The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Rollie and Laverne Bilyeu Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Mike Dicianna.

March 26, 2015


“Married Life on a Muddy Campus”  March 26, 2015  Location: Bilyeu residence, Albany, Oregon.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, the Bilyeus discuss their upbringings in two rural northeast Oregon communities, remarking in particular on their memories of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. From there, they recount the paths that they took to Oregon State College, their living circumstances at OSC, their memories of academic life, and the hallmarks of campus traditions that were prevalent in the early 1950s.

They then describe the physical make-up of campus during that era, including the preponderance of Quonset huts then in use as well as the mud and inconvenience that arose during the digging of the campus steam tunnels. They share their memories of campus social life, noting the important role played by formal dances, and relay the story of their first date, subsequent courtship, and eventual marriage. They likewise reflect on the changes in their lives as students that came about as a result of being married.

The remainder of the session is devoted to the Bilyeus' pursuits following graduation. In this, they outline the details of Rollie's military service as well as the various jobs that they have both held, including Laverne's work with multiple county Extension branches. The session concludes with reflections on their family and words of advice for young people today.