Grant Keltner

MFMUSA1aMy Father Mr. U.S.A.

My relatives loved the United States very much. My grandfather served in the Navy and I think that he passed down a deep love for his country to his sons. I’m proud of my father’s relatives. My grandpa, grandma, father, and uncle are buried at Golden Gate cemetery in Daly City, California. It has been called the Arlington of the west: white gravestones roll through the hills as far as your eye can see.

My father, Glen Allen Keltner, was born in Glen Ellen, Illinois. Born January 18th, 1930, he was the third of four children born to Cecilia and Harold Keltner. Grandpa was a contractor, building homes in the Chicago area. My grandma was a housewife, working full-time raising the kids. She was born in Indiana. My grandpa was from the Oklahoma territory.

Dad was active as a young boy. He loved the outdoors and sports. Growing up as a child, my father had a divine loyalty to his father. He would help my grandpa whenever he could. Giving him a hand with chores, he was my grandpa’s shadow.

In 1936, my grandpa decided to move to Oregon. He had friends that had moved to Oregon, telling him how wonderful the state was. He looked into selling off his home in Glen Ellen so he could buy acreage east of Portland in a small town called Gresham. He would leave the cold winters in Illinois for the cold wet weather in the Columbia River Gorge. They packed everything in their cars and trucks and headed west. Through the rain, mud, and snow, they migrated to Oregon.

My grandpa bought close to fifty acres in Oregon, mainly farmland. His idea was to farm the land, raise his family and then subdivide the land. He would build homes on his property, then sell the homes. It was a good plan.

Dad loved Oregon. It was big. The land was lush and it had an abundance of wildlife, some of the best hunting and fishing in the country. As a young boy, my father loved to fish with friends on the Sandy and Clackamas Rivers. At times, my father would come home with enough salmon to feed the entire family for weeks.

The farmland was fertile. My grandpa planted almost every kind of fruit and vegetable that you could imagine. They had cows for milk and horses to pull the plows. Chickens and geese roamed the land. My father was up early every morning milking the cows and feeding the animals. Dogs and cats ran through the farm; he loved the farm. He enjoyed the fact that the family lived off the land. They made their own butter and preserves and sold fruits and vegetables to the locals. Grandpa started to build homes on his land a few years later, subdividing his land, and building homes one at a time. His business was doing well.

My grandpa and grandma had four children. There was Harold, Dorothy, Glenn, and Bob. Harold was the oldest son. He worked very hard on the farm. He also worked in one of the local lumber mills while he was in high school to make extra money. He loved track and field. Harold was one of the best runners in the state in his day. While in high school, he met his future wife, Diane. They decided once they graduated from high school, they would go to the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. It was 1940.

My aunt Dorothy was a gifted artist who also attended the University of Oregon. She studied painting, sculpture and architecture. She met her husband, Bob, while attending the University. Dorothy and Bob had two daughters, Pam and Dana. Dorothy still lives in Medford, Oregon. She continues to sell and show her work.

In 1941 the war broke out and Harold enlisted in the army. Stationed in the Pacific, he fought in the Philippines. He faced some horrific battles, once having his Jeep overturn due to heavy fire. When he returned from the war, he started to work with Hyster Corporation in Portland. He raised two children, Steven and Kim.

By this time, my father was getting noticed for his athletic accomplishments while attending high school. He worked on the farm, always helping my grandpa. He was going into his senior year of high school and was selected as an Oregon All-State athlete in football and basketball. He also competed in track and field. He received several scholarships from colleges up and down the west coast for his athletic accomplishments. It was 1949 when he decided to attend the University of Oregon.

My father loved athletics, loved to compete. His favorite sport was golf, and he played as often as he could. He was a scratch golfer and deep down I think he always wanted to be a professional golfer. In the family home there are photographs of him golfing, illustrations of golfers, and scorecards from courses he played. The scorecards were from Pebble Beach, San Francisco Country Club, and Los Angeles Country Club. He watched golf all the time on the television.

He also followed football. The Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, and the Oakland Raiders were some of his favorite teams. He enjoyed baseball as well, rooting for the Chicago White Sox, the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics. He loved basketball. I remember going to Giant and Dodger games at Candlestick Park with him.

Uncle Bob was the youngest child in the family. Bob attended Gresham High School where he played football, and went to the University of Oregon. He was drafted into the Air Force while in college and served in Berlin, Germany. He worked in special operations through Air Force intelligence. Bob served as a spy for the U.S. Air Force. I remember many stories late at night where he detailed how he killed people during his tour of duty in Berlin. He was really close to my father; they were best friends.

The Korean War broke out in 1950. My father was a freshman at the University of Oregon, on scholarship with football. His freshman year, he played wide receiver. He loved Eugene, studying business and management. His future was in front of him. He was pretty happy.

His sophomore year, dad was drafted into the army. He would serve in Korea. I think he was devastated. He was just getting use to college life. He loved sports and he wouldn’t be able to compete for Oregon. This was a terrible disappointment to my father. He looked forward to playing football and finishing school. He would now serve a hitch in the Army.

He served in Korea from 1951 to 1954. He was selected to become a sergeant, head of a mortar platoon. They were sent to the front line, the 36th parallel. Under constant fire, dad had accidentally had his platoon blown up by friendly fire. While calling in coordinates, the men in charge of the artillery miscalculated the positions. Three of his men were torn in two, one landing on top of my father.

