Sad news came recently from my home state of Oregon: One of the state’s true statesmen, Dave Frohnmayer, died of prostate cancer.
I had moved away from Oregon while he was serving as attorney general. But I surely knew of his reputation, which the editorial from The Oregonian newspaper outlines nicely:
The paper refers to Frohnmayer’s “blinding” resume.
This moderate Republican was a giant in a state that has produced its fair share of them. He served his state and his party with dignity and honor. He wouldn’t be a party to the viciousness so common these days.
In a state that has been embarrassed by its most recent past governor, John Kitzhaber — who resigned because of an ethics scandal involving his fiancée — Frohnmayer was a model of moral turpitude.
He had his personal health struggles. His children were afflicted with rare and fatal diseases. He carried on quietly and bravely.
He led a great educational system, the University of Oregon; he served his state as attorney general, in its legislature, and as dean of the UO law school.
Indeed, it was while he was dean that I had the pleasure of attending an Investigative Reporters and Editors conference in Eugene, where he was among the panelists instructing journalists on how to use public records and obtain information to which we were entitled.
This was in the late 1970s. I was new to journalism at the time and I was enthralled by the man’s knowledge of open records and the ease with which he presented it.
Here’s my favorite part of The Oregonian’s editorial tribute to Frohnmayer. It says it all: “Frohnmayer was exceptional in making himself and his extraordinary deeds appear ordinary – and in inspiring others along the way to rise to their best. In that sense he was arguably Oregon’s most extraordinary regular guy.”
Note: This is a corrected version of an earlier blog post, which initially contained an error regarding Dave Frohnmayer’s service to Oregon.