1927 - 2013
Willard Lucas's life revolved around the rugged Rogue River canyon. He was born in Gold Beach February 28, 1927 to Larry and Helen Lucas of Agness. He spent his youth growing up in that remote community along with his four sisters: Eleanor, Donna, Corlyss, and Larryon. He was an experienced river guide while still a teen. He attended high school in Myrtle Point before leaving for the Navy in 1945. He eventually was stationed on Guam as the Second World War ended. After the war he tried his hand at many occupations including millwork and even a stint as a Eugene patrol officer. He married his high school sweatheart, Maryanne Cooper, March 7, 1948. Willard could not stay away from the river through all of this time, however. He established himself as one of the premier whitewater guides of his era. Besides the Rogue he was experienced on the Illinois, Mckenzie, and Oyhee in Oregon as well as the Middle Fork of the Salmon in Idaho. When not running rivers Willard honed his skills as a boat builder and many of his river dories are still out on the water even though the last one was built in 1976. In 1976 Willard and Maryanne took over management of the Lucas Pioneer Ranch and Lodge at Agness, upon the death of his father Larry. Together they ran the unique lodge, until retirement in 1998, serving river travelers drifting the river as well as those powering upstream in jet boats. They retired to Eugene to be close to children and medical care. Willard followed his beloved wife in death Thursday January 31 in Springfield, Ore. Maryanne had gone ahead of him to be with the Lord in April of last year.
Willard is survived by his children: Melinda Mross of Eugene, Larry Lucas of Eugene, Nancy Tullius of Salem, and Patrick Lucas of Beijing China. There are 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He is also survived by sisters Donna Bosman of Eagle Point, Corlyss McCullough of Walterville, and Larryon Gerondale of Elizabeth, Colorado. A private celebration of life will be held this week. A public service is scheduled for July 20 in Gold Beach. Venue and time to be determined.
For further information go to www.lucaslodgeoregon.com.