1934 ~ 2013
Her career began as a newsroom receptionist in her home state at the Omaha World-Herald in Omaha, Neb.
From there, she headed to California and the advertising side of the newspaper industry and never left - neither newspapers nor California - until the day she turned 65. The next day, she left Carmel, her moving van filled with antiques, Oriental rugs, paintings, and objets d'art she'd gathered living in the San Francisco Bay area and the Monterey Peninsula.
She was destined for Medford, Ore. and the first home she'd ever owned - the same home where she died Saturday, July 6, 2013, from leukemia as rare as she was.
Stanford doctors estimated she'd live about four months; she made it to six. That was not a surprise; she was always the exception to the rule. Her friend, Helen Edwards, was with her the morning of her passing. She reported a peaceful end to a life known for laughter, honesty, and generosity.
Those recognizing her name will recall June from her work as an advertising rep for The Monterey Peninsula Herald. Hired by Jim Rutledge in the 1970s, she excelled in her field, setting sales records that still stand.
June's career spanned several newspapers. At each, she collected friends like charms for a bracelet, each unique, all sharing the same experience; the collaboration of producing a daily newspaper. In the beginning, she worked in the now fondly recalled days of two martini lunches, men in suits, women in fashionable ensembles (hers the finest), a requisite cigarette (or cigar) in hand, speaking over heavy-handled black phones at World War-II era steel desks, manual typewriters at the ready.
Some days it ran without hitches, on others it was a combustible explosion of temperaments that would not mix; departments at war, folks yelling loud enough to be heard over the clanking of typographical machinery endlessly roaring with their white-hot lead pigs melting inch by inch into their pots, their metal arms snapping up to imprint the lead with brass letters tipped at the ends. It was loud, dirty, and wonderful.
In 25 years at The Herald, June drove many colleagues and most managers to the point of distraction. However, her comedic behavior and infectious, animated enthusiasm in the midst of daily deadlines made the sternest taskmaster allow her mischievous exclamations to persist. Colleagues were delivered from life's tedium and departments enlivened with her presence and demands. She refused to be bored and ensured that no one around her was either.
While everybody knew she could design an excellent ad, not everyone knew her expertise at interior design. She painted, hung wallpaper, and re-upholstered furniture. She customized bedspreads and draperies, refinished floors and furniture. She fully redecorated her home twice in 14 years and ultimately remodeled it - creating a modernity showcase while retaining comfort and warmth. She could lecture on all these topics - and frequently did if she felt you'd fallen short in your selections.
Never mind that she had a beautiful soprano voice suitable for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (for whom she longed to perform) or that she cooked classic, delicious meals, or drove a Lotus on her sales route, or found poker gaming tables appealing. She had talents and eccentricities to burn.
June had historically been a cat person. However, in Oregon, she found the love of her life - a West Highland terrier named Ruffie. He is now happily living with Joy Olson and her Westies 3. If you feel called to do something in remembrance of June, a donation to either the SPCA for Monterey County (www.spcamc.org) or the Southern Oregon Humane Society (www.sohumane.org) will make some creature's life better, and she would like that.
June requested no memorial service and donated her body to science. Some of us hope to gather informally in September and raise a toast to her indomitable spirit. We know that her humor is what carried her through life and added so much to ours. We love her perhaps more than she will ever know, will miss her at every turn, give thanks she passed this way, and understand we will undoubtedly never see the likes of her again.