Willie Mendenhall (1928 - 2014)

  • "Just found out today...I am so sad. They don't make em like..."
    - Lynn Reed
  • "So sorry to hear of Willie's passing, thinking of you..."
    - Karol Nelson
  • "We are sorry to miss the memorial for Willie. We were gone..."
  • "This wonderful man reached so many lives, without even..."
    - Sue and Larry Smith

On Thursday, Aug. 21, our favorite horseman, Willie Mendenhall, rode on to greener pastures at home in Langell Valley. Willie was a loved and cherished husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and treasured friend to many. Willie was born Sept. 24, 1928, in Morris, Okla., to Alvah and Grace Mendenhall, the 12th of 13 children. In 1940, Willie moved west to California with his family and settled in central California. At age 25, he began his life-long horse training career. During Willie's training years, he also became an accomplished horse show judge, judging many prestigious horse shows, including Grand National at Cow Palace, Del Mar and Santa Barbara, to name a few. Willie was among the first horsemen who started the now famous NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity in California, that is now hosted in Reno. Willie was known and respected throughout the horse show industry as an accomplished horseman. He could ride anything … from working cow horses, jumpers, pleasure horses, to stock horses … a feat few horse people can or did do. Although very competitive, Willie also was the first to lend any advice and help to someone who needed it, especially any youth riders. Willie married his lifelong partner, Minnie Beyer, July 2, 1983, in Sacramento, Calif., at Willie's daughter, Gloria's house. Willie and Minnie lived in Bonanza, Ore. on their ranch in Langell Valley where Willie continued with horse training, showing and raising Paint and Quarter Horses. Together he and Minnie helped raise their granddaughter, Molly and Willie instilled his love and passion for horses, helping mold Molly into an accomplished horsewoman. Many years were spent on the road at horse shows, with Willie and Molly showing and Minnie at ringside cheering them on. Willie is survived by his wife, Minnie; daughter, Gloria, and her husband, Bob; step-daughters, Kelly Howland, Rebecca Smith, and husband, Mick; and step-son, Casey Jones, and his wife, Carol; granddaughters, Molly Belding and fiance, Shane Harley, Elizabeth Smith, Jessica Smith; great-grandson, Wyatt Harley; and great-granddaughter, Izabella Smith. A life celebration will be Friday, Aug. 29, at 3 p.m. at W/M Ranch in the indoor arena at 9750 East Langell Valley Road, Bonanza. There will be a potluck meal after the memorial service.

Funeral Home
Davenport's Chapel of the Good Shepherd
2680 Memorial Drive Klamath Falls, OR 97601
(541) 883-3458
Funeral Home Details
Published in Herald And News on Aug. 29, 2014