Richard "Dick" Jenkins

Died: Thu., Nov. 21, 2019

Mass of Christian Burial

11:00 AM Sat., Nov. 30, 2019
Location: Holy Family Catholic Church

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Richard John Jenkins, rancher, businessman, pilot, and third-generation resident of Harney County, passed away Nov. 21 at St. Charles Hospital in Bend, of complications following a stroke suffered a week earlier while at work.

Dick, as he was called by his friends and fellow Harney Country residents, was the son of Richard J. and Helen E. Jenkins, ranchers in the Diamond Valley. Dick was born July 23, 1941, in La Center, Minn., where his mother had gone for her maternity.

Dick grew up in Diamond, with his best and life-long friends, Bob Otley and Earl Carson. He attended Diamond Grade School and then St. Martin’s High School and St. Martin’s College in Olympia, Wash., where he earned a double bachelor’s degree in music and music education, and met his wife, the then Patricia Hall of Olympia.

Dick and Pat married on May 30, 1964, the day after his college graduation. Bob Otley was his best man. They moved to Diamond Valley to help his father and uncle manage the Jenkins Ranches. They subsequently moved to the Barton Lake Ranch in 1966, where they lived together until his death.

In his youth, Dick was an avid hunter and a first-class mechanic. In addition to his work as a rancher. Dick earned private pilot’s licenses in fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. He ranched in Diamond until 2004, when he turned ranch management over to his son, Rich. He then built and operated the Round Barn Visitor Center in order to preserve and teach some of the history of Harney County to visitors of Steens Mountain and the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, who come from all over the world. He also operated historical tours of the Jenkins Ranches and Steens Mountain country, which on one occasion included the governor of Oregon and his wife. Dick made the Round Barn Visitor Center a successful commercial operation. His books section, which specializes in western and aviation history, became one the largest bookstores east of the Oregon Cascades.

Dick was a lifetime member of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association. He was active in the Harney County community, teaching and assisting in the music program at Burns High School and donating money and prizes to the Harney County High School Rodeo Team. He also led a six-piece band, Jazz Light, that played at weddings, receptions, and community events.

Dick is survived by his wife, Patricia; daughter, Zina, and her husband, Marty Norton; son Rich; daughter-in-law, Renae; grandchildren, Corey and Elizabeth; and sister, Barbara, a resident of Lincoln City. His oldest grandchild, Alicia, passed away in 2012.

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