Lonnie Keith Attridge Obituary

Lonnie Keith Attridge

Lonnie Keith Attridge passed away peacefully Sunday, November 8, 2020. He was 81 years old. Keith was born on February 2, 1939, in Longview, Washington, to Virgil and Maxine Attridge. He was the third of four children. Keith was especially close to his older brother, LeRoy, and the two of them knew no bounds with their vibrant energy, easy and contagious laughter, and constant pranks, usually performed at the expense of their sisters, Beverly and Darlene. All of the Attridge children were extremely close to one another, and their bond grew even stronger following family tragedy. After moving from Washington back to Oregon in 1947, family patriarch Virgil, who had worked in a sawmill and headed his own logging crew, was struck and killed by a falling dead tree limb, a so-called “widow-maker,” on a mountainside near Cottage Grove. The young children rallied around their mother, Maxine, and each other in the wake of their father’s death. Family, from that point forward, was something Keith held near and dear to his heart. Keith attended Latham Elementary School, Jefferson Middle School, and Cottage Grove High School, where he graduated in 1956. He lettered in basketball three years and football two years. During Keith’s teens, his mother married Joe Ellwood Sarrett, a calm, loving man who would become “Dad.” Immediately following high school graduation, Keith went to work at Bohemia Lumber mill in Cottage Grove—one of three mills in town and, besides logging, the only real industry in the area. While working at the mill, Keith enlisted in the National Guard, where he was eventually promoted to Sergeant E6 – Armor Intelligence Specialist. During his time at the mill, Keith met and married Karen Korstad of Eugene, Oregon. Karen, a college student at the University of Oregon, soon became pregnant, first with their son, Ben, and a year later with their daughter, Lynda Sue. Keith had also started work as a manager and then owner of a Texaco service station in Eugene. With the new responsibility of parenthood and the newfound freedom of business ownership, Keith purchased a family getaway in Eastern Oregon. This property would become their go-to weekend retreat, where the family would spend much of Keith’s off-time and where every season of the year would bring a cabin full of friends and extended family. Keith enjoyed peaceful afternoons along the banks of the Little Deschutes River, where he would often go at the end of the day to fish after spending time working on the cabin or exploring the pine tree–dotted property with his kids by snowmobile or jeep. In 1971, Keith and Karen divorced. While still owning the gas station, Keith began managing Wilson’s appliance store in Cottage Grove. It was during his transition from owner of the Texaco service station to owner of Wilson’s that he became chapter president of the Cottage Grove Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce). The Jaycees so valued Keith that they had him travel to other towns to help bolster membership and facilitate organization. During one such trip, Keith met the woman who would become his second wife, Mary Jane Riches—Janie, to her friends. Janie had two young children, William (Billy) Theodore Grier and Suzanne (Suzi) Grier Bowen, and Keith embraced his expanding family with the characteristic enthusiasm he brought to all his endeavors. Keith’s professional life was marked by a sense of adventure and a willingness to seize opportunity. His Wilson’s appliance store contract was literally completed on a handshake and, after many years of success, he sold the company, pursuing odd jobs for a couple of years before temporarily settling into a project manager role for large aluminum warehouses in the Western US and Canada. At the height of his career, Keith applied for a job on a remote island literally thousands of miles away from the mainland United States—in fact closer to Russia than the US. It was a government job with a defense contractor as project manager on a US Air Force base in Shemya, Alaska. Keith loved the job as he was drawn to the outdoors and the remoteness of the locale. Although he didn’t like being away from his wife and family, long stretches of off-time helped balance the distance. One early morning in Shemya, Keith fell to the floor as he was getting out of bed. He was unable to pick himself up and called out for help. As soon as he was discovered, he was taken to the infirmary but the staff was unable to determine a cause. Keith was transported to Anchorage and then Seattle for tests. Months later, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and, although properly diagnosed and expertly treated, the disease ravaged his body. Always a man of hard work and boundless energy, Keith was confronted with his own mortality in the face of a disease that began mercilessly exacting its toll. With the love and support of family, Keith moved to an independent living home in Sublimity, Oregon, and then to Loudon, Tennessee, to be closer to Suzi, who would oversee his care. Keith was a man born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, and he truly loved all that it offered. He hunted and fished, he enjoyed four-wheeling, and he never ever turned down a person in need. A normal hour-and-a-half journey from home to his beloved cabin could sometimes take twice that long, because of his stopping to help stranded motorists. Keith is preceded in death by his ex-wife, Karen Korstad Attridge Carlson; his daughter Christina; his father, Virgil; his mother, Maxine; his brother, LeRoy; and his sister Darlene. He will be missed by his wife Janie of Loudon, Tennessee; his sister Beverly Attridge Cooley of Cottage Grove, Oregon; his son, Benjamin Keith Attridge of Salt Lake City, Utah; his daughter Lynda Sue (Mike) Burton of Gig Harbor, Washington; his step-son, William (Nicole) Grier of Boulder, Colorado; and his step-daughter Suzi (Jerry) Bowen of Lenoir City, Tennessee. He is also is also survived by his six beloved grandchildren: Haley Nicole (Chris) Berglund, Hunter Michael (Amanda) Burton, Hanna Christine (Korey) Wasser, Jack Danger Attridge, Giselle Grier, Ashley Grier and great-granddaughter, Sloan Burton. A memorial service to honor and remember Keith will be held at a later date in Oregon.
February 2, 1939 - November 8, 202002/02/193911/08/2020
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Obituary

Lonnie Keith Attridge passed away peacefully Sunday, November 8, 2020. He was 81 years old. Keith was born on February 2, 1939, in Longview, Washington, to Virgil and Maxine Attridge. He was the third of four children. Keith was especially close to his older brother, LeRoy, and the two of them knew no bounds with their vibrant energy, easy and contagious laughter, and constant pranks, usually performed at the expense of their sisters, Beverly and Darlene. All of the Attridge children were e...

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