Mary was born Jan. 25, 1923, in Chicago, Ill., to Leonard and Edna (Sarre) Johnson. Mary grew up in the hard times of the Depression years.
At age 14, with a work-for-room-and-board arrangement, Mary left Illinois with her aunt and uncle, Bill and Mae Taber. Traveling in the back of a pickup truck, Mary reached the end of the journey when they arrived at Steens Mountain. Mary and the Tabers first lived along Indian Creek, then on a homestead near the Blitzen River. It was there, she always said, she learned the value of hard work by helping them build fence, cutting wood, packing horses, and assisting with the Taber’s hunting and fishing guide service.
In 1941, Mary and a girlfriend moved to Portland, to work on ships at the Kaiser shipyards. After the war, Mary returned to the Burns area.
Mary wed Clifford Fine in 1948. They lived and worked at Roaring Springs and Three Mile ranches in Catlow Valley just south of Frenchglen. During that time, their two children, Joseph Mark and Sally, were born. After 12 years, Mary and Cliff purchased a ranch and moved the family to the Double O Valley, 45 miles southeast of Burns.
In 1980, Mary and Cliff moved to Grant County, where they purchased a ranch outside of Dayville on the south fork of the John Day River. Ten years later, they scaled down their ranching operations and moved to Mount Vernon. After Cliff’s death in January 1992, Mary, along with Sally’s help, continued the ranching operation on a smaller scale. Six months later, Mary became seriously ill, which forced the sale of the last of their cattle. Mary pulled through the medical crisis, and stayed the rest of her years in her Mount Vernon home.
Mary is survived by son, Joseph Mark Fine; daughter, Sally Fine; granddaughters Tamora Fine and Shyanne Fine; two great-granddaughters; cousin, Etta Mae Critchlow; sister-in-law, Mildred Fine; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Mary was preceded in death by her husband, Clifford; and brother, Donald Johnson.
A graveside service was held Nov. 17 at the Burns Cemetery in Burns. A reception was held at the Burns Elks Lodge following in the Service.
Memorial Contributions may be made to the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center through Driskill Memorial Chapel, 241 S. Canyon Blvd., John Day, OR 97845.