Obituary for Nov. 20, 2013

By Baker City Herald November 20, 2013 10:14 am

‘Stan’ Wellman

Baker City, 1926-2013

Stanley Taylor Wellman, 86, of Baker City, died peacefully at his home on Nov. 15, 2013. 

Visitations will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave.

His funeral will be at 1 p.m. Friday at the First Church of the Nazarene, 1250 Hughes Lane. Tim Fisher will officiate. There will be a reception at the Nazarene Church Family Life Center after the committal ceremony.

Stan was born on Dec. 23, 1926, at Baker City to Homer Leslie Wellman and Lucy Fay Hunt. He was a proud graduate of the Baker High Class of ’44. While in school he played football, wrestled and participated in FFA. Stan was a member of the original Drum & Bugle Corps.

He served in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946 and was a veteran of World War II, commissioning the USNS Gen. LeRoy Eltinge and the USS Pickaway. He returned to Baker County and continued to build his legacy.

 Stan’s first marriage was to Lucy Colvard bringing one daughter to the union, which ended in divorce. He then married Lorene Luff, which brought two daughters and two sons to the marriage. They later divorced.

Stan married Karen Hankins and she brought one son into this marriage, which also ended in divorce.

In May of 1981, Stan married the love of his life, Joann Emery Rowe. Joann brought two sons and one daughter to the marriage, which Stan always said completed his family.

Stan was a very loving and caring husband, father, son, and friend to many, family members said.

His passion was always ranching. He ranched with his father, Leslie, eight miles north of Baker on Chandler Lane. The ranch was sold in 1991 to the Mackenzies due to Stan’s ill health. 

Before the death of his father, there were times there wasn’t always enough work to keep them both busy, so Stan was able to experience other lines of work such as sawmills, and the gold mining life in this area. He also logged, drove truck and worked a short time in Morrow County with his brother in-law in land leveling. 

He was a true jack-of-all-trades. After retirement and moving to town he made it to the local morning coffee gathering for about three days. He came home one morning and said, “If this is retirement, it ain’t cutting it. If this is retirement I don’t like it.” 

So he started new hobbies of working and rebuilding wagons and woodworking, becoming a talented natural craftsman. He could make most anything he set his mind to from knickknacks, frames and furniture to wagons. Anything Joann or Garla could envision, he could make. They have many treasures made by Stan.

He was honored as Young Farmer of the Year, was a past board member of the Chamber of Commerce, past president of the Cattlemen’s Association and also served as a board member. He was past president of the American Cancer Society and past president of the Blue Mountain Quarter Horse Association.

 Stan was a very talented auctioneer and did the 4-H show for 15 years along with the FFA Slave Auction, FFA Steer Show, Kiwanis, JayCees, YMCA, Rodeo Club, Senior Citizens, Knights of Columbus, Shrine Game Steer Auction and Baker High School Rodeo Club auction. He would also do any special events for his children, grandchildren or any of his many friends -- if ever needed. 

He was an organizer and a huge promoter of Baker County. He organized the “State of Eastern Oregon,” The Wellman’s Outlaws, the Cavalry Riders, Wagon Train and Old Oregon Trail Ride Association, Baker County Winter Jubilee in Sumpter, and he was one of the promoters of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. 

He was one of the two characters painted in the original Oregon Trail Interpretive Center poster by artist, Gary Smith. He has displayed many personal memorabilia at the Interpretive Center. He hosted many students from this and other areas to covered wagon rides and tours of cow camps and his Western heritage museum. He also hosted foreign exchange students from Japan on trail rides and tours of Baker County.

Many of his personal collectibles have been donated to the community and the county. He was supportive of numerous activities in the Sumpter area with buggy and wagon rides for special events. He was a charter member and captain of Slough Road Fire Patrol and one of the original organizers of the Rope’n Club in Baker. 

He contributed input to the Bureau of Land Management and Soil Conservation Districts regarding range management and water policy in Baker Valley. He maintained an interest in the political system both locally and nationally, and ran for Baker County commissioner.

Stan was a citizen of Baker County who started giving at a very early age to his community, county, state and country. He truly was an ambassador for our community, family members said.

He volunteered many hours for Baker County. He was a reserve deputy doing Snake River Patrol, transporting prisoners, and sheriff’s posse member search and rescue year round. He conducted an auction to raise money to purchase bulletproof vests for the sheriff’s department. 

He donated many thousands of hours for charity and fundraisers in Baker City and throughout the county.

Stan was an avid horseman. He loved quarter horses and won several awards from competitions. He was also an avid hunter, fisherman, boater and snowmobiler. 

 Stan was very active in preserving antiques and living history about the Oregon Trail. He was considered an expert in restoring and rebuilding wagons. Stan had probably ridden more miles on the Oregon Trail than any other person around as their home and rangeland was located on the Oregon Trail.

Stan was an honorable, honest, caring and loving son, husband, father and friend, his family said.

His entire adult life had been spent giving many, many hours of his personal time to benefit so many people and so many causes. He enjoyed sharing, not only his time, but his wisdom and knowledge of things that were meaningful to him, his family, his friends, his interests in ranching, horses, wagon restoration, Western memorabilia and history of the Oregon Trail. He was a great storyteller and a lover of nature and all earthly beauty. 

He loved this special valley and the surrounding mountains that had been home to him all of these years, family members said.

“He loves the people who live here, and the people love that guy with the twinkle in his eye and the smile on his face that always greets you with a great big ‘Howdy,’ ” they said.

Survivors include his loving wife, Joann; his stepmother, Effie Turner; his children, Judy Wellman Thompson and her husband, Michael, of Portland, Linda Wellman Valentine of Pendleton, Russell Wellman and his wife, Desi, of Baker City, Janice Wellman King, of Federal Way, Wash., Richard Wellman and his wife, Kim of Baker City, Richy Rowe Sr. and his wife, Misty, of Pilot Rock, Donny Rowe and Tammy of Haines, Garla Rowe of Haines and Rick Hankins and his wife, Alicia, of McGill, Nev.; 21 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; and many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and in-laws.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Homer Leslie Wellman, and Lucy Gentry; a  sister, Inez Miller; numerous aunts, uncles and cousins; and his father-in-law, Joe Emery.

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