In Memoriam

We remember friends and alumni who have passed.


Pacific University Trustee Benjamin Whiteley, Hon. ’01, died May 4, 2017, at age 87. He was a longtime Portland business, civic and philanthropy leader who retired as chairman and chief executive officer of The Standard insurance company. He joined the Pacific University Board of Trustees in 1981 and served as chair from 1986 to 1991, when he was awarded the Harvey Clark Medal at Pacific. He also received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Pacific in 2001. He and his wife created the Ben and Elaine Whiteley Distinguished Lectureship in 2000 to bring well-known experts to campus each year. In 2016, they were honored with the Vollum Award for Lifetime Philanthropic Achievement from the Association
of Fundraising Professionals.

Pamela Kofstad died Oct. 5, 2016. She served many years as an administrative assistant at Pacific University. She is survived by her husband, Harvey; children, Kelly Kielian and Dustin Kofstad; stepchildren, Angela, Kevin and Steven Kofstad; parents, George and Georgia; siblings, Mike Griffin, Ed Griffin and Sandra Danchok; and 13 grandchildren.


George W. Horner died Jan. 25, 2017, at age 96. A football scholarship brought him to Pacific, where he studied math and played the trombone, carrying on a family tradition of music. He married Jean Gordon ’44, MS ’52 in 1944, before he went overseas to serve in World War II. Jean taught at Pacific, and George joined her after the war, managing programs, coaching sports, fundraising, and building facilities. He was an active member of the Forest Grove United Church of Christ and the Forest Grove Rotary Noon Club. He also was a longtime singer in the Rythmaires Quartet, the Gleemen and the UCC Choir. He was preceded in death by brothers David and Howard. He is survived by his children Douglas (and Donna) Horner and David (and Cheryl) Horner; grandchildren Christopher (and Kristi) Horner and Lisa Horner; three great-grandchildren; and an extended family.

Robert G. Sagar died Aug. 24, 2016. He attended Forest Grove High School then Pacific University, before his education was interrupted by three years of service in the U.S. Army. He spent 37 years with the Forest Grove Post Office, as a city letter carrier, clerk, assistant postmaster and postmaster, retiring in 1984. He also worked at Carlton Nursery for several years. He was a longtime member of the Forest Grove Congregational Church, Elks, American Legion and Kiwanis and Masonic Lodge. He enjoyed the outdoors, stamp and coin collecting, and traveling. He was preceded in death by wife, Gwen, and son, Gary. He is survived by his daughter, Karla Baxter; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.


Robert Holmes ’50, OD ’51 died Jan. 24, 2017, at age 89. He served in the U.S. Navy in Guam in World War II. He was a member of the American Optometric Society for 46 years, serving on contact lens and education committees in the 1980s, and worked with the Bellingham Central Lions Club. He also was a member of Central Lutheran Church and St. John’s Lutheran Church. He was an avid salmon fisherman and golfer who loved family outings, cruises, and playing cards. He was preceded in death by his wife, Marge. He is survived by his children, Patricia Lawson, Dori (and Bob) Sagen, Sally (and Steve) Frease, Denis ’82, OD ’84 (and Sandra) Holmes, and Jill (and Don) Hoyt; nine grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and an extended family.

Max E. Post ’50, OD ’50 died June 23, 2016. He spent his professional life as a hometown eye doctor in Sutherlin, Wash. He married Muriel Reitan in 1952. He was active in the Lions Club and Jaycees, and he loved fishing, hunting, golfing and camping. He is survived by his children, Mark (and Bobbie) Post, Colleen (and Scott) Loucks, Patty (and Tim) Gray, and Mike (and Trina) Post; 13 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Lyle S. Sanders died Sept. 7, 2016. He was a meat cutter and later worked in the timber industry and as a certified tax accountant. He was an avid fly fisherman, gardener, clam-digger, skier, hiker, water-skier, golfer, wine-maker, comedian, politician, hero and teacher. He is survived by his wife, Donna Sanders; daughter, Candia Sanders; two grandsons; and sister, Alene Winnett.

