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A marriage milestone for two WLHS grads


Bill and Janet Tripp, Class of 1939 and 1941, recently hit a marriage milestone

When Bill Tripp first knew Janet Wievesiek, she was a sophomore at West Linn High School. He was a senior there — and he had his eye on a classmate of hers.

“I’d been going with one of the girls in her class,” he said. That relationship did not last, however.

After Bill graduated in 1939, and Janet in 1941, the two became a couple. They were married Sept. 19, 1943, and celebrated 70 years of marriage last month.

by: PHOTO BY: VERN UYETAKE - Bill and Janet Tripp recently attended a party to mark their 70th wedding anniversary.“It’s been a nice, long marriage,” Janet, 89, said.

Reflecting on the secret of that long marriage, her husband Bill, 92, had a simple answer.

“I just fell in love with her, that’s all,” he said. “It’s a wonderful life.”

Bill was born in Eugene in 1921 and moved with his family to his grandmother’s house in Jennings Lodge in 1927. Born in Oregon City Hospital in 1924, Janet lived with her family in West Linn, about where Bolton Primary School now is. West Linn’s streets were different then.

“At the time I went to high school, West A dead-ended at the high school,” Bill said. “It didn’t go through to Highway 43.”

Because West Linn’s high school was one of the only secondary schools in the area, it attracted students from all over the region. According to Bill, the school’s name changed frequently to reflect its changing population.

“At the time I was going, I went to West Linn Union High School, Oswego-West Linn High School and West Linn High School,” he said. “I had letterman sweaters that said them all.”

Because students came to the school from all over, nearly everyone came by bus, Janet said. Recreation opportunities for teenagers were limited in the area, the Tripps said, but for students living in West Linn, the campus did offer some attractions, including a tennis court. It was paved with cement and smaller than legal size, but that didn’t matter.

“All the kids thought that was the best thing ever,” Janet said.

Other sports options were less attractive.

“When I played football there it was just a wet, muddy mess,” Bill said. “They finally got a stadium there when I was a junior or senior.”

Although there were sports options for girls, Janet didn’t participate in them.

“I was active in the home economics department and music,” she said. At the time, the school had a “pretty good-sized band. Music was my thing.”

“May Day was always the thing we looked forward to all year,” she said, although she never danced at the celebration. “I was in the orchestra. I played the marimbaphone. They didn’t have one when I went there but they got one.”

A marimbaphone is similar to today’s marimbas. However, its hollow steel bars could be rotated, so that in addition to playing with mallets the musician could also play with a bow.

After Janet graduated in 1941, she enrolled in college. By that time, Bill had joined the Air Force, where he served stateside.

They lived in Texas for several years after their 1943 marriage, he said. “When we got out of the service we lived with Janet’s parents for several years, on Portland Avenue,” which is now called Highway 43 or Willamette Drive. Eventually, the family bought land near the high school and settled down to raise their family.

Bill sold insurance and was a longtime Rotarian. Janet was what Bill called “a mother hen” to their two sons as well as a series of foreign exchange students. Their son Gary, born in 1945, lives nearby in Clackamas, while Craig, born in 1948, lives in New Mexico. Like their parents, both are graduates of WLHS.

When their sons were grown, Bill and Janet sold their land to the school district, which annexed it to the high school campus. Part of that land became known as the high school’s Tripp parking lot.

Bill and Janet now live together in an assisted living apartment in Clackamas. Although they have downsized to a small apartment, they still have Bill’s yearbooks and an assortment of artifacts from their high school years, including the medals Janet was awarded for attending music competitions around and outside the state.

“There’s a hell of a lot of history in West Linn,” Bill said.

He should know. Bill and Janet Tripp had a hand in a fair amount of West Linn’s history.

Kate Hoots can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 112. Follow her on Twitter, @CommuniKater.