In Memoriam

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Alvin F. Oien ’57

As a young boy Al served as junior prime minister in the Portland Rose Festival. He graduated from Benson High School and began at Reed in 1953. He left to get pilot training and served as a USAF pilot at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, flying down-range missions during the early years of the space program. Al also served as a military pilot in the 304th Aerospace Rescue Squadron, USAF Reserves, Portland, flying search and rescue missions in SA-16 amphibians.

In 1960, he married Sally Dinsmore and attended Portland State College. Al began his career as a commercial pilot in 1962, flying for Delta Air Lines in Dallas, Texas, retiring as captain in 1985. Following the death of Sally, Al married Carol Thomas, his “Sweetbaby,” in 1975. For many years he served as alderman for the town of Westlake, Texas, and was “noted for his candor” by the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

Al was privileged to have flown many types of aircraft in his lifetime, including helicopters, amphibians, single- and multiengine props, and jets. He flew the last commissioned B-17 during his Air Force service and, as a civilian, the last operating Boeing 307, now in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. In recent years, Al collaborated with author/pilot Ross Nixon on the book Finding Carla, a recollection of the tragic loss of his father, Al Senior, in a private plane crash in 1967. His wife, Carol, survives him, as do his brothers, Ronald and Charles.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2018

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