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William Dale Prichard DVM

May 7, 1929 - April 4, 2019

     Dr. William Prichard, 4th generation Oregonian, veterinarian, farmer, father of 6 daughters.  Dr. William (Bill) Prichard, beloved father of six daughters, and devoted husband to Ellie Prichard (née Faltus), passed away on April 4th, 2019. He was at home, surrounded by family. 
     Bill left this world a month shy of his 90th birthday. To misquote the great Welsh bard, Dylan Thomas, Bill “did not go gentle into the good night.” Even at the age of 89, he never gave up. Despite battling Parkinson’s in later years, he maintained a vibrant, active lifestyle until the very end. Bill enjoyed boxing lessons, exercise class and weekly trips to the pool with his daughters and friends. He traveled with his wife to visit children and grandchildren and played with grandkids at the family’s Sunriver home. He took long walks, gloried in the beauty of flowers and trees, and eagerly spotted the great blue heron that frequented the creek in his backyard. He loved his farm on the banks of the Santiam. Whether it was working cattle, irrigating a field, patching a fence, or plowing a field, being outdoors made Bill happy. He also loved books, good conversation, clever repartee, and most of all, his wife and partner of 61 years, Ellie, their six daughters, 11 grandchildren and 6 son-in-laws.  
     Bill was born on May 7, 1929 at his parents’ home near Stayton, Oregon; he was a 4th generation Oregonian whose great-grandfather, great-grandmother and granddad (a babe at the time) traveled across the country on the Oregon Trail. Bill’s parents, Kora (née Lee) Prichard and William Jennings Prichard, farmed cattle, hay and corn on the Santiam River. The second of six children, Bill grew up with an unshakable sense of family and respect for the outdoors. He worked side-by-side in the corn fields and milk barns with his older brother Larry, and his younger siblings, Pete (Gail), Marge, Rob and Mike. During the Depression, he helped support the family by picking up hours at the local cannery while juggling school and farm chores. Bill was a talented athlete and loved sports, although his family commitments always came first. As a youth he sang, whistled, played string instruments, and perfected the latest steps at local dances—activities he’d enjoy the rest of his life. 
     Throughout his life, Bill exhibited a keen thirst for knowledge. He started 1st grade at age five at the one-room school-house at Weasel Flats where his aunt taught. Except for a few practical jokes, like hiding firecrackers in hand-drilled holes in the firewood destined for the school’s wood stove, he was an exemplary student. He was first of his family to go to college and attended Oregon State University. Money was tight. He lived in a small borrowed trailer with no heat or electricity; during breaks, he logged with his dad to pay for tuition and books. Bill’s first degree (OSU ’50) was in dairy manufacturing (he had a life-time love of ice cream).
     In 1951, Bill's education was interrupted by the Korean War. He’d enrolled in ROTC with the dream of being a pilot, but a SNAFU with his acceptance paperwork, which was one day late in arriving, resulted in him joining the Army.  He served in Korea in the 180th Infantry Regiment, APO 86 and received commendation for his service as platoon leader and executive officer. He enjoyed working with the South Korean forces, and spearheaded efforts to provide them with food, clothing and housing equal to the US troops. He arranged for the now defunct Crater Lake Creamery to send an ice cream machine to his base so he could mix the frozen concoction for his fellow soldiers—USA and Korean. Leaning on his outdoor skills, Bill was in charge of mountain-training a hand-picked Korean combatant team, which served with distinction. He was a leader who cared about his men. During an attack at Cheorwon he was wounded by a mortar strike. Despite his injuries, he kept moving—walking more than seven miles through the battle field to help the fallen. He received a Purple Heart for his service.  
     When Bill returned state-side, he put the G.I. Bill to use. He rethought his career choice and applied to Washington State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine. While earning his doctorate, he met Eleanor Ann Faltus at a school dance. Bill was so impressed with Ellie, he talked his way past the “dorm mother” at Ellie’s sorority in order to ask her out on a date. She accepted. Despite Ellie’s “city” background (her father, Otto, owned a car dealership in Ellensburg, WA), and Bill’s farming roots, the two had much in common—both cherished their families and wanted to start their own. They married in 1957, forming a union that would last until his death. 
     They had their first daughter, Pam, in Pullman, WA; Ellie had graduated with her B.A., and Bill finished his final year of veterinary school. Bill found work in Oregon with the federal department of veterinary services. The job meant a lot of driving to remote ranches where he’d vaccinate big herds against infectious diseases like brucellosis. He enjoyed good conversation with the old-time ranchers and farmhands. The family lived in Prineville for a time, where their second daughter, Nancy was born. 
     Ever thirsty for knowledge, Bill went on to attend the University of Wisconsin and earned an MA in Veterinary Epidemiology. Bill and Ellie’s third daughter, Ellen, was born in Madison. Upon graduation, Bill accepted a job with the USDA in Boise, Idaho. His work took him to remote parts of the US, Canada, and Mexico, focusing on the control and eradication of  diseases like brucellosis, hog cholera, and equine encephalitis. He enjoyed working with big animals, and jumped at the chance to inoculate reindeer in Alaska, buffalo in Canada and wild hogs in Georgia. In Mexico he worked with cattle and horse ranches so vast they straddled the US/Mexico borders. His 4th and 5th daughters, Lea Ann and Leslie were born in Boise.
     Frequently on the road, Bill spent his free time well. He exercised daily, explored local historic sites and scoured second-hand stores for old books. He started collecting historic tomes in high school--his eventual collection numbered in the thousands and the range of topics reflected his vast curiosity of the world. 
