PATRIOTS WARN AMERICANS
By Betty Freauf
Like thousands of unsung patriots, his name was never on any marquee. There was no parade of black limousines following the hearse to the cemetery and no announcement on the radio or television coverage about his passing. The Oregon legislature didn’t recognize him with some memorial in its chambers like the Oregon Senate did recently for a Democrat leader and someone who taught political science at the University of Oregon for almost 40 years. Per his request there was not even an obituary in the local newspaper and he was buried in a simple pine box in Willamette National Cemetery with a trumpet player from the Oregon Symphony playing Taps. He died in his home with his family by his side.
His name was Chester H. Rooklidge, Jr., known to his friends as “Chet” and to his radio listening audience as “Mason.” Chet became infected with variant brucellosis, a disease shared by many Gulf War veterans, and subsequently with ALS (amysoteophic lateral sclerosis) better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He passed away on November 15, 2008 and ironically, one of his dearest friends, Bob Pletka who taught Constitution courses in the Portland, Oregon area passed away on December 16, 2008 after a long-fought battle with cancer. While this article is a tribute to Chet, this unpretentious gentleman would not object to me briefly mentioning his friend, Please read about Bob here.
Chet was born in Portland, Oregon on December 5, 1928. He attended Central Catholic High School in 1947. He attended the University of Portland where he received a BA in Business Administration and a Masters Degree in Education. Unlike so many college-educated people, in all the years that I knew him I don’t believe he boasted about his education degrees once that I remember. It wasn’t until his wife, upon my request, offered his credentials that I read about them. He was captain of the track team and he won the state competition in the 440 in 1949 that took eleven years to tie. He was President of the Business Ad Club, Phi Beta Kappa and listed in “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.”
He spent summers while in college working for the US Forest Service and was inducted into the Army in 1954 and served in what was then the Army Security Agency. He taught and coached track in several Portland high schools. He also worked for the Oregon State Department of Economic Development receiving a plaque from Governor Tom McCall, honoring him for developing a program that saved the state a considerable amount of money. He managed Port Westward in Clatskanie Oregon for Keizer Aetna. He was also a real estate broker and property manager.
He married his lovely wife, Barbara in June 1953. Their honeymoon was spent working for the Forest Service during the summer at Spirit Lake at the foot of Mt. St. Helens (which blew 30 years ago) where they lived in a log cabin at the edge of the lake. The cabin came compete with wood burning stove, a spectacular view, and deer peering in the window almost every morning, his wife writes. They had six children, the first died at a very early age.
Chet was a devout Christian and a man of unquestioned moral character. Many who knew him, even briefly, tell of the profound effect he had on their lives and they always mention his ability to view situations from both a compassionate and humorous perspective. He told his son, Bill, “When I have a problem that seems impossible to solve, I look at it from all angles and try every solution I can think to do. Only then, if nothing works, I say, “Lord, you have a problem.”
Chet was a patriot in the true sense of the word. He was a voracious reader of history, particularly of the founding of the Republic, military history and the financial history of the world. Always an educator at heart, he had a marvelous gift for explaining complicated issues. Because of his vast knowledge, he was able to trace policies from inception, and was usually able to predict with accuracy the eventual conclusion.
For decades he warned others of the coming financial and political collapse of the Republic, the inevitable loss of our freedom and sovereignty, and the ultimate destruction of our Constitution. He always recommended investing in gold and silver and told his radio listening audience to make deposits in the “Foothills Bank.” He believed in “God, gold, guns and groceries” as a hedge against bad times. To keep his outlook in perspective, he spent many hours a week working on his little organic farm in Aurora, Oregon.
In 1996, Chet began an early radio program on a low-powered station in Vancouver, Washington. Because he was never one to call attention to himself, he used the name Mason after George Mason, a man whom Chet greatly admired. George Mason was a leading political philosopher who drafted the first state constitution (for the state of Virginia), including a Bill of Rights that became a model for many other states and other countries, primarily France.
The guests Chet chose for the program reflected his concerns, and apparently those of most of his listeners. Among his guests were: Dr. Len Horowitz, General Benton Partin, Nick Begich, Nurse Joyce Riley, Dr. Garth Nicholson, Charlotte Iserbyt (a www.newswithviews.com contributor), U.S. Congressman George Hanson (R-Idaho) and literally hundreds more, including several Gulf War veterans. And if he still had a radio program, I suspect he’d interview Jerome Corsi, author of the 2007 book The Late Great USA where he explains how China has replaced America as the super power and how the world is moving away from the dollar.  If you google any of these folks, you’ll discover he’d have guests on his program that other supposedly conservative radio talk show hosts would fear interviewing. In other words, long before some of the more recent radio and TV celebrities would dare mention the words “Socialism, Communism or Conspiracies and One World Government,” Chet was already talking about them. I remember how Rush Limbaugh would hang up on anyone that dared mention a conspiracy. In reviewing an audiotape of the interview he had with me on Oregon’s Vote-By-Mail Chet, an Equal Opportunity critic, described our Oregon legislature as an overwhelming grouping of saps, sycophants and sodomites that went along with any popular trend.
