OBITURARIES--April 29, 2008

Matie Bracey, Barbara Eitreim, Sadie Hutchison, Michael Larson, Elvira Mileti, James Sparks, Robert VanDolah, William VanLeer, Adam Zessin

Matie E.

Hales Bracey

Matie E. Hales Bracey of Jackson, Mich., died April 13, 2008. She was 85.

Raised in the St. Helens area, in Jackson she was a member of the First Church of the Nazarene, and was a volunteer both at her church and Foote Hospital.

She is survived by daughter Linda and her husband Dennis of Jackson; sons Larry and his wife Linda of Cement City, Mich., Jim and his wife Barbara of Bend, and David A. and his wife Melinda Sue of Leslie, Mich.; grandchildren Rhonda, Debbie, Dennis, Becky, Lisa and her husband Sterling, Dawn and her husband Andy, Jimmy, Jason, Jake, and Jessica and her husband Michael; 13 great-grandchildren; sister Ruby Miller of Salem; brothers Robert Hales, and Kenneth Hales and his wife Joyce, all of Scappoose; and nieces and nephews: John and his wife Nina of Portland; Frank and his wife Jerry of Eugene, Peg Tarbell of Yankton, Mike Miller and his wife Lorrie of Beaverton, Don and his wife Lisa of Las Vegas, Nev., Judy Pollard and her husband Dan of Warren; Robert Hales and his wife Mary of Scappoose, and Barbara and her husband Ryan of Seattle, Wash. She was preceded in death by her husband Edward in 1986.

A service was held in Jackson.

Memorial gifts may be made to the First Church of the Nazarene Building Fund, 3905 Clinton Rd., Jackson, MI, 49201.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at

Barbara Ann

Tate Eitreim

Barbara Ann Tate Eitreim, formerly of Portland, died April 21, 2008. She was 80.

Barbara Tate was born Jan. 25, 1928, in Indianapolis, Ind., to Walter and Mildred Tate.

A graduate of Wenatchee High in 1945, she worked as a telephone operator, dental assistant, ticket agent for Northwest Airlines, and a teacher's math aide.

Her hobbies included playing pinochle, gardening, and collecting antiques.

She is survived by her son Walter Swanson and his wife Susan; daughter Cynthia Summers and her husband Ron; grandchildren Nathan Swanson, Heather Swanson, David Summers, Megan Summers Warneke, and Haley Swanson; two great-grandchildren; and a host of friends.

A private family service was held.

Sadie Elizabeth Hutchison

Sadie Elizabeth Hutchison, formerly of St. Helens, died April 23, 2008. She was 24.

Sadie Elizabeth Hutchison was born Oct. 3, 1983, in Clyde, Calif., to John E. Hutchison and Susan Keller Hutchison. She was the fourth of five children.

Moving to Oregon at the age of 5, she lived and attended school here, graduating from St. Helens High School in 2001.

After graduation she relocated to California, living near family members. In 2002 she moved to New York, and worked there for one-and-a-half years.

Returning to California, she fell in love and married Eric Morales. Their daughter Madeline May was born in January 2007.

She is survived by her husband Eric; 1-year-old daughter Madeline May; stepson Joel; mother Susan (Easley) Conn and stepfather Robert (Grandpa Rob) Conn; siblings Kevin Simonson and his wife Sandy, Kelly Esparza and her husband Hector, Colin Simonson, and Jacob Hutchison; grandparents Lois and Gordon Youmans of Happy Valley, Calif., and Betty Hutchison of southern California; uncles Mike and David Hutchison; aunt Denise Hutchison; niece Kally Rogers; nephews Mario, Alex, and Evan Esparza; great-aunt Kate Wyrick, cousin David Hutchison; mother-in-law Jane Shiota and her husband Fred; sister-in-law Emma; and a wide circle of friends. She was preceded in death by her father John Hutchison.

A memorial service was held at East Lawn Mortuary in Sacramento, Calif.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Placer County (Calif.) Humane Society.

