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Wilbur AshbyJune 6, 2017
Wilbur Tracy Ashby, 92 died June 6, 2017, at his home in John Day, surrounded by his family. There will be a Traditional Graveside Service with Military Honors on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 at 11am at the Eagle Valley Cemetery in Richland, Oregon.
Wilbur was born on 06/11/1924 to George W Ashby and Mary Fern Conner at the family home in New Bridge, Oregon. He was the oldest of three boys.
He attended both the New Bridge and Halfway schools; completing the 8th grade. At the age of 16, he was employed in the Cornucopia mines, but was not allowed to be underground because of his age. He was making $3.00 a day.
Wilbur joined the US Navy in Aug of 1941 at the age of 17; He was honorably discharged in 1945 and then he re-enlisted in July of 1949. During his time in the Navy, he served in both World War II and the Korean War. He spent time serving in the Philippines, China, Korea, at Palmyra and Midway Islands, Pearl Harbor, and Oahu. His ship, the USS Valley Forge, had just returned to the main land from duty at Pearl Harbor when the harbor was hit by the Japanese. The USS Valley Forge was immediately returned to the battle site where he helped in raising the sunken ships, strip them of their loose gear and clean up the horrific site.
He received the American Area Medal; American Defense Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Area Medal; World War II Victory Medal; China Service Medal; Korean Service Medal; United Nations Service Medal and the Navy Occupation Medal. In 1950, he received a Letter of Commendation for his outstanding services during battle against the hostile North Korean forces.
He was fully discharged from the US Navy in 1957 at the rank of Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd class.
On August 8, 1953 at Judge Lloyd Rae’s home in Baker City, he married Carole Lee Moore. Together, they raised four children.
Wilbur was employed with Morrison-Knudsen. His drill crew worked on the building of the Brownlee, Oxbow and Hells Canyon Dams and also for Peter Kiewit as an off the road tire man.
In 1969 he became employed with Wallowa Whitman National Forest (Baker Oregon) and then transferred in 1975 to the Malheur National Forest (John Day). He retired from the Malheur National Forest in 1984 –as Road Supervisor (GS12-4)
Wilbur became a member of St Francis Catholic Church in Baker City in 1961, transferring to St Elizabeth Catholic Church when he relocated to John Day. He was an active member of the Knights of Columbus and thoroughly enjoyed baking the sheepherder’s bread for the annual fish fries.
He was a member of the John Day Elks Club – enjoyed dancing, fishing, golfing, walking with his faithful dog JJ; helping at the local food bank and sipping coffee with old friends each afternoon. He loved his grandchildren and was blessed to hold his great grandchildren.
Wilbur is survived by his wife of 64 years, Carole Lee of John Day; 4 children; Blaiden (the late Tommie Rose) from McDermitt, NV; Trace (Duane) Andrew; Adele (Cody) Wilson, both of Canyon City, OR; and W. Kevin of Aumsville, OR; 14 grandchildren (Rebecca, Kristen, Mary, Brant, Joseph, Adena – Riann, Lucas, Alexandra and Andrea – Cala, Michael, Mitch and Malachi); 28 great grandchildren (Isabel, Jacob; Chase J, Cailee & Tanler; Silas; Ian, Asher & Avery; Chase; Tehya, Jared, Jace, Trenton, Trey, Axel, Adelaide, Easton; Elliott, Aiden & Jacob; Rowdy & Addison; Ezra & Erelah; Hideki & Yuuki; Aria Rose, Harper & Hudson); nephews Dugan and Dennis and Niece Ched.
He was preceded in death by his Father and Mother, brothers Wanden & Vaden, half sister Charlotte; daughter-in-law Tommie Rose; 2 nephews and great grandson, Elijah.
Friends are invited to join the family for a reception immediately following at the Shorthorn Restaurant on Main Street in Richland.
For those who would like to make a memorial donation in memory of Wilbur, the family suggests either the John Day Chapter of Knights of Columbus or the John Day Food Bank through Tami's Pine Valley Funeral Home & Cremation Services PO Box 543 Halfway, Oregon 97834. On line condolences may be shared at www.tamispinevalleyfuneralhome.com