Lincoln County lost a treasure last week. Former county commissioner Don Lindly passed away. I lost a friend.

I first met Don (and his wife Lin) through my wife, Mona. They were at that time employed by the Lincoln County School District. We became fast friends and seemed to enjoy the same things — a crappy round of golf, pinochle, dinners together, days together and all the things that new friendships offer.

Then back in 1987, I decided to run for district attorney. Don was politically savvy, it seemed, and he worked with me on my campaign. Those were the old days of campaigning where you went door to door, attended all kinds of potlucks at social clubs and granges, and did everything you could to get known. I was a little known defense attorney and had to do two things: get my name out there and show I was a better alternative. Don was great at advising on both of those things. Me and my opponent had the first-ever political debate at the Newport Chamber, and I believe that was Don’s idea. At first I managed my own campaign, but as time went on, Don took over many duties. It worked.

At that time, 1989, county government and the commissioner’s office seemed in disarray. Budget hearings were a zoo. I remember one commissioner sleeping through the budget hearings. It was hard to make a presentation over the snoring. I knew Don had the “political bug,” and several of us coaxed him into running. It didn’t really take a lot of effort on our part. He ran successfully in the primary and general and then continued to serve for 22 years as county commissioner.

There were times along the way I had hoped he would retire. Selfishly I wanted to spend time with him. He had other ideas and was fulfilled working as commissioner and giving much to Lincoln County. What few realize is it was primarily Don who got the Highway 20 project off the ground and seen to completion. It was a 10-year effort, and he was the driving force who stayed on it throughout. He also led a successful effort to revamp county management and made county government more efficient and professional. He led by example. He was a gentleman to all who came to see him, and his door was always open to any citizen.

For me, the loss of such a dear friend is immense. We did a lot of traveling with Don and Lin. I saw the sun come up at Akumal, and at other times the sun set in Puerto Vallarta with Don. He and I walked the streets of an ancient Mayan city in Belize. We saw the locks in the Panama Canal open at sunrise. We strolled the streets of Cartagena. He and Lin came and visited us for a few weeks when I was stationed in Moscow for the American Bar Association. I have pictures of them in Red Square in front of the Kremlin. Then of course camping everywhere from Oregon to Arizona. Endless pinochle tournaments. We fished for 35 years and never caught anything. Countless dinners. My head is flooded with wonderful memories. Now all those memories are bittersweet and treasured.

He was an outstanding husband, dad and grandfather who adored his family. They adored him in return. Mona and I have known Adam, Amber, Scott and Joelle since they were small. My heart goes out to Lin and all of them at this time of such great loss. It’s been such a gift for us to be part of this family.

When you get into your 70s you can count on one hand truly good and meaningful friends. The kind who are friends to the core. You probably will have some unused fingers on that hand. Don was a friend for life with me. A deep and abiding friendship beyond words. There is a hole in my heart I can never fill. I find myself now reaching for the phone wanting to call him and hearing his response “Mr. Glode!” Well, goodbye Mr. Lindly, I loved you. We miss you.

Dan Glode is a former district attorney for Lincoln County and currently lives in Sisters.

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