Merle Evans Harper, 79, died at his home in Trail, on Jan. 30, 2008.
He was born on Jan. 1, 1929, in Wolsey, S.D., to Evans "Steve" and Clara (Schwartz) Harper. He came to southern Oregon with his family in 1934. After moves to several small towns in the Klamath Basin and the Rogue Valley, they settled in Prospect, where he attended grade school and high school. At age 17 Merle joined the Army Air Force and served from Jan. 1946 to July 1948, and was stationed in Denver, Colo., Roswell, N.M., and at Hickam Field in Hawaii. He married Marie Ragsdale after his discharge from the service.
Merle chose the logging industry as his life’s work. He worked for others at first, but his desire to have his own truck would eventually lead to more equipment and the formation of his own company, Merle Harper Logging. This company has lasted four decades and employed three generations of the Harper family. Merle officially retired in 1993 but he continued to work off and on for the company for the next decade as an equipment operator. In recent years he spent his summers driving a water truck, and was a regular sight on rural roads in eastern Klamath County. Merle had a great sense of humor, was well-liked and respected by his fellow loggers, and was a member of the Winema chapter of Hoo-Hoo International, a forest products industry fraternal order.
Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Marie Harper of Trail; daughter and son-in-law Teresa and Chris Lucas of Eagle Point; son and daughter-in-law Rod and Karen Harper of Klamath Falls; grandchildren Ryan Harper and wife Annie of Rochester, N.Y., Nick Harper of Portland, and Stephanie Pogue and husband Evan of Eagle Point; great-grandson Gavin Pogue of Eagle Point; brother Jim Harper of Medford; and sister-in-law Kay Harper of Shady Cove. He was preceded in death by his brother, Don Harper, and grandson, Benjamin Lucas.
A private interment was held at Trail Cemetery.
There will be an informal gathering for friends and relatives at Riverhouse, 7710 Rogue River Drive in Shady Cove Saturday March 1from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm for anyone wishing to pay their respects.
For those who wish, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society at 31 W. 6th Street, Medford, OR, 97501 or the charity of their choice.