In Memoriam

Remembering Tom Holce '59, '93; Don Iverson '59; Dr. Roy Clunes and other Pacific graduates.

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Donald Iverson (Courtesy Photo)

Donald Iverson 1959 (Obituary)

Don “Ivy” Iverson passed away Feb. 14 after battling a brain tumor. He was 74. Iverson was a teacher, basketball coach and later a vice principal for Vancouver, Wa. schools. After starring in basketball and football at Vancouver High, he was offered scholarships from three colleges, but chose Pacific in 1954. He played football for the then-Badgers, earning all conference honors, and was scouted by the Baltimore Colts. He loved golf, his fully-restored blue 1967 Ford Mustang and sailing. He was also quite the storyteller. A favorite was how football teammate Tommy Thompson rushed in so fast on one play that he intercepted the other team’s hiked football and ran it in for a touchdown. Another story involved an eerie happening at Knight Hall where his fraternity was housed. Late one night he was awakened by the opening of a squeaky door and footsteps proceeding up the stairs. The footsteps continued up into the room, but with no visible owner. Don had just encountered Vera the ghost!

Dr. Roy Clunes (Courtesy Photo)

Dr. Roy Clunes (Obituary)

Dr. Roy Clunes, One of the key contributors to the founding of the College of Optometry, Dr. Clunes died May 27 at age 93.

Born June 5, 1916 in Scotland, Clunes immigrated to the United States in 1937 and graduated from North Pacific College of Optometry in 1939. Clunes and two other optometrists purchased the college in 1941.In 1945, the college merged with Pacific University.

Clunes joined the U.S. Navy and became a U.S. citizen during World War II. In 1941 he married Helen, who passed away three months prior to his death. He served on Pacific’s Board of Trustees from 1956 to 1974, then was an honorary trustee. He also served ten years as a clinical contact lens instructor. Clunes practiced optometry for almost 50 years, first in Albany, Ore., then in Corvallis, Ore. He traveled many times for eye care projects with the Christian Medical Society and was a contributor and member of many professional optometric associations.

Thomas Holce (Courtesy Photo)

Thomas Holce (Obituary)

1959, Honorary Degree 1993

Thomas Jefferson Holce

Tom Holce, one of Oregon’s leading technology entrepreneurs, died July 14 at his Jantzen Beach home after a long battle with cancer. He was 81.

Holce, who grew up in a logging family in Mist, Ore., was a key figure in the growth of Pacific. He served on the Board of Trustees from 1983 to 1992 and was the group’s chairperson from 1991 to 1992. He served on all the Board’s subcommittees and led the University’s first comprehensive capital campaign, which ended in 1993 after raising $24 million.

Over the years, he gave well over $1.5 million to the University. Holce came to Pacific after a stint in the Air Force at the recommendation of his first wife Joyce, who preceded him in death in 1992. Although a self-described poor student in high school, at Pacific he quickly blossomed into a top student in math and physics. While still at Pacific, he began work on an electron microscope in his Forest Grove garage that was the genesis of his first company, Pacific Instruments. He later sold the instrument to Doug Strain and Electro Scientific Industries, and went on to found several more technology firms and record over 20 patents.

Holce is survived by his spouse, Gretchen Holce; sister, Irene Jones; half-brother, Robert Mathews; son, Kent Holce; daughter, Tonya Holce-Owens; stepsons, Mark and Ryan Griffin; stepdaughter, Heidi Griffin; and seven grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Joyce; and brother, Wilfred.

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.