Helen F. Althaus, a descendant of Oregon pioneers and a legal pioneer in her own right, died Feb. 2, 2006 at the age of 95.
Born on March 26, 1910, Althaus worked as a chemist before pursuing a legal career. She graduated from Lewis & Clark College’s Northwestern School of Law in 1945 and was admitted to the Oregon State Bar that year. From 1947-49, she clerked for U.S. District Court Judge James Alger Fee, becoming the first woman clerk to a judge. Althaus also served as secretary of the Multnomah Bar Association in 1947.
From 1949-53, she worked as a deputy city attorney for the City of Portland. Althaus joined King, Miller, Anderson, Nash and Yerke, now Miller Nash, in 1953 and became its first female associate. In 1970, she established her own practice with partners Gladys Everett and Virginia Renwick. In 1973, Althaus joined the Bonneville Power Administration to take on special assignments regarding the National Environmental Policy Act, and she later served as a staff attorney for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and published the book Public Trust Rights.
Among her many community service activities, Althaus championed human rights battles in such forums as the national Lawyers Committee Against United States Intervention in Central America and the OSB World Peace Through Law Committee. In 1997, the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon presented her with an award for significant contributions to the causes of individual freedom.
Althaus was a founding member of Oregon Women Lawyers’ Queen’s Bench in 1948, and was president of the organization in 1973. During the early 1980s, she served on the MBA’s first Committee on the Status of Women. She was a founding member of OWLS’ southern Oregon chapter, Rogue Women Lawyers, as well as the first woman member of the bar’s Continuing Legal Education Committee. In 1994, OWLS honored her with the Justice Betty Roberts Award for her life-long support and encouragement of women in the legal profession.
In addition, Althaus was past president of the United Nations Association’s Portland chapter, a board member of the Southern Oregon Chapter of the United Nations Association, a founding board member of Southern Oregon Women’s Access to Credit and a member of the Troutdale City Council from 1973-82.
While practicing law, Althaus owned a large farm in Troutdale and kept horses and Great Danes. After retiring from the law, she pursued a career as a character actress with the New Playwright’s Theatre Company of Ashland.
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Former congressman and Oregon State Bar member Charles O. (Charlie) Porter died Jan. 1, 2006, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 86.
Porter was born April 4, 1919 in Klamath Falls to Ruth and Frank Porter. He moved to Eugene in 1923, then to Cambridge, Mass., to attend Harvard College. He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology cum laude in 1941 and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1947. In 1943, he married Priscilla D. Galassi.
Porter, a retired major from the U.S. Air Force, completed 28 years of honorable service, including four years active duty during World War II. He received four battle stars and a Distinguished Unit Citation, and served as a European Theater of Operations War Crimes Branch Special Investigator.
He also had an interest in journalism and served as editor of the Eugene High School newspaper, which won state and national honors in 1936 and ’37. Porter was Caribbean correspondent for Yank from 1941-42, and was founder and first president of the Harvard Law School Record in 1946.
Admitted to the bar in 1948, Porter was a law clerk in the U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit in San Francisco in 1947-48; assistant to the director of the ABA Survey of the Legal Profession in Boston from 1948-51; and practiced law in Eugene from 1951-56.
Porter was elected to Congress in 1957, becoming the first Democrat in 75 years to represent southwestern Oregon. Following his two terms as a congressman, Porter resumed his legal practice in Eugene in 1961. In 1974, he served as a member of the Fair Trial Committee, observing Chile’s trials of political prisoners after a coup d’etat, in which a four-man military junta headed by Army General Augusta Pinochet Ugarte overthrew the democratically elected socialist government of Salvador Allende Gossens.
Porter retired from his legal practice in 2003 with numerous articles and publications to his name as well as several honors. He received Lane County’s Oregon Community Award in 2004, the University of Oregon Distinguished Service Award in 2003, the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon Award in 1993, and the Basque Center Honorary Membership of Caracas, Venezuela in 1958.
Well known for his activism for liberal causes, Porter waged several controversial battles, including a 33-year movement to have a Christian cross removed from Skinner Butte. Porter’s other interests included; campaign finance reform; ecologically sound development; public ownership of energy resources, health services, transportation, and armaments; and international politics, especially Latin America, Cuba, China and the Middle East.
