The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Bud Ossey Oral History Interviews

Two life history interviews conducted by Mike Dicianna.

October - November 2014


“Reflections on an Immigrant Upbringing, Iron Men, and Service During Wartime”  October 27, 2014  Location: Ossey residence, Tualatin, Oregon.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In his first interview, Ossey describes his family background in Russia as well as the family's emigration to the United States and settling in Portland. From there he discusses his father's enrollment and studies in engineering at Oregon Agricultural College, and his own early memories of visiting campus and attending sporting events. Of particular note is Ossey's recollection of watching the famous OSC vs. USC "Iron Men" game from his vantage point sitting on the USC bench.

From there, Ossey reflects on his own student experience at Oregon State College, including his involvement with ROTC, various campus traditions of the era, and trips to Eugene to play pranks. He likewise notes his undergraduate academic work - remarking in particular on influential professors - his involvement with the freshman basketball team, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the mood on campus as the U.S. entered World War II, and the story of his meeting and marrying his wife, Maxine.

The remainder of the session focuses on Ossey's military training and service. He recalls his officer training and early assignments during World War II, remarks on the changing of his last name from Osipovich to Ossey, and discusses his leadership of a Combat Engineer unit comprised entirely of African American soldiers. The interview concludes with Ossey's memories of being discharged from the service and the beginnings of his career with the Bonneville Power Administration.

“Building Powerhouses and the Beaver Club”  November 4, 2014  Location: Ossey residence, Tualatin, Oregon.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

Interview #2 begins with Ossey's memories of Oregon State's participation in the 1942 Rose Bowl, played in Durham, North Carolina on account of the war. He then shares the story of the founding of The Buck of the Month Club, OSC's first athletics booster organization, which later become the Beaver Club, of which Ossey is a charter member. He likewise discusses his interactions with major figures in Oregon State's past athletics history - including Tommy Prothro, Percy Locey, Slats Gill and Dee Andros - his own experiences broadcasting Beaver basketball games from Gill Coliseum, the evolution of OSU's athletics facilities, and the growth of its baseball program.

The session then shifts focus to Ossey's career working for the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bonneville Power Administration. He describes his involvement as a civil engineer in the construction of numerous power houses along rivers in Oregon and Washington. He also speaks of the flooding of Celilo Falls and of designing methods for fish to navigate through the dams constructed on the Columbia River.

After reflecting on family life during his working years, Ossey turns his attention once more to the history of Oregon State athletics, commenting on his interactions with athletes Ed Lewis and Terry Baker, and broadcasters Ted Carlson and Don Essig. He also details his work as a fundraiser for the athletic department, his involvement with numerous additional organizations working to advance OSU, his receipt of two awards from the university, and his pride at Oregon State's recent accomplishments as an institution. The interview concludes with Ossey's thoughts on the changes that he has seen on campus and the advice that he would give to students of today.