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The Columbia Press

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Letter to the Editor: Remembering Gordon Wahlman

Rick Newton
By Rick Newton/Warrenton, Thursday, February 13, 2020

A community such as ours, which I have grown up and old in, has a lot of unique people.

Some are referred to as “pillars of the community,” some I refer to as “characters of the community” -- those people go deep in my past and include Slick Hartley, George Riley, Del Body, Jiggs Johnson, and, of course, Clarence Kelson.

But we recently lost another great one, Gordon Wahlman, known to most who knew him as “Gordo.” Anybody who didn’t know Gordo really missed out on one of the treats of a lifetime.

Gordo loved to regale people with stories about all he’d seen and worked on in his lifetime; how the train ran right in front of his house in Seaside when he was a young boy (and how you have to figure out how to get back when you jump on for a ride); the cow path on the other side of the tracks that is now Highway 101 in front of Safeway; his love affair at an early age with an Indian, a Harley, and, later, a BMW motorcycle; how it was to work up in the woods in the old days; how a brand new day-old Caterpillar is under one of the runways out at the airport (the boss didn’t think it could get stuck until it did and proceeded to sink out of sight -- “Need another Cat”); and many more. And he would often say something to you in Finnish, I believe, in reference to his heritage.

Gordo always would come by and ask, “What’s up Ricky?” And then we’d discuss all the things going on in town, who’s doing what, or what he was tinkering on in the shop that his business cards said was “Fiddle Fart Construction.”

He’d always close by saying, “Well, I better go. I love you. Tell Patty too.”

You know how uncomfortable it is for guys to hear or tell each other they love each other; I’m not very good at it, and just said thanks instead of what I should have said.

So, Gordo, I’m very sad to say goodbye, and “I love you.” You brought great joy to mine and many others’ lives.

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