John Kenneth McLean

Born: Sun., Apr. 15, 1934
Died: Mon., Nov. 28, 2011

- Service details not available -


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John Kenneth McLean, 77, died on Nov. 29, 2011. He collapsed at home and was pronounced dead at St. Anthonys Hospital. He had been in declining health for several years. He was born at Burns, Oregon on April 15, 1934 the third of four sons born to Avis J. Carter and Warren McLean. He went to grade school at Andrews and Fields, Oregon, then attended and graduated from Crane High School in 1952. He roomed with Buster Miller for 3 of his 4 years. There - they had many adventures and misadventures, remaining life-long friends. He spent his life with livestock beginning before he was school-age, herding a bunch of old ewes and bummer lambs that didn't go to the mountains. He spent his life raising sheep, cattle and good Qtr. horses. He spent 17 years with the sheep, summering in the Steens and Pueblo Mtn. Their herders were mainly Spanish Basque. In time he learned their language and Castilian Spanish. The McLean's ran 5-6000 hd. of sheep along with their cows. He was drafted into the Army, serving from 1957-59 and was stationed at the Army War College in Carlisle, PA as a Cook and Baker. He was the last of a breed-the old time buckaroos; back when they didn't break a horse till he was 5 yrs. Old; there were no horse trailers so that horse may have to go 30-50 miles the first day. They rode pretty rank horses back then and had lots of them because the high desert took in a lot of country. He packed a string of mules in sheep camp and lived in a tent and was never entirely 'house-broke'. After having to deal with the BLM one time too many, he moved out of Harney County and onto Little Butter Creek. September of 1976 he went to the Pendleton Round-up and met Bette Tessman, one month later they began their life together. A life with many ups and downs-losing a ranch, owning what they said were 'the toughest cows in the country with the debt load they carried' - but they survived in the cattle industry, and topped the market numerous times with their calves. His special joy was being surrounded by young people-numerous college kids sat down to enjoy his sourdough biscuits and learn from him. Years later, they would call and keep in touch. Young people such as Dan Otley and John Peila-he named them "the Patawa Posse". We live on Patawa Creek. If there were pall bearers for him, they would be the oldtime buckaroos he rode with and learned from. People like Pete Fordice and Don Miller. If he gave compliments it would be "he knows how to work a cow" or "he's a hand". He was a shrewd judge of character and was outspoken. You knew where you stood with him. We used to joke that no-one holds a grudge like a Scotsman. He is survived by: his wife, at their home, His 4 children: June and Ty Falcon, John and Jodi Mclean, Sue and Jay Hughes, Chap Warren Mclean and their 5 children, step-children: Jo Marie Tessman, Jennifer Lewis and Aric Tessman, and 3 grandchildren; he was their "Pops", two brothers: Ronald and Tyke, Keith and Linda, numerous nieces and nephews, and a large extended family on the Rez. His oldest brother Delmer and his parents are deceased. Services will be at Tutuilla Presbyterian Church at 2 p.m. on Sunday Dec. II, 2011. Arrangements by Burns Mortuary in Pendleton. He is to be cremated.

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Condolence Booklet

Jessie RobinsonAnderson
   Posted Sat December 03, 2011
I am very sorry to read of John's passing. I attended a year of grade school with June in Adel, Oregon when they spent some time there after leaving Fields. My heart goes out to the family on the loss of their dad.

Sandy Bennett Matthews
   Posted Sat December 03, 2011
My heart goes out the the McLean family. After reading his story I know that he was one of a kind that this country and family will miss. I would love to hear from John & June it's been over 30 years since I have known their were abouts. Sandy Bennett

Merlyn Robinson
   Posted Sun December 04, 2011
Sorry to learn of your loss. This is a difficult time for the family. Condolences to all,especially to June who lived with us for a time.

Claudio & Maria Iturriaga
   Posted Sun December 04, 2011
We are very sorry to hear of John Kenneth's passing. Our condolences to all the family.

Les & Elaine Loftis
   Posted Mon December 05, 2011
With our sincere sympathy to Betty and families. John will greatly be missed.

Elizabeth McRoberts
   Posted Mon December 05, 2011
Betty I am very sorry to hear of your loss please accept my condolences. Liz

Adrienne J. Farrow
   Posted Mon December 05, 2011
My sincere condolences for Bette and the rest of the family. I've know John for quite some time and being part of the "Patawa Posse" with Jesse, Scott and Matt to name a few was a great honor. I remember being in Paul Davis's Ag classes and going out to John and Bette's for class. We helped him one cold day and he cooked up those famous buttermilk biscuits to warm us up. He enjoyed teaching us students. He always made everyone welcome by cooking and playing a game of horseshoes while drinking a nice cold beer. He will be missed by all. May he be at peace.

Kenny Cochran
   Posted Mon December 05, 2011
They walked in silence It was getting late He stepped ahead To open the gate She wanted to thank him But didn't know how Cuz he was a farmer And she was a cow. Condolences, Kenny Cochran

Patty Turk Wilson
   Posted Mon December 05, 2011
Bette, I am so sorry to hear about your loss, John will be missed.

Patty Turk Wilson
   Posted Mon December 05, 2011
Bette, I am so sorry to hear about your loss, John will be missed.

Janyce Quaempts & Family
   Posted Wed December 07, 2011
Sorry for your loss Bette, sounds like you and John had a Grand time together. Prayers and Blessings.

David & Laura Kordatzky
   Posted Fri December 09, 2011
Betty, our thoughts and prayers are with you. "Pops" was a good man and enjoyed watching the children participate in UTRA rodeo activities, especially the mutton-busters. His infectious smile touched many, he will be truly missed by all who knew him.

Sambo and Denise Smith
   Posted Sat December 10, 2011
There have always been many JK stories from the old days and not enough from the new times. I know we will not forget JK and his spunk and grit. They did break the mold after they made him. We are glad he had the Patawa Posse to keep his eye keen. Gods blessings on his large family.

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