Ex-state Rep., cattle rancher celebrated at century mark
By MITCH LIES
SALEM -- Current and former lawmakers and lobbyists gathered in the Capitol May 26 to honor former state representative and Eastern Oregon cattle rancher Denny Jones.
Jones, 100, served 26 years in the Oregon House, from 1973 to 1999.
"Denny was the best friend forestry and agriculture ever had in the state of Oregon," said Kelly Conover, a former lobbyist for Weyerhaeuser, "and he proved it every day he was here."
"His support for ag and forestry was unfailing," said Roger Beyer, a grass seed and dairy lobbyist and former state senator. Beyer served one term with Jones.
"Denny understood the proper role of government, what it was and wasn't supposed to do," said Glen Stonebrink, former lobbyist for the Oregon Cattlemen's Association. "And he voted accordingly, regardless of political pressure."
During a floor speech in the Senate in support of a resolution to honor Jones, Sen. President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, said Jones was instrumental in schooling freshmen lawmakers.
"It if weren't for term limits, Denny Jones would still be here, and we would be better for it," Courtney said.
Sen. Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, said he once asked Jones what he did with all the money he made from ranching.
"He told me, 'I spent most of it on whiskey and women, and the rest I just wasted,'" Ferrioli said.
"When a man like Denny Jones calls you a friend, you can stand a little taller, square your shoulders, look life right in the eye and just spit," Ferrioli said.
The House and Senate passed resolutions May 26 honoring Jones for his service to Oregon.
"I just can't believe it," Jones said when asked how he felt about being honored. "I am so highly honored to think I would even be remembered."