Patti Boice Strain, age 87, passed away April 16, 2022 at her home in Myrtle Point, Oregon surrounded by her family. Patti was born September 20, 1934 in Bandon, Oregon to Marjorie Luella Carmack Boice and Fred Guerin Boice of Langlois. Her only sibling, David Boice, was born in 1937 and preceded her in death on February 13, 2021. Her paternal Boice and Guerin Great Grandparents, Zaccheus and Eliza Jane (Gault) Boice and William S. and Margaret (Miller) Guerin, arrived in Curry County in 1877. Each family settled on 160 acre Homestead Donation claims on Floras Creek in Dairyville, later named Langlois.
Patti’s maternal Lyons and Carmack Great Grandparents came from Illinois to Ridgefield, Washington in the late 1800s. Marjorie Carmack had left her mother and step-father, Myrtle and David Parton’s home in Kalama, Washington to work at the Floras Lake Hotel south of Langlois. Fred Guerin Boice worked there managing poker games in the evenings and hauling logs during the day for his father, Judge Allen H. Boice.
Patti Boice, age 19, and Hal Strain, age 18, married on May 23rd, 1954, in the Langlois High School Gym, and were just 16 days shy of 64 wonderful years together when Hal passed on May 7, 2017. Each of their Boice and Strain grandparents had twelve children.
P & H, as their trucking business was known, had 102 first and second cousins on their wedding day.
Hal and Patti settled on Langlois Mountain where they built a home and then later lived in Fairview where they raised four children. Surviving are: David Strain(Kathy), Darcie Stone(Bob), Douglas Strain(Dawn). Dan Strain passed on June 16, 2015 in Roseburg Veterans Hospital. Nine grandchildren survive: Teneille Geib (Kyle), Wayne Parrish (Kaylie), Tara Goffic (Nathan), Caitlyn Meals (Kyle), Christopher Strain, Sasha, Sabra, and Sareal Strain and Emma Strain. Twelve great grandchildren survive: Brodie, Avie and Adley Parrish, Conner, Caleb, Zane and Zachary Goffic, Avery and Kylie Geib, Madeline and Adrian Adamek, and Wrigley Meals. One great, great grandchild survives: Isaiah Goffic. While Hal operated P & H Trucking, Patti worked for the City of Coquille for 25 years, over ten years as City Manager. With four children in school, she started employment at age 33, in 1967 as the city’s meter maid, walking the streets to mark tires with a chalk stick, then issuing tickets for over- time parking violations. She was called ‘The Street Walker’. Within six months she was promoted to secretary and then to billing clerk. Within a few years Patti became City Recorder, Finance Director, and then City Manager.
In the early 1970s Patti attended SWOCC Accounting classes I, II and III, and acquired the necessary understanding and ability to advance to the position of Finance Director of City operations. In 1976 the City Council promoted Patti to City Manager and Finance Director, having one person for two positions. The combined positions and family care proved too much; she quit the Manager position and continued as Finance Director. In 1981 the City Council promoted Patti, age 47, to the position of City Manager, without adding other titles or duties to the position, thus becoming the first woman City Manager in Oregon. She worked almost nine years in that position to steadily improve the city. She wrote and obtained a half million dollar grant to rebuild and increase capacity of the city’s fifty year old water treatment plant. It was Patti’s idea and organization, during the 1980s recession, to develop a city owned overgrown, muddy patch of fallen trees and brush into what is now known as Sturdivant Park. The park is named for Penny Sturdivant, a World War II Veteran who fished that riverside area frequently and bragged about “his” fishing site as being the best on the Coquille River.
Patti retired from the City Manager position in late 1989. However, in January 1997 the City Council again hired her as City Manager, when the man who replaced her, Joe Wolf, moved on. During the next eighteen months she guided the filling and raising above flood level the former GP site which the city had purchased. It had been underway for six years at that time and cleanup had been completed, but not the fish enhancement section. With her support and money from the ODOT, Dutch John Creek was removed from several hundred feet of culvert and opened to the river for the first time in many years. ODFW insisted on an overwintering pond between the river and creek to give salmon a freshwater rest area during high water. During this time, she facilitated the hiring of City Manager Bruce Meitoff, to replace her and went back to retirement with husband Hal on their Burton Prairie Tree Farm in Fairview.
