John William “Bill” Keener, 86, of John Day, who had logged in Northeastern Oregon for more than 46 years, died Sept. 19, 2009, at his home.
His memorial service and a celebration of Bill’s life will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Bible Way Church in John Day. Friends are invited to join the family for a reception afterward at the John Day Senior Center.
Bill was born on April 15, 1923, at Franklin, N.C., to James Ulric and Fannie Clementine Williams Keener. He was the fifth child of six children.
He left home when he was about 12 and went to Springfield, Mass., where he worked on poultry farms. Bill also spent time in Georgia picking peaches.
Bill came to Spray in the fall of 1946 with Alex Adams. He worked for M & R (Tommy Ross) logging, which was the first time he had driven a logging truck.
Bill was married to Pearl and they had the café in Spray for a year. They were divorced in 1967.
In 1949 Bill went to work for San Juan Lumber Co. The name was later changed to Hudspeth. He drove truck for quite a few years, then ran the machine to unload logs, feed the mill pond and deck logs. He worked for Hudspeth for 28 years.
In 1978 he bought his own log truck, a self-loader and he worked for all the mills around.
On April 22, 1972, Bill married Barbara L. Wheeler Gienger at Winnemucca Nev. They made their home at John Day.
Bill retired in 1988, and since he didn’t have any hobbies to speak of, he started cutting firewood. He got a little carried away, his family said, and before he realized it there were about 15 cord stacked up, which lasted quite a few years. Bill also helped Barb manage the Riverside Home Park for 40 years.
Bill attended the Bible Way Community Church. He was baptized on Sept. 6, 2003. Bill was a hard worker and liked helping others. He enjoyed seeing the grandkids, watching TV, taking a nice drive and he really enjoyed his recliner.
He was a wonderful husband and dad, family members said, adding that he will be missed more than words can say. He also had many friends who will miss him.
Survivors include his wife, Barb; three daughters, Brenda Lynn Smith and her husband, Tim, of Bend, Joanie Eileen Tussing of John Day and Denise Jackson and her husband, Kip, of Vancouver; six grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; one sister, Mary Nation of North Carolina; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, one brother and three sisters.
Memorial contribution may be made to Blue Mountain Hospice or the Bible Way Church through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon September 23, 2009
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor