OBITUARY: Ellis Dean McRoberts

Ellis Dean McRoberts, 89, passed away peacefully the morning of January 28, 2024 at Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Heppner. Early in the month, he said, "he really didn't want to go, but if it was his time, he would accept it". He was a sweetheart, and his smile will be deeply missed.

Ellis and his fraternal twin brother, Arlo, were born on September 27, 1934, to William Thomas McRoberts and Stella May McDandell in Morrow County. Shortly after his birth, William McRoberts died, and Stella married Oliver Austin Devin who became a dedicated and caring father to Ellis and his siblings.

Ellis loved life and enjoyed time with so many friends. He was a kind, happy go lucky, friendly man who, in his later years, loved to sit out on the bench in front of his apartment building and wave to everyone. He was a fixture in Heppner and adored by many. Sports were his passion, and the Ducks and Braves ranked highest. Of course, after his favorite Heppner teams who he cheered for in person until a few weeks before his death. He was the biggest jokester and passionate about making people happy. He truly was, one of a kind.

On July 1, 1960, Ellis married Dorothy Jean Seitz, and they welcomed two children, Raylene and Danny, into their lives. Two years later, their daughter Debbie was born. After their divorce in 1972, Ellis moved from Kinzua back to Heppner, where he lived the remainder of his life. He married Kathryn Ann Burns on July 15, 1976, and stayed married until her passing in 2005. They enjoyed bowling on a league and spending time with friends.

After 41 years, on October 5, 1996, Ellis retired from the Kinzua Mill. He used to say before bed, "I might snore. I worked in a sawmill for 41 years; I'm sawing logs". He loved to say how he was "tickled" about things. And he was. He was the happiest man, so rich by living in the moment, and deeply blessed with friends.

Ellis is preceded in death by his parents and his 7 full and half-brothers and sisters: Alice Wagner, Carolyn Goodwin, Frances Wright, John H. McRoberts, Lee McRoberts, Oliver Devin, Arlo McRoberts. In addition, three half siblings from William T. McRoberts' first marriage.

He is survived by his children, Raylene, Danny, and Debbie McRoberts, as well as several nephews and nieces, including John McRoberts, Rob Conlee, Margaret McRoberts, and Shelley McRoberts. Survivors also include nine grandchildren: Amy McRoberts Rupnow, Stephanie Jackson, Samantha Dorris, Kristina Powers, Ron Powers, Mandy Stevens, Samantha McRoberts, Jeff Pace, and Jenna Metschan, as well as several great grandchildren.

A celebration honoring the joyful life of Ellis McRoberts will be held on April 13th, 2024. Please join us at 12:00 at the Heppner Masonic Cemetery for a graveside service. To be followed by a celebration of his life at the Elks Lodge at 1:00 and a visit to the Ellis McRoberts basketball court in town.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Heppner Booster Club, PO Box 917, Heppner, OR 97836 or to Elks Lodge B.P.O.E #358, PO Box 494, Heppner, OR 97836.

Sweeney Mortuary if in care of arrangements. You may sign the online condolence book at


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