In memoriam: Phil Chadsey

Phillip D. Chadsey, Sr., 75 July 23, 1936 Oct. 11, 2011 Phil was born in Klamath Falls to Milton Everett and Mildred Duke Chadsey. He attended public schools in Salem and graduated from the University of Oregon. After graduation, he received a commission as a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. Phil spent the next 4.5 years on active duty stationed at bases in New Jersey, Casablanca, Morocco and Chateauroux, France.

In 1961 while in Casablanca, he met his future wife and the love of his life, Helen Van Dyke, a schoolteacher from Michigan. They were married the following year in Gibraltar on their way to Phil’s final duty station in France.

After his release from the Air Force, they returned to Salem, where Phil attended law school at Willamette University. During his last year of law school Phil and Helen’s first child, “Duke” was born. The following year their daughter, Dana was born, followed two years later by their son, Jeff.

After graduation from law school in 1966, Phil joined Stoel Rives LLP, Oregon’s largest law firm. There he practiced law for 38 years until he retired in 2004. For several years he headed the firm’s litigation department and was honored one year by the Portland Legal Secretaries Association as their “Boss of the Year.” For many years he was listed in “America’s Best Lawyers.”

In 1985, he was elected a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and served as its state chairman. He served as chair of both the Oregon State Board of Bar Examiners and the Oregon Judicial Fitness Commission, was a member of the Board of Governors of the Oregon State Bar and served on Willamette Law School’s Board of Visitors.

Phil was also active in matters outside of the legal profession. He served as Moderator (chair) of the Board of Trustees of the First Unitarian Church. His major civic interest was in the area of mental health. He served as president of the Morrison Center and as president of both the Multnomah and Oregon affiliates of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

During the first Kitzhaber administration, he served on the Governor’s Task Force to Realign the Mental Health System. For many years he was chair of NAMI’s legislative committee. What he considered his greatest civic achievement was leading NAMI’s efforts, during five legislative sessions, to try to convince the legislature to pass a law that would require health insurers to provide the same coverage benefits for mental illness as for physical disorders. NAMI was successful in 2007, when Oregon enacted the most comprehensive parity law in the nation.

Beginning with their days in Morocco, Phil and Helen liked to travel, and they visited more than 50 countries. He also loved to read, cook, take pictures and hike in the Cascades near the vacation home in Central Oregon he and Helen built more than 30 years ago, where they spent much of their time after he retired. But what Phil liked most was spending time with his family: his loving wife; daughter, Dana, her husband, Jon Eaton and their sons, Jack and David; and sons, Jeff and Duke and his daughters, Gabriella and Daniella, whose mother, Stefania died in April 2011. Remembrances may be sent to NAMI-Oregon or the Knight Cancer Center at OHSU.