In Memoriam

Recent Obituaries
In Memoriam Archive

Paul Williams Wiseman ’33

Paul Williams Wiseman ’33, June 13, 2011, in Olympia, Washington, two days before his 99th birthday. Paul studied at Reed for two years and lived in House F, where he and roommate Hunter Morrison ’34 formed a lifelong friendship that included mountain climbing. Following the Depression, Paul’s family could no longer afford tuition, and he left Reed to work as a deckhand for the Grace Line, sailing between Seattle and South America. In 1935, he received a BA in economics from the University of Washington and went to work for state government in Olympia. He served as an army quartermaster during World War II and was posted in Europe and the Philippines. After the war, he resumed his position in Olympia, becoming chief of research and statistics in the employment security department. Over the years, he maintained his love of mountaineering, helping to found the Olympia branch of the Mountaineers Club, one of the oldest outdoor clubs in the U.S. He received the branch’s first service award in 1991 and served as historian for the Mountaineers in Washington. (His role is documented in the book The Mountaineers: A History.) The Mountaineers stated, “Paul Wiseman’s death deprives the Olympia mountaineering community of one of its original branch founders and enduring role models.” Paul also was a board member of the Sierra Club’s northwest chapter and the Mountain Rescue Council, and was a strong advocate for wilderness conservation. In 1958, he hiked with Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, Polly Dyer, and others along the Olympic coastline to protest a proposed extension of U.S. Highway 101 that would have destroyed a section of Olympic National Park. He led trips for the Mountaineers in his ’80s and continued to hike and drive his Lincoln—the one vehicle with a trunk big enough to hold a set of skis—well into his late ’90s.

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2011

comments powered by Disqus