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Obituaries

Death notices for Keith McCoy, Jack Gross, Odette Watson and Erwin Sweighoefer

KEITH MCCOY

Keith McCoy was born on July 13, 1915, in Redlands, Calif., to Laurie Hinshaw McCoy of Goldendale and Earl McCoy of White Salmon. An uncommon divorce led to his adoption by Roy and Mary Hinshaw Cain, so from the beginning, his life was rich with many interests, influenced by his three loving sets of parents, the Cains, Laurie and Evan Hodson, and Earl and Sadie McCoy.

His childhood in White Salmon, graduation from Columbia Union High School in 1933, four years at the University of Washington -- interspersed with Forest Service employment and sulfur mining atop Mount Adams -- established his deep love of this area.

In 1941, he married Vivian Legler of Portland. World War II soon called and occupied his life as a Naval Photographic Officer in the South Pacific. Returning home in 1946, he established Keith McCoy Insurance. Family life brought two children, and civic life was filled with such interests as Mount Adams Chamber of Commerce, White Salmon City Council, and Skyline Hospital Board.

In 1957, one of Keith's best life decisions was to invite Doug Holliston to join the insurance staff, and soon the agency became McCoy-Holliston Insurance.

In 1974, Keith married Claudia Collingwood Ashby, originally of Trout Lake. Their 15 years together before her passing included the enjoyment of living at The Shambles, the old Trout Lake Slaughterhouse which he had charmingly restored since 1963. He went into a painting phase, creating dozens of pieces of artwork. They joined forces with the Hollistons to enhance more than 50 local properties. He was pleased to work on the Klickitat County Board of Equalization, and helped create the Gorge Heritage Museum. During these productive years, he began to capture on paper the tales and history of his homeland and its beloved people. Establishing Pahto Publications in 1987, he wrote The Mt. Adams Country: Forgotten Corner of the Columbia River Gorge, followed by CODY -- Colorful Man of Color in 1988.

In 1991, Keith married Lucille Nordwall Killion, then of Wilsonville, Ore. They were delighted to be chosen MayFest King and Queen in 1992. He continued to write, publishing Melodic Whistles in the Columbia River Gorge in 1995, Rowdy River in 2002, and in 2003, Mid-Columbia North Shore, a compilation of the 160 or so "odds 'n ends" articles he had written for The Enterprise. He had also shared much of his vast historical recall with KIHR-AM listeners. He was proud of his board position at Maryhill Museum and his eight years of contribution to the development of the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center in The Dalles.

Somehow, he and Lucy found time for much travel amidst the endless inquiries he received for information, having become known as "the local historian." Seven times they plied the Columbia from mouth to headwaters, Keith hired by Special Expeditions as the on-board historian; and countless times Lucy helped him don buckskins to portray Capt. William Clark in a living history presentation in which he looked back at the Lewis and Clark Expedition from a vantage point of 30 years later.

Notable was Keith's extensive collection of antiques, and he particularly favored the well-worn tools, often given to him by other old-time families, who had built this area he loved. A fondness for Indian heritage was evident in the artifacts he had collected since the 1930s.

It honored Keith to recently be named a "community treasure" by the city councils of White Salmon and Bingen. Indeed!

Years ago, a gift from his dear friend Bernard Pollard reminded that "Suddenly Life is Indian Summer -- Make the Most of It." With the help of their beloved friend and care-giver Toni Stencil, that's what he and Lucy were doing in their happy life at Down Manor in Hood River at the time of his passing on Nov. 18, 2005.

Keith is survived by his wife Lucy, Hood River; daughter Jan Jones, White Salmon; son Doug McCoy, Trout Lake; sister Kathi Cain Levin, San Jose, Calif.; stepchildren and grandchildren in the families of Claudia and Lucy; numerous Hinshaw cousins, and countless readers who can share his love of the Mount Adams country through his books.

Longtime friend Jim Tindall will officiate at Keith's memorial service on Dec. 4, 2005, at Henkle Middle School in White Salmon, with a reception to follow.

Memorials in Keith's name may be made to the Columbia High School Alumni Association Scholarship Fund or the Gorge Heritage Museum.

JACK GROSS

Jack Lee Gross was born on Sept. 24, 1945, in Hood River, Ore., to Gilbert and Lorieta Gross (Henderson). He died Nov. 18, 2005, in Portland, Ore.

He was raised in BZ Corners where he loved riding horses, motorcycles, and driving fast cars. He was very active in the Husum church where he made many lifelong friends. He enjoyed playing the piano and sang at numerous funerals and weddings.

