Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Do you know about the Westport-Linfield Pipeline?

The connection between Hartford, Connecticut, and Linfield is well known.

It’s called the “Hartford Pipeline.” High school grads from Hartford went on to study and (many of them) compete for the Linfield Wildcats. Learn more in a Wildcatville story linked here.
Do you know about the Westport-Linfield Pipeline?
(This Westport is on the Columbia River in Clatsop County, Oregon. Don’t confuse it with Westport, Washington, in that state’s Grays Harbor County on the coast.)
Westport High School closed in 1952. But, until that happened and even after it closed and Westport students started attending high school about 10 miles away in Clatskanie, Oregon, a number of Westporters attended Linfield.
Larry Hermo -- a Linfielder (Class of 1959), who lived in Westport, studied at Westport  and graduated from Clatskanie High after Westport High closed -- recalls as those among former Westport High School students who studied at Linfield being Art Holten, Art Verment, Ben Sorensen, Dick Brooke, Don Stensland, Don Nelson, Duane Hoagland, Ed Walters, Bob Luoto, Jerry Luoto, Jim Luoto, Larry Hermo, Norm Welch, Orlin Culbertson, Woody Lovelace and Don Miller. Many of them were athletes in high school and college.
Read about Art Holten in a Wildatville story linked here.

How did the Linfield connection to Westport High School (Clatsop County, Ore.) happened?

Based on research and assumptions, the connection happened because of  something like this ….

John King, Linfield Class of 1929, became Westport’s principal. A lineman, he played four years (1926-1927-1928-1929) on the Linfield football team and was team captain as a junior. See him in photo above, wearing an academic cap and gown.

(His brother, Lee King, Class of 1930, was also a Linfield football player. The Kings were from Buhl, Idaho. After Westport, John King became superintendent of the Oakridge, Ore., School District.)

John King hired Ted Stensland, Class of 1928, as Westport boys’ basketball coach. Later, Stensland, succeeded King as principal.

Succeeding Stensland as basketball coach was Don Nelson, Class of 1948.

At some point -- presumably hired by John King – Lucile Beswick, Linfield Class of 1932, became a teacher at Westport. One of her early duties was apparently coaching girls’ sports. Later, after Westport High closed and Westport students began attending Clatskanie High School, she joined the Clatskanie School District, initially as a teacher and later as librarian.

As a Linfield student, Lucile was a member of the L.C. Club, a woman’s organization which sponsored four coed sports and directed the women’s athletic program.

Possibly born and/or lived in Ashland, Ore., she may have moved to McMinnville prior to starting at Linfield.

Lucile Beswick eventually married Clarence Hansen. They had a daughter and son, Jim Hansen. Jim graduated from Linfield, said Larry Hermo, a 1954 Clatskanie High grad, who attended Westport High for two years before it closed.

Larry said Lucile was his English teacher for all four years of high school. He said she was an “excellent teacher of grammar.” His wife, Sharon Hermo, a 1960 Clatskanie High grad, also had Lucile as English teacher. Lucile encouraged Sharon to attend Linfield. Sharon did and graduated from the college in 1964.

Oh, by the way … In February 1962, Westporter/Linfielder Larry was discharged from the U.S. Army. A week after discharge he was hired as baseball coach at Yamhill-Carlton High School by its principal Ted Stensland.



--John King’s photo and information listing as a Linfield graduating senior in 1929.

--Lucile Beswick on the far right as member of a Linfield junior-senior women’s basketball team. and in a student photo.

--John King (front row far right) and his brother (second row wearing glasses) as members of Linfield’s Knights of the Order of the Old Oak.

--Ted Stensland as a member of the Linfield men’s basketball team.

--Don Nelson as a member of the Linfield men’s basketball team.

All photos from Linfield Oak Leaves yearbook.