In late 1999, for the fourth time, the City Council hired Patti as Manager, at age 65. City Manager Bruce Meitoff, 18 months on the job, sadly had a fatal heart attack while hunting. Patti worked for six months to facilitate City Council action in the process of hiring Terence O’Conner as City Manager in spring of 2000. Patti retired for the third and final time in April of 2000. She loved the people of Coquille and her work as City Manager. Patti authored weekly articles for The Coquille Valley Sentinel to keep the community informed of city actions, the accomplishments achieved and the problems Coquille faced. Citizens of Coquille often mentioned their appreciation of the openness of city government during Patti’s tenures.
After retirement Patti worked with Doc Stevenson to obtain funds to build the new Sawdust Theatre after the original theatre burned. It was almost a full-time job for two years and so many citizens of Coquille worked long and hard to replace the theatre. During retirement Patti spent many years recording oral history from her Boice and Strain families, and other Langlois residents. Hal and Patti self-published the 800 page reference book of historical pictures and memories titled “Floras Creek Precinct and The Boice Family of Curry County, Featuring Cope, Guerin, Phillips and Strain Families, and other early settlers.” The book is available in Coos and Curry libraries, and received good reviews from readers.
Patti and Hal were two of the dozen founding members of the Coquille Valley Historical Society (CVHS) and museum in 2005. The opening of the museum became a lasting operation when Bob Taylor donated his building to permanently house the museum. Patti held officer positions in that organization and volunteered there for ten years, retiring in 2015.
In 2009 Patti and Hal were looking for a way to financially support the museum. Patti compiled and Hal proofread the two volumes titled: “The Coquille Valley”- Vol. I: “Memories From Moccasins to the Moon” and Vol. II: “Wagon Wheels to Wireless.” Historical information was gathered from dozens of early authors of Oregon and Coquille Valley history and complied two volumes. The Museum and the Strains shared in the $11,500 printing project and the small profits. The copyright was donated to Coquille Valley Historical Society so the book can be reprinted in the future. Patti wrote many history articles for Coquille Sentinel and Myrtle Point Herald. Patti compiled other small books including the history of her Carmack family. In 2016 she compiled four volumes about World War II, including the young men who died in that war from the Coquille Valley.
Patti was a Bandon Cranberry Princess in 1951. Over the years she received many awards and plaques of appreciation. In 1989 Governor Neil Goldschmidt congratulated her for “the high level of service you have given to your community. I have been told that you are the first woman in Oregon to be a city manager” Patti was recognized as a Coos County Woman of Achievement, and was recognized in Coquille on October 13, 1998, because “she has made a significant contribution to advancing the awareness of women’s history.” She was appreciative of the awards, but too reserved to talk about them. She received a lovely plaque upon retiring from the Coquille Valley Historical Society. She felt truly fortunate for the life she had.
Patti had a great work-filled happy life. Her years with Hal and her wonderful children were the best. A full measure of work filled each day. She built concrete block walls, fishponds and walkways. The last wall she built was 100’ long and 4’ high, when she was 82. She fought several types of cancer for 15 years. The cancer returned in her 86th year. With treatment, and surgery she was cancer free, but without Hal by her side she no longer wanted to stay. Enjoyment was on every hand. Helpful husband, great children, wonderful grandchildren and great grandchildren were the most important in her life, she regularly counted her hundreds of blessings.
What a Wonder Filled Life
Do not grieve for me, for I wait for you
I am following the path laid before me
I took His hand when I heard Him call,
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to live, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
I have found a good resting place at close of day.
If my parting leaves a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Ah yes, these things I too will miss.
Be not burdened now with sorrow.
I wish all my loved ones the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I have savored so much,
Love, children, good friends, good times,
And my loved ones touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all to brief,
Do not lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your head and laugh and share,
The Master of the Universe wants me now
To track the history up there with care.
Author unknown. (Slightly modified by Patti)
The family suggests memorial contributions to Coquille Valley Museum. No funeral services will be held. “When Hal passed on there were almost 200 people at his service, I knew them all and I somewhat died that same day, but carried on… Just send a prayer to have as good a life in your time” Patti Strain
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