Speakers named to honor Gov. Atiyeh on Sept 3rd

Governor Vic Atiyeh_thb

Atiyeh Service Planning Committee

Speakers Named To Honor Governor Atiyeh at September 3 Public Memorial Service

Six prominent Oregonians will deliver remarks at a public memorial service September 3, 2014, for the late Governor Vic Atiyeh.

Atiyeh died July 20 at the age of 91. After being elected to the Oregon Legislature in 1958, he served three terms in the House and four in the Senate.  He was elected governor in 1979 and served for eight years.

The memorial service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, September 3, in the Oregon House of Representatives Chamber at the State Capitol in Salem (900 Court Street).  A reception will follow the event.  The public is invited to attend.

Parking is available in on-street spaces near the Capitol.

Doors to the Capitol open at 8 a.m. and seating for the memorial service, accompanied by music from the Pacific University Chamber Singers, will begin at about 9 a.m.

The speakers are:

  • Gerry Thompson, chief of staff for Governor Atiyeh from September 1981 to October 1987.  She also was vice president for marketing at Regence Blue Cross/Blue Shield before and after her service for the governor.  She is now retired.
  • State Senator Jackie Winters, R-Salem, who served as ombudsman for Governor Atiyeh in Salem. She continues to serve in the Legislature today after having been first elected in 1998.
  • Barbara Roberts, who served as Oregon’s 34th governor from 1991 to 1995.
  • U.S. Representative Greg Walden, R-Oregon, who served in the Oregon Legislature in Salem before being elected to Congress from Oregon’s 2nd District.
  • Governor Atiyeh’s two children, Tom Atiyeh and Suzanne E. Atiyeh, will deliver remarks on behalf of the family.

“Governor Atiyeh provided us with a lot of helpful advance guidance for his state memorial,” said Denny Miles, a coordinator of the event.  “With a relatively short program and only six speakers, we worked hard to find individuals who could address specific aspects of his leadership and significant contributions to Oregon.  Each one of these Oregon leaders worked with Vic Atiyeh in different ways and knew him well.”

Atiyeh also specified that the event be upbeat, full of anecdotes and include a lot of his favorite music.

Miles will serve as program host for the service, introducing participants.

Another person planning the service, Gerry Thompson, echoed Miles’ words. “We were privileged to work with and for him in the governor’s office,” she said. “As Oregonians reflect on his style and accomplishments — openness, building a bridge to the Pacific Rim, handling state budgets and taxes without partisan rancor, supporting the state’s natural treasures such as the Columbia Gorge and the Lower Deschutes, and thwarting the Rajneesh threat in Wasco County — we hope they treasure all of those and other positive memories. His style was to credit others for accomplishments, but he deserves credit, too, for his work on behalf of the entire state of Oregon.”

Other presenters at the memorial include the Right Reverend Michael J. Hanley, the Tenth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon; and Chief Delvis Heath of the Warm Springs, Paiute and Wasco Tribes, who will represent Oregon Tribes.  Music will be provided by the Pacific University Chamber Singers under the direction of Dr. Scott L. Tuomi.  There also will be participation by units from the Oregon National Guard, the Oregon State Police and the Boy Scouts of America.

Miles and Thompson complimented legislative leaders for offering to make the Capitol available for the memorial services.  Calls to representatives of the family came soon after Atiyeh’s death from Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek offering all legislative courtesies.  A call also came from Governor John Kitzhaber who offered his full cooperation.

Contributions to the Oregon State Capitol Foundation to help defray memorial services expenses are tax deductible.  Contributions marked “Governor’s Memorial” can be sent to the Foundation at 900 Court Street, Room 140-A, Salem, Oregon  97301.  Donations also can be made on-line through the Foundation’s website, www.oregonlegislature.gov/foundation.

The Atiyeh family also has designated two organizations as suggested recipients of memorial contributions in the governor’s honor — the Governor Vic Atiyeh Collection at Pacific University, 2043 College Way, Forest Grove  97116, and the Boy Scouts of America Cascade Pacific Council, 2145 SW Naito Parkway, Portland 97201.

Finally, updates on the service are available on a special page that can be clicked on through the legislature’s website, using this link – www.oregonlegislature.gov/la/oages/AtiyehMemorial.aspx.  Material also will on a page for the Capitol Foundation on the legislature’s site.