Response Online


Footnotes: News

To submit a Footnotes item, visit Response Contact or email We print items we receive in the first available issue.

1950s & 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s


AMY BOWEN WESTER, MARIAN ANDERSON, MARGARET VALLEY RAYBURN, CAROL HUNTER TAYLOR, and AUDREY TJEPKEMA THORSEN celebrated the 60-year anniversary since these SPC students, along with a group of students from the University of Washington, made up the Basic 6 nursing class of the Swedish Hospital School of Nursing 1949–51. The longtime friends also attended the SPC Class of 1951 50-year reunion in June 2001, and their Basic 6 nursing class reunion in September 2001.


HARLAND BEERY at 79 is active on the board of Washington’s Kitsap (County) Athletic Roundtable and writes most of the program for the annual Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame banquet. The
veteran sports writer, for 33 years secretary of the Seattle Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America, serves on the missions committee of Sylvan Way Baptist Church near his home in Silverdale, Washington. One of the first two official scorers for the Seattle Mariners, Harland was the first coordinator of the Seattle Chapter of Baseball Chapel, a Christian outreach to Major League ball players.


ALLEN TURNER lives in the Andes Mountains of southern Ecuador, where he teaches English to the neighboring campesinos (farmers). He maintains a small farm of his own called Hacienda Amistad, where he grows coffee, mangoes, citrus, bananas, and tilapia. The former anthropologist and attorney for Indian tribes of the Western U.S. sends special greetings to his classmates.


GARRY MORGAN is director of global initiatives at Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he has taught for the past 12 years. He has general oversight of faculty and student exchanges with overseas universities, semester abroad opportunities, and international students. He will continue to teach on a half-time basis. Garry lives in Minneapolis.


DEAN SUZUKI is an associate professor at San Francisco State University. He credits SPU and the late Professor Carl Reed, “my most ardent champion, advocate, and mentor,” for helping him build a solid foundation in music history, Dean’s area of specialty. He and his family live in San
Leandro, California.


Pulling Out All the Stops

Organist Heard at Thousands of Weddings

Jo Ann Stremler ’78 keeps a record of all the weddings at which she’s ever performed — 3,611 to be exact. “I also write a personal note about the event, whether they had an interesting flower arrangement, or if I liked the wedding dress,” says Jo Ann, who has been playing the organ for 42 years.

Growing up in Lynden, Washington, she developed a love and talent for music at a young age. “I started with the piano, but then moved on to the organ because it seemed interesting,” she says. Soon her talent for the unique instrument surpassed the knowledge of her teacher, and she began studying with Claire Vander Griend Thomas, a fellow Lynden native and prominent
accompanist in New York City.

Jo Ann went on to Seattle Pacific University to earn her bachelor’s degree in organ performance, and even lent her talents to First Free Methodist Church, adjacent to campus.

Jo Ann has worked at Seattle’s University Presbyterian Church for the past 22 years as their organist, playing during the traditional music services every Sunday on one of the largest pipe organs west of the Mississippi. “I feel lucky to do what I love, and will continue to play the organ until I’m no longer able,” she says.

One of Jo Ann’s favorite memories over the years has been the opportunity to travel as an accompanist for the Northwest Girlchoir. “We were touring Versailles when I asked if I could play the organ in the palace’s chapel. At first I was nervous, but once I started playing, it sounded so heavenly.” -Allie Fraley


MARTIN BARRETT cofounded Sozo Friends LLC in 2010 with the vision of using world-class wine as a tool to develop a community that serves the poor. Sozo wines, crafted by Sozo winemaker Cheryl Jones, have won Best of Class and multiple gold medals at the most prestigious wine competitions. In the first year alone, Sozo was welcomed onto the wine lists of 55 Seattle restaurants due to the quality of the wine. “We do not believe anyone should drink bad wine to do a good thing,” says Martin. Sozo partners with local food banks and organizations overseas to provide meals for those in need. Martin and his wife, BETH BARRETT, reside in Burien, Washington.


PAUL ABBOTT M.A. ’90 is principal at Coyote Ridge Elementary School in Glendale, Arizona. He taught in the South Kitsap (Washington) School District for more than 20 years and served as director of technology and then as a principal in Ellensburg, Washington. A former coach of youth soccer, baseball, and basketball in Washington state, Paul has long been active in giving back to the community. He’s been a church volunteer, youth ministry worker, Habitat for Humanity volunteer, and raised funds in support of impoverished people in the Dominican Republic. He and his wife, KATHY REIMERS ABBOTT, live with their family in Glendale.

BEVERLY BOOTH GROW and DAVID GROW ’83 are celebrating 25 years of David’s dental practice in Prosser, Washington. Beverly writes, “God has richly blessed us while we are serving our community. Prosser has been a great place to live and raise our kids: Kevin, 27, Lander, 24, and Lauren, 20.”


