Charley Otley 1921-2012

Posted on September 5th in Obituaries

Life-time rancher Charley Otley, 91, died on Tuesday, Aug. 28, at Harney District Hospital.

Charley was born on Aug. 3, 1921, to Henry and Mary Otley. He had two brothers, Howard and Harold. They lived in Lawen until 1934.

In 1928 when he was just 7 years old, his father, Henry, had the contract to build a railroad track between Burns and Seneca. Charley had lots of fun playing with Howard and Harold. In 1934 the family moved to Drewsey because of the drought. They lived there until 1944 when the family bought a ranch from Fred Smyth in Diamond. They called this ranch Otley Brothers, and Charley, Howard and Harold ran it with their father and his brother Charlie.

He met Maryanna Brown at a Diamond dance while she was staying with her aunt and uncle, Walt and Opal Cooley. They married on Jan. 28, 1950. In 1951 Maryanna was diagnosed with diabetes. Charley, Maryanna and Dr. John Weare drove to Ontario where they took the train to Portland to learn more about the disease. At that time, Dr. Holcomb said that Charley knew as much about diabetes as most doctors. Their son Bill was born Aug. 6, 1953.

Charley was very active in the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association in the 1960s and 1970s. From 1972 to 1973 he served as president of the OCA. In 1984 Otley Brothers was divided into three different ranches, with Charley’s ranch being the Diamond Valley Ranch.

No one ever has put a “slow moving vehicle” sign on any of the cars he drove, and you could usually find peanut M&M’s in the glove box or inside the door. He enjoyed playing cards very much. He, Howard, Rye and Norma Smyth used to play pinochle a lot. He loved playing pitch with Delmer Clemens and the gang, and his last partner was Bill Cheek. He always had a game of solitare going at the table. A few years ago he and Maryanna moved to Burns. Breakfasts with Bob and the rest of the coffee shop crew was a highlight of every day.

Charley is survived by his wife of 62 years, Maryanna Otley; son, Bill Otley and wife Rita; granddaughter, Kristie Otley; sister-in-law, Mary Otley; nephews, Bob Otley, Harry and wife Mary Otley and Fred and wife Debbi Otley; nieces, Shirley and husband Earl Carson and Sherry and husband Doug Stott; and numerous great-nephews, great-nieces, and great-great-nephews and nieces, along with many wonderful friends.

Charley was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Mary Otley; brothers, Howard and wife Genie Otley and Harold Otley; and his father- and mother-in-law, Glenn and Violet Brown.

A funeral service was held on Monday, Sept. 3 at the Burns Elks Lodge #1680 with interment at the Burns Cemetery.

Contributions in Charley Otley’s memory can be made to the Shriner’s Hospital in care of LaFollette’s Chapel, P.O. Box 488, Burns, OR 97720. LaFollette’s Chapel was in charge of funeral arrangements. Send your condolences to the family at:

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