By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: N-R archives reveal good lives, well-lived

Most Decembers, I stop to remind myself of the many well-lived local lives that ended that year — an enlightening experience made possible by two sets of online News-Register archives.


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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One of those archives includes more than 600 obituary stories going back 15 months, most with photographs. The other – for people interested in a much longer walk down memory lane – features nearly 13,000 obituary files dating back to January 1999.

It’s an annual self-assignment that unfailingly produces feelings ranging from nostalgia to laughter, from sadness to delight, from admiration to surprise and from introspection to empathy.

For me, some of this year’s compassion stems from experiencing a death in our own small family. It’s something we all share but are rarely prepared to face.

For most people reading through our local obituaries, there is some form of introspection about how they live up to the images portrayed in those family-created stories. Time, of course, will tell.

Few among nearly 400 obituaries included in our 2019 obituary feature people highly prominent in public affairs. But their personal, family, career and civic lives were a rich, diverse quilt spread across many local communities.

Childhood memories flowed for me when I re-read obituaries for Marian Peterson, Penny Mattecheck, Mary Skophammer, Marilyn Peery and Gretchen Davis. Many other women’s names and stories also captured my attention, including those of Alberta Contreras, Nona Ballard, Pat Jones, Annie Gunness, Dot Springer, June Prather, Beverly Treneman and Linda Stephenson.

In this year’s perusal of obituaries, I learned that Bob Nugent’s hometown was Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the same as my dad’s … that David Wall’s interesting-but-too-short life included a bronze medal for homemade raspberry port sweetened with bananas … that Joy Tackett loved to sew, read and bowl.

Among other men whose names drew me back into their local life stories were Bryce Mitchell, Lloyd Nisly, Ray Clevenger, Frank Maynard, Jim Apperson, James Goodwin, Ralph Schoof, Alan Pearson, Jack Squires, Roy Zimbrick and Doug McConnell.

I never met Jerry Naylor Jackson, but I knew the Texas-born singing star and rockabilly legend had lived in McMinnville in recent years. He died this month after 80 eventful years.

Mine is an incomplete list, meant only to highlight a few of the hundreds of local lives lost this year. Each of you, if asked, would produce a different collection of memorable lives from those 2019 archives.

But we all would share similar emotions in the process. It’s a reading exercise I wholeheartedly recommend.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.


David S. Wall

I too share an interest in the lives of people I know and do not know.

When I have cause to visit a cemetery and read the inscriptions on the tombstones, the "Born Date is separated by a 'Dash' to the Death Date."

To me the "Dash" represents that persons entire life, full of stories only a few will ever know.

Obituaries just don't do the job but, they are all we have of the majority of us who didn't make it into the "History Books."

I thank the News-Register for this commentary.

When I read, "... that David Wall’s interesting-but-too-short life included a bronze medal for homemade raspberry port sweetened with bananas..." I paused for more than a for reflection and discernment for another person sharing a similar name.

I'm also keeping an "eye-out" for the 'Grim Reaper' concerning, "... that David Wall’s interesting-but-too-short life..."

Good Job Jeb!

David S. Wall

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