Steven Deutsch, 1937-2020

Steven Deutsch

Steven Deutsch, one of the founders of the University of Oregon’s Labor Education and Research Center (LERC), died Feb. 10 at the age of 82 after a brief illness.

Born in 1937 in Vienna, Deutsch and his sister were brought by their parents to Chicago in 1938 after Nazi Germany overran Austria. He studied sociology at Oberlin College, where he met Elizabeth Gale; they married in 1958 and went on to have three children. After graduate school at Michigan State, Deutsch taught at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, and later moved to Eugene, Oregon to teach sociology.

Deutsch helped organize a broad coalition calling for the creation of LERC, and when the Oregon Legislature established LERC in 1977, Deutsch served as its interim director until a permanent director could be hired. He then continued on at LERC, training union stewards and staff in contract negotiations and contract administration. A longtime member of the American Federation of Teachers, he was also an active Quaker and a lifelong activist for peace and justice.

He is survived by son Peter Deutsch, daughter Jennifer Bender, and eight grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held March 14 at 2 p.m. at the Eugene Friends Meeting, 2274 Onyx St, Eugene. Donations can be made in his name to the American Friends Service Committee or the Community Alliance of Lane County.

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