Appeal tribune. (Silverton, Or.) 1999-current, February 09, 2022, Page 7, Image 7

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Howard Hesseman as Dr. Johnny Fever in the "WKRP" studio on a Los Angeles soundstage made to look authentic with a Cincinnati map on the wall. ENQUIRER FILE
Silverton High grad, famed actor
Howard Hesseman dies at 81
Bill Poehler
Butch Main once ad-
mitted he was not the
most studious member of
Silverton High School’s
1958 graduating class.
But he would go on to be-
come the most famous.
The stepson of Silver-
ton police chief Rell R.
(Buck) Main, Butch saw
himself as a rebel and a
poor student, though he
was editor of the student
newspaper, secretary of
the hot rod club “The
Shifters” and acted in a
half dozen plays.
It wasn’t until 1971, af-
ter launching his enter-
tainment career, that he
would reclaim his birth
name of Howard Hesse-
man and become one of
the most beloved televi-
sion actors of his genera-
Hesseman died Satur-
day at age 81.
“He was just loveable,”
said Simone Stewart, an
actress and community
engagement manager for
His manager Robbie
Kass confirmed Sunday
to USA TODAY that Hes-
seman died Saturday in
Los Angeles from compli-
cations of colon surgery,
calling him a “ground-
breaking talent” and life-
long friend “whose kind-
ness and generosity was
equaled by his influence
and admiration to gener-
ations of actors and im-
throughout the world.”
An Oregon native
Hesseman was born in
Lebanon. When he was 7,
his mother, Edna, mar-
ried Salem Police officer
Buck Main and he moved
to Salem. Hesseman
went by the names Butch
Main and Howard Main
for most of his childhood.
Buck Main was an offi-
cer in the Salem Police
Department from 1938 to
1952, and Hesseman at-
tended schools in Salem
until the seventh grade.
In 1951, Buck Main was
hired as chief of the four-
person Silverton Police
Department and the fam-
ily moved to Silverton.
“In the schoolyard and
on the playgrounds, only
the children of school ad-
ministrators and children
of ministers ranked be-
low the police chief ’s
kid,” Hesseman told the
Calgary Herald in 1986.
Hesseman frequently
said he did not get along
with his stepfather.
“I’ve only begun to un-
cover the depths of my
suffering,” he told the
Chicago Tribune in 1986.
“We never got along real
well. He was the focal
point of my rebellion be-
cause, by the nature of
his work, he was author-
ity personified.”
A Mid-Valley
an acting career, I should
leave the university envi-
and pursue acting,” Hes-
seman told the Calgary
Herald. “He felt that all I
would learn at the univer-
sity is how to teach acting
to other people who
would wind up teaching
Finding fame
Though he wasn’t a
stellar student, Hesse-
man credited some of his
Silverton High School
teachers with inspiring
Moore – the teacher char-
acter he played on the sit-
com Head of the Class –
on his senior year history
teacher at Silverton, Ron
Hesseman told a story
about how Silverton’s
principal, “who was basi-
cally a fascist,” would fre-
quently interrupt classes
over the new public ad-
dress system.
Hite would play the re-
corder each time until the
principal stopped talking,
finish the song, put the
recorder away and con-
tinue to teach class.
“He made it fun to
learn,” Hesseman told the
Sioux City (Iowa) in 1986.
“He didn’t overlay every-
thing with a mantle of
deadly seriousness. He
himself was accessible as
a human being. He wasn’t
just there to regurgitate
facts to his students.”
Hesseman said he
tested at an 11th grade
reading level in the fifth
or sixth grade, but de-
spised math and science.
Still, he graduated from
Silverton in 1958 and at-
tended University of Ore-
gon for two years, origi-
nally majoring in journal-
He even managed to
get through the manda-
tory ROTC program “with
straight D’s.”
“I would spend my ex-
am time answering each
question as briefly and
correctly as possible,” he
said. “Then I would use
the rest of the test period
to write as thorough an
essay as possible con-
cerning my feelings about
mandatory ROTC and the
armed forces as a means
of expressing foreign pol-
with some of Oregon’s
drama groups and after
telling professor Dr. Pres-
ton Tuttle that he wanted
to act professionally was
advised to leave school.
“His advice to me was
that if I was serious about
Hesseman moved to
launched his career in the
entertainment industry,
first as Buck Main and
then as Don Sturdy.
Hesseman started out
as a member of the im-
prov group The Commit-
tee and at the time he
moonlighted on Satur-
days as a DJ for San Fran-
cisco rock ‘n’ roll station
He worked as a DJ in
the 1960s, something he
would use in his most
iconic role, as disc jockey
Dr. Johnny Fever on
“WKRP in Cincinnati.”
