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William "Bill" R Spoo
April 11, 1943 ~ October 19, 2023 (age 80) 80 Years Old
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William “Bill” Robert Spoo of Mitchell, Oregon, passed away on October 19, 2023, in Bend, Oregon, at the age of 80.
Bill was born on April 11, 1943, in Prineville, Oregon, to Bob and Edna Spoo. He grew up in a sawmill camp in Central Oregon owned by his grandfather, surrounded by extended family and friends who lived and worked together. His brother Jim describes camp as a “fully functioning center all of its own, with houses, cookhouse, shops, an office, all kinds of equipment, and the sawmill,” which was a young boy’s dream and home to many fond childhood memories. The family moved to Eureka, California, in 1954, where a new sawmill and logging operation was started, and Bill eventually took on more responsibility at the sawmill.
Bill married Charlene (Eddy) on June 17, 1962, and started their life together in Eureka while Bill advanced to managing part of the sawmill operations and studied business at Humboldt State University. During that time, they became parents to John and Jennifer. In the early to mid-sixties, Bill’s dad bought undeveloped ranchland north of Gerlach, Nevada. Bill eventually followed with his young family to transition to a life of farming and ranching, which would become his lifelong occupation. Tom and James were born in Nevada to complete their family.
In 1985, Bill and Charlene moved back to Oregon, where Tom and James would attend high school in Prairie City. During that time, he leased a ranch in Mitchell on Bridge Creek and then worked for Brooks Resources, managing several area ranches. In the early 90s, Bill and Charlene moved to Paraguay for six months to follow a farming opportunity that ultimately did not pan out. They decided to return to Gerlach, Nevada, where Bill spent the next 2+ decades managing ranchland across northern Nevada.
By the time they moved back to Nevada, their kids had all grown and started having their own children. For several summers, the grandkids would all come and stay for several weeks. They remember playing in the pond, making ice cream, driving on the Black Rock desert, and evening walks up “their mountain,” where they made rock designs and wrote their name and age every year. One summer, Grandpa Bill built them a room all of their own off the side of the house where the cousins could all bunk together, and they could paint the inside themselves. Grandpa spent most of the day at work, but they always looked forward to when it was their turn to ride along for the day, which usually included a trip to see the geysers at the Fly Ranch and to Cedarville, where they could get a treat.
Starting in 2016, Bill and Charlene spent their final years together back in Mitchell, Oregon, on a place west of town, where he could do a bit of farming, make roads with his “older-than-old” caterpillar, repair equipment, and create things in his shop like pine-branch lamps and signs. He would go to Mitchell for his daily coffee with Dan Cannon, a friend since first grade, and attend a weekly breakfast at the Baptist Church. He told his brother that he convinced the pastor he was interested in the short sermon but mostly appreciated the eggs, pancakes, bacon, and coffee. Bill had a real religion down deep, which was the first-class treatment of family and friends, honesty, hard work, and constant humor.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, in-laws, and a son, Army Sgt. 1st Class James “Jamie” Spoo (Michelle). He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Charlene; sons John Spoo of Jefferson City, Mont., and Tom (Julie) Spoo of Hermiston, Ore.; daughter Jennifer Spoo of Reno, Nev.; and his brother Jim (Jean) Spoo of Sparks, Nev.; eight grandchildren (Amanda, Aimee, Abbee, Janci, Alexa, Ty, Andrew, and Adam); seven great-grandchildren (Kamri, Vivian, Myles, Bowie, Aurora, Florence, and Elliott); and numerous extended family and close friends.
A private family celebration will be held.
lease share memories of Bill with his family at burnsmortuaryhermiston.com
Burns Mortuary of Hermiston, Oregon is in care of arrangements.