Graduating Class of 1931
When Del Bjork passed through the Gates of Heaven he was quickly ushered to the line reserved for "Hometown Heroes".Never heavier than 190 pounds as a prep, Bjork combined with guard Elliott Becken (later a little All-America at Willamette and Cleveland Brown draftee) to form one of the most outstanding guard-tackle tandems in Astoria High School history.
One to the University of Oregon, via a football scholarship, Bjork would become one of that school's all-time grid great linemen.
All-Pro honors with the Chicago Bears in 1938 brought pride to his hometown and etched his name forever in the hearts of Astoria football fans.
On the battle fields of the Pacific, the Astoria native became one of the most highly decorated war heroes in Clatsop County history.
As a junior at Astoria High School, Bjork helped the Fishermen turn in one of their rare unbeaten seasons (7-0-2).
Under Prink Callison, Bjork lettered three years for the Ducks. He was honored by his teammates at the start of his senior campaign being named team captain. Four months later his peers picked him MVP for the 1936 football season.
First team All-Coast and honorable mention All-America status followed. Berths on the West squad in the annual East-West Shrine game and the College All-Star game against the defending NFL champions, the Green Bay Packers, closed out a glorious collegiate career.
In his final year at Eugene, Bjork captured the Albert Cup, annually presented to the University's top senior.
Bjork was no slouch in the classroom. He carried the highest scholastic standing of any Webfoot gridder.
Always a straight shooter, Bjork was a member of the University of Oregon rifle team that captured the collegiate national championship.
After earning his degree, it was on to Chicago, where he played under the legendary George "Papa Bear" Halas. Bjork weighed in at just 215 pounds, a bantamweight in the beefy front walls of professional football. Wages in the NFL during the depression were not what they are now, and Bjork left Chicago after three seasons, taking a teaching assignment at Pendleton Junior High.
Friday night battles in the trenches of muddy Gyro Field would prepare Bjork for what lay ahead during WWII.It was the assault of Attu in the Aleutians that earned Bjork the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest battlefield decoration possible. He escaped that conflict just in the time to lead his troops in the invasion of the Philippines and Okinawa. Those campaigns would result in five Bronze Star awards. After a 24 year career in the Army he retired as a full colonel.
Returning to Astoria, Bjork taught political science, health and physical education at Clatsop College.
Bjork was inducted into the Astoria Hall of Fame with the first class in 1997. Previously he entered the University of Oregon and the State of Oregon Halls of Fame.