Minister Lloyd Uecker and attorney Jim Lucas were active in community and Rotary club

A pair of prominent community members, Lloyd Uecker and Jim Lucas, passed away just one day apart at the end of last month.

Uecker, 93, a retired Methodist minister, died Dec. 30 after suffering a heart attack, said his son, Jeff Uecker. He had been a member of Forest Grove’s Noon Rotary club for more than three decades.

“It was a shock, but he lived a long, long life,” Jeff Uecker said.

Lucas, 55, who served as Banks’ city attorney until his death Dec. 31, also was a Rotarian. He had been ill with cancer for some time, said Jolynn Becker, Banks city recorder.

“We knew he had been sick,” Becker said Friday, “but we were very surprised when we heard the news.”

Twenty days before his death, Lucas had attended the Banks City Council meeting and agreed to redraft a few proposals for the city.

Uecker attended high school in New Ulm, Minn., and moved to California during the Great Depression. He and his wife, Mary Jo, moved to Spokane, Wash., in 1945, where he worked for the Evangelical United Brethren Church. After that, the couple lived in Salem, Portland and Medford before moving to Forest Grove, where he was pastor of the United Methodist Church from 1981 to 1986.

Uecker also started three overseas ministries. In 1962 he established a mission church in the village of Yufuin, Japan. In 1973, he participated in a pulpit exchange with a minister in Plymouth, England. And, in 1977, he was a United Methodist Conference speaker in Gujarat, India.

“Lloyd was kind of like the town's pastor,” said Don Jones, president of Noon Rotary, a service organization. “He (said) grace for all of the Chamber events and was active in bible studies.

“He was so good about mingling with everyone, shaking your hand and asking how you are doing … he loved to laugh.”

On more than one occasion, Jones added, he received notes from Uecker congratulating him “on something or other. In this day of technology and our fast pace the fact that he would take the time to write a note like that meant a lot.”

One of his father's greatest passions was the mayors’ prayer breakfast he created and organized into the 1990s, said Jeff Uecker, of Hillsboro. “He prided himself on that event,” which included ministers all over Washington County, he noted. “He kind of thought it might have been the biggest event of its kind in the nation.”

His work to spearhead the local prayer breakfast earned Uecker an invitation to the Presidential Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 2, 1995, when Bill Clinton was in the White House.

Behind the scenes

Lucas was “an incredibly devoted father. He talked about his kids all of the time and actively promoted youth activities," Don Jones said.

Although Lucas’s illness kept him from attending Rotary meetings for much of 2012, he'd previously been a very active club member.

As a Rotarian, Jones noted, Lucas also “helped a ton behind the scenes. Whether with the by-laws, contracts or other legal type questions, no matter what the situation, if we needed help, he was always willing to provide it.”

As the City of Banks' contracted city lawyer, Lucas “prided himself on keeping us out of any legal issues,” Becker said. “He was with the city a long time. Our thoughts go out to the family and our community.”

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