Baker City, Oregon
William C. “Bill” Searles, 79, of Union, a former Baker City resident, died March 17, 2004, at his home.
His graveside funeral will be at 2 p.m. Monday at Mount Hope Cemetery with vault interment afterward. Visitations will be from 9 a.m. to noon Monday at the Loveland Funeral Chapel, 1508 Fourth St., in La Grande.
Mr. Searles was born on Oct. 25, 1924, at Fort Collins, Colo., to Archie and Augusta Massengale Searles. He was raised and educated at La Grande.
He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was discharged in 1945. He returned to La Grande and worked for the City of La Grande public works department for several years.
He married Vernitta Harmon on April 8, 1952, at Pendleton. After the marriage, the couple moved to Baker City where he worked for the City of Baker City public works department for about 10 years. He owned and operated several businesses afterward, including the Spudnut Doughnut Shop and Dad’s Cafe in Baker City. He later owned and operated the Fix-It Shop in Baker City.
He had a special talent for being able to fix almost anything. He also was a skilled carpenter who enjoyed buying and remodeling houses, doing the work himself with the help of his wife and kids. He had been retired for many years.
In his younger years, he was a very talented musician and had his own local band. He was offered the chance to play for Riley Shepard at the Grande Ole Opry, but turned it down to stay with his family. He enjoyed hunting and fishing and playing music.
He had been a past member of the Baker Elks Lodge and the American Association of Retired Persons. He will be truly missed by those who knew and loved him.
Survivors include his wife, Vernitta Searles of Union; four daughters and their spouses, Janet and Lloyd Coffman of McMinnville, Kathleen Searles-Brown and Charlie Brown of Seal Rock, Lorraine Andregg of Pendleton and Margie and Gary Rick of Baker City; two sons and their spouses, William A. and Dawn Searles of Union and Kenneth and Kristi Searles of McMinnville; his sisters, Fern Homan, Thelma Hull and Joan Petry, all of Baker City, Darlene Martin of Port Orchard, Wash., and an adopted sister, Ileen Holman of Beaverton; 15 grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; an infant daughter, Gloria Jean Searles; and two baby sisters.
Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of one’s choice. The Loveland Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, March 19, 2004
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor