Dene (Geraldine) Bish passed away at her home in Talent, Ore. February 12, 2014 at the age of 84. She was a lifelong resident of the Rogue Valley. Dene was born August 26, 1929 in Medford to Herb and Vera Thomas. She married Walter E. Bish on December 29, 1946.
Dene graduated from Medford High School in 1946, received a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from Southern Oregon College in 1969 and later her Masters in Library Science. She also studied in Wales and at Oxford University in Britain. Dene taught Talented and Gifted classes and was the Librarian and Media Specialist at Sam's Valley Elementary School from 1969 until her retirement in 1986.
Her love of nature and plants inspired her participation in her son Dan's native plant nursery, Plant Oregon. The nursery is located in, and adjacent to, the home she and Walt built on Wagner Creek in the early 1960s. After retirement, she contributed significant time and energy to the nursery as a full partner in the business. Her inquisitiveness resulted in an amazing collection of unique and rare specimens, which evolved into a world class and aesthetically pleasing nursery.
Dene was an active member and key leader in the Medford Congregational United Church of Christ from 1956 until her passing. She was also active in the Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ, serving on committees and in leadership roles including Conference Moderator. Her many interests included bird watching, plant identification, travel to Britain, backpacking, theology, science fiction, lifelong learning, and family.
She is survived by her sister, Iris Stewart of Jacksonville; daughters, Nancy (Penny) Sherrett (Gerry) of Molalla, Ore. and Angie Lunde (Nick) of Joseph, Ore.; son, Daniel Bish of Talent, Ore.; grandchildren, Justin Sherrett of Goldendale, Wash., Ryan Sherrett of Colton, Ore., Erin Lunde of Santa Rosa, Calif., Peter Lunde of Talent, Ore., David Bish of Talent, Ore., and Emily Smith-Bish of Medford, Ore.; as well as seven great-grandchildren and numerous beloved nieces, nephews and cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, and grandson, Bryn Lunde.
A celebration of Dene's life will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, March 1, 2014 at the Medford Congregational United Church of Christ, 1801 E. Jackson St., Medford, OR.
In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial contributions be sent to the Medford Congregational UCC Church, Greenpeace (www.greenpeace.org), the Minga Foundation, supporting small scale, community-driven international development projects, (www.mingafoundation.org), the Bryn Lunde Memorial Scholarship for young writers at Fishtrap. (www.fishtrap.org) or Multiple Systems Atrophy Coalition (MSA research) at (www.multiple-system-atrophy.org/donate)
Arrangements by Conger-Morris Funeral Directors, Medford, OR. 541-772-7111