November 11, 1920 — April 5, 2018
Louis Piha, 97, of Lebanon, died Thursday at the Oaks of Lebanon.
Louis was born in Portland, Oregon. His parents were Samuel and Regina Piha, with older sister Vicky and younger brother Bill. His mother became ill at a very young age. After that, Vicky, Lou and Bill were placed in a children’s home.
He graduated from Benson High School at age 16. From that point on he was on his own. He joined the CCCs program and worked for room and board and little pay.
After that, he worked for two mines in Alaska. Then, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving in World War II and the Korean War. He rose to the rank of Lt. Commander.
He attended Penn State for one year and, between working and the Navy to put himself through school, he played soccer. He then enrolled at Oregon State College, now OSU, in Corvallis. He graduated with a degree in forestry in 1948. When he was at Oregon State he was on the wrestling team, winning the Pacific Coast championship in 1948. He was invited to try out for the Olympics but declined as he had to work to support himself.
After graduating from Oregon State, he went to work at the Wren Mill in Wren, Oregon as a timber cruiser. He also got a pilot’s license and owned a small plane for several years. While living in Corvallis, he met the love of his life, Eleanor Hanley, who was a school teacher at Harding School in Corvallis.
They were married on June 19, 1955. In 1957, son Lynn was born. Also in 1957, the family moved to Coburg, Oregon, and he started a new job with the US Forest Service in Eugene as a civil engineering tech road design road locator. He also started Fernhopper Forest Nursery growing Christmas trees from seed.
He was a very busy man, working seven days a week with the forest service, the nursery and the Naval Reserves.
In 1972, he was transferred to the Sweet Home office for the Forest Service. At this time, the family moved to Lebanon and he and Eleanor have lived there since.
He retired in 1985. At this time, they spent time being longtime OSU season ticket holders in football and men’s and women’s basketball while also attending wrestling and gymnastics events.
They also attended plays and music concerts and enjoyed many trips to different parts of the world and the USA over the years.
During the years in Lebanon, they met and had many great friends they enjoyed spending time with and enjoyed the activities they participated in together.
He was very generous with wanting to help other people and making their lives better. He donated blood until he was too old to be allowed to. He also donated to the Greater Santiam Boys and Girls Club, the Lebanon Soup Kitchen, the Lebanon Community Foundation, the Lebanon Hospital Foundation, Lebanon High School, and the school he loved, Oregon State University and to many other great causes.
He was a member of the Lebanon Elks Lodge 1663 and the American Legion Post 51.
He is survived by his wife, Eleanor Piha; and son Lynn Piha and Billie Ortega of Lebanon; nephew; Marty Marks of Portland; niece, Carolyn Marks-Bax of Portland; brother-in-law, Herb Devos; sister-in-law, Aileen Devos of Springfield; and Eleanor’s nephew, Bob Britton of Portland.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Regina; father, Samuel; sister, Vicky Marks; and brother, Bill Pearson.
At his request there will be no services.
There will be a celebration of life at a later time.
Thank you for being a wonderful husband and partner for all the great years we had together and the love you shared.
Your wife, Eleanor.
He will be greatly missed by many and I am proud to say I was his son.
Thanks, Dad, to a life well lived and a life well done.
Huston-Jost Funeral Home handled arrangements.