E Loftin, Jr.
Sept 12, 1946 - Dec 4, 2009
December 10, 2009
Robert E. Loftin, Jr.
Robert (Bob) E. Loftin, Jr. passed away in Gresham, Oregon on December
4, 2009 from complications of esophageal cancer. He was born September
12, 1946 in The Dalles, Oregon to Robert E. Loftin, Sr. and his wonderful
Mother, Ruth. After spending their early years in The Dalles, Bob and
sister, Lugene lived in North Dakota for several years while their father
worked construction. The Dalles Dam project brought them back to Oregon.
Bob graduated from high school in 1964 and immediately joined the Navy
as his father had done before him and served during the Vietnam War,
operating a landing craft for the Marines when they hit the beach in
Danang in 1965. He was a machinist mate on the USS Worden, (DLG-18),
a cruiser, destroyer and traveled to Japan several times. Following
the Navy, Bob attended Blue Mountain College and was a member of the
rodeo team where he made many life long friends. There he met and married
Jean Hovden. Together they became the proud parents of Shal Marie and
Bob entered the plumber apprenticeship program and soon became a journeyman
plumber. Although he professed to not like formal school, when he was
on the job, he could read building plans with the best, do trig off
sets in his head and was often asked to be the foreman. He worked on
many of the major construction jobs in Portland and traveled to Alaska
in the 70s to work on the pipeline. He became a master welder and not
only welded on the pipeline but spent many hours grinding and x-raying
welds to ensure they were flawless. He often said he could weld the
crack of dawn or a broken heart. He was a strong member of Local 290,
believed in unions and the trades, becoming a welding instructor at
the apprenticeship school in Portland.
A man of many talents, Bob was a Pop Warner and Junior football coach,
helping to create championship teams in both Portland and The Dalles.
He modeled his coaching style after his high school coach, Keith Tucker,
who was an important influence in his life. He was also line and defense
coach for the local Coyote football team.
He was a bull rider and team roper in his prime, winning several rodeos
on his big roan, "Lumpy". He was a rodeo judge, pick up man
and an accomplished rodeo announcer, which he often did from horseback
with a hand held mike. Bob earned his first horse in high school by
catching a colt at the PI in Portland during an FFA gathering. While
his friends were hanging out, Bob was with his horse at Lon London's
learning everything he could from an old cowboy. He worked as a kid
at the auction yard. He loved the cowboy life and was in his element
when invited to a cattle drive or branding.
He was an avid golfer, enjoying many days on the golf course with his
father until May 12, 2003, when R.E. passed away. He loved to hunt big
game, traveling often to Buckhorn Lookout in Hells Canyon and organizing
hunting groups made up of friends from all over Oregon. He loved all
manner of fishing and caught his last Salmon, a 40 pound Chinook, this
Bob became an auctioneer, donating his services frequently for charity
events. He was glib and sharp witted, a cowboy poet and a skilled raconteur
of the first order. After he retired, Bob spent part of his time in
Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica where he loved to surf fish and meet new people.
He was preceded in death by his father, Robert E. Loftin, Sr. He is
survived by his mother, Ruth, sister Lugene, her daughters, Heidi and
Holly Parrish, his daughter Shal and her husband Roger, their son Jordan
Loftin and his other daughter Tara, and her husband Travis and their
A memorial gathering will be held January 31st, 2010 at 2 p.m. in the
Civic Auditorium Fireside Room. It will be a time when all who knew
Bob and his many sides can come together to share stories, view pictures
and remember a man who lived like a streaking comet, touching a lot
of life and a lot of people.
The Dalles Chronicle