FDW – Beerchaser of the Quarter – Part I

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this post through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

“Home is the Hunter – Home from the Hills”

This phrase from Robert Louis Stevenson’s eight-line poem “Requiem” is inscribed on my dad’s headstone.   FDW, as we affectionately called him, was born Floyd Duane Williams on June 12, 1919 and was known as Duane during most of his life. 

That is until he acquired the acronym, FDW, as his moniker that we, his four kids bestowed when we were adults. (Stay tuned for the story.)  He signed letters, papers, etc. as F. Duane Williams

Born in Ames, Iowa to Floyd and Clara Williams, his father was an inspector for the US Postal Service and his mother – a girl raised on a cattle ranch in Sheridan, Wyoming, was a housewife as they moved to Grand Island, Nebraska and then Washington D.C. when his dad was transferred.

As you can see by these photos, Dad was a photogenic toddler and a tyke as a little kid.

Why am I dedicating a blog post(s) to my Dad (also my mom, Frannie)?  Those who follow Thebeerchaser, know that periodically I select an individual or group that may or may not have anything to do with beer or bars to feature as my Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.  The criteria is that they have made a contribution to society and have an interesting story.

They have included veterans and war heroes, authors, athletes, media personalities, academicians, lawyers and groups such as the 1967 Oregon State Giant Killer Football Team and the crew of the USS Constitution

Twice, I have featured my own family – Janet my wife – the only Beerchaser-of-the-Year and my brother Retired Navy Captain Rick Williams — Beerchaser-of-the Quarter | Thebeerchaser, for his outstanding career in the US Navy.  (Click on the links to view the posts.)

For a complete list of the BOQ’s for the last ten years, check out the following link: https://thebeerchaser.com/2020/12/13/beerchasers-of-the-quarter-who-what-why/

The pandemic, however, has been a time for reflection as well as going through old files and photos.  It made me realize what an impact my Dad and Mom had on the lives of our family and their communities.   The heartache of losing both of them at a young age (54 and 62 respectively) was offset, to some extent, by the fact that our memories of them are images of of vitality and humanity which characterized both of their lives and their marriage.

So in some of the next few posts, I’m going to relate the story of this remarkable man and woman.

Flashing Forward a Bit

After the family moved to Oregon in 1962, Dad was constantly captivated by Oregon’s natural beauty and adopted the phrase “spirit of high adventure” when we explored the coast, the Cascades and especially Central and Eastern Oregon.   

As far as the pursuit of wild game, he went hunting only a few times with friends who were carpet dealers from John Day on his sales territory for Mohawk Carpets.   I went with him on one of these ventures when I was in high school and as we were walked along the streams and through the forest, he would explain the geological formations – not the best strategy for bagging a deer.   

The Spirit of High Adventure!

Dad also was perpetually on the hunt for additional knowledge and creative approaches whether it be science – especially the environment – history or politics.  And from the time he attended college at George Washington University until the time of his death – far too soon at the age of 55 – he stalked the fair and virtuous course of action. 

Often this pursuit in civic and community work was time consuming and arduous including tirelessly working to pass school levy and bond elections in Oregon City. 

And speaking of George Washington University, it was there that he joined the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity and he met Don Wilburn, who became his best friend and after whom I’m named.  After graduation, Don was commissioned in the Army Air Corps and was killed in WW II when his plane crashed.  And both my younger brother, Rick and I kept the SAE legacy going at Oregon State University.

Another great SAE connection which proved to be fortuitous for our family, occurred shortly after Dad moved to Oregon in 1962 before the rest of the family moved out West.  He needed an attorney for family and business and picked a young lawyer from Oregon City.  By coincidence that lawyer, Don Bowerman, also happened to be an SAE (and Beaver football player) from Oregon State University.

Don had (and is still practicing) an outstanding career as a trial lawyer and in professional activities including serving as an officer in local bar and Oregon State Bar boards and as Chairman of the Professional Liability Fund of the Oregon State Bar.  He is a Fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates.

An outstanding lawyer and friend of the Williams family

He has been a great friend and advocate for the family.   Recently, when we were reminiscing about my Dad, I remembered how FDW helped the SAE’s when I was at OSU including getting them a great deal on new carpet for the House.   

Don stated, “Your Dad was the most effective and enthusiastic OSU/SAE alum on the planet.”  (It’s this kind of effusive understatement which made me enjoy working with lawyers for thirty-five years during my career!)