C. Wayne Tate ’50, MA ’60 died Nov. 11, 2016. He served in the U.S. Navy in the Central Pacific before attending college. He made ends meet as a barber and photographer. He taught high school in Massachusetts and Oregon before eventually becoming a self-proclaimed “housewife,” enjoying woodworking and his family. He is survived by his wife, Jean; sister, June; children, Susan (and David) and Bob (and Sharon); five grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.


Lynn Eastman Abraham died March 13, 2017, at age 89. He joined the Navy at age 17. He later went on to work as an independent log truck driver before opening a diesel repair shop in his home in the 1980s. He was active in the Oregon Log Truckers Association, Toledo Elks Lodge, American Legion Mary’s River Post 100, Philomath Lion’s Club and Pacific University Alumni Association. He was preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Ruth Eileen Scholl; son Randy; and infant daughter Laraine. He is survived by daughters Lynda (and Mark) Rowley and Lori (and Larry) Sleeman; six grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; brother Robert (and Melinda) Abraham; and an extended family.

Robert Butler died April 6, 2017, at age 88. He played football and earned a degree in education at Pacific. He married Dorothy Irvin in April 1951 and was then drafted in the U.S. Marine Corps, stationed in Hawai‘i. He went on to teach and coach at Lowell High School before becoming the high school principal and then school district superintendent. He later moved to Cottage Grove, where he was vice principal and then worked in the counseling department, retiring in 1985.

Eugene B. Chernick ’51, OD ’52 died March 23, 2017, at age 87. He served in the Army and then went on to practice optometry in Portland, Elko, Nev., and Vancouver, Wash., before retiring. He enjoyed boating, flying, spelunking and travel. He also volunteered with the Clark County (Wash.) Sheriff’s Department. He was preceded in death by daughter Lisa Jill Chernick. He is survived by his wife Coral; children Jeffrey Allyn Rudd, Joel Dean Chernick, James Robert Worcester, and April Uravich; and two grandchildren.


Josephine M. Bausch-Hammergren died March 17, 2017. She was a source of inspiration, acceptance and laughter in the lives of her family and friends. She is survived by her husband, Carl; children Becky, Greg, Jill, Daniel and Peg; and seven grandchildren.

William “Bill” Hilliard ’52, Hon. ’81 died Jan. 16, 2017, at age 89. Once denied a paper route for The Oregonian because of his race, Hilliard was the first black editor of the statewide newspaper and a pioneer for minorities in journalism. After graduating from Benson High School in Portland, Hilliard served in the Navy. He studied journalism at Vanport College, then transferred to the University of Oregon, where he was told  he was “wasting his time.” He transferred to Pacific, where he earned his degree in journalism. Following graduation, however, he struggled to find a job in his field, working as a redcap at Union Station and starting his own weekly newspaper covering Portland’s black community. He got his foot in the door as a copy boy at The Oregonian and worked his way up the ranks, always making news as the first black person to hold each new position. He is survived by his spouse, Dian; son, Abdur-Razzaque; daughters, Linda and Sandra; sisters, Juliet and Dorothy; and two granddaughters.

Jack L. Payne ’52, OD ’53 died Jan. 2, 2017. He served three years in the Air Force, before establishing his optometric practice in Lewistown, Mont. He retired to Mesa, Ariz., after 38 years of practice, and later moved to Oak Park Heights, Minn., to be near family. He enjoyed directing and singing in barbershop quartets. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Marlene; children, Jon (and Meg), David (and Candace), Tracie (and Donna) and Terri Clarke (and Reg); five grandchildren and one great-grandson.

