Obituary of Johnnie Bell Hamby
1/11/1942 – 10/3/2023
Johnnie Bell Hamby, of Eugene, Oregon passed away on October 3, 2023, at home with family, due to age related health issues. She was 81.
Johnnie was born on January 11, 1942 in Prairie Grove, Arkansas to Joseph (Buck) Noah Johnson and Emma Bell Johnson. She was the third of six children. Johnnie’s family moved to Oregon when she was 3 months old and she always considered herself an Oregonian.
Johnnie started school at Lorane Elementary, where she made many lifelong friends. She graduated from Crow High School in 1960. On October 7, 1960, she married her high school sweetheart, Rodney Hamby. They were married for 61 ½ years at the time of his passing. She enrolled in Lane Community College when it first opened and earned two Associates Degrees.
She was a secretary at Crow High School until 1974 when she and Rod started their logging business, WarHam Company Inc. She continued to be the bookkeeper for their company up until her passing.
Johnnie was always involved with her children’s school activities and continued to be involved with her grandchildren’s activities. She was at every athletic event and was one of their biggest fans. There was always a houseful of extras who are considered family to this day and she loved them as such and with all her heart.
In the late 1980’s, she encouraged Rod to follow his childhood dream of building an old west town. She supported him in the construction and operation of Saragosa Old West Recreational Park. She was the woman behind the man.
After she and Rod retired, they traveled across the United States several times visiting 47 of the 48 continental states plus Canada and Mexico. Her favorite way to plan and navigate their trips was with her trusty atlas and travel books.
Johnnie was an avid reader who said there was no such thing as “too many books”. She looked forward to March Madness each year and was not to be disturbed during that time. Her television viewing included the news, murder mysteries, and air disaster shows. She also enjoyed history and politics. And we all know which orange politician she had a particularly strong dislike for. She loved flowers, candy, sewing, coin collecting, scratch-off lottery tickets, Pepsi and her Virginia Slim menthol cigarettes. She and Rod made many trips to the casinos. Less than a week before her passing, she made a final trip to The Mill in Coos Bay for her last gambling “hoorah”. She was also a great listener who helped many people through some tough times. She never liked conflict or fighting and always recommended a better way for resolutions. Or she just told us to knock it off.
She is survived by her children, Yvette Hamby, Shawn Hamby and Brooke Troute (Michael Whitman), as well as 6 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren and 2 great great grandchildren and her brother, Rusty Johnson.
She is preceded in death by her husband Rod, her parents, brothers, Jerry, Jim, Randy and her sister, Carolyn Huggard.
Services will be held on Saturday, October 14th at 11:00 a.m. at West Lawn Memorial Park located at 225 S. Danebo Ave. in Eugene, followed by a reception at the Crow Grange. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Crow Grange or the Applegate Pioneer Museum in her memory.