John Robert Harper passed away October 15, 2021 holding his wife’s hand.
John was born January 21, 1958 in Canyon City, Oregon to George and Bonnie (Weaver) Harper. He grew up on the Harper Creek Ranch in Mount Vernon with his siblings Lola Thissell, Lala Thissell, Loren (Toink) Thissell, Mary Harper, and Susan Harper. They spent every evening listening to their dad playing the banjo or their mom reading books. He attended the Mount Vernon School where he excelled at football, basketball, and track; lettering in all three. He even played on the Shriners football team. While in high school, he enlisted in the army. He did his basic training in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri where he specialized in heavy equipment, then was stationed in Germany for two years. While in Germany he enjoyed many steins of beer and he played on a semi-professional rugby team in a European League. In Germany is where he met his wife Doris (Dolney) Harper. They were married for forty years on September 19, 2021. Together they have five children Jessie, Travis, Terry, Lucinda, and Bayley. They are the grandparents to seven grandchildren Mayley Saul(13), Emmie Saul(11), Tatyn Harper(12), Bransyn Harper(9), Quincee Harper(5), Presley Harper(4), and Waylynn Harper(2). Spending quality time with family was the most important thing to John. He taught them all his favorite hobbies including running hounds, hunting, camping, running heavy equipment, and cheating at card games. John was a collector of knives, arrowheads, elk ivories, and time with his loved ones. He was a career heavy equipment operator and known as the best around. He loved to see young people learn, and he shared any knowledge he could with them.
John is preceded in death by his mother Bonnie (Weaver) Harper, father George Harper, sisters Lola Jean (Thissell) Ellis and Susan May (Harper) Horn, Richard Hammons, and father-in-law Andrew Dolney.
John is survived by his wife Doris (Dolney) Harper, mother-in-law Philomena Dolney, daughters Jessie Saul and husband Wayne, Lucinda DesJardin and husband Daniel, Bayley Harper and partner Darren, sons Travis Harper and wife Eliza and Terry Harper and wife Shilo; as well as his seven grandchildren Mayley, Tatyn, Emmie, Bransyn, Quincee, Presley, and Waylynn. He is survived by his brother Loren Thissell and partner Juanita, and sisters Lala (Thissell) Peirce and husband Artie, and Mary (Harper) Bradley and husband Dennis, as well as many nieces and nephews.
John’s service will be held Saturday, October 23, 2021 at 2:00pm at the Grant County Fairgrounds Pavillion. We know everyone holds a good story of John, but whether it’s appropriate or not, is questionable. Regardless, we ask that you capture these stories in writing for the family to cherish forever, but also consider sharing with the crowd at the service. Meat will be provided, but the family asks that you bring a side dish to share if you are able.
For those who would like to make a memorial donation in honor of John, the family suggests Mt. Vernon High School Memorial Scholarship through Tami's Pine Valley Funeral Home & Cremation Services PO Box 543 Halfway, Oregon 97834. Online condolences may be shared at www.tamispinevalleyfuneralhome.com