Catherine Fine, 87, of Frenchglen, died on Sunday, Oct. 24, at her daughter’s home in Pilot Rock.
She was born in Burns on Nov. 3, 1922, to Joseph and Sophia (Jennie) McDonald.
Fine spent her earlier childhood years living in Frenchglen at the hotel and attending grade school. She attended high school at St. Francis Academy, coming home only for the holidays, on the train. Her ambition in life was to become a veterinarian, as she loved animals but was told she needed to come home and help her parents run the Frenchglen Hotel.
On June 20, 1944, she married Jack Fine. In 1949, they were devastated when their first child, Earlene drown. To help fill the emptiness and void after losing a child, her husband bought Fine a gun and a dog; thus began her love of hunting.
In 1951, she and her husband bought a ranch at the base of the Steens Mountain. They worked together with an invested interest of raising a family. Fine was a housewife and mother to four children. She enjoyed working on the ranch as well as being involved in many community activities. She and her husband loved to hunt together and play music at country dances. Fine would play the piano while her husband played the accordion.
In November 1963, her husband was killed in a tragic accident leaving Fine a widow. She had to face the challenge of raising four young children. She was determined and committed to continue ranching, and provide her children with the lifestyle she and Jack had initially planned. Fine’s courage, wisdom and positive outlook on life guided her through those difficult years. She was the first to tell you how proud she was of her children in all of their accomplishments.
In 1977, Fine sold her ranch except for five acres; there she placed a modular home, and planted her yard with trees and flowers.
Fine did not believe in retirement — she was busy all the time. She was involved over the years in the CowBelles, both locally and state. She was the Harney County President three times, and the State CowBelle President. She served on the Harney County Hospital board for 12 years, supporting the building of a new hospital.
Fine lived and worked in Frenchglen her entire life. She loved it there. She loved visiting with people and sharing the history, which she knew so well. Whether she was pumping gas at the Frenchglen Mercantile, serving lunch at the Frenchglen Hotel or making a latte at Joe Mama’s, she always had time to say, hello.
Joe Mama’s was her pride and joy. She loved when people would ask, “Where did the name come from?” With pride, she would say, “Joe owns it and Mama runs it!” Her hamburgers were known as the best burgers in Harney County. The conversations outside under the big olive tree were moments she cherished with her family, friends of Harney County and new friends who would come back each year.
The most precious treasures Fine had were her grandchildren. She loved having her grandchildren come and visit. Whether it be to hunt, fish, relax or for the holidays.
As soon as Joe Mama’s closed for the season, Fine would take turns going to each of her children’s homes.
Everyone looked forward to her arrival, since she was an excellent cook and great company. She loved to travel with her late friend Dorothy Sherburn. Their favorite past time was playing the slots.
Fine is survived by her brother, Finley and wife Judy of Lincoln City; daughters, Annette Currey and husband Fred of Kennewick, Wash., and Susan Norquist and husband Kenny of Pilot Rock; sons, Joe Fine and wife Candise of Tucson, Ariz., and Ross Fine of Milton Freewater; and grandchildren, Dustin Currey and wife Crystal, Brandon Currey and fiancee Nicole, Darby Scott and wife Billie, Curran Fine, Kevin Fine and finacee Jie, Colby Norquist, Chance Norquist, Elizabeth Norquist, Sonia Schoorl and husband Don, Travis Currey and wife Katie and Chad Currey and fiancee Kara.
She is also survived by eight great-grandsons, sister-in-laws, Mildred Fine and Mary Fine, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life was held for Fine on Oct. 30 at First Baptist Church in Burns. Inurnment was held at the Burns Cemetery. LaFollette’s Chapel was in charge of arrangements. You may sign the guest book on line at: