Kathleen Theresa Wilber

Born: Fri., Nov. 30, 1923
Died: Mon., Feb. 5, 2018


Recitation of the Rosary

10:30 AM Sat., Feb. 24, 2018
Location: Holy Family Catholic Church


Memorial Mass

11:00 AM Sat., Feb. 24, 2018
Location: Holy Family Catholic Church


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Kathleen Theresa Wilber, 94 died on Monday, February 5, 2018 at the Aspens.  A Recitation of the Holy Rosary will be held Saturday, February 24, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at the Holy Family Catholic Church with a Memorial Mass to follow at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 24, 2018.

Kathleen Joyce Wilber was born in Juntura, Oregon on November 30, 1923 to John P. “Jack” Joyce and Catherine T. “Katy” Grealish Joyce.  She was the fourth of their five children and many times referred to herself as the ‘middle child’.  Jack and Katy immigrated to the United States from Ireland in the early 1900’s and made their way west from the shipyards and boarding houses of the east coast - ultimately to Juntura where they raised sheep, cattle and their family.  

In 1912, Jack established a homestead on Cottonwood Creek north of Drewsey that served as the summer quarters for the sheep operation.  Mom often spoke of the fun she, her brother, sisters and cousins enjoyed camping in the summers on Cottonwood.  In fact, she revered the Cottonwood property and acquired it for her own in 1967.  She held title to her father’s homestead until the day she died.

Kathleen married Wright Wilber in 1941 and later that year delivered her first son, Bill, into the world.  Kathleen and Wright lived the first few years of their marriage at the Wilber homestead on Stinkingwater Creek.  After their second son, Mike, was born in 1945, the fledgling family moved to the Drewsey Field a few miles south of Drewsey.  At the time, the only building on the property was a barn.

Son Pat was born in 1946 and George came along in 1949.  She was 26 years old with four little kids, a workaholic husband, hired hands to cook for and a vision of one day handing it all over to ‘you boys’.

Wright and Kathleen worked hard and with great determination turned the Drewsey Field into the Drewsey Field Ranch that thrives today.  Kathleen’s vision was fulfilled.  She was noticeably modest but extremely proud of her accomplishments and her heritage as the daughter of Irish immigrants.  She lived her life with dignity and was forever a lady, loved and admired accordingly.

Mom was especially proud of her four sons, dressing them in starched white shirts and creased Levi’s to show their 4-H steers and most any other event that required dress up.  She was insistent that we gain as much education as we could, recognizing her own limitations as a high school graduate when both her sisters were college graduates with professional careers.

She was coincidentally proud and fearful while her four sons wore the uniform of the United States Army during the Viet Nam war.  She was equally proud of her nephews and grandchildren Marilyn and Cody for their military service.  She believed strongly in the American idiom that ‘freedom is not free’.

In 1991, Kathleen and her sister, Barbara traveled to Ireland to meet the ‘relatives’, as she called them.  In fact, they did meet up with family on both sides, Joyce and Grealish.  Her contact with Irish relatives has helped many of the next generation make connection with Ireland and the extended family there.

Kathleen lived independently at the ranch for several years after Wright passed away.  In 2012, knee replacement surgery lead her to take up residence at The Aspens in Hines.  She was happy there and doted on by the staff to whom she always said sincerely, “Oh thank you, honey”, learning long ago that ‘you catch many more flies with honey than vinegar’.   Her health began to deteriorate in 2016 after a stroke confined her to a wheel chair.  She died on February 5, 2018 from complication of a stroke.  

Kathleen was preceded in death by her beloved son, Mike in 2004 and husband Wright in 2005.  She was the last survivor of the Jack and Katy Joyce children.

She is survived by sons and daughters in law Bill and Patsy, Pat and Judy, George and Mary Ann, nine grandchildren and fourteen great grandchildren.

Contributions in her memory may be made to the Burns Elks Lodge or the Holy Family Catholic Church in Burns.

Charitable donations may be made in Kathleen's memory to the following organizations:

Burns Elks Lodge #1680

Holy Family Catholic Church

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Condolence Booklet

Lester and Sue McBain
   Posted Fri February 09, 2018
Sorry to Hear about the Loss of Your Loved One. Prayers for Your Families

Lynn Harris Mims
   Posted Sun February 18, 2018
Prayers for your families. Kathleen was a great Lady, always an inspiration to me.

Mary Ann Daniel
   Posted Mon February 19, 2018
So sorry to hear about Kathleen. My prayers are with you all

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