Gary Blanchard is celebrating 50 years as a forester with Starker Forests. Gary graduated with a Forest Management degree from OSU in June of 1961 and immediately began working as a full time forester at Starker Forests. Gary first started working for TJ Starker in 1958, as a student, and called himself a “general all around flunky”. He recalls helping TJ in his nursery, planting trees and running lines on weekends and during the summer. Those of us who know Gary today would call him anything but a flunky. In fact, he is one of the first people we ask if we have a question about the history of a particular site in the forest, the story of a person who has long since passed away, or want to know about current trends in gardening or fishing on the Alsea River.
Gary was our Chief Forester until 2007, when he decided to switch to working half time and focus on a community history project. As Chief Forester, Gary was responsible for overseeing all forest management and harvest activities on Starker lands.
Gary and his wife, Marlene, have been married 53 years and have three daughters and three grandsons. For those of us that work with Gary, we are thrilled that he has not yet decided to fully retire. He is a good friend and mentor to those in the forestry community. Congratulations Gary on 50 years with Starker Forests!