November 03, 2011
Raphael L. Cooke ’50 passed away on April 8, 2011. Cooke was born in St. Paul, Oregon, on October 9, 1915. He farmed all of his life, practiced law, and also served in World War II. He is survived by his spouse JoAnn; sons Mark and Joe; daughters Mary, Meg, and Bridget; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
H.J. Belton Hamilton ’53 passed away on April 15, 2011, at the age of 86 from natural causes. Hamilton was born in the Deep South in 1925, the grandson of a slave, yet he became part of a small group of influential black professionals in Portland in the 1950s and 1960s who broke racial barriers in medicine, law, politics, and journalism. Hamilton himself was the first African American to graduate from Stanford University in 1949 and went on to become the first black assistant state attorney general, the first black federal administrative law judge in Oregon, and board president of the Urban League of Portland, all while mentoring future lawyers and judges, serving as a leader in his church and various civic groups, and integrating his interracial family into the fabric of his suburban neighborhood and schools. Drafted into the U.S. Army as a medic, he served in Europe during World War II and wound up receiving a Purple Heart and three battle stars. Overseas, he saw a world where black and white people could coexist, not segregated by race, and that revelation became his compass. As a lawyer, Hamilton believed he had an opportunity to fundamentally change people’s lives and he advocated for workers who hadn’t been paid or tenants who’d been discriminated against. And because he worked for the state, he was glad he didn’t have to charge the disenfranchised for his services. Later, as an administrative law judge for the Social Security Administration, he saw to it that people received the benefits to which they were entitled. Hamilton’s passionate belief in an open and integrated society, where people were free to make their own choices, and his fearlessness in being a social pioneer, extended famously to his personal life. In 1957 he married fellow University of Oregon student Midori Minamoto, whose Japanese American family was sent to an internment camp in Idaho during WWII. The young couple bought a home in West Linn, at the time more of a rural refuge than affluent suburb, and raised their two children to celebrate their dual heritage at a time when were often the only students of color in their public school classrooms.
Jack H. Cairns ’54 passed away on August 8, 2011, at the age of 87. A graduate of Central High School in Pueblo, Colorado, Cairns enjoyed brief careers in a movie theater and a steel mill before earning a degree in biochemistry from the University of Oregon in 1947. His study was interrupted by service in the U.S. Army stateside as a corpsman during World War II. Following college, Cairns worked as a traveling pharmaceutical detail man. He met his future wife, Mary Margaret Leutzinger, in Reno, Nevada, on New Years’ Eve in 1948. The couple moved to Portland in 1950 and Cairns entered Northwestern College of Law that fall, studying law while working full-time. He practiced law in Portland from 1955 until 1967. Cairns also began teaching night classes at the Law School in 1955, becoming a trustee of Northwestern in 1958. He continued as a professor following the merger with Lewis & Clark College. In 1968, Cairns was named dean of the Law School. He restarted his law practice in 1970 and continued in that pursuit until 1987, when he turned his focus to his property management business. Cairns was an adventuresome man who loved hunting and fishing with his buddies, often traveling to Mexico and Canada. He is survived by his wife of nearly 62 years, Margie; daughter Jan Robbins, son-in-law Phil, and grandsons Eric, Ben, and Sam; son John; two nephews; and two nieces. [Editor’s note: A tribute to Cairns by Professor Ron Lansing will appear in the spring 2012 issue of The Advocate.]
Garth Ford Steltenpohl ’54 passed away on February 3, 2011, at age 83. Born on May 13, 1927, in Baker, he was the oldest child and only son of Cornelia Barrett and Charles George Steltenpohl. His father died when he was still a boy, and Steltenpohl was raised in Richland by his mother and stepfather, John Sass. He joined the U.S. Army right out of high school and was a paratrooper in the 181st Airborne Division. While a law student, he met and married Doretha Mae Waters. They settled in the Portland area where they started their family and he began his 34-year career. He retired in 1988 and they built their dream house in central Oregon. Steltenpohl loved being outdoors and his favorite pastimes
included camping, hunting, and fishing with his family and friends. During retirement, he and his wife enjoyed trips to various destinations around the world. He was preceded in death by his younger sister, Dawn. He is survived by his wife, Doretha; son Charles; daughters Barbara Fahrenholz, Becky Larson, and Karla Thompson; 14 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
Bruce Whitney Towsley ’56 passed away on March 8, 2011, at age 85. Towsley was born March 25, 1925, in Gorman, Texas, to Phillip and Louise Towsley and was raised and educated in Desdemona, Texas, and in Vermont. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Whitman College. Towsley moved to Portland in the 1950s, lived in Corbett from 1970 to 1981, and resided in Troutdale from 1981 until his death. In 1991, he married Helen Redden at Cherry Park Presbyterian Church. He offered pro bono legal aid to seniors, was involved with the Oregon Lions Blindsight Foundation, and coached baseball and soccer. Towsley attended Cherry Park Presbyterian Church, where he served as an elder. He was preceded in death by his wife in 2005 and by his brother Phil Towsley Jr. Survivors include his son Doug Towsley; daughter Gail Towsley; stepsons Kevin Moore, Jim Redden, and Tom Redden; stepdaughters Susan Moore and Christy Redden; and three grandchildren.
Millard “Mac” Becker ’57 passed away March 26, 2011, at age 82. Born and raised in Tigard, Becker attended Oregon State University as an undergraduate. He served in the U.S. Army from 1952 to 1954 before founding a successful law practice in Portland, which he ran for over 40 years. He had a passion for competitive trap shooting, camping, hunting, and fishing, and he was a skilled cook. Most important, he was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather who loved his family above all else. In his later years, he especially enjoyed many adventures with his grandchildren. He was very much loved, respected, and appreciated by all who knew him. He will be greatly missed, but has gone to join his beloved wife, Evelyn, who passed in 2003. Becker is survived by his brother Orlien Becker; children James Becker, Teresa Curdy, Mark Becker, and Mary Becker; grandchildren Christian, Siena, and Maika; and a large extended family in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Allan D. Sobel ’77 passed away at the Sun Home Hospice Care Center on November 23, 2010, at age 63. Sobel was born on March 1, 1947, in Detroit, Michigan, the youngest son of Belle Sapstein and David I. Sobel. He practiced law from 1977 to 1997 in Oregon and Michigan, primarily representing defendants in criminal proceedings and parties in professional malpractice actions. From 1997 to 2000, he served as executive director and general counsel of the Michigan Judicial Tenure commission, an organization responsible for enforcement of the Code of Judicial Conduct in Michigan. From 2000 to 2006, Sobel held the position of executive director of the American Judicature Society (AJS), an independent, national, nonpartisan organization of judges, lawyers, and other members of the public who seek to improve the justice system. Sobel also served as the first full-time director of the Arlin M. Adams Center for Law and Society at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania. He married Elayne (Weiss) Sobel on November 25, 1977. During their 33 years together, they lived in five states and found lifelong friends in each of those communities. Sobel is survived his mother, wife, daughters Rebecca Cornish and Lee Portwood, son-in-law Michael Portwood, grandsons Tyler Cornish and Ethan Portwood, brothers and sisters-in-law Arnold and Barbara Korne and Samuel and Carole Sobel, mother-in-law and father-in-law Blanche and Frank Weiss, and brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Janet Weiss, Douglas and Peggy Weiss, and Peggie and Gregg Johnson. He will also be missed by his best canine buddy, Manny. Sobel was preceded in death by his father, brother-in-law Roger Weiss, and nephew Daniel Sobel, as well as one of his favorite doting aunts, Fan Nevins. In the months preceding his death, he helped create the Central Susquehanna Valley Mediation Center, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, so that members of the community might attempt to resolve child custody and other conflicts through mediation rather than litigation.
Kurt L. Maul ’85 passed away on March 18, 2011, at age 59. Maul was born and raised in the Portland metropolitan area, where he attended local schools. He graduated from Portland State University with a B.S. in economics. Upon graduation from law school, he joined the Oregon State Bar and initiated his legal career as a sole practitioner who focused on business law. Maul was a history aficionado who enjoyed traveling. Friends and associates knew him as witty and kind. He was a lover of plants and animals, and was an especially avid fan of the Oregon Ducks. Maul is survived by his wife, Sharon Stroheker; his father, Dale Maul; his sisters Karen Coulter and Karyl Miller; aunts Florence Nelson and Vera Martin; and several nieces and nephews.
Jason Hale Eaton ’95 passed away February 25, 2011, at the age of 41, following a brief illness. Eaton was a longtime resident of Prescott, Arizona, and earned his high school diploma at Prescott High School, where he served as student body president and earned the Merit Cup Award. Eaton graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor of arts degree, cum laude. He received the Don Bolles Fellow Award and the William Hattich Award for professionalism, and was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. His honors at Lewis & Clark included Outstanding Oral Advocacy in the first-year Moot Court program, associate editor for the Environmental Law Review, and a tax research fellow. He also published “Creating Confusion: The Tenth Circuit’s Rocky Mountain Arsenal Decision.” Eaton was admitted to the Georgia State Bar Association in 1995 and the Oregon State Bar in 1998. He served as a Lt. JAG in the U.S. Navy from 1995 to 1998 before continuing his legal career in Oregon. He was a member of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Eaton is survived by his mother, Mary Eaton; his sister Meghan Eaton Aragon; brother-in-law Desi Aragon; a nephew; and his daughters, Lauren, Madison, and Hannah. He was preceded in death by his father, William Lee Eaton, and his brother Joshua Eaton.
Robert Lee Myers passed away March 13, 2011, at age 84. Myers was born in Beaverton on October 10, 1926, graduated from Beaverton High School, and served in the U.S. Army Air Force before earning a bachelor’s degree cum laude from Lewis & Clark College. He received his law degree from University of Oregon School of Law and was a member of the Order of the Coif. In 1953, Myers married the love of his life, Annette Kirkpatrick, in Portland, where they raised their three children. He practiced law in Portland for 22 years and was a partner in the firm of Schuler, Rankin, Myers & Walsh. Myers taught at the Law School for another 18 years, during which he received the Leo Levenson Award for Teaching Excellence, before retiring in 1990 as professor emeritus. A member of the Oregon State Board of Bar Examiners for three years, he was the board’s chair in 1968 and served as secretary and chair of the Oregon State Bar Disciplinary Rules Committee. Myers served as president of the Lewis & Clark Alumni Association, member of the Lewis & Clark Board of Trustees, and executive secretary of the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness. He loved the Pacific Northwest and enjoyed camping, fishing, hiking, sailing, golf, and spending time with his family. Myers is survived by his wife; son and daughter-in-law Doug and Lynne Myers; son Eric Myers; daughter and son-in-law Enid and Tim Nielsen; grandsons Stefan Myers and Kit Myers; great-grandson Ryland Myers; and sister Mary Myers.