Hesseman frequently
ad-libbed Fever’s on-air
banter, and became a
counterculture icon for
the role at a time when
few hippie characters
made it onto network
As Fever, he spun now-
classic rock songs such as
Boston’s “Don’t Look
Back,” Toto’s “Hold the
“Heart of Glass,” many of
which owed a debt to
“WKRP” for growing their
“I think maybe Johnny
smokes a little marijuana,
drinks beer and wine, and
maybe a little hard li-
quor,” Hesseman told The
New York Times in 1979
as he readied for one of
three “Saturday Night
Live” hosting gigs. “And
on one of those hard
mornings at the station,
he might take what for
many years was referred
to as a diet pill. But he is a
moderate user of soft
drugs, specifically mari-
Hesseman launched
his acting career with a
guest role on “The Andy
Griffith Show” in 1968 and
went on to become a go-
to character actor for both
TV and film, with his
many memorable turns
including appearances
on “The Bob Newhart
Show” and “Mary Hart-
man, Mary Hartman” and
film roles in “Shampoo,”
“The Other Side of Mid-
night” and “This Is Spinal
Tap.” He was also seen on
the syndicated reboot
“The New WKRP in Cin-
cinnati” from 1991 to 1993.
“Laverne & Shirley”
actor and comedian Mi-
starred with Hesseman in
“Spinal Tap,” hailed the
actor’s bona fides on
“Impossible to over-
state Howard Hesse-
man’s influence on his
and subsequent genera-
tions of improvisors,” he
He recalled first seeing
Hesseman in 1971 with
The Committee. “I saw
that he was the real deal.”
Night Live” cast member
mourned him as a close
“RIP Howard Hess-
man. What great times
we had,” she tweeted.
“Great laughs and fun go-
ing to see Etta James in
Manhattan Beach and
Joe Tex at The Parisian
Room. Staying at your
beautiful house in Rama-
tuellle. Oh god this hurts.”
The actor scored two
Emmy nominations as
best supporting actor in a
comedy for his role on
WKRP, which ran from
1978 to 1982. He also
played architect Sam
Royer, Ann Romano’s
second husband and Bar-
bara’s father-in-law, on
“One Day at a Time,” and
went on to star in “Head
of the Class” as history
and social studies teach-
er Charlie Moore in the
Hesseman wasn’t so
disconnected from some
of the characters he
In 1983, he told People
that he had conducted
“pharmaceutical experi-
ments in recreational
chemistry.” He was once
jailed in San Francisco for
selling marijuana in the
Hesseman is survived
by his wife, Caroline Du-
crocq, an actress and act-
ing coach.
Willis, USA TODAY, and
Jake Coyle, The Associat-
ed Press
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Ronald Dale
CANBY - Ronald Av-
erette was born on Feb-
ruary 22, 1936 in Nyssa,
He passed away
peacefully while sur-
rounded by loved ones
on January 31, 2022.
Ron enlisted in the
Army for two years
when he turned 19. Ron
and Linda were married
for sixty- one years. Ron
is survived by his wife
Linda, his daughter
Debbie Blau, his sons
Dan and Ron Averette,
his sister Gladys Tite,
and brother Beauford
Averette, and had four
He is preceded in
death by his parents
Hugh and Mabel, along
with his sisters Evelyn
Margaret Robbins,
and brothers Fred,
Donald, and Hubert
Ron will be missed
by all.
Luella Mae Thomas
ella Mae Thomas passed
away Friday January
28th, 2022 at Silverton
Hospital After battling
Pneumonia .
Luella was born July
8th , 1939 in Pomeroy,
Washington to Raymond
and Dorothy Williams.
She married David Lee
Thomas April 9th , 1955.
They had seven children together. Through many
ups and downs Luella always remained the center
of our family, our heart, and our rock.
Our hearts are breaking as Heaven welcomes
her home.
She is preceded in death by her son David Dean,
sister Mary Lee, and parents Raymond and Doro-
thy, brother Ray, husband David, daughter Dianna,
and grandsons Chucky, and Michael.
Luella will forever be remembered by those she
leaves behind; sisters Gend and Katie; brothers
Eddie, and Glen; children, Louanna (Nic) Oliver,
Robert (Laura), Donald, Jon, Ken, Christina, and
her son – in- law Terry Jackson; grandchildren,
Tony, Michael, Jessica, Tiffany, Robert, David, K.C.,
Phillip, Sarah, Justin, Josh, Brandon, Kenny, and
Stephanie, with many many great- grandchildren
Services to be held at the Holy Rosery Catholic
Church, 7442 Crooked Finger Rd NE
Scotts Mills, Oregon at 11 am Friday, February
11th, 2022.