Dec. 21, 1931 — July 3, 2012
Thomas E. Bedell was born to H. Erwin and Muriel C. Bedell on Dec. 21, 1931, in Santa Cruz, Calif.
He lived on a small poultry farm, and was steeped in the value of education and work, and the pursuit of an agricultural and natural resources career. Tom finished high school in 1949 in Santa Cruz, was active in Future Farmers of America, and in 1953 graduated in animal husbandry from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.
He married Joan Brown and was drafted into the U.S. Army, serving in Korea in 1954 and 1955 while Joan attended University of California — Berkeley. Tom returned to university, where he received a master of science degree in range management, and Joan and brother Norman received their bachelor’s degrees at the same time. First daughter Shelley was born in 1956 in Berkeley.
Tom’s Extension Service career began in California, where he was a farm advisor. Two more daughters, Kristin and Robin, were born before Tom left California for a doctorate at Oregon State University, awarded in 1966. He remained at OSU in a teaching and research position from 1966 to 1970. After a divorce, he moved to the University of Wyoming in 1970 as its first Extension range management specialist.
A return to Oregon took place in 1973. Tom first worked as a three-county agent, and then as Extension rangeland resources specialist at OSU from 1976 to 1992, when he retired. Tom considered Extension work a fine career.
Active in his profession, Tom served the Society for Range Management in many capacities. He was President of the Pacific Northwest Section in 1978, and chairman of the SRM Advisory Council in 1979. He was elected SRM President for 1989, as well as being given the highest section award in 1991 and SRM award in 1995.
After retirement, he was asked to be an elected director of the Benton Soil and Water Conservation District in 1997, and he continued as the district chairman since 1999. He also was on the Oregon Soil and Water Conservation Commission for 11 years, and the Oregon State Board of Agriculture for six years.
Tom’s interests included raising sheep and hay for most of the time since 1966; flying a small plane to many places in the United States with his lovely wife, Gretchen; being active in aviation organizations; and raising both flowers and vegetables for his family on their 17 acres south of Philomath.
Bedell is survived by his fine wife, Gretchen Bencene; and family Shelley Bedell, Kristin Bedell and Vincent DePillis, Robin and Jack McWalters, and eight grandchildren. A memorial service will take place at 1 p.m. July 21 in the Fellowship Hall of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis, 2945 N.W. Circle Blvd., Corvallis.
Charitable contributions can be made to Benton Hospice Service, 2350 N.W. Professional Drive, Corvallis, OR 97330; the Oregon Aviation Historical Society Endowment Fund, P.O. Box 553, Cottage Grove, OR 97424; and/or the Society for Range Management Endowment Fund, 100030 W. 27th Ave., Wheat Ridge, CO 80215-6601.