The Western campus viewed from the air looking out towards the islands and Bellingham bay

Summer 2019 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 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 Note

John Doherty - 1971

John Doherty, B.A., political science, recently retired as Clallam County District Court Judge. 

David Swanson - 1972

David Swanson, B.A., sociology, is professor emeritus of sociology at University of California Riverside and recently gave three lectures as an invited visiting professor at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

John MacKinnon - 1976

John MacKinnon, B.S., environmental toxicology and nutrition, recently became commissioner of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. Most recently, MacKinnon was executive director of the Associated General Contractors of Alaska. 

Donna Chieppo - 1983

Donna Chieppo, B.S. environmental education, was recently recognized as the 2018-19 Employee of the Year at Northwest Indian College, where she has worked as a human re-sources specialist since 2014. She previously worked at Western for more than 25 years. 

Mary Arnold - 1984

Mary Arnold, B.A., psychology, is a professor and youth development specialist at Oregon State University’s College of Public Health and Human Services, where she developed the 4-H Thriving Model, an evidence-based approach to youth development. Her work was recognized with the Excellence in Extension Award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Cooperative Extension and the Association of Public Land Grant Universities. 

Sally Ann Schneider - 1984

Sally Ann Schneider, B.A., psychology, recently became CEO of Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital in Marysville. Previously, Schneider was CEO of LifeCare Behavioral Health Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Mari Leavitt - 1990

Mari Leavitt, B.A., political sci-ence, and ’95, M.Ed., student personnel administration, represents the 28th district in the Washington State House of Representatives and is vice chair of the College & Work Force Development Committee. She was recently named a distinguished alumna of Tacoma Community College. 

Anne-Marie Diouf - 1992

Anne-Marie Diouf, B.A., sociology, was recently appointed senior vice president and chief human resources officer for Symetra Life Insurance Co. in Bellevue. 

Ted Morris - 1992

Ted Morris, B.A., recreation, retired last year as head ranger at Birch Bay and Peace Arch state parks, and after 43 years with Washington State Parks. 

Angela Sheffey-Bogan - 1993

Angela Sheffey-Bogan, B.A., English, is principal of Sartori Elementary School in Renton and was recently named a Distinguished Alumna of Highline College. Sheffey-Bogan has spent more than 20 years in elementary education. 

Orlondo Steinauer - 1996

Orlondo Steinauer (B.A., sociology) became the defensive coordinator for Fresno State University’s football team.

Trinity Parker - 1996

Trinity Parker, B.A., political science, recently joined Symetra Life Insurance Co. as senior vice president for marketing, communication and public affairs. Most recently, Parker was regional manager of government and community relations for Sound Transit. 

Thomas Gallagher - 1996

Thomas Gallagher, M.S., computer science, recently became dean of the University of Montana’s Missoula College, where he’s been a faculty member since 2001 and has served in several administrative roles. 

Todd Cook - 1998

After a serving a two‐year federal district court clerkship in the Middle District of Pennsylvania and a 14‐year career as a commercial litigator at a law firm in eastern Pennsylvania, Todd Cook, B.A., communication, recently returned to Snohomish County to work as a litigator at Beresford Booth PLLC in his hometown of Edmonds. 

Kelly Liske - 1999

Kelly Liske, B. A., accounting, is the chief banking officer for First Federal in Port Townsend and is involved in several community organizations as president of the non-profit Christmas for Children, vice president and treasurer of Big Blue Boosters of Chimacum and a board member of the Jefferson County Healthcare Foundation. Liske recently received a 2019 Jefferson County Heart of Service Award, sponsored by the Peninsula Daily News and area Rotary Clubs. 

Heather Hinsley - 1999

Heather Hinsley, B.A., interdisciplinary concentration, is a chef and baker in Durango, Colorado, who recently became the culinary manager at Manna soup kitchen, where she teaches culinary and food handling skills to students hoping to gain employment and move out of homelessness. 

Charles Hightower - 2000

Charles Hightower, B.A., psychology, is an orthopedic surgeon in Alaska and recently opened his own practice, Enhance Orthopedic Surgery, in Juneau. 

Cape Powers - 2002

Cape Powers, MBA, recently became the director of the Peoria Water Services Department in Arizona.

Allison Schei Pringle - 2002

Allison Schei Pringle, B.A., human services, completed her first Ironman competition, in Santa Rosa, California, on May 11. That’s a total of 140.6 miles: a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2-mile run, all in one really long day. 

Sierra Grden - 2002

Sierra Grden, B.A., industrial design, recently became the corporate chef for Precept Wine, whose wines include Waterbrook, Canoe Ridge, Browne Family Vineyards and Ste. Chapelle. 

Michael Farmer - 2004

Michael Farmer, M.Ed., school administration, ’05, was recently selected as the superintendent of the Dieringer School District. Most recently, he was executive director of innovation and learning at the Eatonville School District. 

Niki (Behymer) Nelson - 2004

Niki (Behymer) Nelson, B.A., anthropology, is a judicial assistant for the state of Oregon’s Department of Consumer Business Services, Workers’ Compensation Board, Hearings Division. 

Cathy Kim - 2008

PGA Professional Cathy Kim, B.A., political science, recently be-came a golf teacher at the 1757 Golf Club in Dulles, Virginia. Before that, Kim was director of player development at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas.

Darcy Schab - 2008

Darcy Schab, B.A., business administration – management information systems, recently became CEO of Alliance Enterprises, a software and services company in Dupont. 

Hannah Knowles - 2011

Hannah Knowles, B.A., business administration - marketing and international business, is assistant director of marketing and communications for the Oregon State University College of Public Health and Human Services. 

Becky Gottlieb - 2012

Becky Gottlieb, B.S., environmental science - terrestial ecology, is a student affairs manager for the School for Field Studies in Kenya and plans this fall to enroll in the EU’s Erasmus Mundus master of science program in environmental science, policy and management. Gottlieb and her cohort will study in several locations throughout Europe, including Hungary, Greece and the U.K. 

Jason Smith - 2012

Jason Smith, initial superintendent’s certificate, is principal of Rogers High School in Puyallup and was recently named the Jostens Renaissance Educator of the Year.

Evie Tatara - 2014

Evie Tatara, B.S., kinesiology - pre-physical therapy, graduated from Lynchburg College in Virginia with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and recently became a physical therapist in Maryland.

Michelle Ross-Cybula - 2014

Michelle Ross-Cybula, initial superintendent’s certificate, was recently selected as the superintendent of the Cle Elum-Roslyn School District. 

Tyler Voight - 2016

Tyler Voight, communication studies, is a rehabilitation counselor for Sound Vocational Services.  

Tyler Voight - 2016

Tyler Voight, communication studies, is a rehabilitation counselor for Sound Vocational Services.  

Katie Voight - 2017

Katie Voight, BAE, language, literature and cultural studies, teach-es second grade at Vernice Vossbeck Elementary School in Lynden. 


Leota Ruth “Odey” Hunter Copstead - 1938

Leota Ruth “Odey” Hunter Copstead, 98, a retired school nurse, on March 28, 2018. 

Bessie B. Dvorachek - 1950

Bessie B. Dvorachek, 90, on May 28, 2019. 

Deryl K. Sleigh - 1950

Deryl K. Sleigh, 93, a U.S. Navy veteran, on April 5, 2019. 

Theodore Rogers - 1952

Theodore Rogers, 86, a U.S. Army veteran who retired from Lockheed Missiles and Space Co., where he made many contributions to the Polaris, Poseidon and Trident weapon systems, on Oct. 3, 2017, in Mendocino, California. 

Gordon Ronald “Pat” Young - 1954

Gordon Ronald “Pat” Young, 94, a U.S. Army veteran and retired teacher, principal and district administrator, on March 29, 2019. 

Alan K. Swanberg - 1955

Alan K. Swanberg, 89, a re-tired teacher in the Anacortes School District who helped in the formation of Whatcom County Water District No. 10 and the South Lake Whatcom Fire Department, on June 2, 2019. 