Jack Reid ’52, OD ’53 died Sept. 10, 2016, at age 87. He established Island Optometry Practice in Anacortes, Wash., and spent 29 years practicing. During that time, he served as president of the Washington State Board of Optometry and the National Optometric Academy Board of Examiners. He established many techniques for visual therapy and was a Fellow in the American Academy of Optometry. He and his wife, Verna, were on the original board that established the Arts & Crafts Festival in Anacortes and were active in the arts scene. They also loved golf, gourmet cooking, clam digging and snorkeling. He was preceded in death by his wife. He is survived by daughter Lesli (and Mark) Stone.

James Milton Sunderland died March 28, 2017, at age 90. He enlisted in the U.S. Merchant Marines in 1945 and later served in the U.S. Army. After his service, he attended Pacific on the GI Bill. He married Patricia Shaw in 1954, and the couple had three children. In 1965, he married Nedra Hardenbrook and had two sons. He served the Portland Fire Department for 32 years, retiring as a lieutenant and inspector of all Portland schools. He taught Sunday School, volunteered with the Boys Club, CEF and Craftsmen for Christ. He is survived by brother John; wife Nedra; children Sara (and Jim), Steven (and Cheryl), Pamela (and Andreas), Paul (and Teresa), and Perry (and Michelle); 13 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.


Marlin L. Utterback died June 1, 2016, at age 84. He earned a teaching degree in business education at Pacific, then began his teaching career at Newport High School. He retired in 1992 following 27 years at the school. In his retirement, he enjoyed painting, gardening, traveling and proving his luck at the casino. He is survived by his wife Barbara Utterback; daughter, Terri Silkett; son, Matthew Utterback; and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


Joan (Marcy) Heurich died Sept. 1, 2016. She was 81. She taught school and also was employed with the Oneida County (Wisc.) Social Services Department and Headwaters Regional Achievement Center. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church, United Methodist Women, and several boards within the church. She enjoyed reading, writing poetry and short stories, sewing and cooking. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Heurich, and brother, Richard Marcy. She is survived by her children, Bruce (and Donita) Heurich and Barbara (and Jeffrey) Skochil; four grandchildren; and one great-grandson.


Marvin “Gary” Connor died Dec. 29, 2016, at age 82. He attended Pacific on scholarships in football, basketball and track while studying physical education. He taught and later became principal at Thurston Junior High School, and later worked at Hamlin and Briggs middle schools while also earning a master’s in education. He was a member of Hope Lutheran Church. He is survived by his wife, Roxanne; children, Jeffrey, Annette (and Daniel), Steven (and Esther), Michelle (and Willy) and Jason (and Christy); and 16 grandchildren.

Lawrence H. Garfield ’57, OD ’58 died Dec. 26, 2016, at age 85. After just two dates and 13 days, he married Leanne Marble on Sept. 1, 1951. She preceded him in death in Feb. 2006. In May 2007, he married Anne Jensen. He is survived by his wife, as well as children Kameron Lane, Keri Elizabeth, James Adam and Marilyn Lopez (through the LDS church’s Indian Placement Program).

Richard G. Hobart died March 5, 2017, at age 85. He practiced optometry for 52 years in the Binghamton, N.Y., area and owned Hobart Stone Dealers Inc., a company he started at age 14, as well as Finger Lakes Stone Inc. He enjoyed off-shore power boat racing, wooden boats, and spending time with friends and family. He served in many organizations, including the American Optometric Society, where he was named Optometrist of the Year. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Margaret “Margy” O’Loughlin Hobart; children Meg Hobart, Bridgette (and Bob) Hobart Janeczko, and James F. (and Kimberly Collins) Hobart; two grandchildren; and an extended family.


