Wendell Wyatt, who died last week, was one of those old-school, gentlemanly fellows who served his country and his community without the need for a brass band playing in the background.

A Republican, he served the 1st Congressional District, which includes Astoria and the North Coast, from 1965 until retiring in 1975.

An Oregonian through and through, he moved to Astoria to practice law after serving as a U.S. Marine Air Corps pilot in World War II. His buddies around the courthouse smile when they remember he practiced law with what they describe as "considerable tenacity."

When Congressman Walter Norblad died in office, Wyatt took over.

In the decade that followed, he served with dignity and pragmatism. Often politicians wax eloquent about bipartisan efforts but don't really mean it. Wyatt talked the talk, and walked the walk, working especially closely with Democrat Congresswoman Edith Green, to get the job done.

On fisheries issues, he worked to ensure the interests of the Columbia River came first.

Oregon U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley summed it up best: "Wendell Wyatt truly made his mark on Oregon."

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