Glenn C. LaFave - 1956

Glenn C. LaFave, 88, a Korean War veteran who had a long career in banking, most recently in Vancouver, Washington, on April 18, 2019. 

Sharon Rose Gordon Greer - 1956

Sharon Rose Gordon Greer, 84, on May 11, 2019, in San Rafael, California. 

Ruth Ann Poynter - 1957

Ruth Ann Poynter, 83, retired from the King County Library System, on May 2, 2019. 

Patty M. Norman - 1959

Patty M. Norman, 93, a retired teacher, on May 29, 2019, in Edmonds. 

Kirby R. Cleveland - 1959

Kirby R. Cleveland, 81, a retired teacher and administrator in the North Thurston School District, on Feb. 23, 2019. 

Gary Warren Phillips - 1960

Gary Warren Phillips, 81, a retired middle school teacher in Port Angeles, on May 10, 2018, in Lebanon, Oregon. 

Darrell “Coach” Pearson - 1960

Darrell “Coach” Pearson, a Korean War veteran and long-time teacher and coach at Mount Vernon High School, on March 21, 2019. 

Charles Wetzel - 1961

Charles Wetzel, 80, a retired teacher, counselor and elementary school principal, on May 17, 2019. 

Gary Eugene Mose - 1961

Gary Eugene Mose, 80, a re-tired high school teacher and basketball coach and real estate broker, on May 8, 2019, in Arlington. 

Gregory Thomas Francis Pitsch Sr. - 1963

Gregory Thomas Francis Pitsch Sr., 85, on April 16, 2019, in Bellingham. 

LeRoy “Bert” Brooke - 1964

LeRoy “Bert” Brooke, 100, a U.S. Navy veteran and retired teacher at Bremerton High School, on April 12, 2019. 

Gordon Thompson - 1964

Gordon Thompson, 80, on March 1, 2019. 

Margaret Anne “Margie” Lindhout - 1964

Margaret Anne “Margie” Lindhout, 78, on April 17, 2019, in Rancho Mirage, California.

Marjorie June Jacobs Johnson - 1964

Marjorie June Jacobs Johnson, 91, a retired elementary school teacher, on June 8, 2019, in Bellingham. 

Melvyn Douglas Cowin - 1964

Melvyn Douglas Cowin, 77, on April 1, 2019. 

H. Bruce Parker - 1965

H. Bruce Parker, 95, a retired woodshop teacher at Mount Vernon High School who went on to a career as a master wood craftsman, on March 18, 2019, in Seattle. 

Carter French - 1966

Carter French, 81, a retired middle school science teacher in the Everett School District, on May 9, 2019. 

Edward J. Wahl - 1967

Edward J. Wahl, 78, on March 13, 2019, in Bellingham. 

Kenneth E. Breer - 1967

Kenneth E. Breer, 81, who re-tired from Seattle First National Bank and was a ski instructor, on May 19, 2019. 

Richard Gary Olson - 1968

Richard Gary Olson, 72, a U.S. Navy veteran and retired accountant, on May 1, 2019, in Bellingham. 

Sharon L. (Burmark) Koch - 1968

Sharon L. (Burmark) Koch, 70, on April 22, 2019. 

Leon Charles Berthiaume - 1968

Leon Charles Berthiaume, 78, a retired elementary and middle school teacher in Lakewood, on April 8, 2018, in Seattle. 

Charles Hill Kale - 1969

Charles Hill Kale, 72, a U.S. Army veteran and a retired probation officer, on May 8, 2019, in Bellingham. 

Michael Richard Keefe - 1970

Michael Richard Keefe, 75, a U.S. Army Vietnam War veteran who was awarded the Purple Heart and Army Commendation Medal for Heroism, retired from the U.S. Postal Service, on May 1, 2019. 

Karim Alipour Fard - 1971

Karim Alipour Fard, who spent 30 years working at California’s State Council on Developmental Disabilities, on March 18, 2018. 

Sharon Koch - 1971

Sharon Koch, 70, a retired teacher, on April 22, 2019. 

