Ethel Rae Harris
July 5, 1926 - August 2, 2019
Ethel Rae Harris, age 93, formerly of Salem, OR, died peacefully Aug. 2, 2019, in Springfield, OR. Born July 5, 1926 at home in San Pedro, California, Ethel Rae was the first of two children of Walter and Pauline Malech.
Ethel Rae grew up in southern California during the Depression and World War II. As a youngster, she lived in San Pedro and Dinuba, close to her extended family.
From an early age, Ethel Rae was industrious. She picked grapes on her grandparents’ farm and packed figs and peaches. She excelled at school, and wrote for her high school paper. She graduated from Dinuba High and trained as a Cadet Nurse at Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco.
Ethel Rae met Milo, her future husband of 70 years, at a New Year’s Eve dance at the nursing school. They married six months later and moved to Walla Walla, where Milo attended college. They made many lifelong friends while living frugally in married student housing and working at various jobs. After graduation, they returned to the Bay Area. In the 1960s, they moved to Portland (Oregon) and then to Salem.
Domestic arts were Ethel Rae’s forte, and in particular, she was an expert seamstress. She sewed Mary Beth’s wedding dress and tailored Pendleton wool shirts. She also made hand-knit sweaters for family.
Ethel Rae’s hospitality and cooking were legendary. She often said that she had wanted to be a cook for a threshing crew. She welcomed and entertained relatives, friends, and neighbors at campsites, at Neskowin, and at their home.
Ethel Rae enjoyed square dancing, playing pinochle with friends, decoupage, oil painting, hiking, family beach and road trips, camping, outdoor cooking, and flower gardening. She liked being at Neskowin and gardening there.
Ethel Rae was a great and empathetic listener, always patient and helpful. She loved her family; she delighted in her grandchildren.
Ethel Rae was preceded in death by her husband, Milo; parents, Walt and Pauline; brother, Donald, and grandson, Ian. Survivors include children, Mary Beth Jacobson (Kraig) of Eugene, Dave (Lorna) of Salem, and Steve (Mollie) of Portland; six grandchildren; one great grandchild.
A graveside service will be held at City View Cemetery (Salem OR) at 1 pm Monday August 19, 2019.
Contributions may be made to First United Methodist Church (Salem) or Nestucca Valley Presbyterian Church (Pacific City).
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