My father loved Madras country

To the Editor,

My father is Charles Hisey and he recently passed away in Creswell, surrounded by his family.

He was born in Colorado on June 9, 1924, and grew up in Parma, Idaho, and Powell Butte, Ore. In 1942, as a young man he came to the Madras/Metolius area, specifically the Little Agency Plains. He was hired by the Zemke, Henske and Carpenter families at different times, to help farm their land. My dad loved the land and farming was in his blood.

In 1944, he joined the Army, 1st Calvary Division from Jefferson County. He was stationed in the Philippines and Japan and was in Japan when the armistice was signed. Upon his honorable discharge, he returned to the Little Plains to farm. In 1950, he met and married Imogene Smith, of Redmond, and they made their home in a house they built on what is now Southwest Ashwood Lane, renting the land from Tom Taylor. During the next few years, they had two children while farming the land and in the mid 1950s they moved to Redmond and then to Creswell in the Willamette Valley. He lived near Creswell on a 5-acre farm for the next 57 years with his wife and now five children. He loved the Valley and its rich soil (with less rocks) and even though he held nonfarming jobs to support his family, working the land was his favorite.

My dad and I went on hundreds of drives over the last 20 years, usually in farm country to see what they were planting or harvesting, what kind of machinery they had and how much water they were using. But his favorite drive was to the Madras/Metolius area. He loved the smell of new mown hay and alfalfa, full barns, and acres of irrigation sprinklers spreading their precious water. On these drives he would tell me stories about farming before the water came, of cold winters and hot, dry summers and digging a grave for a friend in the German Methodist Cemetery. He told me stories of good neighbors like Russ Ginther, Loyal Miller and Ralph Bollenbaugh families. He showed me all the places he lived and learned as a young man, how he and a friend “borrowed” a county grader to clear snow on some back roads one snowy day and which farmhouse lady made the best apple strudel. He showed me where his mom and dad’s house stood and the good times they had in their small home when they didn’t have two dimes to rub together. He told me when he first came to Madras the population was about 400 people and what the area looked like then.

Just three weeks before he died of kidney failure, we decided to spend the day taking a drive to Madras, which turned out to be his last drive over here. It took us a few hours to get here, but it was worth it. It was during the month of April and the alfalfa was bright green and the carrots were up. We went down every back road he wanted to go and he talked and remembered the people, places and good times.

He passed away on May 10 in his home with his wife of 64 years holding his hand, surrounded by his family.

He was a farmer at heart and Jefferson County held a special place in his soul that he shared with his family. Thank you for always welcoming him back.

Debby Hisey


Contract Publishing

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