Wilbur Metteer, 90, was born in The Dalles, Oregon. His family moved to Fossil, Oregon when he was a baby. In 1945 they moved to Camp Creek near Springfield, Oregon. He told of their dog who moved with them but disappeared from Camp Creek and returned all the way back to Fossil over 200 miles away. Wilbur loved Camp Creek and remained there until his wife Melba took ill in 2016 when they moved to Salem to be closer to family care.
Growing up in Fossil, Wilbur went to school and worked on a dairy farm and then on a ranch where there were miles of wheat fields to work. He recalled having 15 to 20 horses on a combine and sometimes they didn’t even make one full circle of a field in a day. He played sports there and his team won the state football championship when he was a freshman. There were 54 kids in his high school - 11 boys and 43 girls. He and some side-kicks climbed the light poles in town on Halloween and unscrewed the light bulbs, but got caught by the sheriff who made them climb back up and put them in again. He decided he preferred being on the right side of the law.
At 15, he did not return to Fossil with his parents and continued school at Springfield High. He lived with neighbors working on their farms for room and board. He first saw Melba Swearingen riding her horse, but they officially met on the school bus and married after high school. He lettered in track and boxing. He continued to meet up with his fellow SHS alum once a month for lunch.
Wilbur was a proud man and loved his work. He was hesitant to retire. His first paying job at 6 years old was driving a derrick horse for 10 cents an hour (it dragged hay from the field). From there his work career included breaking horses, hoeing and harvesting mint, driving school bus, working 25 years in the woods for Weyerhaeuser where he did choker setting, high climbing, and operating heavy equipment. He also worked on Melba’s parents’ cattle and timber ranch. After the kids were grown and gone, he drove truck for highway construction until he retired.
Wilbur was a loving and fun brother, friend, husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. Family meant everything to him. His 4 kids smile at their family memories of camping, fishing and road trips singing silly songs and Christian hymns in the crowded car. He never owned a station wagon as they weren’t sporty enough. He was there for every birth and wedding. He loved holding the babies. All who knew him admired his attitude, generosity, faith, and his love for life. He lent a helping hand to anyone who needed it along the way and saved his family millions because of his ability to make and fix anything. He was a life time member and former captain of the Lane County Mounted Sherriff’s Posse and a member and former president of the Oregon Association of Mounted Posses Inc., as well as a member of The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. He supported veteran and law enforcement causes, State and National Parks, cancer research, Red Cross, the Lupus Foundation, and Dornbecker Childrens’ Hospital.
He dealt with every "speed bump"in life head on, including his health problems. His doctor recently talked to him about the issues with his heart, lungs, cancer, urinary and vascular surgeries, his stroke and blood thinning medications. He laughed and said, “other than all that, I’m in really good shape”! He lived independently, not struggling with pain or illness, with his sense of humor and sharp mind, doing the things he loved, right up until his final days on this earth. Believe it or not, that included driving his bright red Ford F150, hunting, fishing, sewing quilts, reading, tv westerns and sports, computer puzzles and games, cooking, gardening and enjoying his family.
Wilbur was preceded in death by: his parents Charles Metteer and Mabel (Temple) Metteer/Mote and stepfather Edward Mote; his granddaughter Melanie Metteer (who died as an infant); his sister Marian (Metteer) Reuss and brother Gordon Dee Metteer; and his loving wife for 67 years, Melba (Swearingen) Metteer.
He is survived by: his 4 children- Lorraine (Metteer) Davidson, Terry Metteer, Corky Metteer, and Arthur Metteer; his 12 grandchildren- Terry Jr., Caleb, Russ, Benjamin, Jessica, Amanda, Samuel, Melissa, Joseph, Leanna, and Adam; his 16 great grandchildren- Tyler, Isabel, Jillian, Alexander, Cristian, Lucas, Ivy, Amelia, Alexis, Bo, Jacob, Karizma, Josie, Greta, Calvin, Violet, and his two step great grandchildren Zoe and Penelope. He would also want to list the names of his “kid in laws”: Randy, Suzanne, Nancy, Cheryl, Lizbeth, Elizabeth, Doug, Sal, Lisa, Chasse, Orian, and Ashley. Wilbur is also survived by: his brothers and sisters- Evelyn (Metteer) Davis, Donald Metteer, Virginia (Mote) Copeland, Patricia (Mote) Wolfe, Clint Mote, and Roy Mote (along with their spouses Nelson Wolfe and Judy Mote).
A 2 p.m. service memorial for Wilbur will be held Saturday December 14th, 2019 at the Camp Creek Church Community Hall (37529 Upper Camp Creek Rd in Springfield, Or 97478), with Pastor Craig Curtis officiating.
Guest Book Entries
My heart felt condolences to all the Metteers who will miss Poppy greatly. For sure one of the best man I've met. Respectfully, Lizbeth