Cover photo for Robert James Girdner's Obituary
Robert James Girdner Profile Photo

Robert James Girdner

September 27, 1933 — January 6, 2023

"Robert J. "Bob" Girdner, a longtime Cove resident, passed away at his home on Friday, January 6, 2023 at the age of 89. A service to honor his life will be announced at a later date by Daniels-Knopp Funeral Cremation & Life Celebration Center of La Grande.

Robert James was born on September 27, 1933 to Dale Howard and Francis Elizabeth (DeBusk) Girdner near Oak Creek, Arizona. Bob, as he became known, was raised and educated in Cornville, Arizona. After graduating high school in 1951, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he proudly served his country in the Korean War. During his service he was trained and became proficient in operating heavy machinery. He also met Charlotte Marie Coon while in the Army, with whom he corresponded while serving. After being honorably discharged, he returned to Arizona and married Charlotte on November 24, 1956. Bob's skills in operating heavy machinery would be used through the remainder of his career. After he moved to Oregon he purchased a ranch and named it HVH (High Valley Herefords). Though his focus was always on ranching, he also worked for Rogers Asphalt, Zimmermans furniture, and Boise Cascade while getting the ranch up and running.  He also had a cherry business and was a member of the Cherry Growers Association, ran a backhoe company and dug graves at the Cove cemetery.

Bob was a devoted member of the Assemblies of God: Mountain Life Church in Island City, where he served on the board and played basketball in the church league. Bob’s love of basketball even led him to install a basketball hoop in his Quonset shop. He was also very active in the Cove community, serving on the school board, supporting the Cove High School basketball team, and being an active member of the booster board.

Bob was a collector: during his working years the workers were required to wear pocket watches for safety reasons, which prompted him to begin collecting pocket watch fobs. He also had an extensive collection of vehicle license plates, as well as stamps and coins.

In addition to his parents, Bob was preceded in death by his daughter Esther Marie Briney, son Daniel Girdner, infant son Robert Paul Girdner, two great grandchildren, and a brother, David Girdner. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Charlotte; children Ruth Ann Zigler of Sandpoint, Idaho, Sharon and Robert Markum of Cove, Nancy Acord of Prineville, and Stephen and Cathryn Girdner of La Grande; 12 grandchildren; 17 great grandchildren; and a brother, George Girdner of La Grande.

Bob was a humble, God-fearing man who lived his life in a godly manner. He was known for his gentle and kind nature and had a great sense of humor that brought joy to those around him. He was fair and giving, always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need. Bob will be deeply missed by all who knew him, but his kind and compassionate spirit will live on in the memories of his family and friends. Contributions in memory of Robert J. Girdner may be made to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (161 N. Clark, Ste. 3550, Chicago, IL 60601)."

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Saturday, June 10, 2023

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