December 8, 2002 - Oregon Live: Former Peace Corps Director John Dellenback dies at 84

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Directors of the Peace Corps: John R. Dellenback: April 28, 1975-May 13, 1977: Dellenback: December 8, 2002 - Oregon Live: Former Peace Corps Director John Dellenback dies at 84

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, December 09, 2002 - 3:53 am: Edit Post

Former Peace Corps Director John Dellenback dies at 84

Read and comment on this story from Oregon Live on the passing of former Peace Corps Director John Dellenback who served as Director from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford. Friends remember John Dellenback as an independent thinker with steady emotions and an appetite for hard work who re-energized the Peace Corps during his two-year stint and raised its morale and visibility in Congress. Our sympathy to family and friends of this "Peace Corps Giant." Read the story at:

4-time Oregon congressman John Dellenback dies at 84*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

4-time Oregon congressman John Dellenback dies at 84



John R. Dellenback, a four-time congressman from Southern Oregon, died Saturday at Providence Medford Medical Center. He was 84.

He died of viral pneumonia, according to the family.

Dellenback, author of legislation that created the wild Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, was elected to Congress in 1966 and swept out in 1974 along with many other Republicans, casualties of the Watergate scandal.

Fred Hansen, Dellenback's lifelong friend, former chief of staff and now general manager of TriMet, remembers the congressman as an independent thinker with steady emotions and an appetite for hard work.

He said Dellenback was a member of the so-called Wednesday Group, a gathering of Republican congressmen who prided themselves on casting their votes on the merits of issues rather than along party lines.

Hansen said the staff's proudest day was when Dellenback signed on to a bill that held pipeline permit-holders and oil shippers liable for damage caused by spills. "The staff had been urging him to do that for some time," he said.

Dellenback was also a supporter of federal Title IX legislation that required equal opportunity for boys and girls to participate in athletics.

When President Ford appointed Dellenback director of the Peace Corps in 1975, Hansen went along as his executive officer. Hansen said his boss re-energized the corps during his two-year stint and raised its morale and visibility in Congress.

Walt Evans, attorney at Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt who served as staff lawyer for then-Sen. Mark O. Hatfield, was in a position to closely observe Dellenback.

"John was a person of firm moral convictions, but he didn't flash those," he said. "He was a cautious guy. He was cautious because he understood that there were groups with competing rights and strongly held views.

"He was a good listener, a reconciler," Evans recalled. "Not every Republican congressman listened to environmental advocates. He would agonize over what was the right position for him as the people's elected representative."

Evans saw the former congressman as a hands-on worker, ready to tackle any job. He recalled an Easter service in 1986 at National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., where Evans and his family lived.

Evans and his wife arrived at the church with their daughter, Alex, and took her to the room where infants were cared for during the service. "There, in charge, was John Dellenback," he said. "I was used to being quite deferential to him when he was in Congress. But there I was handing over my infant daughter to him."

Evans knew Dellenback was active in the church, but he thought the former congressman would be circulating in the lofty reaches of church hierarchy -- not in the infant room.

Evans recalled Dellenback's remark: "I was told this was a job that needed doing this Sunday."

Hatfield remembered Dellenback as "dedicated, sincere, hard-working."

"He was a combination in his manner and style and approach of a tax lawyer, a philosopher and a dedicated Christian who lived his faith. He didn't wear it on his lapel; he lived it."

The former U.S. senator said Dellenback demonstrated his faith with family and friends.

"I never knew a person to speak an ill word of John Dellenback," Hatfield said. "He was a victim of Watergate or he would have been there (in Congress) for the rest of his life."

Hatfield was referring to anti-Republican feeling among voters after the Watergate scandal. In the 1974 election, Dellenback lost to Democrat Jim Weaver.

Wendell Wyatt, elected to Congress in 1964, recalled Dellenback as "one of the most hard-working and effective members of Congress."

"He was extremely dedicated and knew how to get along and how to get things done," Wyatt said.

Said his wife, Mary Jane Dellenback, "He had an absolute passion for serving the people in the world who were poor and in need."

He is survived by his wife, of Medford; three children: Richard and David of Salem and Barbara of Eugene; and three grandchildren.

A funeral will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Medford.

Contributions may be made in Dellenback's name to Community Health Center, 19 Myrtle St., Medford OR 97504, or World Vision, P.O. Box 70200, Tacoma WA 98481. Reporter Bill Graves of The Oregonian contributed to this story. Patrick O'Neill: 503-221-8233;

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