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Home arrow News arrow News of Record arrow Obituaries for Feb. 7, 2011

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Obituaries for Feb. 7, 2011


John Brown

John M. Brown, 90, of Baker City, died peacefully at home on Feb. 3, 2011, surrounded by loving family.

John was a fixture in Eastern Oregon, having lived in the region since 1950.

Visitations will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St. His memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Friday at the Haines United Methodist Church with Pastor Sally Wiens officiating. Friends are invited to join the family for a reception in the church fellowship hall after the service.


Brown was born at Syracuse, N.Y., on Oct. 16, 1920. He was the first of three children born to John W. and Aurel B. Brown.

John attended Onondaga Valley Academy at Syracuse, graduating in 1938. He worked as a merchant seaman on the East Coast of the United States, prior to entering the New York State Militia in 1940.

As a full-time member of the militia, John trained recruits at West Point Academy in the use of firearms and artillery. John enlisted in the U. S. Army in 1943, attending basic parachute jump training at Fort Benning, Ga., prior to shipping out to France in February, 1945.

He was stationed at Auxerre, France, in the closing months of World War II. He would frequently talk about how much he enjoyed being in the parachute corps, and of his love for “hitting the silk.”

After the allied victory in Europe, Brown was honorably discharged from the Army as a corporal in the 515th Parachute Infantry in 1946. John returned to Syracuse, where he worked for a time on the New York Barge Canal while attending the Syracuse University School of Forestry.

John’s love of the outdoors and interest in forestry led him to spend summer months in Northern California working in logging camps and experiencing the splendor of the West.

While at Syracuse University, Brown married the former Jean Elizabeth Buchanan, whom he had known since high school at Onondaga Valley Academy. Jean taught biology in New York-area high schools while John attended the university.

Brown and Buchanan were married on Aug. 26, 1946.

John graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in forestry in 1950.

After graduation, John and Jean moved across country to Lewiston, Idaho, where John took employment in the lumber mill at Potlatch Forest Industries. In Lewiston, John and Jean’s three children were born: John Buchanan “J.B.” Brown, born on Jan. 5, 1952; Victoria Reid “Vicki” Brown, born on Sept. 19, 1953; and Jeffrey Mason Brown, born on Feb. 2, 1955.

In 1956, John and family moved to John Day where John worked at Blue Mountain Mills. In 1958 they moved to Prineville where John was employed in accounting at Hudspeth Pine Lumber.

John and his family returned to John Day in 1960, with John taking an accounting position with Ellingson Lumber Co. The family moved to Baker City in 1967 and John would remain in lumber company management with Ellingson until his retirement in 1985.

Throughout his life, John was very active in community activities including Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce, church management, youth sports, election campaigns, school boards, planning commissions and scores of volunteer activities.

In the 1970s, John was appointed to the Oregon State Land Conservation and Development Commission, an official planning group charged with overseeing urban growth boundaries in municipalities throughout the state.

In October of 1972, Jean, John’s wife of 26 years, unexpectedly died. As a widower, John began to participate in a variety of activities that would mark his later years: performing in community theater at the Crossroads Art Center, volunteering at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, performing a traveling one-man act as Mark Twain, volunteering at the Baker County Library, teaching ballroom dance and participating in triathlons and organized running events.

As John suffered from severe arthritis, he did the running portions of these events by race-walking, and John became a familiar figure around Baker City, speed-walking the highways and byways. Among John’s favorite events, he was an annual participant in the State Games of Oregon where he consistently came home with the gold medal in his age group.

It was during his community theatre days of the 1970s that John met and fell in love with the former Marian Allison of Baker City. John and Marian were married on Oct. 26, 1974, and lived a wonderful, active, loving life together.

Among the couple’s many activities, family members especially recall their widely acclaimed starring roles as Norman and Edith Thayer in “On Golden Pond” for two separate productions — once in 1986 and again in a “command performance” in 1997.

John did slow down in the later years of his life, focusing more on his community involvement, tending his wonderfully productive garden and his sprawling, Powder River-fronting backyard, and enjoying the frequent visits of his growing family.

One of his favorite pastimes was enjoying a good book or the company of friends and family — and a cold beer — in the warm sun on his back deck.

It has been frequently stated that there has never been a finer, more kind, personable and gentlemanly person than was John M. Brown, family members said. John knew virtually everyone in Baker County, and his forays into the community were always occasions for a warm “well hello there!” for everyone he met, followed by lively conversation.

Survivors include his wife, Marian Brown; his brother, James Brown; his children, J. B. Brown, Vicki Jurgensmeier and Jeff Brown; his stepchildren, Steve Allison, Kim Clarke and Lynne Hanna; 16 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Haines United Methodist Church, Baker County Library — John M. Brown Memorial Fund or Heart ‘n’ Home Hospice and Palliative Care through Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.


Christine Tyler

Christine Tyler, 92, of Baker City died Feb. 2, 2011, at St. Alphonsus Medical Center-Baker City.

Her funeral will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Pine Baptist Church in Halfway. Pastor Shawn Thatcher will officiate. Vault interment will be at Pine Haven Cemetery in Halfway.

Mary Christine Tyler was born on Aug. 19, 1918, at New Bridge to Olen and Nancy Lee Gover. She attended school at New Bridge and then in Halfway at the Sunny Dell School on Dry Creek.

Christine married Vernon Tyler on Jan. 9, 1937. The two of them lived for a number of years on a ranch at Halfway, where they raised their three children: Wanda, Wayne, and Charlene.

When their children were grown, Vernon and Christine took in 38 foster children over the years. In 1979, they were honored with the Kiwanis Club’s Parents of the Year award. They both were very proud of the honor.

After many years of living in Halfway where they raised their children and foster children, Christine and Vernon moved to Durkee, where they purchased a ranch. They lived at Durkee for several years, and it was there that they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with family and friends.

After ranching for many years in Durkee, Christine and Vernon retired from the ranch life and moved to Baker City. They lived together in Baker City until Vernon died in 1997. Christine continued to live in Baker City until her death.

Christine was very proud of her family and you could see it in her face when she was around her grandchildren and great grandchildren, family members said.

She was preceded in death by her husband,Vernon; her parents; several brothers and sisters; and a grandson, Jim.

Survivors include her children,Wanda and Bill Steele, Wayne and Louise Tyler and Charlene and Pete Peterson; grandchildren, Ray Steele, Alan Steele, Ron Peterson, Sandy Mills (Peterson), Bill Peterson, Connie Jenkins (Tyler), and Francis Tyler; 12 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews, Donna Saunders and Dave Phillips.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Halfway Ambulance through Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.

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