A Tribute to Community Cornerstones of the Paulina Valley
Small towns and communities anchor many of the rural ranches and farms that are represented by Fay Ranches. These are often communities with one general store, a population in town of fewer than 30 people, and where everyone knows everyone’s kids.
These are towns where families have lived for generations and where the closest high school is a town or two over. These are towns where people ask you how your day has been and they really care about the answer. Where news travels faster by word of mouth than via newspaper, and where the local Labor Day rodeo brings the whole community out for a weekend of
festivities and good, old fashioned fun.
One such town is called Paulina (pronounced pawl – EYE- nuh), located about a two hour drive east of Bend, Oregon. Paulina boasts a population of about 140 people and has been a ranching community for centuries. Every Labor Day Weekend, the whole town comes out to watch and participate in the Paulina Rodeo, of which, Fay Ranches is a sponsor.
“The Paulina Rodeo is the glue and fiber of this Paulina community. It’s one of the few things that the entire community comes together to support,” said Jerry Hicks, a broker with Fay Ranches
who attends the Paulina Rodeo every year. “It’s the pride of Paulina. A lot of effort goes into it, and it’s the one common thing that unites many of the ranchers.”
So what happens when a close-knit community like Paulina loses three of their own back to back?
At the beginning of 2015, three prominent members of the Paulina community, Pat Miller, Mike Sturza, and Carl Lee Schnabele, passed away within three months of each other. In a town like
Paulina, whose total community is fewer than 200 people, it made an impact.
SMALL TOWN, BIG HEARTS
Talking to a few of the members of Paulina, it’s easy to deduce that the common thread that bound these three men was their dedication to supporting their community.
Pat Miller was born in Paulina in 1928 and made his home there his entire life. He married his wife, Naida Miller, in 19 51, and raised their four daughters on their cattle ranch in Paulina.
“My dad worked his entire life to have some of the best cattle in the country,” Patti Miller, Miller’s daughter, said. “He was a man of his word and he taught all of us girls that we were only as good as our word.”
Pat Miller was also a founding member of the Paulina Rodeo Club, and supported the rodeo for decades. Mike Sturza, a local cowboy and the son-in-law of Pat Miller, was also deeply engrained in the Paulina Community.
“Mike was a good cowman, but his forte was his service to community and others and volunteering for the Paulina Rodeo doing 500 different things,” Patti said about her husband.
Sturza lived in Paulina for 27 years and was dedicated to supporting the community. He held various offices with the Paulina Rodeo club, and did almost everything during the Paulina Rodeo at one point or another, from irrigating the rodeo grounds to organizing hay donations, sorting stock to cleaning up the rodeo grounds after the weekend was over.
An athlete during his youth, Sturza volunteered to coach football and basketball at Paulina Elementary. Due to his continued service to the Paulina community, Sturza was recognized in 2014 as
the recipient of the Carl Weaver Outstanding Service Award. Carl Lee Schnabele was a hard-working, community-minded member of a ranching family in the Paulina Valley for thirty or forty years.
“Carl was so generous. He would give anyone money if they needed it without expectation of getting it back,” Patti Miller said. Carl participated in the Paulina Rodeo, competing in saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, and team roping. He was also a member of the Paulina Rodeo Club.
THE LEGACY THEY LEFT
Jerry Hicks knew all three men and commented on the legacy they left behind.
“These three guys, Pat, Mike, and Carl Lee, were all great cattlemen and outstanding members of the community,” Hicks said. “Pat’s word was golden, Carl Lee was generous with everyone, and Mike was just an outstanding volunteer for this community.”
Patti Miller echoed that sentiment.
“The thing about these guys is that they all respected the law of honor.”
Fay Ranches is a proud sponsor of the Paulina Rodeo each year and a supporter of small communities like Paulina. Our hearts go out to the families of these three men. Their legacy lives on in their memory.
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