Obituaries for March 23, 2017

Read the complete obituaries in the Thursday, March 23, print edition of the Post-Record.

Martha Aspitarte Wither

Martha Aspitarte Wither died Thursday, March 16, 2017, after a short illness. She was 88.
Martha Selma Roberts was born July 9, 1928, at the Roberts homestead in Donnelly, Idaho, to Alaska Levi “Lee” Roberts and Selma Martha Kleint Roberts. She was the fourth of five children with two brothers, Carl and Orville, and two sisters, Alice and Ellen. As a Donnelly High School senior, she was on the girls basketball team that won the Idaho state championship against the much larger high schools, in Boise. After graduation, Martha moved to California for telegraph operator training but decided to attend the University of Idaho.
There she met Thomas Aspitarte, who after a whirlwind courtship, persuaded her that “two could live as cheaply as one.” They were married Dec. 19, 1948, in Boise. Tom continued his undergraduate studies at University of Idaho while Martha supported him by working in a bank. Their daughter, Ann, was in born in 1950 in Moscow, Idaho. In 1952, in Corvallis, Oregon, their son, Tom, was born. Graduate studies were suspended for a few years and the family moved to Terre Haute, Indiana, where son, Dave, was born in 1955. The family returned to Oregon State University to complete Tom’s Ph.D. In late 1958, the grand adventure continued when Tom and Martha accepted a job with United Fruit Company in La Lima, Honduras. By 1960, the family relocated to Camas and added daughter, Cindy, in 1964. Martha successfully raised four children and, after they left home for college, Tom and Martha traveled extensively through the United States and Europe. Tom died in March 1988. Martha resumed traveling and enjoyed more than 45 Elderhostel and international tours. She was one of the founding members of the Osprey Walking Group, in Camas.
Later, she connected with a longtime family friend, Ross Wither. They were married in 1992, at St. Johns Presbyterian Church in Camas. The two families blended and Martha was delighted to gain three adult children and their families. Ross died in 1999.
Martha traveled by herself, to countries such as China and Turkey. Her many activities included volunteering at the Interfaith Treasure House thrift shop, two bridge groups, her large garden, and many handwritten letters to family and friends.
In her final years, she helped her son, Tom, establish a vineyard on the Washougal River known as “Martha’s Vineyard of Skamania County.” She would regularly walk three miles with the Osprey Walking Group in the morning, then spend the rest of the day working on the rows of grapevines.
Martha is survived by her sister, Ellen Pline of Nampa, Idaho; and her Aspitarte children, Ann (Jon) Kimerling, Corvallis, Tom (Rae) Aspitarte, of Washougal, David (Joanna) Aspitarte, of Eagle, Idaho, Cindy (Mike) Mueller, of Bellevue, Washington; nine grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews; her Wither children, Bill (Mary) Wither, of Lynch Station, Virginia, Jan (Dave) Kellogg, of Whitefish, Montana, Bonnie (Terry) Roggenkamp, Battle Ground, Washington; seven grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Services will be held at 2 p.m., on Tuesday, March 21, at St. Johns Presbyterian Church, 1206 N.E. Birch St., Camas. A reception for family and friends will follow at the church.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Thomas R. and Martha S. Aspitarte Memorial Scholarship in Microbiology, OSU Foundation, 850 S.W. 35th St., Corvallis, OR 97333.
Straub’s Funeral Home & Columbia River Cremation is in charge of the arrangements. To send condolences or to sign the online guestbook, visit

