sand mountain society

Dr. John Tracy


John Tracy was born and raised in southern California.  From an early age he loved going to the woods, and it was in the Angeles National Forest where he happened-upon Mendenhall Lookout while traveling on horseback.  He also bugged his father enough to drive two hours in his Thurderbird over rough roads to a lookout in the Los Padres National Forest.  He always wanted to hike to South Hawkins Lookout on the Angeles National Forest, but it burned down in a horrible fire about 6 years ago. 

John cherished his rare forays into the woods, and this early experience at Mendehall Lookout cultivated a spot in John’s heart for fire lookouts everywhere.  As an adult attending the University of Oregon, John found himself in the heart of fire lookout country. 

After receiving his Master's degree in speech pathology, John and his wife Diane moved to southern Oregon near Jacksonville where he found he very much enjoyed helping his patients.  Ultimately, John moved his young family to Eugene to work on his doctorate in Speech Pathology (completed in 1983). 

John and his family moved to Monmouth, where he taught for several years at Western Oregon University. He later worked for Salem Hospital for 21 years, first as a speech pathologist and later as a Human Resources Manager.  He obtained a Master’s of Public Health in 2005 from Portland State University.

John now works as a full-time speech pathologist for Samaritan Health Services, a health care system with 5 hospitals in the mid-Willamette Valley and on the Central Oregon Coast.   “I really missed the interaction with patients.  That’s why I went into this field, and it’s been nice to get back to helping people one on one.” 

In addition to his other duties, John teaches on-line courses for Nova Southeastern University.

John and his family met Don Allen Jr. in the mid 1980s while on a family hiking trip to Coffin Mountain Lookout.  The two have been friends ever since.  They both discovered that – unbeknownst to them – each of them was among a group of unorganized caretakers of Gold Butte Lookout for several years (near Detroit Lake).  John became active in the SMS in the early 1990s, and the two later collaborated substantially in the restoration of Gold Butte Lookout – only this time officially and under the auspices of the SMS.  John served as Forest Service liaison and spokesperson during the ambitious restoration project

John and his sons Geoff and Chad often work on the SMS Heritage Preservation Team, and still like getting into the woods any chance they get.  “Fire lookouts are such a great universal symbol of conservation, and the work the SMS does is really top notch.  It’s fun to be a part of it.”

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