Richard Lee Wysong April 17, 1926 - March 12, 2020
Dick Wysong founded the Civil and Mechanical Engineering Technology program at Portland Community College in 1967, taught at PCC until the mid-1990's, and was a beloved teacher, colleague and mentor for many of us. He was an incredible, larger-than-life, never-to-be-forgotten person who changed the lives of so many people -- I'm sure we all have stories to tell about our experiences with him. (Long class sessions, tons of homework, lengthy weekly tests, "Free Body Diagram, dammit!", throwing erasers, "Wrestle only one alligator at a time!" . . . )
Dick Wysong passed away at the age of 93 on March 12, 2020. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, no memorial gathering has been scheduled yet. At the bottom of this message is attached a letter from his family.
Dick believed strongly in applied learning and cooperative endeavors, and that anyone could learn engineering, no matter what his/her academic background or other experience. Military veterans, injured workers, displaced homemakers, and others seeking new careers were welcomed into the CMET program -- many of these people had been out of high school for many years, or had never finished high school. He was particularly supportive of female students, who were a rarity in engineering when he started the program. Classroom engineering problems always went beyond the scope of the textbook, and students worked in groups to solve them as part of their training for the workplace. In the early days of CMET we had the PCC Student Design corporation which contracted to do design projects for companies and individuals in the community. Field trips were an important part of the curriculum. Some of the most wonderful memories held by his students and colleagues are from our week-long Spring trips to Camp Westwind on the Oregon Coast. There, we learned land surveying and environmental engineering; and we did building projects, trail maintenance, and other service projects for the YWCA. We also learned teamwork and cooperation, and built esprit de corps. We partied a lot in the evenings, but woke up at 5:30am to Mr Wysong's big voice at the doorstep of each cabin, calling us to breakfast and the beginning of a strenuous and fulfilling day, occasionally in the pouring down rain.
Camp Westwind was one of Dick Wysong's favorite places on earth. Dick was involved with the camp for over 50 years, volunteering his engineering services, serving on committees, and working toward having the lower Salmon River become a protected area, in addition to bringing his students to the camp. He and his family also have a long-running group that rents the camp each year.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Camp Westwind has had to cancel all Spring and Summer programs and group rentals, and the loss of this income has put the camp into a financial crisis. The Westwind Stewardship Group, the non-profit organization which now owns the camp, has started a Camp Westwind Recovery Fund to ensure that the camp will continue fulfill its mission which is to "conserve the Westwind site in perpetuity; foster life-changing outdoor experiences for all children, families and groups; and promote environmental stewardship as a basis for sustainable living." We feel that a donation to this Recovery Fund is a fitting and wonderful way to honor Dick Wysong's memory, so we have established a Dick Wysong Memorial Fund within the fundraising campaign. Dick would want the Westwind legacy to continue always, so that others may also enjoy the peace, solace, and inspiration that he found in this special place. If you would like more information about Camp Westwind, go to https://westwind.org. To contribute to the Dick Wysong Memorial Fund, go to https://
Dick Wysong loved all of his students, and anyone who attended his classes felt this. I personally will be forever grateful for my involvement in the CMET program, and for my almost 50-year association and friendship with Dick Wysong. He will be missed very much by me and many many others.
Please join me in honoring Dick's memory and his contributions to engineering education, and the conservation of the wonderful place we call Camp Westwind.
Also, please share this information with any classmates that you know, and send their contact information to CMETpcc2016@gmail.com, so that I can try to keep lists updated as much as possible.
Jan Hashimoto Chambers, class of 1974, faculty member 1977-1979 & 1982-2015.
Dick Wysong Memorial Fund: https://
Letter from Dick Wysong's family:
We are very sad to announce that Dick Wysong passed away on March 12, 2020. He is survived by his seven children, twelve grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. His wife Marge passed away in 2011.
Born in Portland in 1926, he dropped out of high school at the age of 17 to join the Navy and fought in the Pacific theater until the end of WWII in 1945.
Through the GI Bill and taking advantage of the post-war chaos, he attended and got his bachelor degree in mechanical engineering from OSU without anyone ever realizing he hadn't actually graduated from high school.
He married Marge in 1950 and spent his life mainly in Oregon, although they did spend some time in the Bay Area during the sixties while he was working for Standard Oil.
His greatest passion, however, was teaching. In 1965 he joined the faculty at the newly formed Portland Community College and together with other pioneers like Hank Blood created the Mechanical Engineering Technology program. Through this work he changed many lives. We still meet people whose life he changed through his role as an educator.
He also spent many years volunteering at Camp Westwind and was involved in its establishment as a protected wild area.
Please feel free to share this post and comment on any memories that you would like to share.
We have delayed this announcement because we are unable to plan any memorial service now due to the Covid 19 situation.
We'll publish a formal obituary and let everyone know when the memorial will be as soon as we are able.
With love and grief,
The Wysong Family
I was saddened to hear of Dick Wysong's passing. He not only inspired me, but also gave me the confidance to trust my own instincts.