In Memoriam, Spring 2013

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Dan French 1956  (Obituary)

Dan French 1956 (Obituary)

Dan French ’56, MS ’64 died Nov. 14, 2012, at his home in Indian Wells, Calif. He was 78. A standout three-sport athlete at Pacific in the 1950s and longtime men’s basketball coach and athletic director, French was a member of the Pacific University Athletic Hall of Fame.

During his undergraduate years at Pacific University, French was a four-year letter winner in football, basketball, and track and field, but he especially stood out on the hardwood. He held the Pacific career record for rebounds until 2010 and ranks fifth on Pacific’s all-time scoring list. He was inducted into the NAIA District II Hall of Fame in 1968.

He served two years in the U.S. Marine Corps before starting a teaching and coaching career at Hillsboro High School. In 1960, he became Pacific’s head men’s basketball coach, a position he held for 12 seasons. He led the Badgers to a second-place finish in the Northwest Conference in 1962‑1963, and his 117 wins were the most in school history until 2001‑2002.

He served as Pacific’s director of athletics and chair of the physical education department from 1965 to 1972 and came back to the court in 1982‑1983 as interim coach for 14 games.

He and his wife, Varina, moved to Borrego Springs, Calif., in the late 1980s, where French coached football and worked at Ram’s Hill High School.

He is survived by his wife, Varina Heinrich French, who also served as a Pacific coach and physical education faculty member and holds her own place in the Pacific University Athletic Hall of Fame, as well as by son Daniel V. French and his wife, Hayley; daughter, Laurie Lund and her husband, Kurt; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Ellen Peirce Bump 1940 (Obituary)

Ellen Peirce Bump ’40 died Jan. 21, 2013, at Tuality Community Hospital in Hillsboro. She was 98. She attended Pacific University and earned a degree in social work in 1940. She worked in the law offices of D.D. Bump in Forest Grove, and he encouraged her to study law at Northwestern School of Law, now Lewis & Clark Law School. She passed the bar in 1937 and worked as the only juvenile court worker in Washington County for two years. In 1942, she married Kenneth Allen Bump ‘41 in San Luis Obispo and they returned to Forest Grove where she became a parter in the law firm of Bump, Young and Walker and served as a lawyer for 43 years. She was active in many civic and community groups. She also was a member of the Forest Grove United Methodist Church. She also was a long-time friend and supporter of Pacific University. She is survived by her husband; their son, Daniel and his wife, Kathryn; two grandchildren; two great-grandchildren, and a large extended family. Her family suggested remembrances in her honor be made to Pacific University.

Jay Thomas   (Obituary)

Jay Thomas (Obituary)

Jay Thomas, professor emeritus in the Pacific University School of Professional Psychology, died Sept. 24, 2012. He spent more than 13 years as assistant dean of the School of Professional Psychology and director of the school’s counseling program. He was a dedicated teacher and mentor and helped found Pacific’s master’s degree in counseling. In 2010, he was named Distingiushed University Professor. He received professor emeritus status in Spring 2012, following his retirement.

Leonard W. Gilman 1941 (Obituary)

Leonard W. Gilman ’41 died June 27, 2012, at the age of 94. Gilman is the only football player in history to be selected to the Northwest All Star team four years in a row, and he was honored three times as a “Little All American.” He also was a Golden Gloves boxer, a baseball pitcher, and set track records that still stand today. He entered the U.S. Border Patrol in 1941 as a horse patrol officer, but interrupted his career for World War II, serving as a naval air gunner. After returning to the Border Patrol, he stopped the first hijacking of a commercial jet in the U.S., earning accolades as a national hero and receiving special commendations from President John F. Kennedy. He retired in 1970. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Maxine Gilman ’42. He is survived by his wife, Mary Gayle, sons Lance and Brent, stepson James, four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Pat (Akin) Koenig 1965 (Obituary)

Pat (Akin) Koenig ’65 died Sept. 6, 2012, after struggling with illness for quite some time. At Pacific University, she was a member of the Theta Nu Alpha sorority. She earned a full scholarship at Pacific in the Speech Department for the Debate Team and graduated with a bachelor of arts in speech/speech pathology. She went on to start her own speech therapy business in Seattle. She married Jerry Koenig in 1967 and enjoyed traveling before starting a family. Pat went into residential real estate when their daughter was young and had a successful career for 30 years. She is survived by husband Jerry; daughter Tiffany; and two grandsons.

Rhoda Irene Mills 1939 (Obituary)

Rhoda Irene Mills ’39 died July 25, 2012, at the age of 94. She graduated from Forest Grove High School in 1935 and from Pacific University in 1939. She taught English, French, bookkeeping, girls’ physical education and music at Corbett (Ore.) High School from 1940 to 1942. She took a break from teaching to join the Navy in 1942 in the midst of World War II. She earned the rank of ensign and was assigned to a unit responsible for commissioning warships launching in the Portland and Astoria areas. She was honorably discharged in 1946, but was called back to duty during the Korean War in the 1950s. She remained with the reserves until 1977, when she retired as a lieutenant commander. In the meantime, she earned a master’s degree in education in 1955. She taught business, coached tennis and advised the rally squad for more than 20 years, traveling the world during her summer breaks. When she retired from teaching in 1977, she volunteered for 13 years at the Naval Marine Corps Training Center at Swan Island. She is survived by her nephew and niece, Fred Haney and Kathy Gentemann and their families. The family suggests remembrances be made to Pacific University.

Sara Virginia Lasky 2003  (Obituary)

Sara Virginia Lasky 2003 (Obituary)

Sara Virginia Lasky MAT ’03 died Oct. 11, 2012, at the age of 35, due to a brain tumor. While attending Pacific University, Lasky earned her master’s of arts in teaching. She taught at Brookwood Elementary School and R.A. Brown Middle School in the Hillsboro (Ore.) School District. She also was an accomplished musician who belonged to the Greater Portland Flute Society and the Brooklyn Music Society. She is survived by her parents, grandparents and extended family.

General Comments

Harry E. Therkelsen Sr. '50, MAEd '56

Harry E. Therkelsen Sr. ’50, MAEd ’56 died July 7, 2014, at age 92. Following Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Navy, where he served as a naval aviation navigator in the Pacific theater. Following the war, he moved to Forest Grove to attend Pacific University. He began his 34-year career at Bandon High School, where he taught and coached football. He later taught and coached at Lakeview High School. He and his wife, Helen, moved to California in 1955, and he taught and served as an administrator in the San Mateo Union High School District. He put special focus on students who felt disenfranchised by the traditional curriculum. He retired in 1985 and became more involved with local organizations, including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Knights of Columbus, and Salvation Army. He was a craftsman, wood carver, carpenter, gardener and sports fan. He is survived by his wife; children Harry Jr., Marlene and Laura; and five grandchildren.

William Ray VanderZanden '50

William Ray VanderZanden '50 died Feb. 6, 2015, at age 86. He grew up on a family farm in Banks and attended high school in Forest Grove before earning degrees from Pacific University and the University of Portland. In 1950, he married Eileen Ann Meeuwsen. She preceded him in death in 1990. He spent his career as a chemist at GAF and retired from Bonneville Power Administration as a quality assurance engineer. He enjoyed fishing, spending time with family and friends, working in the garden, and rebuilding antique radios. He is survived by his wife of 22 years, Sharon Katherine (Caputo) VanderZanden; children Susan (and Hoyt) Aden, Ken (and Vicki) VanderZanden, Kevin (and Jessica) VanderZanden, Jan (and Al) Ford, and Mark VanderZanden (and Kirsten Solberg); sister Clara Dickerman; brother Eugene (and Liz) VanderZanden; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Phyllis (Skarsten) Dixon '51, MS '58

