|Birth: ||Jan. 9, 1924|
|Death: ||Sep. 25, 2007|
Wednesday, January 30, 2008 - The News-Review
Most residents living on Trask Court, the connecting road to Wild River Drive in Glide, have at one time or another received a knock on their door from Derwood Earl Oar.
And if asked about characteristics of the friendly visitor, who passed away Sept. 25, they will deliver the same response: He was a hard-worker, a good neighbor and he was always happy.
Oar was born on Jan. 9, 1924, at home on Northeast Klamath Avenue in Roseburg and lived most of his life in Douglas County. Aside from a brief stint in Oklahoma, serving three years in the U.S. Navy, an adventure to the Panama Canal and fishing trips in Alaska, he called southern Oregon home.
His parents, Blanche Miller and Perley Oar moved to Douglas County from California. Blanche was a housewife, noted for selling her hair for wigs during the depression, and Perley was a logger who also drove a stagecoach over to Reedsport and Coquille. He passed away when Derwood was 11, leaving Blanche to raise six children.
Derwood went to Benson Elementary School in Roseburg but was unable to earn a high school diploma because he was needed on his family's farm.
" He stopped school when he was 13 or 14. The kids helped out with doing chores and things like raising goats and chickens and tending the garden. They were agrarian; they did everything on their own," said Gerald Oar, Derwood's son.
Derwood and his brother Berl spent several months ranching in Oklahoma before Derwood enlisted in the Navy in 1943.
Oar served in World War II for approximately three years, and stories told by his son and neighbors piece together his experiences.
Gerald said his father was at many of the major battles of the war, and was onboard a ship off Iwo Jima when Marines raised the American flag.
OB and Lois Cooper knew Derwood for 35 years.
"He was like a brother to my husband," said Lois. "He worked hard all his life and when he wasn't able to work anymore, he would visit people."
It was during those visits around the kitchen table that Oar told about his time overseas, serving as a cook in the war, surviving a grenade attack and injuring his back in a Jeep wreck.
When he visited his neighbors Wayne and Loretta Weekly, he talked about how lucky he was to have made it through the war at all.
Oar was discharged from the Navy in 1946 and returned to Douglas County. He was quickly employed in the timber industry, which led to meeting his wife, Ila Jones, who passed away in 2002.
They were married in 1948 and lived in a small apartment in Glide until Oar built a house in 1953 where they raised their children and later purchased a larger plot on Wild River Road.
He and his wife Ila had three children, Gerald, Julie and Carolyn.
Gerald described his father as "very steady." He remembers when Oar took him aside at 16 and told him he was responsible for himself from that point on.
"He said, ‘If you have any questions, come see me. Other than that, you make your own decisions now,"' said Gerald. "He wanted us children to grow up and be responsible for ourselves as soon as possible."
Gerald said his father was very honest, reliable and hard-working. He didn't drink, not even coffee, or smoke.
After Oar retired, he and Ila started ranching in Glide. Oar loved fishing and hunting and took several trips with his friends to Alaska. He also boarded a cruise with his wife and the Coopers in 2000 through the Panama Canal.
The man was a plethora of information, according to Bruce and Vickki Thouvenel, also his neighbors. He told of living through the depression and seeing trains pass through town with people on them and nowhere to go. He would talk about how the town of Roseburg had changed — about a pencil factory embedded in the city at one time.
"He knew just a ton of stuff," said Bruce. "Not things everyone knows."
Trask Court is no doubt quieter these days without Oar knocking on doors, sitting down with his dog Molly and staying for hours to chat about memories past.
"I miss that," said Lois Cooper. "He hated to see anyone down because he was always happy."
Her husband OB added after a second of silence, "He was just a people-loving individual, a good neighbor and a good friend."
Ila Waleta Jones Oar (1930 - 2002)*
Oak Creek Cemetery
Created by: Kelsy Jones-Sabin
Record added: Jun 06, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 27375946