Walking On -- Jolene Bean, Norris Merrill and Gary Reibach

07.13.2018 Dean Rhodes Walking On

Jolene Kay (Phelps) Bean

Nov. 22, 1936 – July 2, 2018

Tribal Elder Jolene Kay (Phelps) Bean, 81, was born on Nov. 22, 1936, in Portland, Ore., to Carl Oswald and Nettie Eve (Smith) Phelps and peacefully passed in her sleep on Monday, July 2, 2018.

Growing up in Portland, she graduated from Franklin High School in 1955. She demonstrated her true and loyal school spirit by being a member of the Franklin High Alumni Association. Jolene earned her associate degree from Portland Community College. She worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs as an administrative assistant for 20 years and remained a true patriot even after retiring in 1997.

Loving God, family and friends first, she spent her time researching family genealogy, enjoying her garden, solving puzzles, reading about her passions, sewing, embroidery and traveling in her youth. She had fond memories of attending concerts and meeting her favorite artists; she gathered an extensive autograph collection throughout her life. Jolene especially enjoyed reading fan magazines and watching classic movies. She enthusiastically followed all things related to the British royal family and admired Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

She adored the Portland Rose Festival and had collected all of the lapel pins since the 1950s. She loved to elaborately decorate her home to celebrate all holidays, especially the Christmas season. She will be lovingly remembered for her thoughtful, independent, yet amusingly persnickety nature.

Jolene was of Native American ancestry including Rogue River, Paiute and Chinook as a direct descendant of Nettie Eve (Smith) Phelps of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Andrew Jackson Smith (CTGR) and Mary Jane (Menard) Smith (CTGR). As an enrolled member of the Sons and Daughters of the Oregon Pioneers, she was a descendent of pioneers who traveled the Oregon Trail arriving in 1847 and 1851 including John England Ross and Elizabeth (Ross) Hopwood.

She is survived by her sister, Jackie Brenner of Gresham; and her children, Sandra Stone of Eagle Creek and Brian Bean (Alisa) of Happy Valley. She loved being the grandmother of Anthony Stone (Tabby), Samantha Stone, Amanda Stone, Scott Stone (Alicia), Shannon Stone and Noah Bean, and the great-grandmother of Tayer Stone, Sianna Stone, Liadan Stone, Lirael Stone, Sabel Stone, Avender Stone, Evelyn Rose McElroy-Stone and Jack McElroy-Stone.

A funeral ceremony followed by the committal and memorial will be held with a graveside service at Lincoln Memorial Park Cemetery in Portland. To find updated information regarding the date and time of the funeral services, call Lincoln Memorial Park at 503-771-1117.

Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; she will be resting beside her grandmother Mary Jane (Menard) Smith together in Jesus’ loving arms for all eternity.


Norris Vern Merrill

Dec. 14, 1935 – June 26, 2018

Our sweet Papa, grandpa, brother, family member and friend went on this final journey to be with Jesus on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. This beautiful soul enriched our lives. He is our family treasure and a blessing to many.

He was born in Hood River, Ore., to Viola and Rolland Merrill on Dec. 14, 1935. Papa grew up in Grand Ronde, Ore., and attended Willamina High School. After high school, he married, had two wonderful children and then joined the Army on June 25, 1958, until June 24, 1964. He remarried on Dec. 30, 1970, Karen (Schiermeister Holmes) Merrill, and gained two more children.

He was a hard-working man his entire life and retired from Taylor Lumber Co. in Sheridan. Always willing to lend a hand to anybody, he proudly served on the Veterans Special Event Board, Grand Ronde Veterans Honor Guard, Rodeo Committee and volunteered at the Grand Ronde Food Bank for many years. He was a member of the Sheridan Church of the Nazarene. He has been described as a kind and patient man, always with a smile, loving to joke around with others, and a fantastic sense of humor. He was all this and much more.

He leaves behind his sisters, Alice Merrill and Mary Lou (Joel) Neal of Portland; children, Laura (Mike) Kutsch and Richard (Kim) Merrill of Dallas, Tim (Nancy) Holmes of Grand Ronde and Connie Holmes of Sheridan; and eight grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren. We will carry this great man forever in our hearts.

He is preceded in death by his parents and his wife, Karen Merrill. A celebration of life was held Saturday, July 7, at the Sheridan Church of the Nazarene. Pastor Kerry Lumley, a family friend, led the remembrances.

The family expresses gratitude for those caring for him at Brookdale Assisted Living in Monmouth, Dallas Retirement Village Health & Rehabilitation Center and Willamette Valley Hospice.

Dallas Mortuary Center cared for the family. To leave a message or memory, go to


Gary Reibach

Feb. 18, 1944 – July 6, 2018

Tribal Elder Gary Reibach was born Feb. 18, 1944, in McMinnville, Ore., to Barney and Minnie Reibach. He passed away after an extended illness on Friday, July 6, 2018, with his family by his side at the age of 74.

He grew up in the Grand Ronde area and graduated from Willamina High School in 1962. That same year he married the love of his life, Marlise Martin.

For most of his career, Gary was a truck driver. He drove for Crown Zellerbach, Bill Rannow, Duke Limbaugh and others, as well as being an operator of his own trucks for several years.

Gary was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his loving wife, Marlise, and their three children, Ron (Anne), David (Pam) and Trina (Timber). He was blessed with seven grandchildren: Jamie, Wil (Jessamyn), Krissy (Lucas), Emily (Devon), Brooke, Wesley (Brianna) and Hannah (Jesse). In addition, Gary has eight great-grandchildren: Simone, Silas, Sterling, Caden, Waverly, Bren, Kierstin and Deegan.

Grandpa Gary enjoyed bantering with his grandchildren. His favorite comeback was “I’ll box your ears!!”

Services were held Thursday, July 12, at the Grand Ronde Tribal Cemetery Chapel. Dallas Mortuary cared for the family. To share online condolences, go to