Cecil M. MacGregor was born February 10, 1908, in Central City, Colorado. His father’s mining engineering work took the family to the Terrebonne area in 1913. He attended the local grade school and was graduated from Redmond Union High School in June 1926. He was active in Smith-Hughes agriculture, tennis, and basketball and helped on the family farm. He entered Oregon Agriculture College in September 1926. He then went to Portland 1927-28 to study and work to become a journeyman electrician. Later he worked for OAC while completing his studies. He also helped write engineering student publications. He completed the ROTC training course and was commissioned a second lieutenant of Field Artillery in the Army Reserve in July 1931.
Martha MacGregor was born in Montana to Anthony J. and Martha Holling Dreyer. Her mother died shortly after giving birth and her father was a successful architect and engineer. Due to his work, the family moved to numerous locations in the West before settling in Portland in 1926. Martha graduated from Washington High School in Portland 1928 and continued her education at Oregon State Agricultural College.
Cecil and Martha met while both were students at OAC. The couple were married December 1931 and they graduated from OAC together in June 1932—he with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and she with a degree in home economics. At that time, the nation was in the midst of the Great Depression. Following graduation, the couple moved to Portland, where Cecil pursued his engineering career. He was granted a professional engineer’s license in July 1934. That summer he joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a land surveyor on the Bonneville Dam project. Upon completion of the dam he was employed at Portland Gas and Coke Company, a large utility company doing engineering work related to sales. He helped found the Oregon Heating and Ventilating Engineers group. He was drafted into the Army in December 1940. He attended the Field Artillery School, Fort Sill Oklahoma, and remained there on the school’s teaching staff until November 1942 when he was transferred to the Office of Chief of Army Ordnance at the Pentagon. Here he did engineering work related to teaching the operation and maintenance of new military weapons and vehicles. He was transferred to the Training Division, Army Service Forces, the Pentagon, as Chief of Training Doctrine Development for mechanical equipment. He attended the Command and General Staff College, developed training manual standards, and wrote six manuals covering newly developed equipment. He was then transferred to the War Department General Staff–G3, to broaden the activity, and remained there until the end of the war with Japan. With a short break in service, he served on active duty until his retirement as a full colonel in June 1963. Following retirement, he joined the staff at OSU and worked as an engineer on major expansions and renovations of campus facilities.
Martha had a very busy life as a homemaker and volunteer. She worked in home economics with the Homemaking Group in Portland. During their military years, she was active in the Army Women’s Clubs, Red Cross activities, youth activities and internal support for military families. Martha was responsible for creating a school library in Fairlington, Virginia, in 1943 and a general use library for American forces on Okinawa in 1948. Due to Cecil’s military career, the couple lived in many places, including Fort Sill, Oklahoma; Baltimore, Maryland.; Seattle, Washington; Bryan, Texas; Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Washington, D.C.; Orleans, France; and Tooele, Utah. After Cecil retired from the Army, they traveled throughout the West before settling in Corvallis. While Cecil did engineering work for Oregon State University, Martha helped with the local military wives club. She also joined the Garden Club and helped plant and care for plants in Corvallis parks. In 1970, Cecil retired from OSU and the couple traveled extensively with the Wally Byam Caravan Club of the Airstream RV Association. Martha also taught craft activities, a hobby she remained active in for the rest of her life. She was a member of the Friends of the Library, the OSU Folk Club and the OSU Home Economics Club.Martha was a strong supporter of education and Oregon State University. She established a perpetual annual scholarship for home economics at OSU and a scholarship at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center. She donated funds to the Family Study Center, the OSU Alumni Center and the OSU Library.
Colonel MacGregor passed away on May 27, 2003. After moving to Stoneybrook Lodge in 2003, she donated her house to OSU with the resulting funds to be used by the College of Engineering. Martha remained a staunch supporter of the ROTC program and education for young men and women until her death on December 31, 2004.