Let me say this about that

By Gene Klare

June 7, 2002

DEAN MICKELS, 85, of Portland, a former president of Multnomah County Employees Local 88, has become a member of Labor's Hall of Fame. He was selected for that honor by the Northwest Oregon Labor Retirees Council, the sponsor of the Hall.

The retirees are affiliated with the Northwest Oregon Labor Council and meet monthly in NOLC's boardroom at 1125 SE Madison St., Portland.

Mickels started working as a residential and commercial property appraiser for the Multnomah County tax office in the County Courthouse in downtown Portland in 1955 and retired in 1972. In addition to being president of Local 88 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), he served as president of the Oregon State Industrial Union Council, which at that time had 20,000 members.

MICKELS WORKED in political campaigns for Democratic candidates including Governor Bob Straub; Congresswoman Edith Green, Harl Haas, a state legislator, Multnomah County district attorney and Circuit Court judge; and U. S. Senator Ed Muskie of Maine when he sought the nomination for president. The Oregon State Democratic Party awarded a plaque to Mickels in 1970 in recognition of his service.

The new member of Labor's Hall of Fame is proud of his 60 years of membership in Boilermakers Local 72. Mickels joined Local 72 while employed as a welder at the Oregon Shipyard in 1940. He later worked at Willamette Iron & Steel, then transferred to the Vancouver Shipyard and became foreman of the night shift at a welding school there. Eventually he was put in charge of running the school, which had 40 instructors and 450 students who were preparing for vital jobs in the World War II shipbuilding industry. After the war Mickels worked as a welder-foreman in Ketchikan and Skagway in Alaska and on the South Pacific island of Guam. He also did some field work for lawyers representing workers who suffered from asbestosis resulting from shipyard work.

IN HIS COUNTY YEARS Mickels was active in the Day Breakers Toastmasters Club which held its 7 a.m. meetings at the old Henry Thiele's restaurant on West Burnside Street at 23rd Avenue. He attended night meetings of the Multnomah County Labor Council, which later merged into the Northwest Oregon Labor Council. And he was a delegate to AFSCME and Oregon AFL-CIO conventions. He's a member of the Molalla Moose Lodge.

He lost many of his personal belongings in the 1996 flooding in the Molalla area, including $8,000 worth of antique tools.

Because of his health problems Dean now resides in an assisted living facility in Fairview and, due to a hip injury, needs a motorized scooter to get around. He suffers from Parkinson's disease and leukemia. A decade ago he underwent surgery to remove a cancerous bladder. Dean said his sister is an Alzheimer's patient in the same assisted living facility where he lives. She formerly was in the timber business.

DEAN WAS BORN near McCall, Idaho, on Sept. 11, 1916. The family included four sons and two daughters. Before moving to Portland he taught welding in Idaho.

He has a son, Rodger, who works as an engineer for Toyota in Denver, and a daughter, Larissa, who's a pediatric intensive care nurse in Portland; and three grandchildren.

WHEN HIS CHILDREN were still at home, Dean used his mechanical skills to build a 36-foot-high replica of a space rocket in his backyard. It attracted a lot of attention in the neighborhood and received some coverage in the media.

Mickels recalls that four decades ago he was among the union members who showed their solidarity with the nearly 900 workers who were on strike against the Oregonian and the Oregon Journal. He often marched with strikers on the picket lines in front of the scab-produced newspapers' buildings.


OSCAR BEECH, a retired member of Portland Machinists Lodge 63 who died Feb. 15, was a man of achievements that should have been noted here earlier. He had joined another local of the International Association of Machinists in 1939 and took a job in Lodge 63's jurisdiction two years later. He served as Lodge 63's secretary-treasurer and also held other offices in the union. He worked for many years at the Parman & Ellis Co.

Beech was active in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) and was elected as the lodge's Oregon grand master. He was the first Oregonian elected to the IOOF's national office of general military council president, which included being the general who commanded the lodge's Patriarch Militant Army of the World. In that office he traveled to seven countries representing the IOOF.

He also led the Patriarch Army in its one-day-a-year duty of serving as the honor guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia just outside the District of Columbia.

He also had been the president of both the Jefferson High School Dads Club and the citywide Dads Club.

Brother Beech told the Labor Press two decades ago that the goals of the IOOF fraternal lodge included the advancement of universal brotherhood and community services, such as the sponsorship of food banks, funding cancer research and sending help to earthquake victims and the hungry in various regions of the world.


JEAN THOMAS CALLAHAN, who died May 18 at age 88, was another man of accomplishments. A memorial mass was conducted May 23 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Milwaukie.

Callahan, a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, was born April 27, 1914 in Milwaukie, graduated from Washington High School in Portland and later from the University of Oregon in Eugene. After working for 23 years as a retail advertising salesman and manager at the Oregonian, he became advertising manager for the Portland Daily Reporter, the tabloid newspaper started in 1960 by unionists striking against the Oregonian and Oregon Journal. Following the death of the Reporter in 1964, Callahan sold ads for a number of publications, including the Labor Press. He had been a member of the boards of directors of Catholic Charities and the Chamber of Commerce.

Survivors include his wife, the former Idamay McKeirnan whom he married in 1941; seven daughters, Janet Dollard, Marilee Callahan, Kathryn Ackerman, Margaret Callahan, Ellen Watkins, Colleen Calcagno and Lorelei Hoffman; two sons, Thomas and Michael; and 14 grandchildren.


THE HYPOCRISY of the Republican Party is evident again in the complaints of appointed President George W. Bush and Senate Republicans about the slow pace of hearings on GWB's right-wing nominees to the federal judiciary. When the Republicans controlled the Senate they refused to hold hearings on most of Democratic President Bill Clinton's nominations for federal judgeships, with the result that there are scores of vacancies. Now, GWB and Republican Senate reactionaries like Mississippi's Trent Lott and Utah's Orrin Hatch want to fill those Republican-caused vacancies with right-wing lawyers. The Democrats who control the Senate should stand fast against stacking the courts with ideologue hacks whose rulings would be around to haunt us for decades.


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