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Nedra Belle Gray Firestone ’42

A picture of Nedra Gray Firestone

Nedra Belle Gray Firestone ’42, March 11, 2011, in Monmouth, Oregon. Nedra grew up in Portland’s Irvington neighborhood, guided by a caring older sister, Frances Gray Cannell ’29. She attended Grant High School, and, at 15, with Frances as chaperone, she toured California and Mexico, playing violin in an all-girl band. At Reed, she participated in theatre and dance and earned a BA in general literature. She made lifelong friends and treasured her Reed experience to the end of her life. “Reed fostered my abilities to analyze, organize, understand others and myself, and to communicate, all of which are basic to success in any endeavor.” In 1943, she and childhood friend Evan R. Feuerstein married. He served in the army during World War II; following the war, he changed his surname to Firestone. Nedra and Evan lived in Detroit and Dallas, Oregon, and raised a son and daughter. During the ’60s, Nedra worked in public housing with Polk County Housing Authority; she was a life member of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials. In retirement, she served as founding president of Polk County Development Corporation, a nonprofit dedicated to creating affordable housing. She was board president of the corporation for nearly 20 years, taking a “less active role” at the age of 90, and was chair of the Children’s Fund Committee. Nedra enjoyed reading and cooking, boating with Evan, and traveling with her daughter and granddaughter. Throughout their lives, Nedra and Evan contributed generously to a multitude of causes for the underprivileged. Survivors include a son, daughter, and granddaughter. Evan died in 2009.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2012

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