Sewing 06


Faye Olga Musselwhite

February 28, 1927 ~ March 11, 2018 (age 91)

Mom passed peacefully 11 days after her 91st birthday with her son Shane and daughter-in-law Lisa by her side.  Born in Baker City, Oregon, Faye was the 7th of 12 children born to Alfred and Ada Ortloff.  Being from a depression era family, Faye had a strong work ethic and moved to Portland in her early twenties to pursue work along with some of her sisters.  She held a number of jobs in her lifetime, worked in the Portland Shipyards, as a housekeeper, assisted her former husband in running their janitorial service and worked as a seamstress for companies like Jantzen, White Stag, Pendleton Woolen Mills and the Edmondson Drapery Company.  Faye was an artist with needle and thread and generously gave away uncounted hand sewn quilts and pillow covers to those she loved.  In 2000, she entered a Cathedral Pillow she created in the Oregon State “Ageless Art” competition. There were 160 entries, Faye was one of 5 winners and was given special recognition at the State Capitol for her unique entry.  Faye never learned to drive stating “that’s not for me, I don’t need the stress or cost” following the one, very brief lesson she consented to.  She flew only 2 or 3 times in her life, including once to Idaho when she was asked to travel by her employer to oversee a hotel drapery installation which she was quietly very proud to have been asked to do.  She was a trusted employee everywhere she worked, the only person other than family to have been given a key to the home of a prominent Portland family who employed her as a housekeeper.


Frugal to the bone, she loved the S&H Green Stamp program and had been known to scold her husband if he failed to return from shopping or buying gas with the proper number of coupons.  She enjoyed sweepstakes and the occasional game of chance, winning “wall to wall carpeting” for her east Portland home in a drawing in the late 60’s which was a very big deal.  In the 70’s, she developed an interest in the Multnomah Kennel Club, for a while was a regular at the dog races where she made several friends and did quite well betting on “the puppies”.  Not trusting the statistics provided by the track on their racing “form”

she kept her own detailed records in spiral notebooks and relied on her system for picking the winners.


Faye and her family lived on small acreage properties, first in Damascus and then in Wilsonville, where she was a passionate gardener, canning and preserving much of the family diet.  She enjoyed the menagerie of animals her sons asked to bring home.  She rarely said no to their new additions and helped in the care of countless horses, dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, pheasants and a bummer lamb named Sheila, her son, Scott acquired for a FFA project.  She participated in the Clackamas County Fair with her sons, occasionally entered herself and had been known to bathe a white Cochin bantam rooster in diluted Woolite followed by a blow dry in hopes of obtaining a blue ribbon winning sheen which she did more than once.  While living in SE Portland, she could be seen every Saturday morning leading the way for her two sons and their horses along SE Stark to Rodgers Stables so they could participate in 4-H then they would parade back home, put the horses away and immediately march the other direction to Rockwood Lanes for the youth bowling league.  Faye was a proud, perhaps overly concerned grandparent to her two grandchildren, Kent and Lauren, routinely starting conversations with her son and daughter-in-law with the inquiry “is everything ok?”


Friends meant so much to Mom.  In her later years, if only by phone, she maintained connections dating back many decades.  She had genuine concern for many causes.  In her personal papers, we found no less than 10 replies from congressmen and senators to letters she sent on a number of causes.  Perhaps a surprise to some she was a lifelong democrat, supporter of unions and the working poor.


The tragic death of Faye’s daughter, Patty in 1958, due to a freak accident at school, left a cloud over her life and those of us who knew her best, know it never fully lifted.  In her bible, she carried with her a photo of Patty, the original Oregonian headline cut from the article about the accident and a note of condolence sent by her best friend, Leona, all of which were 60 years old and by her side when she passed.

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