C. Richard Zenger passed away May 22, 2018, in Portland. He was 94. Born in Portland March 11, 1924, Dick Zenger was raised by his mother, Nell Springer Zenger, a physical education teacher. He attended Boise Elementary School and Jefferson High School, where he was elected student body president and made many lifelong friends. In December 1941, after Pearl Harbor, Dick enlisted in the Marine Corps and served in the Pacific Theater as a radioman with the First Armored Amphibian Battalion. After the war, he married Edna Joyce Whitney, his high school sweetheart, and they started their family. When the Korean conflict erupted, Dick was called back to active duty. He survived the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir, which took place in the dead of winter, and which he called “the worst experience of my life.” One day, as a forward spotter for an artillery company, Dick was one of the first to observe a fog bank that turned out to be the breath of thousands of Chinese solders advancing on his company’s position. The bonds he forged with his comrades during war were always strong and meaningful for him.
When Dick retired from the Foreign Service in 1981, he and Edna celebrated their love of travel by embarking on a yearlong trip that started in Tunis and wandered around the Mediterranean and eastward across Asia. By the time they arrived back in Portland, they had spent time in 15 countries, eaten an amazing array of food (detailed in Edna’s letters), and challenged each other to 365 games of Scrabble. Dick was winning by one game.
In retirement, Dick and Edna settled in in N.W. Portland. They continued to travel internationally for a number of years for his consulting work with regional housing offices. They enjoyed staying in touch with a wide circle of friends and relatives. They explored the beauties of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest as hikers and birders, and spent many weeks each winter at Cannon Beach. In his 70’s, Dick hiked the Oregon Coast solo from Astoria to the California border. His desire to know more about his ancestry took him to Falchern, Switzerland, the tiny alpine village where his grandfather had been born.
The loving and constant care of Mary-Ann Zenger was integral to Dick’s well being in the last years of his life. The family is grateful to her and grateful for the compassion and professionalism shown to Dick by members of the community Rose Villa, where he and Edna lived since 2012.
Dick is survived by his wife, Edna, his partner for the past 72 years; daughters, Rebecca, Robin, Amy and Mary Ann; daughter-in-law, Gabrielle Francis-Zenger; sons-in-law, Stephen Link and Jack Williams; and grandchildren, Matthew and Ian Loveless and Beatrix and Isobel Zenger. He was preceded in death by his son, John Whitney Zenger; and his son-in-law, Stephen Loveless.
Condolences may be sent to PO Box 68236, Portland, OR 97268. A memorial service will take place at 2 p.m., June 30, 2018, at Rose Villa, 13505 S.E. River Road, Portland.