Ernie Gipson, 61, of John Day passed away from complications during a transplant surgery on Friday, Oct. 6, in Portland. A celebration of life will be held from 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5, at the New Castle Community Center in New Castle, Colorado.
Gipson was born on Nov. 19, 1955, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He spent most of his childhood and teenage years in Grand Junction, Colorado, where he attended Central High School. In his earlier years, he competed at a high level in professional rodeo circuits, and placed in the “Final 15” in 1979 for single steer roping.
His final years were spent living and working as a rangeland manager for the U.S. Forest Service for over 20 years, including jobs on the Tonto National Forest, the Allegheny National Forest, the Thunder Basin Grassland and, most recently, the Malheur National Forest. While in Arizona, Gipson was very active in the Society for Range Management. One of his career specialties was working with correctional inmates and allowing them to have productive work experiences on public lands. He proved to be successful at whatever he did, and often volunteered for the Cinnabar Mountain Playday’s youth rodeo association in John Day, and was known as “Ernie the Gate Man” by some.
Gipson was an amazing father and friend. He was loved by everyone he met, and was known for his jokes, his dry sense of humor and his kindness towards others.
He is survived by his father, Tom; his stepmother Carol; his sister Nickey; and his three children, Amanda, Chris and Sam.