Paul Duchene: Auto enthusiast, journalist
Paul was a friend you could rely on any day of the year, an eager adventurer, a perennial optimist, and one of Oregon's premier journalists for 50 years.
He was born in Beckenham, England on the 29th of July, 1948. In the wake of the second world war, Paul arrived just five days after bread rationing was lifted. He grew up in southern England, earning six O-Level grades and a silver medal from the Royal Society of Arts. He remained a Fellow of that Society all his life.
Paul began his career in journalism at the Surrey Comet newspaper, and went on to write for a number of newspapers and magazines in the London area. Seeking new horizons, he moved to America in 1971 and quickly found work as an editor at the Tri-City Herald. In 1982 he moved to The Oregonian, where he founded the weekly A&E section and also served as Automotive Editor, which opened the door to his later career. From 2001 to 2004, he covered arts and automotive topics at the Portland Tribune. Later he served as Executive Editor of the Portland-based Sports Car Market magazine, and spent the last 12 years as a freelance writer covering automotive topics.
His career gave Paul the time and opportunity to pursue the travel and adventure he craved. "He was born with the gift of intrepidness," said his friend and colleague Rob Sass. "Paul knew not just how to get somewhere, but exactly why one should go there in the first place."
Paul traveled widely, including up above the Arctic Circle eight times on the Alcan 5000 and Lost Patrol rallies. In the far north, he appreciated both the natural beauty and the character of the people. "Way up here," Paul would say, "people have to look out for each other. If you don't do what you say you're going to do, someone could die and next time it could be you."
He loved to recount the times he ate Musk Ox with the Mayor of Inuvik, NWT, hit a golf ball over the Arctic Circle in -40 temperatures, or slept in his vehicle on a snowy night at Meziadin Junction, BC when the only motel turned out to be closed.
Paul also made frequent trips to watch or participate in motorcycle racing, including covering the Isle of Man races and riding in the Motogiro d'Italia. His annual motorcycle road trip through the western states, always accompanied by friends, was inked on his calendar.
Few people knew more about obscure cars than Paul, or were more enthusiastic about them. He served as an announcer at the Monterey and Portland Historic Races, and as a judge at the Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance. "He had an encyclopedic memory for esoteric details that always made me wonder if he was just making stuff up," said his friend and colleague Jerry Boone. Paul was also a serial car collector. He sought out unique vehicles to experience, then sold each one to make room for the next. Over the years his collection included such rarities as a twin-engined Citroën 2CV, a 1923 Chevrolet speedster, and an authentic London Taxi. Paul liked to joke, "I've owned over 350 cars, with a combined value of $350,000."
Paul Duchene is survived by his beloved wife Sherry, two siblings, three children, and far too many friends to count. Anyone who knew Paul could tell you that at the conclusion of any social event or adventure, Paul would always say the same thing. It seems an appropriate epitaph now: "That was a large time."
Donations or remembrances should be made to Special Olympics.
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