Baker City, 1927-2019
Elizabeth Ann Huntington Peyron, 92, of Baker City crossed the great divide peacefully on Oct. 11, 2019, wrapped in a blanket of love woven by the loving care of her daughters, support of Hospice, wise counsel of Dr. Lamb and the dedicated team at Memory Lane. What a great journey! Thank you to all!
A celebration of her life will take place on Saturday, Nov. 16, at 11 a.m. at the Baker City Christian Church, 675 Highway 7. Friends are invited to join the family immediately following for lunch, a time to mingle and to share stories.
Liz was born in 1927 at Eugene to McKinley “Mac” and Eleanor Huntington. She was the second of two children with her sister, Mary Lundin, preceding her in death.
At birth Liz lost her mother, Eleanor, and a twin sister. She and her sister were cared for by their father’s sister in the Yoncalla area while their father worked on the family farm.
In 1939, Mac and the two girls moved to Twickenham, 17 miles south of Fossil, where Mac’s father had a homestead. Mary and Liz helped herd their father’s sheep and turkeys, tend to the garden and house chores during the summer and boarded in Fossil during the school year. The importance of getting an education was instilled in the girls early. Mac was a 1919 graduate of Oregon State University (OSU) and Eleanor graduated from nursing school and served in World War I where Mac and she met.
When her sister Mary graduated from Fossil High School and left for OSU, Liz spent her high school years working for room and board in Portland and San Leandro, California, returning to Portland to graduate from Jefferson High School.
At the 1944 Fourth of July picnic in Twickenham, the summer Liz graduated, doors opened that would set the direction of her life. It was war time, money was scarce, and she knew she wanted to go on to school but had no resources. A neighbor girl mentioned she was starting nurses training at The Dalles with the Cadet Nurses Corps, which trained nurses for the war effort. Liz applied, her dad sold some chickens to buy her a bus ticket and she began her three-year training in Baker City.
Liz graduated from the St. Elizabeth Nursing School in 1947. Seventeen students started and six graduated. The training from the nuns was rigorous and challenging. The six graduates forged friendships that lasted their lifetime. Mary Margaret Hansen spearheaded annual gatherings, which included Sue Morrisey, Elsie Cornelius, Barbara Caldwell and Liz.
During her nursing school days, she met Gaston (George) Peyron. He proposed by asking Liz, “Would you like to raise cattle and kids?” They married on the Bride and Groom Radio Show in Anaheim, California, on Dec. 31, 1947, and proceeded to have five children.
They lived and worked together with Gaston’s parents, Henry and Louise, on the ranch homesteaded in 1917 in the Sunnyslope area. In June 1955 they traveled to Hermosillo, Mexico, to work with an Army buddy of Gaston’s who managed a large plantation growing various crops. Gaston was bit by a mosquito six weeks after arriving and died three days later from encephalitis, July 24, 1955.
Liz, at the age of 27, was grateful to be employable with her nursing degree, because she now had the responsibility for four daughters, 6 months old to 6 years old. She worked first for Dr. Fillmore at his clinic in Baker. In 1959 the family moved to La Grande where she worked at St. Joseph Hospital. From there in 1966 the family moved to Portland where Liz completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. She worked in Oregon City as a public health nurse for several years.
Liz’s primary goal was to get her four girls raised while instilling in them values of resourcefulness, curiosity and learning. After the last one graduated from high school, she married back into the Peyron family to William (Pete) in 1973.
Liz stepped back into the ranching life with Pete and they enjoyed the fruits of their labors. Many special friendships linger to this day. Liz was known for her green thumb, her love of gardening, her ability to turn alkali soil into something productive as well as her warm and generous hospitality. Fresh sourdough bread and a bowl of hot homemade soup are remembered by many. She was sensitive to the needs of others and often extended a helping hand to family, friends, acquaintances and even strangers.
Liz loved to travel, designing trips for her and Pete throughout the U.S. Traveling abroad was a lifetime dream which she accomplished visiting many countries.
Liz was into “health food” and “recycling” long before it was mainstream and she was one of the original members of the Baker Food Coop. With local artist Terri Axness’s coaching, her artistic tendencies thrived. She was a part of the weekly Monday painting group with Terri for years and a supporter of Crossroads. At the corner of Sunnyslope Road and the Richland Highway her birdhouses and flowers, especially hollyhocks, were an ongoing landmark.
Liz’s dedication to her faith was a pillar in her life and the source of many enduring friendships. It supported and comforted her through the many challenges she faced.
Pete passed away in 2004 after a 15-year health challenge. Liz cared for him lovingly at home till the end. As her own health declined, in 2015 she sold the remainder of the ranch and moved into Meadowbrook Place and later Memory Lane, where she enjoyed being free of worry and responsibility after a lifetime of hard work and care of others.
Survivors include daughters, Rayna Peyron, Pam Peyron and Laurie Solisz (Larry); four grandchildren, Sara Cothren, Teri Cothren (Christine Mojica), Philip Solisz and Nicolas Solisz (Heather); and three great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husbands, Gaston and Pete; her son, Henry Peyron; and her daughter, Nancy Peyron.
Random Acts of Kindness were a hallmark of Liz’s life. If you experienced a random act of kindness from Liz, her family would be delighted if you could share or offer your condolences at www.tamispinevalleyfuneralhome.com. If you would like to do something in memory of Liz, the family encourages you do what Liz did and let the ripple continue by passing on a random act of kindness.