Obituaries & Tributes

Pamela Kerns Petersdorf 

Sept. 23, 1952 — Nov. 14, 2022

With great sadness, we must report the passing of Pam Petersdorf, the owner, publisher and managing editor of the Fern Ridge-Tribune News. She had a huge and warm but fragile heart which came to rest on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. 

Born in Veneta on Sept. 23, 1952, Pam considered herself to be a West Lane local all of her days.

“I grew up and lived in the Fern Ridge area until we moved to our home just off of High Pass Road near Junction City in 1976,” Pam said in an interview published soon after her husband, Jean, died in 2018.

During their 50 years together Pam and Jean raised two children, Nana and Javan, who gave them the gift of eight grandchildren – Joseph, Matthew, Patrick, Joshua, Kelleigh, Brittany, Ethen and Roy – who then added great-grandchildren D.J., Devan, Jamieson and Bradley to the family. Over time, complications from diabetes began to impact Pam’s health during her final decade in this world, as her eyesight slowly declined and she became confined to a wheelchair.

While living through her health issues, Pam stayed strong and kept a positive, cheerful attitude about her circumstances despite the pain and problems she endured. She spent most of her free time at home with Jean, walking the family property, tending to the land and caring for a variety of goats, llamas, farm animals and pets over the years, including two tortoises and an iguana.

Pam had a long history in local journalism because of her passion about the importance of small town newspapers and their value to a community. Publisher Joe Cannon hired her for the West Lane News in Veneta in 1972 , and for the next 35 years she was the newspaper’s voice on the phone and face behind the front desk. She also was associated with the Tri-County News in Junction City during the years that both newspapers were owned by Mike and Sandy Thoele. When those papers were sold and later shut down in 2010, Pam became the general manager of a new weekly, the Fern Ridge Review, for the next three years.

A long-held dream of owning her hometown newspaper became real in 2013 when the Petersdorfs purchased the Fern Ridge Review, which covered news of Veneta and the countryside from Alvadore to Crow to Triangle Lake. A year and a half later, the couple also acquired the Tribune News, another weekly which covered Junction City, Harrisburg and Monroe.

They took the leap into ownership of two newspapers at a time in life when most folks are considering retirement, because Pam felt it was the only way to keep both papers from shutting down. When printing costs increased dramatically last year, she chose not to raise advertising prices or subscription rates, but to consolidate both papers.

And so with lots of help from her family, Pam lived her final chapter in life as a publisher while also living to celebrate her 70th birthday, a milestone that was important to her. The profound impact she had on people who worked for her or alongside her is evident. 



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