Welcome to the Obituaries section

Rick Hefner

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Hefner obit

Rick Hefner, 1957-2013

Rick Hefner, 55 of Stinnett died, Sunday, April 7, in Stinnett. Funeral services were at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 11, at Riverview Baptist Church with Rev. Jimmy Gillmore, pastor and Steve Adams of Gainsville officiating. Burial was at Stinnett Cemetery under the direction of Minton Chatwell Funeral Directors.

Rick was born May 1, 1957, in Borger, to Max and Frances Johnston Hefner. He graduated from Borger High School and went to college and received degrees in animal science and chemistry. He married Sandra Kay Hayes Sept. 3, 1977 in Borger. He was a member of Riverview Baptist Church where he taught the Adult Sunday School Class and taught at many other churches. He loved horses and livestock. He was preceded in death by a niece Jessica Paige in 1985.

He is survived by his wife, Sandra, of Stinnett; parents, Max and Frances, of Stinnett; son, Keith, of Dallas; sisters, Angela Cook and husband Travis of Calera, Okla. and Becky Basham and husband Charles of Skellytown; brother, Tommy and wife Becky Dee, of Stinnett; nephews, Larry Wade Spencer and wife Tori; Derek Hayes and wife Kara; Max Lee Hefner and Josh Hefner; nieces, Charity Hope and husband Mark; Amanda Welch and husband Jason; Amy Day and husband Brian.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to West Texas Special Olympics, P.O Box 583, Stinnett, TX 79083.

Arrena Powers

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Arrena Powers

Arrena Powers,
1922 – 2013

Arrena Powers, 91, of Amarillo died Thursday, April 11, 2013.

Graveside services were at 10 a.m. Saturday in White Deer Cemetery in White Deer with Jerry Bell pastor officiating. Memorial services were at 3 p.m. in Park Place Towers in Amarillo. Arrangements were by Griggs-Schooler-Gordon Funeral Directors.

Arrena was born March 13, 1922, in Amarillo to Eugene and Anna May Small. She married Jim H. Powers on May 24, 1946, in Clarendon. She was a resident of White Deer since 1946, until moving to Amarillo in 1991, upon her retirement. She was a member of United Methodist Church in White Deer. Arrena was on the Board of Directors of Carson County Museum and a member of Daughters of Pioneer Club and White Deer Art Club. Arrena was a loving and devoted wife and mother. Her family was her passion. She was a pioneer woman and the wife of a hardworking farmer, which she valued greatly. Arrena will be truly missed by all who knew her and loved her.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Jim H. Powers, in 2002; her granddaughter, Cheryl Lynn Powers; three brothers; and two sisters.

Survivors include a daughter, Ida May Powers, of Amarillo; a son, Ted H. Powers and wife Marilyn, of Pampa; many very special nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, great-great-nieces and great-great-nephews.

Sign the online guest book at www.griggsschoolergordon.com.

Rue Zell Hillis

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Rue Zell Hillis, 90, died Sunday, April 14, 2013, in Amarillo, Texas.

Graveside services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 18, 2013 in the Citizens Cemetery in Clarendon with Rev. Lloyd Stice, Pastor of the First United Methodist Church, officiating. Interment will be in Citizens Cemetery in Clarendon. Arrangements are by Robertson Funeral Directors of Clarendon.

Mrs. Hillis was born July 12, 1922 in Clarendon to John Earl and Maude Mae Ryan. She married George Don Hillis, Sr. on March 2, 1957 in Clovis, N.M. She had been a resident of Lesley before moving to Clarendon 45 years ago. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Clarendon.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband in 2010; her brother, John Earl Ryan; and two sisters, Geraldine Huffman and Dorothy Walters.

Survivors include two sons, George Don Hillis, Jr. and fiancé, Debbie Roberts of Clarendon and Monty Ryan Reed and wife Cindy of Moore, Okla.; a daughter, Trudy Smith and husband Charles of Austin; a sister, Kathleen Mickelson of San Antonio; four grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

The family request memorials be sent to the First United Methodist Church in Clarendon or Odyssey Hospice.

Sign our online guestbook at www.RobertsonFuneral.com.

Esther Morrison Bowers

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

bowers obit

Esther Morrison Bowers,
1911 – 2013

Esther Morrison Bowers, 102, died April 15, 2013 in her daughter’s home in White Deer.

