Oregon State Bar Bulletin — NOVEMBER 2002

In Memoriam

Linda L. Rankin, senior vice president and general counsel for Bear Creek Corp, Medford, died Aug. 21, 2002, in Portland. She was 55.

Rankin was born May 1, 1947 in Tulsa, Okla. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Portland State University and her law degree from Boston University School of Law. For most of the past 30 years, she lived in Portland. Linda joined Bear Creek Corp. in 1989 and divided her working time between her home office in Portland and company office in Medford. Previously she was corporate counsel at Esco Corp. and before that, associate counsel at First Interstate Bank of Oregon in Portland. In recent years she was a past member of the board of Associated Oregon Industries and served as a company representative for the Oregon Business Council and Oregon Business Association. In earlier years, she volunteered her time as director and president of the Portland Area Council of Camp Fire and was a past member of the Portland Public Schools budget coordinating committee.

Survivors include her husband of 26 years, Robert D. Rankin, and two sons.

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Retired Portland lawyer Ellis Eli Gerdes died Aug. 31, 2002.

Gerdes was born May 28, 1925 in Cheyenne, Kansas and grew up in Nebraska. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy as a radioman second class in the Pacific Theater. Using the G.I. Bill after the war, he attended the University of Washington and after graduation worked for the West Coast Lumberman’s Association. He entered night school at the Northwestern School of Law in Portland and earned his law degree there, graduating in 1959 and joining the OSB later. He worked as a deputy city attorney in Portland and did technical research for the Portland Police Bureau. Later he had a private practice in Portland for many years, before retiring in 1990.

Gerdes had many interests and was a member of numerous civic organizations and served on his church council.

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William D. Cramer Sr., an attorney in Burns for 50 years, died Sept. 3, 2002, in Pasadena, Calif. He was 77.

Cramer was born Sept. 9, 1924 in Milton, Ore. As the son of a schoolteacher and superintendent, he grew up in various Oregon communities and graduated from high school in Eugene. During World War II, he served in the Army Reserve and called to active duty in the European Theater. He earned three Battle Stars, and a Purple Heart, among other honors.

He attended the University of Oregon after the war, earning his degree from the law school in 1949. He then began his private practice at Casey and Kriesien in Burns, and built a private practice in Burns over the next five decades.

He served as a president of the Harney County Bar Association for 40 years and was active on OSB Grievance Committee and the Oregon Council on Court Procedures. He was also a past director of the Oregon School Attorneys Association and the Oregon Law School Alumni association. He was a city attorney for the cities of Burns and Hines for many years. He retired in 1999.

Cramer was well known for sharing with his colleagues his philosophy that a portion of every lawyer’s work should be donated to those who truly need help but cannot afford it. In 1999, he received the OSB President’s Public Service Award, in recognition of his contributions to pro bono legal services to the Harney County Hospital Foundation, the Harney County Historical Society, the Burns Booster Club and many other entites. He was active in numerous organizations, including the chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis and the historical society.

His first wife, Benne, died in 1999. He remarried in 2000 and relocated to Pasadena, where he remained an ardent sports fan and enthusiastic Duck. Survivors include his wife, Gloria, and six children.

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Portland lawyer Marylee A. Lowry died Sept. 7, 2002, after a seven-year battle with breast cancer.

Lowry was born on July 21, 1945, in Portland and grew up in Talent, Ore. She attended St. Mary’s School in Medford, graduating in 1963. She received her B.A. degree in 1967 and her master’s degree in arts in teaching in 1970 from San Francisco College for Women. After a year of teaching in San Francisco, she joined the Jesuit Volunteer Crops and as a volunteer taught school in Fairbanks, Alaska for three years. Subsequently, she taught school in Eagle Point, Oregon and then at St. Mary’s Academy in Portland.

In 1983 she entered law school and graduated cum laude from Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College in 1986. She interned for the Oregon Supreme Court and in 1987 joined what is now Davis Wright Tremaine, where she practiced in estate planning and non-profits until 2001, when her declining health caused her to take early retirement.

In addition to her family and friends, she was devoted to her cats, enjoyed summer weekends at the Lowry family cabin in Diamond Lake, Oregon and working in her garden. Her family and friends say she demonstrated great courage in facing her breast cancer and in doing so became an inspiration to all who knew her.

Survivors include her father, David B. Lowry, and her stepmother, Caroline Lowry, of Talent, a sister and a brother.

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