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Steven Kale

Steven R. Kale, 65, died November 7, 2013, in his hometown of Salem, Oregon, following a brief illness. Kale achieved much in his life in academics, his profession, and in relationships with others in his life.

Kale, the middle of three children, was born in Manhattan, Kansas, in 1948 to Alton and Ruby Kale. His early years were spent in central Kansas where he and his older brother James became Eagle Scouts. After graduating from Mankato High School in 1966, Kale matriculated at Kansas State University. He earned degrees in Geography and Business Administration. Later, he obtained a master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

In 1975, Steve started his career as an economist at the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. From 1982 to 1989, Kale taught courses and conducted research in economic development, area and community development, renewable energy, and other topics at Oregon State University in Corvallis.

Kale left the University in 1989 to take on transportation work at the Oregon Department of Transportation. He remained at ODOT for 16 years and retired as the agency’s primary freight planning person. However, Steve continued to work, setting up his own consulting firm and taking on jobs for several Oregon ports and intermodal freight businesses to help them plan seed funding for projects. He also subcontracted with other consulting firms on a variety of transportation related projects.

Steve was an active member of many professional organization and national bodies, including the American Institute of Certified Planners and the Intermodal Freight Transport Committee of the Transportation Research Board where he served as the chair. Kale was also active in the Association of American Geographers and the International Geographic Union. His enthusiasm for geography and interest in his alma mater kept him involved on the KSU Geography Alumni Board.

Kale’s lifelong interest in far-away places took him to Oulu, Finland; Mendoza, Argentina; Sidney, Australia; Dubrovnik, Croatia; and much of Europe. He also managed to visit all 50 U.S. states. Steve’s travels also took him to the Arctic Circle twice: once in Alaska and another time in Finland.

A lover of the outdoors, Kale was also interested in hiking, camping, skiing, canoeing, whitewater rafting, and bird watching. He was an ardent supporter of environmental protection and cultivated lifelong friendships with many people. Steve’s personal and professional qualities were very much respected. He will be dearly missed.

Steve was preceded in death by his mother Ruby (Streit), father Alton Dale Kale, his sister Elaine and brother James. He is survived by three nephews: Jonathan Cote, David Kale, and Dan Kale.