An exemplary volunteer, Richard (Dick) Celsi (1933-1991) is honored yearly with our fundraiser and volunteer appreciation event. Celsi served as DPO chair, 1979-83, and led the county party two separate times in the mid-1970s and in the mid-1980s (1983-88).
Celsi was Portland born and educated. His parents immigrated from Italy, and he graduated from Central Catholic High School and the University of Portland. A U.S. Army veteran, he taught at parochial and public elementary schools in Ridgefield, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, for a total of 17 years. He operated his own landscaping business from 1976 until his death at age 57.
To this day, fellow Democrats revere Celsi as a leader and volunteer. In 1991 Rep. Ron Cease described him as someone who “inspired, enriched and guided the political conscience of countless Oregonians for almost three decades.” A resolution of the Oregon Legislature praised Celsi’s lifelong dedication to “promoting tolerance, understanding and respect for the diversity of life at every level.”
Celsi’s life was short on time, but long on impact. Along with his loving family and many elected officials, he is remembered by current Multnomah County Democratic Party PCPs Mary Botkin, Moshe Lenske, Richard Meyer, Tim Rowan, and Valerie Thibeau.