Sad news about the death of a 34-year-old woman with ties to Philomath passed across my desk early last week. Sarah Irin Johnson Chinen passed away unexpectedly on Nov. 12 in Newport.

Born on the East Coast and spending most of her childhood in Alaska, Sarah attended college at the University of Alaska Fairbanks before moving to Washington state and then to Oregon, according to an obituary published Dec. 5 in the Daily News-Miner in Fairbanks.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in fisheries and wildlife science at Oregon State University.

“Sarah’s career reflected her dedication to animal care and welfare,” the obituary reads, specifically mentioning work she had done at the Ark Animal Hospital in Philomath.

Another excerpt from the obituary:

“Sarah had a love of all animals, especially dogs and cats. While working as a vet tech, she once brought home two dogs that were to be put down and nursed them to health. She also rescued a stray dog and cat off the streets in Philomath, Oregon, giving them medical care and a home to stay.

‘When helping her family adopt pups from the pound, Sarah would say ‘I always took the pup that looked the worst off because they might not have a chance at a good home.’”

Sarah was most recently employed by Samaritan Health Services in Corvallis.

Condolences to Sarah’s family on their loss.

This final message from her obituary:

“The Johnson family would like to thank those who knew and loved Sarah while she was alive. Her experiences and relationships shaped her into the person we loved. We would ask that any donations in her memory be made to the Fairbanks Animal Shelter or any local animal rescue.

(Brad Fuqua is publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He can be reached at