LOSS OF A CANBY HERO
Geoff Hollister had no idea when he left Canby High School during his sophomore year in 1961 what lay ahead of him in the future. He left behind the class presidency, the wrestling team and his many friends. He entered South Eugene High School and became president of his senior class and was on the track and cross country teams.
During his college years at the University of Oregon, while pursuing an art degree, Geoff taught jogging classes at Oregon’s Hayward Field for Bill Bowerman. Bowerman had observed jogging in 1962 while on vacation in New Zealand and became a supporter of the fitness regimen upon his return to the U.S.
In 1967, Phil Knight offered Geoff the opportunity to sell Tiger running and training shoes for BRS on commission. Knight made the offer at the campus Dairy Queen over lunch, which Hollister ended up having to pay for because Knight had left his wallet at home. Hollister opened the first Blue Ribbon Sports retail store, called BRS West, in Eugene in 1968, before serving three years as a navigator on the USS Guadalupe during his commission in the US Navy. In 1971, he returned to civilian life in Eugene and to Blue Ribbon Sports. He managed BRS West, which had been renamed The Athletic Department.
Geoff’s story with Nike is an interesting tale of small-town boy made good. If you wish to read more information about his story, you can stop by the depot and obtain more information.
Geoff was featured as a guest speaker at the Canby Depot Museum in the summer of 2008 when his book “Out Of Nowhere” was released. An eager crowd came to hear Geoff relate his story of his introduction and relationship with Nike.
Bertha Lee's Memorial
There had not been a burial at Baker Prairie Cemetery since 1950 and, in fact, the City of Canby had closed all further burials by Resolution passed in 1984. However, through the assistance of CHS members Sharon Henry and Randy Carson, Lee Family descendants, Jeanine Kersey and Ted Hall gained unanimous support from the Canby City Council to have the remains of Bertha Lee interred at this historic cemetery. Bertha was born in 1880 and institutionalized at a state mental hospital where she died in 1918. She was cremated and her ashes put into a canister and stored away in a forgotten warehouse, along with thousands of other canisters. Some 90 years later her ashes were identified and claimed, and the process then began to place her with her family at Baker Prairie Cemetery. Bertha's parents were Albert and Martha Lee, and the sister of Millard Jerome (M. J.) Lee. The Lee family, whose patriarch was Philander Lee, helped settle Canby and their contributions to its development are significant.
The Memorial Service for Bertha was held on May 23rd with many Lee family members in attendance. Representatives from CHS as well a representative from the Canby City Council were also present. A lunch was served after the service.
Jeanine Kersey and Ted Hall were very grateful to CHS, the City of Canby, employees Dwayne Barnes and Ken Robinson for all their help and assistance in seeing Bertha, after 90 years, being laid to rest with her parents.