Fall 2021 Class Notes

Class Notes include professional accomplishments, awards, retirements, weddings, obituaries and other news about Western Washington University alumni; they’re gathered from published reports and communication from alumni themselves.

If you have an update you’d like us to share in Class Notes, please email it to window@wwu.edu. Tell us what’s new with you, and we’ll publish it in the next edition and online.

These are the class notes for this issue. See all class notes here.

Class Notes (General)

Delores Prosch Topliff - 1969

Delores Prosch Topliff, M.A., English, teaches at University of Northwestern-St. Paul in Roseville, Minnesota and has written several books for Scrivenings Press. Her World War II novel “Books Afloat” was published in January, “Christmas Tree Wars” was released in October, and “Wilderness Wife,” about Marguerite Wadin MacKay McLoughlin, one of the founders of Fort Vancouver, is expected in February 2022.

Edward Inch - 1982

Edward Inch, B.A., speech communication, was recently appointed president of Minnesota State University, Mankato. Previously, he was provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at California State University, East Bay.

John Gese - 1983

John Gese, B.A., sociology, became Kitsap County Sheriff on Aug. 30, overseeing a budget of $43 million and a staff of 250.

Scott Thompson - 1984

Scott Thompson, B.S., industrial technology, ’89, teaching certificate and ’94, M.Ed., technology, recently retired after teaching at Sumner High School for 32 years.

Jay Mills - 1984

Jay Mills, B.A., accounting, spent 30 years as a college football coach at Harvard, Notre Dame, University of Minnesota Morris and Charleston Southern University. Now retired from football, Jay is a motivational speaker, pastor and author; his new book is “Game On! A Coach’s Game Plan for Discipleship.” Jay is particularly proud that the book’s foreword was written by fellow retired football coach Lou Holtz.

Ann Stinson - 1985

Oregon State University Press just published “The Ground at My Feet: Sustaining a Family and a Forest,” by Ann Stinson, B.A., English, her memoir about her family’s tree farm in southwestern Washington. Ann serves as president of the Family Forest Foundation and is on the board of the Washington Farm Forestry Association.

T.H. “Butch” Kamena - 1989

T.H. “Butch” Kamena, B.A., and ’93 M.A. political science, is the academic advisor for Western Athletics and received the 2021 GNAC Student- Athlete Advisory Committee’s Faculty Mentor Award.

Jen Tousey - 1994

Ambassador International recently published “Sarah Had a Little Plan,” a children’s book by Jen Tousey, BAE, school health education, about Sarah Josepha Hale and her efforts to make Thanksgiving a national holiday.

Todd Kingston - 1995

Todd Kingston, B.A., communication, is a senior product manager for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina in Durham.

Bill Arthur - 1996

Bill Arthur, B.S., cellular and molecular biology, became the vice president and head of Research for Neoleukin Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company that uses protein design technology to create immunotherapies for cancer, inflammation and autoimmune disorders.

Angie McGuire - 1996

Angie McGuire, BAE, English, became the athletic director for the Edmonds School District. Angie had been the AD for Edmonds-Woodway High School since 2011.

Ilsa Govan - 1999

Ilsa Govan, BAE, special education, recently co-wrote “What’s Up with White Women? Unpacking Sexism and White Privilege in Pursuit of Racial Justice,” published by New Society Publishers. The book is a practical guide for white women who are interested in becoming more effective in cross-cultural and anti-racist practices. Ilsa is an anti-racist facilitator and the co-founder of Cultures Connecting in Seattle.

Anna Gigliotti - 2000

Gov. Jay Inslee recently appointed Anna Gigliotti, B.A., sociology, to the Grant County Superior Court.

Brett Mitchell - 2001

Brett Mitchell (Music – Composition) was selected as the next music director of the Colorado Symphony.

Joanna Schmidt - 2001

Joanna Schmidt, B.A., humanities, became principal of Battle Creek Elementary School in Spring Hill, Tennessee. Previously, she was a vice principal at a nearby elementary school in Spring Hill.

Melissa Petersen - 2003

Melissa Petersen, B.A., business administration – marketing, is vice president of Signature Plastics, a family-owned company in Custer that specializes in keycaps for computer keyboards and other equipment.