Services will be at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 18, 2013, at United Methodist Church in Miami with Dr. Lewis Holland, retired Methodist minister, and Rev. Anthony Inman, pastor of United Methodist Church of Miami, officiating.

Burial will follow in Miami Cemetery under the direction of Carmichael-Whatley Funeral Directors of Pampa.

Mrs. Bowers was born April 15, 1911 in Clarendon and completed her life’s journey on the same day on which she was born. Esther was the last remaining member of the J.W. and Nora Morrison family of Donley, Gray and Roberts counties. She attended school on the Peace Vale Ranch north of Pampa and graduated from Miami High School in 1927. Esther taught the Ben Hill children near Canadian before graduating from Texas Tech in 1936. After her graduation, she taught school in Mobeetie. On March 5, 1938, she married Samuel Edward Bowers in Miami. They celebrated more than 55 years of marriage and were the parents of three children, Sammie Jo, James Wilbur and David Michael. Sam preceded her in death in 1994.

Esther was a member of the United Methodist Church of Miami where she taught Sunday school and played the piano and organ for many years. She loved music and art. She took art lessons, painted many pictures, wrote poetry to the delight of her caregivers and family, and even sang songs in the last weeks of her life.

After Sam’s death, she lived in her home in Miami until she was 97 and then moved to the Meredith House in Pampa. In 2011, she moved to White Deer.

Esther was kind, gentle and generous, filling her family and friends’ lives with love and laughter. She had a quick wit and an amazing memory. Within the last year of her life, she played from memory her first piano recital piece of music. She loved children, playing the piano, and Blue Bell ice cream.

Esther was loved and cherished by her children, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Her lasting legacy was a loving, nurturing spirit which she gave to those who truly loved her. As Esther’s world became smaller, her greatest enjoyment came from visits by family and friends. Therefore, in Esther’s memory, please make a visit to an elderly person, sit, listen and have some Blue Bell ice cream.

Survivors include a daughter, Sammie Jo Pohnert and husband Don of White Deer; two sons, Jimmy Bowers and wife Emma of Miami and David Bowers and wife Janiece of Pampa; her grandchildren, Dudley Pohnert and wife Cindy of White Deer; D’Lisa Pohnert; Jamie Pohnert and wife Kirsten and Susan Bowers all of Amarillo; Sam Bowers of Miami; Kasey Bowers of Austin; and Richy Bowers and wife Ruth of Pampa; and great-grandchildren, Lane Pohnert; Jordan Pohnert; Skylar Bowers; Kelton Bowers and Kennon Bowers; and by several special nieces and nephews.

Memorials may be made to United Methodist Church, 201 S. Main, Miami, Texas 79059, or to BSA Hospice in Pampa, c/o Harrington Cancer Foundation, 1600 Wallace Blvd., Amarillo, Texas 79106.

Sign the on-line register a www.carmichael-whatley.com.

Clifton C. Kelly

Thursday, April 11th, 2013


Clifton C. Kelly, 1925 – 2013

Clifton C. Kelly, 87, died Tuesday, April 9, 2013, in Plano, Texas.

Visitation will be on Friday evening from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Carmichael-Whatley Funeral Home. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday at First Baptist Church of White Deer, with Rev. Alan Wilson, pastor, and Rev. Jim Shamburger, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Victoria, officiating. Burial will be at White Deer Cemetery by Carmichael-Whatley Funeral Directors.

C. C. was born Oct. 26, 1925, in Pilot Point, Texas. He graduated from Sanger High School in Sanger, and then served in the United States Navy in the V-12 Naval Program, subsequently earning his BBA degree from University of North Texas. He was a member of First Baptist Church of White Deer and was a deacon for more than 60 years. He was honored as Deacon Emeritus in 2012. He was elected as Texas Baptist Brotherhood President twice in 1959 and in 1960, and he also served on the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation Board since 1996. He served as a Trustee at Wayland Baptist University for 20 years, and he was passionate about funding several endowed scholarships for deserving students, especially those from White Deer. He worked for Dorchester Oil and Gas as an accountant and an “unofficial chemist” from 1948-1968, when he “retired” to full-time farming, which was his true passion.

