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Harry Leonard Turtledove ’42

A picture of Harry Turtledove

Harry Leonard Turtledove '42, January 27, 2011, in Portland. Harry earned a BA from Reed in political science, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. He was a day-dodger in his freshman and senior years, lived in Doyle in sophomore year, and spent his junior year at Wesleyan University. In an oral history interview in 2006, Harry reported that he chose Reed partly at the urging of a beloved high school teacher, but also because he was impressed by the Reed students he met and observed at political forums and discussions on campus. After graduation, he spent the summer working in the shipyard at Swan Island before enlisting in the army. He served for four years in the U.S.; Calcutta, India; and Karachi, Pakistan. After the war, he was a reporter for the Oregon Journal, covering sports and music. “In 1949, I decided that I was going to look for other pastures, and I made the only use I ever made of the GI Bill of Rights,” he reported. “When I got out of the army, I had had enough of organized anything.” He took a course at the University of London, which led to a job writing for the Marshall Plan Information Services, later U.S. Information Services, in both London and Paris. He returned to Portland and to Oregon politics, working on campaigns for the Democratic Party, and was then contacted by the CIA. “I spent three years in France with the CIA as a deep cover agent, which sounds very glamorous, but I was not living in any danger,” he said. He was married to Patricia Lavan; they had a daughter and lived outside of Paris for four years. In 1958, they returned to Portland and Harry formed a public relations agency, Heims and Turtledove, later Turtledove Clemens. Harry was involved in Oregon's Democratic politics, including campaigns for representatives Edith Green and Les AuCoin, governor Bob Straub, Oregon Primary presidential primary candidate Robert Kennedy, and many others. In 2003, the Oregon Supreme Court appointed him to the Oregon State Bar Disciplinary Committee as a public member, where he served for five years. In his public obituary, we learned that he was a connoisseur of food and wine and considered going into the wine business. He was an accomplished pianist, and his love and knowledge of music led to supporting Friends of Chamber Music, Chamber Music Northwest, and Portland Piano International. He continued to travel to Paris and Burgundy, even as his health failed. “His was a life well lived, a man deeply loved and respected for his wit and wisdom, his knowledge and kindness. Strong convictions and integrity were his hallmarks.” Patricia died in 1998. Survivors include his wife of 10 years, Elaine Durst; his daughter, Ann; his granddaughter, Miriam; and his sister, Alice Turtledove Meyer MALS ’89.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2011

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