John R. Thienes

John R. Thienes

John R. (Jack) Thienes passed away on November 26, 2019 at the age of 93.  He was born on December 11, 1925 in Eugene, OR.  He was a 63 year resident of The Dalles, OR; a community he cared for very deeply.

Jack had one older brother, Harry, and they were the only children of parents, Harry Stenchfield Thienes and Ester (Chaffee) Thienes.  His father Harry was killed in a hunting accident when Jack and his brother were toddlers.  Esther later married William James who became the only father Jack knew.  His brother Harry was killed during World War II.  

He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Lois Thienes, two children, Rebecca Jacroux and Michael Thienes; three grandchildren Eric Thienes, Emily (Thienes) Dunay, and Kevin Thienes; two great-grandchildren Joel and James Thienes; two step children Debbie (Wilson) Nealy and Randy Wilson; three step grandchildren Matt Wilson, Sarah (Wilson) Allen and Jeremy Young;  and four step great-grandchildren Casey, Gus, Violet and Dylon.  He was preceded in death by two step sons Mike Wilson and Billy Wilson; and one grandson Wade Wilson.

Jack grew up on the James family farm on Goodpasture Island in Eugene, OR.  He graduated from Eugene High School and following two years in the Army, he attended and graduated from Oregon State University (1949) with a B.S. in Agriculture Science.  He went back to the family farm for three years before moving into O.S.U Extension service.  He began in Coos County working with the cranberry growers for five years, but later transferred to The Dalles in 1957.  In 1968, he received a Master’s Degree from Michigan State University as a stone fruit specialist.  He worked and shared his knowledge with the fruit growers in Wasco, Hood River and Klickitat counties.  Aside from building great relationships with the local cherry growers, his two hallmark work achievements included working with the Bureau of Reclamation to help make The Dalles irrigation project a reality and secondly, participation in the lawsuits between the cherry growers and the aluminum plant in The Dalles.  Jack’s research and expert testimony were paramount to the farmers’ success in gaining court wins in their battle proving the adverse effects of the aluminum plant’s emissions on fruit crop yields.

Family and friends alike loved Jack’s keen sense of humor, easy-going disposition and his welcoming smile.  Fine wood crafted projects, both large and small, emerged from his wood working shop.   These turned into cherished and memorable gifts to all members of the family, as well as many local friends.  He loved adventuring out into the wilderness areas around Oregon with pack and fishing pole on his back.  And he made sure to pass this passion on to his son and all of the grandchildren.  He could often be found out on the golf course chasing the golf ball with his Hucklebucks friends.  He and Lois loved to travel the Blue Highways across America; successfully venturing through 48 of the 50 states.  He had a passion for reading, telling tall tales, card games, dancing, eating good food (and plenty of it) and studying local history.  He also remodeled his home(s) and several rental properties over the years-doing it all himself.

Sorosis Park was one of Jack’s favorite places in town.  He and Lois planted the row of poplar trees in 1972, that stand tall today as a welcome wind break.  He and Lois also purchased one of the benches presently located in the park.  Jack also volunteered at the VA Hospital as a caretaker of the gardens.

A celebration of Jack’s life will be held at 1:30PM on Wednesday December 11, 2019, at the Shilo Inn The Dalles (3223 Bret Clodfelter Way The Dalles, OR 97058).  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jack’s name to Providence Hospice of the Gorge, Celilo Cancer Center or The Sorosis Park Project C/O Anderson’s Tribute Center (204 E. 4th Street The Dalles, OR 97058).

Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson's Tribute Center • Celilo Chapel 204 E. 4th Street, The Dalles, Oregon 97058.  Visit to leave a note of condolence for the family.