‘Sam’ Bass

Baker City, 1942-2017

Jack Randolph Bass, also known as Sam, died Aug. 28, 2017, at St. Alphonsus Hospital in Boise of a sudden illness, with family members present. He was 75.

Sam was also known as Randy to his family and friends in North Carolina.

His funeral will be Saturday, Sept. 9, at 10 a.m. at the First Church of the Nazarene, 1250 Hughes Lane in Baker City, with Pastor Tim Fisher of the Elkhorn Baptist Church officiating the service. The interment with military honors will follow the service at Mount Hope Cemetery in Baker City. A celebration of life reception will be at the Eagles Club, 2935 H St. at Baker City, also on Saturday, starting at 12:30 p.m.

Sam was born on April 6, 1942, at Rocky Mount, North Carolina, to Jack Homer and Ruby Morgan Bass. While Sam was growing up in North Carolina, he played baseball and football.

In 1960 Sam graduated from Rose High School in Greenville, North Carolina. He traveled to Los Angeles to try out for the Los Angeles Angels. When Sam was not picked for the roster he spoke to a recruiter from the Air Force and in the fall of 1960 he joined the Air Force to be a radar technician. He also played softball for the Air Force.

Sam was stationed in San Antonio, Texas, Biloxi Mississippi, St. Lawrence Island, Alaska, and Baker City. When Sam was stationed in San Antonio for basic training, he picked up the nickname “Sam” from his fellow recruits after the famous outlaw Sam Bass.

In June of 1961, Sam was stationed at Baker City for 18 months. This is where he met his wife to be, Nora Colton, on a blind date on Sept. 4, 1962.

On Oct. 29, 1962, Sam married Nora at the Baker County Courthouse. After the couple was married, Sam was in Reno, Nevada, playing softball for the Air Force when Nora gave birth to their first child, Sharon. In October of 1963 Sam was stationed in Galena, Alaska, and then St. Lawrence Island, Alaska.

On Oct. 9, 1964, after four years of duty, Sam left the Air Force as an airman second class. Sam moved his family to North Carolina and while there, Sam and Nora had another daughter, Karen, and a son, Jack Jr. Sam worked at the Heavy Equipment Builder in Wake Forest.

In April of 1970, after living in North Carolina for 5 years, Sam, Nora and kids packed up their green Oldsmobile Delta 88 and moved back to Baker City. Sam commented several times how he thought Baker County Oregon was God’s Country.

Sam worked at Commercial Welding and they purchased the property on 19th where Sam and Nora still resided.

Sam also worked at Don’s 76 Station, Lew Brothers Tires and Ellingson Lumber. In the mid-1970s Sam was hired as the code enforcement officer for the Baker Police Department. Sam later took a job as a patrol deputy for the Baker County Sheriff’s Office. When Terry Speelman was elected Baker County Sheriff in 1980, Sam was promoted to lieutenant.

Prior to Sam’s law enforcement career he was a member of the Baker County Mounted Posse, Baker County Dive Team and Baker County Competition Shooting Team. In 1988 Sam was voted Posse Man of the Year and was the Captain of the Posse in 2002. Sam also instructed first aid and CPR for the American Red Cross. Over the years Sam coached both girls softball and boys baseball for his children and grandchildren for the Baker City Little League.

In early 1985 Sam retired from the Baker County Sheriff’s Office due to medical issues. In 1986 during a family outing, Sam was shot in the neck during a domestic violence dispute at a local establishment. Sam recovered from the gunshot wound.

After Sam retired, he and Nora, along with Jack Jr. and his wife, Tisha, took country dance lessons from Nancy and Chuck Staten. Bob and Vicky Freeman assisted the two on teaching the classes. When Sam started dancing he did not stop. He was known for teaching dancing at the Senior Center, VFW and anywhere, anytime to anybody who wanted to learn. In Sam’s later years, you could always find him where Frank Carlson played. Sam was Frank’s biggest fan! There was always a CD of Frank’s playing very loudly on Sam’s motorcycle and in his pickup wherever he traveled around town. He even wore out two copies of the CD from playing it so often.

