Merlyn “James” LaBounty died July 4, 2014, at the age of 92 at his home in Hood River, Ore., with family by his side. James was born Nov. 12, 1921, in Portland, Ore. He grew up in Hood River Valley and attended Odell schools. He graduated from Odell High School in 1940.
After graduating he went to Alaska and worked for defense contractors in Sitka and Kodiak. He served as a signalman in the U.S. Navy from 1943-1946.
James married Linda Moilanen on July 27, 1946, in Stevenson, Wash. They moved to Anchorage, Alaska, in 1947 and worked for contractors on Elmendorf AFB. While living in Alaska he earned his pilot’s license and owned his own single-engine plane. He later purchased a service station and towing business and for several years was a partner in a cocktail lounge.
He moved to Tillamook in 1961 and purchased a small wholesale beer and wine distributorship which he operated until the sale of the business in 1975. He drove chip truck from 1976 until his retirement in 1981.
In retirement he did some traveling, made lawn ornaments and bird houses. He enjoyed his daily trip to the Elks to watch the pool players. He had a good sense of humor and loved animals; especially dogs.
He was a member of the Tillamook Elks, Masons, Scottish Rite and Al Kader Shriners. He was also a member of the Teamsters during his working years.
James is survived by his wife, Linda, of Hood River; half-brother, Roy Pierce, of Vancouver, Wash.; nieces Sharon Phillips, Carolyn Stevens and Sally Moore, of Hood River; nephews Roy E. Pierce, of Hillsboro, Ore., and Dennis Downing, of New Braunfels, Texas.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Thora Miller Pierce, father, Leo LaBounty, and stepfather, Roy Pierce.
The family suggests that memorial contributions be made to the Oregon Humane Society, P.O. Box 11364, Portland, OR 97211-0364, and Hospice of the Gorge.
There will be a celebration of life to honor James at 1 p.m. on Thursday, July 10, at Anderson’s Tribute Center, 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River. Interment will follow at the Pine Grove Butte Cemetery.
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson’s Tribute Center (Funerals, Receptions, Cremations), 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River, OR 97031; 541-386-1000. Please visit andersonstributecenter.com to leave a note of condolence for family.
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