Richland, Oregon

Odie Lovell Bennett, 85, a lifetime Richland resident, died July 25, 2004, at St. Elizabeth Health Services.

There will be a celebration of his life at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Richland Community Park. Gordon Bond will officiate.

Lovell was born on May 4, 1919, to Odic “Odie” Lewis and Anna Adaline Chandler Bennett at the family’s old home place at Richland near Eagle Creek. He was raised at Richland where he attended school. He was a 1938 graduate of Eagle Valley High School at Richland.

After graduation, Lovell went to work at the Army Depot. He married Adelia Thomas on Oct. 16, 1942, and they made their home at Richland while Lovell worked on the family ranch.

His trade of sheep shearing took them all over Oregon, Wyoming, Idaho and Washington. Lovell and Adelia had two daughters: Marlene and Pam. He learned the trade of horseshoeing when his daughters grew up and wanted horses of their own.

In 1956 Lovell went to work at Brownlee Dam and in 1959 the family moved to Halfway. In the mid 1960s, Lovell became Halfway’s resident peace officer because of the influx in population brought in by the construction of the dams. He went on to work for Brockway Union Oil, which took fuel to the Hells Canyon Dam project.

After that job, he worked for Ellingson Sawmill at Halfway, driving the lumber truck from Halfway to Baker City, sometimes making the trip two to three times in a night.

In 1965 he joined the Hells Canyon Riders and in 1968 served as the organization’s president. In 1968, Lovell also became part of the sheriff’s posse. During this time he served as a guard to the “Paint Your Wagon” wardrobe tents.

In the early ’70s, Lovell drove the gravel truck from the pit near Cornucopia to the Brownlee Dam Site. In the late ’70s and early ’80s Lovell worked as a butcher at the Pine Merc for then-owners, the Fergusons. He worked for Terry Vaughan when he bought the store.

In the late 1970s, he worked as a milker for his daughter, Marlene, who had a dairy at Halfway. In 1978 Lovell and Adelia divorced.

On Sept. 20, 1982, he married Betty Purcell at Reno, Nev. Together they ran a dairy as well as operated a foster care home. In 1999 they bought the Shorthorn Restaurant and Lounge in Richland.

In 1989 he was honored to be the grand marshal of the Hells Canyon Junior Rodeo. Lovell enjoyed the outdoors. He loved to fish, hunt, camp, find mushrooms and ride horses.

Lovell especially enjoyed his visit to Alaska; he had always hoped to go back one day. Lovell loved to do anything he could for anyone he could whenever he could. He will be missed by all who were touched by his life.

Survivors include his wife, Betty; daughters, Marlene Geils of Girdwood, Alaska, and Pam and Robert DuMars of Richland; two stepdaughters, Sharie and Bill Andrade, and Anna Steenhard of Richland; four granddaughters, Angie Tucker and Cynthia Tucker of Boise, Idaho, Celeste Prescott and Nicole Geils of Alaska; six stepgrandchildren, Kyle Kenyon, Brandon Cook, Cody Steenhard, Margurite Luna, Shawn Andrade and Joshua Andrade; one great-grandson, Chanc’; three stepgreat-grandchildren, Lucia Luna, Jordan Luna and George Kenyon; nieces, Earlinda Crider and Vanessa Nagy; nephew, Benny Bennett; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins; and his little dog, “Penny.”

He was preceded in death by his parents; and two brothers, Ianthis Franklin, who died in 1996, and Earlin Stewart, who died in 1993.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Hells Canyon Junior Rodeo or to the Diabetes Foundation through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, July 30, 2004
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor