April 12, 1915-Jan. 28, 2005

MILTON-FREEWATER - The funeral service for Elene I. "Tootie" Olinger will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 28, at the First Christian Church in Milton-Freewater. Concluding service and interment will be at the Weston Cemetery. Friends may call at the funeral home prior to the funeral hour for viewing.

Mrs. Olinger, 89, of Milton-Freewater, died Sunday, Jan. 23, 2005, at Kadlec Medical Center in Richland, Wash.

She was born April 12, 1915, near Weston, to John E. "Sed" and Olive Ashworth McLean. She spent most of her life on the ranch at Dry Creek. She attended the school on her father's place for three years and when that school closed she went to Lower Dry Creek School to finish the eighth grade. Her father died Dec. 16, 1926, and in the fall of 1927 she and her mother moved into Milton so she could start high school. She graduated from McLoughlin Union High School in 1931. She was the first girl cheerleader at Mac-Hi her junior and senior years. Prior to that, only boys could be cheerleaders. While in high school, she worked at J.E. Olinger & Sons Lumber and Hardware as a bookkeeper.

In March 1934 she married Donald Jasper Olinger at Weston. The couple lived on the ranch at Dry Creek where she helped with the farm and cooked for harvest crews. In 1967 they sold the ranch because of Mr. Olinger's health and moved to a home two miles north of Milton-Freewater.

It was said she loved life and being with people and had a smile and a friendly "Hello" for everyone she met. Mrs. Olinger traveled extensively until back, hip and knee surgery put a stop to it. The first long trip to Australia and New Zealand got her hooked. From there she went to Hawaii, Alaska, Europe and most of the states in the United States. She loved to sew and garden, her yard was full of flowers from the first crocus to dahlias and roses (her favorites). She gave flowers to churches for weddings, anniversaries and whatever.

In May 1997, she was honored as Pioneer Queen at the Weston Pioneer Reunion. She enjoyed her year reigning as Queen.

In February 1998, she was given the Golden Pioneer Award by the Milton-Freewater Chamber of Commerce for outstanding community service.

She was a member of the Grace Presbyterian Church, Pythian Sisters, Integrity Rebekah Lodge 175, Loyalty Chapter 47 Order of Eastern Star, Milton-Freewater Garden Club, Women's Improvement Club, Jolly Circle of Weston, Milton-Freewater Historical Society and the Red Hat Club.

She was preceded in death by her husband on Aug. 16, 1983.

Survivors include a son, Jasper E. "Bub" Olinger, and daughter-in-law, Jeanie, of Pasco, a daughter, Sharon Johnson, and son-in-law, Don, of Walla Walla; five grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to Grace Presbyterian Church, Weston-McEwen Pipe and Drum Corps, or a charity of choice through Munselle-Rhodes Funeral Home, 902 S. Main, Milton-Freewater, OR 97862.


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