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William LeRay Owen MAT ’59

William LeRay Owen MAT ’59, January 29, 2005, in Lake Oswego, Oregon. During World War II, Bill served with the U.S. Marine Corps, and, after the war, entered Lewis & Clark College on the G.I. Bill. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1953, and taught at Lincoln High School. In 1957 he joined the arbor service that had been in his family since 1924, General Tree Service. Bill felt that the Reed MAT experience provided him with personal growth that ultimately helped him run a successful business. In 1985, after 20 years as owner of General Tree Service, he moved to a consultant position, creating Tree and Landscape Consulting Services. Bill had a remarkable connection to the trees of the greater Portland area and beyond, even traveling to China to observe urban tree care. He was consulting arborist for the city of Portland and of Lake Oswego, a member of the Portland’s Street Tree Advisory Committee, president of the Portland Beautification Association, and president of the National Arborist Association. In 1998, he was accepted as Diplomat, American Board of Forensic Examiners. As a gift to Reed, and in keeping with his generous nature, Bill surveyed the college’s trees, which he documented in A Survey, Inventory and Analysis of Reed College Campus Trees. According to Reed’s facilities services director, Townsend Angell [1989–], this survey identified the value of the tree population, promoting the idea that landscape is an asset, and thereafter making tree maintenance a permanent facilities operation. In 1944 Bill married Bobbie L. Rose, who died in 1996. In 1997 he married Louise Baldwin ’45. He is survived by his wife; a daughter; two sons, including William K. Owen ’82; three grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and a sister. Two daughters predeceased him.

Appeared in Reed magazine: May 2005

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