Early Career and Frances Barry

Dad moved to New York City and started work for American Airlines in Manhattan. His first meeting with my mom, Frannie (Frances Barry), was essentially a collision in their office building.  She was carrying some papers coming out a door that he was going in and they collided with papers flying everywhere. 

He asked her for a date and the rest is history.  They married in 1943 in the Church of St. Kevin in Flushing, New York – she the youngest of five girls in a Catholic family who resided in Bayside, Long Island.   Her parents had immigrated from Poland.   Dad was required to take classes so they could get married in the church and his theological discussions/debates with the priest lengthened the class time considerably.

Not to be maudlin in this post, but the inscription on my Mom’s gravestone is “She Walks in Beauty.”  It’s from Lord Byron’s poem of the same name and the last stanza is apt:

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
 

The poem conveys the experience of encountering sublime beauty in another person.  One can see Frannie’s physical beauty from the photos, but her entire persona radiated warmth and kindness.

She walks in beauty.

New York Life and Civic Activism

The young couple established their home in Merrick, Long Island where Lynne was born in 1946 and Don in 1948.   Dad loved Big Band music and they danced to the Glenn Miller Band at the Glen Island Casino: (*External photo attribution at the end of the post)

“One of the most enchanting dining-and-dancing rendezvous in this part of the country is the Glen Island Casino, overlooking Long Island Sound at New Rochelle. For many years the handsome two-story structure, perched majestically among the stately trees that dress the small island, has issued its yearly call to romance, and the youngsters and oldsters have responded with almost equal enthusiasm.”

They became friends with Paula Kelly and the Modernaires who performed there. 

From reviewing papers and records in his files, it was here that FDW started his civic activism which continued through the remainder of his life.   And he was not just involved, he was usually looked to as a leader in these endeavors.

I could find no details, but based on the letterhead below from the files, Dad was the Treasurer of the “Assessed Valuation Protest Committee of the Eastern Queens Civic Council.”

As another example, he was President of the newly formed “Lost Community Civic Association” that was evidently formed over issues of government boundaries and jurisdiction.   According to an article in the January 16, 1947 edition of the Long Island Daily Press (founded in 1821 and published until 1977):

“(The group) reported that they were slightly confused by the fact that their mail comes from the New Hyde Park Post Office, police protection from Bayside Precinct and fire protection from Queens Village.”

The problem was also covered in the November 29, 1946 edition of the Queens County Times (Published from 1913 until 1975 and which you could procure for two cents in 1946….) which quoted Dad and reported:

“The similarity of ‘crying in the wilderness’ may be pessimistic to many of Queen’s County residents, in a borough of over a million population.   But, to the families who have established their homes in a snug corner of Queens fringing on the border of Nassau County, it almost is like an ‘island’ apart:  confused as to its community status.”

Queens, the largest borough of the City of New York, is adjacent to the borough of Brooklyn on the western end of Long Island.

Dad was quoted in the Long Island Daily Press article:

“We’ve spent months trying to dope out where we are…what this section is called. We haven’t been able to find out anything so we might as well face it. We’re lost!  We will keep the name for a year.  By that time, we may have a better name.”

Well, evidently FDW was wrong and while I could not find details on the history, the name stuck.  According to the current list of civic organizations for New York City, “The Lost Community Civic Association holds its meetings on the second Wednesday of the month, excluding July and August.”   

There is also a small triangular park named “The Lost Community Civic Association Triangle” still maintained by the City of New York City Parks Department.

The family, now with two kids, moved to Media, Pennsylvania – a suburb of Philadelphia in 1949, when I was one.  Dad went to work as a sales rep. for Bigelow Carpets and our brother, Garry was born in 1950.  

7313 Miami Ave.  Madeira, Ohio

We moved to Madeira, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati on May 4, 1952.  I know that date because we took an American Airlines flight.  Because it was my birthday, I got to sit on the lap of the lead stewardess as we landed in Cincy.  (I figured that lovely young woman is now in her mid nineties if she is still alive!)

Stay tuned for the impact FDW had on his family and community in Ohio in the next segment.  If you are interested in viewing the second segment of this story, click on the following link:  https://thebeerchaser.com/2021/11/09/fdw-beerchaser-of-the-quarter-part-ii/

External Photo Attribution

*1  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Glen_Island_Casino_jeh.jpg) Licensed and made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.  Author: Jim.henderson  14 July, 2011.

