Community leader left legacy of improvement

Paul Fossum passed away Sept. 14.

His footprints are on so many community improvements in the areas where he was a Division Manager for Weyerhaeuser Wood Products, including Aberdeen, Enumclaw, Everett, and Springfield and Cottage Grove, Ore.

I met Paul in Everett in the mid 1960s, where he was manager of the Everett plant. From Everett, Paul moved to Cottage Grove, and in 1979 was named region manager over Cottage Grove and Springfield.

I reported for many years directly to the region manager. My duties for the company were manyfold, including community work and Paul was my resource for information. In all the years I worked for Fossum, I was never micromanaged or given direct orders. Paul had a unique style of leadership. In retrospect, that style is almost magical.

During the downturn in economy in the 1980s, Paul kept his mills running by putting a task force of sales people together and going to Europe and Saudi Arabia, and selling wood. The magical leadership of Paul Fossum lives in Everett in the hospital system, United Way campaign, YMCA, and a very successful Weyerhaeuser lumber mill.

Cottage Grove/Springfield and Enumclaw can point to the reorganization of the Chamber of Commerce, and building of hospital emergency rooms.

Paul served his country flying off air craft carriers in World War II and was shot down, then rescued at sea. He was called back during the Korean conflict, and was trained as a Navy Seal. As a team leader, he led rescue missions for captured downed pilots and did demolition of bridges.

Paul Fossum was a true leader, and a dedicated human being in the community of which he lived and had a high respect for his staff members as well as adhering to labor agreements. He will be missed.

Don Williams

Cottage Grove, Ore.

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