PENDLETON - Norman Joseph Conner, 78, of Pendleton died Thursday at St. Anthony's Hospital. Memorial services will be Monday, March 2 at 6:30 p.m. and funeral services will be Tuesday, March 3 at 9 a.m. both at Pendleton Pioneer Chapel and Folsom Bishop. Interment will be at Olney Cemetery followed by a lunch at VFW Post 922.
Conner was born to Gilbert Edward and Elsie Spokane Conner in Tutuilla. He began his lifelong relationship with horses after elementary school at District 44. At the age of eight, he was volunteered to help the police identify brands at the tribal corrals. At the age of 14, he earned his own yearling by working at the corrals during wild horse round-ups. He attended Helen McCune Junior High and graduated from Pendleton High School in 1947.
He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1948 during WWII as a rifleman and was discharged in 1955 with the rank of Sergeant, Field Artillery Batteryman. His active duty combat service in the Korean "Conflict", 1950-51, included Communist China Aggression, First U. N. Counter Offensive, Communist China Spring Offensive, and U. N. Summer-Fall Offensive.
Conner was a journeyman with Ironworkers #29 in the 1950s. At the same time, he was an avid roping competitor in the inland Northwest. During high school and later, he worked for many local farmers and ranchers. He lost a leg in a local farming accident in 1964.
He was featured as one of 100 Oregonians in the Jan. 1, 2000, time capsule portraits edition of the Oregonian as a descendant of Old Joseph. He was inducted into the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Athletic Hall of Fame for basketball in 1997. He was active in the Pendleton Round-Up as a competitor in the Indian races and in the Happy Canyon Pageant.
He is survived by his sisters Leah Conner and Etta Conner Scott, both of Pendleton; two dozen nieces, a dozen nephews and many more grandnieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents; brothers Duane Elliott, Gilbert Cecil., Earl Erwin.; and sisters Naomi C. Shepherd and Antoinette C. Williams.