Elena Stecca - 2003

Elena Stecca, B.A., Spanish, has launched Make a Scene WA, which provides lessons for girls in filmmaking and visual storytelling. A former recurring extra on “Z Nation,” Elena hopes to inspire the next generation of filmmakers, particularly women.

Brandon Lance - 2005

Brandon Lance, B.A., business administration – finance, became vice president and senior credit officer for Sound Community Bank.

Todd Albright - 2005

Todd Albright, B.A., business administration – operations management, became the vice president of fan experience and events for Second Star Creative, the in-house marketing agency of the Chicago Fire FC.

Janet Sessions - 2005

U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Calvin Sessions, B.S., electronics engineering technology, recently completed a master’s degree in electrical engineering at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Next, Calvin and his wife Janet Sessions, ’05, B.A., business administration, are moving to Okinawa where he will report to Expeditionary Strike Group Seven.

Calvin Sessions - 2005

U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Calvin Sessions, B.S., electronics engineering technology, recently completed a master’s degree in electrical engineering at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Next, Calvin and his wife Janet Sessions, ’05, B.A., business administration, are moving to Okinawa where he will report to Expeditionary Strike Group Seven.

Pat Mutzel - 2007

Pat Mutzel, B.A., general studies, became the senior director of the Capital Markets team for the commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield in Bellevue. Previously, Pat was senior vice president of Colliers International.

Marjorie Steele - 2007

Marjorie Steele, B.A., English – creative writing, launched creativeonion Press, which publishes creative nonfiction, poetry chapbooks, fiction novellas and novels, along with a quarterly literary magazine, with an emphasis on the work of outsider artists who haven’t had formal fine arts training.

Amy Harder - 2008

Amy Harder, B.A., journalism, was selected to be a Visiting Fellow in Journalism at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago for the 2018-19 academic year. Harder, an energy reporter for Axios, is moderating a series of events on campus and sharing her expertise through workshops and discussions. 

Jessica Lundgren - 2008

Dr. Jessica Lundgren, B.S., biology, is an internal medicine physician at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, where she specializes in caring for people living with HIV/ AIDS.

Candi Hilyard - 2009

Candi Hilyard, B. A., human services, is an environmental services technician at Mason Health in Shelton and was recently recognized as Mason Health’s Employee of the Month.

Allison Cubberley - 2009

Allison Cubberley, B.S., community health, is an account executive and training program manager for Associated Industries, a human resources consulting company in Spokane.

Ian Grettenberger - 2009

Ian Grettenberger, B.S., biology, completed his doctorate in entomology in 2014 at Penn State University and is an agricultural entomologist at University of California Davis.

Anthony Georger - 2010

Anthony Georger, MBA, recently became the chief financial officer for the Bend Bulletin and the EO Media Group.

Julia Cochran - 2010

Julia Cochran, B.A., cellular and molecular biology, is a senior research associate with Seagen Inc., a biotechnology company in Bothell focused on cancer treatments.

Julia Cochran - 2010

Julia Cochran, B.A., cellular and molecular biology, is a senior research associate with Seagen Inc., a biotechnology company in Bothell focused on cancer treatments.

Caleb Hutton - 2011

Caleb Hutton, B.A., English – creative writing, a reporter for the Daily Herald in Everett, recently won a first-place C.B. Blethen Memorial Award in Deadline Reporting for his article, “DNA on a boot leads to arrest in 1972 murder of Jody Loomis.”

Ethelyn Tumalad - 2011

Ethelyn Tumalad, B.A., English, is Oregon’s 2022 Teacher of the Year. Ethelyn teaches language arts and the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program at Clackamas High School, where she also advises the Asian Pacific Islander Student Union and co-leads the BIPOC staff affinity group.

Emmett Wild - 2012

Emmett Wild, B.S., environmental science, is the senior farm planner for the Skagit Conservation District, where he provides technical assistance to landowners and land managers in Skagit County.

Damien Fisher - 2014

Damien Fisher, B.S., and ’16, M.S., kinesiology, is the head strength and conditioning coach for WWU Athletics, a professional highland games athlete and the 2021 U.S. National Highland Games Champion. The competition consisted of nine strength-testing events, including the iconic caber toss. Damien hopes to compete in the world championships in 2022.

Mark Strickland - 2015

Mark Strickland, B.A., business administration – marketing, won the Pacific Northwest Golf Association’s Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship in September. It’s Mark’s first PNGA title.

Sam Schneider - 2016

Sam Schneider, B.S., chemistry became a senior research coordinator for GRYT Health, an oncology solutions company.

Connor Benintendi - 2021

Connor Benintendi, B.A., journalism - news/ editorial, became a sports reporter at the Lynden Tribune.

Jeremy Facer - 2021

Jeremy Facer, B.A., business administration - finance, was promoted to purchasing manager at Bellingham’s Cirrus Cycles, Inc., which builds Kinekt bicycle seat suspension systems.

Leah Lackey - 2021

Leah Lackey, B.S., electrical and computer engineering, worked over the summer with Yale University’s Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage Lens Media Lab on a machine learning model to visualize and sort texture images, which would be very helpful for photography historians. Leah continues to work as an associate in the Lens Media Lab this fall.


Lorne Turner - 1197

Lorne Turner, 73, a retired high school teacher who ran an adult hockey school, on June 28, 2020.

Lorna June Dayton - 1947

Lorna June Dayton, 91, on March 2, 2021.

Beatrice Lillian Wyatte - 1948

Beatrice Lillian Wyatte, 93, a retired teacher, on March 22, 2020, in Mukilteo.

Donna Mae Cooper - 1954

Donna Mae Cooper, 90, a retired teacher and counselor for the Camas School District, in November 2020.

Glenn Eugene Greathouse - 1955

Glenn Eugene Greathouse, 88, a retired teacher and coach in the Sequim School District who served five years on the Sequim City Council, on Aug. 11, 2020.

William D. Reinard - 1957

William D. Reinard, 89, a U.S. Army veteran and retired biology teacher at Sedro-Woolley High School, on July 28, 2021.

Franklin Carlson - 1958

Franklin Carlson, 85, retired director of Special Services for the Marysville School District, on June 26, 2021.

Katherine Grace (Tweten) Smith - 1958

Katherine Grace (Tweten) Smith, 85, retired principal of Scootney Springs Elementary School in Othello, on Sept. 2, 2021, in East Wenatchee.

Arthur Mafli - 1958

Arthur Mafli, 88, a retired teacher who established two endowments at Western, in November 2019.

Nancy Carolyn Neisinger - 1959

Nancy Carolyn Neisinger, 83, a retired elementary school music teacher, on Nov. 28, 2020, in Aberdeen.

Margurite J. Ellis - 1959

Margurite J. Ellis, 84, a retired teacher and preschool founder, on April 26, 2021.

Erling Freeberg - 1959

Erling Freeberg, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, retired Eastmont School District teacher and Wenatchee Police Department reserve officer who later published children’s educational art books, on Aug. 7, 2021

Bill Wright - 1960

Bill Wright, 84, the first Black person to win a US Golf Association title and one of the first people inducted into Western’s Athletics Hall of Fame, on Feb. 19, 2021, in Los Angeles.

Roland Quinn - 1960

Roland Quinn, 86, a Shelton resident, on April 17, 2021.

Richard Farrington Canfield - 1961

Richard Farrington Canfield, 81, a retired elementary school teacher and principal in Anacortes, on Jan. 23, 2021.

Edwin Vadset - 1961

Edwin Vadset, 83, a retired longtime teacher and coach in Anacortes and summertime charter boat skipper of the Sandi L in Westport, on July 25, 2021.

Trudy Ada Kindler - 1964

Trudy Ada Kindler, 79, on March 23, 2021, in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

Patricia Ann Baldwin - 1964

Patricia Ann Baldwin, 79, a retired Blaine Elementary School teacher, on July 8, 2021.

Dave M. “Mal” Woods - 1965

Dave M. “Mal” Woods, 85, on Nov. 5, 2020.

Richard Charles Little - 1965

Richard Charles Little, 78, a retired teacher, administrator and coach, on Feb. 1, 2021, in Bellingham.

Daniel Warner - 1966

Daniel Warner, 82, a military veteran who in retirement volunteered for the Seattle Aquarium and the Museum of Flight, on June 27, 2021.

