John Richard Avila
John Richard Avila passed away Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. He was 83 years old.
John was born on July 24, 1936, in Hanford, California, to parents John L. Avila and Lydia (Perry) Avila, as the oldest of six children. The family farmed in the San Joaquin Valley. John graduated from Hanford High School in 1953 and attended College of the Sequoias with plans to become an architect, when his father died unexpectedly and John returned home to help with the family farm. John was drafted into the Army in 1957. He attended basic training in San Luis Obispo and was then deployed to France as an administrative assistant and attaché to Colonel Green until 1959. He continued to serve with the National Guard in San Luis Obispo after returning to farming in Hanford.
John married Catherine A. Warmerdam on April 30, 1960. They had four children, daughters, Kathleen and Cindy, and then sons, Richard and Brian.
John farmed with his brothers for 44 years before the big "Oregon or Bust" adventure in 1995. Upon arriving in Madras, John and his family established Avila Farms. From farming cotton in California to farming tomatoes, garlic, grass and alfalfa hay in Madras, John was a pioneer in his own right. John's family was the first to own a single row cotton picker in the San Joaquin Valley and the first to grow greenhouse tomatoes in Central Oregon.
John was well-known as someone who loved conversation and had the ability to make people feel welcome, important and at ease. He was a gifted speaker and spoke four languages.
John is survived by his wife of 59 years, Catherine. He is also survived by his children, Kathleen Avila Withrow (husband Steve), Cindy Avila, Richard Avila (wife Kathleen) and Brian Avila (wife Christine). John is also survived by his grandchildren, Tiana Avila Gladding, Weston Withrow, Austin Avila, Aiden Avila and Kaylin Avila.
John was a devoted member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church and active in the Knights of Columbus. Funeral services at St. Patrick's and burial at Terrebonne Pioneer Cemetery were held on Nov. 12.
His love of family, church and community will always be remembered and admired by his family and friends.