Lumber Executive and Philanthropist

Stuart Shelk

By Steve Lent, Museum Historian

Stuart John Shelk grew up in a lumber oriented family and came to Central Oregon to eventually manage one of the major mills in the region. Stuart was born in Portland, Oregon on July 23, 1905. His grandfather O.M. Clark operated the Clark-Wilson Lumber Company in Linnton, Oregon. He attended school in Linnton and graduated from Lincoln high school in Portland. He then attended Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State University0 and graduated in 1928. He worked in his grandfathers mill until 1938. That year he was offered a position as office manager and bookkeeper for Ochoco Lumber Company in Prineville. Stuart married Barbara Sturges on October 15, 1938. Barbara was a registered nurse. They had two children. Barbara died in 1950.

Stuart became general manager of Ochoco Lumber company in 1944 and later became President and Chairman of the Board of the company. He remained Chairman of the Board until his retirement in 1978. In 1956 he married Pauline Primus Caine she was born in 1915 in Idaho. She had previously been married to Morton Caine who died in 1954. Pauline had two sons who became part of the Shelk family.

Stuart was active in local affairs and served in various positions on the Prineville City Council. He also served as mayor of Prineville for one term. Both Stuart and Pauline were involved in service to the local community. He was a charter member of the Prineville Pioneer Memorial Hospital and also served on the Boards of Willamette Valley Lumber Company and Willamette Industries. Over the years he also held board positions on a number of lumber related organizations. He was selected to the Forestry Hall of Fame at the World Forestry Center in Portland. The Shelk family also established the Shelk Family Charitable Foundation which has financially supported numerous community and regional programs and organizations.

Stuart retired as Chairman of the Board of Ochoco Lumber in 1978 and became a consultant to the company. He passed away on November 7, 1994. He is buried in a family plot at Portland Memorial Mortuary. Pauline continued to manage the Shelk Foundation for several years and was involved in several local organizations. She currently is retired.