William John (Jack) Price 1929 - 2020

William John "Jack" Price was born July 8, 1928, in Hawthorne, California, to Harold E. Price and Stella Fay Price [nee Barker]. His family was deeply impacted by the economic collapse of the Great Depression, losing their family home when the banks collapsed. His father worked long, hard hours wherever he could find work and, like others of his generation, Jack and his six siblings and parents were shaped by these hard times.

During the 1940s, his family moved to Port Angeles, Washington, finding work in the papermills. Jack discovered the trails of the Olympic Mountains and became a passionate backpacker, hunter and fisherman. After high school he worked in the papermill before deciding to try college, where he studied psychology. He was drafted into the Army during the Korean Conflict and trained with a MASH unit, but after rapidly teaching himself to type on a pawnshop typewriter to avoid being sent overseas, he did well enough on a military typing test that he became a stateside desk sergeant for the duration of his service. While on a weekend pass visiting a friend from his unit, he was set up on a blind date with his future wife, Fernell. They were married in 1955 and lived in Houston while Fernell finished nursing school, then moved to Seattle, where Jack earned his MSW at UW. In 1962, he moved to the then-small town of McMinnville, Oregon, to open the Yamhill County Mental Health Clinic, which at that time was located in the old courthouse. He ran the mental health clinic for six years, then opened a private practice as a family and marriage counselor, which was his craft until he retired in the early 1990s.

But none of these details say much about what sort of person he was. Jack was an avid reader and fervent supporter of family literacy programs. He loved to spend time in the Cascades and at the coast and was an avid walker and hiker. He enjoyed golfing, and he loved traveling both within the U.S. and internationally. He had many friends in Mac with whom he loved to spend time yacking over coffee or lunch. He liked to sing loudly at Bethel Baptist Church, and forced his children to join the Yamhill County Little Singers so that they might, unlike him, sing on key. He was a firm believer in the value of laughter and was known for his sense of humor. He had progressive politics his entire life, and he cared about other people. He was born into hard times and, as things improved, he did not squander his privilege; personally and professionally, he tried to help others. He believed people did the best they could, and he wanted people to understand they have choices.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 51 years, Jewel Fernell Price, and all his siblings. He is survived by his daughters, Jean Schuchardt (and husband Bruce Schuchardt) of Newberg, Michael (and wife Lisa Price) of Eugene, and David (and wife Midge Price) of Olympia; three granddaughters, Emily Price, Nora Jeffries and Laura Schuchardt; and two grandsons, Milo Price and Mark Schuchardt.

If there wasn’t a global pandemic, his kids would have held a celebration of life where everyone sang the songs they all used to sing in the car on road trips, hoping everyone could sing "You Are My Sunshine" so loudly that no one cared if you were on key. But at present, there is no service planned due to Trump’s mishandling of the COVID crisis.

Jack died in his sleep October 21, 2020, of the sort of natural causes one expects after 92 years. The family asks any gifts of remembrance be made to McMinnville Friends of the Library.


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