Several people called in with information about a recent Triplicate Archives photo.
“The man standing is my dad,” said Rick Lawry adding that his dad, Tom Lawry, was undersheriff at the time of the photo and later went on to become sheriff.
“He was a friend to everybody,” said Peggy Percy, former owner of the Elite Motel off of Parkway. Tom and Peggy’s husband did some guiding on the river. “It was great back then — you could use a hook if you wanted to catch a fish. Now it’s all barbless.” said Peggy.
Rick and several other sources confirmed that the seated man is Mel Stevens. “He was a hell of a nice guy,” said Rick of Stevens. A logging accident left Stevens bound to a wheelchair, hence his seated position during his swearing in as a new dispatch officer.
Joanne Goodlin was also a dispatcher at the time and worked alongside Stevens.Joanne remembered that in addition to his dispatching duties he also “did some gun work for the office.” Cleaning and repairing the county’s firearms but, due to budget issues, didn’t get paid for the extra work.
Stevens bought a group of buildings on Pacific Avenue with the settlement from his accident. Housed in the buildings were Pete’s Penny Market, Mel’s Gun Shop and Pacific Barbershop, where Mel Thomas worked with his dad. “He was a couple of years in front of me at school.” said Thomas of the elder Mel while on his way to Hiouchi for lunch with his wife Peggy. He would see the barbershop’s landlord Stevens from time to time and that occasionally “he would kind of freeze up.” when pain as a result of the accident came over him. Thomas remembered thinking, “I don’t know how long a guy could live dealing with pain like that.” Thomas didn’t remember how old Stevens was when he died of kidney related issues but “it wasn’t a normal length life.”
Reach Bryant Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org