William R. Smith III

William (Bill) R. Smith III died on Sunday, March 12, at Kaiser Sunnyside Hospital in Portland due to end-stage cancer. He was first diagnosed with lymphoma in 2010 but it went into remission, allowing him to live on his own and enjoy many more quality years with his family until the cancer returned shortly before his death. He was 85.
He was born July 10, 1931, to William and Edna Smith, who lived in Warrensburg, Missouri. He had two older siblings, Jimmy and Jeannine. Shortly after his high school graduation, he went into the Air Force. While in the military, he served in the Korean War and also acquired many valuable skills which led him to a great career as an electrical engineer in the Federal Aviation Administration. He retired from the FAA in 1984.
Bill married Doris Palmer in January 1957. Doris had two daughters from a previous marriage, Leila and Charise. Bill and Doris together had two sons, Howard and Chris. Due to Bill’s career, their family moved around in California, Oregon and Washington. In their later retirement years, Bill and Doris lived in Camas.
He was a kind man of great character who was intelligent, wise and had a witty sense of humor. He enjoyed camping, hiking, watching football, NASCAR racing and other sports. He loved his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and enjoyed studying the Bible. He faithfully devoted his time to serve as a deacon in his church during his retirement years. He expressed tremendous love and acts of kindness to his loved ones and will be greatly missed.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, siblings, wife, Doris, stepdaughter, Charise and one grandson.
He is survived by stepdaughter, Leila and her husband, Greg; sons, Howard and his wife, Julie, and Chris and his wife, Nancy. He also is survived by four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
A memorial service to celebrate Bill’s life will take place at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 25, at Riverside Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 463 N. Shepherd Rd, Washougal. All who knew Bill are welcome to attend.

Edna J. Goff

Edna June Goff died Saturday, March 18, 2017. She was 91.
She was born June 4, 1925, in Runnels, Iowa. Services will be held at a later date. Straub’s Funeral Home and Columbia River Cremation in Camas is in charge of the arrangements.

Elvin (Al) D. Cotton

Elvin (Al) D. Cotton died Saturday, March 18, 2017, at PeaceHealth Hospital, Vancouver. He was 92.
He was born Aug. 23, 1924, in Elk Point, South Dakota. He retired from Crown Zellerbach, Camas, after working there for 39 years. He lived in Washougal for 70 years.
Al was an active member of Washougal United Methodist Church since 1949. He served as a trustee, and helped with many other committees and church projects. He served in the US Navy for two-and-a-half years on the US Hancock destroyer.
He and his wife Alta were married for 70 years. They enjoyed traveling and had visited all 50 states. They were “snowbirds” in Yuma, Arizona, for many years. Al enjoyed riding horses, competing in horse shows, trail riding, fishing, camping and water skiing at Lake Shasta, California, with family. He also enjoyed helping his son and daughter with remodeling and various projects.
Al is survived by his wife Alta, of Washougal; daughter, Lois (Leon) Clark of Camas; son, Dale (Catherine) Cotton of Vancouver; sister, Pauline Gelton of Sun City, Arizona; brother, Terry (Linda) Hanson of Gresham, Oregon; one grandson and two great-granddaughters.
Memorial service will be held on Friday, March 24, at 2 p.m. at Washougal United Methodist Church, 4020 M St.
Straub’s Funeral Home & Columbia River Cremation is in charge of the arrangements. To send condolences or to sign the online guestbook please visit

Cindy L. Wheeler

Cynthia Lee Wheeler died Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Vancouver. She was 59.
She was born to Carolyn Brown and Buck Gibbs on Jan. 2, 1958 and later adopted by Carl Altree.
Cindy was a beloved member of Calvary Community Church, now Radiant Church. She retired from Georgia-Pacific paper mill in 2014 after 37 years. Cindy was an active member of the Association of Western Pulp and Papermakers union and spent eight years on the standing committee and almost 30 years as shop steward.
Cindy enjoyed baking cakes for family and friends, gardening, and always had at least a couple of cats.
She is survived by her daughters, Heather and Erin; eight grandchildren; her father, Carl Altree; brothers, Ron, Shawn, and Chris as well as their families.
The family would like to create a remembrance book of Cindy’s life. Any stories or experiences can be sent to: or
Services will be held at 5 p.m. Sunday, March 26, at Radiant Church at 2717 N.E. 3rd Ave, Camas. Straub’s Funeral Home and Columbia River Cremation was in charge of arrangements.

Read the complete obituaries in the Thursday, March 23, print edition of the Post-Record.