Jeffrey Blakeston Knowles, age 67, passed away Dec. 23 surrounded by his family and closest friends at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, Oregon. Born Oct. 24, 1951, Jeff was the first born to Dennis B. and Virginia A (Thomas) Knowles. He would later be joined by a sister, Leanne, and a brother, Brian (Butch). Grandparents to the three were Burdett and Opal Knowles of Klamath Falls, Oregon, and Jack and Alice Thomas of Terrebonne, Oregon. Jeff’s childhood years were spent between the family’s property in Terrebonne and the ranch at Van, Oregon. Jeff graduated from Redmond High School in 1969 and later earned an associate’s degree from Walla Walla Community College in 1973. Instead of waiting to be drafted, Jeff enlisted in the Army; he was stationed in Vietnam in 1970-71. During this time, Jeff was exposed to Agent Orange, which was later determinate to be the cause of his long history of medical issues that he battled for most of 48 years. Jeff finished service as a decorated soldier. He was honored and always proud of his service to his country. After a brief two-month engagement, Jeff married Sally Gregory on October 28, 1978; the couple recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. Jeff and Sally were blessed with two sons, Trevor (Jena) and Drew (Jessica); and three grandsons, Charley, Jack, and Cody.
Jeff’s days revolved around his family. Working side by side with Sally and the boys, the family built their cattle herd, spending as much time as possible at the family’s ranch in Van, Oregon; this was where Jeff felt the most at home. Jeff’s love for the ranching only grew with time as he passed his knowledge along to his sons and grandsons. Hunting, fishing and telling stories with his family and friends were among Jeff’s favorite things to do. Jeff lived a full life right up to the very end with the love and support of his wife and best friend Sally, his sons and their wives, which he gained as daughters, and his three grandsons of which he was so very proud. Jeff will be missed dearly but remains in the hearts of so many near and far.
Jeff was preceded in death by his mother Virginia (Thomas) Knowles. He is survived by his father, Dennis, of Lewiston, Idaho; wife, Sally, of Mt. Vernon, Oregon; sons Trevor (Jena) Knowles of Prairie City, Oregon and Drew (Jessica) Knowles of Mt. Vernon; three grandsons, Charley, Jack and Cody; sister Leanne (Pat) Fuller of Clarkston, Washington; and brother Butch (Mary) Knowles of Heppner, Oregon.
A memorial service was held at 1:00 PM on Saturday, December 29th at the Grant County Fairgrounds Pavilion with a reception immediately following. Memorial contributions may be made to “The American Legion- Operation Comfort Warriors” through Driskill Memorial Chapel at 241 S. Canyon Blvd., John Day, OR 97845.