Dr. J. Vernon McGee, who passed away in 1988, had a worldwide ministry in many different languages but his ministry still continues. In Acts 17:20-21 he commented about how America was going to seed. He asked: Have you ever listened to the talk shows? They are boring to tears. Everyone is trying to come up with something new. Each one is trying to say something novel. They try so hard to say something smart, something sophisticated; yet it is the same old story - indicating it was the same way in the cultural center of the Roman Empire in Athens.
Chet warned his listeners to watch out for George Soros long before the Sean Hannitys, the Rush Limbaughs, Bill O’Reillys and other notables began mentioning his name since Soros seems to be one of those that worked behind the scenes to get Barack Obama elected. Soros is a billionaire and the world’s most powerful currency trader. He almost single-handedly drove down the British pound in 1993 and I can’t help but wonder if Soros isn’t helping to collapse the U.S. dollar.
I first met Chet about July 1984 when someone suggested I ask him to be a guest speaker at a Politically Informed Conservative/Christian Women’s group, which I called PICW. The purpose of the organization was to help educate women in the political and legislative realm and our monthly meetings grew. As I recall, he spoke about the unconstitutional Federal Reserve and the banking system in general and the forthcoming collapse of the dollar. He became a mentor to me. I often called him if I needed information on some historical event.
Beginning in the 1980s, I had published a weekly four to twelve page newsletter (without the help of a computer) while the Oregon legislature was in session for about six months every two years. I’d report on happenings at the Salem Capitol and encourage people to get involved by reporting on certain bills that had been introduced, trying to explain the pros and cons so I was quite aware of how the system worked.
One year, Chet called me to be on his radio program one-day a week for an hour to report on the Oregon legislature. I had a friend near Spokane, Washington, Lynn Stuter, who I knew kept an eye on the legislature at the Capitol in Olympia so I recommended he contact her also. It ended up she’d be on the hour before me. When I’d come on the air and report what I saw happening in Oregon, Chet would say that my friend, Lynn, also a NewsWithViews.com contributor, would be saying similar things were happening in Washington which proved the “fix” was in.
For this article, I asked Lynn to tell me her impression of Chet. She said, “One thing I appreciated about him when talking with his guests, he didn’t steer, he guided and after a station break, he was very capable of picking up right where they left off. Unlike so many talk show hosts who are there for themselves and their glory only and the guest is simply there for the ride, this was not the way Chet interviewed. His guests were there to educate the listening audience and Chet was there to keep them on track and he was the best with whom I ever had the pleasure of working.”
I also asked Mary Starrett, a familiar conservative radio personality from Portland, Oregon, a 2006 Constitution party gubernatorial candidate and current Communications Director and also a News With Views contributor, to write a few words about Chet, She said. “I listened to his show when he’d have my brother Kevin Starrett, a lobbyist with Gun Owners of America, as a guest. For a long time I didn’t even know he had another name other than ‘Mason’. Although I would have him on my show as an occasional guest by phone and he’d fill in for me during vacations, I never met him until years later. He always kept me straight on things and I learned a lot from him and counted myself blessed to have known him and for his wise counsel.”
America is full of these patriots – many who have trouble walking but still stand at attention and salute Old Glory as it passes by; however, I fear when my generation leaves this old earth there will be no one to carry on with the tradition and it saddens me deeply. I mentioned other patriots in my July 7, 2003 article: Can One Person Make a Difference. Marilyn M. Barnewall echoes this sentiment in her “The Story of a Remnant.”
Our country is no longer the virtuous nation that Ben Franklin mentioned in his 1787 address to the Constitutional Convention  He gave a discourse on the need to fix the course of American public service so that it would attract men of public virtue and repel scoundrels scrambling for a soft job. He said: Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power and the love of money. Separately, each of these had great force in prompting men to action; but when united a view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effects. Place before the eyes of such men a post of honor, that shall at the same time be a place of profit and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it.
In the 60s a new world began to emerge through drugs, “free sex,” Marxist socialism and communism and schools and universities became brain laundries. That 60s generation of adults is now running our country reminding me of the statement by Vladimir Lenin, “Give me just one generation of youth and I will transform the entire world.” How dare our misleaders of America end their speeches with “God Bless America” when they are far from Him? What arrogance!
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For men like Chet Rooklidge and his friend, Bob Pletka, the battle is over. As I was quoting from The Five Thousand Year Leap above, I was reminded this book came from another great patriot, Marshall Jones, who I also had the honor of knowing. He, too, was a voracious reader. His daughter gave me his library per his request. So in the early part of 1994 more than 1000 books came to live with me. It took months to get them cataloged and on shelves and I hope to some day pass them on to some other “information junkie!” May these three acquaintances of mine rest in peace knowing they did all that was required of them because to them that is given much, much is expected.
The Late Great USA by Jerome Corsi, p. 154-156 © 2007
2. The Five Thousand Year Leap, p. 66 © 1981 by W. Cleon Skousen
© 2009 Betty Freauf - All Rights Reserved