Brian McCollough - 1966

Brian McCollough, 77, an Air Force veteran who worked as a science, history and math teacher, real estate agent, and managing partner with New York Life, on Sept. 21, 2020.

Larry Thomas Stewart - 1967

Larry Thomas Stewart, 76, a retired teacher and coach, on March 2, 2021.

Burnell Sparks - 1967

Burnell Sparks, 81, retired science teacher at Meridian High School, on April 3, 2021, in Bellingham.

Marilynn Beyl - 1967

Marilynn Beyl, 80, a retired elementary school teacher in Longview, on March 1, 2021.

Jerry Price - 1968

Jerry Price, 74, an analytical chemist who funded two chemistry scholarships at Western, on April 25, 2021, in Bellingham.

Carol Lynne Peterson - 1968

Carol Lynne Peterson, 74, a retired teacher, on Sept. 8, 2020.

Nile Kinnick Clarke - 1968

Nile Kinnick Clarke, 74, a retired teacher and coach in Mercer Island and Seattle, on Jan. 19, 2021.

Fred D. Petersen - 1969

Fred D. Petersen, 93, a U.S. Navy veteran and retired teacher and coach at Whatcom Middle School in Bellingham, on June 11, 2021, in Ellensburg.

Mary Ann Alderson - 1970

Mary Ann Alderson, 72, retired from the Washington State Office of Employment Security, on June 1, 2020, in Sedro-Woolley.

Kenneth Kandoll - 1970

Kenneth Kandoll, 73, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran and carpenter, on July 19, 2021.

Charles Robin Newland - 1971

Charles Robin Newland, 79, a retired teacher and school administrator, on July 17, 2021, in Dayton, Ohio. 

Catherine E. Kunzmann - 1971

Catherine E. Kunzmann, 72, a retired counselor for the Employment Security Department in Bellingham and the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation in Wenatchee, on Feb. 15, 2021.

Deryn Fulton - 1971

Deryn Fulton, 73, a former teacher who ran recreation and travel businesses and was very active in community parks and recreation activities in Snohomish, on Feb. 28, 2021.

Stacey Edwin Eskelin - 1971

Stacey Edwin Eskelin, 74, on Sept. 1, 2020.

Helen Kermoade - 1972

Helen Kermoade, who taught kindergarten and first grade and helped found the Washington Native Plant Society Salal Chapter, on April 30, 2021, on Fidalgo Island.

John Hura - 1972

John Hura, 75, a U.S. Navy veteran and retired head chemist for the Midway Sewer District, on June 7, 2021, in Tacoma.

Robert L. Burnett - 1972

Robert L. Burnett, 75, a former journalist for the Seattle Times, Associated Press, Wenatchee World and Columbian and a retired writer for Boeing, on July 21, 2021, in Bothell.

R. Daniel Whyte - 1972

R. Daniel Whyte, 75, a musician and teacher, on Aug. 21, 2020, in Longview.

Christian Starks - 1972

Christian Starks, 70, a hair stylist, artist, singer/songwriter, dancer, poet, painter, Lummi Island resident, and longtime volunteer for Whatcom Hospice, on May 24, 2021.

Bonnie Lou Sharp - 1973

Bonnie Lou Sharp, 70, retired transportation specialist for the U.S. Postal Service, on Feb. 18, 2021.

Walter Kent Seldal - 1973

Walter Kent Seldal, 73, a retired pastor and clinical chaplain in Ashland, Oregon, on Sept. 25, 2020.

Charleen (Renshaw) Relyea - 1973

Charleen (Renshaw) Relyea, 81, a retired elementary school teacher and community volunteer, on Dec. 23, 2020, in Mount Vernon.

Ronald Main - 1973

Ronald Main, 73, a retired lobbyist and government relations consultant, on Jan. 25, 2020.

Doris B. Davis Maley - 1974

Doris B. Davis Maley, 82, a retired teacher and principal in Marysville, on July 20, 2019, in Meridian, Idaho.

Larry Kuznetz - 1974

Larry Kuznetz, 68, a lawyer who served as assistant attorney general for the state of Washington and in private practice in Spokane, on Sept. 22, 2020.