Catharine S. Ruch died April 1, 2016, at age 86. She taught kindergarten, was a home and hospital teacher and substitute taught while raising her family. She was a leader in the PTA, Muir Trail Girl Scout Council, Modesto Community Concert Association, and AAUA. She was awarded Stanislaus County Woman of the Year in 1991. She was preceded in death by her siblings Harry Shepard and Mary Louise Quayle and grandson Justin Ruch. She is survived by her husband Wallace H. Ruch Jr ’57, OD ’58; children, Wallace III (and Kathi) Ruch, Stephen (and Kathlene) Ruch, John (and Leah) Ruch, Elizabeth (and Dave) Gates, Louise (and Anthony) Wortham, and Mary (and David) Cline; 17 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.


Ernest “Ernie” Drake died Dec. 22, 2016, at age 78. He earned a master’s degree from Virginia State University in 1971. He started his teaching career in Tillamook before moving to Fairfield, Calif., where he taught science, coached baseball and headed the science department at Armijo High School for more than 20 years. Upon retirement, he was the third longest-serving teacher in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District. He was preceded in death by his sister Patricia, brother Robert and grandson Fernando Bega. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Darlene; sister Dolores; children Kathy Lambrecht, Becky Bega and Scott Drake; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Rodney Alva Heater ’60, OD ’61 known as “Doc Rod,” died Feb. 4, 2017, at age 84. He served in the U.S. Army, where he met his “forever sweetheart” Elizabeth Susan Riddlemoser, whom he married in 1957. He remained in the Army National Guard as he completed his optometry degree at Pacific. In 1961, he opened a practice in Payette, Idaho. He was president of the Idaho Optometric Association in 1975-76 and was Optometrist of the Year in 1982. He also was a longtime member of the Kiwanis and Elks. He had a passion for people and always took his time with his patients. He also developed an early love of music, and his favorite instrument was the trombone. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Elizabeth; children Ann Elizabeth Heater and Bradley Regan Heater; and an extended family.

Delton G. LaRue died July 23, 2016, at age 78. After Pacific, he begin his teaching career at Lostine High School. He went on to teach in Wallowa, Fossil and Ione, Ore., before retiring in 1997. After retirement, he and his wife, Linda, stayed in Ione but wintered in Arizona. He always returned in time for track season, though, and he continued coaching the track program until 2009, earning the title of National Girls Track Coach of the Year in 2003. He is survived by his wife, Linda; children, Robin (and Melissa) LaRue, Shawn (and Denise) LaRue, and Michelle (and Jerry) Buczynski; nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.


Duane A. Plyter died June 28, 2016, at age 76. He was a lifelong educator in Milton-Freewater, Ore. He is survived by his wife, Joyce Plyter; son, John Plyter; and sister Sandra Bowser.

Don “Doc” Corlis West died Feb. 13, 2017, at age 93. He served one enlistment in the U.S. Army during World War II. Following his honorable discharge, he married Jean Ellen Wahl and they later moved to Forest Grove, where he served as a professor of optometry at Pacific for more than 30 years. He was a member of the American Legion, Elks and VFW, and he enjoyed traveling the world. He was preceded in death by his wife. He is survived by children Roger West and Andrea George; brothers and sisters-in law, Jack and Ruth West and Lynn and Ann West; and two grandchildren.


Robert E.V. Black ’66, OD ’67 died July 31, 2016, at age 72. As a young boy, he wrote and printed a local newspaper that he sold for a profit and ran businesses raising rabbits and taking photographs. After Pacific, he opened a practice in Seattle. Among the highlights of that time was attending Sonics games as the team optometrist. He was drafted into the Navy and served at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in California, where he became a specialist in contact lenses. His family later settled in Bremerton, Wash., where he led a successful career. He served in leadership positions with the Kitsap Optometric Association, Washington Optometric Association, Bremerton Kiwanis, and Canterwood Golf & Country Club. He is survived by his wife, Nancy; children, Dean (and Heather), Bryan, Carrie (and Darryl); and four grandchildren.


Sally (Jean) Dalton died Nov. 23, 2016, age 70 at her home in San Francisco. She is survived by her husband, Peter Gochis, and many friends.