He was an avid golfer, highlighted by hitting a “hole in one,” shooting his age, and attending the Masters Golf Tournament. He was also known for his love of playing golf with yellow golf balls, his enclosed golf cart (for winter golfing!) and wearing his green jacket, which he teased that he won from Tiger Woods.

Deeply beloved by all who knew him, his kind and gentle spirit made everyone feel cared for and valued. C.C. had a true servant’s heart and put his church, family and loved ones before himself every day. Those who knew him were always touched by his generosity, compassion and unwavering faith in the Lord.

He was preceded in death in 2004 by his loving wife of 56 years, Shirley Evans Kelly. They are finally hand-in-hand again and probably enjoying some of Shirley’s heavenly banana bread! He was also preceded by his parents, Agnes Cordelia Autry Kelly and Delma Franklin Kelly; his sister, Aldena Stowe Gregory; his brothers, Quinton Kelly, Foy Kelly and his twin brother, Clifford D. Kelly.

Survivors include his son, Frank Evans Kelly and wife, Carolyn, of Slidell, La.; his daughter, Kimberly Kelly Davison and husband, Steve, of McKinney; his four grandchildren, Scott Kelly and wife, Mandi, of Chalmette, La.; Kyle Kelly and wife, Beth, of Slidell; Jennifer McCrady and husband, Ryan, of Frisco and Jonathan Russell of Sun Prairie, Wis.; his two great-granddaughters, Elizabeth Grace Kelly of Slidell and Molly Noelle McCrady of Frisco; his three great-grandsons, Ian Alexander Kelly of Slidell, and Nate and Keagon Higdon of Chalmette, La.; as well as Shirley’s family and many dear nieces, nephews and friends that were as close as family. He is also survived by one brother, Archie Ray Kelly of Rockwall.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to the First Baptist Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 337, White Deer, Texas 79097.

Msgr. James C. Gurzynski

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Msgr. Gurzynski

Msgr. James C. Gurzynski,

Monsignor James C. Gurzynski, former Vicar General of the Diocese of Amarillo who served as Administrator Sede Vacante in 1997, passed away April 8 after a brief illness. He was 75 years old.

Vigil will be April 11, 2013 at 7 p.m. at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church-Amarillo. Funeral Mass will be April 12, 2013 at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Amarillo.

James Clement Gurzynski was born in Toledo, Ohio on April 28, 1937, the only child of C.J. Gurzynski and Jeanette Enck. After graduation from high school, he attended St. Meinrad Minor Seminary in Indiana and St. Mary’s College in Orchard Lake, Mich., where he received a Bachelor’s Degree on May 31, 1959. His theological studies were at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Seminary, also in Orchard Lake.

Gurzynski was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Amarillo on May 25, 1963 at St. Hyacinth’s Church in Toledo by Bishop George J. Rehring of the Diocese of Toledo. Father Gurzynski celebrated his first Mass on June 9, also at St. Hyacinth’s Church in Toledo.

Father Gurzynski’s first assignment was at Our Lady of Grace Church, Lubbock, where he served as an assistant from Sept. 6, 1963 to Sept. 1, 1965. He was appointed Parochial Administrator of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, Spearman, where he served from Sept. 1, 1965 to April 28, 1967. He was named Pastor of Sacred Heart Church, Petersburg and its mission, St. Isidore Church, Abernathy, where he remained until he left the diocese for summer study at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. in 1968.

Upon his return to the Diocese of Amarillo, Father Gurzynski was named Pastor of Sacred Heart Church, White Deer, on Aug. 18, 1969. While assigned in White Deer, he would be named the Diocesan Coordinator for Religious Education; Director of the Permanent Diaconate Program; Episcopal Vicar for Permanent Deacons; and, Director of Continuing Education for the Clergy and Religious of the Diocese of Amarillo. He also penned a column, Doing Our Christian Thing, for The West Texas Register (now The West Texas Catholic).

Father Gurzynski was assigned to St. Ann’s Church, Canyon, on July 25, 1982 and on May 1, 1984, was named Parochial Administrator at St. Joseph’s Church, Stratford. In September 1984, he left the diocese to finish Graduate Studies in Canon Law at Catholic University, where he received a Licentiate in Canon Law in May 1985.

