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Curtis Tigard celebrates 107th birthday in style

Three parties cap whirlwind week of festivities for beloved local resident.

PMG PHOTO: BARBARA SHERMAN - Curtis Tigard (center of table) enjoys the festivities with (from left) daughter-in-law Sandra, son David, best friend Bud Ossey and Dottie Buss, who helped organize the party, as KGW's Christine Pitawanich (left) film and Phil Pasteris (right) shoots photos at the Royal Villas party.Curtis Tigard celebrated his 107th birthday this month with three parties, and why not?

A descendant of the family that founded Tigard, he has lived through historical events that others have just read about in history books. Still going strong and carrying a driver’s license that expires in 2021, Tigard’s only concession to “old age” is his use of a cane.

So Tigard was more than ready for the parties hosted by three different groups at three different venues, starting with an afternoon party on April 13, his actual birthday, at the Clubhouse at Royal Villas, where he has lived for nearly 50 years. Dozens of residents showed up along with family and members of the Tigard Historical Association.

That evening, friends and family held a birthday party at the Tualatin Country Club, where Tigard was a caddy in the 1920s and eventually a member and golfer for decades. On the course beside him for most of those years was his good friend Bud Ossey, 96, a Tualatin resident who has known Tigard since 1967.

“We used to go out with our wives, and we would travel to different courses and go to tournaments over the years,” Ossey said at the Clubhouse. “He’s pretty fun.”

Tigard attributes his long and healthy life to drinking red wine daily, and indeed, he enjoyed a glass at the party at the Clubhouse.

On the following Saturday, April 16, the Tigard Historical Association threw a birthday bash open to the public at the John Tigard House Museum.

“The weather was perfect, and a steady of well-wishers greeted Curtis on his 107th plus three-days birthday party,” reported Phil Pasteris, who serves as the association’s secretary, photographer and webmaster. “Curtis walked right through the front gate and up the stairs to take a seat of honor in the kitchen. 

“We held Curtis captive for nearly two hours. Between eating his favorite carrot cake, he shook hands with visitors of all ages and thanked them for coming. The guest book was signed by 147 and probably more than that actually took the tour and met Curtis.”

Tigard was interviewed by the Regal Courier, The Times' sister paper in King City, as his 100th birthday approached.

“People ask me what I attribute my long life to,” he told the newspaper. “My mom was nearly 105 when she died. I exercise, eat sensibly, drink sensibly and take life easy.”

A hiker, Tigard climbed Mount Hood 35 times “when I was young and healthy,” he said.

The grandson of Wilson Tigard, who was the founder of Tigardville in 1852, Curtis Tigard was born April 13, 1909, to Rosa and Charles F. Tigard, the namesake of a local elementary school. He and his sister Grace grew up on Southwest Fonner Street, and their parents operated the Tigardville General Store and later the post office at the intersection of Highway 99W and Southwest McDonald Street.

Tigard delivered the Oregon Journal on horseback. Another job he held was catching moles at the Tualatin Country Club and in the fields his dad plowed.

Tigard recalled that Washington County paid 10 cents for each mole that was turned in, but he also took stacks to a furrier to be made into muffs. He remembers visiting his uncle, John Tigard, at his house, located where Walgreens now stands. The house, which is where Tigard's April 16 birthday party was held, has since been moved to the corner of Southwest 103rd Avenue and Canterbury Lane; it is now a museum.

The young Curtis Tigard attended Tigard Grade School and Beaverton High School, because there was no high school in Tigard at the time. He got a degree in banking and finance at Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State University). Later, he worked for U.S. Bank for 34 years, serving as manager of the Tigard branch for 18 years until he retired in 1971.

Tigard has lived his whole life in the city that bears his family name, except from 1936 to 1948, when he was on active duty in the U.S. Army, serving in North Africa, Italy, the West Coast and the Pentagon.

Tigard and his first wife had a son, David, who has two sons. After his first wife died, he married his second wife Julia, who died 17 years ago.