In the Korean War, close to 54,000 men died in the four year conflict. This war saw intense air and artillery fire. He saw action on the front line and he was also in charge of the prisoners of war. The army would gather up large groups of captured men and my father’s platoon was in charge of watching the prisoners. He visited most of the cities in Korea, including trips to Japan. Most of the G.I.’s out of Korea were given passes to Japan.

Dad faced heavy fire in Korea and saw several of his men die. He was a very proud man. He came from the old school. A man didn’t show emotion, didn’t cry, and kept things to himself. He loved John Wayne, Johnny Cash, and Dixieland Jazz.

He started smoking in Korea. The US military would pass out free cigarettes to the enlisted men. He got addicted to smoking and this haunted him through his entire life. I wish he never started.

Back in the 1950’s there was no Post Traumatic Shock Disorder, a condition that several men faced during heavy combat in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. The army never recognized this condition until the Vietnam War. My father was diagnosed with this condition when he arrived back in the states in 1954. My grandma found him a few times in the middle of the night huddled in the corner of his bedroom, half asleep, shaking, and scared. This carried on for at least three or four years after his return from Korea. My mother experienced his condition the first few years that they were married. The sad thing with the Korean veterans was that they never were truly recognized in Oregon for their efforts. It took almost forty years before a memorial was dedicated to these men.

Dad enrolled at Lewis and Clark Business College and finished up his degree, then worked part time for United Airlines. This is where he met my mother. My mother was working as a ticket agent with United Airlines. They fell in love and married. My grandpa Keltner built them a home and I was born in 1958. Dad and mom loved their home, a large traditional, on almost an acre of land. I can remember dad going pheasant hunting in the field out back of our yard. He loved to hunt and he had the luxury of having pheasants and ducks in the back of the house.

He moved up to working in sales with Sunshine Dairy and eventually with Hyster Corporation. I can remember Dad taking me on his rounds through the northwest. He would visit mills and lumber yards in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California. He wanted me to see the land, to meet the people that he worked with. He was really proud of me and wanted me to be included in his life.

My mother and father lived on a dead end street in Gresham, Oregon. A rural setting with fields, ponds and streams surrounding the home. Apple orchards sat on one side of the house.  I think mom really liked Portland better. She was a city girl and didn’t like the country life that much.

One of my mother’s friends back then was Jean Saunders. Jean had two boys my age; we grew up together as little kids. She was married to Fred Saunders. Fred’s father owned Saunders Chevrolet, the largest car dealership in Gresham. Fred and my dad were friends as kids and the Saunders actually had their home built by my grandfather. They lived right across the street from my mother and father.

Jean would confide in Mom. They became good friends. I was around three one night when Mom got together with Jean. “Shirley, I think Fred is having an affair,” replied Jean.

Mom didn’t know what to say. “Jean, are you sure?” Mother asked. Jean went on to tell mom of the things she had found out about Fred. It looked like he was indeed having an affair. Mom didn’t know what to do about the problem. She knew Jean would drink from time to time and she also knew that she took medications. Jean was terribly upset and mom was worried about her mental wellbeing. This continued for a while and mom tried to do everything she could do for her.

One night, Mom got home and there was an ambulance parked out front of the Saunders home. Jean had overdosed. She was pronounced dead on the scene. Mom was beside herself. She had lost one of her best friends. This upset her deeply and to this day, she has a hard time with her death. Fred went on to marry the woman he had been seeing behind Jean’s back.

A few months later, around the time that I was four years old, I came down with a terrible disease, a rare blood disease that caused a great deal of stress in my parent’s marriage. After being sick for several days my mother finally took me to the hospital, saving my life. My parents fought over whether or not I should be taken to the hospital. This finally led to my parents’ divorce in 1962, when I was four years old. I remember the pain with the divorce. I loved my parents so much. My mother moved out of the house to a small apartment in Northwest Portland. My parents went through a bitter divorce. Finally, the courts appointed me to my mother. It was 1962 and my mother was a single woman trying to raise a son.

My dad took the divorce pretty hard. He loved me very much. He fought my mother tooth and nail in the courts for the rights to raise me. He lost. He had the home, but it must have been empty when mother and I left. He had his family to see him through the loss.

Within a few years, dad started to date a girl that he met by the name of Janet Shumway. Janet was twenty when she met Dad. He must have been close to thirty at the time. They courted for a while and finally, they decided to marry in 1963. I was five at the time. Dad and Jan married and moved to San Jose, California. They decided that they would leave Oregon behind. Dad received a transfer to work with Hyster and be the sales rep for the Bay area. Everything was set.

They lived in San Jose on Saratoga Avenue, near a town by the name of Los Gatos, California. It was a beautiful spot. Back in 1964, San Jose was all orange groves as far as the eye could see. The smell of orange blossoms permeated the air. It was a great place to live. Wide open fields and wildlife was bountiful. My father was given visitation rights by the courts. I would visit him twice a year, once during the summer for a few months and again for two weeks during Christmas. It was great as a kid, the best of both worlds.

My stepmother was a Paralegal, working with one of the bigger law firms in the area. Dad worked in San Jose. At first, it took time to get accustomed to my dad and stepmother being married. Looking back, Jan was good to me, treating me like I was one of her own. She was very active. She liked to ski, hike, camp, golf. My father loved her very much.

They bought a car in 1964, a new Ford Mustang. It was a fire engine red convertible with black interior. A great car, we still have it in the family and it was Dad’s pride and joy. He would go to Santa Cruz and San Francisco in the car; it was an eye catcher for sure. I can remember California in 1965. Big American cars roamed the streets. Mustangs, Camaros, GTO’s, Nova’s, and Firebirds roared up and down the streets. It was a classic time in the car industry. The hippie era had started in San Francisco.

