Photography

Byron Rudishauser

August 11, 1934 ~ July 17, 2021 (age 86)

Obituary

It has been said that, “The stronger a man is, the more gentle he can afford to be.” Elbert Hubbard. Grant County lost a strong and gentle man on July 17, 2021. Byron L. Rudishauser was born August 11, 1934, to Swiss-American parents, Edward and Ruth Rudishauser in Salem, Oregon. He was the first of five children. Around 14 months, he and his parents moved to Canyon City, OR. It was the weekend of ‘62 Days. As a child, Byron spent many hours playing in Canyon Creek and teaching himself how to fish. As a result, fishing became a lifelong source of peace and enjoyment for him. His family moved several times throughout his youth living in Seneca, John Day, Hood River, and Yoncalla. Byron attended school in each of these places and was an outstanding scholar and athlete throughout his school years. In Hood River and Yoncalla, he played football, basketball, baseball, and track earning many individual honors and awards in each sport he played. He broke his collarbone playing football in Hood River and became very sick with Mononucleosis in Yoncalla missing the first part of his junior year, but being the conscientious persevering person that he was, he completed all his assignments from home and returned to school in time for to help his teammates have a successful track season. After graduating from Yoncalla High School, Byron enlisted in the Army with his best friend Dennis Green. They went to Fort Ord in California, for Boot Camp, then he was assigned to Camp Hanford, Oregon. That was 1953. When the Korean War heated up, Byron was immediately sent to a cold frontier territory to serve our country in an area that had not yet become a state. That territory is now known as the state of Alaska. Byron was promoted to Head Supply Sergeant at the base outside of Anchorage, AK, and after three years was honorably discharged with the Good Conduct medal and a National Defense Service Medal and offered 40 acres of land if he would settle and live in the territory. Byron often reflected on whether he should have accepted the offer to stay. Instead, he returned to the states, bought a new ‘56 turquoise & white corvette and a motorcycle and took a summer job for a man named Herb Ricco. It was while he worked for Herb that he met and married his best friend and lifetime partner, Carol Jean Ricco. After Byron and Carol were married, they attended college at Eastern Oregon Normal School to become educators. Byron used his GI Bill to pursue a dual studies degree in Speech and Language Arts and Art. He played football for Eastern Oregon Normal College and worked for a local butcher in La Grande, Oregon where he learned how to cut and prepare meat professionally – a skill which remained useful to him all his life. After graduating college and earning both his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees, Byron was immediately hired at La Grande High School as the Art Teacher – a job he thoroughly enjoyed for six consecutive years. Byron had an artistic gift, especially for leather-tooling, oil painting, and making his own gilded frames. In fact, every painting but two that have decorated the walls of Byron and Carol’s homes for all these years have been artwork and frames made by Byron. When his wife’s father passed away, the couple left their teaching jobs at La Grande High School and moved back to the ranch to help Carol’s mother Charlotte, with the lambing and other chores. Soon after returning to Grant County, Byron and Carol were asked to teach at Prairie City High School. That began a 34 consecutive year teaching career for the couple. Their daughter Cindy was joyfully born in 1967 and they welcomed another precious daughter into their family in 1971. A devoted husband, father, scholar, teacher, artist, rancher, cook, and fisherman, Byron continued to expand his breadth of knowledge and skills by attending the University of Oregon and obtaining his Administrator Certification. Many will remember him as principal for 4 years at Prairie City High School. He dedicated his life to learning and teaching and helping the next generations be well-educated and productive citizens. Byron loved to go to the ocean and eat seafood – his favorite food. In his younger years, he liked to hunt chuckars, pheasants, and elk. He was most relaxed and happy when riding his motorcycle, taking his family on vacations, and going camping and fishing. He had a keen sense of humor--always ready to tell a funny joke, an amazing memory, and lived by the motto: “A promise made is a debt unpaid.” He had a tender heart and a determined spirit. His volunteer service spans a life-time of giving his time, knowledge, and assistance to neighbors, family, anyone in need, and a variety of organizations including Meadowbrook Speech Therapy Camp, the American Legion (lifetime member), the Masonic Lodge (lifetime member), the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elk’s #1824 (lifetime member), 2x Exalted Ruler, Elk of the Year 1993-94, District and State Ritual Contest Team winners multiple years, Elk’s Scholarship Chairman 18 years, PC Rural Fire Department many years, PC JR High Boy’s and Girl’s Basketball Coach, Town-Team Basketball, Town-Team Slow Pitch Softball, and generous donor to many charitable organizations such as The Casey Eye Clinic for babies and children, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and Disabled American Veterans (DAV). A few minutes before midnight, on July 17, 2021, Byron passed from this earth to Heaven after a five year-long valiant fight against a rare form of Leukemia called CMML, which also negatively affected his kidneys and liver. Byron was a warrior who “fought the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). He was thoughtfully carried by six special friends – casket bearers dressed in Traditional Swiss Burial Stoles – who tenderly laid him to rest in a loving Memorial Service on Saturday, July 31, 2021, at the PC Cemetery with family and life-long friends in attendance. He was given military honors with the unfolding and folding of the American Flag, the beautiful playing of “Taps”, and the expertly executed honorary presentation of the flag by the servicemen with regards from the President of the United States and all branches of the U.S. Military to his wife Carol. Afterwards, a special Prime Rib dinner in Byron’s honor followed at Byron and Carol’s ranch for all who attended. Byron is survived by his wife of 62 years, Carol Ricco Rudishauser; his daughters Cindy Rudishauser Wimer, Lori Rudishauser Hire; two grand-daughters, Cassandra Hire and Katelynn Hire. He was preceded in death by his father Edward Rudishauser; his mother Ruth Rudishauser; and nephew Aaron Rudishauser. The family would like to thank Bev at LaFollette’s Chapel for her outstanding professional assistance throughout this entire process and everyone who came to Byron’s Memorial Service and dinner, sent cards, called, came by to visit, shared a memory, brought freshly picked huckleberries, hot food, gifts, wrote poems, and made donations in his honor. You are the most incredible individuals anyone could ever know. Anyone still wishing to share a memory, send a card, or make a donation in Byron’s honor can do so through LaFollette’s Chapel 332 W Monroe Street, Burns, OR 97720, website: www.lafolletteschapel.com

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