North Powder, Union County, Oregon
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Willard Doke Fordice, 87, died Friday, May 16, 1997, at his home in North Powder.
A funeral service will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Gray’s West and Co. Pioneer Chapel, Baker City. Forrest Turner of North Powder will officiate.
Viewing will be until 8 tonight at Gray’s West, 1500 Dewey Avenue.
Mr. Fordice was born on August 12, 1909, to Willard B. and Hattie (Cole) Fordice in Lost Prairie. He married Lela May Gray at the Methodist Parsonage in Wallowa on February 23, 1934. They homesteaded in the Lost Prairie area and then ranched on the Grande Ronde River 10 miles from Troy.
They moved from the ranch to the North Powder area where they ranched for nine years. They moved to North Powder in November 1957.
Mr. Fordice drove school bus at Anatone for five years. He drove and took care of the North Powder buses beginning in 1956. He was the first custodian for North Powder’s Little School built in 1961. He retired in 1975. After retirement, he stayed mostly busy working as a carpenter and doing labor on numerous ranches, the last being for Gerald Gray, his brother-in-law. Mr. Fordice rode cattle for Gray in the summertime with his dog, buddy, which he truly enjoyed.
Mr. Fordice served as mayor of North Powder. He was on the school board and spent 25 years on the North Powder Cemetery Board. He was also a member of the Wolf Creek Grange and the North Powder Lions Club. He participated for four years in the “Old Hands Contest” in Haines and was presented with a belt buckle for his participation.
Survivors include his wife, Lela May Fordice in North Powder; sons, Kenneth Leroy Fordice of Roseburg; Willard Keith Fordice of Hermiston; daughters, Myrna Lee Fordice Hale of Dillon, Montana and Sandra Yvonne Fordice Sanders; seven grandsons, two granddaughters, six great-grandsons and four great-granddaughters.
Brothers Erville C. Fordice and Charles M. Fordice, sisters Elsie M. Fordice Swank and Atta F. Fordice Murrill, and a daughter, Donna Lavelle Fordice Crabill, died earlier.
Memorial contributions may be made to Union County Home Health in care of Gray’s West, P.O. Box 726, Baker City 97814.
The Observer, La Grande, Oregon, Tuesday, 20 May 1997, Page #9.
Contributed by: Robert Bull