Preston Wort - 1974

Preston Worth, 71, a Marine Corps veteran, a member of the first U.S. Rugby Team, and founder of PR Worth Inc., an excavation, demolition and utilities contractor, on Dec. 7, 2020, in Longview.

Don Petersen - 1974

Don Petersen, 76, a U.S. Navy veteran who taught elementary school in New Mexico and adult Sunday school and served as a park naturalist, on Aug. 15, 2021.

Ronald Ivan Milton - 1974

Ronald Ivan Milton, 70, artistic director and one of the founders of Ovation! Performing Arts Northwest on Bainbridge Island, on April 29, 2021.

Robert W. Elder - 1975

Robert W. Elder, 94, a U.S. Navy veteran who retired from the federal government as a draftsman and architect, on Aug. 28, 2019.

Jay Aust - 1975

Jay Aust, 69, a retired associate professor at University of Kansas School of Education, on Jan. 21, 2021.

Gerrit Byeman - 1976

Gerrit Byeman, 79, who ran a graphic design and print shop, on Sept. 7, 2021, in Lynden.

Roland Brecek - 1976

Roland Brecek, 69, of Rescule, California, on Dec. 16, 2020.

Ethel Lee Williams Mitchell - 1976

Ethel Lee Williams Mitchell, 89, retired area manager for King County Superior Court and a tireless advocate for justice and equality for Black people, on Aug. 4, 2021.

Steve Wolden - 1977

Steve Wolden, 67, a retired social worker for Washington State DSHS, adjunct faculty member at Lower Columbia College, and judge for the American Kennel Club, on July 9, 2021, in Longview.

Karen Ostrander Underwood - 1977

Karen Ostrander Underwood, 67, retired manager of the Boeing healthcare account at Regence Blue Shield, on April 7, 2021, in Kirkland.

Carol Joyce Stutesman - 1977

Carol Joyce Stutesman, 65, a retired teacher and coach at Seaside High School, on May 8, 2020, in Seaside, Oregon.

Danny Frank DeBellis - 1977

Danny Frank DeBellis, 68, a cabinet maker in Snohomish County, on March 8, 2021.

Mary Alice Cummings - 1977

Mary Alice Cummings, 89, a retired teacher and administrator in Seattle Public Schools, on July 25, 2021.

Andrew Edward Harlin - 1978

Andrew Edward Harlin, 66, on March 2, 2021, in Bellevue.

Ann Louise Brady - 1979

Ann Louise Brady, 64, a retired real estate agent, on Aug. 26, 2020, in Fort Valley, Virginia.

David James Marich - 1979

David James Marich, 66, a tile contractor, on March 5, 2021.

David Shane Keegan - 1980

David Shane Keegan, 64, who worked at Endobiologics in Montana, on June 2, 2020, in Corvallis, Oregon.

Nancy Tallman Hurley - 1980

Nancy Tallman Hurley, 65, a volunteer for Childhaven serving children who have experienced trauma and adversity, on March 23, 2021.

Thomas Hohman - 1980

Thomas Hohman, 65, who worked at Fiberglass Structural Engineering, on Aug. 1, 2021.

Jeffrey Prather - 1982

Jeffrey Prather, 74, a retired audit supervisor for the Alaska Gaming Commission, on July 12, 2021.

Brian W. Wilson - 1983

Brian W. Wilson, 62, a foreign service officer with the U.S. State Department who served in London, Belfast, Ciudad Juarez, Guatemala, and Washington, D.C., on June 12, 2021, in Fairfax, Virginia.

Timothy Lloyd Wass - 1983

Timothy Lloyd Wass, 61, who worked in finance and credit for ITT Commercial Finance, Deutsche Bank and ATT, on Aug. 25, 2020, in Seattle.

Mark Brodeck - 1983

Mark Brodeck, 64, a retired accountant for the state of Washington, on Aug. 19, 2020.

Mark Orme - 1984

Mark Orme, 58, a chemist in the pharma/biotech industry, on Feb. 27, 2021.

Alan Scott Christensen - 1984

Alan Scott Christensen, 59, a retired supply chain analyst for Boeing, on Aug. 8, 2021.

