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Rock Creek, Oregon
Navarro Neil Aldrich, 71, died July 23, 2004, at St. Elizabeth Hospital.
His funeral will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave. Interment will be at Rock Creek Cemetery. Cliff Cole of Baker City will officiate. Friends are invited to join the family for a reception at Rusty’s home after the service.
Visitations will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and Thursday at Gray’s West & Co.
Neil was born on Nov. 1, 1932, at Baker City to Elvin J. “Dutch” and Mona Yankee Aldrich. He spent most of his life in the Rock Creek area, which he loved. He attended Muddy Creek School and graduated at Powder Valley before joining the U.S. Navy during the Korean conflict. He saw a large part of the world while serving in the Navy.
Neil tried his hand at several occupations and had fun with all of them. He fondly recalled the time he spent in Long Beach, Calif., running the country’s first double Ferris wheel and meeting people from home who came to ride it.
He proudly pointed to many projects around the country that he helped create as a member of the Laborers and Carpenters Union, including the Durkee Cement Plant, Wolf Creek Dam, and parts of the interstate highway.
He made many friends while working on jobs around the country, even convincing some originally from Pennsylvania that Baker County was the place to be. They moved here not long after the job in New Mexico ended.
His favorite job was farming and ranching on Rock Creek. Haying season often found friends stopping by the fields to visit or to lend a hand. From the time his children were old enough to hold on, they rode on all the equipment with him and generally started “driving” the pickup around the field to help him feed when they turned 4. Even after he was not able to work the land himself, he was seen daily traveling down the road to help his neighbor and friend, David Anderson, feed or hay and then go with him to the “office” to visit. Neil loved to visit with people and his friendships were very important to him.
Neil took few vacations in his life. He was content to spend time hunting and fishing in the surrounding mountains. He always had a hunting story to tell, but was also quick to let people know that they had rescued a motherless fawn and raised it on a bottle only to lose it during hunting season even though it had a big red ribbon around its neck.
His three children, Rusty, Randy and Tina, were the brightest spot in his life. He would have done anything for them. Up until his last days he would also offer to watch his grandchildren anytime they could come to the ranch.
“While our dad, grandpa, brother, nephew, and cousin might be gone, his smile and laugh will always be remembered along with his stories and the smell of his famous hot rolls cooking in the oven,” his family members said.
Survivors include his brother, Robert Aldrich of Rock Creek; sons, Rusty Aldrich of Haines and Randy Aldrich of North Powder; daughter Tina Aldrich of Rock Creek; grandchildren, Ashley, Michael, Alyssa, Amy, Kaleb and Aaron; aunt, Virginia; many cousins; and his stepchildren, Steve, Scott, Pam and Kelly Dunn.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and a brother, Gary Aldrich.
Memorial contributions may be made to the family of Neil Aldrich.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, July 30, 2004
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor