Sherman County eNews #8


  1. Sherman County School Closed, Tuesday, Jan. 8

  2. Frontier TeleNet Board of Directors Meeting, Jan. 11

  3. Margaret M. Smith 1920-2018

  4. Greg Walden nominates ten Oregon students for acceptance to U.S. service academies

1. Sherman County School Closed, Tuesday, Jan. 8

Sherman County School superintendent Wes Owens issued notice of school closure today based on road and weather conditions.

2. Frontier TeleNet Board of Directors Meeting, Jan 11

Frontier TeleNet Board of Directors Meeting

Friday, January 11 at 10 a.m.

3. Margaret M. Smith 1920-2018

flower.rose.starJune 18, 1920 — December 27, 2018
Margaret Florence (Merchant) Smith, 98, longtime resident of Wasco, Sherman County, passed away peacefully the evening of December 27, 2018 at Samaritan Pacific Hospital in Newport following a brief illness, with both of her children at her bedside.

Margaret was born June 18, 1920 on Juniper Butte, near Terrebonne, Oregon to William Vern and Anna Lee (Martin) Merchant in her midwife Grandmother Josaphene (& Isaac) Martin’s home. She grew up in Culver, Oregon, where her parents operated a grocery and general merchandise store, after moving to town from his nearby Peck family homestead shortly after she was born.

After graduating from Culver High School in 1938, she attended Behnke-Walker Business College in Portland. She returned home in April 1939 to help at the wedding of an older schoolmate, who was marrying her principal for the first three years of high school. She met the Best Man, Delmer Smith, first cousin to the groom, who offered her a ride back to Portland where he was working for Otis Elevator. She apparently decided he was the “best man” as they were married the next year on June 23, 1940 in her parent’s new home in Redmond, Oregon, and enjoyed the next 68 years together, rarely parted.

Following a “gone fishing” honeymoon, they settled in Wasco and Delmer began harvest with his father and brother Leon on the family homestead farm East of Wasco their Medler grandparents had established in 1898. Come December Otis needed him temporarily in Spokane and ten years later they were still there. Two children followed, Marilyn in 1941 and William in 1945.

When his brother Leon died suddenly in 1950, Delmer & Margaret moved back to Wasco to farm. They moved into the homestead East of Wasco where Delmer had been born, and then to their new home they built in 1951, a mile “down the creek” off Scott Canyon Road with the view of her mountains that Margaret had requested. Great nephew Nathan & Samantha Smith are now raising their family to appreciate Margaret’s view as well as being the fifth and possibly sixth generations to operate the Smith Farm lands.

She learned knitting, crocheting, sewing and quilting from her Mother and enjoyed them her entire life. She participated in the The Dalles Hospital Auxiliary Volunteer Services for at least 25 years with a sewing circle of local friends and neighbors, making hand puppets for the hospital.

Margaret advanced through an amazing progression of handwork hobbies which she used for “road work” while traveling, beginning in the early ‘60s with hand embroidery under Margilee Kaseberg’s tutelage, some bead-crafting, pine needle basketry, and counted cross stitch. She gifted family and friends with beautiful baskets and cross stitch items. In 2001, Marilyn helped her buy her first embroidery machine, and it immediately became a passionate daily activity she enjoyed the rest of her life, decorating clothes, shopping bags and squares for blocks in bed and crib quilts for family and hospitals. With the advent of grandchildren in the ‘60s Margaret had begun making Christmas ornaments each year, utilizing each of these handcrafts, and continued the tradition through 2017 to an ever increasing list of grand- and great- grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends.

Delmer & Margaret enjoyed trips to Montana to visit their daughter & family, and South to Death Valley and Arizona. When William moved to Texas, they immediately became “snowbirders” travelling different routes to Texas and staying for longer periods of time each winter before returning to Wasco and Montana in the summers. In 2001 they downsized, moving from the ranch into William’s duplex in Richland Hills, Texas, and continued an annual summer trek, joined by William, to Montana, Sherman County, down the Oregon Coast and returning to Texas with Marilyn on board as well most years. Following Delmer’s death in 2008, Margaret and William decided to move back to Oregon, and in 2009 found a home in Seal Rock where they could watch the ocean waves, and enjoyed visits from family and friends.

