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Home arrow News arrow News of Record arrow Obituaries for Oct. 11, 2010


Obituaries for Oct. 11, 2010

Walters Stuart, John Smith

Walters Stuart

Walters Dee Stuart, 75, died Oct. 3, 2010, at his home in La Grande after a short illness.

Interment will be at the Eagle Valley Cemetery in Richland.

Walters was born on Nov. 20, 1934, at Enterprise to Gordon W. and Dorothy Coombs Stuart. He served in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years, earning the rank of T/sergeant.

He enjoyed hunting, fishing, prospecting, gold panning and tinkering with electronics. He was a member of the Eagles Club.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Gloria Stuart Olsen; and his wife, Virginia Stuart.

Survivors include his children Gordon Stuart of Salem, Kevin Stuart of Lincoln, Neb., Shelley Caldwell of Loveland, Colo., James Stuart of Lincoln, Neb., Deneen Stuart of Atkinson, Neb., Michael Stuart of Atkinson, Neb.; stepson, Jon Gilmore of Las Vegas, Nev.; sister, Dorothy Kendall of Omak, Wash.; 13 grandchildren and 11 great- grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society through Gray’s West and Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.

John Smith

John McDonald Smith, 80, of Baker City, died Oct. 4, 2010, at his home.

There will be a reception celebrating his life at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place St.

John M. Smith was born on Dec. 6, 1929, to Henry and Emily Smith during a snowstorm at the home of his grandfather on the Old Shaw Coulee Ranch in the hand hills of Alberta, Canada. His first crib was a collar for a workhorse, with a doubled blanket for a mattress.

Family members said it must have been the smell of sweaty hair that gave him his love for horses. At the age of 2, he traveled 200 miles north of where he was born, to a homestead in the Battle River country with his mother, a milk cow, two saddled horses, and a team in a covered wagon.

John didn’t remember the trip north but he did remember some of the trip back to his grandfather’s ranch in the fall of 1934. There, he started to ride and learn about livestock. He rode bareback hundreds of miles. He always played with the colts when they were weaned.

John left home when he was 12 to work for a neighbor in the spring and summer. He drove four head of horses while stacking hay at the Diamond 7 Ranch during the summer of 1943. In June 1944, he rode to the Flying V Ranch where he got a job. This was the beginning of a long-lasting friendship with the Arthur Peake family.

He formed a relationship with Tom Peake, the youngest of the Peake brothers, which lasted until Tom passed. Tom was John’s friend and mentor for many years. John always said Tom Peake taught him about horses.

When they were together, they were always handling broncs which were range horses — nothing younger than 5 years of age. Tom was an excellent roper and a very good rider. Jack Peake and Bob Hale, the cow boss, were also his good friends. There are pictures of Tom Peake, Jack Peake, and Bob Hale on the walls of John’s home to this very day.

In his late teens John broke horses for different ranches: George Proudfoot’s Horse Ranch, the Diamond 7, John Nieb’s 7N Ranch, Stewart Holmes ranch and others. John cowboyed for the 3 Bar Ranch and rode rough string for them. He liked to handle the broncs.

John married Margaret Bazuck in 1950. He worked for ranches all his life, except the short time he worked in the construction business, which he didn’t like.

He was a foreman for Cohen Ranch in Eastern Alberta where he handled 250 to 300 head of horses. He was a rider, the cow boss, then the manager for the big Anchor Ranch west of Calgary. He rode for the Waldren Ranch in the foothills of Alberta.

John also rode for the ZX when Sonny Hancock was cow boss. Sonny was a well-known poet. John grew up around many ranchers who were also top rodeo hands such as Arnold Montgomery, 1942-1943 all-around cowboy, Calgary; Albert Galarno, three-time North American calf roping champion at Calgary; Dick Cosby, 10-time world champion chuck wagon driver and Winston Bruce, world champion saddle bronc rider.  

In 1971, he moved to the United States and became a naturalized citizen through his father’s birthright. He worked on ranches in Washington and Arizona before moving to Oregon to manage M.R. King Ranch in Durkee.

He had worked for the Kings in Alberta also. When he retired, he moved to Oklahoma where he bought a small ranch, but he continued to travel back to Durkee each summer helping the Siddoways and other neighbors brand.

John and his longtime companion, Kathleen McKown, moved back to Baker City five years ago to run the 10th Street Market.

John was preceded in death by his parents; his daughter, Colinda, who died in 1999; and his wife, Margaret, of many years, who died in 2001. After Colinda’s death, John and his ex-wife, Margaret, cared for her two children until Margaret’s death.

Survivors include Kathleen McKown of Baker City, the companion he weathered the storms with since 1998; his daughter, Jolene, and her husband, Joe Ortiz of Laclede, Mo.; his grandchildren, Leslie Short, Molly Dyer, Brandy Young and R.J. Young.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Baker High School Rodeo Club through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.


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