Video: “Working for OSU Extension” . September 13, 2013Location: Ballard Hall, Oregon State University.
Interviewers: Mike Dicianna, Debora Landforce
Mike Dicianna: Okay. Today is our third interview with Andrew S. Landforce. It is September 13th, 2013. We are at the Ballard Extension Hall, here on campus, OSU campus. My name is Mike Dicianna, oral historian. I'm accompanied by my colleague Adam Lamascus from OSU Special Collections, and Debbie Landforce, Andrew's, Andy's daughter is here also. This interview session, we are going to be talking about Andy's career in the OSU Extension Service. So, we kind of want to go ahead and start from the very beginning, you know, returning home from World War II. You return to the USA. What were your plans, between you and Evelyn, to resume your career path?
Andy Landforce: I wanted to get away from common labor. I am now a college graduate, and I need a job. I am out of the service. And so, I took my wife fishing and recreating, and then I found out I was married, and so I came down here to Oregon State, just to kind of bask around and walk around the campus. But first I went to R. E. Dimick, and asked him if there was any jobs available, and where do I put in applications in the fisheries and wildlife field to get a job? Interview was over; I am walking over to the campus just to feel the days when I knew a lot of students, and this was one of the best parts of my life, was going to college.
And I'm walking across the campus, and here comes F. A. Ballard, who was director of the Extension Service. We met out on the quadrangle, and he says, "Oh, Andy, I haven't seen you for a long time. So let's go over here to the end here, and have a cup of coffee." When I got through with that cup of coffee, Frank Ballard had offered me five positions in 4-H Club work in Oregon, in 4-H Club work. What was my experience in 4-H Club work? At the summer camps, the summer sessions here, I taught classes, but I married a girl that was an outstanding 4-H Club member. And so we had a warm feeling for 4-H, and out of that, I selected Wallowa County as the county to go in for county agent.
And hot dogs, I'm away from common labor! Furthermore, I'm working for—with an institution—with an institution where I had so many memories and got some training, and a running start on life. And I didn't realize for a long time that I was to become a staff member. [Laughs]
MD: So, tell us about your first job here with OSU Extension, and what were the duties, what was your responsibilities?
AL: Thank you. That's fun to think about, because I went to Wallowa County, and when I drove up there in the little car that we bought, I looked up here, and I said, "Holy cow! This is beautiful country. This will be a great place." And so I needed a home, a house, and a place to build. But the job was at the courthouse, and that was—from my farm background, to walk into a big, beautiful building, and on the second floor, that overlooked the Wallowa Valley and the mountains up Hurricane Creek Valley. It was beautiful.
But, I needed to learn what 4-H Club was. Little did I realize that I started to prepare and train to be a 4-H Club agent when I was 14 or 15 years old. I lived on the farm, where we had chickens, ducks, pigs, and milk cows, and then big gardens to grow. So basically, I had a wonderful life, because I worked with my parents to make a living. And so it started a life partnership. And here, I had an excellent secretary that helped me, and one of the first things she helped me with, she says, "I need to talk to you personally. I think you, to establish more relationship with the people in the county, you need to get rid of that pressed pants, shined shoes; buy yourself a pair of Levi's and a big hat." [0:05:01]
That was the first thing. And from there, I took over a program that needed leadership, that needed students. Well, how do we get more students in this program? And so here, an extension is aimed at helping people. So I got with adults, and I formed a 4-H leaders' association, or a group of us. And it's wonderful that people, what mothers and fathers are built to do! They like to help children. That's just the way they're made. [Laughs] And so the way to do this was to go into the schools, and to present the 4-H program. And educators, teachers, were just cooperative.
And between those leaders that would go out and volunteer to be helpful, then we got the children in the groups, based upon their own interests. If you were interested in pigs, you'd get a pig leader. If you were interested in cooking, a lady, Mrs. Elliott, would take over, and help you with cooking. And I learned right away that one of the greatest ways to get children was to have the children that I started to know go up and ask one of their friends, go up and ask—I hope I don't embarrass anybody, but, ask Mrs. McCrea if she'd show us how to sew. And that lady, I lived to see the day that we gave her a 20-year certificate of leadership. And so with that, the program grew. We were able to get students from all over. And then there's—in Wallowa County, I kind of like to kid, but in some of the towns, they lived so far away from town that you'd think, "Do you still speak English out here?"
But, like a little town of Troy, or Imnaha, or Flora, they're way out of town. And these children need as much training and as much advantage of education of the adult people, because like I've said hundreds of times, everybody can be your teacher if you are willing to learn. And one of the most effective teachers is to be on the same level with you. And when the parent down the street is talking to you about the technique of their training, it's an effective way to teach. And so, the enrollment grew, and the fun of being a county—I must say that the teachers, that students, taught me some of the great lessons of life.
I want to tell you about Paul Meade out of Joseph. I walked out of the drugstore one day, and Paul was standing at the county counter. And I looked up, and here were tears in his eyes. And I put my arm around, and I said, "What's the matter, Paul?" He says, "I want two candy bars in here, and I've only got enough money for one." And I started to reach for my pocket, and says, "Oh, no. Wait, wait. I'm supposed to be here teaching young men to grow up to be adults." So I gave him a philosophy that I thought I'd better follow the rest of my life. It was quite simple: isn't it great that you've got enough money for one candy bar? Be happy to do one candy bar. And I lived to see the day when both the Alsea and the Siletz, the fishing is just great, and you're just torn because you just want to fish both of them, and you can't. Be happy with fishing one!
But that philosophy lived on in many areas of my life, because I like to live a happy life if I can. And so 4-H Club work was extremely interesting. I never remembered ever going to work that I didn't enjoy it. I enjoyed going to work every day, because I could help people who helped children. [0:10:01] And I've had, just recently—I don't mean to take it beyond that, but Teddy Daggett, 76 years old, from Joseph, Oregon, way up there, is in Portland last Sunday, Mike. Last Sunday. Calls me on the phone from Portland, and says, "I want to come down and see you." I says, "Hey Mike, do you realize the price of gas right now to come down and see an old grey haired man?" And he says, "Well, I've been wanting to talk to you for years."
He and his wife come down and visit—and this is food for your ego, when he says, "Do you remember my coming down to Imnaha and looking at my pig project?" And I said, "I remember that. And we went—I took you and your pig to the county fair, because you didn't have any other way to get there." We went through that era, and I went to bed that night and think, "My golly, I did do some good in this world."
MD: Well I noticed that, in the Wallowa County Chieftain, in 1948, that you were recognized—you know, this was early in your career—recognized as the Junior First Citizen—
AL: Yes, yes.
MD: —in Wallowa County. And how was that award? How did that make you feel?
AL: How did that make me feel? A good question, Mike, because I still wanted to establish credibility that I could do a civilian job. And when I got that reward, "Hot dog! This adds to my credibility. I hope they learn this down at the administration office."
And awards helped me to get over the insecurity and the depression. Could I make a living in the civilian world? And that was a very, very encouraging thing to me, to do, and another example of the community giving to a person that's a lasting impact on their life. I hope others will think of the recipient and what it can do for him or her at that time, for the rest of their life. So I felt a lot better after that award.
MD: As a past member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce myself, I've awarded these awards in my history. And to hear you say what it meant to you, it kind of reinforces my own personal service as a member of a service club. I thank you for that. Now, when you were over in Wallowa County, where did you guys live? What was your life like in rural eastern Oregon? You probably loved it, with all of the outdoors!
AL: Mike, you hit a key. I heard you say, "What was your life like?" I found it absolutely engrossing to work with the wonderful people that were salt of the earth. Farming people think independently, think clearly, go to work on an aspect of their life, and are generous people. No wonder, in the past, when one farmer's barn burned down, everybody in the community—that is, it just oozes out of their life. You loved working with them. And then with the children, it was their enthusiasm. And then when I saw them working a lot like my old, my own childhood life, I loved it.
To a place where, when that article came out and Junior First Citizen [laughs], my wife took that down and took that paper, and we were—we have a little girl, Diane, by now. And Mike, you did this; you asked how my life was. [Laughs] She sat down, and she said, "This is great." We found out after Diane was in bed, and we had a cup of coffee and were visiting, that, "This is great, that you're getting recognized by the public. But I want you to recognize that you are married to me. You are now a family man, and you just work, eat and sleep. And if somebody calls and needs help, you help them. [0:15:00] And you never take me anyplace." I said, "Wait a minute. Every time I go to Grange Vineyard, or out to La Grande, I ask you if you want to come." "That's what I mean, Andy. I want to be invited."
That was my first lesson on how to become a husband, because she said, "I want to have a father for my children, and you're not paying any attention to Diane. And I want a husband. I want a husband. And this is very serious to me, Andy, very serious to me. If we can't have—if I can't have a husband and a father to my daughter, I don't want to raise my daughter without a husband. I want you to consider very seriously, very seriously, to become a husband and a father." And I backed off, and again, one more time, every person can be your teacher if you're willing to learn. And the thing is, she was raised to be a wife, and wanted to be a mother and homemaker, and she taught me. So I'm sitting here today with a family that has a bond of love that is invisible, but brings us all together. It's just great.
And so, that's how life started out. And that was a real motivating in my happy life, because I learned to love children, because children give their love back—everything from a smile to a hug. And then it's wonderful to be married to a partner, a companion, where you can talk about everything. Because we—I recognized right away that here I was, married to a person that lives the kernel of life more than I do. And so, one of the rules was, in our family, was to maintain harmony, that, there's no crime in having a difference of opinion. The fault lies in the bitterness of arguments.
And so in our home, where we have three children that are different as night and day, what a wonderful guidepost to have, when you get in an argument where you can't agree with each other, do not be respectful, ask to—excuse me, take some time away. Never make a statement based upon your emotions, because you'll be sorry for what you said, if you say it when you are mad. And so, thanks to 4-H Club work, thanks to my wife, here I am sitting, and we've got harmony to this day. We're comfortable to have a difference of opinion, because most of the time, the compromise is better than either of the—
And then, since my daughter Debbie is here, I remember one time we got into an argument, and I asked for the advice of the children, and Debbie says, "Aw, Dad, it wasn't very important what you were talking about, anyway."
Debora Landforce: Why don't you ask about the little house in Joseph?
MD: Yeah, that's the—
DL: The weather in the winter.
MD: Oh, that type of thing. What was it like, you know—I know with your life, what was it like living in Joseph, Oregon, during the early '50s, and your house, and just, you know?
AL: Well, we have a little house. I remodeled it. That was one of the other things, I rewired it, and did things like that. But life and social—you loved community, you liked your neighbors, and you liked the atmosphere of friendliness that Joseph had, because we were—well, that's a little town that doesn't have a stoplight in it, and it had—and I asked if they'd tell you the other last Sunday. Do they still have the sign up that says, "We love this town. Don't drive like hell through it"? That was Joseph. And I love it!
MD: So I assume that you were able to get your share of fishing and hunting in, in that part of the state?
AL: I learned one of the great things about fishing up there, that the fish bite best when there's an activity period. And an activity period is when all of the cows, and horses, and sheep are up grazing. [0:20:00] When they're laying down resting, don't go fishing. And [laughs] the other thing was that when we were first married, all I needed were three trout. And when you live where the Wallowa River starts, right through Enterprise there, where Prairie Creek comes out and joins, you have your choice between a little stream and a big stream. And so, by golly, when Diane was still on a blanket, we would take the fishing rod and go down to Lawrence's place, go through the gate, go down on the meadow where the cows graze the grass off. Diane and Evelyn would be there, and I'd catch three trout, and go home and eat them.