Margaret was preceded in death by her parents, husband, sister Geraldine Bertsch, and grandson Paul Barnett. She is survived by her daughter Marilyn & Keith Barnett, son William Smith, grandson Lee Barnett & Laurie Booth, great-grandchildren Brandan & Abigayle Barnett and Morgan Barnett, two great-great-grandchildren Addyson Mae and Wyatt Benjamin, and many nieces, nephews and their families.

At her request, no services will be held, with a graveside gathering at a later date when she joins Delmer in a family plot in Sunrise Cemetery, Wasco, Oregon. Arrangements were made with Bateman Funeral Homes with a guestbook on their website ( Memorials may be made to the Sherman County Historical Society, P.O. Box 173, Moro, Oregon 97039, or the charity of your choice.

4. Greg Walden nominates ten Oregon students for acceptance to U.S. service academies

American flag2WASHINGTON, D.C. — Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) today announced that he has nominated ten Oregon students for acceptance to the prestigious United States service academies. Walden’s Service Academy Nomination Board — retired and active-duty military officers who interview potential candidates for the service academies — recommended each student based on their academic performance, extracurricular involvement, and character.

“I am honored to nominate these outstanding young Oregonians to America’s service academies,” Walden said. “Years of hard work, dedication, and commitment to character have earned these future leaders these much-deserved nominations. By pursuing a higher education at one of our country’s select service academies, these students have shown a desire to lead by example, grow intellectually, and serve the United States in uniform. I am confident that each nominee will have tremendous success in this admirable endeavor and that their futures will be bright.

“I also thank my Service Academy Nomination Board for recommending these young leaders. Their experience serving our country in uniform is invaluable to the nomination process, and speaks to the caliber of the students they interviewed and recommended for nominations this year. Without their guidance and understanding of what it takes to succeed at the U.S. service academies, these nominations would not be possible,” said Walden. Serving on Walden’s Service Academy Nomination Board are: Retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Paula Brown; Col. Smith, Jeff, Oregon Air National Guard; Lt. Col. Lee, Travis, Oregon Army National Guard; Retired U.S. Navy Commander John Howard; Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col Kirk Mickelsen.

The service academies include the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado; the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York; the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland; and the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York. Final selection for admission to the service academies will be determined by officials at each respective academy this spring.

Students who are interested in learning more about service academy nominations can visit Walden’s website at

The nominees from Oregon are as follows:

Baker County

  • Clay Keller, son of Douglas and Theresa Keller of Baker City, attended Baker High School — nominated to the United States Naval Academy.

Deschutes County

  • Jackson Clough, son of James and Jill Clough of Bend, attending Summit High School — nominated to the Unites States Air Force Academy.
  • Benjamin Roberts, son of Andrew and Kimberly Roberts of Bend, attending Bend Senior High School — nominated to the United States Naval Academy.
  • Levi Schwarz, son of Janet and Douglas Schwarz of Bend, attended Bend Senior High School — nominated to the United States Naval Academy.

Jackson County

  • Dana Jung, daughter of Dr. Tae Kyung Jung and Mikyoung Yang of Medford, attending North Medford High School — nominated to the United States Military Academy (West Point), and United States Air Force Academy.

Klamath County

  • Brandon VanMeter, son of Stephen and Amy Johnson of Klamath Falls, attending Klamath Union High School — nominated to the United States Naval Academy, United States Air Force Academy, and United States Military Academy (West Point).
  • Nolan Britton, son of Robert and Bobbie Sue Britton of Klamath Falls, attending Lost River High School — nominated to the United States Air Force Academy.
  • Jacob Healy, son of Mike and Julie Healy of Klamath Falls, attending Mazama High School — nominated to the United States Naval Academy.
  • Maximillian Balakas, son of Martin Balakas and Kathleen Todd of Klamath Falls, attending Mazama High School — nominated to United States Military Academy (West Point).

Umatilla County

  • Kirk Liscom, son of Matthew and Shelley Liscom of Pendleton, attending Pendleton High School — nominated to the United States Naval Academy.