Tuesday, March 27, 2012


So, this morning came the news that our friend Don Willner died at his home in Trout Lake; he was about eighty-three. We'd been planning on going down to see him and Bijee on Thursday, to see if we cd help out any as the end neared, but he just quietly passed away today (Tuesday).

I didn't know him as well as I'd have liked, despite seeing him once or twice a year, but Don was a good guy. A native New Yorker who'd fallen in love with the Pacific Northwest, he was a lifelong advocate for environmentalism and social justice (I remember him once telling us about a committee he'd been on as a young man with Eleanor Roosevelt); despite his age he was still doing pro-bono work as recently as last September, when his final illness set in. He'd held public office (Oregon state senator) and once ran for the U. S. House but found his true niche working behind the scenes, drafting briefs and advising on causes near and dear to him.

He'd been remarkably active up until relatively recently, taking strenuous hikes around the Mt. Adams area until a year or two ago (Janice was with him on what must have been his last climb up to Sleeping Beauty, the year before last) and enjoying tennis (on grass courts whenever possible) even as recently as last fall. The past few months were tough on both him and Bijee. I'll miss not having a chance to say goodbye, but I'll keep many memories of him as a generous host and, as I said, one of the good guys. He'll be missed.

--John R.

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