OBITUARY: Dorothy Heard

Dorothy Heard obit photo

Sept. 21, 1912 – Feb. 23, 2013

Dorothy Heard, 100, of Milton-Freewater, formerly of Joseph, died Feb. 23, 2013.

Dorothy Vonceille Lake (Mrs. Charlie Heard) was born Sept. 21, 1912, in Albany, Ore., to Harvey Amos and Mary Elizabeth McClain Lake, the fourth of five children. She lived on a farm near Lebanon as a little girl, later living in Albany, Salem and Portland. The family moved to Ontario in about 1925, and she graduated from Ontario High School where she was a cheerleader.

She attended the College of Idaho for two years and graduated from Eastern Oregon Normal School in La Grande, with a lifetime teacher’s certificate. She taught in a country school near the Owyhee Dam, a rural school in Tallman and then in Ontario.

Dorothy married Charlie Heard in 1937 and lived in Pendleton until 1948. They were married for 64 years. Charlie later preceded Dorothy in death.

During the War, she taught at Riverside School near Pendleton and two years at Adams, Ore. She then taught first grade for one year after moving to Joseph where they had purchased the Chief Joseph Herald. Dorothy operated a private kindergarten while acting as a partner in operating the Chief Joseph Herald with her husband.

Dorothy taught Sunday school for 70 years and held the annual Easter Egg Dyeing Party at Peach Island for her Primary Sunday School kids for 40 years. Education was a priority for Dorothy who was part of the SMART program for many years. In addition, she taught adult literacy classes at BMCC.

She was an active co-owner-operator of the Chief Joseph Herald, co-founder of the Milton-Freewater Valley Herald, the Cashmere Valley Record, the Pilot Rock News, and the Heppner Gazette Times. She wrote her most recent column, “Have You Heard,” right up until the end.

Dorothy was the mother of Don Heard who married Sylvia (Fugate) Heard and lives in Lake Oswego. Her daughter, Judy Becker, is married to Charles Becker and lives in Gold Beach. Dorothy had three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Dorothy has been president of American Legion Auxiliary in Milton-Freewater as well as other places where they owned newspapers. Other organizations with which she was involved included Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary in Pilot Rock, Freewater Garden Club, Oregon Federation of Garden Clubs, PTA, United Way, Umatilla County Chapter of the American Red Cross, St. James Episcopal Women’s Guild, Church Women Unite, and the Women’s Improvement Club.

Over the past several years, Dorothy received all of the Chamber of Commerce “Of-the-Year” awards. Recently, she was selected as the Grand Marshal of the Muddy Frogwater Days Parade and was busy preparing to be Queen of the Weston Golden Pioneer Days in May.

A “Celebration of Dorothy” will be held on Saturday, March 16, at 11 a.m. at the Milton-Freewater Community Building, 109 N.E. 5th St. Remembrances can be made to the Milton-Freewater Crop Walk, an event in which she totally believed. For more information call Ann Jolly at 541-938-9553.

To plant a tree in memory of Dorothy Heard as a living tribute, please visit Tribute Store.

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