Donald Merle Jaeger
Pendleton April 23, 1937 - July 7, 2018


Donald Merle Jaeger, 81, passed away on July 7, 2018. He was born in a farmhouse near Boones Ferry (now called Wilsonville), Oregon, on April 23, 1937.

Growing up on a 300-acre dairy and row crop farm, he attended grade school at Sherwood, Oregon, and graduated from West Linn High School in 1955. Learning to swim in the farm pond and Willamette River, he became an avid swimmer and won honors on the West Linn Swim Team.

Don enlisted in the U.S. Army following a year at Oregon State College where he studied veterinary medicine. While in the Army he came down with rheumatic fever and was discharged.

Horses have always been an important part of Don’s life. At age 24 he became a professional horse trainer, putting two stallions and a mare to the top of the nation, for three different clients. When he was 28 he met June Butler, a Central Oregon girl who also trained and showed quarter horses. Two years later in 1967 they married. Purchasing a 35-acre farm of their own in Sherwood area, they continued to raise horses and cattle.

On March 11, 1969, their first child was born, Mark Donald Jaeger. They continued farming and Don took a side job driving for Wilsonville Concrete. He eventually became a batch plant operator for the company.

In 1985 they sold the farm and bought the Jaeger Family Farm and built a log home. The city of Wilsonville encroached on the farm. In 1993 they moved to Pendleton and continued to farm.

Don became active in the community, donating time and a buggy to the Round-Up Hall of Fame. He always had a helping hand to anyone who needed it. His sense of humor was loved by all.

Don’s death was preceded by his brother Fred, mother Pearl, and father Otto.

He is survived by his son Mark and sister Ottie Jean Dreeszen.

A “Celebration of Life” will be held on August 4, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. in the Let’er Buck Room at the Pendleton Round-Up Grounds. All who knew Don are invited to participate.

Burns Mortuary of Pendleton is in charge of arrangements. Sign the online condolence book at

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