*2.  (https://www.amazon.com/Orchestra-Live-Glen-Island-Casino/dp/B009H43Y3K)

*3   Wikimedia Commons – Public Domain – (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paula_Kelly_(singer)#:~:text=By%20CBS%20Radio/CBS%20Photo%20-) This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published in the United States between 1926 and 1977, inclusive, without a copyright notice.  Source: CBS Radio 1951.

*4 (https://www.google.com/maps/place/7313+Miami+Ave,+Cincinnati,+OH+45243/@39.1941026,-84.3627391,3a,75y,280.83h,90t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sLgAVgCwMuAFfjGlHwr_)

Beerchaser Wonderings and Wanderings…

Courtesy of the Oregon State Bar

Lawyers and Drinking

I was delighted that the November edition of the Oregon State Bar Bulletin which has a circulation of about 12,000 Oregon lawyers included multiple mentions of both Thebeerchaser blog and the Benedictine Brewery in Mount Angel.

Talented author and lawyer, Jennie Bricker, who writes at Brick Work Writing & Editing LLC, did a great job in her article entitled “I’ll Drink to That – The Power and Peril of Alcohol’s Connection to the Legal Profession.”   Check it out at the link below. (It starts on Page 28):  https://www.osbar.org/bulletin/issues/2019/2019November/index.html

A New IPA?  Don’t Count On It!!

The Benedictine Beers on tap in Mount Angel

I have been involved in the wonderful Benedictine Brewery and St. Michael Taproom since its inception in 2018 – one of three monk-owned and operated breweries in the US.

Fr. Martin – our Head Brewer has become an incredibly skilled brewer and there are nine of his beers on tap.  Benedictine beers draw accolades throughout the region.

The flagship beer is Black Habit – described as a “Belgian dark strong ale,” has been widely acclaimed for its rich flavor.  And don’t forget Mea Culpa Pale Ale.

I have been lobbying him to brew his first IPA and even have suggested the name and slogan.  (He hasn’t returned my calls about this…. and I don’t expect to hear anytime soon!)

Quid Pro Quo IPA – Real Beer Flavor for a Favor *1

Image courtesy of the talented and creative Pam Williams

*1 Not available in Alabama, Greenland, Kyiv or Kharkiv

West Point and Veterans’ Day

Ambassador William Taylor

The impressive career and sterling character of a primary witness in the Impeachment InquiryAmbassador William Taylor who graduated from the US Military Academy in 1970 made me reminisce about my late brother, Garry, who also graduated from West Point (Class of1972) and served with distinction during his six-years in the Third Armored Cavalry.

While at West Point, Garry was in both the Glee Club and a quintet-combo called “The Headliners,” which resulted in appearances on national television and at the White House as can be seen by the photo with President Nixon in 1971 below.

(Garry is the tall cadet to the immediate left of Nixon.)

Garry with the Headliners at the Nixon White House in 1971

And here’s a belated toast to all of our veterans, among whom are several who were previous Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter and were decorated for heroism for their service in the Viet Nam War.   Cheers to Jud Blakely, Doug Bomarito and Steve Lawrence.

Captain Don Wilburn

And two, who made the ultimate sacrifice – my best friend in high school, Garry Kestler, USMC in 1967 and my late father’s best friend and SAE Fraternity brother, Captain Donald E. Wilburn (after whom I’m named) and was a pilot in the Army Air Corps during World Watr II.

Amy, Amy, Amy

Those of us who were fans of the Mike and Amy Show are shaking our collective heads at the decision Entercom Broadcasting to discontinue the show after the two have been popular morning personalities on KWJJ The Wolf.

After canceling their show in 2012 – only to bring them back two years later, Entercom is making the same move as just announced after the duo has been together on KWJJ for a total of 18 years.

See the announcement from Amy below – and those involved in the non-profit world, get ready for what will be a win for your non-profit auction when Amy Faust finishes her training.

Amy (on the right) with three other members of the Faust clan – Charlie, Jack and Alice at a 2017 Beerchasing and a happy Beerchasing crew

And if you have any doubts as to why this talented and great-hearted lady will succeed in her endeavors, check out why she was named Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter in 2017:

https://thebeerchaser.com/…/amy-faust-beerchaser-of-the-qu…/

“I’m quite excited to announce the (possibly surprising) fact that in a few weeks I will be traveling to Clear Lake, Iowa, for 8 days to attend the World Wide College of Auctioneering and get certified to be a benefit auctioneer…. please join me on Instagram at my brand new account @amytheauctioneer “

PS:  I received the following e-mail from Amy on 11/18 when I asked how her training was going:

“Greetings from Clear Lake, Iowa! I can’t even begin to tell you how strange and amazing this experience is.  But I’m learning a ton and i will be ready to roll out my new skills very soon……Cheers from Bennigan’s, where I have eaten every single meal since Friday!”  

