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Footnotes: In Memoriam

SHELDON ARNETT ’03 died May 14, 2010, at the age of 87, in the crash of his Piper Comanche airplane. Born in Bashaw, Alberta, Canada, he attended a one-room school until high school, when his family moved to the U.S. and settled in Newberg, Oregon. Sheldon went to college for four months before serving in the Army Air Corps as a pilot and flight instructor during World War II. It was to be a lifelong love affair with planes and flying. A year and a half after discharge, he enrolled at Seattle Pacific, stopping just a few credits shy of completing a degree in history to work first in his father’s Ford dealership, then as an ARCO petroleum distributor. Much of the rest of his life was spent in Central and Eastern Oregon where he entered into a variety of business partnerships including gas stations, real estate, and cattle ranches. At the age of 80, via correspondence courses, he completed his degree and was awarded his diploma from SPU — along with fellow graduate and grandson JEREMY JOHNSON ’03. Described as being “larger than life” by family members, Sheldon fished, rode motorcycles and horses, daily read a half dozen newspapers, engaged in political debate, kept up his pilot’s license for more than 60 years, and frequently bought and sold airplanes. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, three children, two stepchildren, 11 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, three sisters, and a brother.

NORMA HERRICK BARNET ’70 died December 10, 2008, at the age of 60. She worked as a drug and alcohol interventionist with Washington state school districts until her death. She is survived by 11 children, including SHANA BARNET ’00.

STEPHEN BATTLES ’69 died December 28, 2009, at the age of 62. Born in Oregon City, Oregon, he attended Cascade College in Portland, Oregon, before completing his studies in education at SPC. He obtained a master’s degree from Portland State University. College tuition came, at least in part, from summers working the forests for his father’s company, Battles Logging. He taught school full-time in Oregon for 31 years and was a substitute teacher for several years beyond that. His sense of humor and caring personality made him a popular teacher. Stephen is survived by his wife, Victoria, his son, and three sisters.

ROY BERGQUIST ’65 died April 23, 2009, at the age of 85. Born in Hoquiam, Washington, he attended Canada’s Prairie Bible Institute for three years and then married his wife, Margaret. They served 16 years together doing mission work on Caribbean islands: primarily in Haiti and Guadeloupe. Because of health issues, the couple left the mission field and Roy enrolled at Seattle Pacific College as a student while also teaching conversational French. After receiving his degree, he spent four years as the resident director of Ashton Hall. During 1962–88, the couple served together in nine different churches that Roy pastored. In retirement, they helped their son, Randy, begin a Seattle church. They moved to Juneau, Alaska, where Roy was associate pastor for another church. It was there that he wrote and published his autobiography. He is survived by daughters BONNIE BERGQUIST SHATTENBERG ’69; GAIL BERGQUIST FOSKET ’78; and JAN BERGQUIST MESDAG CHURCH ’70, ’88; his son, Randy; 26 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.

WILLIAM “BILL” DEMMERT ’61 died January 19, 2010, at the age of 75. Born in Klawock, Alaska, he was of Tlingit and Oglala Sioux heritage. Bill was an educator, friend, mentor, and role model to thousands of Native-American students. This school teacher and graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education helped found the National Indian Education Association. In 1977, he was named Indian Educator of the Year. The first Native American to become Alaska’s commissioner of education, and a member of Bill Clinton’s Education Transition Team, Bill invested the last 26 years of his life teaching at Western Washington University. In 2004, he was presented the SPU Medallion Award for outstanding educational leadership. Most recently, he worked as an international advisor for school reform under the Ministry of Education in Greenland. He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Nora; two sons; two daughters; two brothers, including LEROY “LEE” DEMMERT ’64; a sister; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

HOWARD FORDICE ’47 died November 7, 2009, at the age of 88. Born in Los Angeles, he attended Los Angeles Pacific College before transferring to Seattle Pacific College. World War II interrupted his studies and he became an Army soldier and a recipient of a battlefield commission for combat service on the islands of Peleliu and Angaur in the South Pacific. Married to VIRGINIA GRAHAM FORDICE ’47 three days before shipping out, Howard reunited with his wife 26 months later. Back at SPC, he majored in mathematics and science and graduated with honors. After employment with Great Northern Railroad and Seattle City Light, he became supervisor of communications for both the Seattle fire and police departments. He retired from the City of Seattle as director of general services, having helped develop the 911 emergency system for Seattle and, through his service on several state and federal 911 committees, for other communities throughout the United States. A faithful member of Seattle’s First Free Methodist Church, Howard loved to sing in the choir and the men’s chorus and to share solos with the congregation. A Fellow of SPU, he is survived by his wife of 65 years; two daughters, including CLAUDIA FORDICE TODD ’70; two sons, including DANIEL FORDICE ’70; 10 grandchildren; one great-granddaughter; and one brother.