I loved visiting my dad and stepmother. They were so active in their lives. We would go to Lake Tahoe to snow ski, water ski on the Sacramento Delta, and visit friends and family all around California. I really learned to appreciate California. It’s so big. It rolls on and on. The trails and byways take you to ranches, orchards, and big wide open places. We would camp in the Sierras, Yosemite, and the northern coast. It was great. I think I developed a deep appreciation for the land through my father and stepmother.

Around 1969, I found out that dad was going to stop working with Hyster. My stepmother’s father owned a franchise with a restaurant out of Los Angeles called Shakey’s Pizza. My step grandfather had convinced my father to open and own a franchise in the Bay area. He had done very well with his restaurant in southern California. They decided to break ground with a new franchise in a town called Fremont, California. In looking back on this decision, I felt it was one of the worst choices my father ever made. The location was bad. Fremont was growing. It was rural, located close to wide open golden fields that stretched out for miles. Deer, hawks, rabbits, and hawks covered the land.

The restaurant didn’t do well. Jan was working for a law firm out of San Jose and Dad was working insane hours in the restaurant. He would leave around 9:00 a.m. and get home around 1:00 a.m. He worked so hard to make the place work. It was a great plan but the wrong spot for the business. They should have put the restaurant in San Jose or San Francisco. They had good crowds at times but by 1972 the restaurant was sold. Dad started to drink. I wished he’d never stopped working with Hyster. I always thought my Dad’s true talents were in sales and management. He was good at it. He had a really funny personality when he was in a good mood.  He could attract people like a magnet. It was one of the best things about him. He knew how to make people laugh.

Dad started to drink more than he should have when I was about fourteen. I didn’t see it at first and then it crept into my life. He was unhappy. He was unhappy about leaving Hyster, the restaurant failing, and finding out that his wife had been having an affair. Yes, Jan was seeing another man. It hit him like a ton of bricks. She was having her affair with one of the lawyers in her firm.

It must have crushed my father. I could remember the year he stepped down from Hyster. I know he was pressured to go into the restaurant business. My step grandfather had a lot of money and was funding my father and stepmother at times. My dad saw the money made with the restaurant in Los Angeles, but it failed in Fremont.

My stepmother was very independent. Why did she have the affair? Maybe she knew dad was drinking more than ever. Maybe she knew they were wrong to open a restaurant. They were unhappy. I wish she hadn’t made this decision to have the affair. It caused so much damage in my father’s life; I felt sorry for him.

By the time 1974 rolled around, my father and stepmother were on the verge of breaking up. It was sad and I begged for them to stay together. They were good for each other. Through friends and family, they agreed to work through their differences and move forward in the marriage. It was a roller coaster ride for about two years.

They moved to Foster City, California in 1974. They got a place overlooking the water. Foster City is famous for sailing and it’s close to San Mateo, California. Dad was starting over in his life and was back working in sales with Hyster. He was lucky he got the job. My uncle Harold helped him out.

Jan quit her job with the law firm in San Jose and started to work in the law department with Hughes Aircraft Corporation. She was always a hard worker, smart. She moved up through law firms in the Bay Area and with Hughes, becoming one of the top legal aids with the company. I liked Jan a lot. She was young, fun and I thought she was one of the best friends I ever had. I started to learn about forgiveness.

Dad continued to drink. It got bad at times. He couldn’t let the hurt from the affair go; he couldn’t put it in the past. He used his drinking as revenge for the things my stepmother did with her lawyer friend. He tried to hurt her through the alcohol. I wish my father had looked into getting help for his problem earlier. I remember how embarrassed I was with his drinking. He didn’t care about anything. He eventually lost his job with Hyster around 1977. It was a sad time. Dad worked in sales with a few other companies up to 1985. The drinking got in the way of him doing well in his life.

He was sad with his drinking, happy at times, and then he would turn mean. He would skip dinner and go through three or four scotches a night. You could see his sadness. He would stay up late, not waking up until late in the morning. It really bothered me. He would show up drunk at events and family outings. I don’t know why my father and stepmother stuck together. I could tell they weren’t happy. It was sad. Everything seemed so bleak. My stepmother saved my father’s life, looking back. I don’t think he had any place to go during this time. He had painted himself into a pretty dark corner.

Around 1977, Nathan, my brother, was born. Out of the blue, Nathan appeared. Jan was close to forty when she had Nathan. It was the one thing that helped resolve some of my father’s demons and problems with drinking. I think Nathan was the best thing for my father’s life.

My father and stepmother decided to buy a home in Half Moon Bay, California. It was a great spot near the beach, big and open. It had views of the ocean from the back deck. The coastal hills rolled into the backyard. The sea breeze, birds and wildlife flourished. I think the intention of my father and stepmother of buying the home was to keep the family together. Nathan was about two when they moved in.

Dad and Jan raised Nathan. My stepmother continued with Hughes Corporation. Dad took on the responsibility of watching over Nathan, getting him to school, getting him to do chores, getting him to play classical piano, and getting him to study. He would watch over Nathan the rest of his life. My father was Mr. Mom. Eventually, Jan became so good at her job that she was offered a position with Franklin Templeton, one of the largest investment companies in the world. She now works in the legal department. She has done well for herself.

