Remembering Walt Trandum, our ‘Old Geezer’

Walt Trandum

The North Coast truly lost one of its most dedicated citizens this past week and one who we’ve come to know here at the newspaper well.

By Brian Cameron

Our resident “Old Geezer” of the North Coast Citizen passed this last week and we felt it necessary to tell our readers a little about his history in and around North Tillamook County.

Walt Trandum had always shown a dedication to his community rivaled only by the most pertinent to their cause. His family and friends awash with a list of accomplishments Trandum had done during his time and for each one, the impressiveness and magnitude of the project is only matched in its lasting effect to the community and humanity.

“Walt was a huge humanitarian,” said friend and Lion’s Club member Marilou Bowman. “I could go on and on but I don’t want to overburden everyone with too much, he was a remarkable person.”

One accomplishment he’s known for is his crucial efforts to personally revitalize a summer camp for deaf children called Camp Talaoli, near Stayton Oregon. The camp mentions his contribution of time, money and effort on behalf of the Rockaway Beach Lion’s Club.

“Walt Trandum made heroic moves to get the Lions involved, and these special people have poured thousands of dollars and equipment into this project. He has continued to move around the State talking to members of Lions Clubs and various organizations telling them about the camp and what a wonderful place it is. His hard work has paid off the property payments and bought needed supplies for all of the buildings.” It says on the Camp’s website in regards to Walt.

According to Bowman it wasn’t until 1975 when Trandum found the summer camp, and at the time it was just some basic tents and cleared areas, with the help of the Lions he raised money to buy the property, build functioning bathrooms, cabins a pavilion, kitchen, pool and office facilities, in fact the infirmary is called the Trandum Building.

“Today deaf children from across the US get to enjoy a real summer camp experience,” said Bowman. “Walt always said that signing camp songs can be a uniquely enjoyable experience.”

Truly he had a deep care for kids and people with special needs and felt compelled to help make that a reality.

His other accomplishments are equally as distinguishable, even being elected twice as Mayor of Wheeler after moving there in 1987, once in 1993 and again in 2009. During his time on the coast he was known for his dedication to the Rockaway Lions and in 2007 he purchased an old trailer for a mere $500. After renovating the trailer inside and out he created what is now the Rockaway Beach Lions ‘Weenie Wagon,’ which serves as a food cart at area events and has brought in over $20,000 in revenue for the organization to donate toward procuring glasses, hearing aides and scholarships.

In addition to his work with the local Lions club Trandum also spent a great deal of time during the 1980’s working with the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation. He helped advocate for the passage of the law that enables enucleation to be conducted by certified technicians other than medical doctors. This legislation enabled the formation of the Lions Eye Bank.

It is true to say that Trandum made a positive impact everywhere he went. A man of the community who will be missed by many and indeed here at the North Coast Citizen things will not quite be the same without our resident ‘Old Geezer.’