David Lennox Blatchford of Baker City, Oregon passed away September 4, 2020, in his Wingville home with family by his side. He was a potato and wheat farmer for nearly 50 years and was able to enjoy seeing the wheat harvested this year. He and his son Jess have been partners for ten years and prior, for 40 years, Dave was partners with his younger brother, Jim Blatchford.
Born in Portland on April 4, 1945, to Lennox and Ruth Blatchford. Dave grew up in Gresham and Hillsboro where he excelled in 4-H and FFA as the three Blatchford boys were involved daily with the family Jersey Dairy farm. Dave especially was involved with machinery, expertly driving the small Oliver Cletrac at age of 7. One year at the State Fair, Dave and older brother Bill won first place in 8 out of 9 classes for Jerseys.
Dave’s athletic ability was noticed in his sixth grade by Hillsboro High Coach Ad Rutschman and he was on the Hillsboro Baseball team to win State Champs in 1963, named all-conference catcher, and won an athletic scholarship to Pacific University where he was named all-conference catcher all four years under Coach Chuck Bafaro and was selected in 1967 as Pacific's first NAIA All-American baseball player, named as the second team catcher, also holding the record for runs scored per game that year. He also enjoyed many hours of water skiing on the Willamette River and was an excellent snow skier. Later on, his hobbies adjusted to pleasure boating in places such as the Snake River, Owyhee Reservoir, and the San Juan Islands of Washington with Brother Bill; and snowmobiling, which included many trips to deep powder areas of Oregon, Idaho, and Montana with Jess and lots of other friends. Always a competitor at heart, Dave entered several snowmobile races up at Anthony Lakes including the hillclimb, drags, and a radar run in which he and Jess ended up tying for first place at 80 mph in 300 ft.
Dave and brother Jim came to Baker to farm as they felt the Willamette Valley had a shortage of good farmland. They started small and on a shoestring. They were early to adopt deep well irrigation and the first to bring center pivots to Baker Valley. Dave was innovative, if it could be beneficial to the farm, he would buy it, or build it himself. He was a great fabricator and designer; he could look at a picture and sit down and engineer what to build and often how to make it better. Starting out from necessity, building farm equipment, grain elevators, and semi-trailers, turned into an enjoyable part of his shop time, designing, and building anything he could put his "Lennox Trailers/ Lennox Equipment" name on. But more often than not, if there was a possibility that any fieldwork needed done, you could find him on a tractor. The hardest time of year for him was the month before harvest when there wasn't any fieldwork to be done!
After moving to Baker, he met Jennifer at the Stirrup Room and they were married on March 10, 1973. They built a wonderful life together, adopting Jess at birth on April 25, 1978. Dave and Jennifer purchased what they affectionately call “the small farm” in 1985 and the three of them moved into the house on the property. He was fortunate enough to live on his farm, with his family, for the rest of his life.
Dave is survived by his wife of 47 years Jennifer (Jenner) Smith of Baker City. Their son Jess is married to Chelsea (Brown) of Baker City and Dave’s two precious grandsons, Sawyer and Carter. He was blessed with a Bonus family, Alejandro Duran (Victoria), and his bonus grandsons Alex, Mariano, Calvin, and Danny. He is also survived by his older brother, Bill (Carolyn) of Bend and his younger brother, Jim (Kathy) as well as 7 nieces and nephews. Dave was also survived by many friends, including lifetime friend Tom Mickelberry of Portland.
Graveside services were held Wednesday, Sept. 9 at Haines and a Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020, at 2:00 PM at the Blatchford Shop on Pole Line Ln.
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