Editorial: Overbay has shown commitment to COCC

John Overbay will step down from the Central Oregon Community College board of directors early next year after something like 13 years’ service on that body.

It’s a remarkable record, set by one the region’s most unassuming men.

Under that unassuming exterior, however, beats the heart of a good, very good, businessman. Overbay ran the Wagner’s stores in Bend for 15 years before he sold them to the Albertson’s chain in 1994. The market at the corner of Third Street and Revere Avenue was, for a time, the busiest store in Oregon on the first weekend of hunting season every fall.

It wasn’t hard times that made Overbay decide to sell, however. It was his early recognition that locally owned supermarkets were going to become an endangered species that drove him to get out of the grocery business.

He didn’t simply retire to the golf course, however. Overbay and his children own business property they manage, most notably the Wagner Mall. Under the family’s ownership, it has not suffered the seemingly endless vacancies that can plague such places.

He also has given back to Central Oregon Community College, where he was among the earliest classes of students. He has served on the college’s foundation board for 20 years, where his presence has been a testament to his commitment to the place. During that stint, he has not only raised money for the school but has given money of his own, as well.

And he’s given that 13 years to the college as a member of its board of directors. Putting in the kind of time it takes to be a good school board member is no small task, whether you’re helping oversee a secondary school district or a community college. There can be mountains of reading, sometimes controversial decisions, the strain of elections, and so on. Yet Overbay has stuck it out, one of only a handful of COCC board members to last so long.

Overbay and his wife, Yvonne, celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary this fall. He, and by extension, she, have more than earned the peace and quiet a more complete retirement will bring.

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