It’s Jean Kline’s 50th consecutive year attending the Grant County Fair, and this year brings a special honor.
Kline will represent the 108th fair as grand marshal this year, honoring her late husband Dave Kline (1927-2013).
In her early days attending the fair, Kline cheered on her three children who were involved in 4-H, horse shows and parade activities.
This year, she’ll be clapping for her great-grandchildren Dylan and Sarah Clark of John Day as they show pigs.
Kline said she agreed to be grand marshal for the opportunity to highlight the service Dave gave over the years.
“Dave was the leader of the Prairie City 4-H Livestock Club in 1967 and enjoyed helping many young 4-H’ers with their projects for several years,” she said. “In those days, we spent many hours helping young people in the poultry, pig and sheep and beef barns during the fair. Dave also spent many years instructing with the horse show and junior rodeo.”
Besides entering pies, cookies, vegetables and more, over the years, Jean also lent a hand to youth, leading the Prairie City 4-H Sewing Club for a few years.
“4-H is just a great program for the children,” she said. “It’s a good learning experience and teaches discipline.”
Jean and Dave Kline were married for 62 years. In their early years of marriage, Dave managed the Bridge Creek Ranch in the north end of Silvies Valley, now Silvies Valley Ranch, and then managed both the Bridge Creek and Flying Hat Ranch in Mt. Vernon. He later became a realtor as well.
Their children include Nancy Moffitt of Mt. Vernon, married to Geoff; Dan Kline of Klamath Falls; and Susan Byrne of Scottsdale, married to Shawn. They have four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren
After a few years out of the county, the family settled in Prairie City in 1967.
“Dave was really well known in the community,” Jean said. “I supported him through all his projects, and he was very active with everything in the county.”
The fair is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 9, through Saturday, Aug. 12. The fair parade is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, and Kline will ride in Dave’s ’66 Chevy pickup “Old Red,” which was fully restored by her grandson Farrell Clark of John Day.
Jean said her husband “dearly loved” Old Red.
“If he drove a pickup, that’s the one he drove,” she said.
She said she’s looking forward to the fair and seeing her great-grandchildren show their animals.
“It’s really just a great yearly event that brings everybody out and gets them together,” she said. “We see old friends that we only see once a year. ... It’s very important to the ranchers and their children.”