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Irene Eliza Thompson Potter
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Birth: Nov. 13, 1906
Wallowa County
Oregon, USA
Death: Nov. 5, 1993
Wallowa County
Oregon, USA

Obit in Wallowa County Chieftain, 11 November 1993, Page 2: Imnaha native, Ilene Potter, 86, died November 5, 1993, at her home in Joseph. She was born Ilene Eliza Thompson on November 13, 1906, at the "Bridge" in Imnaha. She spent her childhood on her parents' homestead on the Imnaha River near Freezeout. The following is her personal account of that time: This was a happy life growing up in the beautiful box canyon of Imnaha. There was much work and play. I learned to ride horseback at a very early age as did my brother and sisters. Everyone had to ride horses, the only mode of transportation for kids to go places by themselves. I loved to ride and had a good horse and did ride for years until I was a middle-aged woman. We left Imnaha in May 1923, a very sad interruption in my life, leaving a way of living that meant much to me. I learned the hard work of life, lots of pleasures in those days. In an out of way place you made your own pleasure and enjoyed it. You had good neighbors and everyone was your friend. Even though distances were great to travel by horseback or by team and wagon, there were many big gatherings, picnics and home potlucks. During the next two years Ilene lived with her folks in Joseph, working part-time at the telephone office and as a housekeeper. The family moved to The Divide in 1925 to run a big ranch and Ilene tended to the milking and cooked for the hired men. Her parents purchased a ranch on Sheep Creek and on December 2, 1927, in 20 degrees below zero temperatures, they moved into their new, not quite finished home. Ilene spent the next five years tending to chores and livestock on her parents' ranch, and cooking at neighboring cattle ranches and lambing camps. During the 4th of July celebration in 1931, Ilene first met the "young man with the perfect nose," her future husband, Lawrence Potter. She always proclaimed, "it was one of those cases of love at first sight". Ilene and Lawrence were married on January 2, 1933, at the home of friends in Joseph and built a small house on the Sheep Creek ranch. Lawrence worked for the Forest Service during fire season, from early spring to late fall, at the Mormon Guard Station. During winters he and Ilene helped with the milking, hauling hay, chores, and ranch work on the Sheep Creek ranch. Their first son, Dale, was born on the ranch in 1934, and Jay in 1936. Ilene then had to pack two babies on horseback on the 18 mile, six hour ride from Memaloose to the Mormon Guard Station, while Lawrence managed the pack string. In the fall of 1939, they bought a small ranch on the Divide and quickly accumulated milk cows and stock of their own. Lawrence continued to work for the Forest Service; Ilene and the boys looked forward to spending the summers with him on Hat Point. Their third son, Rodney, was born in 1943, the same year Ilene's father suddenly died. The following spring Ilene and Lawrence bought the Sheep Creek ranch from her mother. There they made their home for the next 48 years. Ilene noted, "There was never a dull moment for so many years but it made life interesting with our boys spurring us along. They sure grew up knowing how to work and learned ever so much. We were soon milking 15 cows, bucket feeding the calves, raising lots of hogs, and quite a few chickens". Ilene and Lawrence also enjoyed the functions and social gatherings of the Rebekah and Odd Fellows Lodge. She joined the Rebekahs in 1924 and remained a lifetime member. They were actively involved in 4-H when their sons were in school and led a stock club for 10 years. Ilene was also a very active member of the Wallowa County Cattle Women (CowBelles). She served as president in 1963-1966 and was presented with the Lifetime Membership Award. When time permitted, they loved to travel to visit family and friends and to participate in lodge functions. In 1986 they were made honorary grand marshals of the Mule Days celebration in Enterprise. Although they sold their purebred Herefords in 1977, Ilene and Lawrence continued to live on the Sheep Creek Ranch to enjoy the country life they enjoyed so much. Declining health and limited mobility required them to move into Joseph in the fall of 1991. On January 2, 1993, they quietly celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Summing up her life, Ilene once wrote, "In spite of all the problems, hard times, hard work, and illnesses, it has been a beautiful life and family. Who could ask for more, life can be full of love and pleasure if you live it so. That is us." Ilene is survived by her husband, Lawrence Potter, sons Dale Potter of Joseph, Jay Potter of Hermiston and Rodney Potter of Salem; one sister, Vaunie Warnock of Enterprise, 8 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, one brother and one sister. Funeral services were held Tuesday, November 9th, at the Bollman Funeral Home with interment in the Prairie Creek Cemetery. Memorial may be made to the charity of one's choice.
Family links: 
  Mark Pomroy Thompson (1874 - 1943)
  Mabel Ursula Creasey Thompson (1877 - 1967)
  George Lawrence Potter (1907 - 1993)
  Roy Thompson (1895 - 1979)*
  Ethel Mesa Thompson Marks (1897 - 1986)*
  Vaunie E Thompson Warnock (1901 - 1998)*
  Irene Eliza Thompson Potter (1906 - 1993)
*Calculated relationship
Joseph Cemetery
Wallowa County
Oregon, USA
Created by: JMeister
Record added: Mar 09, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 49491927
Irene Eliza <i>Thompson</i> Potter
Added by: B Keady
Irene Eliza <i>Thompson</i> Potter
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Tina Robson-Jones
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- JMeister
 Added: Mar. 9, 2010

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