BRENT THIEL is an orthopedic surgeon at the Everett (Washington) Clinic. He performs 200–300 shoulder arthroscopies a year, and close to that many knee arthroscopies. Shoulder, knee, and hip replacements are another of his specialties. Brent says it was the injuries and surgeries sustained by his wife, Falcon gymnast ALAYNE OLSEN THIEL ’86, and other SPU athletes, that showed him how important orthopedic surgeons were in their recovery and led to his residency training in orthopedic surgery. The Thiels and their children live in Everett.


DAVID GERARDOT M.S., PH.D. ’01, is a licensed mental health therapist and nurse practitioner in private practice residing in Olympia, Washington. He is also pastor of Emmaus, a
community of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion that welcomes all believers to their Eucharistic celebrations.


MARTHA RUPERT HIEFIELD is president of ZAAZ, a digital marketing agency, part of the WPP Network (one of the largest global marketing communication companies). She also has served over six years, and most recently as chair, of the Rotary Boys and Girls Club board for two
years and remains active in the organization. She and her husband, John, celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary this summer. The Hiefields and their 6-year-old daughter, Alexis, live in
Issaquah, Washington.


LEIF HANSEN is the founder and community catalyst of Spark Interaction, a training and development agency that helps individuals, businesses, and organizations use social technologies and interactive live events “to enliven their tribes and thus move their mission forward.” He offers
personal coaching and professional consulting, as well as a variety of presentations, workshops and classes. His workshops have recently been featured on NBC’s Today Show, Seattle Times, and PBS Online. He lives in Port Townsend, Washington, though he works throughout the PaciFIc Northwest.


AMBER COFFEY BURNETT recently moved to Tacoma, Washington, and is the associate registrar for adult and graduate studies with Life Pacific College.


JAMES SINNING is associate principal at Lake Stevens (Washington) Middle School. He enjoys fishing, skiing, and camping with his family. The Sinnings live in Lake Stevens.

GEOFFREY WILLS, an optometrist, owns the Montesano Vision Center in Montesano, Washington. He and his wife, JODY KJESBU WILLS, met at SPU. They have three children. Geoffrey enjoys downhill skiing, waterskiing, and playing electric bass guitar with the Montesano
Presbyterian Church band. The family makes its home in Montesano.


MATTHEW KERNUTT earned his juris doctorate from the University of Washington School of Law in 2004 and served as an assistant attorney general in the state of Washington. He has now joined the law firm Phillips Wesch Burgess, based in Olympia, Washington. He and his wife, TAMARA ALLMER KERNUTT ’01, live in Lacey, Washington.


SARAH KAUPPILA BERGEAUX married Jean-Paul Bergeaux in June of 2009 in Oahu, Hawaii. They welcomed a son in May 2011 and currently reside in Leesburg, Virginia.

MEGAN TAUSCHEK LIERMAN has been promoted to firm associate with RIM Design in Anchorage, Alaska. RIM is a woman-owned small business that provides interior design, graphic
design, and associated services. Megan lives in Eagle River, Alaska.


The Doctor Is In


When Bremerton, Washington, native Denise Martinez Adams '03 arrived at Seattle Pacific University as a freshman, only 10 percent of undergraduates were fellow ethnic minority students. “It kind of forced me to step up to the plate and become a leader,” she says.

Denise worked closely with the late Joe Snell (director of intercultural affairs at SPU from 2001 to 2007) to establish Mosaic, a club that explores the topic of reconciliation and is still going strong on campus today. She remained involved in the club until she graduated in 2003. Joe encouraged her to become a premed student. “I had always wanted to be a doctor, but didn’t
think it was possible,” she says. She went on to earn her medical degree from Tufts.

Now Denise is the interim associate dean for cultural affairs and diversity initiatives at the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine. She prepares medical students to best serve
minority patients, who have traditionally received a lower level of health care. She’s also an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine. But in addition to her teaching, she still gets time with patients. “I have the best job in the world,” she says. “I get to deliver babies, serve whole families, and work with geriatric patients.” Denise lives in Coralville, Iowa, with her husband, Christopher Adams, a urologic surgeon and graduate of Harvard who is finishing up his residency at the University of Iowa. Though she’s far away, she says, “I think about my time at SPU often and still keep in touch with the mentors I gained, like [Professor of Geography] Kathleen Braden and [Associate Professor of Biology] Cindy Fitch.” -Allie Fraley



ERIN NEVIUS graduated from University of Connecticut Health Center with a Ph.D. in biomedical science in February 2011. She and her husband live in Branford, Connecticut.

STEPHANIE SCHATZBERG WRIGHT M.A.T. was unanimously appointed to the Snohomish County Council to complete the term of a councilman who left to become the mayor of Edmonds, Washington. She was one of four nominees interviewed by the county’s Democratic Party. In the recent November election, Stephanie was returned to office for a full four-year term. She and her family live in Lynnwood, Washington, where she was a city councilwoman at the time of her appointment.


