John Rowland Stebbins of LaGrande, OR and Walla Walla, WA passed away October 2, 2019 in LaGrande as a result of complications due to Multiple Myeloma blood cancer. He was diagnosed with Myeloma in early 2005. His service was held at St. Peters Episcopal Church in LaGrande on October 9th and his final resting place is at Grandview Cemetery.
John was born in Gothenburg on April 24, 1934, the son of Virge W. and Florence (Brooks) Stebbins. He graduated from Gothenburg High School in 1952, and the University of Nebraska with a business degree.
He married Barbara Farnsworth of Santa Barbara, CA in 1955 and had five children: John W., Steven, Barbara, Susanne and Tim.
Barbara died in 1980 and in 1981 John married Ruth Erickson Gifford of Walla Walla, WA. Ruth brought two children into the marriage: Eric Gifford and Karen Fritz (Gifford).
He returned to Gothenburg after college and in 1958 joined with J.B. Dean, his brother-in-law, in starting Stebbins Implement Co. This was an International Harvester sales and service dealership. While in Gothenburg, and in college, John participated in the following organizations: Kiwanis Club, Masonic Rite, Scottish Rite, The Shriners and the United Methodist Church as a Sunday school teacher and as member of the pastor relations committee. He served on the Gothenburg City Council, the Airport Board and did various jobs for the Gothenburg Chamber of Congress. At the university he was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity and served as the chapter chaplain.
In 1968 he sold his interest in Stebbins Implement Co. and moved to Hawaii. After several years there he moved to LaGrande, OR and in 1970 he joined with Bob Goss in starting S&G Machinery Co. S&G was the John Deere sales and service dealer in the Union county area.
While in LaGrande he was a member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and he served that church by being on the vestry and for many years he was the stewardship chairman. He also served as a trustee of St. Peter’s Homan Trust. He was a member of the Island City Lions Club, the Elks Club and a member of the Union county museum.
John enjoyed his business and his customers. He also enjoyed snowmobiling, camping, skiing, fishing, rafting, exploring the surrounding countryside and hunting with family and friends. He spent many weekends teaching his children and their friends how to enjoy the things available in this area.
John felt fortunate that he found two good women to help him enjoy life. Barbara and Ruth.