In Memoriam

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Bernard R. Wolff ’48

A graduate of Washington High School in Portland, Bernie attended Reed before transferring to and graduating from Oregon State University with a degree in zoology. He attended Portland State University to earn credits for an elementary education certificate and later got his doctorate of education from the University of Oregon.

Bernie had a strong work ethic and worked hard at Sheridan Fruit Company during his high school years and intermittently thereafter. He started his own produce box distribution business with a Sheridan colleague, but was forced to sell his share when he was drafted during the Korean Conflict, serving two years and a day in the Army, stationed at the Presidio in San Francisco. After he was discharged, he began teaching elementary education in Toledo, Oregon, in 1954, and then in Lake Oswego, beginning in 1958. In 1962, he was hired by Lewis & Clark as an associate professor of education, and taught there for 25 years, eventually rising to chair the undergraduate education department. After retiring in 1987, Bernie served as a teacher’s aide at Arleta Elementary School in Southeast Portland and Garibaldi Elementary School.

In an autobiographical essay, Bernie wrote: “I believe teaching is ‘increasing the probability that learning will take place.’”

While at Reed, he met Sara Lee Reynolds ’49, a fellow biology student. They dated and were married while Bernie was stationed in the Army in San Francisco. They had two sons, Christopher and Scott. In 1982, Sara Lee passed away following a courageous battle with breast cancer.

Bernie became involved with a death and dying support group, where he met Carol Rouillard. The couple married in 1985.

Bernie believed in showing his love by giving care to family and friends, including his mother and father, Sara Lee through her years with cancer, and Carol’s daughter following a debilitating automobile accident. He cared for the community as well, volunteering for many organizations, including the Everett Street Drop-In Center, FISH Emergency Services, Oregon Education Association, Sellwood Moreland Improvement League (SMILE), Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, Salvation Army, and many other church and peace-related committees. Bernie and Carol also volunteered for community projects in New Zealand, Ireland, and Costa Rica. He is survived by his wife, Carol, son Chris (Terrie), son Scott (Concetta), grandchildren Andy, Erin, Leslie, Allegra, and Ariana, and by stepdaughters, Michelle Rouillard, and her daughter, Lauren Lebov, and Holly Johnson, her husband Perry, and their son, Andre.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2016

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