In Memoriam Grange Members are listed alphabetically.
February 26, 1943 - February 26, 2017
Alan Abramson was born February 26, 1943 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He grew up in both Winnipeg and Vancouver, Canada, where he spent much time outdoors fishing and pursuing outdoor activities. Joining the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlander Regiment at 16 initiated his life-long interest in military history, as well as history in general.
At 18, Alan moved to the U.S. to attend college. Crewing on Alaskan fishing boats in the summers led to his life’s passion—owning and operating his own commercial fishing business. Alan and his wife Michelle purchased both a seine permit and set net permits with sites on the Kodiak Bear Refuge at the southwest corner of Kodiak Island. For 27 years, Alan and the family spent half of each year fishing salmon and crab—both King and Dungeness. Alan built the family’s cabins in Moser Bay, enjoying the interesting and anachronistic life of making a living from the sea, and traveling only by seaplane, skiff, or boat. The strong friendships forged then have lasted a lifetime. He partnered in a marine fabricating business in Portland, Oregon for several years, and built and ran vessels up to 65’ in length.
With his wife and son, Alan traveled widely throughout Australia, India, Mexico, and Europe. Since 1990 he has resided in Corbett, Oregon, and has volunteered at local 501(c)3s.
Alan was an involved member of Columbia Grange #267 for several years. He was Grange Master at the Columbia Grange from 2008 until 2011, leading significant improvements and upgrades to the Grange. Among his many improvements was securing proper liability insurance for the building and Grange members. His wife, Michelle, continues as an active Grange member.
Alan was also a member of the Crown Point Country Historical Society, Banzai, and The Military Vehicle Collector’s Club of Oregon.
Alan died on his birthday in his Corbett home with his wife and family at his side. Survivors include his wife, Michelle, his son, Gunnar, cousins David Lindsay, Don Abramson, Rick Abramson, and Heather Freeman, and nephew Markus Abramson.
April 13, 1957 - April 16, 2017
Brad McCarty lived his 60 years on the roads and rivers of Oregon. With his family, he moved from Condon and Prairie City on the east side of the mountains, to the west side's Oregon City, Gresham, and Corbett. Brad is one of 6 children, and he is survived by his mother, Alice Masterson, and four siblings, including his sister Patti McCarty, who works with Helping Hands. Brad’s other siblings include his sisters Chris Gaines and Jonna Normo, and his brothers Fred and Billy (deceased) McCarty. He was a companion and helper to his mother, and to Judy Meacher, whose property he lived on, helping with shopping and home tasks.
Brad celebrated his 60th birthday on Thursday April 13 by going to one of his favorite places, Olive Garden. Brad also had Easter dinner with his family that Sunday, his final visit with his family. That night, Patti says she teased her brother about taking a long walk after their big meal, and he laughed at her joking. Years earlier, Patti remembers taking long walks with Brad along the Springwater Corridor. They would hike from Gresham to Boring, and from Cedarville to 148th.
Brad was no stranger to the outdoors, and called himself a "country boy at heart." Much of his work life was spent shuttling U-hauls and working with cars. Brad also served his country in the U.S. Army. Fishing was a grand pastime for Brad. Along with his friend and roommate Dave Jackson, Brad spent time with fishing lines in many waters around Oregon City, Estacada, Mt Hood, and the Pacific Ocean. Brad’s family will spread his ashes among those treasured fishing spots.
Brad was a man of many words, and most of them were spent trying to pull your leg! Anyone who volunteered at Helping Hands, or belonged to the Columbia Grange, knew this about Brad. He was a jokester and a storyteller—that was for sure! Also, Brad was seemingly always there to lend a helping hand. He spent many long hours and most days hanging out at the Grange, working as a driver for Helping Hands, and taking care of the Grange Hall. For 7 years, he drove for Helping Hands, picking up and delivering food donations. During that time, he also stepped up as Grange Master, serving October 2011 to October 2014 to keep our Grange in working order.
The Columbia Grange membership is grateful to Brad for keeping our rich history alive, and keeping the doors open. While working with Helping Hands, Brad would stay to the end of the day, locking up the building, and as everyone was getting in their cars to head home, he would wait to be the last one to leave the parking lot. Brad made sure everyone was able to start their cars in the cold and bad weather, and safely be on their way. This was one of Brad’s quiet ways of being there for people, and making sure they were safe.
