In Memory

Wilhelmina Maria "Babe" Smit (Yraguen)

Wilhelmina Maria "Babe" (Smit) Yraguen - June 29, 1928 ~ September 6, 2020 (age 92)

Wilhelmina Maria “Babe” Yraguen, 92, of Vale, Oregon, passed away peacefully on Sunday Morning, September 6, 2020. She was born on June 29, 1928 in Ontario, Oregon to her Dutch parents, Marinus and Paula Heinink Smit. She was raised on the family farm at Cairo Junction and attended grade school at Valleyview, a small country school between Cairo and Nyssa. Her high school years were spent in Baker, Oregon where she attended St. Francis Academy Catholic High School. She graduated in 1946 after spending 4 years as a sassy student and cheerleader known as “Willie” for the fightin’ Leopards. We once asked her if she received a good education in Baker and she said the only thing that she learned in Baker was how to smoke. But we are sure that she received a proper education that paved her way of a love and faith in a church that gave her great guidance and comfort for her entire life.

After graduating from high school, she came back home to Ontario and in the Fall of 1946, she met a handsome young Basque boy, Joe Yraguen. Their romance was a whirlwind and on December 28, 1946 they were married in the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Ontario. They celebrated 54 years of marriage living in the Vale and Ontario Areas raising six boys.

Babe was the ultimate “Mom” in her boy’s lives. She raised her family with a strong and loving hand and never backed down whenever the boys challenged back. Her greatest lesson that she taught was Kindness. She always insisted that her kids were respectful and kind. She never missed a ball game that the boys played. There must have been more than one “Babe” because there were ball games all over town and each boy always insisted that Mom never missed one of their games even though the games were played at the same time. She was a huge sports fan and knew the games inside and out. Even in her later years when you would go to see her at her apartment, she would always have a ballgame on TV that she would be watching.

She was also a Mom to many in the town of Vale where she always had a meal or some good advice for all of the kids of Vale. She was a school bus driver for 17 years for the Vale School District and became one of the “Community Mothers” in a town that believed in raising a child by a community.

Babe leaves a legacy of love and kindness throughout her family and will be missed by all.

She was preceded in death by her siblings and their spouses; all of Joe’s siblings and their spouses; her beloved husband, Joe; and her very loved first born son, Joe “Joey”.

She is survived by her children, Susan Yraguen, Dan and Karen Yraguen, Dave and Robyn Yraguen, Bill and Tina Yraguen, John and Nicole Yraguen and Rick and Kris Yraguen; grandchildren and spouses, Kimi and Wade Gipson, Kristi and Britton Stuart; Jeremy Yraguen, Brynn Yraguen, Angela and John Calovich, Katie and Shaun Impomeni, Hailey Yraguen, Michelle and Randy Rice, Mandi and Corey Maag, MacKenzie and Chet Williams, Macy Yraguen, Chloe Yraguen, Sawyer and Nick Harris , Seve Yraguen, Cody Bennett, TJ and Abbie Bennett; great grandchildren, Brylie Gipson, Chace Gipson, Amaia Stuart, Addison Stuart, Bodie Stuart, Jasi Yraguen, Blakely Yraguen, Casey Calovich, Carley Calovich, Cameron Calovich, Jack Impomeni, Allison Rice, Alexa Rice, Isabella Maag, Brooklyn Maag, Avery Maag, Evan Williams, Marli Bennett, Lillian Bennett, Leveah Bennett.  

A visitation and viewing will be held for the public at the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church Parish Hall on Saturday, September 19, 2020 from 10:00 A.M. to 12:00 Noon. Due to the Covid restrictions masks are recommended but not required. The immediate family will then have a private family Rosary and Mass with burial to follow in the Sunset Cemetery in Ontario. Arrangements are under the direction of the Nampa Funeral Home, Yraguen Chapel with an assist from Lienkaemper Chapel. An online guest book and full obituary is available at

Memorial contributions may be made to Pioneer Place in Vale and the Vale Alumni Association for Scholarships.