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R. Monteith Macoubrie ’42

R. Monteith Macoubrie ’42

December 24, 2020, in Portland, Oregon, of natural causes at age 101.

Teacher, journalist, and photographer, Monte was born in Olathe, Kansas, and moved to Portland with his parents and younger brother, John Macoubrie ’47, when he was 11. At Reed, he wrote his thesis, “A Study of Milton’s ‘Areopagitica,’” advised by Prof. Barry Cerf [English 1921–48].

A veteran of World War II, Monte earned his wings as an enlisted flight crew corporal with the 111th Transport Squadron. After the war, he worked for a year as a journalist with the Longview Daily News and then returned to Reed to earn his master of education. He taught English and journalism at Girls Polytechnic High School and Madison High School, and, upon earning his high school counseling certificate in 1958, was assigned to Lincoln High School as a counselor. In 1973, Monte returned to teaching English at Cleveland High School, retiring in 1979.

For 90 years, Monte was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, where he was ordained as an elder and deacon and edited the in-house newsletter. A mentor to the church’s political refugees in the 1980s, he helped Iraqi political refugee Ayad al Mayahi become a citizen. “I never did get around to marrying,”  Monte said, but he considered Ayad his adopted son and Ayad’s children as grandchildren.

 Monte lived in the house in Northeast Portland his parents built in 1956 until moving to Holladay Park Plaza in 2008, where he spent his final 12 years sharing life stories, presenting photo displays, and starting a cat society, having adopted two while living there.

 He was involved with more than 15 conservation organizations and supported the Southern Poverty Law Center, the League of Women Voters, Amnesty International, the Urban League, the NAACP, OSPIRG, Planned Parenthood, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. He was a fan of both opera and the symphony and belonged to several art associations. 

Monte was a photographer who processed his own film and did his own printing, most in black and white. Every year he took a trip abroad, returning with hundreds of slides. 

His estate will be divided between Reed College, where a Macoubrie scholarship fund has been established in his name, and the Presbyterian Foundation Fund.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2021

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