Jodi (Jo Ann Olson) Eagan is best remembered for her joy in creating community and weaving a good story. She was born in Caldwell, Idaho, a Christmas gift to Louis and Marguerite (Collins) Olson, on Dec. 26, 1939. Jodi was the second of four children, and the first daughter.
In January of 1950, the family moved to Madras, Oregon, to homestead on the Agency Plains following the opening of water rights. They worked together to tame the sagebrush into farmland and build their family home, evolving an unfinished earthen basement into a welcoming two-story home.
It was during this time, through her parent's example, that the seeds of supporting the needs of youth began. Louis and Marguerite saw that there were not structured activities for teenagers in Madras and began hosting a decade of Friday night teen dances and youth gatherings.
Jodi graduated from Madras Union High School and went to Shasta Junior College to study criminal justice, and then on to Oregon State University. Her college career was cut short when John Eagan from Vale, Oregon, whom she had met at 17 when he was doing seasonal work at the Richardson Ranch, proposed that she marry him and move to Reno where he was at University of Nevada. She returned to Oregon State to finish her degree in 1985.
They were married on Dec. 23, 1962, and moved back to Madras after John completed his degree. They farmed on the Agency Plains for the next 50 years.
Through the years Jodi's passions manifested into opportunities for the community. She loved horses from the moment she was given her first horse at age 8. Her favorite childhood memories were of roaming from Warm Springs to Madras on horseback. She led 4-H clubs, was a show judge, and raised national champion Paint Horses.
She loved history, especially pioneer history. Jodi rode segments of the Oregon Trail twice during the anniversary reenactment and created a pioneer woman persona, acting out the story of pioneer life in full costume beside a campfire. She was an active member of the Jefferson County Historical Society and spent the second half of her life researching the history of Hay Creek Ranch; collecting oral histories of the working ranch through its cowboys, ranchers, sheep herders and neighbors. She shared these stories in a regular Central Oregon Rancher column.
Her biggest passion was people. She lived a life of service to the community. Jodi served as a Jefferson County Commissioner, and was active in bringing non-profit programs to the county to benefit children including Moments for Moms, Juniper Junction, Together for Children, The Boys and Girls Club, Early Childhood Education and the TAG program. She taught community college classes and was a member of Alpha Omicron service sorority. She thought the best of people and wanted a good life for them.
Jodi is survived by her husband, John; daughters, Angie and Elly; grandchildren, Nelson, Maya and Max Hoaglin; brother, Steve Olson of Blairesville, Georgia and his wife, Joanne; sister, Jeri Fine, of Madras and her husband, Lewis; and sister-in-law, Kathie Olson of Redmond. Jodi was preceded in death by her brother, Ron Olson; and her parents.
Jodi's funeral mass is at St Patrick's Catholic Church Dec. 23 at 10 a.m. There will be a celebration of life in April for family and friends unable to travel now.
As befits her passion for the community, the family requests those who would like to make a gift donate to MountainStar Family Relief Nursery – Madras, which prevents child abuse and neglect. Please go to mtstar.org/donate and select your gift in memory of Jodi Eagan. MountainStar is aware that all gifts in memory of Jodi are to support the Madras program.