Patrick Byrne, 1934 – 2015

Patrick “Pat” Byrne died July 17, 2015, in Ekalaka, Mont.

Patrick Robert Byrne was born on July, 29, 1934, in Selby, S.D. to Robert (Bob) and Ruth (Dearborn) Byrne. He attended country school through eighth grade. His parents took him to Timber Lake (S.D.) at the start of high school, but after they dropped him off he would leave and go work with a local livestock dealer, which probably prepared him for his life better than school.

Pat’s passion was always livestock and rodeo, and in 1954 he met the daughter of a local stock contractor, Nelda Bachman.  They were married on Nov. 11, 1954.  They raised a son and daughter while working on various ranches in S.D. until 1961, when they bought the Riley ranch south of Mill Iron, Mont., in partnership with Pat’s brother, Jim. They bought out Jim in 1974 and proceeded to expand into outfitting and then into producing rodeos, besides raising cattle. Pat and Nelda established Byrne Rodeo in 1972 and produced rodeos in the four-state area until selling out in 1985, after the Ekalaka Centennial.

They continued to ranch until 1999, when they sold the ranch to their son and his wife. That is when Pat, being the people person he was, took his knowledge of stock and became a successful sheep order buyer.

Pat especially enjoyed watching his children grow up competing in rodeo and was always ready to encourage or assist others to enjoy the sport.

Pat is survived by his son, Jamie (Juanita) Byrne; daughter, Monie (Larry) Byrne, Charlotte, N.C.; four granddaughters, Mindy (Greg) Yates of Ekalaka, Kristi (Kyle) Sander of Rapid City, S.D., Shantil Byrne and Shamra Byrne, both of Charlotte, N.C.; five great grandchildren, Adlen, Amelia, Ayla, Wayne and Sasha; two brothers, Larry (Barb) Byrne of Sundance, Wyo., and Tom (Aileen) Byrne of Pine Haven, Wyo.; one sister, Kathy (Gilbert) Wood of Newell, S.D.; and a sister-in-law, Betty Jane Byrne of Devils Tower, Wyo.

Memorial contributions to be given to Ekalaka Swimming Pool Fund and/or the Ekalaka Ambulance Service.

Phillip Cohn, 1925 – 2015

Phillip William Cohn of Wilsonville, Ore., died July 31, 2015, at his home in Charbonneau, Ore. He was 90.

Phill was born on June 6, 1925, in Heppner, Ore. He attended school in Heppner, a small farming and ranching community, where he played tackle on the state champion football team. He was also a saxophone player in the local dance band.

He served in the Navy as a radar specialist in World War II, where he stationed in the South Pacific.

After the war, he attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., where he graduated with a degree in economics.

In 1948, he married Marian Andrews and together they had four children: Teresa Cohn-Netter, Sheryl Gannon, Phillip Andrew Cohn and Elizabeth Cohn.

Phill had a successful livestock business and later took his talented business ethics into real estate. His business ventures included Cohn Livestock, C and B Livestock, Superior Farms, Pilgrims Pantry Inn, Blue Mountain Forest Products and Andrews Management.

Phill and Marian went to California to visit the Stoven brothers, who owned an old lamb plant and beef plant. While Phill was trading with one brother, Marian bought the plant from the other brother, according to longtime friend Tom Watson. Several years later, various plant closings left Superior Farms as a dominant player on the West Coast.

Phill was a “calculated” risk taker. He wasn’t afraid to buy a rundown farm or packing house and restore it to productivity. Phill and his family sold Superior Farms – which recently celebrated 50  years in business and the opening of a new, modern lamb plant – to the employees in the mid-1990s

Phill is survived by his four children and was preceded in death by his wife.

Memorial donations may be made in Phill’s name to the Serenity Hospice, 11481 SW Hall Blvd #200, Tigard, Ore., 97223.

Vernon Fairchild, 1919 – 2015

Vernon Elroy Fairchild, 95, of Buhl, Idaho, died July 27, 2015, at the Visions Hospice House in Jerome, Idaho.

Vernon, was born on Dec. 22, 1919, in Melon Valley, Idaho, the son of Ether and Lauvisia Fairchild.

He enlisted in the Army/Air Force in 1941 and served until 1945 during World War II as an Aircraft mechanic. Upon his return home, he started shearing sheep with his brothers, father, and uncle. On May 1, 1946, he joined the Sheep Shearers Union of North America, local 301, and remained a full working member in support of the union until his death. In 1947, Vernon and his brother, Ward, started their own sheep shearing business, a family business that is still in operation and successful to this day. The sheep shearing provided the Fairchild families their fondest memories and experiences. Vernon’s success in the sheep industry led to his induction into the Livestock Hall of Fame on March 21, 2000, and he was honored by the Idaho Woolgrowers Association in November 2004. Another honor he received was an invitation to participate at The Trailing of the Sheep Festival.

Vernon’s hobbies and interests involved his work and his family visiting him in the various sheep camps.

Vernon is survived by his children, Fred (Debbie) Rouse, Teila Suter, Diana (Frank) Porter, Vernon Jr. (Terri) Fairchild and Valrie Wright, all of Buhl; daughter-in-law, Rose Rouse; 23 grandchildren and too many great grandchildren to count.

Dr. Will Getz, 1942 – 2015

Dr. Will R. Getz, 73, died July 20, 2015. He was born in Springfield, Ohio on July 10, 1942 to Roger W. and Genevieve (Jesson) Getz.

He accompanied his parents to the mission field in Burma. In 1951, Will moved with his family to Bacone College in Muskogee, Okla. where his father was president. He graduated from high school in Muskogee, and then received his associate’s degree from Bacone College. He continued his education at Oklahoma State University where he received his bachelor’s in agricultural education and animal science. Will followed in his father’s footsteps by attending Ohio State University, where he received his master’s degree and his Ph.D. in animal breeding and quantitative genetics.

While at Ohio State, he met Elizabeth Shough and she became his wife on Aug. 31, 1968. Together they began their service to others in Tanzania where Will served as national livestock breeding research officer and animal husbandry teacher for extension professionals. During this time, their two children, Michael and Natalie, were born. Back in the U.S., Will became a professor at North Carolina A&T. For 15 years, he was associated with Winrock International Livestock Research and Training Center in Morrilton, Ark. In 1997, he began work in the animal extension, research and teaching program at Fort Valley State University.

Will had a lifelong love of running, which he shared with his daughter. In his free time, he could be found on his Georgia farm, assisted by his son, tending his sheep and goats.

Survivors include his wife, Elizabeth (Liz); his son, Michael, of Fort Valley, Ga.; his daughter, Natalie Buckwalter, and her husband, Andrew, of Mt. Juliet, Tenn.; grandsons, Bryce, Graham and Hudson; brothers Jack, Bob and Stephen Getz; sister Ellen Ellis.

Memorial contributions may be made to: Bacone College, 2299 Old Bacone Road, Muskogee, OK 74403 or Fort Valley United Methodist Church, 301 W. Church St., Fort Valley, GA 31030.

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