John “Scott” Farquhar - 1985

John “Scott” Farquhar, 70, retired principal of Leota Junior High School in Woodinville, on Oct. 31, 2020, in Shoreline.

Gary David Thompson - 1986

Gary David Thompson, 62, a pilot who flew for Wings of Alaska and ran his own charter business, Admiralty Air Service, on Sept. 16, 2021, in Tenakee Springs, Alaska.

Julie Sumner Davis - 1988

Julie Sumner Davis, 55, an accountant who became a special education teacher in the Meridian School District, on Dec. 21, 2020.

Jennifer Colyer - 1988

Jennifer Colyer, 74, on Sept. 14, 2021, in Kendall.

Maryann Raines - 1989

Maryann Raines, 84, a retired high school teacher in the North Mason School District, on Dec. 23, 2020, in Bremerton.

Nancy Anne Bjerke - 1990

Nancy Anne Bjerke, 62, on Sept. 19, 2021, in Everson.

Lorie Wilkie - 1990

Lorie Wilkie, 68, a retired marriage and family therapist and sociology professor, on March 16, 2020.

Gloria Ellen Wagener - 1990

Gloria Ellen Wagener, a retired teacher, 80, on Feb. 24, 2020.

Walter Schrengohst - 1992

Walter Schrengohst, 69, a retired math instructor at Whatcom Community College, on Jan. 13, 2021.

Barbara L. Engman - 1993

Barbara L. Engman, 71, a vocal performer and choir director, on Sept. 14, 2021, in Bellingham.

Jonna Zieber - 1994

Jonna Zieber, 67, retired from Catholic Community Services, on April 11, 2021.

Andrea S. Chapman - 1995

Andrea S. Chapman, 69, a former social worker and musician who founded a Buddhist choir and published two books of poetry in her later years, on Oct. 18, 2020.

Gabriele Caitlin Bartholomew - 1995

Gabriele Caitlin Bartholomew, 68, a former teacher and tutor in Snohomish County Schools, on Aug. 19, 2020.

William Christopher Hilleary - 1997

William Christopher Hilleary, 57, whose company, Aerotech Golf, created an innovative new graphite iron shaft golf club called SteelFiber, on July 18, 2021, in Anchorage, Alaska. A WWU scholarship fund has been established in his memory at foundation.wwu.edu/ ChrisHilleary

Joanne Renee Kandler - 1998

Joanne Renee Kandler, 69, retired librarian at Mount Rainier High School, on Dec. 10, 2020.

Phillip Steven Fain - 1998

Phillip Steven Fain, 71, an Air Force veteran who worked 45 years at Boeing, on Nov. 10, 2020, in Seattle.

Travis Gordon Ruuth - 2001

Travis Gordon Ruuth, 43, a bartender and competitive athlete who placed ninth in the World Series of Poker, on Feb. 26, 2021.

Damian Lauritz David Wiese - 2009

Damian Lauritz David Wiese, 40, a modern work architect at Microsoft, on Feb. 2, 2021, in Bothell.

Charles M. Atkinson - FAC

Charles M. Atkinson, 78, retired associate dean of Woodring College of Education, on July 20, 2021.

Lee Hastings Taylor - FAC

Lee Hastings Taylor, 84, an instructor in Western’s Drama Department from the late ’60s through the ‘90s, with a specialty in lighting design, on Aug. 22, 2021.

Arlan Norman - FAC

Arlan Norman, 81, the founding dean of the College of Sciences and Technology, now College of Science and Engineering, on July 31, 2021. A scholarship fund in his honor, the Arlan Norman Award for Excellence, recognizes outstanding student researchers and their faculty mentors.

Donald B. Brown - FRND

Donald B. Brown, 92, a supporter of Western’s Music Library and a retired aeronautical engineer at Boeing, on June 9, 2021.

Ryszard Dylczyk - ST

Ryszard Dylczyk, 82, a retired custodian, on Sept. 12, 2020, in Radomsko, Poland, where he had been born. Before moving to the U.S., Ryszard was a leader in the Polish Solidarity movement, for which he was imprisoned twice, and helped work for the election of Lech Walesa.

Geraldine T. DeMarco - ST

Geraldine T. DeMarco, 86, retired bookbinder for Western Libraries, on Feb. 27, 2021.