Feb. 09–Myron Katz, an Oregon political leader and traveler who visited all seven continents, died at his home Sunday. He was 90.
His daughter, Karen Katz, confirmed his death.
Katz, who went by “Mike,” was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, was a longtime Bonneville Power Administration official and served as an adjunct professor of economics at Portland State University for more than 50 years.
He taught his last class in spring 2016 and was the university’s longest-serving adjunct professor, his daughter said.
He also is a former Oregon Public Utility Commission chairman, president of the City Club of Portland and the city’s planning commission, once sat on the ACLU’s national board of directors and served in various political and civic roles.
Karen Katz said she remembers that while she was a kid, her father would come home from work, eat, take a quick nap and then talk on the phone with friends about civil liberties, political campaigns and public education, among other topics.
She also remembered him being involved in political candidates’ campaigns, as well as campaigns for issues including making Oregon’s beaches public and abolishing the death penalty in the state.
She described him as a brilliant and humorous man who was sentimental and generous. He passed along a passion for learning, worldliness and fairness to his two children and three grandchildren, she said.
Katz traveled extensively, his daughter said, and capped his international traveling career a few years ago with a trip to Cuba. An outdoorsman who liked to backpack, climb and ski, he summited the Matterhorn, Mount Fuji and Mount Kilimanjaro. He also avidly climbed in the Cascades and was a big Chicago Cubs fan.
But his greatest passions were in civil rights and liberties, his daughter said.
For example: She found her father’s pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution sitting at his place at the table when she visited his Lake Oswego home Wednesday. It was bookmarked three-fourths of the way through.
Katz was born in Chicago and met his wife, Suse, on a blind date at the University of Wisconsin. They married in 1948 and moved to Switzerland, where both worked at the American Embassy.
They settled in Portland in the early 1950s after falling in love with the mountains in Switzerland, visiting friends in Portland and deciding they wanted to live somewhere with more nature than Chicago.
They spent the rest of their lives in the metro area. Suse preceded her husband in death in 2001.
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