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Michael Meriwether ’55

Born in Portland, Mike was 16 years old when he graduated from high school and entered Reed, where he met Joan Ross ’54 of Seattle. They married in 1955, moved to Hawaii, and had three children.

Mike attended graduate school at the University of Chicago to pursue doctoral studies in political science. He returned to Hawaii and was appointed to serve on the committee for designing and developing Hawaii’s statehood. He wrote legislation to maintain the territorial and cultural rights of the local and indigenous peoples, fair labor practices, affordable health care, and higher education.

Joan died in 1979. Mike continued to work in Hawaii’s government, raising his children, and enjoying scuba diving, mountain climbing, and Hawaiian music and culture. In 1987, he returned to Oregon and quickly engaged in state politics by becoming campaign manager for three successive candidates for state representative, all of whom were elected. In 1988, he met and married the Rev. Penny Christianson in Bay City, Oregon, where she was pastor of the United Methodist Church. Mike continued to work in the political arena, becoming legislative aide to Senator Bill McCoy, and helping him to draft legislation to end hunger in the state. In 1994, Mike joined Intel as a lab manager, tasked with designing a validation laboratory to test a new computer chip. He retired in 2003.

Mike had a passion for Northwest art, theatre, and a wide variety of music. A man of deep conviction, he lived his values of personal loyalty, ethical integrity, moral conviction, and commitment to social justice. He wrote poetry for his wife and family, and was an active member in all six churches that his wife served as pastor, wholeheartedly supporting her ministry. His survivors include his wife, Penny Christianson, three children. and two stepchildren.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2018

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