(click on Nancy’s name below to see Pat’s memories newspaper article)
March 13, 1943 ‐ September 1, 2019
Nancy Gene Seales O’Hearn passed away at the SouthTowne Rehabilitation Care Center in Eugene on August 31, 2019. She was born on March 13, 1943, in Eugene, Oregon, to Welmer and Roseine Dockter Seales. At the time of her birth, she had an older brother, Jerry Wayne Seales. The following year, a younger sister, Bonnie Kay Seales, was born, but Bonnie only lived to the age of 4.
Nancy’s family on both sides were early settlers, going back 5 generations in the Lorane, Oregon area. Her paternal great-great grandfather, Nathan G. Coleman, and his wife, Mary Henry Coleman, brought their family of 6 children from Missouri to Oregon on September 22, 1853, and acquired a 320-acre donation land claim in the Siuslaw Valley (later Lorane, Oregon) on July 11, 1854.
Her maternal great-great grandfather, John Sutherland, and his wife Nancy, arrived in the Lorane area sometime before 1907 and built a home located on Lorane Highway, north of the current Gillespie Corners. Their daughter, Nancy Eleanor Sutherland, married Leven Jackson Henderson who settled in Lorane in 1910 where he established a blacksmith shop across from the Methodist Church.
After the divorce of their parents, Nancy and Jerry, gained two half-sisters, Michelle Rene Leonard and Cathleen Jane Seales.
Nancy married at the age of 18 to Thomas Edward Ballinger, but the marriage ended in divorce six years later. At the time, she was living in Humboldt County, California.
In 1973, she married Edward “Mike” O’Hearn in Arcata, California and they moved to Lorane, Oregon to be close to her father and the ancestral home that still stands on the Nathan Coleman donation land claim.
Nancy and Mike became involved in Lorane community events and lived for a while in the rented “Philson house” located on the corner of Territorial and Ham Roads. A few years later, they bought a small home in “downtown” Lorane, just down the hill from the current Lorane Fire Department.
The O’Hearns had no children of their own, but Nancy became “Aunt Nancy” to many of the children of Lorane. She loved being surrounded by them and provided childcare for many.
In 1977, Nancy went to work at the Lorane Family Store that Jim and Pat Edwards had just purchased from the Mitchell family. She worked there for almost 20 years, during which time she and Pat became close personal friends. In the early 1980s they began researching their family histories with another friend, Marna Hing. Soon their interest turned to the history of their town of Lorane, and after 3 years of research, Pat, Nancy and Marna produced a book called Sawdust and Cider: A History of Lorane, Oregon and the Siuslaw Valley, which is still being used today as a reference for the area. Nancy took a great deal of pride in their accomplishment.
Nancy’s husband, Mike O’Hearn died in 1983 and in March 1994, as a single widow, Nancy adopted a daughter, Heidi Kay.
Nancy is survived by her daughter, Heidi O’Hearn Morrison, three grandsons, Lance, Zane and Ryan, her brother, Jerry, half-sisters, Michelle Rene Leonard and Cathie Seales Rash, and niece Allyson Seales Honeycutt.
Nancy would also want to list the members of her “adopted” Lorane family whom she lived with for the last years of her life, too. They are Gary and Kathy Warden, Paula Warden May and Jeramie Warden as well as countless Lorane children who called her “Aunt Nancy” through the years and still feel her love.
Nancy’s Celebration of Life was held Saturday, September 14, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. at the Lorane Grange.