Victor G. Atiyeh
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Victor George Atiyeh (1923 - 2014)

Victor George (Victor G.) "Vic" Atiyeh
Born in Portland, Multnomah, Oregon, United Statesmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Portland, Multnomah, Oregon, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 24 Nov 2015 | Last significant change: 6 Nov 2021
14:51: Richard Carle edited the Biography and Status Indicators for Victor George Atiyeh (1923-2014). (Bio improvement. ) [Thank Richard for this]
This page has been accessed 387 times.
Preceded by
31st Governor
Robert W. Straub
Victor G. Atiyeh
32nd Governor
of Oregon
Succeeded by
33rd Governor
Neil Goldschmidt



Find A Grave: Memorial #133119889

The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, 31 August 2014

Victor George Atiyeh 1923 – 2014

Victor George Atiyeh, Oregon's 32nd Governor, died July 20, 2014 at Portland's Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.

The family would like to offer a message to those who loved Victor as their Governor or counted him as a friend. He often said that what he missed most of all, after retiring from state government, was visiting so many places in Oregon and talking to everyone.

He accomplished much, and he did it with the help, hard work, and dedication, of all the people who worked in many capacities, to make Oregon a healthy, strong, and clean state.

He was strengthened by family, and by wonderful friends, both personal and professional, and enjoyed it when people said, “Hi Governor” when they passed him on the street. So on his behalf: we want you to know he would say, ”I'll miss you.”

Governor Victor George Atiyeh celebrated his 91st birthday on Feb. 20, 2014. On July 5th of this year he celebrated the 70th anniversary of his marriage to Dolores Hewitt Atiyeh, and he and Dolores attended the wedding of their eldest grandson on July 6th.

He served as Oregon's governor from 1979 to 1987 and was the country's firs governor of Arab-American descent.

Victor was born in Portland, Oregon, on Feb. 20, 1923 to Syrian immigrant parents George and Linda Atiyeh. After graduating from Washington High School, he attended the University of Oregon, where he joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and played guard for the Duck's football team. He left school and a future career in professional football, to take care of the family business after the death of his father. He served as President of Atiyeh Bros., Inc. and was actively involved in the rug business for 35 years, and worked on the weekends during legislative years.

Atiyeh served 28 years in Oregon electives offices, winning 19 of 20 elections. As a Republican in the Oregon House and Senate from 1959 to 1979, he was always in the minority party. As governor for eight years, he worked with Democratic majorities in both houses.

He led the state through some of its worst economic times since the Depression. He called a record number of special legislative sessions, most to deal with budget issues. Concerned abut the people of Oregon during financially tough times, he championed the creation of the Oregon Food Bank.

A major emphasis for Governor Atiyeh was economic development and he launched a campaign to persuade international companies to invest in Oregon. He led twenty international business trade missions, mostly to the Far East and Middle East.

During his time in office, Oregon gained significant investments from companies including NEC, Fujitsu American and Seiko Espon.

Vic Atiyeh was passionate about communicating with Oregonians. As governor he tallied a quarter-million miles of in-state travel, attending county fairs and town hall meetings in every corner of the state. He held citizen open houses in his office every day.

He created weekly “media availabilities” where reporters could ask any questions and get on-the-record answers. The press corps honored him with a special award for his accessibility.

After leaving office in 1987, Governor Atiyeh became an international trade consultant. He commuted downtown daily until closing his Portland office this year.

He is survived by his immediate family: his wife, Leslie; and daughter Suzanne E. Atiyeh. He is also survived by his brother, Edward Atiyeh and his wife, Karen.

Other survivors include grandchildren Megan Atiyeh; Sonia Hawkins and her husband Chad Hawkins; Cody Bustamante and his wife, Ashley; James Borden; and Rebecca Borden.

Surviving nieces are Mary Winn Marantette (and husband, Tom); Catherine Mitchell (and husband, Bruce); and Linda Anderson (and husband, Raines). Surviving nephews include George Atiyeh (and wife, Hillary); David Atiyeh (and wife, Darlene); and Bob Atiyeh (and wife, Deb).

Governor Atiyeh was preceded in death by his brother Richard Atiyeh and his wife Mary Alice.

The family is grateful for the outpouring of condolences sent and articles written from across Oregon and beyond.

A private family service has been held. A public memorial is scheduled for Sept. 3 at 10 a.m. in the State Capitol, Oregon House of Representatives' chamber.

Memorial contributions may be made to: The Boy Scouts of America, Cascade Pacific Council 2145SW Naito Parkway, Portland OR 97201 and Pacific University Governor Atiyeh Archive, 2043 College Way, Forest Grove, OR 97116

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Categories: Portland, Oregon | River View Cemetery, Portland, Oregon | Oregon, Governors