OBITUARY: Harry Hartley

Harry Hartley (Jul 18, 1928 - Dec 7, 2023)

Harry Hartley passed away at the age of 95 on the morning of December 7, 2023. A celebration of Harry's life will be held on March 2nd, 2024 at 1pm at the Condon Elks Lodge, 117 S. Main St. Condon, Oregon.

He leaves a legacy of love and service to his family, friends, community, and country.

Harry was the first child born to Estoll and Elizabeth (Reckmann) Hartley in Pendleton, Oregon on July 18, 1928.

He was raised in Grass Valley, Oregon. His early years were spent living in town where he attended grade school and had many adventures with his brother and his childhood friends. He also spent time in his parents' equipment garage learning mechanics and business. When he was around 10, his family moved to the ranch four miles out of town that his great grandfather had homesteaded. He learned about wheat and hay farming as well as raising cattle.

He attended high school in Moro, graduating in 1946. In addition to his studies, he played the trombone in the school band. He especially enjoyed playing football and basketball with his friends. He proudly remembered going to the state championship game in the fall of 1945, however they got beat by the "big loggers" from Reedsport.

After high school he went to Oregon State University to study agriculture.

His studies were interrupted with a draft notice to serve in the Korean War. He went to Fort Riley in Kansas for a week of processing, then on to Camp Polk in Louisiana. From there he shipped out on the USNS General William Weigel to Hokkaido, Japan for training. He was then shipped to Inchon, Korea where he travelled with the battalion commander as a radio operator. He had a best friend in the service, Shozo Aono, who he often reminisced about with fondness. Corporal Hartley earned a Bronze Star with the 45th Infantry Division for his combat duty. After his discharge on August 22, 1952, he returned to his university studies. However, he decided to finish his degree at Eastern Oregon College and major in education.

His first teaching job was in Umapine, Oregon where he taught the seventh and eighth grade. Until recently, he was still attending class reunions in Umapine.

A friend of his talked him into going to Southern California to teach for a few years. He taught and coached junior high and while there he coached Chris Chambliss who went on to be a professional baseball player with the the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, and the Atlanta Braves. Chris also coached for several teams, including the Seattle Mariners. He was very proud of Chris. Harry was an avid Seattle Mariners fan. He was delighted to go to Mariners games with his granddaughter Patty in Seattle.

After a few years teaching in Southern California, he missed eastern Oregon. Tub Warnock, the Condon School Superintendent, offered him a job teaching middle school grades. He retired in 1985 but continued to substitute teach for another 15 years. He thoroughly enjoyed teaching and remembering his students throughout the years.

He married his beloved Juanita (Nickie) McClain on October 9, 1969. He loved sharing life with her. Traveling, attending Elks functions, grandchildren's events, bowling, golfing, and fishing were some of their favorite things to do. He was previously married to Donna Lee Sutton.

Harry was a devoted member of the Condon Elks Lodge for 52 years. He was honored to hold various local and state positions, including Oregon Elk of the year and the Oregon Elks Hall of Fame. The Elks Children's Eye clinic, a division of the Casey Eye Institute, was a cause close to his heart. The friendships he made through the Elks were very important to him. He loved them like family.

He spent a lot of time with his cousins, aunts, uncles, and had many fond memories of them. He also loved his children, grandchildren, parents, and grandparents. And he was so very happy to be a great grandpa.

Harry loved to share stories and history. Some fond memories and thoughts he shared, just a couple of days before he passed, was when he had a champion shorthorn steer at the Oregon State Fair and a trip to the Cow Palace in San Francisco with Millard Eakin. Millard wanted Harry to show his family steer there because of Harry's showmanship abilities. Another favorite memory was playing on the basketball town team until he was over 50 years old. Traveling gave him great joy. He visited many places including Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, Japan, National Parks, and the Panama Canal twice,

He particularly loved Classical music. He could name all the composers and the titles, as well as all the individual instruments in a piece. He asked to hear Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite in his final days. He also loved old movies and could name the actors like they were old friends.

Harry was a wonderful, kind, engaging person who loved his family and friends. He will be deeply missed.

Survivors include daughters Linda Bird (Steve), Sharon Hartley, Nancy Melzer (Bruce), Carol Phillips; son David Hartley, stepson Michael J. McClain; grandchildren Graham Coats (Carla), Zachary Melzer (Rachel), Patricia Roberts, Patrick Roberts (Mariza), Ian Melzer, Jacob Hartley, Erin Bird, Hailey Thompson (Brandon), Shannon Hartley (Jenny), Ryan Bird (Victoria), Jeremy Phillips; great grandchildren Oliver Coats, Hazel Hartley, Lyla Hartley, Emma Melzer, James N. Hartley, and Tripp Thompson. Honorary grandchildren Elise Heidy and Miguel Mejia. He is also survived by his nephew Alan Hartley (Becky), grandnieces Anastasia Bubenik-Hartley, Athena Bubenik-Hartley and numerous cousins and step-nieces.

He was preceded in death by his parents Estoll and Elizabeth Hartley, his wife Juanita (Nickie) Hartley, and his brother James Hartley.

Memorials may be made to The Condon Elks Lodge, PO Box 123 Condon, OR 97823; Sherman County Historical Museum, 200 Dewey St. Moro, OR 97039

The Condon Scholarship Foundation - Harry & Juanita Memorial, PO Box 385

Condon, OR 97823

The family would like to thank the staff at Summit Springs Village for their loving care and friendship given to Harry during his stay. You are all so very appreciated.

Sweeney Mortuary is in care of arrangements. You may sign the online condolence book at


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