The Rev. Luther Oliver Ison, 90, a former Baker City resident who served as an Episcopal priest for 61 years, died Oct. 17, 2007, at Vista, Calif.
Father Ison was born and raised at Baker City. He was the son of Dr. Virgil Strother Ison and the grandson of Judge Luther Buford Ison, both of Baker City. He attended Reed College at Portland; The University of the South at Sewanee, Tenn.; and General Seminary in New York City.
He was a builder of congregations, rectories, schools and church buildings, as well as an eight-story U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development residential building for seniors and the disabled.
From 1945 to 1949 he was the pioneer vicar at Gold Beach and Brookings. He served as rector of St. Mary’s Parish at Napa, Calif, from 1949 to 1957; rector and builder of Trinity Church, Escondido, Calif., from 1957 to 1971; rector and headmaster at St. Mark’s Parish and School, Van Nuys, Calif., from 1971 to 1987; and president and builder of the 97-unit HUD project “West Valley Towers” at Van Nuys.
Father Ison retired in 1987 and became president of the Board of the Americas Foundation, an organization that builds schools and clinics in Tijuana’s poorest barrios. In December of 1993, Luther suffered a severe stroke, which left him paralyzed and greatly hindered his activities, though his spirit grew ever stronger and his faith never wavered.
Luther was preceded in death by his wife, Helen, in 2002.
Survivors include his five children, Todd Ison, Eric Ison, Tawnya Ison, Jeana Ison, and Angela McCabe; five grandchildren; and one great grandchild.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, October 22, 2007
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor