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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Yakima’s Davis High School remembers supreme alumnus

Cathy Douglas Stone, widow of William O. Douglas, dedicates the statue of the late Supreme Court justice during a ceremony at Davis High School in Yakima on Wednesday.
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Associated Press

YAKIMA — Davis High School has erected a statue to commemorate its most famous alumnus, late U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.

The 7 1/2 -foot-tall bronze likeness of Douglas — depicted shedding his judicial robes to reveal hiker’s attire underneath — was dedicated in a high school courtyard Wednesday.

“He was a man who traveled far beyond the (Yakima) Valley, but he always came back ultimately, this was home,” his wife, Cathy Douglas Stone, told about 2,000 dignitaries and students.

For years before his death in 1980 at age 81, she and Douglas spent time at their summer retreat at Goose Prairie, west of Yakima near Chinook Pass.

“You’ll pass this monument every day,” state Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry Alexander told students. “It will be a reminder that there is no limit to what you can accomplish in life if you persevere.”

Growing up poor and attending public schools in a small town is no barrier to success, he said.

Douglas graduated from what was then Yakima High School in 1916 and later returned there to teach.

William O. Douglas Project coordinator Jeremie Dufault proposed the statue and led an 18-month drive to raise $60,000 for the monument created by Olympia sculptor Simon Kogan.

Douglas went on to become chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission before being appointed to the Supreme Court, where he served for 36 years, longer than any other justice.