John Bigelow Gearhart, 1914 - 2001
Children of John and Marian (Anderson) Gearhart:
1592C.351711 Margaret Louise Gearhart, Dr, b
; d _____ ; m 28 Oct 1972 Kenton Brooks; m Steve Wright; of Edina, MN;
1592C.351712 Eileen Gearhart, b ____ ; d
_____ ; m (1) ___ Reiswig; m (2) John Cole; of Eugene, OR
1592C.351713 John A. Gearhart, b ____ ; d
_____ ; of Eugene, OR
1592C.351714 Brice N. Gearhart, b ____ ; d
_____ ; of Empire, OR
Latter Day Saints microfiche records
Forge: The Bigelow Society Quarterly; Vol. 31, No.1 page 7; Jan 2002 (see obituary below)
President John Bigelow Gearhart of Coos Bay, OR died in North Bend
09 November 2001 after a long illness. He was born 20 January 1914 on
Gearhart farm at Dora, Coos County, OR, the son of Dora E. Bigelow and
Neal Gearhart, and married Marian L. Anderson on 03 January 1942 in
John attended a one-room country school and graduated from Myrtle Point High School in 1932. During the Great Depression, he began his working career as a surveyor's chain-man on weekends and vacations. He began working his way through Oregon Agricultural College in 1934. Commissioned as a second lieutenant at Oregon State College in 1941, he served with the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers in Canada, locating the first section of the Alcan Highway north from Fort Nelson. In Europe, he was in Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. He received an honorable discharge as first lieutenant, having received four Bronze Stars.
John received a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from Oregon State College in 1946. In 1959, he was the first registered engineer to become registered as a land surveyor. The September/October 1997 issue of The Oregon Professional Engineer was quoted saying, "John is our definition of dependable." He came from a long line of surveyors as his father. grandfather and great-grandfather were all land surveyors before him.
John was a faithful member and often officer of many professional organizations, including the American Society of Civil Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers, American Congress on Surveying and Mapping, Professional Engineers of Oregon and Professional Land Surveyors of Oregon. He was the first surveyor licensed member of the State Board of Engineering Examiners from 1969-1975. He was a longtime member of Coos County Planning Commission. His interests included working on cars, piloting his own airplane and travelling with his wife in their RV. They visited 49 states during several cross-country trips. John was a member of the Oregon Coast Historical Railway Museum, working to restore Engine No. 104, in Coos Bay in recent years.
John was first elected as a director for the Bigelow Society at the Seattle, WA Reunion in 1980. His mother, Dora Bigelow Gearhart, a pioneer schoolteacher and dedicated family historian, had encouraged his deep interest in the Bigelow family. Dora and her niece, Laurel Barklow, worked with Pat and Ed Bigelow in the formation of the Bigelow Society. In 1982. at the Daytona Beach. FL Reunion, John agreed to become President of the Bigelow Society, a position he held until 1986. He also gave much time and effort to the preparation and publication of Volumes I and II of the Bigelow Family Genealogy and to the creanon of operating manuals for officers. Long-time members may remember the several occasions when he piloted his own Cessna 182 to reunions
Hc is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Marian Gearhart of Coos Bay; sons, John A. Gearhart of Bridge, OR and Brice N. Gearhart of Coos Bay; daughters, Louise Wright of Minneapolis, MN and Eileen Cole of Eugene, OR: sisters, Hazel Clark of Elkton, OR and Agnes Garner of Cottage Grove, OR: brother, Clark Gearhart of Bridge; and three granddaughters. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Hugh.
Cremation was at Ocean View Memory Gardens, Coos Bay. Family inurnment services will be held at a later date at Dora Cemetery. The family suggests memorial contributions to the Oregon Coast Historical Railway Association, P. O. Box 4174, Coos Bay, OR, 97420.
Marian Anderson Gearhart
Obituary: January 7, 2011