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Obituary: Alison Marjorie Fry Wieman ’40

May 11, 1917 — Dec. 13, 2010

Alison died at the age of 93 on Dec. 13 in West Linn, Oregon. Alison Marjorie Fry Wieman was born on May 11, 1917, in Philadelphia, Pa. She was the youngest of five children, and the only child in her family born in the U.S. She lived in Pennsylvania until going to Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. While in college, she worked in cooperative work programs in Detroit, Chicago and New York. Alison graduated from Antioch in 1940 with a degree in business/personnel administration.

She met Orr Wieman at Antioch, and they were married on Jan. 30, 1941. After the wedding, Alison left her family and friends and drove with Orr across the country in a Model A named Molly. They settled in a remote cabin in the forest near Alsea. Living in a primitive cabin without indoor plumbing and electricity was a big transition for a 22-year-old bride from an affluent urban environment. Orr and Alison raised five children, and as the kids were growing up, Alison was active in the Parent-Teacher Association, Home Extension, Great Decisions, and the League of Women Voters, and she led several Cub Scout packs and 4-H clubs.

When her youngest child was 11, Alison went to work as a social worker for the state of Oregon. She worked in the Children Services Department, where she was involved in protective services for children and permanent placement planning. She attended graduate school at Portland State University, earned a master’s degree in social work in 1967, and was the supervisor of Benton County Children’s Services Division until her retirement in 1983.

After they retired, Alison and Orr regularly golfed and bowled in a senior bowling league. They spent many years backpacking, cross-country skiing and canoeing, including many canoe trips in the Boundary Waters Wilderness in Minnesota with family, and camping everywhere from Alaska to Florida. They also enjoyed snorkeling in Hawaii, and took a trip to Antarctica. At the same time, she maintained a strong commitment to progressive social causes, actively supporting organizations working for education, peace, housing and support for the poor. She was a regular volunteer at Stone Soup, Meals on Wheels and a homeless shelter. She was also an ardent supporter of organizations such as Amnesty International and Habitat for Humanity.

Alison and Orr lived in Corvallis since 1964, most recently at Timberhill Place Assisted Living Community. Alison is survived by her husband of 69 years, Orr Wieman; her son Howard Wieman, Senior Staff Scientist in the Nuclear Science Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; her son Dow Wieman, Senior Research Associate at Human Services Research Institute, Cambridge, Mass.; her daughter, Fran Moon, Dublin, Calif.; her son, Carl Wieman, a physicist who won the Nobel Prize and is now Associate Director for Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Washington, D.C.; her son Lynd Wieman, an Engineering Manager at Xerox, Portland; grandchildren Ben, Seth, Claire and Dan Wieman, and Andrew and Emily Moon; and great-grandchildren Leonard and Ronni Wieman. She was predeceased by her son Louis Calvin and her sister Elizabeth Fry.

A service will take place at 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 23, at McHenry Funeral Home, 206 N.W. Fifth St., Corvallis. Donations in lieu of flowers can be sent to Stone Soup, 501 N.W. 25th St., Corvallis 97330.