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A Man of All Seasons

Community raises a flag for the late Paul Walden

The familiar Paul Walden greeting, “Good morning,” is emblazoned in the minds of those who knew the late Hood River legislator, and now the phrase is permanently commemorated on a flagpole at his final home, Providence Brookside Manor.

Walden, who died March 28 at the age of 85, was well known for greeting friends with, “Good Morning,” morning, afternoon or evening.

“And to me, it was usually, ‘stay calm’,” said his son, Greg Walden, during Saturday’s dedication ceremony attended by about 100 people at Brookside.

The flagpole on the south end of the grounds bears a plaque reading: “Good Morning. Our Flagpole and all it Represents/Dedicated to the Life of Paul Walden/A Committed Public Servant and Great Friend.”

Greg Walden, the Second District U.S. Representative, recently gave his father a flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol, and Walden elder had decided Brookside needed a flagpole to fly the banner. He helped start a fundraising campaign along with other residents.

Paul Walden was described as a standard of friendship and humor in his two years at Brookside, as well as throughout his career in the state Legislature in the 1970s, and 47 years as radio broadcaster in Hood River and The Dalles.

“Paul was a man of all seasons who could adjust to any circumstance,” said Walden’s friend, Bob Neiman, during the short ceremony.

Neiman said Walden and other friends had breakfast every day together at Brookside. They traded “puns, jokes and even insults,” Neiman said.

“He’d look us over and say, ‘Is everybody up?’ Well, we were all up in different stages. But Paul, we’re all up in your honor and we salute you.”

Rachel Shields of Hood River said Paul “never refused a phone call, even when he was on the (Legislative) floor. He was always interested in child care legislation.”

Greg Walden said that his father, as the only boy growing up with six sisters, “felt picked on but he always had a way of getting even.”

One night, his youngest sister kicked him under the large oak dinner table, and, in retrailation he kicked her back.

“His dad asked, ‘Who kicked me?’ and his sister said, ‘I thought I had kicked Paul.’

“Dad never said a word. He knew when to keep quiet,” Greg Walden said.

Brookside administrator Mary De La Rue welcomed the public to the event, and Providence Chaplain Gary Young led the group in prayer.

The Boy Scouts of Troop 378 raised the flag followed by the assemblage singing “America” — all four verses.

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