He spent three summers in his dad's logging camp in Ketchikan, Alaska. He graduated from Columbia High School in 1963 and immediately joined the Air Force. He was stationed throughout the United States and spent time in Korea during the Vietnam war.

He began his lifelong logging career in 1968. He was well-known for his expertise and talent in operating heavy equipment. However, his true love was in driving truck.

In 1970, he married Jeanne Marx and they subsequently had three children. The family built a life together in BZ Corners and spent summer vacations at their favorite beach along the Washington coast.

In 1990, he married Mardell Aman of Carson. The couple began a thriving logging business in Mount Pleasant, Utah. They enjoyed traveling, with Alaska being their favorite destination, and attending all of the athletic events that their children were involved in.

The last few years of Mr. Gross's life were spent with his grandchildren riding four-wheelers, getting candy at the store, telling stories, watching westerns, and having slumber parties. He was also able to fulfill a lifelong dream of long haul trucking with his two sons across the United States. He was a great father who will be deeply missed.

Mr. Gross is survived by his wife Mardell of Carson; sons Andy Gross, Underwood, Skip Gross, Trout Lake, Chad Aman, BZ Corners, Curt Aman, Cheney; daughters Jaci Gross, Coulee Dam and Chelsi Howard; mother Lorieta Newton, White Salmon; brother Tom Gross, Underwood; grandsons Clayton and Cory Gross, Arron Smith, and Trenton and Ryan Howard; granddaughters RyLee Gross, and Mya and Sydney Aman; and nephew Taylor Gross.

Mr. Gross was preceded in death by his father Gilbert Gross.

A memorial service was held at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2005, at the Husum Church, under the direction of Gardner Funeral Home.

Private inurnment took place at the White Salmon Cemetery.

Condolences may be sent to the family at www.gardnerfh.com

ODETTE WATSON

Funeral services for Odette G. Watson were held on Monday, Nov. 28, 2005, at 1 p.m. at the Hood River Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Mrs. Watson was born Dec. 24, 1919, to Pearl and Robert Miller in Missoula, Mont. She died Nov. 24, 2005, in Hood River, Ore. She was 86.

Mrs. Watson graduated from Hamilton High School in Montana. She married Rex O. Watson on Jan. 10, 1947. She was also married to Otto L. Hill and Lynne O. Beall. She lived in the Bitter Root Valley of Montana for most of her life. She moved to Hood River in 2002 to be closer to family.

Mrs. Watson was a member of the LDS Church and was active in Relief Society. She and her husband, Rex, served on missions for their church in Mesa, Ariz.

She retired from the Bitter Root Irrigation District in 1977 where she was a bookkeeper. She also worked for many years as a bookkeeper for Montana Power and she worked in sales for Roberts Bookstore and was a waitress for Dezell's Coffee Cup.

She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She loved canning, knitting and crocheting.

She and her husband loved to travel and spent many winters in Arizona.

Mrs. Watson is survived by daughters Donna Kingery, Phoenix, Ariz., Lawnie Morgan, White Salmon, and Debra Munson, Portland, Ore.; son John Watson, Surprise, Ariz.; 10 grandchildren Gregg, Traci, Tara, Shannon, John, Shawn, Erin, Meghan, Colin and Lauren; and 11 great-grandchildren. Her husband Rex O. Watson preceded her in death.

Vault interment will be at Idlewild Cemetery in Hood River.

Memorials may be given to Hospice of the Gorge in care of Anderson's Tribute Center, Hood River.

ERWIN SWEIGHOEFER

97-year-old Erwin Sweighoefer died in Hood River, Ore., on Nov. 26, 2005. He was born on Feb. 20, 1908, in Laurel, the son of William and Clara (Thiele) Sweighoefer.

Mr. Sweighoefer was a lifelong resident of the area, graduating from Columbia Union High School in 1926. While in school, he liked to play football. After his graduation, Mr. Sweighoefer went to work on a dairy farm and in the mid-30's he bought his own dairy farm in Trout Lake. He worked that farm until 1986, at which time he moved off the farm and to Northwestern Lake. Mr. Sweighoefer was a very generous man, giving to many charities and organizations including Skyline and Hood River hospitals, Hospice of the Gorge and the Salvation Army. He was a member of the Historical Society. He was a 63-year member of the Grange, a life member of the NRA and he loved to hunt and fish.

He was preceded in death by his brother, Curt.

Pastor Sandy Strait will preside over a funeral service on Friday, Dec. 2, 2005 at the Pioneer Memorial Community Church in Glenwood, at 1 p.m. Burial will follow at the Mt. Adams Cemetery in Glenwood. Gardner Funeral Home handled arrangements.

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