“Now hear this!”
The Tillamook community lost a true pioneer and one of the county’s great pillars of leadership in his generation.
Roy Peterson was born in Pendleton, Oregon and passed away peacefully at his home in Tillamook, January 21, 2022 – just four days shy of his 99th birthday.
Roy spent time in his youth during the Great Depression in the Portland area and as a teenager was a farmhand for the Tharp family where he helped milk cows, tend horses, and pumped water day and night because there was no plumbing on the farm.
In his late teens, Roy got a job fishing in Astoria, driving a team of horses to do so. The horses stayed in a floating barn on the Columbia River and at the end of the summer job, Roy left with $300 – pretty good by 1939 standards.
Roy graduated from Battleground High School in 1941 and enrolled at Washington State College in Pullman, Wash. after receiving an agricultural scholarship from Sears-Roebuck. During his senior year in high school, he worked in a poultry plant in Battleground and initially studied Poultry Husbandry at Washington State.
While on the train to Pullman, it stopped about 20 miles out of town and a few men got onboard looking for anybody headed to Washington State. Most were continuing to Moscow over the border at the University of Idaho. When they learned Roy was bound for Pullman, they revealed themselves as members of Phi Sigma Kappa, inviting new students to stay at their fraternity house for free meals and a place to stay for a couple days as Roy got acclimated – and undoubtedly would have loved him to pledge afterward.
One of the members of the fraternity was a man named Dean Lindley and became a fast friend of Roy’s. He invited Roy to a dance at the Kappa House, where he planned to introduce Roy to his sister Claire Lindley.
After meeting Claire, the two shared their very first date over a Coke at the Cougar Cottage and began to go steady. They would see each other at church and on weekends. On Sunday, Dec. 7 in 1941, Roy and Claire left church to learn about the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Their first question was, what – and where – is that? Things changed after that. The Army offered to pay for a select group of men to change their course of study to veterinary medicine, so Roy joined his future brother-in-law Dean and two others. They joined the Army, but stayed on campus in Pullman to finish their studies.
Roy and Claire were married Dec. 31, 1944 at her parents’ home in Colfax, Wash. and spent their honeymoon night across the border in Moscow, Idaho. When the newlyweds returned to Pullman, they moved into a place together and finished their degrees at Washington State.
After graduation, an opportunity with veterinarian Dr. Andy Lloyd testing dairy cattle for brucellosis brought Roy and Claire to Tillamook. A year or so after arriving, a classmate of Roy’s offered him a partnership at his veterinary clinic in Spokane, Wash. and the Petersons chose to stay in Tillamook, and the community was better for it.
Roy and Claire became entrenched in the county and led very social and fulfilling lives. They were not born in the area, but made this place their home, raising their three children and eventually becoming friends and mentors to others who would move to Tillamook County, touching countless lives along the way. Roy was always quick to lend a hand, provide people an opportunity, or donate his time or money. His generosity was well-known.
The Petersons were host family to Annick, an American Field Service Student from France, 1966-67, and have kept in contact over the decades. They also hosted nine different young people from Japan through the YMCA’s English study tour from 1970-75 and in 1981.
Roy loved the bounty of the Oregon Coast, taking great pride in his role as not only a veterinarian, but also a dairy farmer and member-owner of the Tillamook County Creamery Association. Whenever he traveled or meet new people, he was quick to share a loaf (or several) of Tillamook cheese.
Roy served Tillamook County well as a veterinarian, focusing primarily on larger animals, but always making time for pets. For 40 years, Roy was the track vet for the Tillamook County Fair. While balancing life as a veterinarian, Roy and Claire still found time to travel. For many years, Roy was an elected officer of the American Veterinary Medical Association and he and Claire would visit many states under his jurisdiction annually. The Petersons also traveled internationally, visiting many countries around Europe – including Russia and much of Scandinavia – Roy was a proud Dane, after all. To know Roy was to also know his unlimited and unmatched charisma. During a flight to Japan with their dear friends Virgil and Orella Chadwick in 1980, Roy wanted to show off one of his favorite skills. As flight attendants and other passengers watched, Roy Peterson stood on his head somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. They were on their way to watch a football game between Oregon State University and UCLA.
