Settlemyer could see the big picture, colleagues recall.
The mood swung between laughter and emotional anecdotes Wednesday as the Lane County commissioners and staff members from the Department of Health and Human Services remembered employee Roy Settlemyer, who died May 30 following an accident on his land near Veneta at age 56.
"Roy had a gentle, caring nature and a passion for music, and he was a dedicated father," said Lynn Greenwood, manager of the county's developmental disabilities services, where Settlemyer worked.
Settlemyer, who carried a case load of 140 clients at the county and previously worked for Goodwill Industries for several years, "had an ear for what was going on" around him and offered both advice and comfort, Greenwood said.
"It didn't matter if it was someone battling cancer, dealing with a challenging teenager or - just menopause," she said, as everyone laughed. "He was there, and we appreciated that."
He also had a special way of calming frustrated clients that the rest of the staff relied on, Greenwood recalled.
"He would say, very charmingly, `Why don't we just step outside and talk about this?' ' she said. "He could see the big picture no matter what was going on in people's lives."
The fact that clients came to Settlemyer's memorial service "made me stop and think about the importance of the work we do," Greenwood said.
Commissioners adopted an order officially commending Settlemyer for his service. Chairman Bobby Green said he would favor naming a conference room in the county complex in Settlemyer's honor.
At least once or twice a month, it seems, the county commissioners' agenda includes a resolution to designate a particular week in honor of something or someone.
Next week, people who oversee the activities of lawbreakers will get the nod, as the commissioners name July 18-24 as "Probation, Parole and Community Supervision Week."
In asking the board to acknowledge the work of these employees, Health and Human Services head Rob Rockstroh - who oversees parole and probation - provided some insight into the history of the task.
The practice of probation dates to 1841 in this country, when a Boston cobbler named John Augustus persuaded the court to release a drunkard into his custody instead of sending him to prison, Rockstroh said.
He managed to reform the man, and the court subsequently turned over other offenders to his supervision. Massachusetts made probation legal in 1869, and other states soon established probation systems.
Parole began in England about the same time, when Alexander Maconochie developed a system of rewards for offenders in which good conduct, hard work and education could lead to regaining of freedom.
In Ireland, Sir Walter Crofton took the plan a step further, keeping parolees in contact with police after their release, for the purpose of finding work and offering other help. Parole became part of the U.S. correctional system in the 1870s.
Today, people on probation and parole make up 71 percent of people in the criminal justice system, Rockstroh said. The daily cost of supervising a parolee in the community comes to $4.93, compared with $62 per day for incarcerating them.
Randi Bjornstad can be reached at 338-2321.
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|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Jul 16, 2004|
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