Bill Omaits - 1972

Bill Omaits, 72, a U.S. Army veteran retired from the IRS and a forensic accounting investigator, on Aug. 11, 2018, on Bainbridge Island. 

John Ernest Hoggarth - 1972

John Ernest Hoggarth, a veteran of World War II and the Korean War who served in the U.S. Navy and Air Force, on April 14, 2019, in Bellingham. 

James Wilcox Sr. - 1972

James Wilcox Sr., 72, a U.S. Army veteran who was a teacher and coach at Napavine High School, on March 31, 2018. 

Tam Michael Frank Hutchinson - 1973

Tam Michael Frank Hutchinson, 69, a retired teacher, coach, and athletic director of the Oroville School District, on July 25, 2018, in Seattle. 

Bruce Craig Spencer - 1974

Bruce Craig Spencer, 67, a retired senior vice president at both Bank of America and Financial Pacific Leasing, on April 13, 2017, in Lakewood. 

Irene Lawseth - 1974

Irene Lawseth, 99, a retired special education teacher, on March 30, 2019. 

Beryl Marjorie Kramer - 1974

Beryl Marjorie Kramer, 92, of Gig Harbor, on Aug. 1, 2018.

John Hatzenbiler - 1975

John Hatzenbiler, on April 6, 2018, in Denver. 

John McCartney - 1976

John McCartney, 64, national and world news editor at the Daily Herald in Everett, on Sept. 25, 2018. 

Niki Elofson-Gilbertson - 1976

Niki Elofson-Gilbertson, 68, of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, who worked for Employment Security and the General Assistance program and was adept at river fishing, on May 13, 2019. 

Paul Fritz Schorno - 1976

Paul Fritz Schorno, 66, re-tired general manager for community organizations including Sudden Valley, on Aug. 19, 2018. 

Michael Jon Rasmusson - 1976

Michael Jon Rasmusson, 73, a Vietnam War veteran who went on to have a 30-year career in banking and earn his pilot’s license, on March 23, 2019, in Seattle. 

Virginia Schroeder - 1978

Sister Virginia Schroeder, 74, who taught in Catholic elementary schools in Oregon and later was director of admissions at Mt. Angel Seminary, on March 19, 2019, in Lake Oswego, Oregon. 

Molly Irene Mignon - 1982

Molly Irene Mignon, 83, an author and expert in the study of Mayan culture who led tours of Mayan ruins in Central America, on Feb. 2, 2019. 

Janet Mendel-Hartvig - 1982

Janet Mendel-Hartvig, 58, on Feb. 8, 2018.

Alan Michael Cote - 1982

Alan Michael Cote, 61, former president of the Inland Boatmen’s Union/Marine Division ILWU, on April 5, 2019. 

Scott David Kimmel - 1984

Scott David Kimmel, 57, who worked in the employee benefits industry, on April 3, 2019. 

James R. Holley - 1984

 James R. Holley, 63, on March 25, 2018. 

JoAnne A. Tripp - 1985

JoAnne A. Tripp, 80, a retired case manager for the state of Washington, on March 24, 2019, in Bellingham. 

Raymond Joseph Schultz - 1986

Raymond Joseph Schultz, 62, who worked in computer science and built boats, furniture and musical instruments, on May 27, 2019. 

Sandra Lyn Abley-Salas - 1986

Sandra Lyn Abley-Salas, 65, on April 21, 2019, in Oak Harbor.

Virginia “Ginny” McEvoy - 1987

Virginia “Ginny” McEvoy, 88, on June 3, 2019. 

DeAnn Spratt - 1988

DeAnn Spratt, 59, on April 27, 2018, in Orlando, Florida. 

Rini Ariani Sulaiman - 1989

Rini Ariani Sulaiman, 57, a longtime Shoreline resident and environmental toxicologist, on April 18, 2019, in Jakarta, Indonesia. 

Joseph Clemens Finkbonner - 1990

Joseph Clemens Finkbonner, 90, a fisher, merchant marine, purse seiner and a founder of the Lummi Aquaculture Project, on May 6, 2019. 

Peggy M. Jones - 1991

Peggy M. Jones, 80, on Nov. 4, 2018, in Bellingham.

Clinton Dean Crumley - 1995

Clinton Dean Crumley, 47, a medical records systems analyst, on May 12, 2019, in Graham. 

Darren Nienaber - 1997

Darren Nienaber, 47, an attorney, writer and environmentalist who worked for King and Mason counties and the city of Olympia and started a non-profit, People and Otters, focused on environ-mental preservation in the Pacific Northwest, on March 18, 2019.

Leslie J. Ward - 1999

Leslie J. Ward, 59, a special education teacher, on April 25, 2019, in Bellingham. 

Nathan Erik Knudson - 2000

Nathan Erik Knudson, 40, on Dec. 16, 2017, in Seattle. 

Melissa Nichole Scott-David - 2002

Melissa Nichole Scott-David, 52, on March 26, 2018. 

Michael Kramer - 2002

Michael Kramer, 40, a captain for San Juan Safaris, on March 26, 2019. 

Carrie Lee Schmitz - 2009

Carrie Lee Schmitz, 67, an early childhood educator, on May 7, 2019, in Vancouver, Washington. 

William Corbin Keep - FAC

William Corbin Keep, 86, a writer, poet, traveler, house builder and fly fisher who taught English literature at Western for 30 years and was president of the Fourth Corner Fly Fishers, on March 5, 2019. 

Richard Lee Francis - FAC

Richard Lee Francis, 89, a professor emeritus of English who taught from 1969 to 1992 and served as chair of WWU's Art Acquisition Committee for 10 years, on May 10, 2019. 

Melvin Gordon Davidson - FAC

Melvin Gordon Davidson, 81, a former physics professor and director of the WWU Computer Center, at WWU from 1967 to 2001, on May 12, 2019. 

Noemi Ban - FRN

Noemi Ban, 96, a Holocaust survivor and former elementary school teacher who later in life became an out-spoken advocate and educator on the horrors of the Holcaust and the enduring power of love and tolerance, on June 7, 2019, in Bellingham. Ban and other Holocaust survivors were a pivotal force in the founding of what is now Western’s Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. 

Irwin J. LeCocq - FRN

Irwin J. LeCocq, 94, a World War II veteran of the Army Air Corps, retired president of People’s Bank, and former member of the WWU Board of Trustees and the Western Foundation board, among many other community leadership roles, on March 14, 2019. 

Kathy Rae Wood - ST

Kathy Rae Wood, 74, a member of WWU’s class of 1989 and a talented artist who worked as a program manager at WWU, for the Faculty Senate and the Science, Math and Technology Education program, on Nov. 19, 2018, in Bellingham. 

Sharon Marie Miller - ST

Sharon Marie Miller, 71, who worked in administrative roles in the English and Music departments as well as the Western Foundation, on May 18, 2019.

Dorothy Ann Lee - ST

Dorothy Ann Lee, 81, who worked in the University Residences office for more than 20 years, on May 17, 2019.

Marie A. Christy - ST

Marie A. Christy, 98, who retired from Western in 1986, on April 3, 2019, in Mount Vernon. 


Brenda Horat - 1985

Larry Hanson and Brenda Horat, ’85, B.A., interior design and merchandising, on Sept. 16, 2017. 

Breanna Carlson - 2011

Breanna Carlson, ’11, B.A., history, and Adam Decker on Oct. 20, 2018, in Yakima. 

Kristina Poffenroth - 2012

William Beyer, ’12, B.A., creative writing, and Kristina Poffenroth, ’12, B.A., creative writing, on May 11, 2019, in Spokane. 

William Beyer - 2012

William Beyer, ’12, B.A., creative writing, and Kristina Poffenroth, ’12, B.A., creative writing, on May 11, 2019, in Spokane. 

Katie VandenBos - 2017

Katie VandenBos, ’17, BAE, language, literature and cultural studies, and Tyler Voight, ’16, communication studies, on June 24, 2018, in Whatcom County.