Miles Aubin has had Pio Pride for most of his 93 years
by: Darrell Jackson, Miles Aubin displays his letterman's jacket.

One of Miles Aubin's most prized possessions is the letterman's jacket he received from the 1986 Sandy High School basketball team.

When the team gave him the jacket, it had been 54 years since Aubin, now 93, had earned his letter while playing ball for the Pioneers.

Problem was, back in 1932, he couldn't afford the sweater that went with the big 'S.'

'They heard I had an original letter that was supposed to be sewed onto a sweater from the old days,' Aubin said of the basketball team. 'They bought me the jacket as a gift. I was so touched.'

So touched that he continues to wear the jacket to this day when he attends Sandy athletic events.

Aubin, Sandy High School's oldest living athlete, continues to show the school that he's an MVP.

Living in an assisted living home and depending on rides to the games from his only son, he still attends as many sporting events around Sandy as his body will allow him.

'I will go to most football games and will also try to get out to a number of basketball games,' Aubin said. 'There is nothing like the excitement of sports and the interaction of meeting all the new people. I enjoy going to see the competition and the kids' love for the sports.'

It's a love that's as fresh today as it was more than 75 years ago.

A Sandy boy

Aubin, born in 1914, has lived in Sandy and Boring most of his life. He graduated from Sandy High School in 1933 and was a member of some of the first Pioneer football and basketball teams.

During his senior year at Sandy, he met a Portland girl, Eleanor Vossen, on a weekend get-together with some friends. Aubin said their first date was a random chance encounter.

'She wasn't my high school sweetheart or anything like that,' he said. 'I just asked her out because I thought she was nice and cute. I can still picture her as I asked her out, and I never thought she would go out with me. Boy, was I surprised.'

They dated 11 years, were married in 1944, and were happily married until Eleanor died a year ago this month at the age of 86. They were married 63 years.

'That was the saddest day in my life; we were together for a long time, and she was the love of my life,' Aubin said, wiping tears from his eyes. 'I can still see her, feel her and know she is with me every day. She was simply the best thing that happened to me in my life.'

Post-high school career

Upon graduating from Sandy, Aubin enlisted in the National Guard and was stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash.

'I went into the National Guard out of high school because I had some friends talk me into it - and it was a way to earn some money,' he said.

Aubin had hoped to fight the Axis powers overseas during World War II, but he became ill and was hospitalized with fluid in his lungs and breathing troubles.

After nearly a yearlong stay in the hospital, Aubin received an honorable discharge from the military, much to his disappointment.

'Even when they told me I wouldn't be allowed to fight, I still was hoping something would change,' Aubin said. 'I sometimes wonder what might have happened if I had gone to fight in the war.'

After returning from the service, Aubin attended Oregon State University, where he received a degree in biology in 1947.

Before he even graduated, he was hired as a teacher and coach in Oakland, north of Roseburg. He taught biology, English and science while coaching football and baseball and trying to finish his degree.

'At that time, all the coaches - basketball, track, baseball, football - helped each other during each sports season, so I was always busy.'

He said that busyness was 'tough' on his new marriage.

'We had arguments, but we always had great communication between us, and that is what made our marriage work.'

Return home

Aubin established a winning program during his two years at Oakland, but the success wasn't satisfying enough to keep him from his beloved Sandy.

After he worked at a few different schools around the state, the Aubins moved back to town in 1954.

He spent the next 22 years of his career teaching biology at Benson High School in Portland - his final full-time job. He didn't coach.

'I just didn't want to do it, even though they asked me a couple of times,' Aubin said. 'I just thought there were better, more qualified guys to do that job, and I loved teaching, so I stuck to that.'

After his retirement in 1976, Aubin shifted his focus back to his hometown.

In 1963 he put together the first Sandy High School Alumni dinner.

'We just felt that it would be a great idea to get graduates together to celebrate their past,' Aubin said. 'It started with one class, and then suddenly more and more people wanted to be part, so we had to find larger places to hold the dinner.'

Today, more than 300 people attend the event.

'It is very rewarding, because it has kept going to this day,' Aubin said, eyes welled with tears.

Retirement also allowed Aubin time to begin researching Sandy history.

'I had been checking on the history of the towns by checking old copies of The Gresham Outlook and Oregon City Enterprise, which gave me a ton of information on the towns,' he said. 'I took that information and turned it into numerous articles for The Outlook and Post.'

He also started writing articles for the Buckboard Tales, the Sandy Historical Society newsletter. He is known to this day as an incomparable source of historical information for the community.

Return to athletics

Aubin made his return to athletics during retirement, officiating at numerous games around Oregon as a referee for the Oregon Schools Activities Association.

He said refereeing was almost as gratifying as teaching.

'Being a ref was great,' Aubin said. 'I knew all the rules, and I think that is what kept my mind sharp and kept me interested all these years.'

While refereeing, Aubin said he got to know numerous coaches, fans, students and people throughout the area. Getting back into the excitement and community of athletics was the catalyst that has kept him going to as many games as possible.

'I just enjoy the whole atmosphere of sporting events,' Aubin said. His only problem is that he doesn't see as many spectators from the community as he used to.

'Why not go out and support the kids playing sports?' he asked. 'The games are great.'

He has a piece of advice for current Sandy athletes: Have fun.

'I think the kids should only focus on sports that keep them interested,' Aubin said. 'If you are not having fun, then maybe it isn't for you.

'I think the kids should enjoy the time they spend with their teammates. It is some of the best times in your life playing alongside friends.'

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