[Editor’s note: Don passed away in April, 2022, read his obituary here.]
March 29, 2010, Rev. 2012
Don Smith is a retired golf pro who worked at the Portland Golf Club, Golf Land, Eastmoreland Golf course and at the national headquarters of the P.G.A. in Florida.
Early days: Don was in second grade when he and his mother, Margaret Scherner Smith and his grandmother, Maria Scherner moved to Garden Home in 1935. Margaret had grown up in Garden Home and is pictured in the 1911 first school class who met overhead in the Nichol’s store. She is also in the same plaid dress in the 1912 first class of the new Garden Home School.
Grandfather: Maria’s father Detlef Scherner had purchased 10 rural acres in the Alden and 72nd Avenue area of Garden Home. Margaret worked part-time at the Post Office in the Red and White Store (often called the Red store) which was on the eastern end of Garden Home, across from the train station.
The Scherner family had come from Germany in the 1880s. Detlef had fought in the Franco-Prussian war and didn’t want his sons to lay in those miserable trenches. They first went to Iowa and then came to see relatives in Portland. We don’t know whether they came by train, wagon or ship.
Property purchase: Don has the bill of sale for the 10 acres his grandfather Detlef Scherner purchased on Nov. 1, 1892 for $150 from Richard Petzold. The sale was notarized in beautiful calligraphy. The taxes on this property in 1911 were $12.61.
Another bill of sale to this same Petzold in 1890 has a full page of “legalize” in infinite detail and small print: “…And said party of the first part shall have the right, immediately upon the failure of the party of the second part to comply with the stipulations of this contract, or any one of them, to enter upon the land aforesaid, and take immediate possession thereof, together with the improvements and appurtenances thereto belonging. And the said party of the second part covenants…”
School: Don attended Garden Home School and graduated from the eighth grade in 1941 in a class of five students. Mr. Taggart was the Principal. The gym was newly built for the seventh and eighth grade students. He went on to Tigard High School because the Tigard bus came to the Red and White Store. He had the choice of riding the train into Lincoln High School or going to Beaverton High School. He played baseball at Tigard High.
Electricity: In the 1930s and 40s, Don’s family had no electricity at their home so he studied by kerosene lamp. The electric company had lines coming in from the north and from the south which stopped at Powell’s Kennels but left his mother’s home in the middle. She would have had to pay for two electric poles and wiring and they lived on her part-time work and Don’s pay from caddying. When Don went into the service in 1946 he was able to send money home which his mother used to get electricity to the house.
Powell’s Dog Kennels housed dogs temporarily for families and was the source of student employment. The Kennel was owned by Dorothy Powell Meisner and her husband Byron. Don bought their house in 1952. The Kennels were located in the Alden and 72nd area.
Post Office: Bob and Marjorie Smith owned the Red and White store. When this store went out of business, the Post Office moved to Throckmorton’s store at the southeast corner of the intersection of Garden Home Road and Oleson Road. It was also located in Gust Johnson’s service station on the southwest corner of the intersection. When Throckmorton’s burned, Margaret moved the Post Office to Irv Huppen’s pharmacy in the Lamb’s Thriftway complex, first built in 1957. Aaron Frank was instrumental in keeping the post office in Garden Home when the postal service proposed to close it. He liked to stroll over to the P.O. for his mail. Don’s box number was #33.
In the 1940s, Garden Home was a major switching station for the huge log trains coming in from the Tigard area. The cars were then switched to go west to the Beaverton area. In those days, the logs were huge, maybe only 2 or 3 on a flatbed. The railroad came out from Portland over a huge trestle which filled the gully now visible along Multnomah Boulevard. It took many loads of fill to raise the road bed to its current level when the railroad went out and Multnomah road was developed.
Don’s uncles Pete and Duke Scherner also lived in Garden Home. Duke died in a tragic fire when his house on Garden Home Road burned in 1948. Duke and another uncle Carl Rehberg are pictured in the late 1920s baseball teams for Garden Home.
Golf: Don caddied at Portland Golf Club as a young man. He walked or rode his bike up the railroad tracks to about the 15th fairway, jumped over the fence and walked up to the club house. As caddies, they got to play for free on Monday mornings and on slow days could sneak onto the back nine for a little more time. Sometimes he and other boys left their clubs at Clark Stephens’ house and would sneak in a few rounds on the 15th, 16th, and 17th fairways till dark. One of the pros would occasionally catch them at it and shoo them on home.
Don’s friend was working in the Proshop and got Don on cleaning clubs and such. When Larry Lamberger was ill, Mrs. Lamberger hired Don on as an Assistant Pro. He became well known as a teaching Pro.
At that time, Jesuit High School had developed a driving range on its property. The range was enlarged to include a golf course around the edge, restaurant and shops all called Golf Land. Don was hired as a teaching pro here. Subsequently he tried to qualify for the U.S. Open and then became manager of Golf Land until previous poor financial dealings came to light. He also worked as a Pro at Forest Hills and East Moreland. He was recruited to the National Professional Golf Association’s headquarters in Palm Beach, Florida in 1973 and retired from there in 1995.