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Lois Craddock, who has spent nearly all of her 83 years in Crook County, felt honored when she was named the 2019 Crook County Pioneer Queen

RAMONA MCCALLISTER - Lois Craddock is photographed at her Crook County home. She was recently surprised and honored to learn that she was named the 2019 Crook County Pioneer Queen.

Sitting at her remote home outside of Prineville, Lois Craddock glowed with pride as she reflected on the announcement that she was selected as the 83rd Crook County Pioneer Queen.

"It's an honor, and a big surprise," said Craddock. "I have lived here in Crook County for most of my 83 years."

Rockford Gerke, Chairperson for the Pioneer Queen's Committee, said that Craddock would be representing and honoring the Bussett Family as she is crowned at the 83rd annual Crook County Pioneer Picnic on Aug. 4.

"This is an annual event in Crook County. We've been doing it since 1933. The first Pioneer Queen was 1933," said Gerke.

He added that the queen is chosen and notified the first part of June. It isn't announced until after the Crooked River Roundup Parade.

"It's a lot of fun, and a great chance for the community to come together and celebrate the coronation of another queen," he added.

Craddock seemed a little bit in disbelief when she heard the news.

"I kind of hesitated a little bit, but my grandma Nellie Bussett was Queen in 1957," added Craddock.

She also has a great sense of humor, and she told a story to cover up the surprise to her family until after the parade.

"I told them that I needed to talk to them, and I had something I needed to tell them," continued Craddock.

She asked all four daughters to meet her at the Sandwich Factory after the rodeo parade, because she could tell them the news after the parade.

Craddock told them she had got herself in a situation with her phone, and they would see her picture in the paper.

"I said, 'I thought I better tell you,' and then I just stopped."

Her daughter, Patty, was falling for her story.

"I thought she got in trouble for some phone scam," Patty said with a chuckle.

One of the daughters knew, but the other three didn't know until that time.

"I was supposed to act surprised," indicated Pam, her youngest daughter.

Lois giggled as she remembered their reaction. She finally told them the real news.

Craddock has deep roots in Crook County.

Her grandparents, Nellie and E.A. Bussett, homesteaded in Powell Butte in 1903. They homesteaded close to where the cemetery is currently located. There were three children, Lloyd, Ross and Faye. Two of them moved to Washington and Faye taught school in both Prineville and Powell Butte.

In 1928, Lloyd married Evelyn Bussett. They had three children; Vera, Lois and Jim. Vera moved to Redmond, Lois married and went to Prineville, and Jim stayed on the ranch in Powell Butte. Part of the homestead is still there in Powell Butte.

Lois married Ken Craddock in 1956, and they have four daughters; Peggy, Ponda, Patty, and Pam and a late son, Steven. She indicated that although her husband Kenneth worked in construction, the family had never lived away from Crook County more than two years. She said out of 83 years, she and her family have lived in Crook County at least 75 to 78 years.

She now has eight grandkids and two great-grandkids. Her family is everything to her. She lost her husband in 2018.

"I just like Crook County. People are friendly," commented Craddock.

She spent time in Redmond, Monmouth and Powell Butte. She enjoys her community she calls home the best. She worked as a school bus driver for Crook County schools for more than 20 years.

"I liked the challenge," indicated Craddock.

She had several bus routes, including one by Bowman Dam, Powell Butte, and McKay. She was also a driver trainer and taught first aid for the district.

"I also worked at Montgomery Wards, Sears, and Sprouse Ritz. They are not even thought of here in Prineville anymore."

Her family also had two service stations—Craddocks Arco and Craddocks Flying A. Her favorite career was being a bus driver.

"To this day, a bunch of her kids still love her," added daughter Pam. "All the kids on her bus adore her still. They like to be included in birthdays and stuff. It's nice."

Pam added that when shew found out about her mom's nomination, she was excited, but she was afraid Lois would say "no."

Jerry Brummer called and told her Lois had been selected.

"I love Crook County. It's an honor," she said of her nomination.


The 83rd Annual Crook County Historical Society Pioneer Picnic will be August 4 at 12:30 at Pioneer Park.

Included is the coronation of 2019 Queen Lois Ann (Bussett) Craddock

After the picnic, there will be Ice Cream and cake, courtesy of Tastee Treet and Crook County Historical Society

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