Willard Dale Vernholm, 73, of Baker City, died Sept. 25, 2005, at Idlewood Manor.
At his request there will be no services. Cremation by Eastern Oregon Pioneer Crematory.
Dale was born on Feb. 11, 1932, in York, Neb., to Carl Willard and Lois Louetta Middleton Vernholm. When Dale was about 4 years old the family moved to Corvallis. He attended school at Lewisburg and Corvallis High School. In 1947, at 15, Dale’s family moved to New Plymouth, Idaho. When Dale was only 16, but needing to be 18, he lied about his age and went to work for the Payette National Forest manning a lookout tower.
Shortly after staring his new job for the Forest Service, a friend of Dale and a friend of Josephine Detmer set the two up on a blind date. On July 2, 1951, only eight months later, the couple married. They lived in Payette, and Dale worked for the Payette County Road Department as a heavy equipment operator. While in Payette, Dale and Jo’s oldest two sons, Steven and Gary, were born.
The family moved to Baker in 1956, and Dale went to work for the Baker County Road Department. He also worked for the Steward & Morrissey Ranch and Simonson’s Construction operating the rock crusher. Their youngest son, Michael, was born in Baker City.
Dale went back to work for the Forest Service with the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. He put in for a transfer and the family moved to Enterprise in 1974. In 1976, He was appointed to the Umatilla National Forest and relocated to Pendleton. Dale took a position as crew leader with the Umatilla National Forest in 1977 and moved to Elgin, where they lived for 15 years. In 1991, Dale retired and moved to Richland. After five years,
Dale’s health began to fail and he and Jo moved back to Baker City.
Dale enjoyed hunting, fishing, woodworking, leather crafts and gardening and yard work. He was a member of the First Lutheran Church.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Jo, of Baker City; sons, Steven and his wife, Kathy, of Emmett, Idaho, Gary and his wife, Peggy, of Baker City and Michael of Pendleton; granddaughters, Jody Clark of Michigan and Stacey Ward of Baker City; grandsons, Sam Ragsdale of Enterprise, Roger and Dale Vernholm of Lions; seven great-grandchildren; sister, Linda Robbins of Baker City and brother, Ron Vernholm of Dillon, Mont.
His infant daughter, Jody, preceded him in death along with his parents Carl and Lois Vernholm.
Memorial contributions can be made to Pathway Hospice, the First Lutheran Church or Community Connection (the Senior Center) in care of Gray’s West & Co., P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, September 30, 2005
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor