August 31, 2011

A Fair Lady

Alisa Angelakis
Spokesman staff

In her new role as president of the Oregon Fairs Association, longtime Redmond resident and Deschutes County Fair Director Rachel McIntosh now shares her many years of talent and expertise in a wider arena.
The 75-year-old mother of two and grandmother of four said she had been involved in the local county fair since she started 4-H in the third grade. One of 15 fair directors, McIntosh is the director of open class non-livestock and oversees 10 departments. She has held that position since 1981. Before that, she spent some time as a 4-H leader. She also is currently the mentor for the Deschutes County Rodeo queen and organizes the county fair association annual membership dinner.
“We’re all really thrilled that she’s been given this opportunity,” said Deschutes County Fair Director Mike Schiel. “I think it’s really well deserved.”
Deschutes County Fair Association President Craig Unger said McIntosh really knows how to run her department and takes great pride in her work at the fair.
“Even at her age, she’s feisty and has spunk,” he said.
“Age is what you make it,” says McIntosh, adding that her mother lived to be 97 and was pretty healthy.
McIntosh said she ran for the vice-presidency of the Oregon Fairs Association about a year ago when the seat was vacated, thinking it might be fun to be president and “a good way to end my career, if I ever do.” Vice-presidents automatically move up to president – you must be elected vice-president first – and both serve two-year terms. McIntosh moved into the presidency in January after spending only six months as vice-president to complete that term.
It wasn’t the first time she had run for the position.
“I tried that a couple times early on, but they didn’t seem to think a woman needed to be a president or vice-president,” she said.
Jerry Underwood, the previous Oregon Fairs Association president and current director at large, described McIntosh as a hardworking, caring person.
“She definitely has a real love for county fairs. Rachel’s just the kind of person that if something needs done, she jumps in and does it.”
Underwood, who has known McIntosh for 20 years, said it was admirable that she had been able to maintain good relationships with all the fair boards over the years.
Except for eight years following high school, McIntosh has lived in the area since the day she was born. Her aunt lived in Redmond’s old hospital on Ninth Street, across from the old high school.
“Redmond wasn’t very much of a town in those days,” she says.
Raised in Metolius, McIntosh attended Madras High School and met her husband, Mac, who was from Wyoming, when he was visiting relatives in Culver. The couple married in Madras in 1957. After spending some time in Eastern Oregon and Nampa, Idaho, the couple moved to Redmond and settled into a home on Antler Avenue in 1969. They moved to their current residence near Smith Rock in Terrebonne in 1979. They live on an 85-acre ranch with horses, cows, chickens, and more. Their children and grandchildren live on each side of them.
“They’re a big help; we couldn’t do it by ourselves,” McIntosh says. “As long as they stay around, it’s okay, but if they decide to up and go somewhere else, they’ll have to take the farm with them.”
McIntosh’s children are well-known in the community. Her son, Mike, is director of operations for the Redmond School District; her daughter, Gayle, works in the career office at Redmond High School.
The family’s draft horses bring in the wagon that kicks off the Deschutes County Rodeo every year.
McIntosh retired from the U.S. Postal Service in 2009 after a 33-year career as a rural carrier in Powell Butte. Her husband is a retired school teacher.
In her free time, McIntosh said she enjoys yard work, oil painting and making quilts and all-occasion cards.

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