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Royal D. Tarter

September 1, 1931 - May 31, 2019

Royal D. Tarter passed away peacefully on May 31st at a local care facility.  He was born on a homestead near Willamina, Oregon, as the youngest of seven children. Royal graduated from Amity High School in 1949, where he played football, basketball, and baseball. He was a leader in student government and FFA. He graduated from Oregon State University in 1953 with a BS degree in Crop Sciences. While there he was involved in many activities including the Student Senate and intramural sports. He was in Phi Kappa Phi and Blue Key honorary societies.
Royal married his high school sweetheart, Phyllis Davis Meeker, on September 6, 1952. He and Phyllis had three children, Teresa, Diane, and Mary Anne. From 1954 through 1956 he served in the Air Force as a Personnel Officer.
After his discharge, the family moved to Salem, where Royal was employed by Meeker Fertilizer Company for 40 years. He moved up in the organization, ultimately buying the company with a business partner. They ran the company until he retired in 1996. He was the president of several statewide agricultural associations and on the Marion County Extension Board from 1982 to 1991.
Royal was a member of Morningside United Methodist Church for 60 years, serving in many capacities. Notably, he chaired the Finance Committee for years, served as lay leader, and led the effort to establish the Church Foundation. He was President of the Willamette Council of Camp Fire from 1973–78 and was instrumental in making major renovations at their camp, Camp Killowan. He was an avid bowler, and spent several years as President of the Oregon Bowling Association. He also served on the American Bowling Association National Board.  He volunteered at the Oregon AgFest festival for many years, and volunteered to prune roses at the Bush House rose gardens for years. In his free time he enjoyed gardening, hunting, and fishing.
Royal was preceded in death by his parents, Dorothy and Stephen, his siblings Napoleon, Norman, Francis, Elmer, Ralph, and Patricia, and his daughter Mary Anne.
He is survived by his wife Phyllis, daughters Teresa, (Matt), Diane, (Mary Anne’s husband David), and grandchildren Elizabeth, Lauren, and Miles, as well as many nieces, nephews, and extended family members.
His family would like to thank the staff of the Memory Care Unit at Bonaventure of Salem for the compassionate care provided to Royal during his last months of life.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, June 29, 2019 at Morningside United Methodist Church, 3674 12th St. SE, Salem OR, 97302. Private interment is scheduled at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Morningside United Methodist Church or a charity of your choice.

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Guest Book Entries

Royal was my father-in-law for 15 years and it is without reservation that I say he was about the best father-in-law a person could have. He was known and respected for his honesty, integrity of character, and his calm and quiet-spoken demeanor. He also had a subtle sense of humor, that would come forth in surprising ways. His involvement in church, agribusiness, bowling, and Campfire shows his commitment to community involvement and service. He truly did his part to make Salem, Oregon, and the world a little better, and we are better off because of his life and presence among us. My love to everyone.
Craig Pesti-Strobel

My memories of Royal are during family gatherings at the homes of Frank and Phil Meeker and visiting him at the Meeker Fertilizer plant, both the old one on the railroad tracks in downtown Salem and the one built later, where he worked with my grandfather Frank. Extending my thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.

 What a joy it was on September 6, 1987, to be greeted by Royal and  Phyllis at our wedding—when it was their own anniversary. It was always a  delight to know we were sharing a date with him. 

—Melinda and Brett Strobel

Royal lived a full, loving, wonderful life! He was such a kind, sweet man. He will be missed by many. 

Royal played a huge part in the lives of our family.  He was my business partner and mentor. He was a steady and guiding light in difficult times. He was a close and personal friend for 60 years of fishing, camping, hunting and family affairs.  His common sense approach to life and kind demeanor made everyone around him comfortable.  Royal was also the quiet competitor, going about his business in a way most of us wish we could achieve. Needless to say, we think of him often and we will miss his dry sense of humor, his clear thinking and most of all the comradery of 65 years of a loving relationship. Carolyn and I, and our family wish to add our thoughts to the celebration of the life of a kind and good man. 

I am eternally grateful for my sons to have had Royal as their hunting and fishing partner through the years. We are all blessed to have had him pass through our lives. Love and prayers for you Phyllis.

Royal Dean Tarter was the kindest, toughest, sweetest man I have ever known.  Throughout his life he rose to the top of every organization in which he was involved. We met at the time he met my sister Phyllis when they were Freshman and I a Junior at Amity High School the fall of 1944. We worked together as teenagers building a warehouse deck near Rickreall; we hunted and fished together over the 74 years of our friendship.  On those occasions when He and my brother Tony and I were fishing together, Royal would be landing a large trout while Tony and I were still attempting to get the worm on its hook into the water.  In all those years I never saw him angry.  He was a master at the oblique off-hand disarming comment, and was a friend to and supporter of all.  Bettie and I are missing him daily.

As I told Ken, Royal was one of the few people that left the earth better off, I was honored to have known him.

My prayers go out to Phyllis who shared wonderful love with Royal. Their love was quite obvious during the times we spent together. I am not very good at describing my feelings for Royal but after recently losing Joan, I pray for Phyllis since a lifetime together is never enough I know your love will always continue.

I remember my Uncle Royal as a kind, gentle, and thoughtful man. I remember his dry wit and always enjoyed him at our family gatherings. Sending Love and care to all his family, Jodi DeRaeve Dooley

I have very fond memories of my mom’s youngest brother, ‘Uncle Royal.’ He was kind, with a gentle demeanor, and always interesting to visit with. My heartfelt sympathy to his family... Chris Morris (niece)

Royal was a steady presence in our extended family, and like another brother to me. During college summers I worked at the Meeker Fertilizer plant and lived with Royal and Phyllis (my sister) and my nieces Teresa, Diane and Mary Anne. Mealtimes were always punctuated with Royal’s clever, mischievous sense of humor, and his wry comments which were sometimes missed, but always worth catching. Rarely could he be pressed into repeating those comments, and I always felt I had missed something important. 
In all the years I knew him, I don’t remember hearing him say an unkind word about someone. Royal was respected in the business community, the bowling community, the Campfire organization, his church family; respected and admired by everyone whose lives he touched. He will be greatly missed.

So nice to recall the time I spent with Royal but like many others I didn't get enough of it and miss him dearly.

He was a wonderful man, and uncle, so gentle, kindhearted and sincere.  He had a very fun side and a great dry sense of humor. I always loved talking to him because I felt like he truly listened, and enjoyed what I had to say. We were usually laughing about something. And that laugh, it was so great and  it reminded me of Mom.  I'm sad to see the last of Mom's siblings pass, he will be missed.  Sending love and prayers to Phyllis, Teresa, and Dia

Being on the east coast, I wasn't around Royal a lot, but I always liked him. I remember him from trips out west when I was a younger person and the occasional times when he and Phyllis would come by to see Mom (Wilma). One of the last times I think saw him was when he came east on a bowling trip. I will miss him being in the world. My sympathies to Phyllis, Teresa, and Diane.

Our heartfelt condolences, 
Mark Davis Newport and family,
Grandson of Grant Davis
Springfield, Missouri