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Myrna Arlene (Little) Headrick
October 14, 1934 — December 18, 2019

STAYTON - Myrna Arlene (Little) Headrick, 85, of Stayton, Oregon, passed away peacefully in her home on December 18, 2019. 

Born in Butte, Montana, Myrna spent the first 10 years of her life there. In 1944, the family moved to Salem, Oregon, where she attended Garfield School and Parrish Junior High, before moving to Sweet Home, Oregon. While in Sweet Home, she became involved in many school activities, Rainbow Girls and the Methodist Church youth program. She earned money as an usher at the local theater and as a “soda jerk” at the Rexall Drug Store fountain. After winning a PTA scholarship for teacher training, in the fall of 1952 she enrolled in Oregon College of Education (OCE), now Western Oregon University, where she earned a degree in education. 

While at OCE, she also met her future husband on a blind date. Jay M. Headrick, serving in the Navy in Subic Bay in the Phillipines, was home on furlough in October 1955, and was set up on a blind date with Myrna by his high school DeMolay friend Mack Williams. That Saturday night date led Jay to call on Monday morning for a 1-month leave extension. Plans were being made for the future.

Myrna graduated from OCE in May of 1956, and Jay was honorably discharged in June, with a wedding planned for December. Intent on pursuing his budding ratio career at Washington State College, Myrna planned to find a teaching job in Pullman. Teaching positions were hard to find and preference was given to in-state teachers. Plans were revised, and Myrna would look for a teaching position in Oregon while Jay worked until he could afford to start school. Meanwhile, Myrna’s parents had moved to Stayton after her father accepted a job as a pharmacist at Stayton Pharmacy.

Coming late to the job search in Oregon, Myrna’s best option was a position in Sodaville. While waiting for the papers to arrive, she was offered a position in the Stayton Elementary School District by Superintendent Adrian (AJ) Dixon, while standing in the grocery line at Girod’s Market (now ACE Hardware). Plans progressed and Myrna & Jay wed on December 23, 1956, at the First United Methodist Church in Salem, Oregon.

Myrna started out her first year of teaching school in 1956 as Miss Little, but came back after the Christmas break as Mrs. Headrick. In March of 1968 a new “pupil” was added when Myrna & Jay welcomed the birth of daughter Michelle. Myrna spent her entire 35-year teaching career in the Stayton School District. During that time, she was primarily a 7th and 8th grade language arts and social science teacher who also acted as vice principal on occasion, and was instrumental in setting up the curriculum program when the Middle School was established. In 1976 she was named Stayton’s Teacher of the Year. In those 35 years, it’s estimated she taught over 3,000 students.

Myrna was active in the community and her church — an advisor for the Bean Festival Queen & Court, on the Santiam Hospital Auxiliary, singing & directing the church choir, serving on numerous committees, and helping organize the annual church bazaar, which celebrated its 40th consecutive year in 2019. In November, Myrna was recognized by the United Methodist Women organization for her 66 years of membership & contribution in the Stayton United Methodist Church. She loved singing, books, bingo & playing cards, attending Portland Trailblazer & OSU football games, RV travel to Arizona & beyond, and spending as much time as possible on her property in Camp Sherman, Oregon. Both retired in 1991.

Myrna was preceded in death by her parents, George T. & Nellie C. Little, husband Jay M. Headrick, and brother Robert G. Little. She is survived by her daughter Michelle Headrick Mays and her son-in-law Doug Mays, Vancouver, WA; two nieces and three nephews.

A celebration of her life will be held Saturday, January 25, 2020, at 2pm at the Stayton United Methodist Church, 1450 Fern Ridge Rd SE, Stayton, OR. There will be a reception following the service in the church Fellowship Hall. Flowers are welcomed though should friends desire, contributions may be made in her name/honor to the Stayton United Methodist Church for the choir fund. Assisting the family is North Santiam Funeral Service, Stayton.


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