Gary Lair, 65, of Haines, Oregon, went home to be with the Lord on January 17, 2020. A celebration of Gary’s life, and a potluck luncheon (meat to be provided) will be held Saturday, January 25 at 2:00 pm at the Baker City Christian Church (675 Hwy 7).
Gary was born on April 15, 1954, at Caldwell, Idaho. His parents, Cliff and Virginia, moved to Emmett, Idaho, where he grew up with brothers Kenny and Lonnie, and sister, Judy. He spent his summers back in Caldwell, helping his Uncle Lawrence on his ranch. Gary attended school, and graduated from Emmett High School in 1973.
Fulfilling a lifelong dream to cowboy, Gary then went to work for a ranch in Midvale, Idaho. It was on a trip home where he met Suzanne (Suzi) Johnson, the love of his life. They married December 10, 1977 in Emmett, Idaho. Gary spent a short time at the Boise Cascade Mill. During this time, Gary and Suzi were blessed with a son, Shane.
Gary loved the ranching lifestyle, and wanting to raise Shane a’horseback surrounded by cattle and open range, they took their first ranch job as a family at Bruneau, Idaho. From there, their life’s journey took them to Northern Nevada and back to Eastern Oregon. They fell in love with this area and have called it home ever since. Gary and Suzi spent many years working side by side. One of Gary’s favorite seasons was calving time, heifers especially. Of course, branding time was also an annual highlight, as Gary enjoyed getting caught up with the other ranching families and soaking in the comradery, stories, and laughter. Gary was a tease, known for his wide mustachioed grin, and you knew he took a liking to you if you were a target of his teasing.
Gary was especially proud of Shane. Shane has a way with animals, and Gary loved to watch him show his cattle. Later, as Shane took on school and a career as a helicopter mechanic, Gary was filled with pride for the life his son had built.
Gary loved his family. When Shane married, Erin became the daughter Gary always wanted. He hardly ever spoke of her as a daughter-in-law, but as a daughter. Then his heart would never be the same when his first granddaughter, Audrey, joined the world. He thought his heart was full, but he was proven wrong when God blessed him with another granddaughter, Brooke. He loved to take them camping, watch them ride, and have them loud and busy around the house.
Gary enjoyed packing into the mountains. He and Suzi would pack in to the Eagle Caps for a week or more. He loved the mountains and fishing in the high mountain lakes. After a few years, they purchased a camp trailer and started camping and fishing in a new way. These trips took them to the Oregon coast, and the Deschutes and Wilson Rivers. The trailer also regularly held two precious granddaughters on many adventures. Shane and Erin, along with Logan Kerns, blessed him with a trip to Alaska in 2018. He enjoyed deep sea fishing for halibut, and salmon fishing the rivers. Most of all, he loved pausing to take in the majestic landscape of a state he always dreamed of exploring, with some of his favorite people.
Gary loved Eastern Oregon, the country and the people. He considered so many in the valley part of his family, and he cherished time spent with each. John Wooden said that “the truest test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” Everyone who knew him would tell you that Gary embodied genuine and solid character. There are also many stories to tell when people were watching, so immediately following the celebration of his life, there will be an opportunity to do something he enjoyed most of all- share stories and a meal with his family and friends. Not one for “good-byes,” he told Suzi, “see you later,” and he “would have a horse waiting for you in Heaven!”
He is preceded in death by his dad, Cliff Lair.
He is survived by his wife, Suzi; son, Shane (Erin); granddaughters, Audrey and Brooke; mother, Virginia; brothers, Kenny (Gloria), Lonnie, and sister, Judy Eisenbarth (Corey).
For those who would like to make a memorial donation in honor of Gary the family suggests either Heart n’ Home Hospice (Opal foundation), Rachel Care Center, or MSTI in Fruitland, Idaho (Cancer Institute) through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home and Cremation Services, PO BOX 543, Halfway, Oregon 97834. Online condolences can be shared at www.tamispinevalleyfuneralhome.com
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