Thomas L. Condron
Thomas L. Condron was born Feb. 11, 1945, to John and Louise Condron at the old hospital on First Street in Prineville. Tom passed away at his home outside of Prineville on July 18, 2017.
His early childhood was spent on the ranches where his parents worked in the "Upper Country" of Crook County. Tom was the eldest of five children. The family moved into town when it was time for Tom to start school so he could begin the first grade in Prineville.
Tom graduated from Crook County High School in 1963. After high school, Tom worked at the Ellingson Sawmill in Izee. He worked at the Boeing manufacturing plant in Seattle, Washington, and helped build the Muslin Stud Mill in Prineville. He continued to work there until the company went bankrupt. He started working at Coin Millwork in February of 1970 and was a Hyster mechanic there, through several changes of ownership, until he retired from Woodgrain in 2004.
Tom married Cynthia Besel on May 28, 1966. While their early marriage was spent in the Seattle area, Tom and Cynthia returned to Prineville when son Bill was 18 months old. Their daughters Kathy, Stephanie and Megan were all born in Prineville. Tom raised his family on the small farm he and Cynthia had outside of town. Tom was a firm disciplinarian, but he mellowed with age, and his grandchildren had the benefit of a devoted "Papa Tom" who loved to spoil them and travel to their school sporting events.
During retirement, Tom continued to work for the Guthrie family during hay season, where he enjoyed putting up the hay and maintaining the farm equipment. Tom enjoyed hunting and fishing and collecting guns. He loved spending time with his family and especially his grandchildren. He was an excellent metal fabricator and welder. Tom liked to travel by train and enjoyed the sights along the way, taking several transcontinental trips with Cynthia.
Local history and family history were interests of his, as well as the histories and evolution of many autos and tractors as well as their manufacturers, and lumber and saw milling equipment. He was an artisan at meat curing. Tom didn't know a stranger, as he was a friend as soon as you met him. He was a hard worker who loved his family and showed them by providing for them.
He was a man of few words but always told those that he loved that he loved them. Tom was a master "BSer" and made a positive, if not colorful, impression on every one he met. Tom was a man of many colorful phrases, and after he passed, his family started a list of his sayings that has exceeded 100 and is still growing.
In 2015, Tom lost his right eye and then his left kidney to cancer. However, he maintained a strong attitude during his recovery. He was spared chemo and radiation, so he was able to be active and productive the next two years. During those two years, he and Cynthia celebrated their 50th and 51st anniversaries. He was able to meet his first great-grandchild, Charlotte, shortly before he passed. Tom was thrilled to discover that he was still an excellent marksman despite missing his "shooting" eye. The proof was that he bagged his elk the fall of 2016.
His children have fond memories of what they learned from him, and those lessons helped shape their character. Bill, "Dad taught me the importance of respect and knowing when to agree to disagree. I learned my love of descriptive phrases from Dad, and I enjoy getting attention when I catch people off guard with unexpected metaphors. LOL."
Kathy and Megan, "Something passed to us from Dad, we have ZERO tolerance for drama and BS. Dad taught by example to be the best person you could be, have good morals and treat people right. Our times together hunting are a treasure we will always carry with us."
Stephanie, "Dad taught me an impeccable work ethic. You need to be early, put in all your time, and always stay busy, even if it means picking up a broom and sweeping. He also showed me how to overcook and ruin a perfectly good prime rib. LOL."
Tom's survivors include; wife, Cynthia; son, Bill; daughters, Kathy (Steve) Smith, Stephanie (Mike) Jones and Megan (Kori) Urell; his mother, Louise; mother-in-law, Dawna Risland; grandchildren, Rhett Smith, Dean Smith, Coleman (Blythe) Jones, Hannah Jones, Aidan Urell and Ronan Urell; great-granddaughter, Charlotte Jones; sisters, Golda Condron, Jeannie (Ralph) Holtby and Nancy Draggoo; brother, David (Nancy) Condron; brother-in-law, Larry Besel (Bert Landman); as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, John; infant twin sons; brothers-in-law, Greg Besel and Richard Draggoo; nephew, Jake Besel; and niece, Bonnie Holtby.
Tom never had much patience with formal religion, preferring to let his actions and support of others speak for him. However, at his grandson Coleman's wedding in 2016, Tom hit it off with Pastor Mark Woolbright, of Pendleton. They struck up a firm friendship and bonded over their love of the outdoors and elk hunting. Pastor Mark came to visit Tom a few days before he passed. Pastor Mark was Cynthia's only choice to lead Tom's simple graveside service. Tom was laid to rest in Dehler's Grizzly Mountain Cemetery, where it was an act of love for John and Cindy, and their sons "Fourth" and Joe to provide Tom's final place of rest since he had always been "Uncle Tom."
Tom passed away peacefully at home, cared for by his wife and children, with sons-in-law, Mike and Steve being a Godsend with his care, Tom's mother, Louise, was sitting at his left side holding his hand and his wife, Cynthia, was laying by his right side holding his hand when Tom quietly moved on.
Memorial contributions may be made to: Ochoco Elk Hunter's Chapter, Oregon Hunter's Association, PO Box 1545, Prineville, OR 97754.