Upon his return to the Diocese of Amarillo, Father Gurzynski was named Judicial Vicar on July 1, 1986 and Pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church, Amarillo. He celebrated his Silver Anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving on June 5, 1988 at St. Laurence Cathedral (now St. Laurence Church), Amarillo. He was named a Prelate of Honor with the title of Monsignor by Blessed John Paul II in December 1990. He was appointed Vicar General of the Diocese of Amarillo on May 11, 1992.

On Jan. 21, 1997, Monsignor Gurzynski was named Administrator Sede Vacante following the resignation of then-Bishop Leroy T. Matthiesen. In May 1999, Monsignor Gurzynski retired as Judicial Vicar.

Survivors include his brother priests of the Diocese of Amarillo; and many friends.

Naomi Joy Bigham Huckins

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Naomi Joy Bigham Huckins, 83, died April 4, 2013, at her residence in Emeritus at Bear Creek in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Memorial graveside services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 13, 2013, at Fairview Cemetery in Pampa with Rev. Casey Stafford officiating.

Mrs. Huckins was born May 20, 1929, in Waurika, Okla., to Thomas Watson and Francis Aurilla (Wariner) Bigham. Her family moved to Kingsmill, Texas, in 1940. She was a 1947 graduate of Pampa High School and worked at Woolworths in downtown Pampa. She married Gerold Edward Huckins of Skellytown on July 12, 1950, and they were the parents of two daughters. She was a lifelong homemaker dedicated to her family. In 2009, she moved to Colorado Springs. She was preceded in death by her husband, Gerold E. Huckins of Pampa in 2008; her parents, Mr. and Mrs. T.W. Bigham of Pampa; one sister, Ima Jo Bigham Glover of Pampa; and one brother, Claude Wayne Bigham of Amarillo.

Mrs. Huckins is survived by two daughters: Emily Ruth Smith and husband Robert of League City, Texas; and Donna Gail Rowland and husband James of Lovelady, Texas; four grandchildren: Kevin Dale Enger of Charlotte, N.C.; Casey Lynn Stafford of Lovelady; Tracy Edward Smith of Galveston; and Amanda Elizabeth Smith of California; one great-grandchild, Kyle Reece Enger; two brothers: Kenneth Troy York of Pampa and Jacksboro, Texas; Donald Ray Bigham of Amarillo; two sisters: Dorothy Bigham Kennemer of Pampa; Tommie Bigham Livingston of Kingsland, Texas; and numerous nieces, nephews, and other relatives.

Jim Biggs

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Jim Biggs

Jim Biggs, 1931 – 2013

Jim Biggs, 81, of Panhandle died Tuesday, April 9, 2013.

Services will be at 1 p.m. Friday at First Baptist Church in Panhandle with Josh Light, pastor and Lucas Biggs, grandson, officiating. Burial will be in Panhandle Cemetery under the direction of Minton Chatwell Funeral Directors of Panhandle immediately following.

Jim was born June 3, 1931 at the Biggs Family homestead northeast of Panhandle. He was a 1949 graduate of Panhandle High School, where he met the love of his life, Betty. They were married in Las Vegas, N. M. on Aug. 11, 1951 and celebrated 61 years of happiness.

He was a retired farmer and rancher who loved God, his country, family, friends and his little dog, Gizmo.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Harold and Raymond; and a son, Loran Wayne.

Survivors include his wife, Betty Biggs of the home; a daughter, Kerri Hicks and husband Tony of San Antonio; two sisters, Virginia Pruitt (Merl) of North Richland Hills, and Myra Mathias of Arlington; six grandchildren, Shayne Hicks (Kathy), Vanessa Watkins (James), Mandi O’Dwyer (Ed), Robyn Molina (Javier), Lucas Biggs (Jessica), and Micah Hicks (Tammy). He will be missed terribly by 11 great-grandchildren, Breanne, Darby, Ashlee, Abigail, Blayne, Caitlyn, Javier, Kerrington, Mason, Isaac, Liliana and another baby expected in November; numerous nieces, nephews and a host of friends.

Visitation will be Thursday from 9 to 8 p.m. at Minton Chatwell Funeral Home in Panhandle.

Josephine Ann Skalsky Baker

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Jo Ann Baker

Josephine Ann Skalsky Baker,

Josephine Ann Skalsky Baker, 75, died Tuesday, March 26, 2013 in Amarillo.

Vigil service was at 7 p.m. Monday, April 1, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Groom. Mass of Christian Burial was at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 2, at the church with Rev. Arockia Raj Samala, pastor, and Rev. Mieczyslaw Przepiora, pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church of White Deer, officiating. Graveside services were at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Memorial Park Cemetery in Dalhart with Deacon Ron Hein of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church of Dalhart, officiating. Arrangements were by Carmichael-Whatley Funeral Directors of Pampa.

Mrs. Baker was born Aug. 28, 1937 in Hartley where she attended schools and graduated from Hartley High School. She married Jesse Baker on Jan. 12, 1957 in Dalhart. She moved to Lubbock while her husband attended Texas Tech; she later moved back to the Texas Panhandle where she has lived ever since. JoAnn was a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Groom. She last worked for the Groom News and previously as a bookkeeper for Tarpley Music in Pampa. JoAnn liked to crochet, crafts, loved to read and was a great sports fan.

Survivors include three daughters, Karen Story and husband Ed, Jackie Whitehead and husband Phillip, all of White Deer, and Donna Pyle and husband Doug of Amarillo; two sons, Brian Baker of Amarillo and Craig Baker of Groom; two brothers, Benny Skalsky of Lubbock and Mike Skalsky and wife Ingrid of Ecuador; four sisters, Dorothy Lummus and husband Jim of Pampa, Mary Ritchie of Wichita, Kan, Linda Culmer and husband Tom of Devils Lake, N.D., and Irene Ellis of Tenn.; seven grandchildren, Jerimey Howard and wife Suzzette of Pampa, Grady Story and wife Megan of Panhandle, Ryan Connell of Austin, Jeff Story, Jacob Pyle and Taylor Whitehead, all of Amarillo, and Nathan Story of White Deer; and by seven great grandchildren, Gracie, Payton, Sadie, Jonathan, Serena, Caleb, and Phoenix. JoAnn was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Jesse Baker, two sons, Jesse Keith Baker and Walter Douglas Baker; a brother, Tim Skalsky; and a sister, Shirley Haley.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Christian Mothers of Immaculate Heart of Mary, 411 Ware Ave., Groom, TX 79039 or School Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, c/o St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Panhandle, TX 79068.

Patricia Ruth McBrayer

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Pat McBrayer

Patricia Ruth McBrayer

Patricia Ruth McBrayer, daughter of George Everett and Elsie Groninger, was born on May 26, 1931, in Haskell, Okla. Pat was reunited with the Lord Jesus, her parents, sister and granddaughter on March 29, 2013.

A memorial service was held on Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 2 p.m., at the First Baptist Church in Eunice, N.M.

Patricia relocated from Colorado to Eunice in 2010 to be near her daughter, Melissa and family. Her childhood years were spent in Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle. She was a graduate of Pampa High School. Upon graduation she married Bobbie W. McBrayer and lived in White Deer raising her two daughters, Becky and Melissa.

In 1972 she moved to Colorado and began her career in the insurance field. She was very accomplished and employed by Prudential as their first female sales agent in the Denver area. She continued as an insurance broker until her retirement in 1997.

She loved life to the fullest and her family was her most cherished treasure. She was surrounded by many friends, all of whom were attracted by her sweet smile. Her enjoyments in life were her work, gardening, traveling, and birding, going to the Eunice Senior Citizens’ Center on the bus (where she was known as the “Milk Lady”), spending time with friends, family and Doodles, her beloved grand-dog.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister, Billie Jean Stepken, and her granddaughter, Jennifer Ann Holland-Padilla.

Survivors include her daughter, Rebecca and husband Ron Goostree of Salida, Colo.; daughter, Melissa and husband Roger Holland; grandson, Christopher Holland, all of Eunice; great grandchildren, Shai Holland, Joshua Padilla and Chaney Holland; sister, Sue Terry of White Deer; special nephews and nieces, and family friends, Carrie and Lexxie Kirkland.

In lieu of flowers, contributions to Eunice Senior Citizens’ Center, Senior Fund, P.O. Box 147, Eunice, NM 88231 would be greatly appreciated by the family.

Services have been entrusted to Calvary Funeral Home, Eunice, N.M.