OIEN, John James (Age 81) Passed away on May 24th, 2010, in Richland Washington. John was born to Caspar T. and Rebecca Oien of Oilmont, Montana, on November 28th, 1928. By the age of thirteen he was driving trucks in the Montana Oilfield due to the World War II labor shortage. He later formed Oien Oil Corporation anddrilled dozens of wells during the fifties and sixties. At that time he was named President of the Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Association. John loved to fly small planes and often provided his widely separateddrilling rigs with parts and supplies by flying in and landing on hastilyprepared dirt strips. This love of airplanes grew into a new business called Oien Aviation which provided charter service throughout the Northwest. John logged more than 3500 hours in the course of his aviation career and was a fine pilot. In the midst of all this activity John somehow managed to obtain a Bachelor of Business Administration from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where he met and married Rita Marie Storms in 1950. Although she died in 2005, Rita was a remarkable lady in her own right bearing seven children in a short span of ten years. John and Rita raised their children while living in various locations including Montana, California, Wisconsin, Illinois,Oklahoma, Texas, and Canada, finally coming to rest in Chewelah,Washington in 1991. In his day, John Oien was a wildcat driller, a Montana bush pilot, asuccessful corporate executive, a race car driver, a classically trainedpianist, an outdoors adventurer and avid sportsman, and a dedicated golfer. As the father of seven children he had dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was a respected member of Saint Mary of the RosaryCatholic Church and a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus. The most amazing thing about John was his personal warmth and friendliness. He could make anyone he met feel like they were the most important person in the world. He would always make you smile. He was just a great guy. Survivors include daughter Linda Mullen of Richland, WA; son Bob Oien of Chewelah, WA; daughter Cheryl Young of Toronto, Canada; daughter Laurie Benzel of Billings, MT; daughter Kathleen Levitus of Australia; son Jim Oien of Calgary, Canada; daughter Mary Oien of Calgary, Canada; and countless nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Vigil Service will be at Danekas Funeral Chapel on Thursday, June 3, 2010 at 7:00 P.M. Service will be held at Saint Mary of the Rosary Catholic Church on Friday, June 4, 2010 at 11:00 A.M. Burial will be at Chewelah CatholicCemetery in Chewelah, WA. Arrangement under the direction of DANEKASFUNERAL CHAPEL.
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Published in Spokesman-Review from May 30 to May 31, 2010