Richard Montell Bedortha passed away early Saturday morning, September 25, 2021, in his home in Suplee, Oregon, with his bride of 68 years at his side.
He was born April 24th, 1931, in Tillamook, Oregon to Robert Montell Bedortha and Lillian Ruth (Straub) Bedortha.
His folks had a dairy on the Kilchis River near Tillamook Bay. At about 5 years of age his folks purchased a dairy on the McKenzie River out of Coburg, Oregon. He attended grade school and high school in Coburg, where he met his future wife Audrie Lee (Oldham) in grade school. At the age of 17, (graduating early) he joined the Navy on September 8th, 1948. He served during the Korean War.
After being Honorably Discharged September 3, 1952, he came home to Coburg and married his grade school sweetheart “Audie” March 30, 1953. They made their first home in Coburg, Oregon where he pursued his love for flying. He started flying lessons while still in high school. Dick traded labor for flying lessons - lessons that were unknown to his parents – until being underage, he had to get their written permission, to do his solo flight.
Dick flew for a construction company, then a non-scheduled Air Cargo Passenger Company before finally going to work for Pacific Air Lines as a commercial airline pilot, based out of San Fransisco, California in 1957. He flew for the company until his retirement on May 8th, 1987. Even upon retiring he continued his love of flying dropping a slurry -Fire Retardant application on forest fires.
While living in California he pursued his second passion in life - farming and ranching. Owning two farms in California he produced hay, a small herd of cattle and produced prunes in his Orchards. In 1967 he was able to move back to Oregon. Portland, Oregon then became his home base for commercial flying.
Finally, at this time, Dick and Audrie were able to start looking for the ranch of their dreams. They found it in Paulina, Oregon, purchasing the Roba Ranch from Ruby Barkshire. It was here that they finished raising their family of four children. Kerry and (Ken) Kerr, Greg (Wendy), Peggy and (Lonnie) McGhehey, and Gary. He is survived by numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews and many, many friends. Dick resided in the upper country until his passing at home.
He was preceded in death by his folks and sister June, and one foster daughter Jackie Hall.
He was a member of the Paulina Community Church. Donations can be made in his name to Crook County Historical Society or Paulina Community Church.
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