November 1, 1948 February 28, 2012
This past Tuesday the world lost a precious person. Dewey Harnden passed away at Ashland Community Hospital at 2:15 a.m. from respiratory failure. Dewey was born in 1948. At that time, the life expectancy for a person with Down syndrome was only 12 years. As a tenacious person, determined to do what he wanted in his own way, Dewey lived a longer and fuller life than many thought possible. As one of his friends said, One thing I know about Dewey is that he never went anywhere he didn't want to go.
Dewey spent much of his early life at Fairview Training Center in Salem, Ore. In 1982, he moved back to Ashland to live in a group home and to be nearer to his family. At that time he worked in manufacturing, both at Blue Feather and Siskiyou Buckle Company. His friends at the work center of Living Opportunities provided assistance and training to him for many years. He had a strong affection for children, dogs and cats. You could count on him to have a magazine and a Mickey or Minnie Mouse stuffy with him while he sipped his coffee. He never turned down a burger, fries or pop. He often assisted his housemates with daily living skills, such as shoe tying and picking up books whenever they asked him. Dewey was also a master at the lotus position. He will be sorely missed by all who befriended and learned from him.
Dewey's parents, Roy and Noma Harnden, were active members of the local community. They were generous with their time and gifts to people from all walks of life. His father, Roy, was famous as the stand up bass for the original Old Time Fiddlers. Dewey is survived by sister, Ann Prince, of Idaho.
A memorial service will be held at the Congregational Church, 717 Siskiyou Blvd in Ashland, at 1:00 p.m. on March 5. Donations in his honor may be made to Ashland Supportive Housing, P.O. Box 3536, Ashland Oregon.