On Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, we lost a longtime Cottage Grove resident, Charles “Wilbur” Heath, at the age of 93. 

Wilbur was born Sept. 27, 1928 in Cottage Grove to parents J. Addison and Mable (Wright) Heath. Wilbur lived his entire life in Cottage Grove, except for time studying Forestry at Oregon State University and serving in the United States Army during the Korean Conflict. When he returned home from the military he joined the family business, Heath Logging Company. 

In 1950 he married his high school sweetheart Catherine Getty and they celebrated 66 years together raising their two sons. Wilbur often joked that his long marriage was due to Catherine’s willingness for him to have a ”mistress.” In this case the “mistress” was his much-loved 1948 Aeronca Sedan airplane that he rebuilt and flew for many years until his last flight on his 90th birthday at the Cottage Grove airport. 

Wilbur was involved in many organizations. Locally he was active in the Elks Lodge, Oregon Aviation Historical Society, the Siuslaw Valley Bank, PeaceHealth Cottage Grove Medical Center and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church. Statewide he served as President of Associated Oregon Loggers, The Pacific Logging Congress and the 56th annual Oregon Logging Conference. In 1985, he received the Oregon Logger of the Year award. Wilbur is also well-known for his picture in the January 1991 issue of Life Magazine. He appeared with a spotted owl on his shoulder as part of the story entitled “Endangered Species - Owl and Logger.”  

Wilbur is survived by his son Charles “Craig” (Julie) Heath of West Linn, Ore.; younger brother Richard Heath; brother-in-law Milt Levings and two grandchildren Laura C. Heath and James C. Heath.

Wilbur was preceded in death by his wife Catherine in 2017, his son Jeffry Lynn Heath in 2017, brother Addison Heath Jr. and sister Cathy Levings. A celebration of life is planned after the holidays in January 2022. Donations in Wilbur’s honor may be made to Signature Hospice, Oregon Aviation Historical Society or PeaceHealth Cottage Grove Community Hospital. Arrangements in the care of Smith-Lund-Mills Funeral Chapel, Cottage Grove.

Link to past Chronicle article about Mr. Heath: www.chronicle1909.com/posts/2607