OBITUARY: Melinda Harruko Pressley

Melinda Harruko Pressley

January 5, 1936 ~ February 22, 2021

Melinda Harruko Pressley, 85, passed away at her home on Feb. 22. She was born Jan. 5, 1936, to Harry and Rose Tano in Grand Junction, Colorado. She was the youngest and only girl to three older brothers: Harry, Sam, and Benny. She was raised on her family farm where they grew onions and tomatoes. In 1948, after the death of her oldest brother Harry, Melinda and her family would leave Colorado and move to Ontario, Oregon.

Melinda graduated from Ontario High School in 1954. Prior to graduation, she met Jack Pressley at a JACL graduation dance. That must have been some dance, they married later that year on Dec. 19, 1954. Melinda and Jack made their life in Vale farming. They welcomed two sons, Ron in 1955 and Steve in 1965.

After years of renting land all over the Vale area they finally bought the Norwood place west of Vale in 1974. Asked if she had wished she had ever gotten a job rather than help on the farm, she said with a smile and a wink she should have, it may have been a lot easier and better hours. With Jack being on various potato boards such as the Malheur County Bargaining Association, they were able to travel the United States. She said if they grew potatoes, they probably went there. They traveled from California to Maine and Canada to Mexico. Although, her favorite places were Jackpot and Las Vegas!

In 1975 her son Ron, married Kris Hartley and they made their home in Vale, Ron farming alongside his dad Jack. In February of 1980, her son Steve was killed in an accident outside of Vale. This would forever change Melinda and her family, but in a good way. It brought the family much closer. People would say, you never just saw one Pressley, you would see two or three if not the whole family. If one was in the drug store or around town, it was good odds others would be following. It is like they were magnets.

Soon she was chasing grandkids all over the valley watching them participate in sports and other activities. OK…Mostly sports! She was converted from a Tiger to a Viking! She said the grandkids really disrupted her card playing days and evenings out with friends.

In August of 2003, just shy of 50 years of marriage, Jack passed. Melinda continued to reside in Vale and kept busy helping at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, raising great-grandkids, and worked teaching the kids her cooking skills and traditions. She was known for her big New Year’s Day dinner and wanted to make sure her family could carry on her tradition making all the special Japanese dishes of food. Every now and then Ron or one of the grandkids would take her to Las Vegas, Jackpot, or Wildhorse so she could have some fun. She will be greatly missed by her family.

Melinda is preceded in death by her husband, Jack; son Steve; parents, Harry and Rose; brothers, Harry, Sam Tano (his wife Linda), Benny Tano and numerous other family and close friends. She is survived by her son Ron and his wife Kris, of Vale; grandchildren and great-grandchildren; Meshell Schaffeld (her children, Alexis and Jackson) of Vale, Kate Pressley of Boise, Jenny Pressley (Juan Hernandez and son Jonny Jack), Charles Pressley (Megan and their children Isabella and Dean), Nyssa; sisters-in-law, Alice Tano and Phyllis Pressley.

The family would like to thank everyone who brought food, sent flowers, and anyone who dropped by the house or phoned for a talk. They would especially like to thank Father Cami and everyone from St. Patrick’s Catholic Church for their help and support, Donita Olsen, Karen Cooper, Dora Morcom, Tami Chamberlain, Heart N Home Hospice, and Lienkaemper Funeral Home. A service was held at the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Vale on Friday, Feb. 26.