Let me say this about that

By Gene Klare

March 1, 2002

FRED GOETZ, 83, a longtime fishing and hunting columnist for the Labor Press and many other union publications, died Thursday, Feb. 7, from injuries suffered, police said, when a speeding car ran a stop sign and crashed into the auto driven by his wife Ann, who was critically injured. The collision occurred at Southeast 33rd Avenue and Franklin Street near their Portland home.

Mrs. Goetz, 74, has been in intensive care at Oregon Health and Science University Hospital since the crash. Fred, riding in the front passenger seat, died at the scene after the other vehicle smashed into the side where he was seated. The crash occurred shortly before noon.

The 17-year-old driver of the other car was arrested by police on charges of second-degree manslaughter and third-degree assault. Police said he was driving with a suspended driver's license and was traveling between 45 and 60 miles per hour. One of his three teen-age passengers was injured. Police said the Cleveland High School students were going back to school from a lunch break.

GOETZ BEGAN WRITING his Outdoor Scene column in 1955 for the weekly Oregon Labor Press (now the twice-monthly Northwest Labor Press). Jim Goodsell, who was the editor then, recalled that editors of other union publications were impressed by Goetz's columns and asked him to also write fishing and hunting reports for them.

Before long, the byline of Fred Goetz was appearing in about three dozen labor newspapers and magazines from Portland and San Francisco on the West Coast to Washington, D.C., in the East.

His clients included four labor newspapers then printed weekly in the Rose City - The Oregon Labor Press, The Union Register of the Lumber and Sawmill Workers, The Woodworker and The Oregon Teamster. His columns were illustrated with photos he took and with snapshots sent in by readers displaying their success at angling and hunting. Goetz got the idea for writing an outdoor column while working at the old Foster Sporting Goods Store on Southeast Foster Road. BECAUSE HE WAS WRITING for labor union publications across the United States and also free-lancing articles to Field and Stream and Sports Afield magazines, Fred Goetz was the most widely-circulated outdoor writer in the United States. He estimated that his outdoor chronicles reached about l 2 million readers. He banged out his columns and stories on a vintage Underwood manual typewriter. He was a founder of the Pacific Northwest Outdoor Writers Association and served as its president. He also was a member of the American Newspaper Guild.

In addition to his columns in labor publications, Goetz was the outdoor editor and columnist for The Portland Daily Reporter, a lively tabloid newspaper launched by the 850 workers on strike against the Oregonian and Oregon Journal. It started as a weekly in February 1960, then published two and three times a week before it went daily. The noble cause died on Sept. 30, 1964.

Goetz, whose seven children sometimes accompanied him (but not all at the same time) on his angling jaunts, also shared his enjoyment of fishing with under-privileged boys and girls whom he hauled around by the car-loads and taught the skills of catching fish.

FRED CRUSADED AGAINST stream pollution by discharges from a chemical plant and paper mills. His vigilance earned him the Izaak Walton League of America's Golden Beaver Award.

To provide for his retirement years, Goetz bought Cameron's, Portland's oldest used books and magazines store, at 336 SW Third Avenue, in 1976 when he was 58 years old.

GOETZ SOLD the store in 1989, then started selling books Online as fredgoetzbooks. For years he had thousands of titles neatly arranged on library shelves in the basement of his home. Fred served as president of the Northwest Book Dealers Chapter of the Antiquarian Book Dealers Association of America.

A keen sense of social responsibility was a personal hallmark of Goetz. Shortly after he sold the store he began volunteering his time at the MacDonald Center in Portland's Old Town at 605 NW Couch St., which operates under the auspices of the Saint Vincent dePaul Society. Fred and a Jesuit priest ministered to society's downtrodden -occupants of rooms in Skid Road hotels, the mentally ill, former convicts, derelicts and people who live on the streets and under bridges.

"THE TERRIBLE TOMBS where people suffer in loneliness" was the way Mary Sue Richen, director of the MacDonald Center, described places Fred went to find people who needed a helping hand and words of counseling. She was one the speakers at his funeral service on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at Saint Ignatius Catholic Church at SE 43rd and Powell. Television station KATU covered the service.

Goetz's volunteer work for the MacDonald Center prompted a man interviewed on a Portland television station's newscast following the fatal crash to call him "a saint."

Frederick James Goetz was born May 12, 1918 in Baltimore, Maryland. As a teen-ager he worked as a copy boy at the Baltimore Sun where famed author H.L. Mencken was a columnist. Whenever young Fred ran an errand for Mencken he received a quarter as a tip, a generous sum in the Great Depression of the 1930s.

IN THE EARLY 1940s, Goetz became assistant yardmaster at the Bethlehem Fairfield Shipyard in Baltimore. His job included arranging the ceremonies for the launchings of the Liberty Ships built at the yard. On some occasions Kate Smith sang her trademark song, "God Bless America," with Fred's baritone voice accompanying her. His singing gained him appearances on radio's Major Bowes Amateur Hour.

IN 1943 GOETZ JOINED the United States Merchant Marine and shipped out on one of the Liberty Ships. His ship transported World War II military cargo to England, Egypt, New Zealand and other places. Some ships in the convoys his vessel sailed in were attacked by German planes and submarines but his ship avoided being hit. Goetz, who was a member of one of the seafaring unions, served in the Merchant Marine until 1946 and attained the rank of lieutenant. He first saw Portland when his ship docked in the Rose City after traveling up the Columbia River from the Pacific Ocean. He liked what he saw and decided to make Portland his new home.

At his funeral, Goetz's service in the Merchant Marine was extolled by Christ Vokos, president of the U.S. Merchant Marine Veterans of World War II and retired secretary-treasurer of Portland Bakers Local 364. Vokos noted that Goetz had long served as a board member of the Merchant Marine Veterans and helped in their long campaign to obtain war veterans' status from the federal government.

The Mass of Christian Burial at St. Ignatius Church, at which family members and others also spoke, was followed by a concluding service and vault interment at River View Cemetery.

Survivors include his wife, Ann; four daughters, Gemey and husband John Cameron of Crooked River Ranch near Redmond, Susan and husband Alan Gladstone of Portland, Shurron and husband Andy Carpel of Frederick, Maryland, and Angela Martin-Buck of Portland; three sons, James and wife Darlene of Portland, Steven and wife Lynn of Bend, and David and wife Kandi of Renton, Washington; 26 grandchildren and l 0 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by the mother of his children, Betty Goetz of Woodburn.

Remembrances can be sent to the MacDonald Center in care of Stehn's Funeral Home, 2906 SE Harrison St., Milwaukie OR 97222.


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