Jennie Otley

Died: Mon., Mar. 14, 2016


Funeral Service

2:00 PM Mon., Mar. 21, 2016


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Music by The Piano Brothers


Jennie Otley passed away on March 14, 2016 at the Sunshine House in Burns. She was born December 23, 1922, the second child of Charlie and Fannie Barnes, at the family home on the north side of Barton Lake with Mrs. Jim Paul as midwife. Jennie was a true Harney County pioneer living in the county nearly all of her life.
Her family moved north of Burns and Jennie went to first grade at Poison Creek School. Her family moved to the P Ranch near Frenchglen and shortly moved to a nearby ranch they leased from Eastern Oregon Livestock Company. The ranch had a warm spring that had a little house built over it. The bathhouse was used by the community. Jennie told how the sheep on Steens Mountain would be brought down to their corrals to ship out with the herders using the bathhouse also. Of course, Jennie and her siblings liked to play in the warm water. This leased property was included in the land sold to government in 1935, which became part of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Their lease for the property was grandfathered in as part of the sale, so the family remained on their ranch throughout Jennie’s years in her family home. Jennie finished grade school at Frenchglen and then went on to graduate from Crane High School.
Jennie’s father did contract haying for Joe Fine manager of the Eastern Oregon Livestock Company and Jennie helped in the hay field. She mowed with a team of horses and she ran the pull-up during stacking with 4 horses abreast.
After high school, World War II had broke out and there was a need for workers. Jennie and her high school friend, Virginia Crump went to Portland to work in the office of the shipyards. They lived with Virginia’s grandparents while they were working there.
Later she returned to Burns and worked at Ranch Supply. She married Allan Otley on January 24, 1944. The first winter they fed cows for his father at Lawen. They then moved to the Riddle Ranch at Happy Valley just a few miles from her birthplace. They raised their two sons on the ranch and in time had grandkids and great-grandkids join them there. Jennie was on the Riddle Ranch for 70 years, moving to Burns in 2015.
Jennie was very involved in the community and was named Harney County’s Woman of the Year in 1987. She was an active member and leader in the Harney County CattleWomen (originally known as the CowBelles) for more than 60 years. She served as a 4-H leader in the Diamond community for about 30 years. At one time she was also a member of the Harney County Garden Club and the Home Extension.
Jennie enjoyed seeing family and friends, especially grandkids and great grandkids. No one left her house hungry. Her talent for loading the table with fresh produce from her garden, fresh-baked rolls and other dishes, was much appreciated. Jennie’s huge vegetable garden, orchard and flowerbeds filled her yard. She loved to share produce from her garden. She helped out on the ranch as well as raised chickens and sheep. She sold her chicken eggs to loyal customers from Diamond to Burns.
She is survived by: sons Larry (Susan) Otley of Diamond and Dick (Peggy) Otley of Summer Lake; grandchildren Theresa (Ten) Yoshioka, Midge (Wayne) Smith, Dan (Katie) Otley, Dusty (Andrea) Otley, Nikki (Chance) Millin, Lori (Scott) Jensen, and Lindsay (Jason) Huddleston; 17 great-grandchildren; brother Don “Jiggs” (Lucille) Barnes; sister Donna (Lauren) Jordan; brother-in-law Darrell Otley; sister-in-law Betty Otley; and numerous nephews and nieces.
She was proceeded in death by husband Allan, her parents; sisters Ferne Cagle, Thelma Otley, and Josephine Urizar.

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