Wallace Huntington
1926 - 2015
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Wallace Kay Huntington

May 15, 1926 - February 3, 2015

Wallace Kay Huntington died peacefully in his sleep on February 3rd at the age of 88.

As a fifth generation Oregonian he was born in the pioneer family home in Salem, adjoining the Oregon state capitol building. His parents were Hollis and Marjorie Kay Huntington. He was the great-grandson of Thomas Kay, founder of the historic Kay Woolen Mill 1889 and whose grandparents were Cora M. and Thomas B. Kay, a prominent State of Oregon official in the 1900's.

Huntington was a celebrated author and practicing landscape architect throughout the Northwest. He was educated in Salem and graduated in art history from the University of Oregon. He served as president of the North Pacific chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians. He was a frequent and exacting contributor to the Oregon Historical Society publications.

In 1976 Huntington purchased the Case House near Champoeg and began extensive restoration of the 1859 Greek revival house. He gave the Case House a second life with his collections of Oregon art, furniture and pottery. The pastoral setting allowed for a grand garden that grew over the years to cover several acres. The many garden rooms allowed Huntington to create numerous designs and include his extensive plant collection.

Huntington was an avid traveler. As a young man he began traveling the world with his parents and then with his wife. His favorite country was Italy which he visited over 20 times. Most recently, in the summer of 2014, he visited Venice with his sister Crystal as part of an architectural tour to Croatia.

As a practicing landscape architect since 1958, his work was a combination of classic models and innovations of his own which produced beautiful and sustainable gardens everywhere. Thirty-six years ago he formed the partnership of Huntington & Kiest Landscape Architects with Craig Kiest. He leaves treasures of design that will be appreciated and admired by generations and his loving nature will be remembered fondly by all who knew him.

Huntington was preceded in passing by his wife of 23 years, Mirza Dickel Huntington. He is survived by his sisters, Crystal Huntington of Portland, Oregon and Shirley Huntington of Venice, Florida; his cousin Thomas Kay of Salem, Oregon and his stepson Paul Dickel of Dallas, Texas.

As he wished, there will be no formal ceremony in preference to a small private time of remembrance. Wallace Kay Huntington chose to be buried with his wife Mirza in Champoeg with his beloved, restored pioneer home, the Case House nearby. With his love of Oregon history, the small rural cemetery seems a perfect choice for this gentle man. Donations in his honor can be made to the Lord & Schryver Conservancy.




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Published in The Statesman Journal on Feb. 15, 2015.
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Memories & Condolences
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3 entries
September 2, 2018
I first met Wallace when I was a student at Portland State University and had rented an apartment in a wonderful old Victorian home in SW Portland that had been converted into 4 apartments. My bedroom window from the second floor looked down onto a large abandoned and neglected lot overgrown with blackberry vines and English ivy. I decided I wanted to take advantage of that neglected space so I found the owner and worked out a lease arrangement and then began chopping out the blackberries. One day my neighbor, a soft spoken but elegant gentleman, approached me and wanted to know what I was doing. I told him I wanted to make a garden out of this vacant lot. That was the beginning of a very long and personal relationship with Wally and Mirza. They both influenced me more than any college art history or design course ever did. It was all about style, timing, and high standards. Wallace was one of the most influential people in my life and I think of him almost every time I go into the garden to plant something new, or prune something old. He is still alive with me and always will be.
MC McCarthy
Neighbor
May 10, 2015
I was so fortunate to have known you - as well as Myrza - you helped to shape my life, my tastes and my values. I will not forget your hurried footsteps on the porch of the Keil House and your words, "DO YOU HAVE ANY VODKA?" I did and the day was saved. I hope someone will take as good care of that beautiful house as well as the "Guy Lombardo" Poplars. R.I.P. Wallace.
Jill Stanford
March 2, 2015
We have lost a truly gentle man. It was an honor being your friend.
Blaine Schmeer
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