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Jesse "Pat" Bleakney


Jesse "Pat" Bleakney

Jesse "Pat" Bleakney, retired rancher, passed away at his home in Redmond, Ore. on August 24, 2016.

Pat was born in Walla Walla, Wash., April 12, 1931 to Neal and Awilda Harter Bleakney of Echo, Ore. He was the youngest of six children and had one sister and four brothers. The family moved to Sunnyside, Wash. in 1941 where Pat graduated from high school in 1950. 

He followed his high school girlfriend, Darlene Highsmith, to Oregon State University where he earned a letter in OSC crew and a B.S. degree in Ag Engineering in 1954. Pat and Darlene married on Aug 24, 1954 and he began his ranching profession at Giffen Lake Ranch while she taught school in Sunnyside, Wash.  During the following years, Pat became an Elder of the Presbyterian Church, a Master in the Masonic Order, a Master in the Grange, and President of the Yakima County Cattlemen's Association.

In 1975 Pat and Darlene sold the Sunnyside ranch to the State Game Department and acquired a 6,200 acre ranch in the Columbia River Gorge near Dallesport, Wash.  While owning Dalles Mountain Ranch and working as a loan officer for Farm Credit in The Dalles, Ore., Pat continued to be an active community member.  He was the chair of the Lyle School Board, a 4-H leader, represented Klickitat County on the Columbia River Gorge Commission and served as the VP and chair during the formative years of 1986-1992, as well as being on the Washington Natural Heritage Advisory Council.  He also maintained an adventurous side in his spare time, floating the Kettle River, climbing Mount Adams and Mount St Helens, biking the Puget Sound islands, single shell rowing, and running the Hood to Coast Relay.

In 1993 due to health issues, Pat and Darlene decided to sell the ranch to the Department of Natural Resources and move to Vancouver, Wash. Retirement did not slow him down and he continued to be active in promoting the Columbia Hills State Park, which included his former property.  He worked tirelessly to acquire and restore old tools and farm equipment which can still be viewed at the ranch. He also acquired an old whaling boat which he enjoyed restoring and then taking up and down the Columbia River before ultimately donating it to the Sea Scouts.

Pat also had the opportunity to travel and enjoyed driving the Oregon and Lewis and Clark Trails. He visited his son who was teaching in Korea and fulfilled a life-long dream when he travelled to Australia and took the Khan train to Alice Springs. As a young lad, he had always wanted to see what was there in the middle of Australia.  His last trip was to England in 2012, where he found the tomb of a relative, Baron William Blakeney, in Westminster Abbey.

Pat is survived by Darlene Bleakney of Redmond, Ore., his wife of 62 years; daughter Marney Jo Coates and her husband Casey Coates of Redmond, Ore .; son Joel Patrick Bleakney of Redmond, Ore .; grandchildren Lindsey Ann Hull, and Zachary Patrick Hull of Maupin, Ore .; brother Don Bleakney of Omak, Wash., and a number of nieces and nephews.

Pat passed away from complications related to Parkinsons. With the help of his family and Partners in Care Hospice, he was able to remain at home and make it to the day of his 62nd wedding anniversary. We are grateful for the help that they provided which made it possible to fulfill his wishes. There will be no service.

Donations may be made to Partners in Care Hospice, 2075 NE Wyatt Ct, Bend, Or. 97701.


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