After several decades of service, Roy retired in the early 90s. Retirement was a very busy time for Roy and the Petersons as he could still be found every morning at the dairy he co-owned with Claire, his son, and daughter-in-law.
Even deep into their 90s, Roy and Claire maintained a very good sense of humor. Roy loved reading the funnies with Claire and it was always a treat for a comic strip of “Pickles” to induce hysterical laughing and wheezing from him.
Some of Roy’s many civic engagements and accolades include: 2005 Pioneer of the Year, 1977 June Dairy Parade Grand Marshal, Kiwanis International Tillamook Club Vice President, Tillamook County Shrine Club President, Tillamook County General Hospital Board, Tillamook County Easter Seals Society, Tillamook County Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Chairman, Marie Mills Center Board Member, Tillamook Mounted Sheriff’s Posse Captain, Tillamook YMCA, Oregon Farm Bureau, Masonic Lodge, Al Kader Shrine, Scottish Rite, BPOE, Tillamook Antique Car Club, and Methodist Men.
He is a past president of the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association and represented Oregon for four years as the alternate delegate and four years as the delegate in the American Veterinary Medical Association House of Delegates.
Roy Peterson was larger than life and one of the greats. He will forever be loved and missed by his family, friends, and all those lucky enough to have spent time with him.
A memorial service for Roy will be held Sunday, March 13.
Here’s a video from January, 2020 of Dr. Roy and Claire Peterson:
EDITOR’S NOTE: We are including Claire Peterson’s obituary from the fall of 2021 as we did not post this, and it seems fitting to have their obituaries together as they are now rejoined together.
Claire Peterson died peacefully at her home in Tillamook, Ore. on Oct. 31, 2021 at the age of 97.
Emma Claire Lindley was born to Troy and Roberta Lindley in Washington state, where she grew up on the family wheat ranch. She was born the second eldest of five children and is preceded in death by her parents and siblings Dean, Marjorie, Robert, and Barbara.
She preferred, and went by, her middle name Claire, because in her words, “Emma was a name of old ladies when I was a little girl. In fact, I was named after a great aunt and so I didn’t want people to think I was an old lady.”
She attended a two-room country school and during her youth was named a Fair Farmerette. For two summers, lived on a farm cooking every meal and baking two pies every single day.
After graduating high school, Claire attended Washington State College in Pullman, Wash., where she met her future husband, Roy Peterson, on a blind date over a Coke in the Cougar Cottage as freshmen in September 1941 and were married at her parents’ home Dec. 31, 1944 in Colfax, Wash.
Claire graduated with a degree in business administration and economics from Washington State College. She and Roy relocated to Tillamook for a veterinary position and Claire worked as a secretary in a law firm. The pair made a life in Tillamook and planted deep roots.
Once the Petersons had settled into life in Tillamook, Claire became heavily involved in the community with countless organizations like AAUW, Tillamook School Board, Tillamook United Methodist Church, Shakespeare Club, chairwoman of the local Red Cross, 4-H, her group of friends called “The Hens,” and hosted Japanese exchange students through the YMCA. Claire even had a hotel partially named in her honor: the bygone Mar Clair Inn.
During retirement, Claire could always be found reading a book, laughing at the funnies in the daily Oregonian, volunteering at several organizations into her late 80s, tending her roses and other plants, visiting with friends and relatives near and far, and preparing delicious meals and her famous rhubarb pie.
She and Roy loved to travel and meet new people – once, in the 1970s, the pair bought a Mercedes straight from the factory in Stuttgart, Germany and proceeded to drive it around Europe over the course of several weeks, visiting the home of their French exchange student Annick along with many other stops around the continent, before shipping it across the ocean to use back home – while wearing her leather driving gloves.
Claire will always be remembered as an inexhaustible fountain of knowledge, the best maker of pie crust the world has ever known (she will say it is because of her cold hands) and an overall incredible woman. She is greatly missed by not only her family, but the community as well.
Claire is survived by her husband of nearly 77 years, Dr. Roy H. Peterson and their children Ann (Richard), Jean (David), and Eric (Loretta). She is also survived by 11 grandchildren and their children.