Growing up, Nathan was a really cute kid. It was strange to have a new brother at the age of twenty. He had red hair and looked like a little pumpkin. He had a dad that was an alcoholic. It was hard on him, I’m sure. Nathan was always a smart kid. He got a lot of attention as a kid. My parents loved Nathan very much. I did as well. I tried to teach him about art, photography, the environment, and tried to help him through his pain with Dad’s problems with alcohol. Nathan got a lot of love from my father. From the day he was born up until my father’s death, Nathan always received my father’s love.

Due to the smoking, alcohol, and heartache, my father had his first heart attack in 1978. They cracked his chest, cleaned out his arteries, and sewed him back together. After surgery, my father tried to recover from his set back. The doctors warned him about smoking and drinking. He had to make better choices in his life. I would visit my father, but not for too long. We would usually get in a fight over his smoking or drinking. The fights would continue on for almost ten years. It was my war with my father. At times it felt like a marathon. I spent many nights trying to talk with him about his problems.

He continued to help raise Nathan. Nathan graduated with a 3.8 grade point average out of high school. He went on to attend college at the University of California at Davis. He graduated in International Business. Dad would be very proud of him.

Around 1992, Dad had his second heart attack. While recovering from his second heart attack, he suffered a stroke a few years later. Complications followed. After two years of being bed-ridden, my father died at the age of 64. He looked like he was 90.

I can’t tell you how many times I fought with my father over smoking and drinking. His problems were fueled by what he experienced and suffered in Korea, a bad first marriage and divorce, losing the chance to play collegiate football, being involved in a bitter custody battle, watching a business that failed, and finding out that his second wife had cheated on him. I think my dad had enough of his hell. I think he had been hurt so many times that he said “to hell with it”. I think he wanted to check out.

My father should have received help through the V.A. after he came back from the Korean War. He should have stopped smoking the cigarettes the military gave him. He should have stopped drinking. He loved his country very much. He worked hard in his life and loved his family. I wish he had lived longer. Dad died about a week before Nathan graduated from high school in 1996. We buried him in the Golden Gate cemetery in Daly City, California. God rest his soul.

It’s sad what war, disappointment in business, and the loss of love will do to a human being. Some people have greater strength with adversity and loss. My father stopped drinking when he was sixty. The last four years that he was alive I tried to make up with him for words said, for anger for the way he treated my mother, and for the way he treated those that loved him. I wish I could have known him better.



The Forestry Building fire of 1964

I’ve met several memorable people and seen many unforgettable things while growing up in Northwest Portland. My mother moved to the area back in 1964. Having just experienced a bitter divorce, she found an apartment at the dead end of Northwest Pettygrove. It was a great place, big enough for both of us, and just blocks from Chapman Grade School and Wallace Park.

We had a great view looking north toward the industrial area. I loved having Forest Park close to our front door. We actually had deer that roamed into the green space surrounding our apartment. I enjoyed the history of the area, the industrial section, and the docks. The historical architecture made it a great place to live. Many artists, poets, writers and politicians came out of the neighborhood.

In 1964 my mother and I had the entire view of the Forestry Building fire. Located about four blocks north of our home the building was a historical landmark. Built for the Lewis and Clark Exposition in 1904, it was built as the largest log cabin in the world. It was huge, an amazing structure.

Built out of Douglas firs, the log cabin was almost a block long and three stories high. The logs were gigantic, some of the oldest old growth in the Northwest.  It was a large museum showcasing exhibits with the history of the forest industry in Oregon. The Forestry Building was made of whole logs with the bark still in place. Galleries lined the upper floors. The rustic tree-lined interior of the Forestry Building was 100 feet wide by 200 feet long and 72 feet tall. It was designed by famed architect A.E. Doyle who was responsible for some of Portland’s most treasured buildings including U.S. Bank, the Central Library, Meier & Frank, Lipmann’s and Reed College, and Multnomah Falls Lodge.

The cost to build the Forestry Building was about $30,000. Most of the logs used for the interior came from Simon Benson’s Lumber Camp at Oak Point, Washington. The Douglas firs used in construction were untreated and had to withstand nearly sixty years of exposure to dry rot, fire, and bark beetles. Exhibits inside the Forestry Building highlighted the Timber Industry and Native Americans. There were exhibits showing Oregon’s abundant natural resources and there were taxidermy displays of animals native to the region.

On the night of August 17, 1964 my mother had picked me up after school. We headed up Northwest Pettygrove. As we drove up the street to our apartment, we couldn’t believe our eyes. The Forestry Building was on fire! The flames were almost ten stories high. The fire illuminated the sky for miles, the neighborhood was an orange glow. It was an eleven alarm fire. Fire engines and police cars were flying up and down Northwest Vaughn and 23rd Avenues. You could hear the sirens screaming, warning people of the disaster unfolding. One hundred forty-five firefighters were rushed to the scene. Fire engines were positioned up and down Northwest Vaughn.  The windows on the entire south side of the Montgomery Park Building were blown out. The heat was so intense that the windows were popping out. Glass was falling down to the street below. Ashes the sizes of large snowflakes fell to the ground within a mile of the structure. It was surreal, an amazing site.

I can remember running down to the hill behind Chapman Grade School as fast as I could to watch the fire. Hundreds of people gathered in utter amazement to get a glimpse of the spectacle. The fire was so intense you could feel the heat five blocks away. It burned into the night. People were in disbelief.

The next morning, all that was left was smoldering rubble. One of the most historic landmarks in Portland had gone up in flames in a matter of hours. It was one of the largest fires Portland has ever seen.