     Bill moved up in the federal hierarchy and accepted a position that took him and his family on 3-6-month stints in Silver Springs, Maryland (Washington D.C.), Atlanta, Georgia and Columbus, Ohio. Then the family moved to El Paso, Texas while Bill inoculated herds in the border states and Mexico. Bill and Ellie embraced this relatively itinerate lifestyle as an opportunity to introduce their children to all the culture and beauty the US had to offer. They crossed the country by car and visited nearly every tourist destination and historic site along the way. 
     In 1974, Bill accepted the job of the Federal Veterinarian in Charge of Oregon, and the family moved to Salem. He was thrilled to be back in Oregon, close to his parents and his beloved Santiam farmland. He and Ellie bought a house in Candelaria with a pool—a big step for a farm boy who had grown up land-poor. Although Bill had grown up doing farm work for exercise (he’d been an excellent athlete in high school), as a dad, he believed in letting his daughters balance work and play. He attended hundreds of swim meets, volleyball games, and tennis matches. Bill expected his daughters to help at the farm and around the house, but there was always time for swimming in the back yard, ski trips, hikes, and sitting around kitchen table with homemade cookies. His 6th daughter Paige was born in Salem. 
     Working the land was a source of joy for Bill. Whenever possible, he spent time on the family farm, plowing fields, digging fence posts, stringing barbwire, hauling hay and chasing cows. He loved working with old TD9 Cat—a machine he operated with considerable expertise. His daughters all learned to drive tractor and help with branding cattle. He always loved to watch things grow and had a garden—fresh produce and beautiful flowers thrived under his watch. His children and grandchildren never wanted for cherry tomatoes or homemade rhubarb pie in the summer. Bill’s green thumb was the envy and inspiration to multiple generations—but the bottom line was his willingness to work hard for good results. 
     Bill had a lifelong love of music. His grandfather and father played the violin, and Bill always had a violin, mandolin, and in later life, guitar on hand. He took guitar lessons in his 80s—the first formal music lessons he’d had time for. He could carry a tune and had a clear soft voice and passed on his appreciation of music to his daughters and grandchildren. 
     Bill was an early advocate of a healthy lifestyle. In the ‘70s he dried fruit and made his own energy bars.  He hiked the North Vancouver Trail in his 70s with his brother, Gail (Peter) Prichard, and skied until his 80th year. He took up tennis to please his wife, and even went rock and ice climbing to spend time with one of his daughters. He hiked, swam and snorkeled with his children and grandchildren. He loved being outdoors, and stewardship and appreciation of nature is one of the many legacies he left his grandchildren. 
     Bill also loved to bake. He brought home a sourdough starter a nun had given him in Boise and supplied his family with fresh bread for decades. One of his tactics in handling his half-dozen teenage daughters was to mix a batch of cookies, cinnamon rolls, or banana bread and time the baking with their weekend curfew. It was the odd occasion that they didn’t come home in time for warm homemade treats. Having grown up during the Depression, he hated to see food wasted—he could turn almost any leftover into bread or baked goods. And early on, he took over weekend breakfasts—there was never a Saturday or Sunday morning without homemade pancakes, French toast and fried eggs.  
     Bill and Ellie enjoyed many trips around the world with other family members and friends. They traveled together through Europe, Australia, Canada and Mexico. They rode camels in Morocco, horses in Banff National Park, browsed bazaars in Turkey, and traced family history in Wales and Germany. Bill had an inquisitive mind, compassionate nature and humble friendliness that enabled him to make friends anywhere in the world. He never forgot to bring small gifts home for his girls, from handmade pottery to bags of peanuts from the flight. He picked up wood working and made stools for each of his daughters and grandchildren.
     Bill retired at 60 and focused full time on the family farm, raising cattle for many years. In his mid-60s, Bill was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but lived an active lifestyle, exercising almost daily whether it was walking, swimming or working out. In his 70’s and 80s, Bill retained a keen interest in the world. He skied, hiked, planted gardens,  snorkeled in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, toured New Zealand, and drank mai tais while enjoying the Hawaiian sunset. In the past several years of his life,  Bill became active in the Northwest Rehabilitation Associates exercise classes for Parkinson’s, becoming a much loved member of this courageous and compassionate group. He participated in the local Undefeated by Parkinson’s boxing classes where he appreciated and contributed to the comradery. But most
of all, he took great interest and joy in his family. He was a loving husband, wise and gentle father, and involved grandfather who attended more sporting events, recitals, and recreational activities than most parents. He was greatly loved and is greatly missed. 
     Bill is survived by his wife of 61 years, Eleanor Faltus Prichard, his daughters, Pam Prichard; Dr. Nancy Bouchard, Ellen McMillan, LeaAnn Morrow, Leslie Kerr, and Paige Townsend, and son-in-laws, John Gant, Dr. John Bouchard, John Gant, Dan McMillan, Kraig Kerr, Mark Morrow and Paul Townsend. And by his grandchildren, Lili, Alice and Cora Bouchard, Aidan and Kincaid McMillan, Ross and Rachel Morrow, McKenzie and Brendan Kerr, and Parker and Finley Townsend. And by his sister Marge Philips, brother Pete (Gail) Prichard, and brother Rob Prichard. And by his exchange student daughters Cristina Barbieri, Kathy Knapsey, Jutta Zorb. He was preceded in death by his brothers, Larry and Mike Prichard. 

