Sarah Ann Fauntella Jones Rutherford, age 82, of Elgin, Oregon, died February 16, 2010, at the Grande Ronde Hospital in La Grande. Family and friends are invited to celebrate Fauntella's remarkable life at the Elgin Church of the Nazarene on February 21, 2010, at 2:00 p.m. Committal and interment will follow at the Island City Cemetery.
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Fauntella, the daughter of Ted and Mae (Lemmon) Jones, was born on May 31, 1927, in a log cabin in Gage, Montana, and later moved to the family farm in Iowa. While Fauntella's brothers were fighting in World War II, she and her father worked in the fields with a horse and plow and picked corn by hand.
Fauntella knew from a very early age that she wanted to be a teacher. When she and her younger sister, Audrey, were still in elementary school, they taught their Grandpa Lemmon to read by reading to him from the Bible. Fauntella was graduated from Audubon High School with the class of 1945. Thereafter, she attended normal-school training in Iowa and realized her dream by becoming a teacher in a one-room country school.
On January 27, 1945, she eloped with Donald Robert Rutherford to Maryville, Missouri. They lived briefly on a ranch near Ukiah, Oregon, and then moved back to Iowa when Don's father died. In 1957, Don, Fauntella, and their three children-Sandra, Alan, and Michael-moved to Elgin.
After Fauntella earned her bachelor's degree from Eastern Oregon College, she returned to teaching. At the Stella Mayfield Elementary School in Elgin, she taught 5th grade as well as 7th- and 8th-grade English, science, and PE. During more than 30 years in the classroom, Fauntella was a strict disciplinarian but made learning fun. To hundreds of students, including her own children and grandchildren, Fauntella was a respected, influential, and memorable teacher. Even today, it is impossible to walk the streets of Elgin without hearing someone say, "Mrs. Rutherford was my teacher."
In their retirement years, Don and Fauntella wintered in Tucson, Arizona, where they enjoyed Cubs' baseball, golf, and dining out. After Don's death in 1989, Fauntella continued to travel but enjoyed being in her beloved home in Elgin more than anything.
From childhood on, Fauntella was musically gifted: She played the organ, violin, chimes, dulcimer, harmonica, and piano, which she taught to herself. Fauntella also loved to sing, dance, read, shop, get her hair styled, and dress to the nines.
She was famous for her dessert breads, and in 1998, she authored a cookbook titled Gramma's Gravy. No one ever visited Fauntella without eating an impressive spread and taking home enough food to last for several days. During a lifetime that brought her many illnesses and tragedies, she remained a woman of strong faith. To all who knew and loved her, Fauntella was the most amazing woman in the world.
Fauntella's family was the center of her life. Those surviving her include her son Michael Rutherford of Elgin; daughter, Sandra Rutherford of Chandler, Arizona; daughters-in-law, Susan Rutherford of Elgin, Lisa Rutherford of Ivins, Utah, and Clarice Rutherford of Scottsdale, Arizona; grandchildren, Scott Rutherford of Elgin, Jennifer and Brian Dauer of Queen Creek, Arizona; Krissa and Cyle Doud of Damascus, Oregon; Kelly and Todd Deacon of Scottsdale, Arizona; and Jennifer E. Abel of Albuquerque, New Mexico; great grandchildren, Tyler Taal of North Pole, Alaska; Sage Dauer of Queen Creek, Arizona; and Aila and Nia Deacon of Scottsdale, Arizona; sister Bernice Barratt of Irwin, Iowa; sister-in-law Esther Vogler of Tucson, Arizona; numerous nieces and nephews; and many friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, Don; a son Alan Rutherford and three stillborn babies; sisters Audrey and Bonnalyn; brothers, Floyd and Bud; parents, Ted and Mae Jones; and many dear family members and friends across the country.
Those who wish may make a contribution in memory of Fauntella to the
in care of Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center, 1502 7th Street in La Grande.
Published in AUDUBON COUNTY ADVOCATE JOURNAL from Apr. 16 to Apr. 23, 2010