Margaret Elayne Defrees, 71, died Dec. 1, 2005, at her home in Sumpter Valley.
Her funeral will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2625 Hughes Lane. Vault interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery. Bishop Jeff Daniels of Baker City 1st Ward will conduct.
Margaret was born on Feb. 6, 1934, at Yakima, Wash., to Dallas and Kathryn Rice. She lived her first 13 years at the White Swan Christian Indian Mission where her parents were superintendents of the mission school.
Her high school and junior college years were spent at Yakima where she graduated in 1954 from Yakima Valley Junior College. She continued her education at Oregon State College in Corvallis, graduating in 1956 with a degree in home economics. Margaret taught home economics at Gervais and at Tenino, Wash., until shortly after her marriage.
Margaret met the love of her life during a blind date at an Oregon State football game. A. Lyle Defrees and Margaret were married a little over a year later on Dec. 27, 1956, in Yakima, Wash. They spent the first two years of their married life at Olympia, Wash., while Lyle was in the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Lewis. In 1958, they moved to the Defrees family ranch in Sumpter Valley where she resided the remainder of her life.
Margaret’s life work was her family. She and Lyle raised three children, Nancy, Dean and Cheryl. She was a loyal wife, a gentle and caring mother and a loving grandmother. Margaret was a skilled seamstress, a superb cook, an avid gardener and a willing and able ranch partner.
She was never too busy to listen to others or to help those in need. She loved reading to and playing board and card games with her children, and later, her grandchildren. For 18 years Margaret spent two weeks each summer running the ranch and raising the family while Lyle attended National Guard Summer Camp.
Margaret was a consummate caregiver, spending many years caring for Lyle’s parents, Albert and Ellen Defrees, and her parents, Dallas and Kathryn Rice, as their health failed.
Margaret was an active volunteer in her community leading a 4-H Sewing and Cooking Club and running the 4-H food booth at Sumpter Valley Days for 13 years. Margaret supported the ranching industry through her work in CowBelles, serving a term as president. She spent many years on the Sumpter Election Board and helping with the American Red Cross Blood Drive.
On June 20, 1978, Margaret and Lyle had their marriage solemnized in the Idaho Falls Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was a devout member of the church, serving as Stake Relief Society president for more than three years. Margaret had many callings in Relief Society and Young Women’s Organization and at the time of her death she was an instructor to the 12- and 13 year-old girls.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Dallas and Kathryn Bothman Rice, and her in-laws, Albert D. and Ellen Izatt Defrees.
Survivors include her husband of 49 years, A. Lyle Defrees; her eldest daughter and son-in-law, Nancy and John Boyer of Haines and their children, Andrea and her husband, Brandon Eliason, Bjorn, Heidi and Monica Boyer; her son and daughter-in-law, L. Dean and Sharon Defrees of Sumpter Valley and their children, Nathan, Tyler and Dallas; her youngest daughter and son-in-law, Cheryl and Brian Orme of River Heights, Utah, and their children, Jacob, Kate, Kari and Sara; a sister, Joanne Price of Liberty, Mo., and numerous nieces and nephews.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Baker County Livestock Association Scholarship Fund or to the LDS Humanitarian Fund through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, December 9, 2005
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor