With the death of Brian Booth on March 7, 2012, Tonkon Torp lost a founding partner, treasured colleague, mentor and friend. Brian had all the credentials you would expect of one of the state's leading corporate and business attorneys: a law degree from Stanford, editor of the Stanford Law Review, leadership awards from the Oregon State Bar, and years of being named to The Best Lawyers of America® and Chambers USA America's Leading Lawyers for Business, both acknowledgements based on rigorous evaluations by professional peers and clients.
In his corporate, securities, and mergers & acquisitions practice, Brian represented some of Oregon's most prominent companies, from forest products to athletic wear. He was counsel to Nike, Inc., for its initial public offering, and over the subsequent three decades, he continued to manage the firm's work on behalf of Nike and to mentor the next generation of attorneys. Brian gently used his status as a founding partner to illuminate the firm's values, always leading by example.
While Brian's legal skills were second to none, we will remember him most as a Renaissance man with wide ranging interests and remarkable energy. A fourth generation Oregonian, Brian was tireless in his commitment to preserve and celebrate our state's natural and cultural heritage. He chaired the boards of five statewide organizations: the Oregon Parks Commission; Oregon Institute of Literary Arts; Portland Art Museum; Oregon Health Sciences University Foundation; and the University of Oregon Art Museum. He served on other boards in support of education, child services and healthcare. At the time of his death, he was on the boards of the Nature Conservancy, the Oregon Council for the Humanities, Crater Lake National Parks Trust and the Multnomah County Library Foundation. These weren't token commitments. Brian was always willing to put in the real work required to grow organizations and help them realize their potential.
Brian once said, "One of the purposes of life is to create something, and leave the world with something you helped to create." He co-founded the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission. He led the creation of book awards and fellowship programs for Oregon writers in what is now part of Oregon Literary Arts. He put his own love of writing to work, editing "Wildmen, Wobblies & Whistle Punks: Stewart Holbrook's Lowbrow Northwest" in 1992. It was a reflection of his intellect and his deep love for all things Oregon.
His service to the community and the state is reflected in the awards and honors bestowed on Brian, individually or in conjunction with his wife, Gwyneth. Just a few include the Portland First Citizen Award, the SOLV Tom McCall Leadership Award, the Stewart H. Holbrook Award for outstanding contributions to Oregon's literary life, and the Aubrey A. Watzek Award from Lewis & Clark College. While Brian appreciated each of these honors, they were incidental to the pleasure he got from leading and motivating and nudging people all around Oregon to cherish the things that make this place special for all of us. That's the legacy he has left, and nothing would make him happier than to know that each of us will try to leave the world with something we have helped to create.
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