Through further investigation, it was determined that the cause of the fire was due to faulty wiring. Eventually condominiums were put on the site. A new Forestry Building was built up near the Portland Zoo in the 1970’s.

It was the granddaddy of all fires in this historic area of Portland. To this day, I don’t think I’ll ever see anything like it again.

The Road to Freedom My mother’s great grandparents owned a farm outside Burlington, Wisconsin. The town is located in the southern part of the state. The size was close to 100 acres. They raised livestock and planted crops every spring. It was a peaceful setting that included creeks and a few ponds that were stocked…

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Mean Mike Back in 1970 there actually use to be rumbles in Wallace Park. Gangs would gather at night and fight each other well into the early morning. The park was closed down a few times during the summer. The Portland Police department would block traffic coming into the park. Some of the gangs would…

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Hutch He might be riding the Greyhound bus out of Portland, working in a steel mill, on a midnight flier singing like a summer breeze…… It was a sunny warm fall morning. I met Ben Hutchinson in Eugene, Oregon in the fall of 1978. He was the first one to greet me when I moved….

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My Grandmother My mother’s mother, my grandmother known as Jerry Furio, was the rock in our family. She is a woman that I admire very much to this day. Coming from a broken home (my parents divorced when I was five), my grandmother looked after me and helped my mother in raise me. My grandmother’s…

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Ralph Paterson I attended Chapman grade school from 1964 – 1972. Tucked up along the base of Forest Park, the school was built in 1928. While attending, there were some great kids, encouraging teachers, and loving families that I met through the years. In 1965, I was in second grade. Looking back on my childhood,…

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Rick Sanders

As a kid, I was always fascinated with the history of the local legends that came out of the neighborhood. I loved athletics and played sports in grade school and while attending Lincoln High.

I was named to the Oregon All State high school soccer team in 1975 and went back to coach at Lincoln for six years. I’ve been proud to be a part of some great teams and to have played with some great athletes. I’ve won seven city championships in the high school ranks while playing and coaching soccer, played in two state final four high school championships, coached in another, and played soccer for the University of Oregon.

There are several sports legends that came out of Northwest Portland. Johnny Pesky grew up in the area and played for the Boston Red Sox. The right field foul pole in Fenway Park is named after him. I played at Wallace Park as a kid. Frank Lolich ran the park for many years. His son Mickey Lolich was a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. Mickey won three games and was named the M.V.P. of the 1968 World Series.

You can argue about the most famous athlete to come out of Northwest Portland. In my mind the most famous athlete out of the area, or for that matter the state of Oregon, was the Olympic wrestler Rick Sanders.

Rick Sanders lived in an older run down part of Northwest Portland, in an area located off of Vaughn Street. The family struggled to keep food on the table, literally not knowing from day to day where the next meal would come from. He had a reputation of being very quick for his size, very strong for his age, and not very tall. He didn’t weigh much as a kid. Legend has it, he was an all-around natural athlete.

Out of grade school, Rick attended Lincoln High School. He was encouraged to try out for the wrestling team. It was the start of a magical ride with the sport of wrestling for Rick. He went 80 and 1 in the four years that he wrestled in high school. Rick won three Oregon state championships wrestling for Lincoln High School.

According to Wikipedia, after graduating, he received a scholarship to attend Portland State University. When Rick arrived at Portland State University, he quickly led his team to national prominence. As a freshman, he highlighted an undefeated season by winning the 1965 NAIA National Championships at 115 pounds and earning the Outstanding Wrestler Award.

As a sophomore, Rick lost the first match of his career when he moved up to the 123 pound class and placed third in the NCAA College Division Nationals. Two weeks later, he dropped down to the 115 pound class and won the 1966 NCAA University Division National Championship.

As a junior, Rick had a perfect season going undefeated and winning both the 1967 NCAA College and University Division National Championships at 115 pounds. He was selected as the Outstanding Wrestler in both meets.

As a senior, Rick moved up to the 123 pound class and went undefeated during the regular season. He won his second NCAA College Division National Championship and was again selected as the Outstanding Wrestler. Two weeks later at the NCAA University Division Nationals, Rick lost for only the second time in his collegiate career when he placed second. His total collegiate record was 103-2. He led his Portland State team to a first place finish in the 1967 NCAA College Division Nationals, a second place finish in 1968, and a third place finish in 1967. The same three years Portland State also finished fifth, sixth, and eighth in the NCAA University Division Nationals. Rick is the only collegiate wrestler to win National Championships in the NAIA, NCAA College Division, and the NCAA University Division, and to be Outstanding Wrestler in each.

Sanders’ trademark was his ability to shock everyone, from coaches to foes to the fans, with unorthodox training and unorthodox moves on the mat. He loved to find himself in a predicament and then work his way out of it. Surprise delighted Sanders.

“He learned not to just squirm out of trouble, but to turn it into stunning reversals of fortune. He concocted imaginative, improvable theories.” Don Behm, later one of Sanders’s fiercest rivals but closest friends, remembers in particular Sanders “Contraction and Expansion Theory,” a belief that his hips worked in tandem through a countervailing tendency to shrink and enlarge.”

As early as his freshman year in college, in 1965, Rick won his first of five national freestyle championships and made the U.S. World Team. In 1966 he placed third in the World Championships. In 1967, he placed second in the World, and won the Pan American Games.

In 1968, Rick won an Olympic Silver Medal for the USA. A year later, at 114.5 pounds, Rick became the first American ever to win a World Championship. He returned to the Olympics in 1972 and captured another Silver Medal. Of the eleven bouts, he won two Olympics medals, nine bouts were won by fall.

