Edwin Milton Roten 1919 - 2021

Edwin Milton Roten, 101, died early Thursday, January 14, 2021, just eight days short of his 102 birthday, at a care home near Sheridan, Oregon. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Florene; and second wife, Verna; and nine brothers and sisters. He is survived by a sister, Jane Postel of Ogden, Utah; two children, Barbara Morley of Willamina, Oregon, and Robert Roten of Laramie, Wyoming; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Roten, a longtime resident of Mehama, Lyons and Willamina, was born January 22, 1919, in Willcox, Arizona, one of 11 children. He grew up as a cowboy on cattle ranches near the remote town of Klondyke, Arizona.

Like so many of this "greatest generation," his memories of the Great Depression of the 1930s colored the rest of his life, impressing upon him the value of saving and thrift. Like many others, he sometimes rode boxcars for long distance travel in those "hard times."

He moved to Gates, Oregon, in the late 1930s and worked in construction and in the timber industry. There, he met his future wife, Florene Shepherd, in Mill City, Oregon, and married her just before he shipped out to the Pacific Theater of WWII. He started out working with pack mules, but soon was transferred to the Army Air Corps, dropping supplies from cargo planes to ground troops, taking enemy fire in the process.

He was stationed in Japan for a short time after the war, and often spoke of his admiration for the hard-working Japanese people. Upon his return to the States, he and his wife started a family, living in Mehama, and later in Lyons. He made a good living working at the Freres Lumber Company in Lyons, working there more than three decades until he retired. He was a skilled handyman, building an addition to his home while doing his own carpentry, wiring and plumbing.

After retiring, he did some traveling, before and after the death of his first wife from cancer. He married his second wife, Verna Spurgeon, who also died of cancer a few years later. He was an avid fisherman and hunter, and often hiked into the Mount Jefferson Wilderness area to fish at Marion Lake.

Following Verna's death, he lived alone for a time at his property, which included a tree farm, on McCully Mountain near Lyons, tending his cattle. In 2005, he moved to the Fort Hill area of Willamina to be near his daughter, Barbara. She cared for him in his later years, especially after he miraculously survived severe burns in a home accident at age 87.

He stayed in shape by walking every day for at least a mile, well into his late 90s. His Christian faith also sustained him his whole life. He faithfully served in the church for decades, as long as he was able to. He attended the Willamina Christian Church in his later years. He continued to drive until the age of 99, and lived in his own home until the age of 100.


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