Astoria High School alumni Don Goodall and Grace Gramms Goodall donated $50,000 to a scholarship fund in honor of former teacher Fern Curry.
The scholarship will benefit students who have demonstrated an interest in communication fields. The gift is part of the $200,000 the Goodalls have given to Clatsop County in the past three years. They also donated to the Astoria Public Library, the Columbia River Maritime Museum and the Clatsop County Historical Society.
"It's not that we're that rich, we just feel very strongly about this part of the world," Grace said.
Attorney Hal Snow ushered the couple around Clatsop County as they spoke at the Astoria Rotary Club and Astoria High School.
"It's really important for the spirit of the community," he said of their gifts. Snow oversees the foundation for Astoria High School.
The Goodalls live in Florida. While
they have not lived in Astoria for many
years, they still consider it home.
"There's a vitality here that we were not aware of," Don said.
The two visited with friends and attended a puppet show during the week they spent in town.
Don graduated in May 1936 and his wife Grace graduated in January 1937. While they were in high school, she served as editor of the student newspaper. Curry critiqued the newspaper after students published it every month.
"You always got back a marked-up, red paper," Grace said. "She was fair, but she was firm."
Don also worked on the staff and remembered Curry for her insistence upon proper grammar.
"Teachers nowadays spend more time thinking about a kid's psyche than worrying about whether they can read or write," he said.
The two worked for the newspaper when Astoria won the state basketball tournament in the 1930s. They grew up in Astoria to middle-class parents. Her father was a postman and his was a house painter.
They've been married for 63 years. Their one surviving daughter lives near their home in North Florida. She runs a horse ranch called Astoria Acres. They met in 1935 at a Halloween party at the Astoria Methodist Church. Grace earned a scholarship to Oregon State University and Don followed her there.
They studied journalism and worked in the field. Grace minored in journalism and worked for a weekly in California. Don majored in journalism and worked for Astoria Daily Budget and a newspaper in Yakima, Wash.
Later in his career, Don worked for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Then he was as a a lobbyist for American Cyanamid Co. in Washington, D.C. The experience earned him a disgust of the political system.
"If most Americans would have the opportunity to live in Washington and observe the processes of government first hand, they would revolt," he said.
Don retired in 1982. Recently he began to wonder what he would do with his savings.
"You get to be my age," said Don, 85. "You had a great life, but so what? You're going to be dead in a week or tomorrow or next year."
The scholarship recipients may not remember his name, but Don said he hopes the money will allow them to do something important for the world.
"If that be the case, then our lives will have meaning."