Through all his success, Sanders was considered a maverick of the first order. He was an athlete who always seemed on or near the edge. He wore his hair long before it was fashionable and sported a beard. He liked to pose for photos with beads around his neck. Stories of his escapades are legendary. He once boarded a 747 jet and proceeded to run up and down the aisle in his sweat clothes, trying to cut weight.

However, there was also another side to Sanders. He loved to talk wrestling and often gave free clinics for youth, anywhere he could find them assembled. Wrestling was his life. It was, his older sister explained once, “in his soul.” He recognized that he was marching to the beat of a different drummer than the rest, and reveled in it.

“Sure, our lifestyles are different, and so are our wrestling styles,” he said about comparisons between himself and Dan Gable at the Munich Olympics. “Most Americans don’t have style. Me, I’m a cosmopolite. I can wrestle like a Japanese, a Rumanian, or a Russian. I used to work hard all the time. But as you get older, you don’t work as hard.” Rick was the only man to ever shut out the famous Dan Gable in a match.

On October 18th, after competing in the 1972 Olympics, Rick Sanders was killed in an automobile accident in Yugoslavia while touring Europe. It was such a shock to those that followed him.

According to his sister, “His life was like a meteor. He burned brightly through his life.”

“The Columbus Day Storm” By Grant Keltner

It was Thursday October 11, 1962. I was four years old. It was an exciting time for Portland, Oregon. The annual football game between University of Oregon and University of Washington was scheduled to be played at Portland’s Civic Stadium. My mother was an alumnus of University of Washington and had planned on going to the game with friends from Seattle. Kick off was Saturday afternoon.

Mom got off work that night. She decided to pick me up at the Montessori school that I attended and drive me over to her parents’ house in Vancouver. I was going to spend the night and the weekend with my grandparents. My mother had a 1962 Volkswagen back then. It was a great car and it got her around to almost every place she needed to go.

We arrived at my grandparents’. Mom dropped me off and headed back to Portland. She often would leave me with my grandparents. I loved the attention they gave me. The next day was Friday October 12, 1962, Columbus Day. It was fairly clear, a typical fall day. Nothing indicated that we were heading for anything unusual with the weather. Mom worked with Pan American airlines at the time.

That afternoon my mother’s office phone started to ring. The first call came in from Medford, Oregon. “There’s a terrible storm going through Medford. It’s headed your way Shirley!” shouted my mother’s friend over the phone. My mother didn’t pay much attention to his call. She thought he was joking.

When she received the second phone call from a friend in Roseburg, she began to worry. “Shirley we’re in the middle of a terrible storm!” exclaimed the voice at the other end of the phone.

Suddenly one of her fellow employees yelled, “Look out the window!” The clouds were a dark mustard color and they were moving fast! The manager at her office ordered everyone to leave as quickly as possible. She ran down the street to her car; glass was flying everywhere. She got home as soon as she could. By that time, the wind had reached one hundred miles an hour.

I had been playing in my grandmother’s yard most of the day. My grandma was listening to the local weather forecast over the radio when the wind started to pick up, my grandma looked concerned. “Grant, get in the house. Time for dinner!” demanded my grandmother.

I came running in. It was close to 5:00 p.m. About halfway through dinner, the neighbor kids from across the street tried to walk up the sidewalk along the west side of my grandparent’s house. The wind was blowing from the north. They were walking with great difficulty just trying to get up the street; their bodies leaned into the wind as they plodded through the storm. They waved at us as we sat at the kitchen table. We waved back and laughed.

“This looks like a bad storm!” my grandma exclaimed. Within a few minutes shingles started to fly through the air and dirt whipped up forming small clouds along the street. Leaves rushed by the kitchen window.

My grandpa got up from the table. “I’m going to close the garage door and make sure everything is locked tight. This looks like it’s going to be rough.” He went out the back door, down the path that led to the garage door. His hat flew off his head and he ran through the yard trying to snatch it up. He rushed into the garage to make sure everything was turned off and shut tight. He hustled back inside.

My grandma turned on her radio and located the local news. “Storm warnings for the Portland and Vancouver area. Heavy winds expected throughout the night!” reported the newscaster. You could hear the alarm in his voice.

I ran to the couch in the living room. It had a picture perfect view of the north side of the house. Tree limbs started to fly through the air; debris bounced off the windows. The sky was getting darker by the minute.

“I’m going to call your mother Grant!” exclaimed my grandma. I could tell she was worried. Thankfully, we reached my mother over the phone. She had made it home to her apartment in Northwest Portland.

“A car rolled over in front of me on the Morrison Bridge!” exclaimed my mother. It was luck that my mother had dropped me off at my grandparents the night before.

All of a sudden, the lights in the house went out and the street lights went black. I couldn’t see the neighbor’s kitchen lights, the winds really started to gust and we lost radio reception. We could hear tree limbs breaking. Loud crashing of metal and glass filled the air. Transformers popped and crackled as the fuses blew out. The sounds outside reminded me of big kettle drums throbbing in the night.

My grandma looked at my grandpa. “Let’s get downstairs!” I could tell she was concerned. Grandma was from Iowa, raised on a farm. She had experienced tornados as a little girl. She knew that in a storm like this, it was best to head for the basement or storm cellar. My grandparents had a huge basement with a brick fireplace. There was a big upright piano along with a large couch, chairs, tables and plenty of room to sleep through the storm.

