SAMUEL BACKMAN '58 died on April 7, 1997, in an auto accident. He was 64. Samuel served for 33 years as a missionary in Brazil, where he founded seven churches along the Amazon River. He retired from missions in 1988 and became associate pastor of First Baptist Church in Northville, Michigan. He is survived by his wife, Shirley; his parents; three children; and five grandchildren.
DAVID COHAGAN '59 died August 13, 1997, of a sudden heart attack at the age of 60. A former elementary school teacher in California and Japan, he spent the last 13 years of his life in Germany serving as an educational counselor for the U.S. Army. David is survived by sisters, ELOINE BECKWITH '40 and DONNA COHAGAN '54; and his brother, MARVIN COHAGAN '48. Their father, DAVID A. COHAGAN, graduated from SPC in 1922.
RALPH CROMWELL '50 died September 3, 1997, of complications from heart surgery. He was 70 years old. After graduating from SPC in physics, Ralph earned a master's degree at the University of Washington and worked for 15 years at the UW Applied Physics Laboratory. He became a favorite with students at Washington's Mercer Island High School, where he taught math, physics and electricity from 1969 until his retirement in 1985. Ralph was a familiar figure practicing takeoffs and landings at airstrips around the Puget Sound, and driving his 1954 green jeep on Queen Anne Hill. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Jeanne; his sons RALPH CROMWELL JR. '73 and ROBERT CROMWELL '76; his daughter, LAURIE CROMWELL '82; and two grandchildren.
GRACE GLANCY HALL ARMSTRONG HARRINGTON '25 died December 4, 1997, three days shy of her 93rd birthday. After graduating from Seattle Pacific's normal school in 1925, Grace married Glen Hall and the couple settled in Seattle, where they were active in the Green Lake (Lakeview) Free Methodist Church. Grace worked until her retirement in 1969 as a teacher and state employee. After her husband's death, Grace moved to the Warm Beach Senior Community in Stanwood, Washington, in 1979. There she re-married twice, surviving both husbands. Grace was proud that her three sons (and their spouses), and eight of nine grandchildren all attended or graduated from SPU. Her 11 great-grandchildren have yet to enter college.
DIANE MURRAY '78 died on July 16, 1997, after a long series of serious health problems. She was 43. A registered nurse for 20 years, she worked at West Seattle General Hospital and Providence Seattle Medical Center, as well as some area clinics. Her free time was devoted to family, friends, church activities, theatre, art, music and literature. Diane is survived by her parents, a brother and three nephews.
EDWARD SKUDLER '51 died on November 20, 1997, at the age of 73, from bone marrow cancer. A member of General Douglas MacArthur's Honor Guard in Japan, Ed returned to that country to serve as a missionary for seven years. He later pastored Free Methodist churches in Idaho and Washington, and worked at Boeing in Seattle for 11 years. Ed's wife of 46 years, LORRAINE WILSON SKUDLER '52, and three of their seven daughters -- NAOMI SKUDLER '74, JEANNE SKUDLER SAN-DUSKY '76 and MARJORIE SKUDLER DELAPP '78 -- attended SPU. He is survived by Lorraine, his seven daughters and three grandchildren.
LESLIE WHITEHEAD '47, former SPU trustee, died on November 19, 1997, of cancer. He was 75. During his career as a Free Methodist pastor, Les served several churches and held the position of superintendent of the Pacific Northwest Conference of the Free Methodist Church. He was a missionary to the Philippines for one year and served on the SPU Board of Trustees for more than 10 years. Les is survived by his wife of 51 years, ESTHER MYERS WHITEHEAD '46; one daughter; two sons, including MATTHEW WHITEHEAD '79; and nine grandchildren.