(At least she’s hasn’t become a regular at The Olive Garden….!)

More Amy…..

And to demonstrate why I will appreciate the dry sense of humor of this lady, check out this from their Facebook page in 2018.

The Beerchaser’s Pet Peeves

At least I’ve only been around for 71 of these!!

As a guy who recently entered his seventh decade, I can say there are pros and cons about being older. An advantage reinforced each time one reads the obituaries is that at least there is less peer pressure.

And one has to get used to the fact that when you ask friends how they are doing, they spend way too much time telling you – typically including accounts on various parts of the human anatomy in their narratives.

Those on-line drop down menus that ask for birth date require too many “Page Downs” on the keyboard to reach the correct year.  But I find, that some things annoy me a lot more than they used to including the following:

Leaf Blowers – in the fall, Boomer kids used to spend a lot of time and earn their allowances by raking leaves and hauling them to the spare lot or other repository.

Nowdays, one hears the irritating scream of leaf blowers each day. Whether it’s my lawn service or people in the burbs, the habit of blowing the leaves either into the street or whisking them off their sidewalk into the street where they clog the gutters or just blow into the next yard is annoying.

I guess in some respects its analogous to Portland shipping its garbage to Eastern Oregon and not thinking twice about it.

That’s my shovel after the lawn service “finished.”

Poop Bags

We have two wonderful grandpuppies – Sullivan, a great little Havanese who visits us from Seattle and Wesley Walter, a wonderful Golden Retriever who comes for walks from NE Portland.

Wesley Walter and Sullivan on a recent visit

In both cases, we use poop bags to take care of their “dispatches” when we take walks. Now while I hate it when dog walkers let their canines do their duty and just leave it in my yard, even more egregious are the heathens who  do the following:

They self-righteously pick up the poop in a plastic bag but then leave the &*#*% bag along the sidewalk or parking strip where unless it is picked up by some good citizen, will set there for the next 250 years rather than decomposing naturally.

Yeah Right! Thanks for being a great environmentalist…..

Pharmaceutical Commercials – while the US is one of I believe, only two countries that allow these corporate behemoths to advertise their prescription medications on the air, the ads are ubiquitous   It may be comforting to some that the advertised pill may allay the symptoms of psoriasis notwithstanding the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, internal bleeding, memory loss and lower libido etc.

I also marvel at the over-the-counter ads for Prevagen – an over-the-counter dietary supplement pill which is supposed to help your memory.  In bold tones, the announcer lauds the benefits of this medication that is comprised of “ingredients originally found in jelly fish….”  

Why is this an advantage? Who has ever interacted with a smart jelly fish?  Do jelly fish have better memories than carp?  Why would you want to emulate any creature with no central nervous or respiratory systems, lives only a few years and has its mouth and anus in the same body cavity (at least that’s what is appears from the diagram below):

Medicine with ingredients originally found in jellyfish!!???

And how smart were the hundreds of jelly fish that washed up on the Oregon coast in January near Haystack Rock?  Did they show the same intellectual acumen as lemmings in following the leader to their ultimate demise?

Spelling Bees – now I may get attacked on this one, but it just floors me when I see the results of the latest Scripps National Spelling Bee – one with a 94-year history – and a story which states, “Spelling Experts say Tougher Words are Still Out There.”   In the 2019 Bee, eight kids ended sharing the championship “…because they were simply too accomplished to stumble over any of the words Scripps threw out.”

The labyrinthine path to becoming a spelling bee champion….

One has to give credit to the parents who I assume drill their little prodigies who are eighth grade and below (now usually with professional coaches) for hours on such words as “auslaut”, “aiguillette” and “erysipelas” – words that even my Google spellcheck does not recognize.  One has to ask, however,  “Of what practical use is all the time spent trying to accomplish this Augean task??” (I looked up the definition, but couldn’t use spell check to write the word.)

Would it not be better for them to be out on the playground, interacting with peers or just reading a good book?   Of course, I guess, some of you might ask, “Of what redeeming value is a blog in which the author writes about his exploits at 350+ bars, breweries and taverns?”

