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Pioneer logger and forest industry leader Pat Soderberg died Aug. 19, 2007, at his home in Portland, Ore. He was 96.
A Mass of Christian burial will be Monday at St Mary's Catholic Cathedral in Portland.
The son of Arthur and Mary (Daly) Soderberg, he was born May 13, 1911, in Wilbur, Wash. He spent his boyhood years on the Oregon coast in Garibaldi.
His family wrote: "His 60-year career in the woods began at age 16. Pat's first 15 years were spent with several companies working his way through the rigging, falling and bucking jobs to became one of the legendary high climbers in Oregon's north coastal area. In 1936, he met and married the love of his life, Hazel Brown of Gales Creek.
"Following the devastating Tillamook burns, Pat joined with Hy Davis to form Saddle Mountain Logging Co. of Glenwood. The newly formed partnership soon became Consolidated Timber Co.'s most dependable production contractor. When Davis retired, Pat and Consolidated Timber manager Lloyd Crosby founded the P.L. Logging Co. This new partnership was located in Pe Ell, Wash., and was successfully operated until Crosby's death in 1953.
"In 1954, Pat and another Tillamook burn logger, Les Smith, formed Clear Creek Logging Co. This new partnership was located in the redwood region of Northern California. Over the course of their five-year contract with Magnolia Lumber Co., Clear Creek harvested 150 million board feet of timber.
"Opportunities in Alaska were opening up in the late 1950s. A bear-hunting trip to Kodiak Island provided an occasion for Pat to visit the newly formed Alaska Lumber and Pulp Co. in Sitka. Shortly thereafter, Pat and Les loaded all of their logging equipment and personal belongings onto barges in Humbolt Bay and headed to Baranof Island in Southeast Alaska. In doing so, they became one of the first contractors for the Sitka-based pulp company.
"In 25 years of logging in Southeast Alaska, Pat established self-contained logging camps at Rodman Bay on Baranof Island, False Island on Chichigof Island and Kake on Kuprenof Island. Each camp was in itself a complete community with grade schools, movie theaters, stores, sewage systems and a supply boat that delivered groceries one day a week.
"Logging in Alaska was a unique and fledgling industry well suited to Pat and Hazel's innovative, irrepressible pioneer spirit. No one was surprised that when the idea of transporting logs by helium balloons was floated, it was Pat who rose to the challenge.
"After 60 years and over 1 billion board feet of timber harvesting, Pat and Hazel left the woods and retired to Sitka. Never a dull moment and always the center of activities, the Soderberg house became the favorite destination of friends and family.
"As a four-term president of the Alaska Loggers Association, Pat championed worker safety, better wages, employee benefits and an industry-wide portable retirement pension plan.
Pat's talent for innovation and leadership benefited everyone in the industry.
"Pat served as a director of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation advisory board, and a director of the Puget Sound Log Scaling Bureau. His 38-year membership in the Pacific Logging Congress included years of service as a director and in 1978 he was elected as its president.
"Pat will be greatly missed by his family, friends and numerous auto dealers in the area."
He and his wife left Alaska for Portland in the early 1990s.
Pat was preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, Hazel; father, Arthur; mother, Mary Ellen; brothers, William and James; and sister, Mabel Baker Whittaker.
He is survived by his children, Jerry Patrick and wife Gayle of Sun Valley, Patricia Louise Petersen of Sacramento, Virgil Dennis and wife Kathleen of Phoenix, Ariz., and Christie Lee Soderberg and husband David Cozzens of Portland, Ore.; six grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests that a donation be made to The Don Bell Alaska Loggers Scholarship Fund, 111 Stedman No. 200, Ketchikan 99901
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