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Lake Oswego loses treasure in death of Walter Durham Jr.

by: Submitted, Walter Durham Jr.

One of Lake Oswego's historical treasures, Walter Durham, Jr., died on Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008. He was 98.

He was the great-grandson of Lake Oswego's founder, Albert Alonzo Durham, a lifetime member of the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce, the oldest member of the Lake Oswego Rotary Club, and an emeritus member of the Lake Oswego Historical Society.

He was born July 6, l910 to Walter A. and Vesta Durham. He was a member of the first graduating class of Grant High School in 1924, and then graduated from Reed College in l932. He earned a master of arts degree from Clark University, Wooster in l933 and a master of science from the University of Denver in l940.

In 1934, he married elementary school friend and fellow Reed graduate, Elizabeth D. Cram. The couple celebrated their 74th anniversary this year.

Mr. Dur-ham's Lake Oswego roots were well-known and the family has a historical plaque marking the original home built in 1851 in Old Town, and plaques on the canal bridge and near the tennis courts in Bryant's Woods.

Mr. Durham's career included extensive public service as the economist for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, rent director for the OPA, research director for the Lumberman's Industrial Relations Committee and chairman of the Portland Council of Social Agencies.

He worked in land development for several years, and was responsible for the development of the Bryant's Woods neighborhood and the land along the canal in Lake Oswego.

He is survived by his wife Betty, who is 99, his brother, Richard Durham, former Lake Oswego City Councilor and resident of Colorado Springs, his daughter Eleanor Mullen of Weed, Calif., granddaughters Christine Reed of Park City, Utah and Marlene Juette of Sacramento and grandsons Charlie Durham of Hillsboro and Michael Juette of Sacramento.

He is preceded in death by his son, Lawrence, who died when he was in his mid-40s of a massive heart attack, and by his brother, George B. Durham.

The memorial service will be held Jan. 24, 2009 at 2 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 1126 S.W. Park Ave. in Portland. Mr. Durham will be buried with his parents and grandparents at a small pioneer cemetery off Terwilliger Road.

In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Oswego Heritage Council, P.O. Box 1041, Lake Oswego, OR 97034.