MD: Well, let's move in to your advancement in career, as far as the OSU Extension Service is concerned. Now, from one of your histories, I understand that in April of 1953 is when you became the first extension specialist specifically for wildlife management education, for the OSU Extension. Who hired you? What was this like, as far as an advancement in your career? How did you find out about the job? What was the process here?
AL: Good. It started out when Frank Ballard was working with some of the wildlife conservation people in Washington, D.C., where some of the states were appointing extension wildlife management specialists to assist the county staffs in educational programs on—throughout their state. Frank Ballard is the one that then came to Oregon State when he returned here. And since I had a degree in fisheries and wildlife, then they appointed me the extension wildlife specialist.
So then we moved to Corvallis, which, by the way, we moved in the house over here on 26th, where the oceanography building is at right now. And I walked over here to Ballard Hall, where our office was. The Department of Fisheries and Wildlife was housed in Ballard Hall here. And what am I going to do on this new job? Well, that was easy. Frank says, Director Ballard says, "Your first job is going to be in—you're going to be in contact with all of the 36 counties, and you are going to help them with their interest in wildlife. What do the people want, in the way of wildlife education? And so your bosses are going to be your county agents. This is where you get your program from, from what the people want, to the county agent, to you. And the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife will back you up on information when you don't know what it is. And that's the start."
And I think one of the first was mole control, mole and gopher control that worked with the Fisheries and Wildlife Service. Then, the development of farm ponds, where it came out where a pond was attracting ducks, and geese, songbirds, muskrats, nutria, and all of the rest of it. And we'd like to grow fish in these ponds. Well, Professor Cardeen [?] monitored of the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. We started out, because you would like to know, we like trout. Your religious background would like to eat fish on Friday every time. We've got a pond, we can provide our own fish. So, the piercing [?]. Well, that pond, does it have habitat suitable to trout or warm water game fish?
The department set up experiments around with me, and county extension agents, to—oh, that turned out to be a highly educational program, a lot of interest in it. So we had pond demonstrations in all 36 counties, and I don't remember how many, when I retired, how many thousands of people had come to farm ponds, where we would go over the limnological history of this pond, [0:25:00] and tell you why you can't grow trout in this pond here, or why. And then the management, which simply came down to this: your ponds provided so much food, and if you had a few fish, you'd grow big ones, if you had a lot of them, you'd grow little ones. And how do you create this balance? And it was a fabulous program.
And then I got started on this—on the deer problem. One of the big issues was thinning out deer, so we didn't have so much starvation with mule deer. I got involved with this issue about issuing deer tags for does and bucks, and then that brought us on to where home economics people wanted to know, how do you—the women in the home economics groups, how do you get good venison served on the table? Most of it is we don't like it at all. Do you start out with field [?] care?
Well, there again, I had basic training in handling wild game from the time I was 15 years old, because that's when I shot my first deer to bring it home for food. Because if we round up the food at home, we could eat the deer and sell the calf, because we didn't have any money in the Depression. That way you could make some money. Or we could kill the pig, and make bacon, and sell that to get a little bit of money. So I handled deer from the time I'm 15 to 18 at home, which, hey, I still like to have. I still like venison stew. It's great.
So anyway, I got involved in that question. And that turned out to be a lot of fun. And, again, you turned me on, Mike. Again, what happened: Why do you like venison, and you don't? And so I would go to the people that liked venison, "Why do you like venison?" And they said, "Well the first thing we do is that we bone it out." Then I'm talking to you, found out that you didn't, that you boned out these deer for individual packages that you froze. And boning out the deer, well, I don't know how to bone out a deer, so when you go hunting next fall and you've got a deer to bone out, will you give me a call? I'll run down there, and I want to watch you do it.
So the people taught me how to bone out a deer. I mean, not the people, Polk County, and Malheur. One of the times it was out here in eastern Oregon in Malheur County, and a couple brought me—we took a piece of plywood and put it on the bed, of all things, so I could bone out the deer. I learned to bone out the deer, and then the home economist people lined me up, and shoot, I could have been three men going from—because in the fall, I was asked, "Can you help me? Can you help me?" I had a doctor's appointment booked [laughs], and I loved giving those programs on boning out a deer. And then that bulletin where Lee Kuhn, Professor Kuhn, said the only way they could quit publishing it was they burned the printing building down, which is a fact.
MD: Yeah, let's talk a little bit more about that. I went ahead, and got into our archival collections, and pulled out Extension Bulletin, number 819, called Boning Out Your Deer, and it was written in 1967, and it's full of illustrations. And I understand that you also did, you know, some video-type things, early video movies, and presented this program all around the state. I understand there are some stories about some of your presentations of the Boning Out Your Deer program around the state.
AL: Yes, yes. Well, Bill Rush and the Audio-Visual Department here helped me to make a movie on boning out the deer, helped me with a series of slides, which those slides, by the way, were duplicated, and sent to Pennsylvania, and Michigan, a lot of places. And so when you asked me to put on a program, I would bring my movies, [0:30:00] and my slide projection was also a good teaching aid. Because you came to the meeting to find out how to bone out a deer, therefore your patience was long enough, and your questions that carried me on to the program extended them, totally fun to help people. And so the program set up for an hour frequently lasted three hours, and loved it. And Lane County, bless their souls, they set up an auditorium in the Lane County Fairgrounds, and had TV cameras to—oh, anyway, hey, that's another story.
MD: Well, I understand that there was a time in Fossil, Oregon that you were presenting the program.
AL: Oh yes, Fossil, Oregon. Now, Fossil, Oregon, is another town at that time didn't have a stoplight. Maybe they don't now. But the home economist had advertised rather widely about me coming to give the program on boning out a deer. So we got our extension cords, and went to the Grange Hall and set up, had everything set up on the stage, on the stage, because that, there—and about, well, I'd just barely started, and opened up the door down there, and there were people on both sides. I mean, there was a lot of dishes that weren't done that night to get to the meeting!