By this time, it was close to 8:00 p.m. We had lost all power, lost reception with the radio and had no hot water. My grandpa had plenty of flashlights and a lot of candles. We built a fire in the fireplace. You could hear the wind make eerie sounds as it traveled down the chimney. It took longer than usual to light the fire in the fireplace.

I was scared, started to cry, and grandma calmed me down. She made sure we would have everything we needed to make it through the night. The wind raged outside. We knew we were in for a long night. The house was rocking in the wind.

My grandma made a good spot for me on the couch, covered me up with a blanket and started to sing lullabies as I started to drift off to sleep. “Sha la la…sha la la la…Sha la la la…la la la…,” her voice soothed my worry.

My grandma’s cat, Herkimer, found a good spot alongside me to warm himself. It was almost 10:00 p.m. The storm didn’t sound like it was going to end anytime soon and I fell asleep. Grandpa stayed up most of the night. Grandma dozed off and on. I can remember waking up once or twice listening as the wind shook the house, rattling the windows, tugging at the roof. The fire in the fireplace glowed and illuminated my grandpa as he sat next to the fireplace trying to read a newspaper. I fell back asleep. The storm carried on through the night. It didn’t stop until well into the next morning.

I woke up around 6:00 a.m. Grandma was up in the kitchen, I rushed off the couch and ran upstairs to see what kind of damage the storm had left behind. My grandpa was out in front of the house, talking with neighbors. He waved to me as I looked out the living room window.

It was a beautiful morning, clear as could be. The sun was bright, dew was on the lawn and debris was everywhere. The house across the street had a tree that had flown through the roof. Tree limbs were in our yard and power lines were down in the backyard. A car parked across the street had its windows blown out. Shrubs were huddled up against the north side of my grandpa’s house. The neighborhood was in shambles.

“You stay inside!” ordered grandma. We didn’t have power, phone service, hot water, or a newspaper. We couldn’t receive radio broadcasts and the television was out. The only way we could get news was through word of mouth through our neighbors. Reports started to trickle in. Winds had been reported at close to one hundred and ten miles an hour. Wide spread damage had occurred to most of the Portland/Vancouver area. Power outages were reported and phone service was going to take days to repair. The Governors of both Washington and Oregon had declared state of emergency.

Many families lost everything. Roofs flew off homes, windows shattered, telephone poles crashed through homes. My grandpa tried to assess the damage to his home. Shingles were lost, drain pipes had disconnected off the sides of his house, gutters were torn from the roof line, and a few shrubs were uprooted. A downed power line had fallen and draped itself over the hedge in the back yard.

Grandma started to pull eggs, bacon and butter from the refrigerator. She grabbed a big black frying pan out of the kitchen cabinet and headed downstairs. My grandpa followed her with Herkimer at his side. Grandpa added wood to the fire; the fire had been burning all night long. We were going to cook breakfast in the fireplace…just like real cowboys!

She melted the butter in the pan, holding it over the fire. She threw bacon in and it started to sizzle. It smelled so good! She turned the bacon over a few times and soon it was well on its way to being crispy brown. Next she tossed in the eggs, cooking them over easy, not taking too long to cook in the bacon grease.

We sat by the fire and talked about the storm. “I figure it will take close to three or four weeks to get things back to normal,” my grandpa said. ”The roads are blocked. Electrical lines are down. I’ve never seen such a storm!” he added. “We need to stay put and just ride this out.” You could see the worry on his face.

We finished breakfast and went back upstairs. Several neighbors started to show up, some of them looked in disbelief as they wound their way through the damage. A large group of people congregated on the street corner. My grandpa went out to discuss the situation. “Does anybody need help?” asked a neighbor. “We need help, we don’t have a roof, we don’t have food!” cried one poor soul.

Everybody pitched in to help those hit hardest by the storm. It was a true community undertaking. Flashlights were exchanged, candles passed out and blankets found their way to those that needed them. Food was rounded up. Groups of men were organized to help cut through the destruction.

I stayed inside and watched as my grandma tried to get the radio to work. No luck. My grandpa came back inside the house. “Two roofs are gone down the street. Power lines are down on at least three or four streets,” he said.

My grandpa went outside and started to clean up the yard, raking shingles off the lawn and reattaching gutters. The awnings on the west side of the house had been blown off, some of them ripped apart. A truck started to make its way up the street, weaving through yards, trying to get through the maze of destruction. You could hear chain saws as they cut through the trees that had fallen. It was going to take weeks to repair the damage.

That night we cooked dinner over the fire in the fireplace. Grandma was cooking hot dogs and beans. We ate like kings. She played the upright piano, singing songs as we ate. Candles glowed on the table. I remember wishing that we could always eat over a fire. I went to bed that night feeling comforted knowing the storm had passed.

The next day the local power companies showed up and tried to repair downed power lines. Insurance agents started knocking on the door, asking about damage, taking pictures and writing notes.

My grandpa decided that I could take a look at the damage that occurred in the neighborhood. Grandma threw a jacket on me and pulled a stocking cap over my head. I grabbed my grandpa’s hand and we walked out the back door. We crossed the street, stepping over and around the path of destruction the storm had caused. Trees were uprooted, limbs had punched holes in windows, and shingles were everywhere. As we headed a few blocks down the street our mouths dropped as we looked at a house that didn’t have its roof attached. The roof was lying out on the street. Workers tried to saw through the roof, salvaging anything they could.

We reached the end of the street. The worst of the damage was a tree that had fallen through a home located at the end of West Lavina. A huge oak had caved in the entire second story of the home. I couldn’t believe the severity and intensity of the storm.

