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Death notices for Berneice Biesanz, Isami Tsubota, Eric Howard


Berneice died peacefully on May 10, 2011, after a long battle with post stroke complications. She was born on Dec. 28, 1925, near Soper, Okla., to Edward and Viola Popchoke.

Berneice was preceded in death by her husbands Hulan Whitson and Merle "BZ" Biesanz; her parents, a brother (Cletus) and her three sisters (Lillian Popchoke Harris, Wanda Popchoke Marshall and Ruth Popchoke Glenn).

She is survived by her sons Hugh Whitson, Michael Whitson, her daughter-in-law Linda Whitson, and her brother Lyndol Popchoke; on BZ's side, she is also survived by his four children Brian Biesanz, Nolan Biesanz, Connie Warneke, and Meredith Owen, as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren on both sides.

Berneice had a long and happy life, loving and caring for her family. She enjoyed socializing with her many friends and loved her United Methodist Church family.

Her early years were spent on a black land farm in southeast Oklahoma, where they raised cotton, corn, cattle and other farm animals. She attended Southeastern State Teachers College at Durant, Okla., just after high school. Because World War II was in progress and there was a need for teachers, at the age of 19, she was given an emergency teaching certificate and she starting teaching school, after attending college for only one year.

After teaching for one year, the war ended and Berneice went to Borger, Texas, working for Huber Oil. There she started dating Hulan Whitson, whom she had known in Soper, Okla., but never dated before. They were married in 1946. Hulan and Berneice moved back to Durant, Okla., where Hulan attended college on the GI Bill. After he graduated in the early summer of 1949, the young couple packed up all they owned and moved to Washington.

They both were hired and started teaching in the fall of 1949 in Trout Lake. With the birth of her first son, Hugh in 1951, Berneice became a stay at home mom, only occasionally substituting at the school. The couple also moved to White Salmon in 1951 and Hulan worked there until his untimely death in 1970. At that time, he was the elementary school principal and assistant superintendent.

After Hulan's death, Berneice worked as the school librarian, attending college during the summers at Ellensburg at Central Washington until she obtained her librarian certification. She worked at that job in the school that bore her first husband's name until her retirement.

Berneice married BZ Biesanz on Dec. 26, 1976 and they had a wonderful marriage. BZ and Berneice shared many happy days, traveling, square dancing and socializing with their many friends before his death in August of 1996. She felt so blessed to have had the love and companionship of two wonderful husbands during her lifetime.

Berneice's passion in life was to bring beauty into the world by her gardening, by her love of books and education for young people, furthered through her career as an elementary school librarian.

Her faith, her spirit, her love of family and community, her dedication to education, and her feisty independence will be remembered by all who came into contact with her.

All remembrances can be given as a donation to CASPE, a permanent endowment that gives scholarships to graduating CHS seniors each year.


October 5, 1914 -- May 14, 2011

Isami Tsubota, born in Olympia, on October 5, 1914 to Japanese immigrant parents, Rokuta and Uma Kodani Tsubota was the third of six siblings and the last survivor. He went to be with the Lord on Saturday, May 14, 2011. "Sam" resided in Biggs, Ore., from 1956 until he moved to Flagstone Senior Living in The Dalles, Ore., in August of 2010.

He is survived by his three children -- Karen Timblin, husband Phillip, Wasco, Ore.; Eugene Tsubota, wife Tina, Maryhill; and Denice Wareham, husband Lawrence, UK; 10 grandchildren Bryan Robertson and wife Betsy, Corey and Amber Timblin, Todd Frolik, Justin, Jordan, Tadashi & wife Sheree', and Tyson Tsubota, Nico and Takeio Wareham; five great-grandchildren.

Isami was sent to Japan to attend school. He and his siblings returned after a few years to Bingen, where the family farmed. He graduated from Columbia High School in White Salmon.

Backup waters of the Bonneville Dam affected the farming in Bingen, resulting in the family venturing into Maryhill, to continue farming before WW II. The Executive Order of the war sent the family to the Portland Assembly Center at the Portland Stock Yards. While waiting to be assigned to an internment camp, the government needed volunteers to thin sugar beets in Eastern Oregon and Idaho. Isami volunteered, travelling east to work in Ontario, Ore. He worked his way east to Ann Arbor, Mich., where he learned to sex baby chicks.

While in Ann Arbor, Isami and Miye Masuda were introduced by two mutual friends. Trust in these friends was such that they were married after a three-day courtship.

Returning to Maryhill after the war, the two brothers, Satoshi and Isami soon divided the family farm, forming Maryhill Orchards and Maryhill Gardens.

Construction of The Dalles and John Day Dams and their backwaters displaced Isami and his family from the farm and they moved to Biggs Junction, Ore., where he started several family businesses pioneering what is now Biggs Junction.

Isami enjoyed taking his grandchildren to streams he fished in his younger years. Being raised in the shadows of Mt. Adams, there were excursions to this area, where he continued to fish, pick huckleberries and hunt for the ever elusive and highly prized Pine Mushroom. Occasionally an elk hunting trip was added to this outdoor repertoire.

"Sam" was known, as well, by rock hounds throughout the country for his Biggs Picture Jasper. He was an active member of the Baptist Church at Rufus for many years, had been a member of the Rufus Grange, Sherman County Lions Club and Mid-Columbia JACL (Japanese-American Citizens League).

The family would like to say a very special thank you to the Flagstone Senior Living staff, Senior Services and his doctors and staff for all of their excellent care.

Memorial services will be held Saturday May 21, 2011, at 1 p.m. in the Baptist Church at Rufus; 302 Wallace Street; Rufus, Ore.

The family suggests that donations be made to the Sherman County Historical Society, Moro, Ore.


Surrounded by his extended family and friends, Eric Owen Howard found peace May 8, 2011, after a valiant struggle against colon cancer.

Eric was born in Murray, Utah, on Oct. 24, 1975. He joined the Marine Corps after graduating High School and reached the level of lance corporal. He planned to make the Marine Corps his career but was sidelined by a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis, which lead to a medical discharge. Eric's email address of usmchoward demonstrated how proud he was of his time in the Marines.

On his return to Utah, he spent two years in Italy that shaped his enduring love of anything Italian, especially the food. Eric moved to Snowden in 2001 where he taught himself to garden. His tomatoes were the envy of the neighborhood. Eric was the go to guy for anything computer. He built computers for his family and friends and we still use them today.

He especially enjoyed cooking Italian and those who were privileged to have tasted his cheesecake will long remember this decadent treat.

Eric was an avid reader and enjoyed US history, George R. Martin, perusing seed catalogs and Italian cookbooks.

Eric is survived by his mother, Sandy (Bridges) Callery (Sevier, Utah); father, Dan Howard (Diane) (White Salmon); brothers, Bob and Matthew Callery (Murray, Utah); sister, Amber Burnett (Murray, Utah); grandmothers Dorothy Bridges (Sevier, Utah) and Ann Stangel (Milwaukie, Ore.); and many loving aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and friends. Eric also leaves behind his very special friend, Oni Manjares.

A memorial will be held later this summer to enjoy the fruit of Eric's garden.


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