And here, walking through the door, came a group of men. They were carrying a deer that was in a white—they looked like a whole bunch of white kitchen towels, or just a—and behind them was a tripod. And they come up there and sat right up on that stage, and hung up this deer and said, "All right, let's see this guy from the college cut it up." The best one—another good program, because of all things, I carried with me in the car, unbeknown to them, all of the gear, including a meat saw. I went out to the car to get the things, and we had a marvelous meeting where I cut up deer. And we had the ladies that come up afterwards, and say, "Oh I want to see how you—how did you get that loin out?" And I remember that as one of the special meetings.
Now there's another one, and then I'll get off this subject. In Roseburg, Oregon, Jane Capelia, [?], I think, organized a meeting of the sportsman's group and the women. Well, they came and loaded in, and Bill—I forgot Bill's last name, the game agent down there—they had gathered up a road kill, and the game people had skinned that out and brought it in there. This is on the TV program. Yeah, this was a TV program. And so, I'm there; I boned out this deer. The audience was, again, very interested, because you want to know details. How did you get the fat off of this? Or, tell me what is tendon and what isn't, and all of that.
The meeting was over; I went out to the car, and there was the state police. And I thought, "Hey, what's going on here?" And so they, "We have evidence that you were boning out a deer. This is out of season. You have a deer out of season, and so we'll write you up a ticket for illegal possession of game." And I said, "Hey wait a minute. I didn't kill that deer. That deer was killed on the road." "Oh. Oh, we have to have a conference." And so Bill McCaleb was the guy—the game agent. So that went through the process of getting ahold of the game agent, so the Game Department says, "Oh yeah, that's a deer we picked up on the road." But that was—well, some things you never forget!
DL: That's the thrill.
MD: I understand that this particular Extension Bulletin, 819, was probably one of the most successful Extension Bulletins ever produced by OSU Extension, and it went through—
AL: That was—I was told years ago that they printed 172,000 bulletins of that bulletin, and then they had to make more, because I think we sent 50 copies to Pennsylvania, and Michigan wanted a whole bunch of them. [0:35:00] Wisconsin wanted a lot of them. And so they were—but they were sold. The 172,000 were free at the County Extension office. So you could—but to other states it became a business transaction. And then they burned the building down, like Lee Kuhn said.
MD: So they wouldn't have to print any more. [Laughs] Well, let's move on to another area. I understand that you were involved with setting aside areas within Willamette Valley to help manage the Dusky Canada Goose, which basically is developed into the wildlife refuges like Finley, Baskett Slough, Ankeny Hill. Tell us a little bit about that process, and how you were involved with that.
AL: The Department of Fisheries and Wildlife here at Oregon State became interested in the Dusky—the management of migratory wildfowl in Willamette Valley, because there again, the farmers were having their wheat fields picked up in the—by geese landing on them, and so on. And then when the proposal for the William Wildlife Refuge came along, this was to take a lot of farmland out of production, and that's off the tax rolls.
And so, we had to—we were involved; we were asked to help. Well, we found out right away that the Oregon Department of Fisheries and Wildlife didn't have the money to take on a big area like that, to manage it for the Dusky—and so here comes the Fish and Wildlife Service. And so that involved then getting ahold of the Migratory Wildlife Committee in Washington, D.C., that wanted to authorize the purchase of all of this land. But the land owners in Benton County, plus commissioners, didn't want that land to go off the tax roll. So what is the educational benefit of a wildlife refuge in Benton County, here?
It fell upon my job to explain how this would help the migratory waterfowl population, and that large areas of the refuge would be farmed, and the landowners could lease land from the refuge to farm their crops, or grain, and other crops. And then we learned from the farmers the extent of the damage that the migratory waterfowl can inflict upon grain land, particularly grain. With one confrontation, when they go grazing on the land all over the area, they come back and roost on your field that night, and they leave their waste on your—and that increased your yield on wheat, I remember. So the thing became quite a controversy.
And I remember setting up—not me, a farmer set up a meeting at the Benton County Fairgrounds where a real nice farmer, Elwin Smith, south of Corvallis, a large land owner, and a very intelligent and thrifty, excellent farmer, debated with me at the Benton County Fairgrounds. And now I look back, and say, "Thank you, Elwin, for being able to approach a difference of opinion without the bitterness of the argument, maintaining respect for each other." So we each presented our own programs, with no one standing up with emotions, or for the geese, or for the farmers. We had an educational program that I felt real good about, and it's up to the people to decide.
And now we have that refuge there because one of the predictions was that that refuge should be open for game management, open for hunting to manage the population. Because the Dusky Canada Goose that comes to the Willamette Valley here is summered, and gets its nesting grounds on the Copper River in Alaska. [0:40:00] And so, it became a cooperation between you looking at the population of summer population breeding stock, as well as our winter population of survivors. How many animals did you harvest out of this, so you still maintain a healthy breeding population? And I was involved in those—very interesting, very interesting.
MD: Well, as a wildlife photographer, I personally thank you for providing, especially Ankeny and Finley. Those places are very special to me and my family. So to think that I'm in the presence of a person that actually had something to do with that is kind of special, really. One of the things that seems to be kind of a theme throughout your OSU Expansion career is working with youth. I've got a photograph here that is of you in 1957, I believe, on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. And it's just you teaching a bunch of kids. I see a tackle box open, and I see some kids just, you know, enthralled with what you are saying. Tell us about how it is for you to work with young people, and teach them, and be part of their lives.
