Michael Wayne Gooderham, 78, of La Grande, died Tuesday, September 24, 2019 at his home after a long hard fought battle with Renal Cell Carcinoma. A viewing will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 4 at Loveland Funeral Chapel. A funeral service will begin at 2 p.m. Oct. 5 at the Island City Lighthouse Pentecostal Church. Casual dress is preferred by the family.
Mike was born June 30, 1941, in the St. Joseph Hospital, La Grande, Oregon to Wayne and Lois (Burnett) Gooderham. He attended Greenwood Elementary School and graduated from La Grande High School in 1959.
Mike married Patty Parker on August 6, 1960 and they celebrated their 58th anniversary this year. He would tell the story of them being girlfriend, boyfriend as far back as 2nd grade. She was a partner in all of his endeavors. They became parents to son, Eric and daughter Gretchen.
His father started him at an early age enjoying the activities of hunting, fishing and the great out of doors. They enjoyed these activities together for many years. Mike continued this tradition with Patty, their children and grandchildren and many friends, teaching them the joys of the outdoor life.
Mike started working during the summer for the Oregon State Forestry as soon as he graduated from high school. After the summer work was over he went to work seven years for La Grande Lumber Company. He then started his career with Boise Cascade Corporation (BCC). He wore many hats at BCC including as an Industrial Engineer, Joint Facilities Supervisor at the Elgin Complex, Log Yard Supervisor at La Grande Complex and finally as the BCC Region Road Building Supervisor. He supervised the maintenance and building of all BCC roads within the Northeast Oregon Region which includes parts of Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Also, as part of his responsibilities at BCC, he taught the management personnel their American Red Cross and CPR required by law. Boise Cascade Corp. Volunteer Program Award was given to Mike in 1987, which had with it a $1,000 donation to a charitable organization of his choice. He designated the award to the Anthony Lakes Ski Patrol.
As the supervisor of the road crew, he was also responsible for the maintenance and use of the company’s wild fire equipment. The crew also fought wild fires on BCC properties and adjoining USFS properties when needed.
In 1975 BCC loaned Mike to the Grande Ronde Hospital to establish an Advance Life Support Ambulance System, which he did for most of that year along with his job at BCC.
He retired from BCC in 1999, which allowed him to hunt fish and ski full time!
He was a charter member of the Anthony Lakes Ski Patrol which started in 1963. He continued on the patrol until he retired after 51 years. During that time he held many titles starting with Anthony Lakes Ski Patrol Director, Southern Idaho Region Director, Pacific Northwest Division Director and Board Member the National Ski Patrol, which includes USA and Europe Divisions. He was a certified National Ski Patrol Outdoor Emergency Care Instructor and Instructor Trainer, an Avalanche I & II Instructor and Instructor Trainer and Instructor Development Instructor and Instructor Trainer. He won many awards with the ski patrol including the Claude Anson Distinguished Patroller, Ed Orbea Southern Idaho Region Award for Excellence in First Aid Skills, the PNW Division Alpine Patroller Award, National Ski Patrol Outstanding Alpine Patroller Award, Distinguished Service Award and Yellow Merit Stars for Attempting to Save a Life and for conducting the first Mountain Rescue Clinic in the Pacific NW Division.
Mike was an avid American Red Cross supporter and was on the Union County American Red Cross Board for over 50 years. He was also an American Red Cross Advance First Aid Instructor and Instructor Trainer and CPR Instructor and Trainer. He estimated that between teaching these courses to the general public and to the BCC employees that he taught 8,000+ people.
In 1972 he attended one of the first Oregon EMT classes that were held. He traveled to Baker City weekly for the class and eventually became an EMT II. From 1964-66 he was elected as District Representative to the State of Oregon EMS Committee.
He was Chairman of the Union County Ambulance Advisory Committee from 1986-2015. The committee developed the Union County Ambulance Plan that coordinates all of the county’s First Responder systems.
He was honored with the Union County Chamber of Commerce’s “Man of the Year” in 1993.
The Governor of Oregon appointed Mike to the Oregon Rural Health Care Council and Coordinating Council Grant Review Committee from 2000-2008.
He was a La Grande Volunteer Fire Captain for 25+ years. There is an annual award given by the La Grande Fire Dept. in honor of Mike Gooderham to an active fireman for “being steady, reliable, prepared and always vigilant and ready to perform”. It is called “The Vigilant Spanner Award”.
He was on the Eastern Oregon Fire Museum Board from 2006 to present.
Mike and Patty owned many horses and mules over the years. He raised his main mule, Wenaha, and rode him for over 30+ years. They were a fine tuned pair and Mike swore that Wenaha alerted him many times when there was game (elk, deer, bear, or cougar) around!
He spent many years with family and friends riding, hunting, and packing in the Eagle Cap Wilderness and at Camp 5 in Wallowa County. He enjoyed having his family and friends bagging their game so that he could butcher and pack them out on the animals. He was an excellent packer and took pride in doing the Double Diamond packing hitch.
Surviving relatives include his wife Patty, son, Eric (Heather) Gooderham, daughter, Gretchen Forkan, granddaughter, Amy (Jake) Thronson, grandson, Kyle Forkan, granddaughter, Kara Gooderham, great granddaughter, Kamber Forkan, sisters Pam Maggs, Judy Johnson, Nancy Findeisen, brother, Bill (Denise) Martens, and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, Wayne Gooderham, stepmother, Evelyn Gooderham, mother Lois Martens and stepfather Al Martens, brother, Steve Gooderham, sister, Sue Hart.
Online condolences may be made to www.lovelandfuneralchapel.com.
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