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Roberta Lou Pickering Hoctor


April 17, 2019

After battling complications from a stroke for nine years, Roberta passed away on March 11, 2019 at the Oregon Veterans’ Home in The Dalles, Oregon, with family and friends by her side.

Roberta was born August 10, 1935 in Helena, Montana and was adopted by Paul and Gertrude Pickering, who at that time were operating the Montana Children’s Home in Helena.

Roberta began 4-H in Montana in 1944 in a Home Economics Club, taking sewing and cooking projects. She was active in her club, serving in most of the offices. She won trips to the Montana State 4-H Congress in Bozeman two different years with her clothing demonstrations and in fashion revue. She moved to Goldendale in 1951 and joined the Spring Creek 4-H Club. She went to State

4-H Fair in Yakima in dress revue. In 1952, she tailored a wool suit and won trips to the State 4-H Fair and State “Make It Yourself with Wool” competitions. In her 10th and final year in 4-H, she was finally able to have her dream project, two Hereford steers.

Roberta married Edward Hoctor of Goldendale on February 15, 1958, in Yakima, after he returned from serving on the aircraft carrier USS Philippine Sea, in the United States Navy.

Roberta attended Central Washington State College in Ellensburg, Washington, to earn her teaching degree. During her college summer vacations, she worked at the Klickitat County Extension Office and began her service to the Klickitat County Fair. She served as superintendent in the horse, dairy, and sheep departments at various times. She was also office manager of the Fair for 25 years and treasurer of the Fair Board for several years. She was given the honor of Klickitat County Fair and Rodeo Grand Marshal in 2002.

In 1962, Roberta started the Muttonheads 4-H Club, the first sheep club in the Goldendale area. She served as the main leader of the Muttonheads, until the time of her stroke, and had several second and third-generation club members. Roberta was very proud of her 4-H group, due to the volunteer work they did, including spring clean-up at the Pleasant Valley Cemetery and sending Christmas gifts to the Rainier State School in Buckley, Washington. She was an active member of the Klickitat County 4-H Leaders’ Council for many years, serving as treasurer, vice-president, and president. She was Klickitat County 4-H Leader of the Year in 1986. Both of her sons were 10-year members of her club and won many county awards for their projects. She was elected to the Washington State 4-H “Hall of Fame” in 2001 as one of 100 people making outstanding contributions to the 4-H program. She served several years on the Washington State 4-H Fair Board and was past-treasurer of the organization. She spent 22 days each year volunteering at the State 4-H Fair in Puyallup working in the office; judging demonstrations, posters, oral reasons; assisting in the sheep department; and helping wherever she could. In the 1960s, Roberta with the help of trustees from the Klickitat County Jail, built the hog and sheep pens in the Klickitat County Fair Livestock Barn, which were used for almost 50 years, before being replaced with the new steel panels.

In 1959, at the urging of her mother-in-law, Roberta joined the Klickitat County Wool Growers’ Auxiliary and the Washington State Wool Growers’ Auxiliary. She held all the elective offices in both organizations. At the time of her stroke, Roberta was the President of the local Auxiliary and the Treasurer of the State Auxiliary. She was the state “Make It Yourself with Wool” director for 18 years and stepped down from the position to become 2nd Vice-President of the National Wool Growers’ Auxiliary. Roberta served as National President of the American Sheep Industry Women in 1996 and 1997 and has held all their elective offices. She was elected National Treasurer in January 2009 and was presented a gift for being at 50 National Conventions. Roberta has been awarded the Sheep Hook Award and two President’s Awards from the Washington State Sheep Producers. During her time with the Wool Growers, she helped at the Lamburger Booth at the State Fair in Yakima, even convincing her sons to work the booth at times.

Roberta taught in the Goldendale School District for 18 years, teaching students from third grade through High School. She was the first person in the State of Washington to hold a Vocational Teaching Certificate in both Home Economics and Agriculture at the same time. She was very involved in FFA and won the Honorary Chapter Farmer Award, as well as a member of the Agriculture Advisory Board for the Goldendale High School for many years.

Roberta was involved in farming her entire life, starting as a child in Montana. Roberta and Ed began farming wheat and alfalfa, along with raising Hampshire, Suffolk, and Southdown sheep. The family later raised registered Milking Shorthorn cattle and Roberta had a show string of 13 animals and showed at several fairs in Washington, Oregon, and California. Roberta and Ed became involved in the Washington State Milking Shorthorn Association. They were both officers in the State Organization, Ed being president and Roberta being Secretary-Treasurer. They did most of the planning for the National Milking Shorthorn Convention in Portland, Oregon in 1988 and hosted that convention. Remaining young at heart, they also learned to raise ostriches and meat goats. Roberta was Secretary-Treasurer of the Washington State Ostrich Association.

Roberta was very involved in the Klickitat County Fire Protection District 7 for over 50 years and worked as their administrator for over 12 years. She was Secretary of the Klickitat County Interagency Fire Association for many years. For relaxation, she and Ed enjoyed their jobs as personnel and equipment timekeepers on Washington State Mobilizations, Washington Department of Natural Resources and Oregon Department of Forestry wildfires for several years. Roberta played a big role in Fire Prevention presentations throughout the county’s schools with Smokey Bear and Sparky, the Fire Dog.

Roberta was active in the Pleasant Valley Grange 146 and continued after it merged into Goldendale Grange 49. She received a 50-year membership award. She was a member of Klickitat Pomona Grange 5. She has been a member of Klickitat County Search and Rescue and served as Treasurer. She was also an active member of Master Gardeners. Roberta was a member of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church and a past member of the Holy Trinity Parish Council.

Roberta was awarded the “Women Helping Women” Award at the Soroptimist International of Goldendale in 2009.

Roberta was preceded in death by her husband, Edward, and her parents, Paul and Gertrude Pickering.

Survivors include; two sons, Larry of Moro, Oregon; Gary and wife Tracy of Goldendale; six grandsons John (Crystal), Joe, and Jeff Yourchek, Wesley Cuff, Demetrios and Donavon Hoctor, and one granddaughter Lanee Hoctor. Roberta has two great-grandchildren: Johnathan and Juliana Yourchek, along with many other relatives, and friends.

Many would also include the countless students that she had, during her teaching days that called her “Mom.” As she told one of the “natural” mothers who was surprised that their child would call a teacher Mom… “I view that as an honor, and a sign of respect” then she added “and it is better than what they call some of the other teachers.”

A Rosary will be held at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church on Friday, April 26, at 7 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be held at Holy Trinity Catholic Church at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 27, 2019. Interment will follow at Holy Trinity Cemetery. Following the graveside service there will be a reception at the Goldendale Grange Hall. Columbia Hills Memorial Chapel is handling the funeral arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, please contribute to one of the organizations that Roberta was active in.

“Remember, our lives are never measured on how long we live, but by the kindly things we do and the happiness we give.”


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