AL: One of the things working with young people is the spirit that you pick up from them with their enthusiasm, and their—their lack of knowledge, their hunger for knowledge, their questions, and the responses. It's just a total interest for me. And now, as I reflect back, when I think of Bill Thompson from Portland, who became an entomologist because, when I was in the stream up at Camp Vernonia—there's a wildlife, forestry wildlife camp that we established—I'm picking up aquatic insects out of the stream using a window—the window screen that you have over your windows here as a little seining device, and getting interested in the aquatic life. You think, "Jiminy Christmas, there's living things under the water, you know!" And you get fascinated.
So I enjoyed working with them, and then feeling the need for—feeling the need for—and their interest in wanting more. And one of the ways to start is with fishing, because fishing—every once in a while, you find a person that really likes to fish. There's something fascinating about fishing that directs your attention. Well, every time, with my fishing interest and background, what a neat way for a young person to aim their thoughts, and feelings, and pressure, on how to catch a fish in the water. And then when you do that, you can see that—well, right after I came on the staff down here, and became a 4-H specialist, or a 4-H—I was on the state 4-H staff here for a while, and developed a fishing project, and then kind of an outdoor school project that worked real well.
And that tapered off into marksmanship. There's quite a few people that would come along and says, "Our children ought to learn how to safely handle weapons, and be real—and enjoy it." Well, there again, there were some people that just found that they love to shoot. But the big thing is, when you get involved with fishing or shooting, you get parental support to a child, for what's something they want to do—a marvelous relationship, a very healthy, mentally healthy, relationship between parents. And that kept me motivated, and I just thoroughly enjoyed teaching classes at summer camps. But then I wrote some of the projects. I would write a skeleton, and take it out to a 4-H leader to put the meat in it. They could tell you what they can or can't do.
MD: Yeah, I do understand that, later in your career here, you were put in charge of—well, quite heavily [0:45:00] in charge of the 4-H—you were basically the 4-H youth specialist, and so is this where you developed some of these programs and summer camps, and that was on a statewide basis?
AL: That was on a statewide basis. So I helped—I think when I go back and remember some things, Charlie Ross, extension forester here at Oregon State, and I, we started a camp, Vernonia, a forestry wildlife camp up at Vernonia, there. Then E.R. Jackman and I started a camp over at the Malheur River in the Strawberry Mountains, for range management and wildlife. Then, in the Coos River area we started a camp there, Camp Myrtlewood, or something, that was on fisheries, mostly aimed at fisheries. And there again, as young people got involved, because when you get local authorities, local people, teaching at these classes, that's effective.
And then you get the support from the Cattlemen's Association, the Oregon Wildlife Federation, the Izaak Walton League. The Oregon State Game Commission was extremely cooperative in providing the people to come into these camps. Plus the Oregon State Police, to come to these camps. And I was the coordinator of a lot of these, these things, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Because the people you work with—it's wonderful to work with people of that professional background.
MD: Well, I mean, I really believe that your career, your years at OSU Extension, must have been really fulfilling for you. How do you sum up your OSU Extension career, now that you are looking back?
AL: Two things that are in my extension career. I had an advisor at home, that when I went out to the different things, could sit down and I could level to on some of the negative and the positive on things. And she helped me in my career by tolerating me to go night and day, after the family got there. And so when I think about it from a—from a broad aspect, the extension career was part of my family growing up, because my family went with me to some of these camps.
And I think, when I think of the hundreds of acres of privately owned surface water, and then having people come up at age 76, or like, a person knocking on the door, and open the door, and they say, "I bet you don't remember me." And I said, "Oh yeah, I do. You're Jay Potter on Little Sheep's Creek. [Laughs] Extension has fulfilled my life where I am still enjoying it today. I still enjoy memories of it. And I enjoy watching parents when they are taking children out, or doing things with parents, and I had a lot of ego feeding to see this relationship, and then come back to Frank Ballard, when he says, "Are you doing any good?"
And I think back now, that when, okay, a fellow in Washington County said, "Do you remember you helped us with trout in this pond, and we developed a spawning area? Well, we just had some trout that were up to three pounds out of our pond the other day." So those kinds of thoughts round out your life, and I think, I am so lucky that I worked on a job that was a love made visible. I am one of the richest people in Oregon to be able to have worked on a profession that you kind of hated to quit. [0:50:00]
MD: Well, I understand that you really didn't retire that much when you did retire, that you continued speaking, and working with Extension?
AL: Yes, and I still—okay, every once in a while I talk to a young group that traces back. I mean, well then, when I retired, I was involved in starting outdoor school programs in the various counties. And I started here in Prineville. The superintendent of the Prineville school—I used to hold field days in various counties, but out of Madras, I'd hold—the county agent, Jay Binder, Jay—yeah, Jay Binder, would organize a sixth grade field trip out to Mr. Stevenson's pond, where we would have somebody talk about the agricultural use of water they impounded—the fertilization, the chemical control, and then life in the pond.
I would take my seine, and a plankton net, and set up my aquarium, run a plankton net to the kids that were standing on the bank. You walk over there with a 100 foot rope, and we'd pull a skein, a plankton net across the pond, and in the bottle—in that bottle there's a whole bunch of living organisms: zooplankton that are wiggling around. And so, I want to tell you the name of the man who started that outdoor school for—I can see him. But anyway, he came to one of these classes, and he said, "Hey, this is a possibility for outdoor school activity." And so he started—he started out with this, to a point where I remember going to a class over here in Tillamook County, where I was invited to come out on some things. And so I get a lot of satisfaction from thinking back on those days.
MD: Do you have any idea how many miles that you have put on around this state, with all of the travelling around between, you know, Malheur, and that?
MD: Any comprehension?
AL: Yes. I want to tell you, Mike, that on these miles, if you finish a class in Burns, Oregon, and you are going to come home tomorrow, you say, "Hey, wait. I can drive home. If I leave here at 10 o'clock at night, I can be home at 2 o'clock in the morning, and that will save me a day tomorrow. Because if I wait here, I just waste a whole day. And I've got things to do, and letters to write, and stuff." And so, this has been one of the most critical things that happened.
