Longtime Brookings resident Whitie Dowden died at his home in Ophir early Monday morning with his wife, Anita, by his side.
He was born in Whiting, Iowa, to Benjamin Franklin and Dora Tillie (Petersen) Dowden. His family lived in several states as his father sought work during the Depression.
Years later, Whitie shared stories of his time in Panama while serving in the U.S. Army. Discharged from active service in 1953, he moved to Brookings in 1958 and married Alberta “Bert” Wallen, a mother with five children, in 1962.
He worked for a newspaper in his youth and had once dreamed of writing for a newspaper, but was a logger most of his adult life. An expert climber, Whitie painted the orange and white, 296-foot KURY Radio tower several times, and Erickson Air and Crane hired him to attach cables from a transport helicopter to the tower allowing the massive structure’s move from Oceanview Drive in Harbor to Dawson Tract north of Brookings in 1972. In fact, Whitie wanted to ride the tower while it was airborne to avoid a second climb when the tower reached its destination and the cables needed to be detached. He was disappointed when liability issues prohibited this adventure.
Always seen wearing a hickory work shirt and holding a toothpick between his lips, he was employed by General Telephone and Electric for a few years mid-career and was an active partner of Harbor Logging Supply, Inc. from 1977 through 1981.
An avid outdoorsman until recent years, Whitie loved fishing at Lobster Creek and was especially proud of the 38 pound salmon he landed there. He also looked forward to annual elk hunting trips with his grandson in the Monument area.
Whitie was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Bert; a brother, Ellis; his stepson, Willie Miller and a grandson, Payton Guisinger.
His wife, Anita; a brother, Frank of Springfield; his nephew Donald and niece Alexandra of Brookings; eight stepchildren; 12 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren survive him.
At Whitie’s request, there will be no service, but his ashes will be scattered by his daughters, Rhonda and Pam, at various locations once significant to him.
Arrangements are by Redwood Memorial Chapel in Brookings.
Submitted by Redwood Memorial Chapel.