Charles ”Chuck” Booher recently turned 100 years old. He and his wife, Dorothy, ran the Curtin Store for decades. Dorothy’s brother was Harry Holt, who along with Bertha, created Holt International in Creswell. Charles recalled seeing a circus wagon overturn in the 1940s. Provided
COTTAGE GROVE – On Saturday, local man Charles ”Chuck” Booher, now of Yoncalla, celebrated his 100th birthday with a party at the Cottage Grove Community Center.
I had the pleasure of meeting him while researching books on the history of U.S. Highway 99. My interview with Chuck was rich in stories of the early days of U.S. Highway 99 before the I-5 freeway was built.
His maternal grandparents, Charley and Alice Turpin, had settled in the area in 1915. Chuck provided me with wonderful historical information on not only Curtin, but Anlauf and Comstock.
He also had strong connections to his paternal Booher family, who were early settlers in the Yoncalla area.
Chuck raised his family in the neighboring town of Curtin. Chuck’s daughter, Debbie Booher Davis, and her husband, Stan Davis, raised their family in Lorane and are much-loved by many.
Many people will recognize the Boohers as a well-known musical family from the Yoncalla area. The family of Chuck’s son, Mike, and his wife, Delores, formed their own group called ”The Booher Family.” They sang and played old-time fiddle, gospel and country western music. Their lively, foot-stomping music became very popular and they were asked to appear in shows all over Oregon, including Lorane’s Centennial in 1987.
From 1993-98, they toured with their only daughter, Meriwyn, and their three youngest boys, Ben, Brendan and Gabe, performing in Canada and spending five seasons at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo.
Brendan toured internationally and played fiddle, guitar and mandolin for the band Asleep at the Wheel, George Strait and Johnny Gimble, among others.
The family also opened a dinner club – the Diamond B Chuckwagon – in Tumalo, near Bend, Ore., where they provided the entertainment.
For several years, Chuck and his wife Dorothy ran the Curtin Store, which they leased from her parents, Albert L. and Flora Holt, in the 1940s. Dorothy’s brother, Harry, and his wife, Bertha, of Creswell, made history themselves by forming the Holt International Adoption Agency that originally specialized in adoptions from Korea.
One of the interesting stories Chuck told me was of a day in the 1940s when he and Dorothy lived on Curtin Road. A circus caravan was passing in front of his family’s home when suddenly the load shifted on the trailer of one of the trucks and it rolled onto its top. Until they could get it righted, they had an assortment of horses, llamas, a couple of camels, and two or three zebras lounging in the pasture next to their house.
I’m not surprised that Chuck has made it to the ”100” mark. When I interviewed him that day in 2014, he was a vibrant, articulate man in his mid-90s.
He’s seen many advancements and changes take place over those 100 years and he’s lived an interesting and successful life. His love for family is evident, as is his respect for this area’s history.
Happy birthday, Chuck!
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