I start driving from Burns, Oregon, and I get around Brothers, or Hampton—in fact, you people may know that long straight road. This got my full attention, and that is that when I'm driving straight ahead, and the next thing you know I'm in a car that's moving, and I'm on the other side of the road with my left front tire, the back one on the shoulder. But they're long and straight. I didn't kill myself. I turned back on the—I drove to Pendleton. I drove to Bend that night, and swore up and down I'm never going to drive after midnight again. Which, I hadn't even got to midnight yet. And I keep—I'm so convinced. That scared me real bad, very badly, to a point where I encourage everybody to not drive when there's a chance you might go to sleep. Because if you had asked me, "Oh, no, I won't go to sleep. Oh, no."
MD: You have received so many rewards and recognition through your career. And I know that I could list these out here, but there's just so many. What's your feelings about this recognition? [0:55:00] We talked a little bit about the Junior First Citizen, but this is later in your career, as it was basically coming to your retirement.
AL: Mike, if you go through the Depression, and you start to—a young man that goes from 14 to 18 on the farm, in the philosophy that says when you are 18 you are out on your own; you are going to make your living from then on, and you can't get a job. There's no jobs available in 1935, '36, during the Depression. We may not have much money, but we were never poor. We had lots to eat all of the time. I keep thinking to this day, and recently, talking to my own daughter. The fear of insecurity was so strong that I grapple with it to this day. So every award that I ever got, I can remember thinking, "Hot dogs! This is going to help me get away from common labor."
And awards were—I didn't really know that I was working for awards. I was working to be sure that I could take care of myself. And there again, like I said hundreds of times, society helped me. Every person can be your teacher if you are willing to learn. So, one of the ways is to—well an example: you have friends that get drunk. You have friends that, before they're drunk, they're nice guys, good guys, and so on and so forth. And they get drunk, and they go into behavior that's absolutely horrendous, totally disrespectful for a human being. This is easy: don't drink. You get away from that problem, you know.
Okay, so I look at Mr. Shushan, the principal of our school, high school—here's a man that had characteristics I admired. Hey, go for your needs yourself, so do what he's doing. Lawrence Tuttle was the best fisherman in town, and again, here was a real nice guy, that when you get out on the river, and you're dealing with a—well, he did to me like I did to Teddy Daggett in Tillsville [?]. I still remember the man, and that was a lot of years ago, of the help and the concern, and saying, "Andy, you're fishing in the wrong place in the river. They don't live there. They live here. This is where they like to live." "Thank you. Thanks you."
And so, awards were very pleasing, were very comforting. I can never—I never felt that I was superior. I felt that I was recognized for what I did that was right. Well, and I interpreted it: I did what other people admired, and thought it was worthwhile recognizing. And that's comforting, security, security. This is, I can make it.
MD: Well, you know, you have a history here at this college that is second to none. And you have met and dealt with some of our key people, you know, some of our famous professors and administrators, and I always like to hear. We are presently in Ballard Extension Hall. What are your recollections of Frank Ballard, Professor Dimick, some of the men that you came in contact with back then?
AL: Frank Ballard was an individual that dealt with one issue at a time, and had patience to listen to all of the things. "Are you doing any good, Andy?" And I was free to say, "No, I don't know if I am or not," and so on. We could talk with him. R.E. Dimick and his wife—again, R.E. Dimick was one, but his wife was another, and they made a team. She knew almost every student in Fisheries and Wildlife. And when you— [1:00:00] some of the students were younger than I, because I went to Alaska for two years right out of high school. She was a mother to us. I will never forget Mrs. Dimick, and the impact she had on us as individuals.
And after I came back and became the extension wildlife specialist here, when I caught a steelhead I would always share Mr. Dimick a piece. Because Roland passed away first. They lost a son that was buried at sea, of all things. But anyway, that—and so Professor Dimick was another person which our family sent him Christmas cards as long as he lived. I'm back in Oklahoma, and I have a picture of Evelyn out on the buffalo range. I send pictures to R.E. Dimick. That's the kind of a relationship that we developed.
And we could—I could talk to him. I remember that when I was a sophomore, I—because I was never what you would call a good student. I didn't make grades, going clear back to high school when you size up life, and you think, "Hey, all I need to do is make a C to get out of high school. Why am I killing myself studying?" [Laughs] Well, I paid the price in school, and I was struggling as a sophomore to make grades. I needed more than a C. I wanted more than a C to get out of college. And so I was—I really was considering quitting. And I talked to Professor Dimick about it, and he was then telling me many other attributes I had, and so on and so forth. Thank you to professor Dimick, I kept on.
And then, people that I associated with here, tremendous impact on my life/skill. Because I lived in the associated halls over here, and the men's gym was just that far apart, you know, two blocks. So I played basketball in high school. Well, in my high school time, to win wasn't important; how you played the game was. And the justification for it was physical culture. But so, I became—there was eight of us on a team, and we cleaned up our league. [Laughs] And the reason we did it, we worked out plays. Milt Blood would say, you know, on basketball, he says, "Why don't you dribble right by, and when you go by me, just put the ball down on the ground, on the floor and leave it here, because your defender will be out of here, and I can put it"—you know, little plays like that. Which, and so I liked basketball.
So I go over there to the gym, and sit there and watch, after probably I think my sophomore year, maybe, Slats [unclear] would come up and visit with me, and so on. Perfectly happy to be there. I watched Paul Valenti play. And by the way, I just visited Paul the other day, up in—and he's doing fine, but Fran, his wife, is—but Slats, then when I became president of the student body, Slats Gill took a special, made a special effort to sit down with me on student leadership. How do you work with students peacefully? And the importance of getting the thinking out of each student into the pot, and you as president of the student body pick out the kernels, and see what is helpful, what will work.
And then Lon Stiner, the coach here, was another powerful young man that again, had a personality that was easy to talk to. A personality that, on our football team, he got better players out of complimenting them. He never taught—he'd never character assassinized, or tell you how stupid you are, or you've got to think, and so on, or you are this and that. Tremendous impact upon you, like that.
And then F.A. Gilfillan was President of the University here when—fabulous, fabulous fellow. And I was ordered into the service here as a senior, and I—well, I guess I've already told you. I go to F.A. Gilfillan, and I did not want to go. He had been a first sergeant in World War I—no, a First Lieutenant. He was an officer. [1:05:00] So he talked to me about the responsibility of an officer, the conduct, and then the pride in yourself. So—and friendliness. When you walked across the campus and he would look up, and he says, "Ah, greetings from the big president to the little president." Can you imagine what that does for a country boy's ego?
MD: Well the campus has changed quite a bit since you've been here. I know that you get a chance to walk around campus every once in a while. And how do you feel about all of this building and everything that's going on around here?
AL: I took a little tablet the other day, and I went around, and I am embarrassed that at my institution, that meant so much to me, I can't remember all of the buildings, and all of the names they have. I mean, I thought, "Well, that must be old age." But I'm going to make a special effort to try to remember the buildings, because if I have some relatives, or some people that come, and I want to drive around the campus, I want to be able to say—quit the ego business and say, "Well, this is where I went to school, and this is where I did—," but to point out the buildings and the tremendous contributions that we're making, or the attempt to meet today's society.
Because there were only 5,000 students when I was here as a student, and now there are almost 25,000, and the behavior is quite a bit different. I don't think there's been a student ever looked at this old man walking across here that said, "Well, hello!" [Laughs] And it was customary that you nodded acquaintance in our day. And then we had some customs that I think were kind of binding to students' support, interest, and pride in Oregon State. The little green lid the girls had to wear since, and I couldn't wear corduroy pants until I got to be a junior.
MD: Well, your OSU Extension Service career was stellar. And to be able to share, you know, some of your memories of the days of the extension that are—that would be a great thing for this organization here to have. Is there any other stories or high points that you want to go ahead and talk about, before we turn it over and let Debbie ask the questions, as our custom has been?
AL: Yes, Mike, there was a real high point in my college education here. The war was over; the war started December the 7th, 1941. I may have covered this with you before, but it was very significant to this campus. And the days afterward, the spirit on this campus went from a good spirit to a very determined and solemn approach to life, because when you are ordered as a senior to report immediately to this destination, and you left your tuition behind, your books behind, and a lot of your clothes—hey, by the way, I've got a real nice jacket that I bought, a leather jacket, from Bob Coober from Roseburg. And you're off, and there is orders.
And then every Japanese student, and we all had—well there was a Japanese student in Poling Hall, where I lived—ordered to immediately report to a concentration camp; I forgot where. You dropped out of school, out of school. Well, I'm student body president, and the Japanese people came to me and said, "This is wrong. This is wrong. My parents live in Hood River, and we're paying taxes, and we have—you don't have to be worried on us about anything, just because we happen to be Japanese." Okay, so I'm going to take and see if I can get this rule changed.
So I go to President F. A. Gilfillan, talking with him, and he and I went down to the commandant, and I can still see him because he was a very dignified man [1:10:00] —anyway, down at the armory down here. That's where the head—and so I laid out my case here of how unfair this is, how disrespectful it is to honest, good citizens that are working, paying their taxes, and are good citizens, and doing this to them is just not common sense, does not hit us reasonably, and we would like to have that order rescinded.
I'll never forget it. The commander said, "Gentlemen, the country is at war with Japan. That is an executive order, and it will be carried out." And that's what we faced right there. F. A. Gilfillan and I walked out of there with the curtains pulled on our attitude. It was really just, "Gentlemen, the orders will be carried out. Executive order came down." Never forget it. And for some reason, it just keeps coming up once in a while, yet.
And so, thank you Oregon State, I started out, came right from Alaska, walked, got down to Seattle, and took a train, and got out of the train, and took my suitcase and walked right up that campus, and walked over to my dormitory. Thanks to Father Landforce who says, "I don't think you should match. I think you should live with a group of people." That was the key to living. And the Oregon State handled me ever since.
MD: You are a true treasure of Oregon State. And it's been kind of a custom in these sessions to allow Debbie Landforce to make sure she gets her questions in, so they can be preserved for her family, and also for Oregon State as well. Do you have some questions?
DL: Just maybe one, because that's a beautiful close to the interview. I know how important teamwork has been for you as you worked, and I'm not certain if you mentioned this while I was out of the room, but I always was impressed with your working relationship with Bev Thompson.
AL: Oh, yes.
DL: Yeah. And I didn't know if you maybe wanted to talk. It seemed like that was really important to your success in the Extension Service.
AL: Beverly Thompson left Nebraska, Broken Bow, Nebraska, as a young woman, married to Dick. Got here, entered at Greenberry down here. Comes from the Dust Bowl, and salvaged a farm, and worked here, and so on, and became the County Extension agent secretary for Tony Jackson. And then when she—I don't remember the transition, but then she came and became my secretary. Well, here is a woman who is a mother, a well-educated individual, and a person you can talk to. And we each had three children, all the same ages.
But when she saw the letters coming across my desk, and she would then take a copy of my letter on whatever it was, kind of question, like: the woodpeckers are pecking on the side of my house all of the time. How do I get rid of them? I would write a letter on this, you know. And she would write them a letter. She would write them. She saved me hours of time! The reason? So I could spend my time on organizing committees, or organizing programs. She was the one that—we were entertained. R. E. Dimick wanted to involve the Department of Fisheries with decisions of the state. We entertained a convention of the Izaak Walton League, the Wildlife Society, the American Fisheries Society, the Wildlife Society, and the Oregon Wildlife Federation. And Beverly Thompson organized the rooms, the PA systems, and all of the mechanical—all I had to do was organize the program. And I get the award.
