Phyllis M. Badgley died on April 3, 2023, just shy of her 99th birthday. She was born at home to Louine and Clayton (“Red”) May in 1924 and – with the exception of attending Cadet Nurse Corps training in Tacoma, WA, during WWII – lived her entire life in Baker City. She married Don Badgley of Snake River in 1951. They enjoyed 42 years of adventure together before his death in 1993.
Phyllis was an accomplished pianist and a punster without rival. She worked as a bank teller for over thirty years, beginning with the old Baker State Bank in Baker City and ending with US Bank. In her later decades, she became widely known as Baker City’s historian. She especially enjoyed writing historical articles for newspapers and magazines. Her passing closes a door on nearly a century of vivid first-hand memories of Baker County’s businesses, culture, events, and connections.
She was a lifelong active member of the United Methodist Church and a dedicated volunteer for the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center and the Baker Heritage Museum. She was a member of the original “dream team” that brought the Powder River Pavilion to Geiser-Pollman Park.
Phyllis delighted in sending her artistic flower cards, original poems, and Baker County promotional materials all over the globe. She was an extraordinary ambassador for the town she always called “The Best Place On Earth.” She was named Baker County Mother of the Year in 1994, and Legacy Woman of the Year in 2006.
She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Joyce/Dave Hunsaker, by her son and daughter-in-law Rick/ Sue Badgley, all of Baker City; by grandchildren Tallant Smith of Ocala, FL and Sharon Smith of Alexandria, VA; by niece and husband Susan/ Richard Donnelly of Eagle, ID; and by a large extended family and many treasured heart-friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, her sister Alma Bower, numerous cousins, and dear ones.
Phyllis has designated Best Friends of Baker (Animal Rescue), and the Friends of Baker Heritage Museum as her memorials of choice. This can be done directly, the addresses and web links are listed below, or through Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place Street, Baker City, OR 97814.
At her request, there will be no formal funeral or memorial service at this time. Instead, in remembrance of her, Phyllis charges everyone to
“Go out and do something good for Baker”
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