Obituary for June 7, 2013

Written by Baker City Herald June 07, 2013 08:40 am

‘Dave’ Laurance

Baker City, 1916-2013

David H. “Dave” Laurance, 96, a longtime Baker City resident, died peacefully with family present June 3, 2013.

Dave was born on July 24, 1916, at Canyon City to Fred and Pearl Laurance.  He attended grade school at Ironside and high school at the Intermountain Institute, which was a boarding school in Weiser, Idaho.

Although his childhood was spent on a ranch in Ironside, he is a descendant of 1860s cattle ranchers in the John Day Valley and so he had family ties there as well. He enjoyed recounting how his grandfather arrived in Canyon City as a toddler on a pack mule from Yreka, Calif., where his parents had done some gold mining. 

Dave married schoolteacher Virginia Boyer from a Burnt River homesteading family in August 1939.  Besides numerous ranching jobs, Dave was once a range rider for the Cattlemen’s Association. He continued to work with cattle until 1945 when they moved to Baker. 

During the postwar years he also drove a Cat and cultivated wheat fields for a large ranch in the Baker Valley. 

At many different intervals between 1945, 1963, and the late 1970s he worked for Rogers (formerly Rogers & Bablers) where he got his early introduction to highway construction. 

At various times he worked on the straightening of the road over Dooley Mountain, the Sumpter Highway and Interstate 84 through Ladd Canyon and near Durkee.

In 1953, he became a partner in the Arthur Simonsen Construction Co. Although he sold his share in 1962, he again worked for the company from 1965 to 1970. 

He spent most of 1964 working for Mullen Construction in southeastern Alaska. In the late 1970s, he worked for Baker Redi-Mix on their dam on the upper Rogue River.

After retiring, David and Virginia enjoyed volunteering with the Trail Tenders.  They also enjoyed their travels to 51 countries around the world, as well as their camper trips as far as southern Mexico and several trips to Alaska. He also enjoyed years of fishing and huckleberrying.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Virginia, in 1998; and by his brothers, Herman Laurance and Everett Laurance. 

Survivors include three children, Gayle Butterworth and her husband, R. Scott Butterworth of Bend, Sandy Ryman of La Grande and Brian “Dave” Laurance and his wife, LynnD Laurance of Puyallup, Wash.;  five grandchildren, Jeffrey Butterworth, Tove Ryman, Leif Ryman, Tatiana Laurance and Eliana Laurance; and 15 loving nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Trail Tenders or to the David and Virginia Laurance Scholarship Fund at Eastern Oregon University Foundation through Gray’s West and Co., 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.