|8/23/2011 1:02:00 PM|
Paul Nelson Goodmonson
August 27, 1920 - August 16, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, just 11 days short of his 91st birthday, Paul passed away, surrounded by his loving family. His lungs and heart were just too tired to keep going. He had understood that it was coming and recently called a family meeting to discuss arrangements following his death. It doesn't make it any easier, we were just more prepared. He will be missed by many, but mostly by his children and wife, Jessie, all of whom relied upon his love and counsel more than he could have known.
Paul was one of seven children born to Thomas and Beatrice Goodmonson in Bemidji, MN. Following his childhood, he left Bemidji to study forestry at the University of Minnesota. While there, his father passed away and, as the eldest son, Paul worked full-time to support his mother and younger siblings while also attending University full-time. Paul liked to call himself a "90-day Wonder," so with World War II in full progress, and as a young man with college diploma in hand, Paul was accepted at Harvard University to participate in an intensive naval training program, from which he would emerge as a Lt. j.g., following just 90 days. He would go on to serve on an aircraft carrier in the South Pacific Theatre.
Fortuitously he chose to train at Harvard, because it was in Cambridge, at a church-sponsored clambake, that he met the beautiful Margaret (Peg) Beasom. Theirs was a short courtship, as were many during the war years, and they were married in April of 1944, a marriage that lasted 54 years, until Peg's death in May of l997. Three wonderful children came from this marriage: Margaret, Paul, Jr. and Peter.
Following the war, his first employment was with Crown-Zellerbach in Vernonia, followed by a move to Corvallis to become an Extension Service Forester at what was then Oregon State College. It was there that he became a good friend and hunting partner of Hal Schudel. It was around the campfire after a long day of hunting, aided by a "nip or two" of scotch, that the two found they had a mutual interest in the Christmas tree industry and both felt they could greatly improve upon the quality of trees that were then available. With a handshake a partnership was formed, and the rest, as they say, is history. Holiday Tree Farms was created and was the first to grow plantation trees in volume. Holiday trees were a success from the first harvest, and were soon to be found at markets across the U.S. After a 17-year successful partnership, Paul sold his share of Holiday Tree Farms to Hal's sons, and it has since become the world's largest shipper of plantation Christmas trees. Paul "tried" retirement for a short while, but soon became the managing partner of Noble Mountain Tree Farm, west of Salem. He would be there until his final retirement in 1984. During all of these years, he had as a sideline, his own forest land in Kings Valley which has magnificent old-growth timber and on which he grew Douglas fir Christmas trees. His two sons and son-in-law took over this land in 1976, and sold it to Starker Forests in 2000.
The Christmas tree industry is intense during the weeks of harvest prior to Christmas, but Paul had plenty of time the rest of the year to pursue his other interests. He and Peg loved to travel and almost every year took a trip to some part of the world, including a favorite around-the world adventure. They spent half of each year in Rancho Mirage, CA and the other half at Black Butte Ranch. Paul found he had a great talent for sculpting stone, and he and friend Bill Reiman spent great times at rock quarries in the desert and mountains looking for the "perfect" piece.
Following Peg's death, Paul met Jessie Brackett, also a long-time Black Butte Ranch resident, whose husband had passed away. After a short courtship, they were married in August of 1998, and had a loving marriage until his death. All of Paul's children and their spouses accompanied Paul and Jessie on their honeymoon cruise from Athens to Istanbul on the Windstar! We believe Paul's love for Jessie and her unwavering care was instrumental in Paul's longevity.
Paul is survived by his loving wife, Jessie, of Salishan; his one surviving sibling, sister Becky Sewell of Tucson, AZ; his daughter and her husband, Margaret and Joe Claire of Dundee; his son and wife Sharon and Paul Goodmonson, Jr. of Corvallis; and son and wife Sari and Peter Goodmonson of Bend. He is also survived by three grandchildren: Jeanie Claire Johnson and her husband Matt; Jeffrey Claire and his wife Kristen; and Greer Goodmonson. He has two great-grandaughters: Morgan and Amanda Johnson. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 27, at 2 p.m. at the Chapel in the Pines, Camp Sherman. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the following: Oregon Community Foundation, Goodmonson Family Fund, 1221 S.W. Yamhill, Ste. 100, Portland, OR 97205; Foundation Office Samaritan, North Lincoln Hospital, 3048 N.E. 28th St. Lincoln City, OR 97367; Benton County Historical Society, P.O. Box 35, Philomath, OR 97370.
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