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Billy Dean Waldron, aka Wild Bill, died peacefully in his home on September 23, 2018, three days before his 87th birthday, with his children around him.
Billy was born September 26, 1931 in Halfway, Oregon to Clifford and Ellen Waldron. The Waldrons owned a ranch on the north end of the valley. He was raised on the ranch with his older brother, Bob Waldron. Bill helped his Grandad Ritter buck hay in the summer. Bill enjoyed fishing the creeks and packing in the hills with his good friend, Donnie Rock. As soon as the hay was up they would head for Imnaha for a week at a time. Their first trip to Imnaha was made when Bill was 12 years old. Billy often said he didn’t know how his parents let him go for a week trip at that age as it would have worried him to death as a parent. Billy and Donnie also liked to break horses. He didn’t approve much of our chasing cows with four-wheelers. He would often ask if we had forgotten which side of the horse to put the ladder on.
After graduation Bill worked for a surveying crew that was working on the dam, as a packer and guide. He said it was a great job because he had lots of time to get good at flinging a hatchet at a tree. Most of Bill’s friends had joined the Army at this time, so Bill decided to join the Navy. Bill thought he would be good sailor as he didn’t swim well so he would be sure to work hard at keeping the ship afloat. Bill enjoyed the Navy and said he wished he would have put in 20 years. Where else could you get a place to eat and sleep as well as getting to travel to different ports to party? Bill returned home to Halfway, where he took various jobs including painting houses for Idaho Power, working for the sawmill, and bartending and bouncing at the Stockmen’s.
Bill met Veryl, who was working at Stockmen’s, in February of 1960, and they were married in July of that same year. Veryl had two children, Ron and Carol. Bill loved them right off the bat and often said that is what really hooked him. Bill and Veryl conceived a child, Robert James Waldron, but he was still born at birth. Later, Bill and Veryl took custody of Veryl’s nieces and nephews and raised them as their own. Bill had a huge heart with lots of love and compassion.
Bill began his long career for Morrison Knudson driving cement trucks. When the Brownlee Dam finished in 1961 Bill moved with M.K. to several different jobs. Bill would move the family if it was a four-year or more job. Bill became a warehouse manager and finally a purchasing agent for the company. Bill was loved by everyone that ever worked in his warehouse. He often commented on what it took to be a good boss, and that was treating your people right! Bill was a great purchaser as he had the gift of feeding you a line of B.S. all the while negotiating the deal. Bill loved and took pride in his job and his career for M.K. Bill retired from M.K. in 1994 and returned to Halfway, where Veryl and he had purchased Wild Bill’s Restaurant. Bill spent many years being Veryl’s “Go-Fer.” Bill will be remembered by many for his trips around town running errands and razzing whomever would cross his path. It is a great tribute to Bill to have his picture on the menus at Wild Bill’s with the caption The Man, The Myth, The Legend. What a legend he is.
It’s nearly impossible to put in words the impact Bill Waldron had on the lives of the people that knew and loved him. He was a giant in this community and has left us all with our own precious stories to tell. He will always be remembered for his saggy britches, love for gambling, and one-liners that often didn’t make a lick of sense, but it was Bill’s ability to love without question, that will be remembered most!
He was preceded in death by his parents, Clifford and Ellen Waldron; brother, Bob Waldron; wife, Veryl Waldron; son, Robert James; and nephew, Steve Waldron.
Bill is survived by his stepchildren, Ron Neal (Nancy), Spokane; Carol Olson (Tom), Mt. Vernon, Washington; nieces, Jenny (Roger) Gulick and Christine Bennett; nephews, Rick (Audrene) Simpson and Brian Simpson of Halfway; grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and numerous other nieces and nephews;
There will be a combined service for Veryl and Bill on November 10. Details will be announced when the time draws near. For those who would like to make a memorial donation in honor of Bill, the family suggests Halfway VFW Post #7847 or the Pine Valley Presbyterian Church through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home and Cremation Services, PO Box 543 Halfway, OR 97834. Online condolences may be shared at www.tamispinevalleyfuneralhome.com.
There's still time to send flowers to the Memorial Service at the Pine Valley Presbyterian Church at 1:00 PM on November 10, 2018.
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