Jimmie Ray Hilderbrand, known to many as Jim, died suddenly after a motor vehicle accident while he was headed from Baker City to his home in Halfway on Sept. 12, 2017. He was 87.
A graveside service with military honors will be Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 11 a.m. at Pine Haven Cemetery in Halfway. Friends are invited to join the family for a potluck (salads and desserts) reception immediately following the interment at the Pine Valley Grange.
Jim was born on Nov. 18, 1929, at Erick, Oklahoma, and was the oldest son of Ora and Ethel Essie Hilderbrand. Shortly after Jim’s birth, about 1930, the family moved to Central Oregon. His childhood years were filled with hard, life-forming times with his siblings Dorothy, Sadie, Leon, Charles and Colleen alongside him.
Jim was drafted into the Army and served in the Korean Conflict from July 1952 to July 1954. He was one of 33 men who survived a battle which later became the last major battle of the conflict; where 350 men fought out of Outpost Harry.
1954 was also the year he met the love of his life, Theresa Viola Hendrix, in Prineville. They were married on Feb. 9, 1955. Jim hauled hay into Paulina with his brother, Charlie. He also topped and fell trees in Prineville and surrounding areas with father-in-law, Dan Hendrix. Jim began logging for Brooks-Scanlon in Sisters, where he lived for a couple years. Between logging the two years in Sisters and moving to Dayville for another two-year logging job, Theresa gave birth to two boys, Jimmie and Lee. They moved back to Prineville in 1960 where she had another boy, John.
In August of 1968, Jim moved his family to Halfway. He worked for Milo Pope and Chuck Phegley as a timber faller/cat skidder. Jim filled multiple forest thinning contracts for the Forest Service. In 1969 they bought a two-story home on Oliver Lane. Jim continued his work as a logger. Like many loggers, Jim fought fires during summer months throughout 60s, 70s and 80s. In addition he harvested and sold firewood. In 1971 he leased property and started up a small dairy just down the road, also on Oliver Road. It was about then that their family of 5 became a family of 7 after the passing of Theresa’s sister, Lenny. Within a couple years Jim bought the land and home that the dairy sat on. The dairy closed in the early 80s. Around this same time an unfortunate accident ended Jim’s logging career while logging on Pine Creek. He continued living in the Koopman home till the late 90s when they sold it and moved to the Oliver Lane home. He added some rooms to the home and lived there till the day he died. Jim was a hard working provider who will be missed greatly.
Jim is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Theresa Hilderbrand of Halfway; sons, Jimmy and his wife, Sheilah, of Halfway, Lee of Baker City, John and his wife, Dondi, of Clarkston, Washington, Tony of Ontario, and Monty and his wife, Sarah, of Emmett, Idaho; grandchildren: Jimmie’s kids Brian, Jolene, Nicholas and Madeline; Lee’s kids Amanda and Anastasia (Annie); John’s kids Jerid and Clay; Anthony’s (Tony Montwheeler) kids Emilio, Zachary and Aireana; and Monty’s kids Marcus, Maximus, Megan and Shane. Jim and Theresa also have a number of great-grandchildren as well as a few who have married into the family. Shaelee, Aden, Jace, Cade and Emmalyn belong to Brian and Renee Hilderbrand, currently of Pendleton; Lois and Jack belong to Jolene and Dennis Carmody of Las Vegas, Nevada; Antonio belongs to Amanda and Anthony Washington of Baker City; Kaitlyn, Peyton and Abram belong to Annie and Joel Waters of Baker City; Madison, Noah and Emry belong to Jerid and Shawn Hilderbrand of Lewiston, Idaho; Gavin and Ryder belong to Marcus and Tiffini Hilderbrand of Emmett; his siblings, Leon Hilderbrand of Prineville and Colleen Campbell of Hermiston; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Jim was preceded in death by his father, Ora Hilderbrand, and his mother, Ethel Coker; his stepfather, Park Coker; his sisters, Sadie Taylor and Dorothy Hannaford; his brother, Charles Hilderbrand; and his granddaughter, Ashley Hilderbrand, daughter of Lee Hilderbrand.
The family extends a huge thank you to all of the first responders who helped at the time of the accident. For those who would like to make a memorial donation in memory of Jim, the family suggests the Pine Valley Fair Exhibit Hall restoration (make checks out to UPC) through Tami's Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834. Online condolences may be made at www.tamispinevalleyfuneralhome.comtarget="_blank">www.tamispinevalleyfuneralhome.com