Tom Zyp died Sept. 1, 2016, at age 70. He taught special education in the Hillsboro School District for more than 30 years. He directed Special Olympics in Washington County in its beginning years and was active in baseball, basketball and bowling at Pacific. He also enjoyed refereeing basketball and umpiring softball. He is survived by his wife, Janice Kiyota; children Cathleen and Scott. He was able to spend time with new grandson Wally and was looking forward to meeting a granddaughter on the way.


William H. Hance died Sept. 24, 2016, at age 67. He studied early childhood and elementary education at Pacific and spent nearly 40 years working in daycare and early childhood settings. He was fond of hiking and trekked the Pacific Crest Trail in the 1970s. He also volunteered with Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, performed in community theatre productions; and assumed the role of Santa seasonally. He is survived by his niece, Faith (and Travis) Branson; nephew KC (and Charleene) Poissot; and an extended family.


William Gambill died Sept. 3, 2016, at age 64. He played football at Pacific and later established Bill Gambill Construction. He coached his children in sports and served as president of Lincoln Youth Football and co-president of Tualatin Valley Youth Football in the early 2000s. He played in a band for more than three decades. He is survived by his partner, Jane Crawford; and sons, Benjamin and Garrett.


Edward Worthen ’77, OD ’79 died Dec. 4, 2016, at age 62. He attended Washington State University before studying optometry at Pacific. Following graduation, he married the love of his life, Connie. In 1981, he joined the Gig Harbor Vision Center practice. He devoted his life to service through the Rotary Club, Volunteer Optometric Service to Humanity, Girl Scouts, and Peninsula Schools Education Foundation, as well as to his family. He is survived by his wife, Connie; daughter Diana (and Cody Berne); son David (and Ali Gillespie); sisters Helen (and Jack Jones) and Kathy (and Bill Heinecke); and an extended family.


Lori Kirschenmann ’81, OD ’83 died Feb. 7, 2017, at age 59. She knew at an early age that she wanted to be an optometrist and, after studying at Pacific, spent most of her career in the Twin Cities. She was an active member in the Brooklyn United Methodist Church and Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity, where she participated in many trips to bring free eye care to remote parts of the world. She was preceded in death by her father, Ray. She is survived by her mother Maxine; sisters Jean (and Joel Bradshaw) and Donna; and an extended family.


Toshihiko Murata died Oct. 12, 2016, at age 53. He was born and raised in Japan and first came to the United States in 1981 to participate in the World Peace March, where he met his future wife, Mary Jane Bagwell. He published his account of the 8 ½-month trek in I Walked 7,000 Kilometers Across America. He later returned to Oregon to attend Pacific. He earned a doctorate at the University of Oregon and worked for Blue Mountain Community College, Oregon Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development, Northwest Survey and Data Services, and the University of Oregon. He was a talented artist, studied horticulture, and enjoyed running, cycling, reading and writing poetry. He is survived by his wife and extended family.


David A. Corey died Nov. 11, 2016, at age 45. After Pacific, he worked for Alaska Wildland Adventures. He experienced a spinal cord injury in 1995, following an ATV accident, and returned to the family farm near Beavercreek, Ore. He loved the outdoors, whitewater boating, camping, hiking and fishing, as well as travel and music. He was preceded in death by his mother, Shirley. He is survived by his partner, Susan Shird; father Randall Corey ’66, OD ’67; stepmother, Joanne Nichols Corey; and brother, Randall Keith Corey Jr. Memorial donations can be made in his honor to the Shirley Corey Memorial Children’s Fund at Pacific, which provides eye care to indigent children.


Lenore Ribera died April 26, 2017. She was a psychology major at Pacific and a beloved student and colleague of many in the social sciences. She was working at the Albertina Kerr Subacute program in Greshman and had recently written to share how much she loved using what she had learned to help the students she served. Friends remember her spontaneity, spunk, drive and love of adventure.

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