Pat Edwards has lived in the community of Lorane, Oregon since 1966 when she and her husband Jim and their daughter, Gloria, moved into what was known then as “the Runk place” located on Lorane Highway. That year, their son Rob was born and eventually Michele and Kelly showed up on the scene. She and Jim both became active in Lorane community affairs as soon as Gloria entered kindergarten. Jim served on the Crow-Applegate-Lorane school board for over 10 years and Pat became the Community Coordinator for 4-H, organizing a network of local 4-H clubs.
She began writing a small community newsletter that she called “Pat’s People” during those early years and distributed it free through the Mitchell Store and the Lorane Elementary School. The school allowed her to print it on the old purple-ink mimeograph machine that they used to print out their own notices.
In December 1977, Jim and Pat bought the Mitchell Store from the family that had owned it for 43 years and made it their own, calling it the Lorane Family Store. It has lived up to its name numerable times over the years. All of the Edwards children and grandchildren have worked there at various times in their lives to earn money for college, mainly. In addition, many of the wonderful people who have worked for them over the years also brought in their own daughters, usually, to work there. It has become a true family tradition.
Pat managed the Lorane Family Store for the first eight years while Jim worked as manager for various Mayfair Markets in the area. During that time, Pat and two of their earliest staff members, Nancy O’Hearn and Marna Hing, who also became good friends, began researching their own family histories. They soon were comparing notes on the research methods they were using and the information they were finding. Soon their interest in family history began morphing into interest in their community history. When they learned that the town of Lorane would become 100 years old in 1987– a few years away – they began to seriously research its history in hopes of publishing a book on that history in time for a centennial celebration.
After three years spent interviewing the “old-timers” in the area, spending untold hours browsing through white-on-black microfiche reels, reading innumerable history books and writing dozens of letters of inquiry, they were able to put together the book that they dreamed of. They called it Sawdust and Cider; A History of Lorane, Oregon and the Siuslaw Valley.
The three-day Lorane Centennial Celebration did take place in 1987, thanks to the hard work of many local volunteers and the book sold rapidly. In 2006, so many changes had come to the community that Pat decided to do a major revision of the first book, adding over 100 pages and about that many old pictures, calling it From Sawdust and Cider to Wine.
By 1988, Mayfair Markets had sold their Oregon stores and Jim went to work for Veneta Thriftway for awhile, but his heart was really in Lorane, so he decided to take over the reins at the store. Pat likes to joke that he demoted her to janitor when he took over, so she went out and found her own job… actually, it was no joke.
In 1989, Pat was first hired as the secretary for the Institute of Neuroscience at the University of Oregon, but after the first couple of years, she was asked to be an administrative coordinator for a group of five scientists in the ION who worked on the developmental biology and genetics of a small aquarium fish called the zebrafish. It had first been cloned at the UO a few years earlier by Dr. George Streisinger and by the time Pat came on board, the zebrafish was becoming one of the hottest research models in labs throughout the world. Pat’s main job was to help put together research grants for the Ph.D. scientists, Charles Kimmel, James Weston, John Postlethwait, Monte Westerfield and Judith Eisen. Soon, Dr. Westerfield was having her help him write and publish the huge manual for the use of zebrafish researchers called The Zebrafish Book. It became their research bible. She also set up a communications network that allowed international discussion and dissemination of information between the scientists in the rapidly-growing number of labs all over the world.
While Pat was working at the UO, she was still actively taking part in Lorane affairs. In 1993, she began writing a larger, nicer version of “Pat’s People” and called it “The Lorane Historian.” The last issue was published in 1997.
Pat retired from the UO in 2004 in hopes of beginning a quieter life of gardening, horseback riding, and spending time with her family… but that didn’t last long. In 2008, she and three others – Jennifer Chambers, Pat Broome and her brother, Jim Burnett, Sr. – took over the publication of Groundwaters magazine that had been started in 2004 by Judy and Sonny Hays-Eberts. Pat became the Managing Editor of the quarterly literary journal. It featured the talent of local writers and poets and was distributed free throughout Lane County, Oregon in libraries, organizations and businesses, and beyond through subscriptions. Because of the prohibitive costs of printing, the quarterly issues were discontinued on January 2015, but annual issues, published in October of each year as paperback books, are continuing.
Currently, Pat also writes a column for two small Lane County weeklies, the Fern Ridge Review and the Creswell Chronicle.
In the past decade, Pat has prepared and self-published her own books, personal memoirs and albums. Through her work with Groundwaters, she and Jennifer Chambers began preparing and publishing books on-line for others. In addition, they produced and published seven books of writing and artwork as part of their grant-funded school outreach program at the Veneta Elementary School.
Most recently, Pat has worked with author Jo-Brew, a past contributor of Groundwaters, for over two years on two books on the history of U.S. Highway 99. She served as editor and collaborator for Jo on the first book entitled OREGON’S MAIN STREET: U.S. Highway 99 “The Stories.” For the second one, OREGON’S MAIN STREET: U.S. Highway 99 “The Folk History,” she took the lead as co-author and added more research to its historical content.
More important, by far, than any of this is my family!! I’d like you to meet them…
(left to right: son, Rob Edwards; daughter, Stacey Vaughn; husband Jim; Pat; daughter, Kelly Edwards Fontaine; daughter, Michele Edwards Kau; and daughter, Gloria Edwards)
Oh! and I’m not done… there are grandkids galore (sorry… the following is a rather old photo. Natalie, the babe-in-arms is now 11 years old.)
And, our latest addition… Miss Harper Lorane Furlong!!