Myrna M (Williams) Tovey

Born: Tue., May 10, 1932
Died: Mon., Sep. 2, 2019


Recitation of the Rosary

6:00 PM Wed., Sep. 04, 2019
Location: Burns Mortuary

Funeral Mass

9:00 AM Thu., Sep. 05, 2019
Location: St. Andrew's Church


7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, Mon., Sep. 09, 2019
Location: Horsley Funeral Home

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Myrna Mae Williams Tovey Myrna Mae Williams Tovey, “Helxtiṅúkin”, passed away quietly from a prolonged illness on September 2nd, 2019 in Pendleton, Oregon. She was surrounded by her family. She was 87 years old. Myrna was born to Lucien and Gertrude Williams on May 10th, 1932 at their home at the mouth of Iskuulpa Creek near Gibbon, Oregon, east of Pendleton. She was born of Cayuse and Joseph Band Nez Perce heritage of the Red Elk and Longhair families. She was always fiercely proud of her “up river” rearing. She was baptized at St. Andrew’s Indian Mission with the Christian name of Martha at 5 days old and was a devout Catholic her entire life. She also received her Indian name of Helxtiṅúkin as a child. It is an old Cayuse name that means “Last one to die.” In 1948, Myrna was proud to be named the Round-Up Indian Princess among other prominent Indian ladies, and was honored to present a blanket to President Harry S Truman at the Round Up that year. Myrna attended school at the one room Gibbon school with her brothers and graduated from St. Joseph’s Academy. She attended and completed her nursing education at St. Anthony’s Nursing Program and Holy Names Academy (now part of Gonzaga University) in Spokane, Washington and worked at Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane, Washington. During a visit with a friend from nursing school in Malad City, Idaho, she met John D. Tovey, Sr. and they were married shortly thereafter. After getting married she worked at Oneida County Hospital in Malad City, Idaho for more than 30 years, first as a nurse and eventually in an administration position. In 1991, she became nursing administrator at the Indian Health Services Clinic at the Shoshone-Bannock Indian Reservation near Pocatello, Idaho. After 50 years as a nurse she retired and returned to Pendleton to be near family. Myrna was a member, volunteer and leader in many organizations such as Idaho American Nurses Association, Ernest W. Jones American Legion Malad City Post 65 Auxiliary, Nez Perce Trail Foundation, Umatilla County Historical Society, Nixyáawii Senior Center, Yellowhawk Community Health Nurse, and many years on Yellowhawk Tribal Health Commission where she was a long time champion of the new Yellowhawk Tribal Health Clinic. Later in life, Myrna got to fulfil a lifelong dream of traveling. A few of her adventures took her to New Zealand, Australia, China, England, Wales, France, Netherlands, Italy, Vatican City, and many others. She is survived by her three sons—John David, Jr. “Dave” (Valorie), William Douglas “Bill” (Vicki), and Allen Joseph “Al” (Wendy) along with her grandson, John David, III “J.D.”. She was also Grandmother to Gary, Eric, and Tony; David; and Jessica, Gavin, Kyle, and Ellynn, as well as many great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her close family relatives Fawn (Andrew) Williams, niece; Sharon (Jerry) Weathers, Kay and Chazz Webb, Marie (Atwai Louie, Jr.) Dick, and all their families. She was preceded in death by her husband, John D Tovey, Sr., both parents, and all her siblings.

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Condolence Booklet

Harold Halfmoon
   Posted Tue September 03, 2019
Rest in Peace Myrna Williams Tovey. My deepest sympathy and condolences to Myrna's sons and the rest of her family.

Rhonda Polk
   Posted Wed September 04, 2019
so sorry for your loss....prayers for the family!

Bruce Campbell
   Posted Wed September 04, 2019
My condolences to the family!
I have fond memories of sharing ‘Happy Hour’ conversations with Myrna a number of years ago!

   Posted Wed September 04, 2019

A GARDEN PATH was sent by The Eastern Oregon Telecom Family.

Jacqueline Cook
   Posted Wed September 04, 2019
David, Bill, Allen and Family, My heart goes out to you all for this loss. It was my honor to know your mother. Peace and prayers to you and yours.

J Halfmoon Thompson
   Posted Wed September 04, 2019

GARDEN PATH was sent by Jiselle.

Sincere Condolences from The Halfmoon Family

Vanessa Quezada
   Posted Wed September 04, 2019

TRADITIONAL FUNERAL BASKET was sent by Pendleton Round-Up Board of Directors .

We are deeply saddened by the news of Myrna passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family as we send our most heartfelt condolences. -Pendleton Round-Up Association

Amber Schulz-Oliver
   Posted Wed September 04, 2019


Koko Hufford
   Posted Thu September 05, 2019
Myrna always was smiling and looking at life through her rose glasses. Even with difficult situations she made the best of life. She will be missed by those of us who enjoyed her visits. My deepest condolences to the Tovey Brothers and their family members. Respectfully, Koko

Jacqueline Tulee
   Posted Thu September 05, 2019
Am sorry for your loss. Always enjoyed visiting with her.

Janet Johnson-Singh
   Posted Tue September 10, 2019
To the family of Myrna: After learning the news about beautiful, kindhearted Aunt Myrna, I am left with a heavy heart today. But as time passes, do remember that she blessed us with her presence and gifted us with wisdom, love, and courage to become resilient. I am sorry I was unable to be there, but my prayers continue to be with her sons and relatives-always. FROM Janet and my kids: Amy-jo, and Deric Johnson.

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