Fred Warner Sr., age 94, passed away on October 28, 2020, in Baker City after a long and fruitful life. Mr. Warner was a lifelong resident of Baker County. He was born on October 26, 1926, to Emmett (Jack) and Hazel Warner. He spent most of his life in Baker Valley working on the family ranch that he helped build into one of the valleys most prominent operations.
A graveside service with military honors will be held on November 5, 2020, at 1:00 pm at Mt. Hope Cemetery. Reverend Aletha Bonebrake will be officiating the service. Family and close friends are invited and encouraged to follow the safety protocols of Covid-19. The graveside service will be recorded and uploaded to Gray’s West & Co. Website for those who cannot attend.
Fred was a 1944 graduate of Baker High School and immediately enlisted in the US Navy. He was a radio operator on the Destroyer the USS Norman Scott in the South Pacific, where he served until the conclusion of World War II. He was in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered, ending the war in the Pacific. After his discharge from the Navy, he attended Oregon State University for two years, majoring in Animal Science, before returning to help run the family ranch.
He married Bettie Anne Smith on September 12, 1948. They made their home on the family ranch on Slough Road in the North end of Baker Valley. Fred and Bettie raised five children. This was truly a family operation with everyone growing up in the hayfields and working cattle in Baker Valley. He operated the Warner Bros. Century Farm with his brother Carl and then later with his sons Fred Jr. and Scott. After 36 years of marriage, Bettie passed away after a battle with cancer.
Fred was truly a pillar of the community. Some of his major accomplishments include the creation of the Mason Dam, the establishment of the Warner-Wellman Auction Agency, the establishment of the Baker Valley Vector Control, his prominent role in the siting of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, and the seven generations of his family that has called this valley home. From his roles as President of the Baker Cattlemen’s Association and Vice President of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association to his role in founding the Trail Tenders and numerous state-appointed organizations, Fred’s commitment to this community is unmatched.
In 1986, Fred married Barbara Yokom, and they were married for 33 years. With two ready-made families of eight kids and multiple spouses, they continued to lead the family. In those years, they continued developing their love of history and wrote Fred’s memoir “From the Middle Both Ways” that chronicles his family history and life in Baker County. Fred’s longtime motto was “history unrecorded is history lost.”
Fred was preceded in death by his parents Jack and Hazel Warner, his wife Bettie Warner, his brother Carl Warner and sister Mary Jane Spence and his granddaughter AJ Warner. He is survived by his wife Barbara Warner, his children Connie (Gordon) Colton of Baker City, Jacqueline (Mike) McCabe of Prineville, Fred Warner Jr. (Camille) of Baker City, Scott Warner (Tracey) of Baker City, and Chris Warner (Barbara) of Portland, step-children Ken Yokom, Clark Yokom, and Kari Landson (Scott) and 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Baker Heritage Museum or charity of your choice through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel at 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Fredrick Jay Warner Sr., please visit our floral store.