Michael Carl Larson

Michael Carl Larson of Warren died April 23, 2008, at Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland. He was 55.

Mr. Larson was born Oct. 2, 1952, in Portland to Carl and Lorene (Hunter) Larson.

Residing in the area his entire life, he attended Warren Grade School, and graduated from Scappoose High School in 1971.

On March 15, 1980, he married Diane Greisen in Portland.

Farming with his father all his life, he also worked at American Steel for 16 years until he became disabled.

Never seen without a smile on his face, he loved his family and friends.

Among the things he enjoyed were farming, camping, and John Deere tractors.

He is survived by his wife of 28 years Diane Larson; children Jason, Chris, Heidi, and Stacy Larson; parents Carl and Lorene Larson; and brothers Mark and Lance Larson.

A funeral service will be at noon Thursday, May 1, at St. Frederic Catholic Church in St. Helens.

Memorial gifts may be made to Friends of the Fair, 57826 Old Portland Rd., Warren, OR 97053.

Elvira Jean Mileti

Elvira Jean Mileti of Columbia City died April 25, 2008. She was 75.

Elvira Jean Szabo was born July 7, 1932, in Lorain, Ohio, to Steven and Theresa Szabo. At the age of 14 her mother died, and her older sisters Mary, Helen, and Stella, and her stepmother Gizella, all took part in raising her.

On Nov. 28, 1957, she married Ardell Mileti, whom she met at a square dance. The couple moved to Warren in March of 1967. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2007.

Employed in the tax department at the Columbia County Courthouse for 23 years, she held a long-term commitment to helping the public.

A very active member of St. Frederic Catholic Church in St. Helens, she was president of the Women's Society, involved in the annual Christmas bazaar, and feeding homeless youth in Portland. Her energetic and friendly spirit would shine while helping those in need.

Also devoted to serving the community, she was a Girl Scout leader, 4-H leader, county fair participant, and later served as superintendent of the fair textile department, giving countless hours of her time throughout 20 years.

Among the other things that gave her joy were frequenting garage sales and church bazaars, quilting classes, going on cruises, and sharing her Hungarian language and culture with family and friends.

Having enormous affection for her husband, children, and grandchildren, she always created gifts made with love, and never failed to have a treasure to give as she kissed you good-bye.

Her love for her friends compelled her to spread good cheer and optimism by visiting those who needed uplifting and encouragement.

Stoic heroism and strong faith helped her endure many illnesses. Her family was blessed to have such a generous, loving wife, mother, grandmother and friend.

She is survived by her husband of 50 years Ardell Mileti of Columbia City; daughters Debra Baxter of Utah, and Diane King of Vancouver, Wash.; son David Mileti of St. Helens; and grandchildren Aubrey, Jenise, Alyssa, Madison, and Nolan.

Rosary will be recited at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, at St. Frederic Catholic Church.

A funeral mass will be said at noon Wednesday, April 30, at St. Frederic Catholic Church.

Memorial gifts may be made to Sisters of St. Francis, 3390 Windsor Ave., Dubuque, IA 52001.

James M. Sparks

James M. Sparks of St. Helens died April 25, 2008, at his home. He was 63.

Mr. Sparks was born March 23, 1945, in Portland to Al and Mary (Keeler) Sparks.

A resident of the area his entire life, early on he attended Yankton Baptist Church. During high school he was active in 4-H, graduating from St. Helens High School in 1963.

On Aug. 26, 1967, he married Bernice Woodford in St. Helens.

Employed at Friesen Lumber for 34 years, he continued to work there for another three years after it was sold to Stimson Lumber, retiring when they closed.

He was also in the Army National Guard for seven years.

In the '80s and '90s he enjoyed driving street stock race cars, and was awarded Sportsman of the Year several times and ranked the number-one driver twice.

Caring very much for animals, he and his wife saved, fed, and found homes for many homeless pets during their marriage. His other interests included gardening, and fishing.

He is survived by his wife of 40 years Bernice Sparks of St. Helens; daughters Connie St. Clair-Matthews and her husband Bill of Deer Island, and Carol Crosby and her husband Dwayne of St. Helens; granddaughter Sherry Jean Grau; sisters Gloria, Sylvia, Evey, and JoAnn; and numerous nieces and nephews.

A private family service was held.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at

Robert V. VanDolah

Robert V. VanDolah of St. Helens died April 23, 2008, in a Longview hospital. He was 54.

Mr. VanDolah was born Feb. 20, 1954, in Portland to Harley and Josephine (Cowdrey) VanDolah.

Residing in the area his entire life, he served in the U.S. Army, and was discharged on Oct. 18, 1978.

Married to Cindy Gamble, they later divorced. She preceded him in death in February 2008.

Disabled, he had worked for Friesen Lumber Company.

A member of the National Association Hunting Club, he enjoyed hunting and fishing.

He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law Alisha and Dan VanDolah of St. Helens; mother Josephine Cowdrey of St. Helens; siblings Rodney and Craig VanDolah, both of St. Helens, Ellen Hansen of Warren, Alta Mehrer of Roseburg, and Ronald VanDolah of Washington; and numerous nieces, nephews, and friends.

A private family service was held.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Association.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at

William A. VanLeer

William A. VanLeer of Scappoose died April 21, 2008, at his home. He was 78.

Mr. VanLeer was born Sept. 24, 1929, in Aurora, Colo., to Royal and Opal (Shaner) VanLeer.

Educated until the eighth grade in Aurora, he went to work for the DuPont Company in Colorado during World War II. Afterward he was employed in road construction in Wyoming, and then relocated to Longview, Wash., in the 1950s.

Moving back to Cheyenne, Wyo., for a time, he would finally make his home in Scappoose in 1962.

A self-employed logger, he owned VanLeer Logging Co.

In 1997 he married Velma Rea Birchfield at their home.

His interests included guns and hunting.

He is survived by his wife Velma VanLeer of Scappoose; children Dan VanLeer of Davis Junction, Ill., Carl Drain of Portland, Mary Faulkner of Milwaukie, John Surdam of Twin Falls, Idaho, Zeb Surdam of Killeen, Texas, and Tod Surdam of La Center, Wash.; 12 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

Graveside service and interment will be held at I.O.O.F. Cemetery in The Dalles.

Memorial gifts may be made to the American Cancer Society or to Shriners Children's Hospital.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at

Adam E. Zessin

Adam Eugene Zessin of Corvallis died April 13, 2008. He was 22.

Mr. Zessin was born July 31, 1985, to Gayle and Mark Zessin, and was baptized on Sept. 8, 1985, in St. Helens.

Raised in St. Helens, he attended SonShine Christian Preschool, McBride Elementary, St. Helens Middle School and High School, and the Columbia County Education Campus.

While growing up he was in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, achieving the rank of Life Scout, and was elected to The Order of the Arrow. He enjoyed camping with the Scouts and 'model rocket camp' at Camp Lutherwood near Eugene. Musically inclined, he could play the saxophone, ocarina, and piano.

On Feb. 14, 2005, he married Ashley N. Harvey at Grace Lutheran Church in Scappoose. After the marriage ended he moved to western New York for two years.

Holding many odd jobs, he was paying his way through college, working toward a degree in education. He attended Portland Community College, and Genesee Community College in Batavia, N.Y.

A talented artist, he enjoyed sketching and was hoping to supplement his income as a tattoo artist. Among the other things he enjoyed were movies, motorcycles, muscle cars, and being with friends.

He is survived by his parents Gayle and Don Gould, and Ellen and Mark Zessin, all of Scappoose; brother Aaron Zessin attending Wyotech in Laramie, Wyo.; stepbrothers Steve Durst of Corvallis, and Ted Durst of Scappoose; grandmother Nelda Gunderson of Chehalis, Wash.; grandfather Larry Eugene Zessin of Tumwater, Wash.; and several aunts, uncles, and cousins mostly living in Washington. He was preceded in death by his grandfather Gordon Gunderson and grandmother Patricia Zessin.