NARATHIP “SUNNY” KRAISSONGGRAM GARLAND ’77 died January 4, 2010, at the age of 55. A compassionate person and indomitable spirit, the former production supervisor for Adhesa Plate Manufacturing Company in Seattle was considered the cornerstone of her family. Sunny and her husband of 30 years, Jeff, raised three sons.

FREDERICK “FRED” GRIMM JR. ’69 died November 5, 2009, at the age of 62. Born in Tarentum, Pennsylvania, Fred grew up in California. He graduated from Seattle Pacific College with a physical education degree and returned to California to teach at Western Christian School in Azusa, California. He later worked for Lockheed Corporation, but after seven years returned to the classroom at Victor Valley Christian School, which he said was his favorite job.
Fred loved baseball and played on teams throughout his youth, including his college days. After college, he played fast pitch softball and even called home during his honeymoon for the scores of games he missed. Fred also enjoyed backpacking, and he continued to go on weeklong hikes “in God’s country” despite having diabetes. In the summer of 2009, he and his wife, Carol, celebrated 35 years of marriage. Fred was preceded in death by his son, Kevin. He is survived by his wife, two sons, a daughter, three grandchildren, both parents, brother ROGER GRIMM ’71, and two sisters.

JOSEPH “JOE” KEARNEY ’52 died May 5, 2010, at the age of 83. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he was a World War II naval veteran. After military service, Joe completed a degree at Seattle Pacific College, followed by a master’s degree from San Jose State University and a doctorate from the University of Washington. He taught history, coached at the high school level, and became a school principal. Inspired by the coaches in his formative years, he settled on a long-term career as an athletic administrator. He was athletic director at the UW, at Michigan State University, and at Arizona State University, then commissioner of the Western Athletic Conference until his retirement in 1994. Known for setting a high standard in what he did, Joe, for 16 years, served the U.S. Olympic Committee as a committee member and later as its chairman. In 1996 he received the USOC Olympic Torch Award for his work. Joe also assisted in forming new chapters in the Western U.S. for the National Football Foundation. He is survived by his wife, DOROTHEA “DORY” HURST KEARNEY ’50; four daughters, including SHAWN KEARNEY BASSHAM ’82; son; and 11 grandchildren.

JOAN HARTMAN MILLS ’51 died January 31, 2010, at the age of 80. Born in Portus, Kansas, as a child she experienced the hardships of the Dust Bowl. When she was 10, her father sold the remains of the family farm and moved west in search of a better life. Her family settled in California, and she attended college at Seattle Pacific, where she majored in English. Joan earned her teaching credentials and taught elementary school for three years before marriage and motherhood demanded her full-time attention. The family moved to Prosser in Eastern Washington, and eventually she returned to the classroom on a part-time basis. In 1965, Joan returned to full-time teaching and was soon a fixture in the Prosser elementary school until her retirement in 1989. Committed to the Prosser Church of the Nazarene, she taught Sunday school and Good News clubs, and served on the church governing board and in the missions program. She was also a leader in the area’s Christian Women’s Club. Joan enjoyed hosting friends at her home, and in retirement she discovered a love for traveling the world (including Australia, Greece, Israel, New Zealand, Peru, and Turkey). She is survived by Harlan, her husband of 55 years; three daughters; one son; 13 grandchildren; one great-grandchild; two sisters, including DELORES HARTMAN SIMMONS ’51; and two brothers, including ROBERT HARTMAN ’66.

PHYLLIS HEDSTROM PEDERSON ’52 died February 15, 2010, at the age of 79. Born in Tacoma, Washington, she became an accomplished pianist, in the early days exchanging babysitting for piano lessons. A high school valedictorian, she taught piano to local children in her West Seattle home as an adult. Phyllis married her husband, Norman, in September following graduation from SPC. They were married 57 years. The couple had four children and enjoyed family travel to historical sites and national parks in the Western states. A dedicated churchwoman, Phyllis taught Vacation Bible School and Sunday school, served as Sunday School superintendent, and was a leader in Bible Study Fellowship. A skilled knitter, she was a repeat blue ribbon-winner at the Puyallup Fair and her design for a Caribbean pullover sweater was published in a top knitters’ magazine. She is survived by her husband, two daughters, two sons, 15 grandchildren, and a brother.

GRACE BROWNLEE PETERSON ’50 died November 9, 2009, at the age of 81. A retired Evangelical Covenant Church missionary, she and her husband, Leonard, served in Japan for 38 years and retired in 1993. Her ministry responsibilities were to teach English classes and Bible studies, conduct weeknight meetings to establish a new church, and serve on the board of directors of the Christian Academy of Japan. The Academy is a K–12 school providing Christ-centered education to the children of evangelical missionaries. Grace was predeceased by her husband.

