Richard Lewis Thissell

April 26, 1930 - November 22, 2023

Location Of Death: Burns, OR United States

Celebrating Life

Richard Lewis “Dick” Thissell passed away at home on Nov. 22, 2023, at the age of 93, the last of a rare, strong breed.

Dick was born to Fred and Grace Thissell in Corvallis, Oregon, joining brothers Clyde, Walt, Glen and Bill. Later, brother Don and sister Linda joined the family.

They moved to Dayville when Dick was young, then later to a place at the foothills of Strawberry Mountain, south of Prairie City. During that time, Dick began his first job at 8 years of age, as a horse wrangler for Murderer’s Creek Ranch. That began his lifelong passion for chasing and breaking wild horses. His enthusiasm for riding the outlaws was well known.

The family moved to the Thissell place up the Silvies River when he was 13. He stayed in Burns during the winter in order to go to school. He worked for several ranches in the area until he was drafted into the U.S. Army on 6 July 1955. He was stationed in Germany for 13 months, as a crew-member in a 90 mm anti-aircraft artillery battery. He was discharged from active duty on 19 June 1957.

After Dick’s stint in the service, he moved to Seneca. There he met Beverly June Gillett and they were married on Dec. 26, 1959.

At that time he was working for some of the ranches in the area. Dick was also a professional fence-builder with a well-earned reputation for fast and excellent work. He worked at that trade off and on for over 40 years.

After marrying Bev, Dick went to work for Edward Hines Lumber Co., first as a choker setter, then as a dozer operator, both skid-cat and deck-cat. Eventually he began to drive a log truck, which he continued to do for several years until he retired from Hines. When Hines moved their truck operations to Burns, Dick and his family moved to Rye Grass Ln., where they began to develop their ranch. He lived there until his death.

Dick was a true outdoors-man and an exceptional stockman. He loved Eastern Oregon’s mountains and deserts, packing into the high country and taking road-trips to the beautiful scenic vistas of the area. He enjoyed sharing the wild areas of the country with his family; fishing, hunting, packing in horse-back to the Strawberry Wilderness, and living for months in isolated areas while building fence.

Dick was an expert tracker and a crack shot with his trusty “meat-in-the-pot”. He enjoyed telling stories of horse-chasing, hunting and logging, tales of exploits by him and his brothers that mesmerized and awed many a listener, especially so because everyone knew that these tales were true.

Dick was always willing to offer a helping hand, never expecting payback or a return favor. He did it because he believed it was the right thing to do.

Dick is survived by his wife, Beverly and his children Sharon (Steve) Mayfield and LeRoy Thissell, grand-children Brian Mayfield and Amy Strong, and great-grandchildren Austin Strong, Jacob Strong, Sydney Mayfield and Isaac Mayfield, along with many cousins, nephews and nieces.

Dick was preceded in death by his parents Fred and Grace Thissell, his brothers Clyde, Walt, Glen, Bill and Don, and his sister Linda.

At Dick’s request, there will be no funeral service. A memorial will be announced at a later date.

Richard Lewis Thissell will be deeply missed and fondly remembered by everyone who knew him. Obituary courtesy of LaFollette’s Chapel.

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