Northwest Office

Northwest Regions

We Remember-Jul/Aug/Sept 2020 WF Issue

Robert "Bob" Charles Sanders - 1938-2020 

Robert "Bob" Charles Sanders, 81, passed away quietly on May 20 from age-related causes. He was born June 7, 1938, to William "Bill" and Helen Sanders in Chicago, Illinois. When seven years old, he told his parents he would be a forest ranger when he grew up. While growing up in Chicago, Bob loved to walk to Lake Michigan and fish off the pier.  

He attended Michigan State University in Lansing where he received a bachelor's degree in forestry in 1960 and joined the Society of American Foresters. Bob headed out west to attend Oregon State University and obtained a master's degree in forestry in 1961. True to his dream, while in college Bob worked as a temporary employee with the US Forest Service during the summers. 

While attending OSU, Bob met his future wife, Eileen Friedman, who worked as a registered nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis. 

To avoid being drafted, he applied to the Navy’s Officers Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, and on April 13, 1962, was commissioned as an ensign. Bob and Eileen married in Albert Lea, Minnesota, three days later. They proceeded to Charleston, South Carolina, where Bob attended minesweeping school. After his graduation, they moved to Long Beach, California, where he was stationed on the minesweeper USS Inflict 456 for three years. Daughter Lynda was born there in 1963. He made one six-month West Pack cruise to Vietnam where they went up the Saigon River sweeping mines. He was discharged from the Navy as a Lt. JG on April 13, 1965. 

Following his discharge, Bob began his 30-year career with the US Forest Service. His first full-time assignment was running a camp to treat Blister Rust on the Clarkia Ranger District in the St. Joe National Forest in northern Idaho. Their son, Doug, was born in St. Maries, Idaho, in 1967. In 1980, Bob came to Eugene, Oregon, to be the Willamette National Forest silviculturist out of the supervisor's office. He loved getting out into the forest to supervise planting trees in the various districts of the Willamette National Forest. He retired in 1994. 

Family and friends were very important to him. His passions had a lasting impact on his friends and family who have taken those pursuits and carried them forward. He will be remembered for his dedication and longtime service as a member of SAF, the Westminster Presbyterian Church, the Board of Directors of Rainbow Village, and the Kiwanis.  

Bob’s service in SAF included being a Golden member and the designation of Fellow in 2003; he served as Emerald Chapter policy chair from 2004-2013 and 2016-2019.  

He is lovingly remembered by his wife Eileen of 58 years, daughter Lynda, son Doug and his wife, Mea, and two grandchildren (Tyler and Ashley), two nieces, and one nephew. 

He will be buried in Willamette National Cemetery in Portland when appropriate. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. 


Jerry Proutt - 1932–2020 

Jerry was born Jerome Miller Proutt to Thomas and Leah (Miller) Proutt in Annapolis, Maryland, on June 12, 1932. He was raised in rural Maryland by Leah and his grandmother Grace Miller. 

Jerry attended Washington College in Chesterton, Maryland, where he met and fell in love with Alba Jane (AJ) Carr. He served active duty in the US Navy from 1953 to 1956, and while on leave, Jerry and AJ married in Baltimore on February 26, 1955. After he completed his naval service, they moved to Seattle, Washington, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in forestry from the University of Washington.  

Jerry and AJ welcomed their first daughter Marcia Louise in 1959, the same year Jerry started his forestry career in Port Angeles, Washington. Two years later, they relocated to Vancouver, Washington, where their second daughter Nanci Lynn was born. Jerry served as a forester and soil scientist for 31 years with the USDA Soil Conservation Service in various offices in Oregon including Salem, Gold Beach, Roseburg, and Hillsboro.  

Jerry retired in 1995. AJ and he moved to Port Townsend, Washington, where they built their final home overlooking the Straits of Juan de Fuca. 

Jerry enjoyed fishing, hunting, camping, local history, attending his daughters’ horse and school events, playing and visiting with his grandson Alex, drinking beer with friends while watching Seahawks games, and watching the marine wildlife from his home. 

Jerry was preceded in death by AJ’s sudden passing in early 2015, just one month before their 60th wedding anniversary.  

Jerry slipped away peacefully from heart failure on Sunday afternoon, May 17, 2020, surrounded by his loving family at his home as he so clearly wished to do. Jerry’s life with be celebrated with friends and family, hopefully, this summer outside on his beloved property when it’s safe to gather again, where his ashes will be scattered over the bluff to join those of AJ’s. 


George Chesley - 1941–2020 

At the time of printing, an obituary for George was unavailable, so we are sharing a message that Dennis Dietrich sent to members of the Pacific Northwest Forest Service Association, a.k.a. Old Smokeys.  

It is with sadness that I am writing to inform you of the passing of one of the great Old Smokeys, George Chesley. 

George was in hospice care at his home until July 4, when he was moved to Hospice House to better control the pain from his cancers. He passed away at 0300 Saturday, July 11.  

His wife, Joy, told me that there was no memorial planned for now. If anything is planned later, she will let me know and I will share that. She said Niswonger-Reynolds Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. There will eventually be a way on their website to offer remembrances and condolences. 

I talked to George two more times after he called me in June, and I sent out the note about his situation. In the second call he thanked me for the deluge of calls that he had received from former colleagues and retired friends. He was really grateful for that. So, to all of you who contacted him, good work. You made him happy. 


James F. O’Donnell - 1934–2020 

James “Jim” F. O’Donnell passed away on July 16, 2020. He was born in Niagara Falls, New York, where he began his lifelong love for the outdoors.  

James studied forestry at Paul Smith University in the Adirondacks. During his military service, where he was stationed in Germany, he met and married Jeanne, his wife of 64 years. After fulfilling his military duty, Jim graduated from the University of Idaho with a forestry degree. 

After three years with the Oregon State Department of Forestry, James entered private industry and worked for companies in Portland, Oregon, and Tacoma and Spokane, Washington, before starting his own business called Forest & Wildlife Management. Moments that James cherished included meeting President Carter in the Oval Office and leading a delegation of foresters on a People to People tour of China in 1986. 

Jim and Jeanne had an extended family of six children, 12 grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. His love for his family shows in the way he passed on to them his love for nature, complete with all its wildlife, birds, and the trees. It was his greatest wish to show everyone nature’s beauty and the need for those in the forest industries and the environmentalists to work together to preserve it. It was the reason he ran for Congress, and later for land commissioner in Washington State. He was ahead of the times, which often cost him the distrust on both sides. 

A lifetime membership in the Society of American Foresters, as well as the Tahoma Audubon Society, was a great honor for him. 

Though his family will miss his presence, James’ legacy is living on in all of them, and the many people he affected with his love for life. 


Editor’s note: In the April/May/June 2020 issue, an incorrect birthdate was listed for John Bell; he was born in 1924. 

Return to Table of Contents                 Next Article