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Memories of Nancy

(click on Nancy’s name below to see Pat’s memories newspaper article)

Nancy Seales O’Hearn

March 13, 1943 ‐ September 1, 2019


Nancy O'Hearn

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.

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Always and Forever

by Pat Edwards

In 1987. I submitted an entry in a contest called “Always and Forever” (the name of country singer, Randy Travis’, new album) sponsored by KUGN-FM radio in Eugene. My letter was chosen as the winner and Jim and I were treated to a wonderful evening at the Hult Center, meeting and visiting with Randy Travis in person on his tour bus for about 20 minutes. At the time, he presented me with a beautiful handcrafted gold necklace with an open umbrella as its pendant. A tiny diamond raindrop dangled from one of the spines of the umbrella and I wore that necklace for years afterwards.

This was my winning entry:

On Thanksgiving Day, 1983, the doctor entered my hospital room, looked at my husband Jim and me, and said something like this:

“‘The results of your ultrasound and other tests reveal that you have a large tumor on your left kidney, and after some further testing we must remove the whole kidney in two days time… There’s an 80% chance that the tumor is malignant… If it is encapsulated within the kidney itself, it can be treated. If not…’

I had been running a steady fever for seven days following a previous surgery, which had alerted the doctors that something else was wrong. That night, my temperature escalated to the point where the whole night was a hazy blur.

What I remember most about that night, was the presence of Jim beside my bed – always there when my parched mouth and throat needed a sip of water, or when the cold cloth on my forehead had turned warm and needed to be rinsed out once again. Those gnarled, calloused hands that built fences, roped cows, worked on engines, drove tractors and hauled merchandise for our store with a rugged strength, were as gentle as a baby’s as he ministered to my needs.

He stayed that night until the fever broke and I drifted into an exhausted sleep.

Each of the next two evenings before the scheduled surgery, he was in my room with a smile on his face and cards and flowers in his hands from people in the little community of Lorane where we lived. When he was with me, he never revealed the strain that I knew he was under. This was quite a feat in itself. This man that I had been married to for over 20 years was highly charged with nervous energy and was normally a very tense individual. I learned later from friends that away from the hospital he was considered a basket-case. But, he was always calm when he came to see me.

I credit a lot of the peace that I felt within myself those days before the surgery to the fact that I had always been blessed with the love of a good man and a family of whom I was very proud. I was ready and willing to accept whatever was to come my way, and Jim was there to support me.

It was Jim’s voice that I first heard through the fog of anesthesia that morning following the surgery… ‘It’s okay… It’s all right…The tumor was benign!’

The love has always been there – sometimes hidden by misunderstandings or selfishness on the parts of one or the other of us, but it is there. That love and support has given me the courage to not only face the possibility of death, but to realize that each of us must try to do something beneficial with our lives – to make each day count – Always and Forever.