Barbara Barton, 84, a former longtime Halfway resident, died April 18, 2009, at her home near Baker City.
At her request, there will be no service. There will be a private vault interment at Pine Haven Cemetery in Halfway.
She was born to Lovell and Velma Gover on June 21, 1924, at their home place in Pine Valley. Barbara’s family goes back to her great-grandfather, Aquilar Farmer Estes, who came from Missouri to become an early pioneer of Pine Valley and Cornucopia.
Her grandmother, Barbara (know as Lorene) married Aquilar’s son, George Estes, who was killed in a snow slide at the Queen of the West mine at Cornucopia.
She was educated in the Halfway schools and was raised on her parents’ ranch with her half brother Junior. She became an accomplished rider and cattlewoman. She had the distinction of being the first Baker County Fair Queen in 1938.
Barbara married Howard Barton, a bomber pilot instructor at Liberal Army Airfield in Liberal, Kan., in 1944. They returned home to Halfway in 1945 after the war and Barbara worked at the Idaho Power Co. office for the next 41 years.
In 1948 Barbara and Howard formed a partnership with her parents which was the beginning of a very successful Gover and Barton Angus Co.
When the company sold in 1988 it was the second oldest and fourth largest Angus ranch in Oregon. They selected replacement heifers from their own herd and chose elite herd sires to build one of the outstanding Angus herds in America over a 40-year period.
Choosing not to show their cattle, their progeny, nevertheless, won champion, grand champion and many other honors throughout the years. They never hired a herdsmen and did the records and cattle management themselves.
Barbara often mentioned how Wes and Joy Barnhart were indispensable when working their cattle. As a teenager, Tim DelCurto started helping with the haying operation. As the years passed he became more involved with all activities and was so helpful he was considered a member of the family.
Barbara had a passion for the cattle and spent endless hours caring for them. After spending a full workday at the office, Barbara would slip into her blue jeans and walk the spring range checking the cows and small calves. When asked why she spent so much time with the cattle she would reply, “This is a form of recreation for me.”
Barbara always had a great love for Pine Valley. Her cousins, Lynda Thomas Bird and Cheryl Thomas, recall that during their grade school and high school years she would give them a ride to school as she was on her way to work.
Every morning she would comment on how beautiful the Granites were. It was with a sad heart that the partners agreed to sell the property in Halfway and move to Baker City in 1988.
She continued her interest in cattle and delighted in following the Thomas Angus and Harrell Herford programs. During her years of declining health, she continued to face life with a positive attitude and a pleasant smile. She made the comment many times “I am as tough as an old boot!”
Survivors include an aunt, Arlene Thomas of Halfway; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and close friends, Jerry and Vi Clay, who provided loving care in recent years.
She was preceded in death by her father, Lovell in 1960; her half brother, Lovell Jr., in 1981; her mother, Velma, in 1990; and her beloved husband, “Bart,” in 2001.
Memorial contributions may be made to Pine Haven Cemetery Association through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, April 21, 2009
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor