Cover photo for John  Rowland Stebbins's Obituary
John  Rowland Stebbins Profile Photo

John Rowland Stebbins

April 24, 1934 — October 2, 2019

John Rowland Stebbins, age 85,  of Walla Walla, Washington and La Grande, Oregon passed away October 2, 2019 at his home as a result of complications due to multiple Myeloma Blood Cancer.   He was diagnosed with myeloma in early 2005.  His memorial service will be held at St. Peter's Episcopal Church , 4th & 'O' Avenue in La Grande, on Wednesday, October  9, 2019 at 2:00 p.m.  Private burial will be held at the Grandview Cemetery in La Grande.  Arrangements are entrusted to Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center.  Those who wish may make contributions in his memory to Shriners  Hospital or Multiple MyelomaResearch Foundation (MMRF)>

John was born in Gothenburg, Nebraska on April 24, 1934, the son of Virge W. and Florence (Brooks) Stebbins.  He graduated from Gothenburg High in 1952, and the University of Nebraska with a business degree.  He married Barbara Farnsworth of Santa Barbara, California in 1955 and they had five children, John W., Steven, Barbara, Susanne and Tim. Barbara died in 1980 and in 1981 John married Ruth Erickson Gifford of Walla Walla.  Ruth brought two children into the marriage, Eric Allan Gifford and Karen Louise Gifford (Fritz).

He returned to Gothenburg after college and in 1958 joined with J.B. Dean, his brother-in-law, in starting Stebbins Implement Co.  This was an International Harvester Sales and Service Dealership.  While in Gothenburg and in college John participated in the following organizations, Kiwanis Club, Masonic Rite, Scottish Rite, Shrine and the United Methodist Church as a Sunday School teacher and as a member of the Pastor Relations Committee.  He served on the Gothenburg City Council, the Airport Board and did various jobs for the Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce.  At the University he was a member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity and served as the Chapter Chaplain.

In 1968,  he sold his interest in Stebbins Implement and moved to Hawaii.  After several years in Hawaii he moved to La Grande, Oregon and in 1970 he joined with Bob Goss in starting S & G Machinery Co.  S & G was the John Deere Sales and Service dealer in the Union Co. area.

While in La Grande he was a member of St. Peter's Episcopal Church and served that church by being on the Vestry and for many years he was stewardship chairman.  He also served as a Trustee of St. Peter's Homan Trust.  He was a charter member of the Island City Lions Club, the Elks club and a member of the Union Co. Museum.  John enjoyed his business and his customers.  He also enjoyed snowmobiling, camping, skiing, fishing, rafting, exploring the surrounding countryside and hunting with family and friends.  He spent many weekends teaching his children and their friends how to enjoy the things available in this area.  John felt fortunate that he found two good women to help him enjoy life, Barbara and Ruth.



Memorial Service

Wednesday, October 9, 2019
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

St. Peter's Episcopal Church
1001 'O' Avenue1
La Grande, Oregon 97850

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