KAREN SPRINGS organized three weeks in the Pacific Northwest this summer for 13 orphans from Ukraine. Karen works with Orphan’s Promise in Ukraine and has organized seven host programs with different groups of orphans. The latest trip was made possible with the help of a group of women from her home church in Bothell, Washington. The children were paired with host families, taken for health checkups, and enjoyed excursions to the beach and the zoo. Five of the children are now in the process of being adopted. Karen lives in Kiev.

CRISTA ST. JOHN is a senior account executive with IMG College at the University of Washington. She is responsible for corporate account management and generating new business.
Crista has served as an account executive for Bonneville International, managing client accounts and digital media sales. She lives in Seattle.


JACKIE WILLIAMS READE M.S. earned a doctorate in medical family therapy from East Carolina University. She is currently in a postdoctoral fellowship at the Berman Institute of Bioethics at The Johns Hopkins University. Her focus is neonatal and pediatric palliative care issues. She and her husband, Dan, and dog, Molly, live in Baltimore.


BJORN BOSTROM, a former Falcon student-athlete, completed a doctor of chiropractic degree in March 2011 and owns Network Chiropractic Wellness Center in Santa Cruz, California, where he lives.

TERESA HELM GLEDHILL teaches second grade in the School District of Philadelphia. She and her husband live in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania.

KATHRYN BREZEL KAMIN is director of marketing for Hood Canal Communications and vice president of the Shelton (Washington) Chamber of Commerce Marketing Committee. She has been a tutor and a deliverer of Meals on Wheels. Kathryn currently wears a variety of hats including TV commercial production, graphic web design, rental facilities management, contract negotiation, and public communication. She and her husband, Rob, live in Shelton.

JOHN “BJ” LOUWS is president of Louws Truss, a manufacturer of wood trusses. Since 2007, he had managed production, purchasing, and human resources for the family company. President of the Northwest Truss Fabrications Association, John lives in Bellingham, Washington.

VAL VERDRIES teaches first grade in Kenai on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. Formerly an elementary school teacher in a remote Yup’ik Eskimo village, Val is pursuing a master’s degree in education as a reading specialist from the University of Alaska Southeast. In her free moments, she enjoys knitting, hiking, kayaking, and salmon and halibut fishing. She makes her home in Kenai.


BRIANNA DONAHUE ROBERSON works with Carpenters Trusts of Western Washington, the nonprofit benefits administration organization for union carpenters. She also volunteers with local classes by Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. Brianna  and Court, her husband of nearly two years, live in Seattle.


BENJAMIN PINNEO, a summa cum laude graduate of SPU, is in his fourth year teaching regular, honors, and AP English at South Kitsap High School in Port Orchard, Washington.
He is also an associated student body advisor. Benjamin lives in Port Orchard.


FELICIA CANTRELL is the winner of the 17th National PSLawNet Pro Bono Award. She was
honored for her ability to identify areas of need and for effectively serving individuals and families on society’s margins. While a law student at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, Felicia has founded a student organization to fight sex trafficking, especially of children. She has also recruited students to volunteer in a Medical-Legal Partnership Program that
identifies victims and connects them with pro-bono attorneys; helped organize training for lawyers, judges, students, advocates and the public; and worked with local high school students to
provide preventive education about teen dating violence and sex trafficking. Last summer, she worked in the Philippines helping prosecute sex crimes. Nominations for the national honor came from the top law schools in the country. Felicia attends law school in Tempe, Arizona.

KAITLIN ROESS NUNN met SHAUN MCMICHAEL in creative writing classes at SPU. Their relationship blossomed after graduation and their wedding took place in August. Kaitlin is a marketer for a South American travel agency, and Shaun works for a nonprofit youth center in Seattle’s University District. The couple resides in Seattle.


Fellow University Scholars when at SPU, ANN SLEIGHT DISHER and her husband, THOMAS DISHER, teach at Big Heart Christian School in South Korea. In the first year after graduation from SPU, Ann tutored Korean students at the Bellevue Learning Center and was a substitute teacher at her alma mater, Bellevue Christian School. Thomas earned his ESL teaching certificate at Seattle’s School of Teaching ESL. The Dishers live in Yongin City, South Korea.


KAYLA NORTON is one of a team of 22 at Kineta, a biotech company that tests new drugs for safety and toxicity, then hands them off to another company that brings the drugs to market. Among recent drugs with promise are those that treat multiple sclerosis and Type 1 diabetes. Kayla lives in Seattle.

DIANNA POTTER M.A. is a medical English instructor at Hungary’s University of Debrecen Medical and Health Science Center. With an intense interest in international health policy, she also oversees the teaching of a comparative health care systems course. Dianna resides in Debrecen, the second largest city in Hungary.