Baker City, Oregon
John Powell “Jack” Gyllenberg, 79, a longtime Baker City resident, died June 18, 2004, at his home from cancer.
His memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Friday at the Baker City Church of the Nazarene, 1250 Hughes Lane.
Jack was born in Baker City on July 13, 1924, to John “Lee” and Marguerite “Madge” Powell Gyllenberg. He spent a number of years in Baker City before the family moved to Arlington during the Great Depression.
In Arlington, Jack worked as a child on the Hartfield Wheat Ranch. In later years, he shared stories of driving truck, sewing wheat sacks, and working with horse and mule teams. The family then moved to Salem briefly, before residing in Silverton, and later moving into what is now Silver Creek Falls Park.
Jack worked as a guide and shared some of his most memorable moments from taking “dudes” horseback into the park. After a final childhood move, Jack graduated from West Seattle High School in 1942.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1943. He graduated from the technical school of the AAF Training Command as class valedictorian and spent the duration of the war as a radio instructor. He received honorable discharge in 1946. During and shortly after his service, he attended Los Angeles Community College and Utah State University.
Jack returned to Baker to aid his father after the death of his mother. He began working for the Gus Davis Ranch in Ironside and other Unity/Hereford area ranches. A favorite story was his involvement in gathering wild horses in Juntura.
About this time Jack began playing music and started a band that played for community dances throughout Baker County. It was at a Hereford dance he met Janice Munn, whom he married in 1952. Together, they played for dances every Friday and Saturday night until 1962, and continued playing until just a few years ago for special family events.
Jack worked as a saw filer at the mill in Baker before starting a cement block business called Durablock. In 1960 he and Janice purchased their first land in Bowen Valley starting their dream of owning a ranch. From the original 530 acres, the ranch grew to 7,000 acres over 40 years of hard work together.
The couple raised cattle, sheep and hay. After selling Durablock, Jack worked as a mechanic, hauled cattle, custom hayed and studied for his real estate broker’s license. As Hat Brand Realty, he sold real estate specializing in ranches until he retired in 2000.
Jack was active in the community, county, and state throughout his lifetime. His voluntary participation in many organizations as well as his help and consideration for individuals in need were numerous.
He was an avid activist for the rights of private property owners. His outgoing personality and positive outlook on life made him well-known and appreciated as a Baker County citizen. He loved people, and will be missed by those who knew him.
Survivors include his wife, Janice; a sister, Marguerite Mason of Boise; four children and their spouses, Brent and Bitsy Gyllenberg of Baker City, Neva and Kenny Parker of Bend, Clay and Chris Gyllenberg of Baker City, and Elissa and Clint Morrison of Baker City; six grandchildren, Justin Gyllenberg, and his wife, Tiffany, of Meridian, Idaho, Dani and Laura Gyllenberg, Cody and Dusty Gyllenberg, and Tynan Morrison, all of Baker City; and one great-grandchild, Lacy Gyllenberg of Meridian.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Northeast Oregon Compassion Center, or the Nazarene Church HOPE Fund through Gray’s West & Co., P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, June 25, 2004
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor