Baker City, 1933-2020
Henry Spivey, 87, of Baker City, made his final cast on Nov. 7, 2020.
One of his sayings: “If others wonder why I’ve gone missing, just tell ’em all I’ve gone fishin.”
James “Henry” Spivey was born on March 23, 1933, at Baker City, the ninth of 10 children. He attended school at Tiedemann (South Baker) grade school; Helen M. Stack (junior high school) and Central Building, which was the high school. He left school in March 1951, and graduated with his GED in 1966.
Henry met Hallie Davis at a Christmas dance in Union in December 1950. They wrote letters back and forth because she lived in Pondosa. It was true love, and 6 months later they were married, on June 30, 1951.
Upon getting married, they soon moved to Izee, in Grant County, where he worked in the mill. The family then moved to Kinzua, where he worked for Kinzua Corp. mill for 4 years before moving back to Baker to work for Burnt River Lumber Mill until the strike in 1971. He moved the family to Fossil, then back to Kinzua while employed with Kinzua Corp. mill until he retired due to having severe tendinitis in both arms.
Following working at the mill, he delivered rural mail around Fossil. They returned to Baker, residing in Wingville, in 1979. Henry worked for the Baker City Airport as a maintenance man for several years. They moved to Burns Junction in 1981 where Henry and Hallie both worked for the restaurant and gas station. After that, Henry went to work for the Oregon State Highway Department at the Basque Station for 2 years when he was transferred to the Pendleton Highway Department working on the bridge crew. He officially retired in 1998 and permanently returned to Baker to live out the rest of his life and be closer to family.
Henry’s greatest rewards and enjoyment in life was teaching kids all the things he enjoyed while he was growing up. Early in life he coached Little League and Babe Ruth baseball until he moved the family to Fossil, where he attempted to coach for one year. He was fond of sports and was a loyal fan of the Seattle Mariners and L.A. Rams. He loved archery and worked with many friends to build the archery course in Kinzua. Henry also helped build the archery course up Washington Gulch near Baker City and he worked with many junior archers who are still shooting. Henry won the Oregon State Archery Champion in the ’60s and many golf tournaments. He was highly competitive and liked being challenged in anything he enjoyed which included golf, fishing, archery, card games, and outpicking others in huckleberrying and mushrooming.
Henry fished every possible day until the last 3 weeks before passing. He lived by the fishing motto, “Pretty flies catch people, ugly flies catch fish” and “Early to bed, early to rise, fish all day make up lies.” Henry shared the love of fly-tying with many including his son, in-laws, grandkids, nieces and nephews. It was a true passion of his that he talked about and actively instilled in anyone interested. One family member has even taken it to a professional level. He also shared his love of coyote hunting; one family member has taken it seriously enough to create predator and other calls. He shared his love of fishing and hunting with every one of his kids and grandchildren and that included his in-laws.
He inspired the love of the outdoors in his family, which one family member has taken on as a career. Everything he did was fun — family activities and always a lot of joking and smack talking. He had a true love of family and friends. Everyone always commented on his smile and how much they loved it. In his competitive spirit, he truly enjoyed winning. His love and compassion was deeply installed in all that knew him and loved him.
Henry is survived by his children, Yvonne (Barton) Wood, Lorraine Spivey Harrison, and Jeanette (Michael) Miller, all of Baker City; his son Daryl (Lynn) Spivey of Boise; 11 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren.
Henry was preceded in death by his wife, Hallie Spivey; his parents, Luther and Ora Lee Spivey; his brothers, Claude, Earl, Roy, Clyde and Glenn Spivey; his sisters, Edna Springer, Blanche Pearce, Hazel Kandle Reid and LaVelle Jellick; one granddaughter and one grandson-in-law; and his beloved dachshund, BoBo.
For those who would like to make a donation in memory of Henry the family suggests either the Alzheimer’s Organization or the American Cancer Society through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home & Cremation Services, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834. Online condolences can be made at www.tamispinevalleyfuneralhome.com