Marjorie Beryl Moffet-Dunten, 95, passed away March 22.
Marjorie was born May 21, 1919, to William Perry and Gladys Mabel Sheer Moffet of Drewsey on the Middles Worth place, 14 miles northwest of Drewsey. They then homesteaded in the Griffin Creek area for a short time, and they eventually moved to the Drewitt saw mill that was owned by Marjorie’s grandparents, Elmer and Jane Drewitt, which today is referred to as Moffet Springs, two miles north of the Bluebucket cow camp. A brother, Coy Nile Moffet, was born, date undetermined, lived a short time, and was buried at Moffit Springs. Marjorie’s father worked at the Moffet mill, logging in the summer months. During the winter months, the family moved to Drewsey, where they owned a home and her father drove road grader for the Harney County Road Department.
Marjorie’s sisters, late Eugenia Otley, late Wanda Darlene Moffet, Hilda Langenfeld, Mardell Phillips, and brother, Bob Laughlin, were born in Drewsey. At age 12, Marjorie drove her dad’s model A, and her crippled uncle, John Ike Moffet, followed the road grader pulled by eight horses by her dad. John Ike would rake big rocks out of the road behind them as they moved along. One time, Marjorie, filled with courage, took her dad’s Model A out on the race track below Drewsey and two neighbor boys took their dad’s Model A, and they were racing. Marjorie’s dad saw the dust flying, walked out on the race track and stopped the race. Her dad said to her, “Young lady, is this what you’re supposed to be doing?” Marjorie said, “That look was worse than a spanking,” and never did it again. Unfortunately, Marjorie’s dad was killed in a car wreck when she was 14 years old, two months before Mardell was born. Marjorie attended Crane Union High School for a short time, but quit school to come home to help her mother care for her siblings. At this age, she was able to obtain a special permit to drive the car and take the family places they needed to go. Another task included going to the O’Toole ranch during lambing season to cook and take care of the kids.
Marjorie married Byron Dunten in 1942. He preceded her in death Jan.12, 1992. When she married Byron, she moved five miles west of Drewsey to the ranch where she lived and worked for the duration of her life. She worked in the hay fields, raised large gardens, milked cows, raised chickens, leppy calves, bummer lambs, and also enjoyed hunting, camping and family reunions.
At Kimble Flat School, which consolidated in 1955 with Drewsey, Marjorie’s job would consist of driving the kids from Kimble Flat area to Drewsey school for 26 years with not one late arrival and only having one flat tire throughout the duration. In 1956, she began to work at the Porter Sitz Store for 25 years. Trouble with her legs forced her to quit her job at the store, but she continued to stay active in other ways previously mentioned. She drove pick-up and horse trailer in the forest for her husband and family buckaroos. She still kept busy milking cows, raising chickens, and gardening, and enjoyed driving the mail route when needed. She worked at the Drewsey dump, and was recalled as the “dump bunny.” She has many nieces and nephews, and too many friends to count.
In June 2001, she was Queen Mother of Pioneer Days. In her later years, she enjoyed traveling to Burns or Ontario just to enjoy a meal. The family accompanied her on every adventure. Marjorie eventually was placed in assisted living, and the family would go and visit. She was always asked how she had been, and she responded with, “just sitting on my butt,” which she didn’t enjoy because she was so active. She appreciated all the care she received while she was in the home at Ashley Manor, as well as the care she received from Kate Johnson. The last few days she was surrounded by family and friends which provided her with love and comfort.
Throughout her life, Marjorie enjoyed providing for others and never expected anything in return. Cooking breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the moment of arrival for any family members or friends. The grandkids would knock on the door wanting potatoes, popcorn, toast, or ice cream because no one could make these items as good as grandma. She must have had the magic touch of buttering toast for her grandson, Taylor, special water for boiling potatoes for Peyton, or an old time microwave that cooked the popcorn just right for Kelton. You could always expect to have a five-course meal anytime you were home or came back to the ranch to visit. The hay crew never went hungry, and the branding buckaroos always left with a full stomach, as she enjoyed sweating over a hot stove to be sure no one went hungry. Her signature sandwiches for any buckaroo you could always expect it had butter on it, whether it be a ham cheese, roast beef or bologna, even the pancake sandwiches she fixed for her husband.
Grandma had a great sense of humor for April Fools Day by putting coffee filters or wash cloths in your pancakes. You always knew something was up, the silence of biting into the pancake and waiting for her to explode with laughter. She was a comedian at times and it was returned back by family members with nicknames by son-in-law Jesse “parkay” which would always get a rise or smile. From road trips to see family in Prairie City to driving the pick-up and horse trailer to pick buckaroos up, she never questioned why, but always knew her help was appreciated. She enjoyed staying busy with whatever task was asked of her and never expected anything in return. She was an early riser and would be disappointed with herself if she slept past 6 a.m. It was another opportunity to add some laughter and give her a hard time. From talking to her sisters on Sunday evenings to having long visits with her son, Darrell, on the phone, she enjoyed visiting and keeping her mind busy. If it wasn’t visiting or helping family with duties, it was a relaxing evening watching the Grand Ole Opry, or a laughter out of the Golden Girls. Daily conversations would lead to her remembering what happened from date to date. She always knew special events of family members, friends of the valley, if it consisted of birthdays, anniversaries, or dates when someone had passed on. She was very knowledgeable of dates and events happening on a daily basis.
As a kind and caring mother and grandmother, with a unique personality and unselfish attitude, she carried all the traits of a person anyone would wish to become. One last thought to share – before eating a snack or having a drink in the evening after finishing a competitive game of aggravation, speed, pedro, or pinochle with a family member, she would always toast “to the lips through the gums, look out rear-end for here she comes”.
Marjorie is survived by her two sons, Darrell and his wife, Lucinda, of Paris, Ark., and Charles, and his wife, Janice, of Drewsey; 11 grandchildren, Sharlene, Barbara, Billy, Bobby, Tommy, Debbie, Darwin Dunten, Jaylene (Jesse) Krueger, William (Cory) Dunten, Brad (Ashley) Dunten, and Brett (Shanda) Dunten; 19 great-grandkids, and two great-great-grandkids.
Contributions in Marjorie Dunten’s memory may be made to the Drewsey Cemetery Fund, in care of LaFollette’s Chapel, PO Box 488, Burns, OR 97720. LaFollette’s Chapel was in charge of arrangements.