Life and Times of a Great Woman Emma Claire Lindley
(As told by Claire’s children and grandchildren)
Emma Claire Lindley was born November 29, 1923 at the Mustard Hollow Farm House of her parents Troy and Roberta Lindley. Mustard Hollow is about 4 miles from Dayton Washington. This was wheat farm country (Wheat farms in Dayton are as common as dairy farms in Tillamook). The birth was attended by Dr. Robinson (who was married to Claire’s great aunt, Adelle Robinson). Claire’s grandmother, Maggie Houtchens was also there. She worked with Dr. Robinson as his practical nurse. Emma Claire was the second born child, her brother Dean was 1 year older, Marjorie was 2 years younger, Barbara was 13 years younger and Robert or Bob was 16 years younger than Emma Claire. In 1929, when Emma Claire was 6 years old, her Father lost his wheat farm when the market crashed (the beginning of the Great Depression). Claire wrote that the Great Depression was the most important event in her childhood. What specifically she remembers is “ you never got new clothes.”
She went to elementary school at the Star School. Star School was a rural country school. Each class was made up of two grades. Here, 1st and 2nd grade was one class and so on through 7th and 8th grade. Claire believed that this model of older and younger children in the same class room was an excellent education, that allowed each student to progress at his or her own pace. Emma Claire was an exceptional student. She graduated from Dayton High School in 1941. She then attended Washington State College in Pullman Washington. Her brother Dean was one year ahead of her at WSC. Her parents had also graduated from WSC. Cougar culture was in her blood. Eventually, all of Claire’s siblings graduated from WSC. Roy and Claire were married in December 1944, by then she was known as Claire and when she married Roy H Peterson (sounds familiar) she changed her legal name to Claire Lindley Peterson. She preferred, and went by, her middle name Claire, because in her words… “When I was a little girl, Emma was a name of old ladies. In fact, I was named after a great aunt and so I didn’t want people to think I was an old lady.” Roy and Claire completed their education at WSC. Claire graduated in 1945 with a Bachelors of Arts in Business. Roy graduated Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1946. They moved to Tillamook in 1946.
During her 75 years in Tillamook, Claire was very involved with her community. Claire worked as legal secretary for George Winslow 1946 to 1949. In 1948 … Claire served as Secretary for the Fund Drive, when the YMCA was first organized in Tillamook. 1948-49 She became a President of the AAUW… American Association of University Women Tillamook branch. She continued being an active member of the AAUW until she was unable to attend meetings. November 1949 ….She began her family with the birth of Ann Lucinda. Jean Elizabeth was born in Nov 1951 and Eric Lindley April 1954. In the 1950’s she was a part of the Tillamook County Library Board In the 1960’s she was the first woman to win election to the Tillamook School District #9. She served as Chairperson for 4 years 1964 to 1969. She was PTA president at East Elementary School Claire was very active in the Methodist Church. She served as Chairperson of the Church’s Administrative Board. Held several terms as President of the United Methodist Church Women. She taught Junior High Sunday school for 14 years. She also led the church Youth Group for several years called MYF which included organizing trips to Ski at Government Camp, and field trips to the Peter Irdale Shipwreck at Fort Stevens to name a few. She was on the building committee for the new United Methodist Church after the old one was torched by an arson, she had a lot of input about the design of this new Church. From 1961 to 1963 …she served as a Campfire Girls Leader. During the 1966-1967 school year, Roy and Claire hosted an AFS student from France.. Annick, she has remained a member of the family to this day. In the 1970’s Claire helped organize and participated with the YMCA Japanese English language program for 5 years. This was an approximately 2 week immersion program for Japanese students who lived with host families in Tillamook and during the week attended language class at the Y. She always hosted 1 or 2 students. From 1980 to 2016 Claire participated in the weekly Quilters group at the church, and also always helped with Christmas Bazaars and Rummage Sales From 1998 to 2007 Claire led a 4-H Cooking and Sewing Club. It was called “Needles, Notions, and Patches.” Jessica, Katie, Myself, and other cousins and friends were in the club although I only participated in the cooking part of the club. The clubs lasted for 9 years. Grandma was club leader from age 75 to 84 and she ran a tight ship. She was very proud when Katie and Jessica received champion and reserved-champion for their pie crusts at the County and State Fair. In the 2000s, Claire and Roy continued to lead with service with their participation with the Grub Club which provided lunches for kids during the summer. In addition to all these accomplishments, Claire also functioned as Roy’s executive secretary and bookkeeper/accountant from 1944 to 2016. She prepared legal documents, tax preparation, and generally kept the household and family businesses organized. Claire debated with PUD to save her view when they proposed to build a high-tension power line through her backyard. Loretta is a good historian about these achievements. I swear a conversation between mom and grandma was about what Katie and I should participate in. This would be 1. Painting 2. 