Metrics – these statistical indicators have become pervasive in all areas of our lives, and are now a staple for sports coaches and general managers. I think it was baseball that first relied on detailed statistical analysis of hitters rather than the gut instinct of famous Major League Baseball managers such as Tommy Lasorda, Casey Stengel, Connie Mack and my favorite Birdie Tebbetts, skipper of the Cincinnati Reds when I lived there from 1952 – 1959.

Birdie Tebbetts – notable Major League catcher and manager

But has it gone too far? I was struck by a recent Oregonian article entitled, “Blazers put Shot Tracking Into Practice.”   A company called Noah Basketball has developed cameras, sensors and software to provide over half of the NBA teams, major college programs and even high school basketball teams with data and “real-time feedback” on every shot they take.

It tracks “…the arc, depth, location and accuracy of each shot on a laptop.”

Perfect arc, depth and velocity

Sports has become more of a business, but does this kind of tool, take some of the joy and spontaneity out of the game?   Maybe the next step is to provide players with electronically edited comments in interviews after the game so the clause, “I just played my own game,” is replaced with more elevated prose……

“Well the radius of gyration and velocity of my shot was within the standard deviation laid out by Coach.”

Brewery Dynamics

Since this is a blog primarily about bars and breweries, I should end with a short section on the dynamic nature of the brewing industry especially in Oregon. One recent statistic I read stated that there are now more breweries than colleges in the US and that competition has resulted in some rather shocking casualties with some notable brewing firms.

There are too many closings in the last two years to list them all, but a number of noted breweries with Oregon roots are gone but not forgotten – also true of some fabled pubs and bars.  The good news is that new ones seem to pop up almost simultaneously.  The following does not purport to be all-inclusive, but just gives an idea.

Closings

Burnside Brewing Closes its Doors

Lompoc Tavern (NW) and Brewery (N) – Widmer’s Pub (N) – O’Neill Irish Pub (SE) – Burnside Brewing (E) – Bridgeport Brewing (E) – Alameda Brewing (SE) and Brewpub (NE) – Portland Brewing Taproom (NW) – Columbia River Brewing (NE) – Rock Bottom Pub (Downtown) – Henry’s Tavern (Pearl) – Seven Brides Brewing (Silverton) –  Laurelwood Brewing Pubs (Sellwood and PDX) – Riverbend Brewing Brewpub (Bend) – Coalition Brewing (SE) bought by Gorges Beer and reopened.

Openings

Benedictine Brewery and St. Michael Taproom – owned and operated by monks

Level Beer Co. (Multnomah Village) – Breakside Brewing Taphouse (3rd location Slabtown) – Hopworks Urban Brewing Pub (2nd location PDX)  – Ruse Brewing (SE) – Benedictine Brewing (Mount Angel) – Mt. Hood Brewing Taphouse (2nd location – Tilikum Crossing) – Backwoods Brewing (2nd location Pearl District)

And Finally re. Lagunitas Brewing 

I read an October Willamette Week article which stated, in part:

“After three years of providing free event space for local non-profits, California-based, now Heineken-owned brewery Lagunitas abruptly shuttered its Community Taproom in Northeast Portland this week, sending dozens of charities scrambling to relocate fundraisers.”

As were many Portland residents, I was outraged and on 10/31 e-mailed Lagunitas the following without really expecting a response:

“You can do better….Your decision to discontinue the Community Room in NE Portland without any prior notice, thereby leaving a number of non-profits in a real dilemma, is uncalled for, unnecessary and shows disregard for your loyal customers. This is not indicative of the Oregon Brewing Community and this move will be remembered.  How do you justify the manner in which this decision was handled?”

At least the Brewery Communications Dept. responded two days later:

“Thanks for reaching out and for your feedback.  We recognize that the closing of the Community Room was sudden, and truly wish that we could have given more notice to the community and those organizations who had previously scheduled events.

There were a wide variety of factors that lead us to make this incredibly difficult decision. We let the Portland non-profit community know as soon as we could, but also understand that for many organizations, it wasn’t soon enough.

We’re currently working with those organizations that had an event scheduled, and are providing beer donations for them at alternative locations.  We also look forward to continuing to support the incredible work that local Portland non-profits are doing in the future.  Thanks again for your feedback.”

I’ll try to let you know in future posts whether the intent to help in the future becomes a reality.

Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving