Sept. 8, 1947 — March 19, 2016
In the care of his loving family, with hospice support, Steven (“Steve” to many; “Eski” to some) passed away at his home on March 19, 2016. He was born in Portland, Oregon, to Edmund and Alice (Quirk) Escola. Steve’s mother emigrated from Liverpool, England, and his father, whose surname was formerly “Eskola,” was of Finnish and Norwegian descent.
In 1948, the family moved from Portland to a farm they purchased in Marshland, west of Clatskanie. Steve attended Clatskanie schools and graduated with the class of 1965 at Clatskanie Union High School. He was a member of the wrestling team.
Steve considered himself fortunate to have grown up in rural Clatskanie in the 1950s. Later in life, he enjoyed telling new friends about a childhood privilege that would be unheard of today. The Escola children were the first to board their school bus each morning, and during duck hunting season the bus driver allowed Steve to bring his shotgun aboard.
Near one end of the Marshland drainage district dike road, Steve exited the bus for some hunting in the marshes. By agreement with the driver, he had to keep track of the bus as it traveled along the dike, and gauge the time it would take to walk the railroad tracks, so that he could board the bus again at the other end of the dike road. He would leave his gun and the ducks in the unheated bus all day until the ride home in the afternoon.
At the age of seven, without permission, Steve wired an outbuilding on the farm for electricity, without extension cords. After an inspection by his father, Steve received both a scolding and an A+.
Drafted on Oct. 6, 1966, and assigned to the First Cavalry, U.S. Army, his unit was deployed to Vietnam. He was honorably discharged with several medals on Sept. 14, 1968.
Steve began his civilian life by pursuing a major in industrial engineering at Lower Columbia College in Longview, Washington, where he was the recipient of the outstanding engineering student award during his second year. Prior to commencement exercises, he was recruited to do machine programming at Boeing in Seattle, Washington. After Boeing, a lifetime career as a millwright brought him varied and interesting work assignments; the longest was at Portland General Electric in the Boardman, Oregon area.
He appreciated his engineering and technical arts instructors, but his favorite mentors were John Walter and Edvard Evenson, both of Clatskanie.
Steve made friends wherever he went, and he enjoyed preparing seafood and fish feasts for them; his smoked salmon was a treasured delicacy. A longtime friend said that “Steve was happiest when he used his head and hands to build something for someone else.” Steve had an irreverent sense of humor, and he occasionally used his considerable engineering skills to perpetrate elaborate pranks.
Knowing that his disease was terminal, he expressed the heartfelt wish that his sons would carry on with satisfying, challenging vocations and joy in their personal lives.
Besides hunting and fishing, he enjoyed cribbage, playing pool and golfing. He was a member of the Moose Lodges in Irrigon, Oregon, and later in Astoria, Oregon.
Steve is survived by his wife, Christine, and son, Kyle, of Clatskanie, and son Cole of New York; stepdaughter Shannon Emerson; brother Phillip Escola (Kayan) of Knappa, Oregon; sisters Carol Jones (Philip) of Lexington, Washington, and Sharon Coates (Thomas) of Clatskanie; and nephews and nieces David Johnson (Renee) of Vancouver, Washington, Lindsay McCargar (Molly) of Gervais, Oregon, Rick (Megan) Johnson and Ernie Riddle of Clatskanie, Liisa Dodd (Peter) of Mesa, Arizona, and Selena Burgher (Barry) of Knappa, Oregon. Steve is also survived by several cousins and two aunts, Martha Escola of Lincoln City, Oregon, and Patricia Eskola of Seattle, Washington. He was preceded in death by his parents and a nephew, Darrell Johnson.
The family will host an open house to celebrate Steve’s life at Hump’s Restaurant in Clatskanie on Friday, April 1, from 2 to 6 p.m.
Military funeral honors and burial will take place at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon; the date and time will be announced later.
Remembrances in Steve’s name may be made to: Moose Lodge 2486, 220 N.E. Third St, Irrigon, OR 97844; Moose Lodge 408, 420 17th St., Astoria, OR 97103; or Lower Columbia Hospice, Columbia Memorial Hospital, 2111 Exchange St., Astoria, OR 97103.