Phyllis (Skarsten) Dixon ’51, MS ’58 died Feb. 18, 2015, at age 85. Her father Dr. Marvin O. Skarsten, taught at Pacific for more than two decades, also serving as registrar, director of admissions, and director of the graduate school. Following her own graduation from Pacific, Phyllis moved to Rapid City, where she was Christian education director at First Presbyterian Church. She earned a doctorate in education at Northern Colorado University and returned to South Dakota, where she was a teacher and administrator for 32 years. She also served as an adjunct professor at South Dakota State University and was a committed community volunteer with CASA, Club for Boys, Head Start, YFS and Casey Family Children. She held positions on several local organization boards and received countless honors and awards, including “10 Most Powerful Women in Rapid City” in 1980. She also was an avid amateur actor and a fine musician. She is survived by her son Dr. David (and Peggy) Dixon; grandchildren Danielle (and Andrew) Wolf and Jonathan Dixon; sister Margaret (Peggy) Ann Alexander ’63 (and Bill Alexander ’64); nieces Malinda Alexander ’95 (and Kim Alexander) and their son Liam, and Melissa ’98 (and Blake ’98) Timm and their daughters Sydney and Hannah, as well as a large extended family.

Ray Kangas '51

Ray Kangas '51 died July 18, 2014, at age 87. He served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, then earned his degree in chemistry from Pacific University. He moved to Longview, Wash., in 1951 and worked for Reynolds Metals for 37 years, retiring as chief chemist in 1988. He was a member of the Longview Church of the Nazarene and enjoyed golfing, gardening and spending time with family and friends. He was preceded in death by his brothers, Arve and Everett, and sisters Sylvia and Helen. He is survived by his wife, Shirley; sons Jim (and Diane) Kangas and Greg (and Sandra) Kangas; daughter Julie Kangas; and five grandchildren.

Harriet Lehua (Yost) Wehrli '56

Harriet Lehua (Yost) Wehrli '56 died April 9, 2013, at age 78. After Pacific, she earned a master’s degree from the University of Oregon. She was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Richard H. Wehrli ’56, OD ’57. She is survived by her children Traci Kane, Darci Fersch and Cameron Wehrli; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Myldred J. (Chester) Peldyak '57

Myldred J. (Chester) Peldyak '57 died Nov. 30, 2014, at age 79. She received her bachelor’s in elementary education from Pacific and went on to work as a kindergarten teacher at Visitation School in Verboort and later a fifth-grade teacher in Forest Grove until her retirement in 1991. She married Leon E. Peldyak ’59 on May 12, 1956, and they had three children. Early in their marriage, she worked as a fire watcher for the Forest Grove Fire Department. Following her retirement, she volunteered for the St. Vincent de Paul at St. Anthony’s Parish, where she was a member since 1955. She enjoyed reading, knitting, crocheting, making baskets, and attending craft classes, as well as golfing and traveling. She was preceded in death by her husband. She is survived by her children Leah Peldyak ’85 (and Mark Schmidt), Greg (and Kathy) Peldyak, and Mark Peldyak (and Brandy Roberts); her brother Raymond Chester; and six grandchildren, including Brett Peldyak ’16.

Richard "Dick" Lynn Smith '58

Richard “Dick” Lynn Smith '58 died Nov. 5, 2014, at age 77. He earned a bachelor’s in education from Pacific and went on to teach at Knappa, Forest Grove, and Yamhill-Carlton Union High School. While in Yamhill-Carlton, he taught psychology, career education, history, and social sciences, and he retired as student counselor. He also coached basketball and was athletic director. He met his future wife, Judy Wahlborn, while teaching at Knappa, where she was the high school secretary. They were married in 1960. They returned to Forest Grove when he retired in 1992. Dick loved owning, breeding and showing Appaloosa horses. He enjoyed crossword puzzles, landscape design, gardening, woodworking, golfing, bowling and traveling. He was his granddaughters’ No. 1 fan as they competed in softball, volleyball and basketball. He was preceded in death by his son, Kevin, and a sister. He is survived by his wife; daughter and Vicky (and Bill) Vandomelen; three siblings, Ron (and Susie) Smith, Bob (and Karen) Smith, and Virginia (and Joe) Swanno; brother-in-law Dave Henderson; two granddaughters; and many nieces and nephews.