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Oral history interview with Asa Lewelling [Transcript]
- 2000-11-06 - 2001-01-15 (Creation)
Transcript; 135 pages
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Asa Lorenzo Lewelling was born in Albany, Oregon, in 1915. His family opened the first nursery in Oregon, located where Waverley Golf Club in Portland now stands. The nursery developed the Bing cherry, named for foreman Ah Bing. Lewelling graduated from Albany College, now Lewis & Clark College, in 1936. In 1939, he earned a law degree from Willamette University and then practiced law in Salem. He was drafted in 1942 and served in the U.S. Air Force as a pilot in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. After his discharge in 1946, he returned to his law practice in Salem and specialized in defending insurance companies. Later, in 1973, he served as president of the Oregon State Bar. He also maintained his interest in farming; in 1961, he formed a partnership with Judge George Jones, David Kennedy, and Parker Gies to purchase lands that would become Green Villa Farms. They operated the farm until 1978, when they sold it.
Lewelling was married three times and divorced twice. He and Margaret Ross were married in 1943 and later had two children. After their divorce, he and Betty Bakke, nee Jones, were married, and they later had one child. They divorced in 1973, and he and Shelley Burrell married that same year. They had one child. Lewelling died in 2007.
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Transcript. This oral history interview with Asa Lewelling was conducted by Vinita Howard at Lewelling's home in Independence, Oregon, from November 6, 2000, to January 15, 2001. The interview was conducted as part of the Oregon Wine Archives Oral History Project, which collected interviews with notable figures in the wine-growing industry, including vintners, vineyard growers, community members, and workers active in the development of Oregon's wine industry. The interview was conducted in five sessions. In the first interview session, conducted on November 6, 2000, Lewelling discusses his family background, including his family's involvement in the establishment of Oregon's first nursery. He talks about his early life in Albany, Oregon, including time he spent on the family farm, his brothers and sisters, and doing farm work. In the second interview session, conducted on November 13, 2000, Lewelling continues discussing his early life in Albany, Oregon, including time he spent on the family farm and doing farm work. He describes his childhood home and talks about his father, L. Guy Lewelling, and his father's career as a lawyer and judge. He then briefly talks about his high school education; his experience at Albany College, now known as Lewis and Clark College; and his experience at the Willamette University College of Law. He speaks at length about his Air Force service in the Pacific Theater during World War II, including his flight training. In the third interview session, conducted on December 18, 2000, Lewelling continues discussing his Air Force service during World War II, and talks about his discharge and return to the United States in 1946. He discusses his return to the practice of law in Salem. He talks about his law partners; some of the cases he worked on, particularly those involving insurance claims; and some of the judges he argued before. He also briefly talks about his involvement with the Detroit Athletic Club. In the fourth interview session, conducted on January 8, 2001, Lewelling continues discussing cases he worked on, particularly those involving insurance claims, and judges he argued before. He talks about his service as president of the Oregon State Bar in 1973, how the practice of law has changed during his career, and the different fields of law practice. He then discusses purchasing land, and forming and operating Green Villa Farms. In the fifth and final interview session, conducted on January 15, 2001, he continues discussing Green Villa Farms, and talks about the sale of the farm in 1978. He also talks about his other real estate investments, his hobbies, and his ongoing interest in farming, particularly tomatoes. He describes his marriage history and talks about his children, their families, and their careers. He closes the interview by sharing his most outstanding memories.
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Copyright for this interview is held by the Oregon Historical Society. Use is allowed according to the following statement: Creative Commons - BY-NC-SA, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/.
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