By Carra Sahler
For the 17th year—yes, you read that right—Judge Ed Leavy and his family hosted our Annual Picnic at their beautiful, unique, and quintessentially Oregon hop farm. In a moving and emotionally-wrought welcome to his family’s Century Farm, Judge Leavy commented that his parents would be proud to see the state’s leaders and thinkers enjoying their property—a place graced by large oak trees and a wide, green lawn. Judge Leavy told the gathering that he was born a mile down the road, the youngest of ten children, and the first in his family to go to college. He thought his mother, in particular, who attended school only through the sixth grade, would feel a deep pleasure in greeting so many esteemed individuals to her home.
Thanks to Judge Leavy’s vision and desire to share his infectious love for the legal community and its history, the Society recognized yet another group of important individuals this year. Hosting the men and women who have served on Oregon’s highest court, the Society celebrated this historic time in our state—a time when more women than men form the majority of the Oregon Supreme Court. In a particularly touching moment, to ensure a group photograph that included 95-year-old Oregon Supreme Court Justice Hans Linde, the gathering of former and current Oregon Supreme Court justices spanning the decades moved from the front of the farm to cluster around the seat of the smiling Justice Linde. Chief Justice Martha Walters enjoyed the event so much that she asked to have the banner, which announced the theme to arriving guests above the barn door, to display at the Court.
Our ability to celebrate our state’s important legal history is due in large part to Judge Leavy’s son and daughter-in-law, Pat Leavy and Jean Ann Quinn. The Society thanks them for their incredible generosity in sharing their home with all of the many judges, lawyers, law students, and families who have visited their property over these many years. This year, the U.S. District Court of Oregon’s Attorney Admissions Fund sponsored the picnic, and we are grateful for its commitment to the Society’s mission.
This was my tenth year organizing the picnic. The easiest way for me to measure my involvement is by my children’s ages. My first year, I had my five-month-old baby girl strapped to my chest in a Snugli baby carrier and my toddler son by the hand. Now both kids insist on rearranging our vacation schedules to ensure they get to help set up the picnic (arranging the prize box is the most sought-after task) and participate in the balloon toss.
The extent of the Leavy family involvement in the Society’s annual picnic was one of only many things that surprised me when I first started organizing the picnic ten years ago. The commitment of our board members to setting up and taking down the event—making for a very long day—was also impressive, as were our loyal and talented musicians (who work at the court by day). I learned the ropes from then-President Kari Furnanz, and her predecessor (and Lifetime Member) Jenifer Johnston. Given the special nature of this event perhaps it should not surprise me that even after rolling off the board, Jenifer continues to organize the old-fashioned kids’ games that take place every year and that former board members ask to volunteer to help. I expect that although this was my final “official” year of organizing the picnic, I will remain involved. I think my kids may insist on it!