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Home arrow News arrow Obituaries arrow Obituary for March 19, 2014

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Obituary for March 19, 2014


Bert Vanderwall

Haines, 1928-2014

Bert W. Vanderwall, 86, of Haines, one of the true pioneers of skiing, died March 13, 2014, surrounded by his family.

There will be a viewing from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St. There will be a celebration of his life at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Baker City Church of the Nazarene, 1250 Hughes Lane. There will be a graveside service afterward at the Haines Cemetery.

He was born on Feb. 8, 1928, at Haines to Roy and Loddie Hornbeck Vanderwall. He joined a brother, Royal, and was preceded in death by a brother, Garrett.

Bert attended Muddy Creek School and graduated with the last graduating class from Muddy Creek High School in 1947, riding his horse to school all year long. 

Bert’s passion was skiing and he made many trips to the Little Alps and Anthony Lakes prior to the ski area being active, by hiking to the top. This was often a nine-hour day for only a couple of trips off the mountain for pleasure. Bert and his dad were instrumental in helping to create and open the ski area as we know it today.

Bert married his high school sweetheart, Betty Cox, on Aug. 6, 1948. They had three daughters: Rhea, Hilda, and Roberta. 

Bert briefly attended Oregon State University at Corvallis, but returned to work on the Muddy Creek farm when his Dad was injured in an accident. He quit farming when he and Betty bought Anthony Lakes Summer Resort. 

Bert drove logging truck and then worked construction for more than 35 years. His favorite machine was a Cat 235 excavator. He loved that machine!

Bert was a ski instructor for more than 50 years, and on the Anthony Lakes Ski Patrol (ALSP). All three of his daughters followed in his footsteps and became members of ALSP. All of his kids and grandkids have followed the family tradition and become skiers.

Bert was a legend at Anthony and for many he really was “Anthony Lakes.” If you ever skied on the mountain, undoubtedly you knew Bert or at least skied Bert’s Run. Bert was mountain manager and ski host for years.

 In 2012, Bert received the Gemutlichkeit Award given out by Oregon Ski Magazine. This award is given to those who are known for their “comfortable ambience, friendliness, informality, coziness, snugness, good nature, pleasantness, approachability, easy going nature, warm, amicability.” This was BERT!

He loved to sing and play songs. He was often up at Anthony Lakes to lead the Easter Sunrise service with his music. He was a very active member of the Haines Baptist Church and in the choir, and really enjoyed his time spent volunteering and spiritually mentoring inmates.

After retiring, Bert became involved with the Small Woodlands Association. He served on the board of directors, earning the distinction of first runner-up for Tree Farmer of the Year, while tree farming their forest properties.

He was often found using his sawmill to help build fencing rails, or whatever anyone wanted. He loved spending time out tinkering with wood in his shop, using wood that he got for himself in the mountains. He made numerous small tables and figurines.

“What we will always remember is his contagious smile, great attitude, and friendly demeanor, which he maintained through his last days,” family members said. “Next time you’re at Anthony Lakes, ski a few runs for Bert.” 

Survivors include his wife, Betty; his three daughters, Rhea Patton (Jim), Hilda Knight (Bill), and Roberta Vanderwall; his grandkids, Kristie Osborn, Bert Huddleston (Tobey), Wendy Secl (Kelly), Amanda Bowman (Travis), Miryka Donovan (Bill), and Riley Huddleston; and 11 great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Anthony Lakes Ski Patrol or the Haines First Baptist Church.

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