Trish Yerges
The La Grande Observer

ELGIN — The Friends of the Elgin Community Center contracted with Next Step Carpet LLC of La Grande to replace its 40-year-old flooring, courtesy of a $20,000 gift from the late Margaret Young Oberteuffer of rural Elgin.

“This is something that we’ve needed for a long time,” said Elma Jean Wilhelm of the Friends. “We’ve held on to this gift of money for years, and we finally decided it was time to use it.”

Oberteuffer is remembered in this county as a teacher, tree farmer and conservationist. She had a 40-year career in teaching in Portland, Cove and Union. In 1984, she and her husband, Bill, retired to the property they purchased 10 years earlier, the Smilin O Ranch, 160 acres at the base of Stubblefield Mountain outside of Elgin, where they raised sheep and goats for wool and mohair. They also owned and operated a tree farm on Follett Road.

She lived an adventurous life, taking a one-year sabbatical from teaching to backpack through 27 countries, comparing educational systems and natural history. She was also a member of the Mazama Mountaineering Club, an organization that later recognized her as an educator, leader, mountaineer, conservationist and progressive forester.

See complete story in Wednesday's Observer