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Morton T. Rosenblum ’49

April 20, 2019, in Portland, Oregon.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Mort graduated at age 16 from DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx and then completed the two-year program at the State Institute of Agriculture in Farmingdale, New York.

After working in agriculture in upstate New York during the first years of World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was stationed at the Seattle Naval Air Station and the Astoria Naval Air Station. Unable to qualify as a pilot because of his poor eyesight, Mort was a Link trainer instructor, teaching pilots to fly in ground simulators, as well as a photographer.

Upon his discharge from the Navy in 1946, he enrolled at Reed College in economics, and wrote his thesis, “The Allocation of Joint Costs in Multiple Purpose River Development Projects,” with Prof. Charles McKinley [political science 1918–60] advising. In addition to the academic experience of working with McKinley, Prof. Dorothy Johansen ’33 [history 1934–84], and Prof. Arthur Leigh [economics 1945–88], Mort treasured the lifelong friendships that began on campus, and in particular, “that girl from Kerr.”

He met Billie Seltzer ’49 when they both were working in the dining hall; they married in 1948. Mort went on to earn a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Oregon State University and completed all doctoral work except for his dissertation before going to work in agriculture-related businesses in Sheridan, Oregon, and Portland.

Mort also taught introductory economics in the evening program at Portland State University. In the ’60s, he began a long career in the travel business as president and founder of Mortours, LTD, specializing in tours of the South Pacific and Southeast Asia.

He was a proud and active alumnus of Reed; a devotee of classical music; served as president of the Portland chapter of Skål International, a professional travel organization; and was a member of Congregation Beth Israel for 71 years. Mort’s wife, Billie, died in 2002; his two sons, David and Bruce, survive him.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2019

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