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John C. Sihler

1930 - 2019
John C. Sihler Obituary
May 9, 1930

John Christian Sihler died peacefully on December 6, 2018, with family at his side, after a year of transitions and declining health. He was 88 years old and had recently moved with his wife, Dene, from Eugene to Gresham to be closer to family.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 9, 1930, to Paul Alfred Sihler and Margaret Carpenter (Smith) Sihler, John grew up surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. His cousins were dear to him and he loved them as surrogate siblings, as John was an only child. Family gatherings and celebrations were frequent and, in his adulthood, the subject of many nostalgic remembrances. John shared a love of drawing and horses with his father and was bit by the travel bug early through trips with his parents to the West and Europe.

He graduated from Shaker Heights High School in 1948 and earned a B.A. degree in American Studies from Amherst College in 1952, followed by a law degree from Harvard University in 1955. He served as a legal specialist in the U.S. Army 382D military police battalion in Heidelberg, Germany, from 1955 to 1957.

Any friend and many a stranger quickly learned that John cherished his memories of his Heidelberg years, which had a profound and lasting effect on him. Above all, Heidelberg was where he met Dene Hoseid, a native Oregonian who was working for the Judge Advocate General's Corps of the U.S. Army. The two happily explored Europe together during their courtship. When John finished his military service they moved to Cleveland, where they were married on April 19, 1958. John settled into his legal career (primarily insurance defense work) and they started their family. The young couple took advantage of Cleveland's many cultural offerings, including the Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Playhouse, and Cleveland Art Museum. They also joined a play-reading club, went fishing and skiing in Canada, and spent time with extended family. The year 1969 brought a dramatic change when John passed the Oregon Bar Exam and moved the family to the wonderful house on Brae Burn Drive in Eugene, where he continued to work as an attorney.

One of John's greatest qualities was his unbounded enthusiasm - for good food and drink, beautiful art and music, travel, the grandeur of nature, and festive gatherings of all sorts. He embraced a life enriched by the outdoors, the arts, and friends. Favorite activities included fly fishing and fly tying, hiking, camping, trips to mountains and rivers, vacations to dude ranches and national parks, photography, classical music concerts, visits to art museums, print collecting, large parties on the deck, elegant dinner parties prepared by Dene, and joyous Christmas Eve parties that featured John's potent rum punch and eggnog.

Longtime Eugeneans may know John from his community involvement, as a president of the McKenzie Flyfishers, co-founder (with David Hilton) of the Eugene Print Circle, or member of the City Club's programming committee. He also volunteered for the Democratic Party of Lane County and offered his time and expertise to individual neighbors and the local neighborhood association to help resolve land use issues.

In retirement John fed his love of European history by auditing countless history classes at the University of Oregon, and he regularly attended presentations at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the U of O (OLLI-UO). He lived for fantastic European vacations with Dene and delighted in annual reunions with his Smith family cousins. Later in life he spent hours driving Lane County backroads and connecting with friends at lunches and discussion groups.

John is survived by his wife of 60 years, Dene Hoseid Sihler; his children Paul (Linda Atwood, deceased) of Helena, MT, Ann (Glen Andresen) of Portland, OR, and Kathleen (Jonathan Chenoweth) of Cedar Falls, IA; his granddaughters Claire, Emma, and Kellen; and first cousins Herbert Hoppe (Joanne Hoppe, deceased) of Rocky River, OH, Barbara Kentfield (Howard Kentfield, deceased) of Newton Square, PA, and Bob Smith (Jude Grove) of Fort Collins, Colorado.

A celebration of John's life will be planned for summer 2019 in Eugene, Oregon. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts be given in John's name to the Eugene Symphony Association (115 W. 8th Ave., Eugene, OR 97401) or OLLI-UO (checks made out to University of Oregon Foundation, designated as "OLLI-UO, Eugene/Springfield 5382.12.1," and mailed to University of Oregon Foundation Services, Gift Services, 1720 E. 13th Avenue, Suite 410, Eugene, OR 97403-2253).
Published in Eugene Register-Guard on Feb. 3, 2019
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