John Williams Stoddard Platt

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john_platt┬áJohn Williams Stoddard Platt, age 100, passed away at his home Jan. 9, 2013. He was the youngest of five children born in Dayton, Ohio to Edwin Francis and Alice Stoddard Platt. The family moved to Portland when John was 2, and he called Portland home ever after. During his teen years he attended the Santa Barbara School (Cate School today) where he excelled in history, gymkhana and the 400 meter dash. Following graduation in 1932, he joined the merchant marine, first transporting lumber and sulphur to and from the East coast, then working the Pacific routes to Hawaii and Asia. In 1937 he purchased a parcel of land near Sylvan, where he and his wife, the former Jane Kerr, lived for 50 years following their marriage in 1939. During WWII, he served in the United States Navy in the Pacific theatre, as a diesel mechanic/ laundryman aboard the PT tender USS Mobjack. Following the war, he worked for Kerr Gifford & Co. until its sale in 1953. Not wishing to move his family from Portland, he purchased The Beebe Co. (a marine wholesaler) and ran it and the Totem Pole Marinas until he retired in the mid 1970s. For the next 20 years he devoted himself to helping his wife, Jane, develop and perfect one of Portland’s finest private gardens. He was also dedicated to the preservation of Elk Rock Garden, and served for many years on the Carmen committee (a group started by then-Bishop James Frederick Carmen to manage Elk Rock Garden).┬áThere was never a rock he could not move, a hole too deep, or a limb too high. Until his very last days, he held on to the wonder and splendor of the natural world. And to those who had the good fortune to know him, he remained a model, one of the last great gentlemen. He is survived by his two sons, John (Doris) Platt and David (Lisa) Platt; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. A memorial gathering will be held later in the year, when the garden is bursting with color and new life. Please make any remembrances to The Nature Conservancy, The Oregon Historical Society, or The Friends of Elk Rock Garden.

Thank you.