immediately following at 775 Roswell Road, Adrian, OR 97901. Condolences for the family can be made at


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