Porter is survived by a daughter, three sons and five grandchildren.
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Judith Ann Hartmann died Dec. 30, 2005 at the age of 61 after a 10-year battle with breast cancer. She was a teacher, attorney, entrepreneur, designer, champion for women’s rights, and in the later years of her life, an advocate for finding a cure for breast cancer.
Hartmann was born in Sacramento, Calif., on May 16, 1944. She graduated from La Sierra High School in Carmichael, Calif., where she was valedictorian of her graduating class and her high school’s first female student body president. During high school, Hartmann was a champion equestrienne, who trained her own horses and competed in hunter and jumping competitions throughout California.
Hartmann attended Stanford University on an academic scholarship and received a history degree in 1965 and a master of arts in teaching in 1966. She went on to graduate school at the University of Chicago, where she received a master’s in political science in 1968, a Ph.D in political science in 1974 and a JD/MBA in 1979.
Hartmann met her husband of 40 years, Jere Webb, a partner at Stoel Rives, while attending Stanford’s overseas campus in Germany in 1964. They moved to Portland in 1970. Hartmann taught political science at Portland State University and Reed College, worked in corporate finance at PGE, practiced law, ran a software company and worked for Hewlett-Packard until she became disabled with cancer.
Hartmann, a pioneer in women’s rights in Oregon, was the first married woman to change her name back to her maiden name while still married, which at the time required a court hearing. Jessie Webb, Hartmann’s father-in-law, represented her in her hearing. She also was the first married woman in Oregon to have a Visa account in her own name. At that time banks would issue a card to a married woman, but the card was issued on her husband’s account. Hartmann insisted that she have her own account and she won. At PSU, Hartmann created and taught the first Women in the Law course.
After retiring from Hewlett-Packard, and while undergoing a long series of chemotherapy regimes, Hartmann, with assistance from her friend and architect Shawn Sullivan, spent the last few years of her life pursuing her dream of remodeling two family beach houses in Lincoln City, Watavue and Wecoma Creekside. A video of the story of the Watavue remodel won a Telly award.
Hartmann was passionate about cancer research and served on the Research Center’s Leadership Cabinet, as well as on a Department of Defense Board that reviewed and made recommendations for DOD funding of cancer research. She was instrumental in working with the Providence Portland Medical Foundation to focus fundraising efforts to expedite development of OX-40, a promising immunotherapy approach. She died knowing that OX-40 had finally obtained FDA approval, and that the first Stage I human trials were about to commence.
A group of Hartmann’s friends and family, along with the Providence Portland Medical Foundation, set up a cancer research fund in her memory to make sure that the OX-40 project and other cutting-edge efforts to find a cure for cancer continue. Contributions may be sent to: The Judith Ann Hartmann Cancer Research Fund, Providence Portland Medical Foundation, 4805 N.E. Glisan St., Portland, OR 97213.
Hartmann is survived by her husband, Jere Webb; a sister Nadine; three nieces and a nephew, and grandnieces and a grandnephew.
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Jacquelyn Romm, an accomplished and dedicated Eugene attorney, died of breast cancer on Nov. 8, 2004. She was 56.
Romm was born in Brooklyn, New York on Feb. 27, 1948. At the age of 21, she obtained her master’s degree in English from Columbia University. She graduated Order of Coif from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1981.
In 1992, Romm became a founding partner of the first all-female firm in Eugene, Walters, Romm & Chanti. She devoted many of her legal talents to representing women facing domestic difficulties and served on the Lane County Legal Aid board of directors.
Romm was committed to the legal system’s promise of equal justice and strongly believed that the dream could not be fulfilled until quality legal representation was available for all citizens, including those who were otherwise marginalized. She was a champion for civil rights including those of people with disabilities. Romm was instrumental in obtaining an injunction ordering the PGA to grant Casey Martin the use of a golf cart. The case went on to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the rights of people with disabilities to equal enjoyment of and access to public accommodations were preserved.
With the support of her husband, Richard and her daughter, Robin, Romm contributed her retirement funds to the Oregon Law School Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP). LRAP enables new lawyers to pursue causes in public service. Romm saw this gift as an opportunity to keep her good work alive through the young lawyers who would come after her. Donations in her memory may be made to University of Oregon Foundation, Jacquelyn Romm LRAP endowment fund.