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'Bud, me and a tape recorder'


Oral-history project creates a record — and a friendship

by: COURTESY PHOTOS - Carl Bud ShermanOn April 30, my good friend Carl Sherman passed away at the age of 103.

I knew him by his nickname, Bud, and I met him in the winter of 2011 after I started volunteering for Friends of Historic Forest Grove.

Bud called wanting someone to come to his apartment at Jennings-McCall to write down his story. It was perfect timing because the Friends group had just resumed its oral-history project, which is an attempt to record the histories of the people who’ve spent most of their lives in and around Forest Grove.

I began visiting Bud once a month or so and recording his recollections. Sometimes we’d drive around town together: Bud, me and a tape recorder. Good times!

Though not as clear the last few months, Bud’s memory was still sharp, particularly compared to that of yours truly. He knew every house, every road in Forest Grove like an old friend. Every turn would spark a memory.

Bud was born Herman Carlyle Binkley in 1910 in Portland, but changed his name to Carl after his mother remarried — to a man named Harry Sherman. Apparently Bud didn’t want to be called Herman Sherman.

Most of Bud’s early life was spent working in a series of sawmills run by Dad (Harry) Sherman, near St. Helens; Warren, Ore.; Olequa, Wash. (where he went to elementary school with children from the Olequa tribe of Cowlitz); and Gales Creek. His family moved to Forest Grove in 1927, when Bud was a sophomore in high school.

Though he knew every aspect of the sawmill life, Bud’s true passions were electronics and ham radio. So knowledgeable was Bud, in fact, that when it came time to cover the subject of radio systems in high school, the science teacher let Bud teach the class.

He learned the trade by tagging along after Raleigh Walker, the one electrician in town. Bud wired several buildings at Pacific University, as well as the two movie theaters in town, and many of the homes built here in the 1930s and 40s. If your home was built before 1955, he has probably been in your home to repair something or other.

When he served in the Army during World War II, Bud kept the base at Manila Bay electrified, climbing power poles to wire the area.

After the war, he returned to Forest Grove and renewed his electric business.

Bud was married twice, first to Elsie Lemley and then to Elda Berdan. For the last five years, he had a girlfriend named Helen.

He also became active with the Masonic Lodge. For a short time, he was Master at Holbrook Lodge in Forest Grove, and earned the degree of High Priest in 1953.

Bud was an avid teller of jokes, mostly related to his age, such as “All my friends are gone — and so are my enemas.” He was proof that humor keeps you young.

Bud was well aware that he had much history to share, and I feel so fortunate to have met him, to hear his stories and record them. I hope I confirmed the fact that his life and his stories are still important and that his experiences are valued. Thanks, Bud, for sharing part of your life with me. You will be missed.