Harney County lost one of its oldest cowboys, Fred Raymond Wensenk, on June 6.

He was born on July 14, 1920, in Mountain Grove, Mo., to Clyde W. Wensenk and Ellamae Briggs. He had three younger siblings, Fern, Hellen and Alvin.

Fred married Gladys D. Cooper in Houston, Mo., on June 14, 1941. However, they had known each other since childhood, growing up in Cabool, Mo. They returned to Cabool to begin their lives as a married couple.

Fred and Gladys had five children together, Marilyn Edwards, Delores Mead, Linda McKridy, Clyde F. Wensenk and Rocky L. Wensenk.

Over the years, Fred and his family moved from Missouri to Grants Pass because of work opportunities. The family eventually found a permanent home in Burns.

Fred worked as a diesel engine operator for Producers Creamery for eight years in Cabool. In Burns, he worked for Wolverine Mill for four years. He also worked for the city of Burns in maintenance and later became the head of the city water department. He retired after 26 years.

In retirement, Fred and Gladys spent their summers working in Clover Swales for Culp Cattle Company for eight years.

Fred took pleasure in several outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting and horseback riding. He especially loved to hunt elk.

Fred was well known, throughout the county, for his “masterful” wheeling and dealing and a general proclivity for finding beneficial trades.

Fred could captivate an audience with his stories about his colorful life and upbringing.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Clyde W. Wensenk and Ellamae Briggs; siblings, Fern Cantubary, Hellen Homes and Alvin Wensenk; two children, Marilyn Edwards and Linda McKridy; and one grandchild, Matthew.

He is survived by wife, Gladys; 11 grandchildren, Donnie, Brian, Tammy, Rick, Rhonda, Lori, Jodie, Wendy, Cole, Sean and Fred; 13 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center at 2 p.m. June 30.


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