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Jeb Bladine: Local life stories fill a wide-reaching list

Our 2018 newspaper pages told life stories about hundreds of local people who died this year. They touched the lives of untold thousands, far and wide; as always, it was a memorable trip through the decades to revisit those stories.

Readers wanting to take that journey can find the past six months of obituary articles on our website, or search our online permanent archives to find life stories dating from 1999.

For me, the articles from 2018 included some closest of generational family friends in Eleanor Macy and her youngest son, G. Scott Macy. Both led lives abundantly filled with family, civic and community activities.

I found the unusual coincidence of losing three favorite neighbors from a single block that surrounded a 20-year family home in McMinnville: Milly Armstrong, Arlys Berry and Wanda Johnson.

Occasional political pen pal and fellow McMinnville native Carole Flanigan died this year — her obituary said she “dedicated her life to supporting her family.” Fellow journalist and community activist Jo McIntyre left us, as did the endearing Ann Molek Wilson and the always smiling Jeri Walker.

Our 2018 “in memoriam” folder includes such memorable personalities as Al Hanson and Bob Rhodes, Rollin Wood and Ray Fields, Jack Leonard, Ish Duckett and Chris Chennell. Along the way I stopped to recall past times with Dave McGregor, Jean Mosiman and Larry Bernards, with Carl Jackson, Duncan Dashney and Ted Henry.

When families started writing their own loved ones’ obituaries, those articles became more personal and interesting. One example was this year’s story about Helga Pagel, 94, whose family had to flee their home in Germany in fear of the approaching Russian Army. She and Arthur raised their own family Willamina after an eventful post-war time of immigration and starting over.

These are just a few names that caught my eye from a long list of 2018 obituaries. It’s a list that reaches out to almost everyone in the our local communities; my personal notes are apologetically incomplete, since every one of those lives remembered on our pages had good reason for special mention.

Like many Baby Boomers, I look at birthdates on the obituary pages and wince at those more recent than my own. It reminds me that our lives ultimately are fleeting, sending my thoughts to how best to spend the years remaining.

As Benjamin Franklin observed succinctly, “You may delay, but time will not.”

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.

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