Jon B. Orcutt passed away December 15, 2020, at the age 88, rejoining his wife, Lorraine, who left our family a mere five weeks earlier.
Jon was born February 9, 1932, to Dessie Ochsner Orcutt and Bruce Orcutt in Sioux City, Iowa. His early life was spent on the family’s ranch south of Miles City, Montana, with his three sisters, Marilyn, Carolyn and Rebecca.
When Jon was 20, Lorraine Young came to work at the Orcutt ranch, and they were married soon after on January 19, 1953. Their love for each other, humor, and steadfast helpful natures built a lasting bond and partnership that lasted nearly 68 years.
To support his young family, Jon built dams and roads for neighboring ranchers, then moved to Bozeman to attend Montana State University to pursue a career in civil engineering. Hired by Washington State Department of Transportation, the family moved to Bellingham in 1963 and then transferred to Seattle, where he spent the rest of his career.
After retiring, Jon and Lorraine returned to his love of ranching life, settling in Chehalis at their beloved River Ranch for the next 25 years. Admired and respected for his ingenuity, attention to detail, and singlehanded resourcefulness, Jon built a shop, arena, corrals, a chicken house – tirelessly improving the property every day. Always ready to help, he had a natural generosity, repairing and fixing things wherever he was.
Family was central to his life. Family time included annual trips camping, fishing, hunting, visiting National Parks, and many, many museums. He loved sharing stories of the fortitude of pioneers’ and the resourcefulness and wisdom the Native Americans of the Old West. He always prioritized his children and grandchildren and loved spending time with them, whether it was singing and playing the guitar, traveling, storytelling, horseback riding or ranch chores.
His stories and memories always reflected his youth as a rancher, skills as a cowboy, and his love of observing animals and nature. Stories told about horses, cattle, dogs, cats, and coyotes taught how each animal and human is unique and deserves respect, kindness, and compassion. He modeled true inner strength with his quiet, confident, competent, patient, and humble manners.
He will be dearly missed by all who knew him, but his spirit, his life lessons, and his love continue to live in the hearts of all he touched.
He is survived by his sister, Rebecca Leibinger; daughters, Nancy, Janice and Sharyn; grandchildren, Claire, Victoria, Elliot and Adam, and their families, including great-grandchildren, Jacey, Jagger and Anya; as well other dear family members on the Orcutt, Ochsner, and Young sides of the family.
In honor of his life and his respect for Native Americans, we invite you to consider a donation to the “Bear Raven Native American Spiritual and Cultural Center”. Please make checks payable to Roy Wilson, PO Box 1138, Napavine, WA 98565. Roy is a special friend of our family and has worked locally and nationally as a Cowlitz Spiritual Leader and Honorary Chief to teach the commonalities among religions and bring understanding and harmony among people from all backgrounds.
Please share your memories and photos of Jon on the Tribute Wall to the left.