VIRGINIA HANSEN RIGGS ’56 died December 20, 2009, at the age of 76. Born in South Dakota, she was the first woman in her family to go to college. Virginia married ROBERT “BOB” RIGGS ’56, who was both principal of Redmond (Oregon) High School and for 10 years the mayor of Redmond. A member of the Oregon Arts Commission, Virginia started playing the cello in fourth grade and also played piano. She went on to be the principal cellist with the Central Oregon Symphony for more than 30 years. She also played in the Dove String Quartet, a local group that performed in hundreds of weddings and at other events. Not only did she love music, but Virginia was also dedicated to providing arts opportunities for children and was known as the top cello teacher in the area. Friends and colleagues in Virginia’s musical community remember her as a person with quiet strength and a giving spirit, and as “someone who always had something good to say.” She is survived by her husband, daughter, son, and four grandchildren.

MARGARET FARIS SCHAAD ’46 died February 15, 2010, at the age of 88. Born in Boise, Idaho, she was primarily raised in Spokane and Seattle. Margaret attended Seattle Pacific College and worked at Swedish Hospital to obtain her nursing credentials. For 40 years, she and her husband, Loyd, were United Methodist missionaries in Angola and Botswana. Among her experiences, Margaret worked in a hospital, trained other nurses, and raised her six children, most of whom she home-schooled through grade school. She is survived by her husband, three daughters, three sons, and 10 grandchildren.

SANDRA “SANDY” SMITH ’70 died December 17, 2009, at the age of 61. She began her classroom career teaching high school English, French, history, speech, and special education. Named the 2008 Secondary Educator of the Year by the Washington Alternative Learning Association, she was a gifted and caring person who missed just one day in 38 years of teaching — and that because of a snow day. Much of Sandy’s career was spent in Sequim, Washington, where she helped students who struggled with schoolwork. She often kept tabs on her students long after they left the public school system. Sandy devoted five years at the middle-school level to running the Title 1 program, helping economically disadvantaged students meet educational goals. She initiated Project Paper, a citywide, paper-recycling program that was run for eight years by Sequim special education students. Snap, an ongoing program for the developmentally disabled, was partly her brainchild. Sandy’s notoriety extended to her home, a cabin adjacent to the Olympic National Forest that was run on solar power and other alternative energy sources. For the last nine years of her career, she worked at the Sequim Community Schools’ alternative high school, teaching environmental science and geography. At the time of her death, she was newsletter editor for the Admiralty Audubon chapter and held a doctorate in the genetics of learning disabilities from The Union Institute in Cincinnati. 

MARYAM RASSOULIAN STALL ’99 died April 11, 2009, at the age of 32. Born in Tehran, Iran, she was diagnosed with lupus after graduating from high school. In spite of this, Maryam was determined to pursue the career of her dreams: nursing. She worked hard in the SPU nursing program and as a nurse at the University of Washington Medical Center. On some days her pain was so severe that her father would have to tie her shoes before work. Despite the challenges, she earned a master’s degree in nursing from UW and hoped to one day educate future nurses. Maryam embraced life and enjoyed many activities, including travel, snow skiing, crocheting, beading, attending church, calligraphy, pottery, photography, reading, and spending time with family and friends. She died at the same medical center where she had cared for so many. Maryam is survived by her husband, Jeffrey; her parents; and her sister.

ROLLAND THOMPSON CC ’33 died October 22, 2009, at the age of 100. A retired minister, he was well known in Great Falls, Montana, and its surrounding area. Rolland is survived by his wife, Constance.

JOHN TRIPP, M.ED. ’90, died May 6, 2010, of cancer at the age of 53. A long-time science teacher at Eastlake High School in at Sammamish, Washington, he earned undergraduate degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering from the University of Washington. In a letter to the community, the Eastlake faculty wrote that John “loved teaching biology and chemistry because it allowed him to share with his students the wonder and awe he felt about the world around him.” He also taught math, physics, and material science. John’s other joys included sailing, cultivating a vegetable garden, and not being idle. He enjoyed his family and played guitar, trombone, and piano. He often worked nights and weekends to prepare for class and even after chemotherapy and radiation treatments, returned to teach as long as he was able. More than 1,700 people joined the Facebook page created in his memory and a school assembly was held in honor of John and his legacy of passionate teaching. He is survived by his wife, Terry, and his three children.

EVELYN DANIELSON YOUNGREN ’35 died November 13, 2009, at the age of 94. Born in Gladstone, North Dakota, she grew up in Tacoma, Washington, and became a long-time resident of Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill. After graduating from Seattle Pacific College, Evelyn taught grades K–8 at a one-room country school. Her deep faith in God was demonstrated in the unselfish way she invested in church, community, and family. Gifted in sewing and cooking, she also counted jelly beans and chocolate among her favorite things. Evelyn was preceded in death by Wilbert, her husband of 66 years; and by one daughter, four sisters, and her brother. She is survived by two daughters, including MYRNA YOUNGREN CAPP ’59; two sons, including JAMES YOUNGREN ’65; 14 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.