Miriam Sprague: 1915 ~ 2015


The family of Miriam Ethel Sprague wishes to thank her friends and former students who responded to the announcement of Miriam’s 100th birthday celebration on April 11, 2015. Miriam was lively at her party, but declined rapidly and passed away Friday, May 15, at the Tender Loving Care Center in Visalia.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, June 6, 11 a.m., at Community Presbyterian Church in Three Rivers.

Born April 7, 1915, Miriam was the daughter of Powell Butte, Ore., pioneers, Cyrus and Ethel Vice. Her stories of driving a Model T Ford to high school in Prineville were hilarious. To get home over the Prineville Grade, the car had to be backed up the hill.

Miriam graduated from Oregon State College in 1933 and taught high school in Prineville. In 1940, Miriam married Fred Webb. They had two children, Barbara and Fred. Her husband, Fred Webb, was killed in 1942.

In 1945, Miriam married Porter Sprague, a World War II veteran. Porter and Miriam had two children, Miriam Sue and Stephen.

In 1950, the family moved to Roberts, Wisc., where Miriam taught high school English and Home Economics. In 1960, the family returned to central Oregon to be closer to Miriam’s aging parents. She taught grade school there for five years.

Miriam faced some daunting losses in her century of life. In addition to losing her first husband after just two years of marriage, her son, Fred, died in Vietnam in 1967. In 1970, her father died. In 1975, her husband, Porter, died unexpectedly. And, in 1976, son Stephen died in a crop-dusting accident in Visalia.

In 1980, Miriam moved to Three Rivers to be near her daughter, Miriam Sue Brown. Miriam was always active in the community where she lived; she especially enjoyed book and bridge clubs. She was a talented seamstress and needlework artist.

Miriam is survived by two daughters, Barbara Ethel Kee-van of Spokane, Wash., and Miriam Sue Brown of Visalia; five grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Optima Hospice or Community Presbyterian Church in Three Rivers.

Miriam will be laid to rest in Prineville, Ore. Condolences may be sent to: Miriamturns100@gmail.com or Miriam Sue Brown, 4137 W. Redding Ave., Visalia, CA 93277.

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