News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Marking a century at The Lodge

Margaret Helen Fine, tagged "June Bug" at an early age by her father because she never lit for very long, has been known for all her adult life as June Phillips, after marrying her husband Bill in 1944.

On May 15, June will be celebrating her 100th birthday at The Lodge in Sisters, where she has resided for the past year-and-a-half. She was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, May 15, 1924, to Goldie and Luther Fine, who ran a grocery store six days a week where June worked in her youth. She had two brothers, Alvis and Harold. She graduated from Carson High School in Tulsa, where she was called Margaret.

June was working as a switchboard operator in Tulsa for the Texas Oil Company when she met Bill, who was an Army engineer during World War II, building bridges. After they were married and Bill was away at war, June lived with his parents in Tillamook, walking to work in the coastal rain, a far cry from Oklahoma.

After the war, the young couple moved to Coos Bay in 1947, one of many Oregon cities they called home while raising their family - Scott, twins Larry and Sharon, and the youngest Tom. Their four offspring have provided June with 10 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren, to whom she is Grandma June. Sharon and her husband, Mike Gurry, live at Black Butte Ranch. The Gurry's daughter Elizabeth (Liddy) lives in Sisters. She is mother to two of June's great-grandsons, Jack and Charlie, who bring her flowers in exchange for sweets from her ever-full candy dish.

Bill worked for Champion Paper as a logging manager, and he and June enjoyed attending the annual logging conference for 20 years.

Eugene/Springfield was home for the longest time, arriving the first time in 1952. From there the family vacationed in tents and trailers in the Cascades at Willamette Pass and Crescent Lake, with a trip to Alaska in their camper. Every two years they would return to Oklahoma for a visit with June's family.

After their family was grown, June and Bill enjoyed spending from October to May in Yuma, Arizona, first in their motor home and then in their house. They developed many good friendships during those years. After Bill passed away in 2002, June continued to spend the winter in Yuma where she loved the sunny desert and the citrus trees.

She would have liked to stay in Arizona and, she said, "it was hard to give up" - but her support system was in Oregon.

Throughout her life, June has enjoyed sewing, crocheting, and tole painting. When Sharon was a child, June made all her dresses. Her tole painting shows a real artistic flair. Granddaughter Liddy had some of the paintings printed on towels for family members so they can all enjoy June's talent.

Bill and June enjoyed a fun partnership that benefitted friends and family. Bill built wooden birdhouses and other small structures to resemble churches, houses, and a covered bridge. June would decoratively paint them. She still has several of them as well as a recipe box full of her recipes.

Much of June's time in Eugene/Springfield was spent volunteering at Trinity Baptist church in Springfield where she taught Bible school and Bible study. She showed this reporter her Bible that was given to her in 1942 in which she had tucked special momentos, including her pay stub from Southwest Bell Telephone for 80 hours of work which earned her $82.30 in the early 1940s.

June has never been a big participant in sports (she never learned to swim), but she is an avid Duck and Beaver fan.

At age 92, June moved from her Eugene house into a senior apartment complex, which was difficult for her to do. With Scott in Bend, Sharon at Black Butte Ranch, and Liddy in Sisters, The Lodge seemed like a logical new home. June enjoys the small size of Sisters, with no malls and having family and her doctors and dentist close by.

Despite falling and breaking her femur right after her 99th birthday, Sharon said that June was determined to reach her 100th birthday and thanked The Lodge for the excellent care they provided June after her surgery and hospital stay.

The family celebrated June's 100th on Saturday, May 11, with a gathering at Sharon and Mike's Black Butte Ranch home. She was all ready for that party with her new pants hemmed and an appointment to get her hair done before the party. The Lodge will celebrate with June on May 15 with a lunch for Lodge residents.

June expressed gratitude for "my health and for my family that has put up with me. They step up and help."


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