Bennie L. Jantzer, 95, of Grants Pass died Thursday April 11th, 2013 at Ashley Manor. A private family celebration of life will be held this summer.
He was born May 29th, 1917 in Grants Pass, Oregon to John and Sylvia Jantzer. He grew up in Azalea attending Glendale schools. On November 22nd, 1941 he married Alice Patterson and began their lives together in Azalea. He was drafted into the US Army in 1942 and went to mechanical school in Sheppard Field Texas. He then went to Lockheed in Los Angeles for more schooling on P-38 fighters. He was then put into the Army Air-Corps and served in World War II stationed in Guam for 4 years.
Once he returned, he went back to Azalea with his family. He then started to get into the family business of logging and became an equipment operator. He worked as a logger until he retired in the 80's. Once he retired, he and Alice moved to Grants Pass to live out their retirement. He lost his wife Alice on April 5th, 1988.
Throughout his life, Ben was an avid outdoorsman. He loved to fish, hunt, gold mine, and travel. Towards the end of his life, Ben loved to find a good garage sale for treasures, attend the vitality center for ballroom dancing, and liked to head to Seven Feathers to try his luck. He always loved to share a good story and to talk about his fishing and hunting days, since they were legendary. He was known as Mr. Illinois for all of the steelhead and salmon he would catch. He fished the lakes and rivers all over the valley, namely the Rogue, the Illinois, and the North Umpqua Rivers as well as Diamond Lake, Howard Prairie, and Fish Lake. In the 80's he was interviewed by both the Courier and a national magazine called Western Outdoors. From that article, Ben was quoted about the Illinois saying “It’s a lot of river, I call it a man's river... It's not so crowded and the fish are always big, bright, and fresh.'
He fed his family by hunting and fishing for many years... Alice never went to the market for meat for the family. Ben hunted black tail in Western Oregon, and mule deer in Eastern Oregon. Ben never missed a deer season… he always filled his tag. It was a Jantzer family tradition every year where they would all gather, talk of old hunting stories, and fill their tags.
Once Ben was unable to live on his own he moved in to Oak Lane Retirement home. Ben was very happy here, where he received great care, made many friends along the way, and enjoyed the rest of his years. The staff at Oak Lane were all greatly appreciated by Ben and his family.
Ben is survived by his children, Elaine Davis of Idaho, and Steve Janzter of Grants Pass, two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.