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William Vernon Wise

Heppner Gazette-Times of Heppner, Oregon

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William Vemon Wise, 93, died on October 17, 2015, at his home in Madras, OR. A family gathering in Madras, to honor Bill, is scheduled in November. A graveside gathering at the Olex Cemetery in Olex, OR, will also take place at a later date.

He was born February 3, 1922, in Wyndham, MT. He was born to Vernon and Lela Salter Wise at the home of his grandparents, Silas and Addie Salter. Bill started school in Mikkalo, OR at age four as William Vernon Biddle, and later moved with his family to lone. He graduated from lone High School in 1939.

He went to vocational school in Pendleton, where he also took personal flying lessons. He said he washed dishes after school for $6 a week and paid $6 per flying lesson. He then worked in the shipyards in Bremerton, WA before enlisting.

Bill enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942. He earned the ranks of 1st Lieutenant, as well as the rank of Captain, by the end of the war. He flew B-24 bombers in the 13th Air Force Long Rangers over Borneo in the Philippine Islands. In 1944, Bill and his crew flew the longest flight (at that time) over the ocean with a crippled B-24, with only two of four working engines. For this flight, Bill and all his crew each earned a Bronze star. Before he was discharged, he was married to Fredamae Schaefer. They lived in Pampa, TX while Bill finished his military service.

After Bill's discharge from the service, they moved to Mikkalo, OR, where they became wheat and cattle ranchers. Over the years Bill and Fredamae had seven children: Sharla Louise, William Wayne, Wesley Vernon, Robert Charles, Kelly Mae, David Lee and Pamela Delight. While ranching and raising a family in Mikkalo, Bill developed various interests such as boating and water skiing, fossil hunting, learning French as well as Spanish, and reading nonfiction. He studied the wildlife in the area and practiced photography. He enjoyed flying planes as well as playing his guitar. Family was important to him and every two years he and his family would attend a family reunion at Diamond Lake, OR.

Bill was a solid member of the community of Mikkalo. He took part in group projects, helped his neighbors and took his turns on the local school board. He was someone on whom the neighbors could depend. Bill's wife Fredamae passed away on December 24, 1981. Later, Bill married Margaret Christian on June 16, 1985. He retired from ranching in 1988. They moved to Madras, OR. Bill as well as Margaret liked speaking Spanish. They traveled to Mexico a couple of times during their marriage. They enjoyed playing guitar and piano and singing songs. Both enjoyed studying geology and collecting rocks.

Bill is predeceased by his sister Georgia (Joy) Parker, Ridgecrest, CA; his half-sister Dean Weaver, Florence, OR; and his stepdaughter Susan Eichler, Gresham, OR.

He is survived by his wife Margaret Wise, Madras, OR; his two remaining sisters Darlene Hoskins, Heppner, and Delight Adams, Oregon City, OR; and his children, Sharla Fischer, Portland, OR; Wayne Wise, Weston, OR; Wesley Wise, Irrigon; Chuck Wise, Condon, OR; Kelly Lemay, Grants Pass, OR; David Wise, Mikkalo; and Pamela Moorhead, Albany, OR. Bill is also survived by his step-children, Mary Willson, Puyallup, WA; Barbara Wise, Weston; Dr. David Eichler, North Pole, AK; and Kenneth Eichler, Amity, OR.

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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015

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