Taking note of losses beyond the wildfires, pandemic

Jazmine Bangs/PHOTO Mike Plank with his neighbor’s baby Calliope Stevens.

Residents of Lorane, like most people in Oregon, are reeling from the burden that we are all carrying right now. The addition of the devastating wildfires to our COVID-19 concerns have made our load almost unbearable.

The worry and fear that we are feeling for our neighbors whose lives and homes are directly impacted was made real to us in the Lorane area when a grassfire was discovered along Lorane Highway toward the top of the Conard Hill (aka Fox Hollow Hill), about three miles north of Gillespie Corners. Fortunately, it was discovered early, the recent strong winds were not present, and our local firefighters contained and extinguished it within a few hours.

I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one who, upon hearing of the fire, began “just-in-case” preparations by packing our evacuation bags as soon as we heard. Our thanks and appreciation go to all who made sure that we stayed safe.

Sadly, the fires and other upheavals in our lives overshadowed the quiet passing of two of Lorane’s residents and one from Crow. Mike Plank suffered a cerebral stroke in late August and went into a coma. He quietly passed away on Sept. 5, without regaining consciousness. I never had the pleasure of meeting Mike or his wife Tracy, but they were close friends and good neighbors of our grandson, Kevin Stevens, and his partner, Jazmine Bangs. They attended the Lorane Christian Church and were regulars at the Lorane Family Store.

The Planks bought Nancy O’Hearn’s home on Old Lorane Road several years ago and have been spending their time remodeling it. He was a contractor by trade, and, besides Tracy, he left behind two daughters, Casey and Jenni, sons-in-law Cory and Supa, and grandson Blake. As a community, we were lucky to have Mike in our midst, and I know that he will be missed by those who had the opportunity to know the kind, caring person he was.

Sharon and Bruce Malcolm.

Many are mourning the death of our much-loved Sharon Malcolm, who also died Sept. 5. Sharon has been fighting Stage 4 stomach cancer since she was diagnosed earlier this year. Her daughter and son, Ashley and James Malcolm, arrived several months ago to stay with her and take care of her at the family home on Fire Road, where she lived alone. Sharon’s husband, Bruce Malcolm, was killed in an equipment accident on their property in the summer of 2018.

Sharon was a successful realtor for Windermere Real Estate and was an active community member in Lorane since she and Bruce were married in 1977.

Ashley announced her mother’s death on the Lorane Facebook page: “Life can be so unfair sometimes. Today we lost one of the great ones and it doesn’t even seem real … (She was the) best kick-ass mom anyone could ever ask for. She was incredibly kind and caring, had the greenest thumb of anyone I’ve ever known; was a pool volleyball rockstar, tequila lover, jokester, card shark, and die-hard Oregon Duck Fan. Raise a glass for my mom Sharon today. She’d want everyone to celebrate her life …”

I considered Sharon a good friend and knew her as an exceptional cook who kept a beautiful home and yard. It’s hard to believe that she’s gone.

On Sept. 11, longtime Crow resident Margeinea Bloom peacefully passed in her sleep. Her daughter, Corinne Gording, said: “I guess some of the best angels are taken on 9/11.” Margeinea served as the much-respected bookkeeper for the Crow-Applegate-Lorane School District when my husband Jim was on the board in the 1970s and ’80s. I remember Margeinea for her kindness and ability to make friends easily and I know all of her family and friends are grieving her loss.

Jim and I send our condolences to the families of these three people. Their absence will be felt by many.

Contact Pat through her website



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