A Celebration of life will be at 1:00 pm Saturday, May 4th, at the Unitarian Universalist Church 5090 Center St NE.

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Guest Book Entries

I am sorry to hear of Bill's passing. I remember him as a kind man who loved his wife and daughters and the farm. My daughter, Catherine, was a good buddy of Paige's and I heard wonderful stories of Bill's baking. My heart is with all of you.

My deepest sympathies at the loss of your husband, dad, grand dad, brother. Dr. Pritchard hired me in 1985 to work for him at Veterinary Services. He was one of the best bosses I had. A true gentleman, strong leader and teacher. I'm glad to have known him. I trust your wonderful memories will comfort you in his absence.

We express our love & support to you & all your special family at this time of loss of dear, kindly, "Bill". His absence will be deeply felt. Your entire family holds such a special place in our hearts for the dear friendship we have with you. 
May you have a sweet day as you hold his tribute on the 4th.


You have such a big hole to face now, and my heart goes out to you all. The last days do sound perfect though – perhaps there was no better way to spend his last days than with the family he created with Ellie. Bill was very much one of the humans in the world I admired and love above most others. His gentleness and compassion were truly life changing for me. Much love to you, and in time, solace for having had him play such a big role in all your lives.

I just want to send you a big hug. I can imagine how hard it is for you and your family. Bill was such a great person, sensitive and strong, but also sweet and calm. I think he was the Husband, Father and GrandPa that everyone would have dreamed of. I feel really lucky to have had the privilege to know him. I'm not religious but I like to think about the people we loved and are not anymore with us as bright lights that guide our life's pathway. Bill will have a special place in my heart.
Lots of love,
Giulia Saccamanno

I am so sorry to hear about Bill's passing, but glad that his body can rest. Thank you for letting me know. Please pass on our condolences to the rest of your family. It was always a joy to work with him.
Brady Whetten, PT, DPT, GCS

I wish I could be with you all, I'm there with you with my thought and with my heart . As I told you  I have always had a special feeling with dad. I have always got along with him so well, he has always been for me a very special person.

I am so sorry to hear this news and am sending the whole family my sincerest condolences. So many fond memories from years ago.

Growing up on Alvarado Terrace, so far away from our extended family in Minnesota, I always felt like your family were like surrogate aunt/uncle/cousins and over the years your friendship meant so much to all of the Theodorsons. Mr Prichard was an amazing person--what a remarkable life!  A good and generous man who helped me learn how to sing to cows and find a quiet balance in a sometimes chaotic childhood.  I feel so lucky to have known him. 
Laura Theodorson

Bill was a faithful member of the exercise and support group for Parkinson's. He was so sweet and nice to all. He will be missed.  I enjoyed his wit and quiet sense of humor.  Please accept sympathy on your loss.  A donation of $25 in his name was made to the OHSU Parkinson Center. The service for Bill was wonderful! I left inspired by his example. What a beautiful family is left to carry on his work ethic and life. 
Andrea (and Scott) Walker

I am so sorry. I feel with you and send you strength and consolation. Dad was a very special person. I remember the days when he baked bread. And I had been sitting in the kitchen talking with him or we just stayed silent. You could stay connected with him without talking and feel his attention on you and his love.  I am very very sad. He was so important for me. He was a great father.  I have learned aspects which I didn’t have with my dad. He was very important for my development. I am so glad I visited last summer and that we had a such good time together and am grateful I had some time with him. I hope you find strength and comfort from all your family and friends.
Jutta Zorb-Arnoldi