LaVergne Inez Christianson, 92, of Sunnyside passed away Thursday, Oct. 6, 2005, at Sun Terrace in Sunnyside.

LaVergne was born in Denver, Colo., on Dec. 6, 1912. She lived there until her parents moved to California, in 1920. Her first two years of school were in Long Beach, Calif., and then they moved to Lynwood, Calif. She went through the eighth grade and to Compton Union High School, where she graduated in 1930.

In 1931 she started to work in Los Angeles, at the Broadway Department Store in the credit office, where she worked until she met her husband, Neil, on a blind date and they were married in 1935. That union lasted 70 years. She also worked at the Broadway as extra help for several years after they were married. Neil enlisted in the Navy in World War II in 1942, and while he was away for three years, LaVergne worked at the Bank of America, and had a baby. Of course, he came home on leave occasionally before he was sent to Hawaii. Their daughter, Nici, was born in 1944, and LaVergne continued to work at the bank until Nici was five years old. The Christiansons moved to Grandview in 1991, to be near their family.

She is survived by her daughter, Nici Whaley and husband, Rick Himmelberger, and their four children, Holly, Martin, Heather and Laurel; and 10 great-granddaughters.

Private family memorial services were held and inurnment was at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. Smith Funeral Home, Sunnyside, was in charge of arrangements.


Claira Ellen Stephenson, 97, beloved mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend, passed away Friday, Oct. 7, 2005, in Prosser.

She was born Oct. 21, 1907, in Corydon, Ind.

She is survived by her daughters, Ellen Schneider-Andres of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Margie Pierce of The Dalles, Ore.; a sister, Ruth Carlisle; several nieces and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, John J. Rothrock and Annie Day-Rothrock; daughter, Frances Pollard; son, Morris Gatino; brother, William; and sister, Elsie.

She lived in the valley for over 30 years and dedicated her time to her arts & crafts business and was an inspiration to Blue Bird and Camp Fire groups who came to her workshop for demonstrations on how to make dolls. She drew her own patterns and created beautiful hand-crafted dolls that she sold and donated to charities. She started by making dolls for her grandchildren, until a lady ordered 100 dolls for Christmas and her hobby immediately turned into a business. She created and sold more than 600 dolls per year. As word spread, she sold dolls to clients as far away as Virginia, California and many cities across the United States and Canada. Days before she passed at age 97, she ordered magazine subscriptions for sewing & crafts and was still knitting afghans and making quilts.

She didn't have a wall of worldly degrees, but she left a legacy of love that will be passed down through countless generations. She will be missed by many. Her positive attitude and loving generosity was felt by everyone she touched.

Family and friends are invited to a memorial service Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2005, at 10 a.m. at Smith Funeral Home Chapel, 528 South Eighth Street, Sunnyside.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Long Term Care Activity Department at Prosser Memorial Hospital.

The family wishes to thank all the friends and staff of the Long Term Care facility for the loving care given to Claire during her stay with them.


Eric Michael Tweeten, 29, of Mabton and a lifetime Lower Valley resident, passed away Friday, Oct. 7, 2005, at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital.

Eric was born on April 8, 1976, in Sunnyside, the son of Glen Alan and Debra (Becker) Tweeten. Eric received his education in Mabton, and graduated with the high school class of 1994. Following his education, Eric worked at various jobs in the valley, and was currently employed at Yakima Valley Manufacturing.

On Oct. 12, 2000, he married Tina Doan in Prosser. Eric was an avid fisherman, outdoorsman and football sports fan. He was a Bass Pro member, and loved the Redskins.

Eric is survived by his wife, Tina Tweeten of Mabton; parents, Glen and Debra Tweeten of Mabton; one brother, Jonathan Tweeten of Mabton; grandson of Mary Beierle and Doris Tweeten, both of Mabton; one niece, one nephew, and several aunts, uncles and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his grandfathers, Edward Becker and Wilmer Tweeten; great-grandparents, Lorin and Lois Councilman; and uncle, Tim Davis.

Viewing and visitation will be held Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2005, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Thursday, Oct. 13, 2005, at 8:30 a.m., until time of funeral service, at 11:00 a.m. at the Smith Funeral Home, Sunnyside.

Those wishing to honor Eric's memory may contribute love gifts to his family. Smith Funeral Home, Sunnyside is in charge of local arrangements.


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