Obituaries: Feb. 11, 2012
Eva M. Kowalski
March 10, 1923-Feb. 5, 2012
Former Gresham resident Eva M. Kowalski, 88, died Sunday, Feb. 5, in Portland.
Interment will be at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland.
Eva was born March 10, 1923, in Portland to William and Myrtle Parker. Eva graduated from Cleveland High School in 1941. She resided in Oregon for most of her life, including more than 20 years in Gresham.
On Aug. 12, 1943, she married Kenneth Kowalski. They were married until Ken's death in 2003.
Eva was an avid gardener, growing roses, camellias, rhododendron, wisteria, blooming cherry blossoms and hyacinths in her front yard.
Her son, Bill, also preceded her in death.
Survivors include her son, Kenneth Kowalski of Portland, and daughter, Kathy Willis of Troutdale.
For more information or to leave the family a message, visit Eva's page at batemancarrollfunerals.com.
Bateman Carroll Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
Galen Homer Coffin
July 28, 1920-Feb. 3, 2012
Gresham resident Galen Homer Coffin died Friday, Feb. 3, at his home. He was 91.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, at Sunnyside Seventh-day Adventist Church, 10501 S.E. Market St., Portland.
Galen was born July 28, 1920, in Lafayette, Ind., to Day and Edyth Gruber Coffin. Galen resided in Indiana and Massachusetts until he was 4 years old, when his parents went as missionaries to Nanning, China, where his father was a doctor in a remote hospital. He was homeschooled until he began attending Far Eastern Academy in Shanghai, China, graduating in 1939. While there, he met Beth Armstrong, and they were married in 1942.
Galen received his bachelor's degree from Walla Walla College in College Place, Wash., in 1943. In 1948, he graduated from medical school at Loma Linda University in California. He interned at the White Memorial Hospital in Glendale, Calif., and then worked in Camarillo, Calif., while waiting to take the Canadian Medical Board exam.
From 1950 until 1976, Galen served as a missionary physician at Youngberg Memorial Hospital in Singapore, taking a leave of absence to complete his anesthesiology residency at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. In 1976 he joined the anesthesia staff at Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center in Clackamas, where he remained until his retirement in 1986.
In his retirement years, Galen served as a volunteer physician in Malawi, Palau, Micronesia, and on the Canvas Back clinic boat in the Chuuk Islands. He was active in his church and enjoyed flying his radio-controlled glider, playing ping-pong, camping, hiking, bird watching, gardening and being in his workshop.
Survivors include his wife; daughter, Kathy Marshall of Salem; son, David Coffin of San Bernardino, Calif.; brother, Harold Coffin of Calhoun, Ga.; four grandsons; and two great-grandchildren.
Crown Memorial Center of Milwaukie is handling arrangements.
Ruth Bernice Johnson
Dec. 17, 1924-Feb. 3, 2012
East County resident Ruth Bernice Johnson died Friday, Feb. 3, in Portland. She was 87.
Interment took place on Feb. 6. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 507 W. Powell Blvd.
Ruth was born Dec. 17, 1924, in Patterson, Calif., to the Rev. Albert and Beatha (Haugen) Towe. Ruth graduated with honors from Pacific Lutheran College in Tacoma, Wash., in 1947.
In April 1948, she married Rudy Johnson. They moved to Rock Island, Ill., for Rudy's years at Augustana Lutheran Seminary.
Ruth served as full- or part-time organist, pianist and choir director for many of her husband's congregations, which included Gresham from 1960 to 1974. She was known for making a huge variety of Christmas cookies and serving them at her annual Christmas open houses. Ruth was a classroom teacher, substitute teacher, Synod Council member, Bible study leader and jeweler.
Ruth resided at Courtyard Fountains in Gresham for several years and helped set up worship services there. She accompanied those services on the piano until spring 2011. She was also an accomplished knitter and made many afghans for family and dozens of hats for babies. She traveled to Sweden, Norway and Finland on several occasions.
Ruth was preceded in death by her husband in 1993; daughter, Karen, in 1957; her great-granddaughter, Emma Joy, in 2002; and by her four siblings.
Survivors include her son, Gerald Johnson of Gresham; daughters, Beatha Johnson of Seattle, Kathryn Prodoehl of Gresham and Elaine Schwartz of Corvallis; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Memorial gifts can be made to Trinity Lutheran Church Music Ministries.
Gresham Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.
James Earl Olsen
Feb. 16, 1925-Feb. 8, 2012
Gresham resident James Earl Olsen, 86, died Wednesday, Feb. 8.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, at Bateman Carroll Funeral Home, 520 W. Powell Blvd. Visitation hours will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, at Bateman Carroll. Interment with military honors will be at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland.
James was born Feb. 16, 1925, in Tyler, Minn., to Christopher and Christine (Drake) Olsen. He was the youngest of 10 children and grew up on a farm. James graduated from high school in Tyler. On Sept. 19, 1944, he enlisted in the Navy. He served during World War II and received an honorable discharge on June 17, 1946, at the rank of radioman 3rd class.
Following his military discharge, James moved to Portland, where he attended Multnomah School of the Bible. It was there that he met Dondeline 'Donna' C. Soloman, and they married on Dec. 20, 1951, in Portland. They later moved to Gresham.
James worked for the U.S. Postal Service as a mail clerk for 30 years. He retired in 1979. He also drove a school bus for the David Douglas, Gresham-Barlow and Parkrose school districts. He retired in 1993 after 40 years.
James was a member of Good Shepherd Community Church and volunteered with Loaves and Fishes. James was a devoted Christian and dedicated much of his time to church. He enjoyed puzzles, crosswords and baking. He also served a one-month mission trip in England.
His wife, Donna, and his nine brothers and sisters all preceded him in death.
Survivors include his sons, Charles 'Randy' Olsen of Gresham and Mark Olsen of Welches; daughter, Karen Webb of West Linn; nine grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
Memorial contributions can made to the Multnomah School of the Bible, Business Office, 8435 N.E. Glisan St., Portland, 97220; or Kaiser Hospice, 2701 N.W. Vaughn St., Suite 140, Portland, 97210.
Bateman Carroll Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
Richard 'Dick' Oliver Mills
Sept. 25, 1929-Feb. 7, 2012
Gresham resident Richard 'Dick' Oliver Mills died Tuesday, Feb. 7. He was 82.
A celebration of his life will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, at Good Shepherd Community Church, 28986 S.E. Haley Road, Boring.
Dick was born Sept. 25, 1929, in Butte, Mont., to Oliver and Lillian (Johnson) Mills. The family moved to Glendale, Calif. Dick became a Christian at an early age and was active in St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Redondo Beach, Calif. He graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a degree in education. He met Betty Lou Ehret, and they were married Aug. 31, 1952.
Dick was stationed in Japan for 17 months as he served in the Army near the end of the Korean War. Upon his return he became a high school teacher, a career that lasted 41 years. He earned a master's degree in education from the University of Southern California.
Dick loved planning trips and traveling, especially with family and friends. He started two recreational vehicle groups, first at his church in Southern California and then at Good Shepherd Community Church. He also loved working with his hands and could fix almost anything. Dick was an avid gardener, loved reading adventure novels and was a car buff.
Survivors include his wife; sons, Thomas Mills of Orlando, Fla., and David Mills of Henderson, Nev.; daughter, Susan Mills Overby of Gresham; seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
Sandy Funeral Home is handling arrangements.