We are grateful to Brad for all the ways he cared for the people in our community, and the countless hours he helped out at the Grange as the Grange Master, and as a volunteer at Helping Hands. Now, as Brad has "left the parking lot," his family and friends are gathering together, to thank him and to wish him a safe journey home.
Charles E. Smith
August 17, 1924 - December 1, 2015
Charles was born in Fennimore, Wisconsin, on August 17, 1924. When he was five, his family moved to Oregon, where he lived the remainder of his life. His wife, Ethel Smith, was also born in Wisconsin, on a farm about 60 miles from Charles’s home. Ethel also moved to Oregon with her family when she was about five. Years later, the two of them would meet in Oregon, become friends, and eventually marry later in life after their children from previous marriages had grown.
Ethel was Charles's third wife of 14 years. She describes Charles as a hard workingman, and a happy man. He also enjoyed people, and was friendly to all. Ethel said, “Charlie used to talk to everyone. He never knew a stranger.” She said he was quite happy in their retirement years, and the two of them traveled quite a bit, including a train trip across the length of Canada.
For many years prior to their marriage, Ethel and Charles were friends, along with their respective spouses. All of them often played pinochle together. Ethel admits she wasn’t too impressed with Charles’s pinochle playing! After the death of each one’s spouse, Ethel and Charles decided to marry in 2002, and they had many happy years together. Around the house, Charles was energetic, always fixing things, accompanied with his storytelling and jokes.
The Columbia Grange is proud to have had Charlie as a member for 14 years. He participated in many Grange activities, and always had a good time, visiting and laughing with fellow Grange members. Charlie served on the Grange Board as the Steward for one term.
Straight out of high school, Charles joined the Navy and headed into World War II. As his ship neared its destination, the Hawaiian Islands, Pearl Harbor was bombed. Charles served at Pearl Harbor for the next three years. When he finished with the Navy, he pursued a career with the Oregon Steel Mills. Ever persistent, Charles showed up at the factory looking for work everyday, for a week. He was hired on and quickly moved up in rank, eventually promoted to manager in charge of running an entire mill. Charles worked with Oregon Steel for forty years.
Charles died of heart failure under hospice care in Portland, Oregon on December 1, 2015. Charles is survived by his children, Frederick (Kathy), Georgina (Bob) and Amelia; a granddaughter; and two great- grandsons. His step-children from his marriage to Ethel include Donna Bierer, also a Grange member and current board member (Pomona). Donna describes Charles as “the best dad I ever had.”
A memorial service was held Sunday, December 20, 2015, at Charles’s longtime favorite church, The Church at Rockwood, 17021 E. Burnside St., Portland. It was a special service and reception celebrating Charles’s life, with many in attendance. Ethel and her family provided a wonderful photo display of Charles’s long and rich life, filled with many family and friends.
Some of Charles’s other interests included square dancing, and games. He was a Master Gardner, although Ethel laughs that he never once got on the riding lawn mower, or did much gardening at her farm on Larch Mountain. Could be that he was too busy fixing things Donna brought back from her job at Made in Oregon—or telling stories, making jokes, and laughing.
October 13, 1930 - May 12, 2016
Ethel was a member of Columbia Grange 267 since the 1970s, and a Corbett resident for more than 50 years. Ethel was born on October 13, 1930 in Wisconsin, and died May 12, 2016 in Oregon, after a brief illness. She was the oldest and longest living of three siblings. Ethel’s husband, Charles E. Smith, was also a Grange member, and he died on December 1, 2015.
Ethel was full of life and her life was very full—full of Family, community, history; full of joy, and full of change. Throughout the course of her life, Ethel was a mother to twelve, a wife to three, and a strong member of the Corbett community for five decades.
Many at the Grange will remember Ethel for her forthright attitude and her ready smile. She easily said what she thought, and she was not shy with her opinions. Ethel was committed to the Grange and its importance in the community. Until the end, Ethel would show up for monthly Grange meetings, even on rainy, windy nights, willing to share her thoughts and participate in any discussion. Ethel held several Grange board positions, most recently as the Chaplain until October 2014. In addition, Ethel was an area pioneer, artist, historian, and collector of memorabilia pertaining to Oregon, building an impressive family museum with her second husband.
Bottom line, we will miss Ethel and her vibrant presence. We will remember Ethel, and we are sure her laughter and strong presence will resonate throughout the Grange Hall for many years to come.
Ethel’s firstborn child, Donna Bierer, is a long time member and board member of the Columbia Grange, and a currently in 2016 serves as Pomona. We share our condolences with Donna at the loss of her beloved Mother.