Wednesday, April 6, 2011


This is a good summary of a good man; my friend and hero. Gerald (Dobe) HardingApril 16, 1941 – April 1, 2011 Dobe Harding of Bend passed away on Friday, April 1 in Crane while hunting with friends. He was 69 years old. He was born in Aberdeen, WA on April 16, 1941. His parents were Milford (Mel) Harding and Kittie Barbara (Wendorf) Harding. As a child, Dobe attended school in Arlington, OR, then attended high school in Stayton, OR, and graduated in 1959. After moving to Central Oregon from Stayton in the 1970’s, Dobe had a plumbing and heating business in Sisters. Over the years, he lived in many places, including Maui, San Jose, CA, Redding, CA and Lapine. Dobe enjoyed fishing, hunting and was talented in fabricating metal and welding. He was witty, and had the ability to make people laugh, and was a great conversationalist. He also loved music. He is survived by his wife and partner of 32 years, Toni; daughter Lisa Davis of Bend; son Brad Harding of Bend; stepson Dude Aylor of Sisters; and 11 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his son Rick in 1995. Dobe will be missed so much by everyone who knew him, loved him and enjoyed his company, family and friends alike. He was a very special person.


Dobe and I went to high school together. We played sports, fished, hunted, and later we were in business together. One time we even swapped houses; his in Stayton for mine in Sisters. Over the years we developed that special bond of trust. My book “Partners” is dedicated to him. His character, wit or stature is featured in almost all of my stories. Dobe’s stature was “Chief” in THE LAST FRUIT STAND ON GUAM. His character is Sheriff Boomer in my novel BOOMER, and I used not only his stature but his fine unwavering character as Sergeant Bell in ALASKA BE DAMNED . In 1973, Dobe and I entered the “Wild Cow Milking” event at the Sister’s Rodeo. My job was to rope the cow. Dobe was supposed to “Mug” the old girl, remove the loop and hold her while I dismounted and milked her to obtain enough liquid into a stubby beer bottle to run to the judge…at least a drop or two was required. This was a three day event. The first go…I roped a fence post. (Obviously I was a lousy roper). The second go, I roped the hind legs of my horse and was bucked off. The third go, I got lucky and roped a cow right off. Dobe rushed from the bucking chutes, grabbed that cow and pitched her to the ground. He was so Bull strong, he removed the lariat held her 900 pounds of kicking and thrashing while I rushed to her udder – being cow kicked several times, to milk perhaps two ounces of moo juice. We won the event. Mert Hunking, the producer of the rodeo presented us a trophy buckle and fifty bucks. Neither of us wanted the money, we wanted the buckle. We flipped and Dobe won. It was the only rodeo award he’d ever won. A couple of weeks later, Mert had another buckle made for me. It was the ONLY roping event I ever won. I have the buckle to this day and I’m sure Dobe kept his. I have a hundred stories like the above. Why choose that one? Because every time we reunited after a long absence, that was the story that was rehashed. All who knew him at least liked him. Most loved him. I’m one of the latter…gotta stop now, I’m getting’ tears on my keyboard. SO LONG, DOBE – SEE YA SOON!

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