Wesley Ernest Loverin, 86, of Hereford, died Oct. 31, 2002, at St. Elizabeth Health Services.
His graveside funeral was at 1 p.m. today at the Unity Cemetery. John Hayes and Bob Skinner officiated.
Mr. Loverin was born at Visalia, Calif., on July 4, 1916, to Orlen Wesley and Maude Britten Loverin. Wes was raised at Three Rivers, Calif., where he grew up helping his father with his pack station.
He worked out of the Giant Forest, guiding pack trips to the High Sierras. He later became a park ranger, district forest ranger and a supervisor for the Civilian Conservation Corps.
On Jan. 23, 1942, at March Field, Calif., he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He served as a first lieutenant during World War II. Wes was a fighter pilot in the 36th Fighter Squadron with the 5th Air Force, stationed at New Guinea.
He was qualified to fly a variety of airplanes: P39, P38, P61, AT6 and AT11. His favorite was the P38, but most of his time was spent flying in — as he referred to it, the death trap — the P39. He was also a fixed gunnery instructor.
Wes received several decorations: Asiatic Pacific Service Medal, American Theatre Service Medal and World War II Victory Medal. He was honorably discharged on May 16, 1946, as a captain in the U.S. Air Corps.
He attended Visalia Junior College prior to the war. Upon discharge from the service, he enrolled at Fresno State College. He was a brother in the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity.
He graduated from Fresno State with a bachelor of science degree in agriculture on June 10, 1952. He put his degree to use as he became a lifelong rancher, knowing all of his cattle and their breeding by memory. He was always able to identify them by name. His trademark was to bell his lead cows before sending the herd to the high mountains.
He married Marilyn Nelle Johnson at the First Baptist Church at Bakersfield, Calif., on June 2, 1956. He was employed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles for 11 years before retiring to pursue ranching full time.
Besides ranching, his passion in life was flying. He was a certified flight instructor and helped numerous students receive their private pilot license. He flew actively until recently, when his health declined. His logbook recorded nearly 5,000 hours.
The loves of his life were his wife and grandchildren. He enjoyed packing his mule, riding the range and herding cattle with the help of his wife and numerous beloved cowdogs. Wes remained young at heart. He continued flying and riding his two outlaw horses with pride well into his 80s.
He loved the outdoors and appreciated hunting with friends and relatives. He was a member of the AOPA, OCA, Baker Elks Lodge and a lifelong member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Survivors include his wife, Marilyn Nelle Loverin; daughter, Beverly J. Loverin of Nashville, Tenn., and Lynne Loverin of Hereford; sons, Lee Loverin, and his wife, Kristy, of Hereford, Rod Diesslin and his wife, Chris, and Eric Diesslin of Clovis, Calif.; son-in-law, Scott Owens of Riggins, Idaho; grandchildren, Jackie, Jordan and Johnny Owens, Kaytlin, Casey and Kristin Jean “Half-pint” Loverin of Hereford, Justine Loverin of Nashville, Tenn., and Justin and Kurt Diesslin of Clovis, Calif.; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins of the Loverin-Britten family.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Orlen and E.B. “Bud” Loverin; an uncle, E.J. Britten; and a son, Wesley Otlyn Loverin.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Elks Scholarship Fund through Gray’s West & Co., P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, November 8, 2002
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor