February 21, 2018
=LINFIELD COLLEGE ATHLETICS TO BENEFIT FROM NEWLY ESTABLISHED ENDOWED FUND HONORING OONEY GAGEN
=Fund is great news for Linfield Athletics, its student athletes, coaches and supporters.
From: Wildcatville blog/Tim Marsh on behalf of the Linfield College Board of Trustees
Contact: Debbie Harmon Ferry, Linfield alumni and parent relations director,
McMinnville, Oregon —
The “Ooney Gagen Endowed Fund for Linfield Athletics” to provide financial support for Linfield College intercollegiate athletics was established by the college’s Board of Trustees during its Feb. 16, 2018, meeting on the college’s McMinnville campus. A donation of $30,500 by Gagen created the fund.
Ooney Gagen, Linfield grad and former Wildcat athlete, said he endowed the fund at his alma mater to honor the late Paul Durham. “He was my mentor, coach, father figure and moral compass during my time at Linfield, laying the foundation for my success in life,” Gagen said.
“This fund has the blessing of my friend Ray Olson, a Linfield 1954 grad and a Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame member (football, basketball and baseball player). Ray was the driving force behind the establishment of the Paul Durham Endowed Fund for Linfield Athletics,” said Gagen.
The Durham endowment started with a donation by Olson. Subsequent donations by Olson and others has seen the Durham endowment
rise to more than $200,000 in valuation.
“I hope the Ooney Gagen Fund is seen as complimentary to the Paul Durham Fund, not a competitor. I plan to make subsequent donations to the Ooney Gagen Fund and hope others will donate too,” said Gagen.
Paul Durham wrote about Ooney Gagen in his "Dodging with Durham" sports column in the McMinnville News-Register newspaper and had photos of Gagen published in the newspaper. However in all those photos Gagen’s recognizable facial features were blocked out.
(Durham died at age 93 in 2007. A 1936, Linfield grad, he was the college’s football coach 1948-1967 and its athletic director 1949-1967.)
(Concurrently with his time at Linfield, Durham was the McMinnville News-Register sports editor and sports columnist.)
No one ever met Ooney personally and the only stories about him were written by Durham.
Some claimed Ooney was a fictitious character invented by Durham. Others believed Ooney was a real person. “This donation proves Ooney is as real as Santa Claus,” said Olson.
Gagen said, “I would love to be present to tell the ‘Durham Faithful’ about this fund. But my lady friend, Molly Putz, and I are getting a little long in the tooth. It is hard for us to travel. While I still maintain a second home at One Ooney Gagen Way in McMinnville, my primary residence continues to be at Third and Shirbete, down where the streetcar bends.”
For more information about the Ooney Gagen Endowed Fund for Linfield Athletics, contact Debbie Harmon Ferry, Linfield alumni and parent relations director,
RAY OLSON INFO
Ray Olson, lives in Naperville, Illinois, with his wife, Bonnie. They are former residents of Vancouver, Washington.
He was raised in Dallas, Oregon, and is a Dallas High School graduate. After his Linfield 1954 graduation and U.S. Army service, he taught and coached at high schools in Oregon (Rainier and Dallas) and California (Sunnyvale). Later, he taught and was an administrator at for 25 years at the College of Du Page in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.
Read Ray Olson’s hall of fame bio here: