A blog by one of Marjorie's many friends, Sarah Anderson.
Please click this Legacy link.
Marjorie Van Gilder of Van Gilder Arabians by Carol Mulder
Marjorie began her Van Gilder Arabians in the late 1940s at Wasco,
Oregon, which is just south of the Columbia River about midway
between Oregon's west and east borders, right along Highway 97. It
is wonderful, rolling, wheat land. Van Gilder Arabians is on land
owned by both Marjorie's family and the family of her husband, Arthur
Van Gilder, for about 3 generations.
Van Gilder Arabians is thus one of the three oldest on-going Arabian
breeding programs in the United States (the other two are Bazy
Tankersley's Al-Marah and the breeding program of the Doyle Arabians
- but Van Gilder stud is the only one still at its original
location). Marjorie began her breeding program with some fine stock
of old Kellogg lines and then acquired Muhuli, one of the best sons
of the great Abu Farwa. Van Gilder Arabians continues today with
these same basic bloodlines.
The stud will be carried on by Marjorie's and Arthur's daughter, Dee
I first met Marjorie in the early 1970s when my husband obliged me by
agreeing for our vacation to drive all the way to Wasco so I could
see Muhuli and the other Van Gilder Arabians. Marjorie and I became
fast friends - and have remained so all these years. She was not
only a dedicated breeder of high quality and successful Arabian
horses, but she was also a loyal, kind, and supportive friend - as
was her own wonderful mother, Sadie Rich, who had Arabian horses just
a tad before Marjorie got her first one.
Marjorie did MUCH good for the Arabian horse. Van Gilder Arabians
garnered a justly deserved and well proven reputation for high
quality stock that has succeeded in the show ring, in endurance,
trail riding, and in racing. Family horses with "the right stuff" -
and handsome Arabians too. Additionally, Marjorie was involved in
some of the earliest Arabian racing in the U.S. where she enjoyed
several notable successes with her stock. She was very dedicated.
Because of Marjorie, some precious old bloodlines and qualities have
been preserved for the Arabian breed's future.
Marjorie was a wonder person and a wonderful breeder of Arabian
horses. The breed owes her much.
Marjorie Eloise Rich Van Gilder died peacefully in her sleep early morning on the 3rd day of March, 2010. Marjorie Eloise Rich was born to Elmer Pardee Rich and Sadie Maude Hayner Rich on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1919, just outside Wasco; in the same ranch house where she later married her lifetime love, Arthur Van Gilder. She had two older brothers, Elvis and Gordon Rich. Marjorie’s early years were spent on the family wheat ranch, and her early education was at the community school in Wasco. Because of her father’s health, they moved to the Wallowa’s and then on to Hubbard, OR. After graduating from High school in 1937, the family moved back to the ranch in Wasco while Marjorie went onto college at Oregon State University where she was studying agriculture. After only a year of schooling though, she went on to work for a family in Idaho on their ranch before returning to Wasco to be with her family and work the ranch breaking horses for a dollar a day.
She met Arthur at the age of twenty, (although she had met him as a child, as he just lived a mile up the road and his mother was her first grade teacher). They were married December 9, 1942, in her family home while he was home on leave from the Marine Corp. They lived a short time in Tillimook, Oregon while Arthur was stationed there, and when Arthur was sent to the Pacific theater she moved back with her parents until the war was over and Arthur returned home. They had three children together, Arlyn, Brent, and Dee. After her husbands honorable discharge from the military, they worked on the Claude Thompson ranch for a time before working for Arthur’s father, Harry Van Gilder, on his wheat ranch. Eventually they merged the Rich and Van Gilder Ranches to a form a ranch of their own; eventually adding more land in Sherman County called the McDonald place and leased and later purchased land in Gilliam County. Marjorie was very involved in all aspects of the ranch work besides being a mother and housewife. They raised Herford cattle and Arabian horses along with the main crop being wheat.
She was also very active in their church, the Wasco Church of Christ. Over the years she was a Sunday school teacher, very involved and supportive of the Brazilian missionaries Merlin and Gertrude Shields as well as the McKinley Indian Mission in the Yakima Valley and she was also the church treasurer for many years. She also found time to be a 4-H horse club leader for 30 years.
Her passion was breeding Arabian horses and started that endeavor in 1949 and it is still an active breeding farm 61 years later, making it on of the oldest Arabian breeding farms in the United States. She showed her horses, mainly on the Mid Columbia show circuit and All Arabian shows in the Northwest, winning many awards for her hard work. In 1982, she began successfully racing her Arabians throughout the United States, but primarily the western states. Two of her race horses were nationally recognized with Darley Nominations (sort of like an Oscar for Arabian racehorses, and one mare retired as the third Top Older Race Mare for the year 2001. Many horses she sold went into the endurance market and that has been the main market for her athletic horses for the past twenty years. In 2003, the Eastern Crabbet Arabian Horse Society honored her with their Lifetime Achievement Award, for which she was able to travel to Virginia to receive. In 2007, she was honored by OSU College of Agricultural Sciences, Diamond Pioneer Agricultural Career Achievement Registry for her contributions to the Arabian horse in state of Oregon. She was a lifetime member of the Oregon Horseman’s Association. She contributed greatly to the Arabian racing in the Northwest for over twenty years. Member of the Arabian Horse Registry for 61 years.
Marjorie was preceded in death by her parents and her brother Gorden Rich. She is survived by her husband, Arthur, brother Elvis Rich of Wasco, Oregon, children, Arlyn VanGilder and wife Sandra of Wasco, Oregon, Brent VanGilder and wife Sandy of Wasco, Oregon, Dee Van Gilder of Wasco, Oregon, grandchildren; Sheila Earthman and husband Dan of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, Samie VanGilder of Wasco, Oregon, Kristy VanGilder of Wasco, Oregon, Angelic Beers and husband Doug of Vancouver, Washington, Allen VanGilder of Wasco, Oregon, Tina Middleton and husband Ken, of Wasco, Oregon, 11 great grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Services will be held on Saturday March 13, 2010 at 1 PM at the Wasco Church of Christ in Wasco, Oregon with Pastor Jerry Krewson officiating. There will be a fellowship meal to follow.
Memorials contributions may be made to American Diabetes Association, Special Olympics, Sherman County 4-H, or the Wasco Church of Christ-Handicap Ramp Fund.