Each year, long-time residents of the community of Paisley are selected to serve as the Paisley Pioneers for the annual Mosquito Festival. For 2014, the honor has been bestowed upon Ora and LaVonna Temple, according to a press release.
The Temples have called Paisley home since 1956, and will lead this year’s Mosquito Festival parade during the July 25-27 festivities.
As it turns out, the couple’s 58 years of involvement within the central most Lake County community has been a solid fit, as they have enjoyed rural, small-town life greatly.
“We had opportunities to move out of the area,” said LaVonna. “But we didn’t want to leave Paisley. We don’t like big cities. When we go to coffee, here, we know all the people and we enjoy socializing with our friends.”
The couple met while LaVonna, who hails from South Dakota originally, visited a friend and her husband at McChord Air Force base in Tacoma, Wash.
Both had agricultural roots, as LaVonna came from a farming family, while Ora happened to be a rancher’s son from Burns. They married in October 1951, and following his departure from the Air Force and a stint on his family’s ranch, the couple settled in Paisley where Ora took a job as a fire control officer for the U.S. Forest Service. Outside of five years on assignment in Lakeview, Paisley has remained their home for nearly 60 years.
The Temples partnered with daughter DeeAnn and son-in-law Ralph McAllister in purchasing the Paisley Mercantile 30 years ago, which has remained a staple business in the community to this day.
They also volunteer on a variety of forefronts, such as founding the former Lions and Lionesses organizations, which sponsored an annual Mothers’ Day breakfast, the Mosquito Festival breakfast, an annual Easter egg hunt and Halloween party. They’ve also played cards in the annual bridge and pinochle tournaments that serve as a fundraiser for local scholarships.
Ora previously served on the City of Paisley Council as well as the Lake District Library Board, and previously served as an assistant girls basketball coach for Paisley School under Dan Shoun. LaVonna served on the Lake County Mental Health board as well as secretary at Paisley School for 20 years.
“I loved my job working with the teachers and children,” LaVonna said. “There was never a day that I didn’t look forward to going to work.”
Ora and LaVonna are actively involved at present with the Paisley Methodist Church, and they raised four daughters; all of whom graduated from Paisley High School: DeeAnn, Toni, Lanette and Carol.
In addition, they have nine grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.