Calvin P. Burt
Calvin P. "Cal" Burt of Lake Oswego passed from this life into the next at age 92 on Sunday, September 20, 2020 after a long illness. He died peacefully at The Springs assisted living facility in Wilsonville, Oregon.
"Cal" loved teaching and the great outdoors.
He was born August 8, 1928 near Emmett, Idaho to Clara and Ernest Burt. His mother taught in a one-room schoolhouse while his father was responsible for managing the distribution of irrigation water to the local farmers. Early in life, Cal learned the value of hard work as he had to perform many chores to help his parents run the homestead.
A defining characteristic in Cal's life was that he was a rugged individualist who always followed the road less traveled. In addition to being an avid gardener and botanist, he excelled as a craftsman and outdoorsman, teaching himself the arts of woodworking, leatherworking, hunting, making snowshoes and a host of other survival skills.
After graduating from high school, he attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, where he met his future wife, Janice Oliver. Cal graduated in 1950 with a mathematics degree and a teaching certificate. After college, the two married and settled in Kellogg, Idaho where William and Thomas, his two sons, were born.
It was in Kellogg that he launched his math-teaching career. In 1958, he moved the family to Lake Oswego, Oregon, where he taught math and leatherwork at the Junior High School. Cal spent that summer at Stanford University, having been awarded a Mathematics Fellowship by General Electric. He also received a Master's degree in Education from the University of Oregon in 1963.
Cal and his sons were active in the local Boy Scout troop and in conservation efforts that culminated in the creation of Springbrook Park in Lake Oswego and Portland's Tryon Creek
State Park. Cal personally mapped out and helped to build most of the trails in Tryon Creek and was a popular native-plants lecturer there for many years.
In the summer of 1967, Cal was chosen to join an OMSI-sponsored, four-man expedition to the Arctic. The team rafted the entire 1,300-mile length of the MacKenzie River—from the Great Slave Lake to the Arctic Ocean—where they discovered an ancient Eskimo village. It was the adventure of a lifetime.
In 1970, Cal and his business partner, Ret. Colonel Frank Heyl, published the first editions of their popular identification guides, Edible and Poisonous Plants of the Western/Eastern States. Cal knew his way around a camera and photographed all of the plants for the two publications, both of which are still in print today.
After twenty-three years of teaching math and receiving many awards, Cal resigned his position in 1974 to pursue his dream of teaching winter and desert survival schools with Colonel Heyl. The two taught schools across the country for the next twenty-five years, mostly for the National Guard and the Air Force. These survival schools were the crowning jewel of Cal's career as they incorporated everything that he had learned in his life and most of what he loved.
Calvin is survived by his brother William (Leta) of New Plymouth, Idaho and his sons William (Johnnie) of Hubbard, Oregon and Thomas of Santa Barbara, California. His beloved wife, Janice, preceded him in death. He has been blessed with two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren and leaves behind a host of friends touched by the legacy of his generosity.
A private memorial service will be held at a future date. Donations honoring Calvin Burt may be made in his name to "Friends of Tryon Creek." The family requests no flowers.