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Jessie Elfleeda-Marie Walker, 91, of Mission, passed away surrounded by her family on
December 11, 2023. She was a loving and compassionate person, a Mother to many, and a
Grandmother to all. She will be dearly missed.
Jessie was born May 23rd 1932 to Earl and Florence Walker in Fryatt, Arkansas. She spent
most of her youth in Fryatt and Mammoth Springs, Arkansas, and Thayer, Missouri. She was
known for being mischievous, playful and being barefoot as much as possible. When she was
12, her family moved to Springfield, Missouri and eventually to Wichita, Kansas where she
graduated High School.
She married William “Sonny” Powell in 1950 and had two children, Mary and Billy. The family
settled in Wichita until the couple divorced in 1960.
Jessie later married Dean Filener and added three more daughters; Cindy, Becky, and Julie to
the family. They all moved to California for a few years before returning to Wichita, where her
second son, David, was born. She worked as a surgical assistant at St. Joseph Hospital in
Wichita upon her return. Though the relationship wasn’t permanent they both loved and adored
She married once more to William Melton and soon Willa and Randy were born. In total, Jessie
gave life to 8 children between 1951 and 1975. In 1977, she moved to Norman, Oklahoma to
attend the University of Oklahoma. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Library Sciences.
In 1981, Jessie made the decision to leave the Midwest and move to Oregon for a fresh start.
She packed up and drove cross-country to St. Helens, Oregon. After brief stays in Yankton and
Nyssa, Oregon, she finally settled in the Pendleton/Mission, Oregon area in 1984. In 1985 she
moved on to the Umatilla Indian Reservation and has remained a member of the community
Jessie held several positions, often working multiple jobs at once. She worked for both the
Pendleton Public Library as a librarian and at Delemarter Care Center as a caregiver. She also
worked as a caregiver for assisted living homes for the developmentally disabled and as field
technician for the U.S. Forestry Service. In 1987 she began working for the Confederated Tribes
of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) developing a small children's library in the Cay-
Uma-Wa Education Center. In the 1990s She was hired for a records management position with
the Tribe, where she helped organize documents related to the Hanford Nuclear Site. In 1996,
she moved to Helix, OR and was the part-time librarian at the Helix Public Library. She retired
from the CTUIR in 2001. She greatly enjoyed her time working for the Tribe and loved her co-
workers. She eventually moved back to the Umatilla Reservation, the place she called home.
Jessie was a member of the United Methodist Church in Pendleton where she developed and
led a Sunday School class for developmentally disabled people of all ages. She called her class
”Angels Unawares” in honor of Bible verses related to caring for those in need. She maintained
the class for several years. She viewed this as extremely important work, to provide an avenue
for members of this underserved community an opportunity to worship and to feel included. She
felt called to serve.
After retirement Jessie spent time as a foster grandparent reading to children and assisting in
her grandchildrens’ classes at Washington Elementary. She was also a senior companion to
seniors with disabilities and in need of memory care. She continued this work into her 80’s. With
the help of cell phones and social media, she maintained close ties to her mother’s Flynn family,
centered in Arkansas, and her childhood friend, Margie Leu.
In the late 1980s, Jessie met Michael Mogan, who quickly became a member of her family as
another son. She included Mike on family trips and dinners as much as possible. Together, they
travel all across the country and even to Hawaii. She loved dressing up for Halloween with Mike,
bringing him little gifts, and mostly just spending time with him laughing, debating, and teasing
each other. She loved making him smile and hearing his unforgettable laugh. Mike calls all of
Jessie’s grandkids Nephew and Niece, her children call Mike their brother.
Jessie’s children and their families were the most cherished parts of her life. At the time of her
passing, this included 9 children, 42 grandchildren, 23 great grandchildren, and 1 great great
Jessie loved her animals. Over the years she had several dogs, cats, fish, hamsters, lizards,
turtles, birds, frogs, a pony, and even monkeys. She cared for every stray animal she came
across. She loved reading, traveling, listening to and singing gospel music, the performing arts,
and visiting with family and friends. She loved to listen to the rain and visit the ocean. In her
lifetime she visited 4 of the 7 continents, most of the United States, countless monuments,
museums, libraries, and parks as well as both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. She loved
adventures and always wanted her kids to get the most out of each experience. She would sign
her children up for almost any new experience and opportunity she could.
Jessie was a strong advocate for those whose voices often went unheard and respected all
views and beliefs. She opened her door to anyone in need, no matter what or when. Many of
the youth in the community would refer to her as Grandma Jessie. Her faith was strong and she
understood that there are several ways to acknowledge and worship a higher power than her.
Jessie was preceded in death by her parents, Earl Walker and Florence Walker; sister, Velda
McQuitty; daughter, Rebecca Russell; and grandson Cole Krause.
She is survived by sons William Filener (Peggy), Michael Mogan, David Filener (Katrina), and
Randall Melton (Katrina); daughters Mary Powell McConnell, Cynthia Russell, Julia Flynn
(Paul), and Willa Wallace (Chris); her grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
Services for Jessie were held at Pioneer Chapel in Pendleton. Her request was to be cremated
and have her ashes interred at the Fryatt Cemetery in Arkansas.