Apr 6, 2012
by WLJ

Doc Hatfield, founder of Country Natural

Beef, dies at 74

Patrick Dale “Doc” Hatfield, founder of a family ranchers beef cooperative headquartered in Oregon that became a champion of sustainable range management, died of pancreatic cancer at age 74 on Tuesday, March 20, 2012.

Hatfield and his wife, Connie, founded Oregon Country Beef in 1986 with 14 ranch families who wanted to raise all-natural beef. The co-op, now called Country Natural Beef, has grown to more than 100 ranch families in 13 states.

Hatfield was born in Roseburg on March 17, 1938, and worked on his uncle’s ranch in Douglas County. The nickname Doc stuck after he graduated from Colorado State University as a doctor of veterinary medicine.

He served in the U.S. Army and worked as a veterinarian in Enterprise and in Victor, MT, before moving to Brothers, OR, in 1976.

He and his wife established the Oregon Country Beef cooperative after Connie learned that a Bend fitness instructor had directed his students to eat lean beef, with no hormones or antibiotics, which came from Argentina but wasn’t always readily available.

When Hatfield was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2009, he and Connie ceded leadership of the coop’s marketing to Frenchglen rancher Stacy Davies.

“One of Doc’s favorite sayings is, ‘If it’s already been done, it’s not worth doing again,’” Davies said. “He was always looking for a way that would recognize the diversity of a group of people and make diversity a strength, using the collective wisdom of a group.”

Hatfield is survived by his wife and two children.

Mark Thomas Perez Sr. (1953 - 2012)

Mark Thomas Perez Sr., 58, of Crows Landing, passed away at his residence.

Perez was a born in Modesto, CA, and grew up in the Crows Landing area. He attended local schools and later received a Bachelor’s of Science in Agricultural Business at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Mark was a funloving guy who enjoyed life to its fullest.

During his struggle in the past year, he remained positive with great courage and strength. He has been an inspiration to all. He was a loyal and supportive friend, father, son and brother.

Upon graduation, Perez went to work for the Perez Family Business, in charge of produce sales, spending time in Firebaugh and Nogales, AZ, selling cantaloupes, strawberries, tomatoes, melons and other vegetables.

He also sold asparagus in the Tracy area. The last several years, he was in charge of tomato sales for San Joaquin Tomato Growers in Crows Landing.

Perez was on the board of the Western Growers Association, California Tomato Farmers, California Angus Association, Fresno Madera Farm Credit and West Side Equipment. His hobbies included breeding cattle, which started as a 4-H Club project and worked into a business starting with running commercial cattle which then turned into a registered Angus herd. He was an occasional golfer and enjoyed getting together with friends and playing Gin Rummy. He also enjoyed watching sports, especially baseball.

Perez is survived by his son, Mark Perez Jr. of Patterson, daughter, Ashley Edwards of Seattle, WA; father, Thomas Perez of Crows Landing, and sister, Tina Phillips of Modesto. He was preceded in death by his mother, Eva Perez and brother, Dennis Neves.

A visitation was held March 29 at Hillview Funeral Chapel in Patterson and a memorial service followed the next day at F.D.E.S. Hall in Newman.

Donations may be made to: National Ag Science Center Foundation, PO Box 4937, Modesto, CA 95352, Hospice of Emanuel Medical Center, 825 Delbon Avenue, Turlock, CA 95382, or charity of choice.

Rebecca Moorhouse

On Thursday, March 14, 2012, Rebecca Moorhouse passed away with her family by her side at the Moorhouse Ranch located in King County, TX, her home of 22 years, after fighting a courageous battle with cancer.

Born April 29, 1954, in Seymour, TX, to parents Ann and Manford Elliott, Becky was raised at the historic Waggoner Ranch until her father took a position with the Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers. Ranching was the only life she knew until she began her nursing career. On several occasions, she volunteered her services on trips to Mexico giving medical attention to needy children.

In 1989, Becky returned to the ranching way of life when she married Tom Moorhouse. At this juncture in her life, Becky went everywhere Tom went.

She rode a horse with poise and grace and appreciated how folks in the ranching community depend on each other. She embraced the opportunities this lifestyle had to offer. Tom and Becky raised five children and instilled in them the same values that they had learned in the ranching community.

In addition to being a wonderful wife, mother and homemaker, Becky loved Mother Nature’s splendor. She transformed the historic Moorhouse Ranch headquarters into an oasis of beauty honoring its heritage while maintaining an environment where cowboys, family and visitors always felt at home.

A lover of horses, Becky worked endless hours researching Moorhouse Ranch’s equine lineage and history and was the driving force behind the ranch receiving the American Quarter Horse Association’s prestigious Remuda Award in 2008.

In 2009, Tom, Becky and their son, Gage, moved to nearby Tongue River Ranch where Tom took the position as general manager.

Becky is preceded in death by her father, Manford Elliott. She is survived by her husband, Tom Moorhouse; her mother, Ann Elliott; three brothers, Bob Elliott and wife, Rhonda, Bill Elliott and wife, Patricia, Gilbert (Cotton) Elliott and wife, Ginger; a sister, Cindy Layton and her husband, Rayburn; three sons, Brad Walker and wife, Bridget, Seth Walker and wife, Jessica, and Gage Moorhouse; stepson, Jed Moorhouse and wife Michelle; and a stepdaughter, Jody Lindeman and husband, Douglas. Becky was loved by seven grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Becky truly never met a stranger and was kind and endearing to all that had the fortune to meet her. She proudly described herself as a rancher’s wife and was equally proud that her mother and grandmother were ranchers’ wives. She was always a true ambassador for the ranching and cowboy way of life.

Becky was laid to rest at the family cemetery at Moorhouse Ranch.

The family has asked that, if desired, donations be made to North Texas Rehab, 1005 Midwestern Parkway, Wichita Falls, Texas 76302.