The man who died Sunday when an Amtrak passenger train struck his SUV has been identified as Charles Kellogg of Ridgefield, a prominent business owner and steadfast supporter of maritime history.
Kellogg, 80, was behind the wheel of a 2014 GMC Yukon on a private driveway near the 12200 block of Southeast Evergreen Highway at about 11 a.m. Sunday when the vehicle and train collided. No one on the train was injured.
News of Kellogg’s sudden death spread to the organizations in which he was involved — and it’s a long list.
After serving in the Army during the Korean War, Kellogg moved back to the Clark County area in the late 1950s and went to work in the private sector. At the time of his death, he owned Northwest Copper Works in Portland and Corrosion Controllers in Washougal. He also previously owned Orbit Industries in Washougal.
But what he is really known for is what he did in his spare time.
“There’s nothing about Chuck that’s a hobby,” longtime friend Chris Finks said. “It’s a passion.”
Two of his biggest passions were boats and history. Kellogg played a major role in helping to restore a World War II-era PT-658 torpedo boat with about 20 volunteers.
Through the torpedo boat project and his involvement with the Amphibious Forces Memorial Museum, Kellogg met local World War II veterans.
Finks said Kellogg often went out of his way to drive veterans to various memorial events, take them to lunch and visit them in the hospital when they became ill.
“That’s the kind of guy he was,” Finks said. “He’d say, ‘this is the greatest generation we’re honoring.’ “
He was on the board of the torpedo boat project’s nonprofit, Save the PT Boat Inc., was a board member for the Oregon Maritime Museum, and he founded the Maritime Heritage Coalition.
Among his accomplishments was his work with the Amphibious Forces Memorial Museum. After 14 months of work, Kellogg recently ironed out a deal to move the World War II-era USS LCI 713 to the Port of Portland.
Because of his contributions, Kellogg’s family is finalizing plans to have him buried in the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland with a full Navy funeral.
“He really became an honorary naval member,” Finks said.
Kellogg also restored about half a dozen classic boats and even built a boat from scratch. He founded the Columbia-Willamette chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society and was a member of the Portland Yacht Club.
Jeff Sleight, who has known Kellogg since he was a 17-year-old working at Dolphin Marina in Camas, said he was in awe of Kellogg’s ability to transform derelict boats into something magnificent.
“He could always see the vision of what the boat once was,” he said. “I don’t know anyone 80 years old with their fingers in so much. … He didn’t sit still for very long.”
Kellogg earned his certification as a U.S. Merchant Marine officer. He also was in the process of recertifying his license to fly aircraft and helicopters.
Kellogg was the only occupant of the vehicle and was dead when officials arrived on scene, Vancouver police said. His death was ruled accidental by the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The crossing at the driveway off of Evergreen Highway has posted warning signs but does not have a drop-down barrier common on railroad crossings over public roads, officials said.
Vancouver police traffic detectives are continuing to investigate the crash and will conduct more interviews with area residents, said Kim Kapp, the agency’s spokeswoman.
But, Kapp said, because Kellogg was the only person in the car, the investigation may never provide a complete picture of what happened.
“I don’t know that we’ll have all the answers,” she said. “We won’t necessarily know if he got confused, got turned around, didn’t hear the train.”
Kellogg is survived by his wife, Trish Kellogg, 59; five children, Charles Kellogg III, 56, Battle Ground, Suzy Kellogg Ferrario, 55, of Seattle, Chris Kellogg, 54, of Vancouver, Tauni Koch, 52, of Madison, Wis., and Carly Kellogg, 29, of Portland; 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Those wishing to honor Kellogg are asked to do so through donations to the Save the PT Boat Inc. and the Amphibious Forces Memorial Museum.