Published On: Wed, Dec 20th, 2017

Ashland Oregon mural set for sister city Guanajuato

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Preparations are underway for painting a mural of Ashland on a wall of its sister city, Guanajuato, Mexico.

Kathryn and Barry Thalden were in Guanajuato last week, meeting with city officials on the details. The Thaldens coordinated and sponsored the Guanajuato mural in Ashland, painted last year on a Calle Guanajuato building by Mexican artist Laura “Loreta” Rangel Villasenor.

The Guanajuato City Council (Ayuntamiento) gave its approval on Nov. 30 for painting the mural of Ashland on the Paseo de Ashland at its intersection with the main entrance to the city.

Sister City activists celebrate 60th wedding anniversary

Ashland residents Leo Van Dyke and Marianne Oehrlein met in 1951 in the chemistry lab at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., where Leo was studying pre-veterinary medicine and Marianne pre-nursing.

They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary at a Central Oregon resort this year, surrounded by 42 family members, among them all eight of their daughters, 14 of their 16 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Two more great-grandchildren have been born since the gathering, and a third is expected in January.

Leo and Marianne were among the early advocates of Sister City relations with Guanajuato, Mexico, and remain active members of the Ashland Amigo Club, founded in 1969.

They were married on Nov. 30, 1957, in New Rochelle, N.Y., and left the East Coast for Oregon in 1959 with their first child, Kathryn. Their other seven children, all daughters, were born in Oregon.

Leo and Marianne provided the following information:


“A lifetime-interest in Latin American relations probably goes back to when Leo was 10 years old. Although born in Holland, he was living with his parents and two older brothers in an oil camp in Maracaibo, Venezuela.

“Arrived in the U.S.A. by Pan American Airway clipper ship (passenger seaplane) in Miami Bay during the war in 1943.

“We took an early interest in Ashland’s relationship with Guanajuato, fostered by Mrs. Chela Kocks’ enthusiasm … and we joined several other people … to form the Amigo Club to foster the friendship ties between the two cities.

“Our daughter Kathryn was on the first Queen’s Court to represent Ashland at summer festivities in Guanajuato. Two of her younger sisters followed in her footsteps later.




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