Jan. 28, 1912-March 22, 2005
BAKER CITY - Retired newspaperman, Byron Charles Brinton, 93, former editor and owner of The Record-Courier, died Tuesday, March 22, 2005, at his home in Baker City .
The funeral service will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 26, at the First Presbyterian Church in Baker City. A brief graveside service will be followed by a reception at the Presbyterian Church.
Mr. Brinton, was born in a "print shop" at Fessenden, N.D., Jan. 28, 1912, to Charles McKay and Elizabeth Rose Mueller Brinton. He attended schools at Fessenden, at Browning, Mont., at Marcus, Wash., and graduated from North Powder High School in 1929.
He served with the Navy during World War II in San Francisco.
He attended the University of Oregon, earning a junior certificate with honors, quitting school in 1934 to become The Record-Courier editor, a post which he held until 1999.
He became publisher in 1959, after buying his families interest in the paper, and served in that capacity until 2004, when he sold to his son Byron (RonD).
He married Roberta Lee Wright, a graduate of Haines High School, on Sept. 14, 1935. The couple had five children, Lynn Ann, Ross Burr, Byron Dorsey, Alice Kathleen and Greg Charles.
Mr. Brinton grew up in the printing business, saying in a Courier Christmas greeting in 1992: "I was born in a printshop, that is, in living quarters with dividing door within a few feet of a large cylinder press and the bedroom window within feet of the huge gas engine that powered the plant 6 a.m. till 6 p.m. six days a week. My mother was a compositor till dad installed one of the first Linotypes before I was born."
His name first appeared on the masthead when his family bought the Haines Record and the North Powder News, in 1928, where he was listed as Assistant Editor, Manager.
Mr. Brinton's career spanned the printing industry from hand-composed forms, printed on a handfed press to rotary letterpress and rotary offset composed on computers.
His memberships included: members of Kiwanis 1930s; charter member Baker Jaycees; charter member Evergreen Ski Club; charter member National Ski Patrol; secretary Anthony Lakes Playground Association; secretary Hells Canyon Development Association; honorary member 4-H and FFA; honorary life member, Powder River Sportsmens Club; charter member Sumpter Valley Railroad; member Historical Society; member and past president of the Baker County Museum Commission; member Oregon Water Resources Board; member Bonneville Power Administration Board; worked with the "Save the Minam River" group whose work led to the formation of the Minam wilderness area; secretary Baker Manager Form Charter draft committee 1948 and 1952; organizing president Anthony Lakes Corporation for two years. Served for several years on the Oregon Geographic Names Board. He was awarded the Diamond Service to Agriculture in 1993.
He devoted years of personal and newspaper attention to promotion and organization of the Baker Valley project and Mason Dam authorization; he represented the region at Oregon hearings, at Congressional and Senatorial hearings and 19 days at the outset of Federal Power Commission hearings on Snake River hydroelectric development, testifying before the Senate on three different occasions; did local and legislative work assuring transportation routes to Hells Canyon and Snake River; spokesman for Anthony Lakes market road and forest access prior to the ski area expansion; he was with a group who pioneered federal interests that located present loop road access to Wallowa County and Hells Canyon rim; was one of several who successfully prevented the freeway bypassing Baker City; promoted with city leaders central interchange and four lane 10th Street and Campbell Street developments; held important role in forest-federal-state negotiations that assured Tipton Highway 7 cutoff; activist in Historical Society preservation of the natatorium for the Oregon Trail Regional Museum and its restoration.
Mr. Brinton had been an advocate of soil and water conservation, resource preservation and utilization, a quality city and county; was one of the earliest to forecast the energy crunch.
In a story written in 1984, he summarized his 50 years editorship, "as a consistent mixture of advocating growth, clean air, pure water, productive soil, green forests, people responsibility and the bond of a free press." He was honored as Grand Marshal at the Haines Stampede Parade, Miners' Jubilee in Baker City and the Halfway Fair parade. He never missed attending the Halfway Fair, and always held a spot in his heart for this event.
He enjoyed the outdoors, and was one of the first with his wife Roberta to take a lease on a cabin site at Anthony Lakes, and when he could take time away from work, he enjoyed fishing.
He enjoyed huckleberry picking, and hiking with Roberta and their dogs, and during a couple of years period, traveled on weekends to put together a "Travelog" feature for his newspaper.
He was said to be a kind and caring man, and a good husband and father, who really enjoyed his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Roberta, in 1993, and by other family members.
Survivors include his children, Lynn West of Portland, Ross West and wife, Georgia, of Baker City; Byron of Baker City; Alice Williamson and husband, Larry, of Alta, Wyo., and Greg Brinton and wife, Trish of Baker City; grandchildren, Douglas Paul Remington, Holly Ann Remington, Charley Burr Brinton, Morgan Elaine Brinton, Katie Jo Williamson Murdock, Anna Lee Williamson Baler, Larry Adam Williamson, Kaila Hughes and Julie Hughes; six great grandchildren; brothers, Don, Tim and Tom, and sisters, Ardis and Elizabeth.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Oregon Trail Regional Museum or Sumpter Valley Railroad Restoration Inc. through Gray's West & Company, P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814.