Chester "Duane" Bledsoe was born Oct. 11, 1935, to Chester and Loretta (Beatty) Bledsoe at home near Condon. Duane was the youngest of two children born to Chester and Loretta.
He passed away Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017. A Funeral Service was held at Prineville Funeral Home Dec. 28, followed by a graveside service with military honors at Juniper Haven Cemetery.
As a young child, Duane enjoyed life on a ranch miles from the nearest town. Butte Creek was a young boy's dream for hunting, fishing and enjoying life. His family also lived in Kentucky, and Duane graduated from high school in London, Kentucky. When Duane was in school at Fossil, he learned to play the clarinet.
In 1956, Duane enlisted in the Army. He was stationed in southern California. He worked in the kitchen and then had the opportunity to drive truck for supplies and troops. At the suggestion of a commander, he auditioned for and joined the 58th U.S. Army Band. The 58th U.S. Army Band did live performances and also radio performances with Radio Stars of the late 1950s.
Upon discharge from the Army, he returned home to Oregon, then returned to Kentucky to find and marry his "Southern Belle," Nellie Brock. In November of 1960, Duane and Nellie were married.
Duane and Nellie returned to Oregon, and Duane worked on ranches and the Kinzu Mill in the Fossil area. In 1963, they made the move to Prineville, where Duane worked at Clear Pine Moulding. Duane started doing jobs while still at Clear Pine and then it worked into a full-time job as he started Bledsoe Excavating and Sanitary Service.
Their son, Doug, was born in 1975. He continued working until 2012 and then retired from full-time work. Duane hired many local people for his company, and he was a good boss.
Duane always took time to play. There was nothing he loved more than catching salmon. His favorite spots were Shears Bridge, Bouy 10 near Astoria, and Campbell River in British Columbia. His family made many trips to Canada, often with friends.
Duane and Nellie became snowbirds. They met new friends and enjoyed the warmth of Arizona winters for many years. Duane also rekindled his love of music. They attended many Bluegrass festivals.
Duane was a kind and gentle man. He had the knack of solving conflicts without either party realizing what he had done. He was a skilled mechanic and could fix or build almost anything.
Duane was preceded in death by his parents, Chester and Loretta Bledsoe, and his sister, Janice Moss.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Nellie, and his son, Doug Bledsoe.
Duane was a man of many talents and many friends. He will be missed.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Prineville Hospice or the Humane Society of the Ochocos in Duane's name. Prineville Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.