Corky Stephens Passes Away at 93

Corky Stephens

Clarke “Corky” Stephens passed away peacefully on Sept. 17, 2021 at the age of 93.

Corky was born on Nov. 1, 1927 to Ernest and Mary West Stephens in Rock Creek.

He was raised in Irrigon with his five siblings. Corky played sports and graduated in 1946. Corky enjoyed running combines, riding motorcycles and cars. He had a quick wit and never knew a stranger. He had a ready smile and sense of humor, and the biggest, kindest heart.

Corky joined the Army in 1950. After his departure from the service, he went to work at Sharps Corner in Umatilla. He married the love of his life, Vanyla Wilson, in 1954 and they made their home in Umatilla, where they raised their children, Alan and Debbie.

In 1960, he had Corky’s Texaco built in Hermiston and ran that business until 1968, when he sold it to go to work for the McNary Golf Course as greens keeper. They moved to Pendleton in 1978, where Corky was greens keeper for the Pendleton Country Club. Corky took such pride in his work; it was never a job to him. He left PCC and they moved to Baker City to be closer to family, two grandsons, Jeris (Amber) and Trevor (Sarah); he was over the moon. Eventually they moved back to Pendleton. Not one to sit still, Corky worked for Wilson’s Chevron, then for Pepsi. He so loved his time at Pepsi. He retired at 86.

He is survived by his grandsons and his five great grands (he was over the moon); and his youngest sister, Janet Parke, Hermiston.

He was preceded in death by parents, Ernest and Mary; brothers, Curtis and Joe; sisters, Jean Purtyman and June Benson; and his beloved wife of 64 years, Vanyla.

The family would like to thank the caregivers at Willow Brook Terrace, where Corky resided the last few years; they, too, are family.

No services are planned.

To leave an online condolence for the family, please go to

Burns Mortuary of Hermiston is in care of arrangements.


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