Loene Pooler Guthrie was born January 30, 1901, in Oregon City. She was the daughter of Earl Louis Pooler, who was born in 1874 in the Waldo Hills east of Salem, and Maude DeSart Pooler, who was born in 1878 in Silverton. All four of Loene’s grandparents had come to Oregon in covered wagons and settled on a donation land claim in the Waldo Hills. Loene was born in Oregon City instead of Waldo Hills because her father had taken a winter job in a paper mill to earn money for spring planting on the farm where a drought the previous year had ruined the crops. Loene grew up on the donation land claim farmed by her grandparents. By necessity she learned to drive a car at an early age so she could motor back and forth to the high school in Silverton, from which she graduated in 1920. She had a younger brother, Louis Clinton Pooler, born in 1903. After graduation, her family moved to Corvallis so their children could attend Oregon Agricultural College. Her father entered a partnership in the Eleventh Street Grocery.
All of Loene’s mother’s family members were musicians, and her father played the violin. When she was born, the family had a pump organ, which was later replaced with a piano, purchased from Portland, for Loene to begin taking lessons. That piano remained in the Guthrie home for the rest of Loene’s life, and many Corvallis children took their lessons on it.
In the fall of 1920, Loene enrolled at OAC to study music, and received her diploma in 1923. In August 1926, she married Bernard Guthrie, whom she had met at a coasting party on Witham Hill during Christmas vacation five years before. Theirs was the first wedding ceremony in the beautiful new First Methodist Church on Monroe Boulevard in Corvallis. After the wedding, the couple drove all the way to the East Coast, entirely on unpaved roads.
While in Boston, Loene enrolled at the New England Conservatory of Music, where she specialized in piano but also studied voice and violin. She had given piano lessons since the age of fifteen, and at one time, when the couple was living in Indiana, she had more than one hundred students. She continued giving lessons when they returned to Corvallis, often taking on as many as fifty pupils at a time.
While Bernard was in Washington, D.C., during the war, Loene enlisted in the American Red Cross Motor Corps, in which she served as a captain from 1941 to the war’s end in 1945. Her assignment was the Ninth Naval District in the Midwest. The district included nine states east, west, and south of Chicago. In this job she drove buses, station wagons, trucks, and cars. Once she drove a dump truck from Kokomo, Indiana, to Cleveland, Ohio, and twice from Kansas to Chicago. Most of the time she convoyed cars to ports for shipment overseas.
Loene Guthrie passed away on August 28, 1994, at the age of ninety-three. She enjoyed all of life, especially sharing her music and teaching piano to children. She had been a charter member of the National Federated Music Clubs of America and started the Corvallis club. She was also an active member of the Oregon Music Teachers Association.
The Loene P. Guthrie Scholarship fund benefits music students in Benton, Linn, and Lincoln Counties who plan to engage in the teaching of piano, voice, and orchestral music.