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Earl Dean Pottruff

November 15, 1930 - November 17, 2017

Earl Dean Pottruff passed away Friday, November 17, 2017 in his home in Central Point, Oregon at the age of 87. Earl was born November 15, 1930 in Marysville, Washington. The youngest of four children, his parents were Clyde Pottruff Sr. (1898-1956) and Inez Pottruff (1902-1982). His siblings were Clyde Pottruff Jr. (1924-1973), Stanford Pottruff (1926-2004), and Millicent Pottruff Walker (1928-2007).

He grew up in a rural, sparsely populated community. He spent his childhood tending to farms, being surrounded by horses and cattle, and at a very early age he learned how to repair tractors. He grew up during a time when if you were hungry you went out into the woods and shot your meal. He always used to say about his childhood that he always ate well.

Earl had millions of stories, to flesh out a very interesting and productive life. He spent his youth moving between Washington and California, dictated by his father as he went wherever he needed to in order to find work and take care of his family. At one point grandpa lived in North Hollywood, California. He could go onto the Warner Brothers studio lot and watch movies being made.

Eventually Earl moved back to Seattle, Washington where he remained for quite some time. It was there he met and fell in love with Dona Mae Johnson. They got married June 14, 1952. At this time, my grandfather had joined the United States Navy as a reserve officer. He got to fly in planes and he said he especially liked dropping flour bombs on land targets. He painted the airplanes too, and worked as a mechanic servicing them.

Earl and his wife Dona lived in Washington state for the first six years of their marriage. During that time they had two children; their first-born daughter, Suzanne was born in Seattle in 1953 and a few years later their son, Jeffrey was born in Olympia in 1956.

Earl and his family gave up life in a big, thriving metropolis to move to Southern Oregon in 1958. He worked as a machinist for a couple of years before finally working for a company that manufactures and sells heavy earth-moving equipment, a place called Pape. He worked there for the rest of his working life, putting in 30 years before he retired.

Sometime in 1962 Mr. and Mrs. Pottruff bought a home in Central Point, Oregon. During that time they had two more children, daughter Michele, born 1960 and son Michael, born 1963. It was in that beautiful home that millions of memories were made, usually centered around bowling, auto racing, or hunting.

Earl was an ace mechanic. The complex automobile engine held no mysteries for him. And so he had no trouble keeping his many vintage cars in tip-top shape. He had two Willys Jeeps, one is a wagon, the other is a pickup. They were both made in the 1950s. He also had a 1974 Ford pickup and a 1972 Chevy Nova.

Earl was an avid outdoorsman. He and Dona both enjoyed camping out in the wilderness with their family in their spare time. Earl preferred to do the cooking whenever they went to Lake of the Woods or to Brookings-two of their favorite vacation spots. He would make the most delicious French toast. He would fry up bacon first and then cook the egg dipped bread in the bacon grease. That's the only way to make French toast, really. Dona at least made the meal more healthful by including a fruit salad.

Sometimes Earl would build a campfire so his family would roast marshmallows or hot dogs. He enjoyed taking his speedboat out on the lake to go fishing or to take his kids waterskiing. In those days he was rarely ever seen without his faithful German Shorthair named Hans.

Earl enjoyed photography as a hobby. During high school he actually built a darkroom, a place where photographs are developed. He had many professional-grade cameras and he loved to take pictures of everything.

Earl's favorite local hangout, his sanctuary, his home away from home for more than 50 years was Witham Truck Stop Restaurant, colloquially known as "Witham's." He started going there after getting off work from Pape which was close by. He was probably Witham's most loyal customer. He was there when it first opened back in 1965. He would hang out there with his friends from work, and eventually Dona and her bowling friends would meet there, and his son Jeff and his race car friends would meet there, so there was always plenty of lively conversation that would go on for hours, usually until the restaurant closed.

In 2002 Earl and Dona celebrated 50 years of marriage together. Sadly, Dona passed away three years later after losing her battle with pancreatic cancer. Earl was a wonderful person. He was dedicated to his family and committed to his work and he loved his country. He lived a full life, without a doubt. He is in Heaven now with his wife Dona, his "herring chopper" as he sometimes called her owing to her origins from Minnesota and her Norwegian ancestry.

Earl was a beloved father, a terrific grandfather, a devoted husband, and a true friend to a great many people, and he was loved, admired, respected, and cherished by all who knew him. He will be sorely missed by all.

Earl Pottruff is survived by his four children, Suzanne Bratton of Medford, Ore., Jeffrey Pottruff of Central Point, Ore., Michele Pottruff of Central Point, Ore., and Michael Pottruff of Mt. Angel, Ore. He had two grandchildren, Kevin Bratton of Eagle Point, Ore. and Emily Pottruff of Newburg, Ore.

Earl Dean Pottruff