4-H 3. Sewing 4. Cooking 5. Dance classes 6. Piano 7. Tea time 8. We drew the line at chicken 4-H, which I did; Katie went on to become a Dairy princess because I couldn’t become one. Grandma wanted to know about the texting language and asked what LOL means, we told her “laugh out loud”, she was slightly puzzled and said, “who talks like that? Hey Roy.. Laugh out Loud!” Thanks Troy. Our grandmother Emma Claire was an exceptional woman. Everyone who is here knew Claire either as a family member, friend, or colleague. As Troy recalled in his recounting of her life, Claire was an integral member to this Tillamook Community. She worked hard, along with her husband Roy, to provide for their family and were always generous with their friends and community. I would describe Claire as intelligent, tough, hard working, and generous. Growing up around grandma she was always busy. We always had a full agenda when ever we came for a longer stay in the summer and she ran her 11 grand children with an iron will. I and several of my cousins can thank grandma for many skills such as making a proper bed…every morning, how to set the table, how to be a hostess, how to make a pie crust and cookies, how to make the best coleslaw (cabbage, apple cider vinegar, sugar, a little mayo and either freshly sliced apples or avocado), she taught us that dill pickles go on grilled cheese while sweet pickles go on tuna sandwiches, and taught us to always send thank you cards, and to be polite and courteous. I remember always being proud of my grandmother and her accomplishments, skills, and intelligence. Did you know that in 1945, only 5.5% of the female population in the US was graduating with 4 year degrees from college? Not only that, but she was a second generation college graduate which makes me a 4th generation college graduate. Education and service were important to Claire and she showed that to me through her actions and commitments to her family and community. Reflecting on Claire’s accomplishments, I realize she was an excellent leader. Through all the work she did for the school board, YMCA, AAUW, 4H, etc. she was always very good at keeping people organized, delegating, bringing in subject matter experts to supplement her knowledge base, and keeping everyone on task. She also provided this guidance to her husband and family. Some of my best memories involve traveling with grandma and grandpa. For several years, Roy and Claire treated their grand kids to a trip to one of the AVMA conferences. The first trip was with Erika who traveled with them to Boston. The second trip was with Lindley and me to Minneapolis – where I have wonderful memories of Lindley and I ordering Shirley temples in the hotel restaurant all by ourselves and charging them to the hotel room and thinking we were soooo cool. Eventually it was Jessica and Katie’s turn… well they already had a turn but saw that the AVMA had scheduled their conference in Honolulu in 2006 so set their sights on the Hawaiian Islands. I heard that they were cooking this up and so approached grandpa and grandma about taking me along and sold them on my skills as a driver and kid watcher. It worked and we all had a blast. Katie, Jessica, and I even took surfing lessons. Grandma was always up for adventures and planned many fun trips with Grandpa through the years. They always had stories and fun items from their travels to share and inspired me to travel as I got older. I also loved how well read she was. I remember coming to visit one summer and joining her and grandpa at La Tea Da for one of their monthly Shakespeare club meetings. It was so much fun. I also saw several plays with her at TAPA, the Tillamook Association for the Performing Arts. Claire and Roy were always such a supporter of the arts and of all of their grand kids creative endeavors. Towards the end of her life, Grandma suffered a concussion and started to lose her short term memory. This was alarming for many of us as she was always so sharp, remembered events, names, and dates better than I ever could. Throughout it all, our cousin Katie and my uncle Eric and their family were there, helping Grandma and Grandpa. I just want to take a moment to thank Katie for all her love and support of grandma including working with her on memory exercises and taking her to eye appointments and helping slow her macular degeneration. Claire Lindley Peterson was an extraordinary woman with a huge heart and a strong will. We will all miss her and will honor her memory in the love we share as a community and in the work we do to give back to our own communities and to the children, our future generations.