I get the recognition. And so, just another one of the things where she did the groundwork that was so important to a successful program. [1:15:00] Got compliments from R. E. Dimick; Frank Ballard was happy with it, and so on.
DL: And how long did you and Bev work together?
AL: Not long enough.
DL: That's good.
AL: I think 15 years. Yeah, about 15 years. And now, by the way, she's in a private rest home up here on—up close to the hospital. Debbie and I just visited with her the other day.
DL: Yes, I always remember Bev as being so important to our family, as well. And I don't know if you talked about the county fairs, the state fairs? Did you get to the state fair a little bit? The marksmanship? And I don't know if those details are important right now.
MD: Marksmanship awards.
DL: I remember some of those very unique programs, it seemed like, that you started, and I remember you and Bev starting them together.
AL: She was not only a secretary; she was my partner. She was my partner. And I think about the role of receptionists, or secretaries, that it's a marvelous technique to walk into your room, and with her pad, she said, "What is on your agenda today? Okay, I can do this, I can do that, and I can do that," freeing me up to do where the kernels, the more important work was. So, thank you Beverly.
DL: It struck me as one of the best respectful working relationships I think I have ever seen in an institution. It's very, very special. The only other things is, I would invite—because I know your colleagues were so important, if there are any other people you want to mention, that you've gotten to work with over the years? I mean, Glen Klein comes to mind.
DL: You know, names that we've heard, household names, [laughs] in the Extension Service over many years.
DL: I don't know if you maybe wanted to mention a few of the colleagues that you enjoyed?
AL: Well, yes. It's kind of fun. I think you might read about E. R. Jackman here, on his contribution to the state of Oregon. He had some methods of working with people around the state. He was the special range management specialist at Oregon State. And there was a great need then, and still is a need, to manage the forage on central Oregon and eastern Oregon, in relation to 10 to 12 inches of rainfall a year, and the species of grass, and where does the ability of grasses help us?
For instance, when I was a county agent, well, all counties would help E. R. Jackman. I went on a hill out on Big Sheep Creek, where I planted different grasses on the north side, on the top, and on the southern side, because they had different moisture content, to see which are the most vigorous grasses. And this was quite a demonstration for farmers. But E. R. come up to look it over, and selected two of the better grasses to recommend for the National Park Service to raise these grasses at a higher elevation, because we were at 4,000 feet over there.
And so E. R. Jackman, then he was an individual that left me with a good impression on a couple of things. One is writing. He would see me struggling over the lead paragraph on an article that I might be writing. And he says, "You're struggling too hard, Andy. Just get out a piece of paper, and what hits your mind, write it down as a possible first sentence. Write that sentence down as a possible first sentence; let it get cold for a day or two. Come back and it can help you get started. Because getting started on articles, you want to capture people's attention so they'll read it." So that was one thing.
Another thing was: when you go into a county, you go into a county, be sure and remember the names of the key people that you work with. So E. R. kept a pad, and when he got through visiting with you, okay, here's Adam. So E. R. Jackman, Adam. When I got home, I wrote Adam's name down so I'd remember it. And when I walked over there and saw him, by God, that's Adam!
Okay, E. R. Jackman, thank you. Art King was a soil scientist; [1:20:00] left me with an impression, "Isn't it marvelous that out of that soil, Andy, come the flowers, those reds, yellows, and beautiful colors, on the soil?" Soil isn't dirt. Soil has the epitome of life in it, and he made you just feel that soil was so important. Well, man, it is, because when it's lost off the ground, we are going to starve! [Laughs] Another person—and then when he was driving a car, he'd scare you to death, because he was looking all over the country. "Hey, you see that over there?" We were driving through eastern Oregon. He'd say, "Hey, look over there. There is a whole green that plants are going to—I wonder how they get moisture."
So, Art made the countryside look beautiful to me, because of the relationships of soil with water, and the plants. And if you really get the feeling that, looking at pretty flowers, if you allow yourself to look at gladiolas, and flowers like that, and you look at all of that in there, and you think, "Man, we live in a fascinating world." And you can—you get a sense of beauty and the tenacity of life. [Laughs] And then, administrative people, like F. A. Gilfillan, what was very, very instrumental on you, on your life.
And then, people like Bill Langan. I don't suppose any—because Bill and Margaret—Bill had been a page boy in Washington, D.C. And he came out here, and he was executive secretary with F. E. Price, who was Dean of the School of Agriculture. And that man had an impact on me that has lasted me to this day. I came down here from Alaska, and I was extremely shy, or I was insecure, but Professor Dimick helped me with my classmates. Now, where are all of these rooms, and where are all of the places I'm going to go? I'm walking across this campus here, after I had met with Bill Langan, I think only once, maybe twice, as a student with some problems. I'm walking across, and Bill is coming here, and I am going there, and he said, "Hello, Andy." I am at Oregon State, miles away from home and anybody else, and this guy says, "Andy." The most beautiful word I ever heard!
Bill Langan. Yes, Bill Langan, who probably doesn't show up in many legends around here, was instrumental to all of us. I think Bill Langan would know the names of every student in the School of Agriculture. It was just amazing! We that were here on the campus honored him a great deal. And then Ed Allworth, that was chairman of the MU, because I visited with him about his war experiences, and his son Ed was a classmate of mine. So, those are just some of the key people.
DL: That's great.
MD: Well, Andy, again, it's been wonderful. Your story is one of the most important ones that this institution to capture in this format, here. And again, we thank you, and we thank you for your years and years of service to the Oregon Extension, as well. We appreciate it.
AL: Thank you, Mike. And thank you for the opportunity. I think what happens with this interview, that as I get farther down twilight lane, I'm going to carry a lot of these things with me into the grave. They don't weigh anything, or take up any space, but they've been a value of life.
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