March 22, 1918 - Jan. 31, 2010
Homer George Koon, lifetime area resident, passed away peacefully Jan. 31, 2010, at Walla Walla General Hospital. He was 91. The funeral service will be Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010, at 10 a.m. at the First Christian Church in Milton-Freewater. Interment will follow at the Milton-Freewater Cemetery. Viewing will be held on Thursday, Feb. 4, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday, Feb. 5, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at Munselle-Rhodes, 902 S. Main St., Milton-Freewater. Memorial contributions may be made to the Walla Walla Christian Aid Center, First Christian Church in Milton-Freewater or charity of choice in care of the funeral home.
Homer was born March 22, 1918, in his parents' home in the Prunedale Community in Milton-Freewater. He was the first child of Arthur and Ellen Cordella Wicks Koon.
Homer attended Eastside Grade School. His grandparents, Benjamin and Minnie Koon, donated the land for the school. Homer, being a good athlete, played football for Mac-Hi, winning the state football title in both 1935 and 1936. He was also on the boxing team. After graduating from Mac-Hi in 1936 he attended Eastern Oregon College.
Homer started his career in 1936 working for J. Burke Canning Co., which later became Rogers Canning. He was the superintendent in the Athena plant and then in Milton-Freewater from 1949 until his retirement in 1983. The plant was then known as Walla Walla Rogers Canning Co. Many high school and college kids worked their way through college working for Homer at Rogers. Many still keep in touch today.
Homer married Rosalie Feigner on June 3, 1939, in Spokane. They renewed their wedding vows on their 50th anniversary in 1989 and celebrated their 69th anniversary in 2008. Homer suffered a stroke in 1998 and his devoted, loving wife, Rosalie, was his dedicated caregiver until June 2008 when she became ill. She passed away that July of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Working at Rogers, Homer served the food processing industry for 47 years. During the war Homer signed up to serve our country. Due to the reliance on the food processing industry and what it provided to the country and the troops, his tour was deferred. He enlisted again when they called for more troops. In 1945 he was in Portland awaiting induction into the Army and was sent home, as the day he was there, the war ended.
Homer considered his greatest achievements to be his marriage and his children. Enjoying sports, he was a soccer coach for Eastside School. He was a member of the Milton Volunteer Fire Department for many years. Homer was a craftsman and built several homes, one on the highway, and then one in town in 1954, where they raised their children and made their permanent home.
Homer truly enjoyed golfing. Homer and Rosalie enjoyed traveling together and traveled extensively, and especially loved traveling in their trailer. Together they traveled all 50 U.S. states; Alaska and Hawaii several times and worldwide to nearly every continent. He was a Mason, a member of Good Sams, life member of the Elks, Milton Golf Course, Doakie Lodge, and served as the first PTA President for Central Grade School.
Homer had a deep faith in God. He was a member of the First Christian Church in Milton-Freewater and served in leadership as a Sunday school teacher, was an elder for 55 years, honorary elder, chairman of the board, and trustee.
Homer is survived by daughters and sons-in-law, Carolyn and Clark Hansen, Walla Walla, and Sandra and Wes Headrick, Waitsburg; grandchildren, Cathi Beck and Scott Hansen and his wife, Margaret Vandenberg; step-grandchildren Kauree Wood and Wes Headrick III. Great-grand-children, Jennifer Willeford, Joshua Beck and Jordan Beck; step-great-grandchildren Stephanie Beck, Justin Beck, Aiden Wood and Kyle Headrick; one great-great-grandson, Landry Willeford and nine step-great-great-grandchildren.
Heis also survived by his sister and brother-in-law, Myrle Faye and Charles Robertson, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Rosalie; daughter, Deanna Joyce; and son, Gary Lee; his sister, Bernice Gettmann; and his brother, Mervin Koon.