Sam was an avid motorcycle rider. In 1986, he rode his 1982 Yamaha Virago back to see his family in North Carolina. Sam then purchased a 1995 Kawasaki Voyager and again rode back to North Carolina in 2005 for his 45th class reunion. Both trips he made by himself.

The day the snow melted off the streets you could see Sam running around on the Kawasaki all over Baker City until the snow came back in the winter. Sam also enjoyed riding the mountain highways with Jack Jr., Tisha and Sharon.

In 1998 Sam and Nora became the legal guardians of their three grandchildren after the passing of their daughter, Karen.

In 2004 Sam was elected to the Baker City Council and re-elected in 2008. In October of 2006 he stepped in as mayor until January of 2007. He also served as vice mayor from 2009 to 2011.

Sam was best known for the Christmas light display at the Bass residence. Sam and his family decorated for the community for at least 30 years, with hundreds of decorations — if it didn’t move there was a light on it. There have been at least four generations of community members visiting the display. Sam would be out in a Santa hat greeting the people walking through the yard filled with thousands of Christmas lights and characters cut out of plywood along with cute store-bought decorations they bought at the end of the holiday season, usually on sale.

On Aug. 23, 2017, Sam felt ill so he drove himself to the emergency room where he was later transported by LifeFlight to St. Alphonsus Hospital in Boise. He spent five days in the intensive care unit and passed away on Aug. 28. This was the fifth time Sam was transported to a Boise hospital but he was not able to overcome his heart issues this time.

Sam is survived by his wife, Nora Colton Bass; his daughter, Sharon Bass; his son, Jack Jr. and his wife, Tisha; grandchildren, John and his wife, Rebecca Aguirre, Kayce Bass and her companion, Jay Gursky, Michael “Scott” Tugman, Samantha Tugman and her companion, Paul Hunt, and Lilly Bass; great-granddaughter, Izabell; and his cat, Dini.

Sam was preceded in death by his daughter, Karen Bass; his parents, Jack Homer and Ruby Morgan Bass; and his in-laws, Frank and Lily Colton.

The family requests in lieu of flowers that donations be made to New Hope for Eastern Oregon Animals through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814. Sam was never a cat person till his later years when he and his wife adopted a stray cat that the two named Houdini because he showed up in one of the family’s chairs and no one would claim that they brought him home. The past couple of years, Sam and Dini had become inseparable, so much so that he called him his dog. Dini would follow Sam anywhere that he went. He would also wait by the road for Sam to return home each and every time he left. Dini is still constantly waiting by the road to this day for Sam to return home.

To light a candle for Sam or to leave a condolence for the family, go to www.grayswestco.com

Travis Talbott

Baker City, 1986-2017

Travis James Artadi Talbott, 31, died Sept. 3, 2017. Our family lost our blessed Travis, his family said. During the early morning hours his life was taken during a tragic car accident on his way to work at the ranch.

A memorial service will take place Saturday, Sept. 9, at 2 p.m. at the Chandler Ranch, 17523 Chandler Lane.

Travis Talbott was a gift to us all, a blessing and pleasure to have in our lives, his family said. A kind-hearted loving man, who dedicated his life to his family, children and love for Chandler Ranch.

Travis was an amazing man who gave everything to help others. He would go out of his way to make sure you would smile and laugh, no matter how tough the day was for him.

Travis the hero father who gave his entire life for his two beautiful children, Silas Talbott, 9, and Sydney Talbott, 6. He loves them with every bit of his soul.

Travis is the light in his parent’s hearts, Donna Forte and James Talbott. A son to be proud of. One to brag about from the time he was born and every day after. A loving brother to Jennifer Canady, Amos Talbott, Dylan Glock, Dusty Glock, Celine Talbott and Joleen Talbott and a friend you could only dream of having in your life.

To light a candle in memory of Travis or to leave a condolence for the family, go to www.grayswestco.com