Enterprise, Wallowa County, Oregon
Alma Wilhelmina Eckley Baker passed away at Wallowa Memorial Hospital in Enterprise on Sunday, June 24, 1894. She was born on June 7, 1905at Joseph, daughter of Albin Max and Louise Rudger.
As a young girl she grew up in the Liberty area east of Joseph and received her education at the Liberty School. She was baptized in the Lutheran Church.
She started her married life with her husband, Benjamin Eckley, at Devil’s Gulch in a home in the mountains near Little Ship Creek. Ben ran two bands of sheep there and in the higher mountains. Three of their eight children were born there. The home burned and a band of sheep was sold.
Land was bought on Upper Prairie Creek which Alma helped Ben clear for farmland. They also had milk cows and sold raw milk to the dairy. Alma did the milking by hand while Ben worked late in the fields doing his own, and custom farming. When bangs disease hit their herd of cows they were forced to get rid of them and the sheep. They then moved to an older house on another part of their property.
After several years and more children, two of which died at birth, Ben acquired a small sawmill. The whole family worked in it, Alma as the boiler tender. They sawed and sold lumber, saving enough to build onto the house as they could.
Much of Alma’s life was spent living in the pioneer atmosphere of no electricity, raising large gardens and home canning. When Ben passed away Alma was left with three children at home. She worked at Wallowa Lake Lodge and did house cleaning, ironing and baby sitting jobs. She did a lot of volunteer work for the VFW Auxiliary and helped the guests at the Pioneer Guest Home with their bingo games.
In 1952 Alma was married to Harvey Baker and she moved to Enterprise to live. When Harvey passed away Alma kept busy with her housework and volunteer jobs.
A severe stroke left Alma speechless and paralyzed and she resided at the La Grande Nursing Center for four years. In January of this year she was moved to the Wallowa County Nursing Home.
Survivors include two sons, Ben Eckley of The Dalles, and Frank Eckley of La Grande; four daughters, LaValle Roberts and Mary Howerton of Enterprise, Maxine Daggett of Joseph and Georgie Waits of Farris, Oklahoma; two sisters, Emma Neil of Joseph and Maida Meyers of Corvallis; one brother, Albin Rudger of Joseph; 17 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.