Thursday, December 27, 1945
SAD DROWNING MARS CHRISTMAS FOR FAMILY HERE
Robert M. Jimerson Loses Life In Snake River In Attempt To Retrieve Drifting Canoe
Tragedy stalked here Christmas eve to mar the anticipated pleasure of a large well known Payette family on the first peace time Christmas in five years when Robert M. Jimerson, 34, fur trapper, was drowned in the Snake river while trying to retrieve a drifting canoe.
The body was not recovered until the afternoon of Christmas day when the efforts of a searching party headed by Jimersons brother, Earl, who had hurried here from Walla Walla, Wash., proved successful. Reports are that the body was found in only four feet of water a short distance below where the swimming man went down. It was said that the legs were in a cramped position indicating that was the cause of the drowning.
Jimerson, who had trapped for years was on one of his daily tours of his trap line on Snake river. Since it was Christmas vacation time from school, his son Robert Jr., 12 accompanied him on the trip. When they reached an island near the mouth of the Malheur river, they pulled the canoe on the bank and went at look at traps set around the island. When they returned they saw that the canoe had drifted off the bank and was about 60 feet out in the water. Despite protests of his son, Jimerson took off his outer clothing and started to swim out toward the canoe. He had gone only a short distance when he called to his son, "I'm a goner. Good Bye." Robert Jr. reported that his father sank and he did not see him come up again. Following the tragedy the youngster's screams attracted some duck hunters who look him off the island and thence to Ontario where Oregon state police were notified.
They immediately got the state boat kept on the Oregon side and began the search for the body using grappling hooks obtained from the court house here.
Earl Jimerson, brother of the drowned man who had trapped with him many years was notified at Walla Walla, Wash., and he made a hurried trip to this city arriving at about 10:30 Christmas eve. He was up early Christmas morning and with the help of a party of friends and police officers finally recovered the body about 1:30 that afternoon. Robert Jr. was taken along to point out the spot where he last saw his father.
Jimerson is survived by his wife, Wanda, two sons, and a step son; his mother, Mrs. W. C. Yoakum and a number of their relatives residing in this city. He was born at Crystal and had resided most of his life in that section.
Funeral services will be held at the Baptist church, Friday afternoon at 2 o'clock with the Rev. Paul Felthouse giving the sermon. Landon's will be in charge of interment at Riverside cemetery.