Rufus E. Bean of Milton, well-known civic and political leader of Umatilla County, died Saturday afternoon [April 5] at a Walla Walla hospital of cerebral thrombosis.
Born January 1, 1876 at Virgil City, Mo., he was the youngest of 13 children. After four years of schooling in a one-room school in Michigan, he learned telegraphy at Janesville, Wis., where his teacher was George Parker, fountain pen inventor.
He worked as a telegraph operator at Floodwood, Minn., and at Portland. He became and agent for the O.W.R. & N. Company at Milton, and lived in this community for the rest of his life, with the exception of three years at Tekoa.
In 1904 he married Nellie W. Sanderson at Pomeroy. She survives him, as do three children, Mrs. A. W. Priaul of Portland, R. Allan Bean of Richmond, Calif., and Mrs. Robert E. Lee of Forest Grove, and eight grandchildren. He is also survived by a sister, Mrs. Anna Reese of Caro, Mich., and a brother, David E. Beam of Pigeon, Mich.
He was widely known throughout the Walla Walla Valley and Eastern Oregon as an active member of the Republican Party and community affairs. Until his election as Umatilla County Commissioner in 1920, he owned and operated a ranch at Umapine.
A member of the county commission for 12 years, he was later elected mayor of Freewater, serving for two years and resigning to take the post of city recorder. For 16 years he was business manager of the Freewater Times. At the time of his first attack of coronary thrombosis in October, 1946, he was Justice of the Peace at Freewater.
He was also owner and operator of the Twin City Credit Bureau and a director of the Walla Walla branch of the Federal Farm Loan Association.
The funeral will be held Tuesday morning at 10 o’clock from the Freewater Federated Church with the Rev. Norman Rice officiating. Honorary pallbearers are H. S. Murray, Dr. H. J. Flower, Dr. T. M. Birbeck, W. L. Craver, W. H. Russell, H. O. Mansfield, W. K. Reath, Wayne Brinker, E. P. Jensen, C. B. Miller, Barlow Clark and A. C. Denney.
Active pallbearers will be Art Sektnan, R. O. Brinker, G. B. Snow, Clark Van Siyke, Carlton Otto, and Will Dixon. Interment will be in the IOOF Cemetery at Walla Walla.
Walla Walla Union Bulletin, April 6, 1947
Contributed by: Shelli Steedman