Shamy Johnson, 96, of Vale, Oregon died August 2.

Shamy was born on May 26, 1916 in Vale and spent his life in Malheur and Harney counties. His father nicknamed him Shamrock when he was a toddler because he always wanted him to sing the shamrock song; the nickname was soon shortened to Shamy. He was on a horse from the time he was a preschooler. He landed his first cowboy job when he was 11 and never returned home. He spent the next several years working on ranches in Oregon.

Shamy married Erma Maupin in 1936 and everything they owned fit into one suitcase. They enjoyed nearly 66 years together. Shamy worked in the saw mill in his early 20s and saved every dollar he earned to buy his first ranch in Westfall.

Five years later he sold out and helped manage the Stockman’s café that he purchased with Kenney Johnson and George Troy.

In 1957 Shamy got his real estate license and sold ranches all over the Northwest. He was instrumental in putting together the first grazing association.

Shamy was the president of the Vale rodeo board in 1957 during the great flood of Vale and was instrumental in rebuilding the rodeo grounds in time for the rodeo that year. He started the suicide race and the grand marshal program and because of his years of service the Vale rodeo grounds were named the Shamrock Arena in his honor. He was inducted into the Buckaroo Hall of Fame in Winnemucca, Nev. on September 5, 2009.

Shamy was also the president of the Lions Club and the Chamber of Commerce and helped organize the Vale Auxiliary Police Program and served as its captain. He also volunteered for the fire and ambulance crews for several years.

He was a member of the Malheur County Livestock Association and was given an honorary lifetime membership for his outstanding contributions.

In 1960 he bought his second ranch in Durkee and sold out four years later and bought the Star Mountain ranch at Riverside.

He’s survived by his children Donna Murdock and Bill Bishop of Caldwell, Idaho, Judy and Larry Potts of Jordan Valley, and Patsy Jo McMicheals of Ontario; his brother, Gerald Johnson of Vancouver, Wash.; sister-in-law, Erma Johnson of Caldwell, Idaho;  daughter-in-law, Patsy Ann Pierce of Vale; 12 grandchildren; 32 great-grandchildren; five great-great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. He is also survived by three honorary daughters, Betty Murphy, June Ringheimer and Judy Bagley.

He is preceded in death by his wife Erma Johnson, son Darrel Johnson, son-in-law Bob Murdock, grandson Billy Murdock, sisters Ernestine Ordway, Josephine Palmer Tomlinson and Patricia Holman, and brother Buzz Johnson.

Graveside services were held on Tuesday, Aug. 7, at the Valley View Cemetery in Vale. A reception and celebration of his life followed at the Christian Church. Services were under the direction of the Nampa Funeral Home, Yraguen Chapel. An online guest book may be signed at

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