Alvin Kesterson 1929-2013

Alvin KestersonOn Thursday, June 27, 2013, Charles Alvin “Big Al” Kesterson of Elkton, Ore., founder of The Big K Guest Ranch peacefully passed from this world into heaven.

Over the past 20 years, thousands of our guests have been welcomed with Alvin’s warm smile, sparkling blue eyes, and massive but gentle handshake.  Many were fortunate to hear Big Al’s wonderful tales from his adventures working and hunting on the ranch, and fishing the famous Umpqua River Loop.  His love, understanding and relationship with nature was evident throughout his life.

In addition to founding the Big K Guest Ranch, Alvin was a partner in Kesterson Brothers Logging Company, livestock rancher, farmer, timber manager, hunting and fishing guide, community leader, and served on several service organizations and boards throughout Douglas County.

He was born, raised and lived his entire life at the family ranch near Elkton. He grew up alongside his father Keith, mother Myrtle, brother Virgil, and sister Vera.  After marrying his beloved wife Wanda, together they raised five children; a son, Charlie, and four daughters, Charlene, Kathie, Shirley and Linda.  Alvin felt endless pride and joy in experiencing six generations of his family living and working together, and their legacy of hard work and strong family bonds.  In addition to his core family, Big Al was known to offer and provide his loving home to others in need.

Alvin Kesterson Alvin Kesterson Alvin Kesterson Alvin Kesterson Alvin KestersonAlvin loved the small town, country lifestyle and committed his life to the stewardship of his family ranch.  After 84 years, few in this world can claim that they took their first and last breath in the same room – in his case, the century-old family farmhouse located near the entrance of the ranch.

Alvin was a rare individual who was not only a dreamer and visionary, but also had the extraordinary ability to make things happen.  As a result, he generated an endless circle of friends and family who respected and trusted his wisdom. His legacy and memories will live on in their hearts forever.

The Big K families and staff would like to thank you for your prayers and would love to hear your favorite memories and stories with Big Al. Please share them below.

A Celebration of Life in honor of Big Al will be held at the Big K Guest Ranch Lodge near Elkton on Sunday, July 28, at 5 p.m.


The Big K Guest Ranch Lodge Reservation Office will be operating remotely March 17-31. Office staff will be telecommuting and available during regular business hours to respond to email and phone call inquiries. The Big K Lodge facility will be open by appointment only during this time. We ask all visitors to call ahead if you plan to visit the Lodge. We are closely monitoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization’s (WHO) statements regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and following the guidelines from these agencies, and the state and local health departments. The wellbeing of our guests and employees is of paramount importance.

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