We made our way back to my grandpa’s house. My grandma was in the living room playing with her portable radio. It was working! We started to receive news about the storm, the damage done; and the lives that had been lost. It had been a deadly storm.

Grandpa went back out in the yard. Neighbors lent him a helping hand with the heavier chores. My grandma made dinner by the fireplace, my grandpa assisted with the cooking. A few neighbors that were low on food had dinner with us that night. Plans were made to help those less fortunate.

The next day power and hot water was restored. Grandpa’s hired hands showed up, many helping other neighbors with chores. My grandma made sandwiches and coffee for everybody that helped. It was a real team effort.

It finally took close to three weeks to clean up the neighborhood. Some of the more severe damage took months to repair. Several homes had to be rebuilt. It was one of the most intense storms I’ve ever experienced. Several families lost everything they had.

The Columbus Day Storm of 1962 (otherwise known as the Big Blow, which began as Typhoon Freda) was an extra tropical cyclone that ranked among the most intense to strike the United States. It roared through the Pacific Northwest, killing 38 people and causing damage estimated close to 200 million dollars.

The quintessential wind storm became the standard against which all other statewide disasters are now measured. Wind gusts reached 116 M.P.H. in downtown Portland, and 90 mph in Salem. Cities in Oregon and Washington lost power for two to three weeks and over 50,000 homes were damaged. On a larger scale, the Columbus Day Storm of 1962 is a contender for the title of most powerful extra tropical cyclone recorded in the U.S. in the 20th century.

I admired my grandparents for their pioneering spirit during the storm and the unity they displayed with neighbors. The community rallied to help those in need. It was one of the most memorable times in my life. I’ll never forget the Columbus Day Storm of 1962.


“Tough Tony Borne” By Grant Keltner

One of the funnier times I had growing up in Northwest Portland was when a very famous local wrestler by the name of Tony Borne visited my family one night.

Tony Borne was a famous local celebrity, a professional wrestler in Portland. Every Saturday night Tony would grapple with the likes of Lonnie Main, Dutch Savage, Shag Thomas and many other local wrestlers out of the Pacific Northwest. The matches were televised live every Saturday night. Growing up as a kid, it was the best show on television. I would watch the show with my friends, sometimes with my grandma. We loved it. My friends and I would wrestle in the living room, the bedroom, and out in the yard. Atomic drops, full nelsons and head butts were landed. Many a night I would go to bed with bumps and bruises.

Now and then, my mom use to dine at the Ringside restaurant. It’s located on Northwest Burnside and is famous for its steaks.  Local sport celebrities use to stop in and have a bite at the Ringside.

One night Mom was dining with her friends. It was raining and she brought her rain coat, she handed it to the head waiter when she arrived, he hung it up on the coat rack for her, and she went on to enjoy her meal. It just so happens that Tony Borne was eating at the Ringside that night. About half way through her meal, Tony Borne finished his dinner and walked over to the coat rack to get his rain coat. He had a rain coat very similar to my mother’s. They handed him my mother’s coat and he walked out the door.

When finished with her meal, my mother went to the coat rack and asked for her coat. When they returned they hadn’t found it. Mom left her phone number and asked that they call her when they located it.

The next day, she received a phone call from the Ringside. “Mrs. Keltner, we’ve found your rain coat.” It was the waiter from the Ringside.

“Where is it?” inquired my mother.

“Well Mrs. Keltner, Tony Borne was given your rain coat by mistake. He would like to stop by your place and return it.”

Tony Borne use to eat drinking glasses on television, hit guys in the head with chairs, and looked like a bloody mess half the time he wrestled. I think he was missing a few teeth. Now, he was going to stop in and give my mom her rain coat. Would he want to wrestle her for the coat, I thought to myself.

He called my mother that night and it was decided he would stop in the next day, around dinner time. “Hello Mrs. Keltner this is Tough Tony Borne. I’ll be stoppin’ by tomorrow night to drop off your rain coat,” said Tony on the other end of the phone.

“Well Mr. Borne that will be fine,” replied my mother. I didn’t know what to think. I told everybody at school about Tony Borne stopping in to visit.

The next day, about twenty kids met me after school to make sure they could see Tony. Around dinner time all the kids gathered out in the front of my mother’s place. A car pulled up and Tony Borne got out. All of my friends went nuts; they screamed, yelled, and hyperventilated just to get a glimpse of Tough Tony. They ran over to his car and begged him for his autograph. It was wild! He talked with the kids and walked up to the front door and knocked. One of my friends was actually hanging from his coat sleeve. My mother answered the door. “Mrs. Keltner, I’m Tony Bourne!” He exclaimed.

“Well Mr. Bourne, it’s very nice to meet you!” said my mother. I hid behind my mother trying to get a glimpse of this amazing icon. He was fairly short, maybe 5’6″, and wide as a Mack truck. His arms were huge and his face looked like a worn catcher’s mitt.

“I guess I grabbed da wrong coat,” said Tony.

“Well yes, it appears that you did,” said my mother.

He handed my mother her coat and smiled. “Well, I need to go. Tanks!” replied Tony. He got in his car and drove off, with all of my friends running after his car.

My mom could have run for mayor and won in a landslide that night. All of my friends treated her like a queen; it was great. She served ice cream to all of them. I had new friends that never gave me the time of day, up until being invited to see this amazing wrestler. I have his autograph tucked away in a box of memories. It was one of the best nights in my life.