Lo Residents Rule In Portland Group
As longtime member Quent Neufeld acknowledges, the Portland Old Boys Breakfast Group — a group of elderly men who meet every month at The Courtyard by Marriott in Tigard to eat, listen to presentations and chat about their lives — might need a name change.
While the name suggests that members are from Portland, in reality, 21 of the 29 members live in Lake Oswego and many of those people live in the Mary's Woods at Marylhurst senior living community.
"Somebody said 'We ought to change it' but nobody could come up with a better name," Neufeld said.
Alan Wells and Neufeld are among the Mary's Woods residents, and both are key contributors who have been a part of the club for over 10 years. Wells writes the club's newsletter, which includes a recap of the previous meeting and a calendar of future meetings, while Neufeld writes a monthly column. The group first met at Tom's Pancake House in Beaverton before moving to Denny's in both Beaverton and Lake Oswego (which closed) and then finally settling into The Marriott. Both Neufeld and Wells aren't sure why such a large proportion of members are from Lake Oswego but said that the city's high proportion of elderly residents might be a reason.
Nevertheless, both Wells and Neufeld were referred to the club by friends in the early-to-mid 2000s and are glad they joined.
For them, one of the most satisfying aspects is learning the life stories of their fellow members, who have had a variety of careers and experiences.
"They're all like me. They're intelligent, interesting people to talk to, to visit. And all very different. We're all from different backgrounds and that's exhibited in the various talks we've had," Wells said.
Neufeld, for one, was a producer for CBS News for over two decades. In that time, he covered Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Walter Mondale's presidential campaigns, attended the summit between Reagan and Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev, where the two discussed nuclear disarmament, and also worked alongside famous on-air correspondents Dan Rather and Bill Whitaker. Neufeld enjoyed traveling around the world but said the job was demanding.
"Because we were working on East Coast times, all your stories had to be done by 3:30 in the afternoon. The timelines are really quite demanding. I still have dreams that I can't get a phone call through in my office," he said.
Wells, for his part, was initially an engineer of automobiles in England but then became a cog in the space race in the 1960s. He worked on deployable devices designed for space and even helped develop satellite antennas that were used during the Apollo 11 moon-landing mission. He also worked in the International Space Station before it launched.
"I saw it the other day. They were showing a film presentation associated with Apollo 11. They showed the space station," Wells said. "I look at it and it's changed a bit. It's developed a bit. But I was down there."
Members of the group range from engineers, astronomers and war veterans to Scottish dancers and avid hikers, Wells and Neufeld said. And topics discussed at meetings in 2019 included quantum mechanics, aliens, economics and a naval battle.
"Quite a few people are engineers and PhD types. Some of them are pretty lofty," Neufeld said.
Neufeld was initially reluctant to take over the monthly column and thought that people wouldn't be interested in his career. But he has found that doing so has allowed him to better preserve his own memories and that his assumption about members' lack of interest was incorrect.
"Many of them were interested in the places I had traveled and who I had met along the road," Neufeld said.
The group doesn't meet much outside of meetings but holds a Christmas party each year with wives and is planning to hold a Valentine's Day party next
Wells has found it easy to meet people within the Mary's Woods facility. But the old boys club has allowed him to extend his list of friends beyond the facility's walls. And while looking back at a list of speakers in the club's history dating back to 1993, Wells is reminded of all the people he has met through the years.
"We meet residents frequently but it's the opportunity to see people outside," Wells said.
For more information about the club, contact Wells at 503-805-2853.
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