VanArsdales mark 71 years, lead '62 Days parade June 7

Gene and Arvilla VanArsdale of John Day enjoy a zest for life. The '62 Day parade grand marshals lived and worked on cattle ranches in Nebraska before traveling west to Oregon. The Eagle/HEATHER SHEEDY

JOHN DAY - Gene and Arvilla VanArsdale of John Day have been chosen to serve as grand marshals of the '62 Days Parade Saturday, June 7. On that day they also will celebrate 71 years of marriage.

The VanArsdales are originally from Nebraska where they lived and worked on cattle ranches and enjoyed riding horses. In fact, even into the late 1940s, their two young daughters arrived at school on horseback.

Gene VanArsdale participated in roping activities while in Nebraska, and continued the sport after the family arrived in John Day in 1951. He competed in well-attended roping competitions put on by Don Norton of Madras and also helped him work cattle.

At John Day, and later at Redmond, Gene was involved in home construction, building approximately 50 homes. They relocated back to John Day in 1996.

While in Redmond, they had a Model T Ford roadster, which they drove in various events and parades. They recalled fun times when Gene, as driver, would stop the antique car, and petite Arvilla would get out and give it a staged crank or push to get it going.

The couple has two daughters, Iris Mosley of John Day and Joyce Parker of Hillsboro; four grandsons; and five great-grandchildren.

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