Alumni News & Notes

Spring 2007-2008

Sheryl Belt

Bainbridge Island, (B.A.E. '79 Elementary), has been appointed principal of Wilkes Elementary School on Bainbridge Island. Previously, Belt served as principal of Issaquah Valley Elementary School, taught and served as principal's assistant in the Snoqualmie Valley School District, and taught for six years at Seabeck Elementary in the Central Kitsap district.

Sister Cecilia Gri

(B.A.) celebrated her 95th birthday on August 9. Gri attended Western to study history and U.S. government while serving in St. Joseph Hospital with the novitiate for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace. Gri taught for 15 years in Seattle, and served as principal of the St. Rose School for three years. Gri returned to Longview to work at St. John Medical Center.

Steve Clarke

(B.A.E '85 M. Ed. '91), Principal of Bellingham High School and winner of the 2007 WWU Distinguished Alumnus Award for Woodring College of Education delivered the alumni address at Western's Summer Commencement ceremony. Clarke was a National Principal of the Year finalist in 2006.

Sue Beeson

(M. Ed. '72) retired after serving in education for 35 years in the Renton School District. Beeson taught math at Lindbergh High School for 21 years and served as an administrator at Hazen High School for 14 years, the last three as principal. Under her direction, Hazen High School saw a 10 percent increase in students passing the writing portion of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning and an expansion of campus facilities.

Terry Kahler

(Cert '77) retired after serving at Crescent School in Joyce, Washington for 30 years. Kahler taught 25 different classes over the years and was known for his jokester reputation.

Theresa Malich

(Cert '77) was recently honored with an Alumni of Distinction Award by the Peninsula School district where she taught elementary, middle and high school. Malich was a graduate of Peninsula High School. Malich taught gifted and at-risk students through a textbook-free learning program called "Future Problem Solving."

In Memoriam

Alice Johnson

(B.A.E '31) passed away on May 2, 2008 at the age of 96. Johnson taught briefly before working at the Whatcom County Auditor's Office. Johnson enjoyed cooking, world travel, and playing bridge.

Arnold "Arnie" Young

(Cert) passed away on August 11, 2008 after a long bout with cancer. Young taught and coached in the Renton School District for 37 years. Young is a member of the Washington State Track Coaches' Hall of Fame, and each year Renton School District holds the "Arnie Young Invitational Track Meet" named in his honor.

Beth Chowen

(B.A.E. '88) passed away on April 30, 2008 at the age of 64. Chowen taught for 10 years in the Sedro-Woolley and Everett School Districts before opening her own in-home preschool.

Burton Horman

(Cert '52) passed away on March 30, 2008 at the age of 81. Horman served as a seventh-grade teacher in the Lynden School District and became Principal of the Lynden Grade School in 1959. Horman also volunteered for the Lynden Pioneer Museum and enjoyed restoring antiques and old cars.

Carol Linda (Howe) Mayo

(Cert.) passed away on July 11, 2008 at the age of 67 after a lengthy battle with cancer. Mayo was an avid outdoor enthusiast, and hiked all over the Pacific Northwest, summiting both Mt. Rainer and Mt. St. Helens. For eight months, Mayo traveled Europe solo prior to beginning a career as a high school special education teacher. Mayo's later careers included working for the Seattle mayor's office, and then as an interior designer.

Dale D. Campbell

(B.A.E. '54) passed away on June 16, 2008 at the age of 78. Campbell served as a fifth grade teacher in the Lake Stevens School District. Campbell went on to work at Jansport until his retirement. Campbell was a member of Zion Lutheran Church and enjoyed restoring Model A's, music, art, genealogy and photography.

Dan Reef (M. Ed.)

passed away at the age of 80. Reef built the foundations of an outstanding band program in the Burlington-Edison School District and was later appointed superintendent. He later worked as a consultant for Bellevue School District, Seattle Pacific University, and Seattle University.

Darlene Diane Peterson

(B.A.E. '62) passed away on May 3, 2008 in Burlington, Washington. Peterson enjoyed spending time with her four grandchildren and traveling. She taught elementary education in the Sedro-Woolley School District for 21 years.

Elmer Lundstrom

(Cert. '51) passed away on July 19, 2008 after a brief illness. Lundstrom moved to Seattle in 1942 and joined the Army Air Corp in 1943. Lundstrom met his wife, Georgia Merrill while in cadet training school at Washington State University. After the war, he graduated with a teaching certificate from Western Washington University. Lundstom taught in Blaine for two years before moving to Seattle, where he taught at Madison, Eckstein, and McClure Junior High Schools. Lundstrom was active in Boy Scouts, at the Queen Anne Lutheran Church, RV traveling to Minnesota, fishing, and woodwork.

Gerard A. Mc Elholm

(Cert.) passed away on August 10, 2008 at the age of 79. Elholm came to the United States as a teenager from Ireland, and served during the Korean Conflict in Army Intelligence. Elholm taught and was a principal for many years in the Highline School District.

Helen DeVries

(Cert.) passed away on July 12, 2008 at the age of 91. DeVries was an elementary teacher in the Bellingham Public Schools for 30 years. DeVries was an avid gardener, knitter, and traveler.

Howard Wilder

(Cert '31) passed away on April 17, 2008 at the age of 104. Wilder served as a middle school teacher for 17 years in Western Washington and Ellensburg. Wilder went on to work for the lumber business for 16 years and owned Lincoln Grocery in Mount Vernon.

Jacqueline Bechtel

(B.A.E '66) passed away on June 14, 2008. Bechtel began her teaching career at Big Lake Elementary School and went on to teach English for 20 years at Sedro-Woolley High School. While teaching at Sedro-Woolley High School she facilitated many extra curricular activities, was the ski program coordinator, soccer coach, debate coach, and yearbook advisor. Bechtel loved to travel and collected antiques.

Janet Thiessen

('72) passed away on March 14, 2008 from cancer. Thiessen was a dedicated mom devoted to migrant worker health and safety, as well as the Democratic Party's platform. Thiessen served as an office manager for Congressman Al Swift and eventually became Swift's Chief of Staff.

John Fox

(M.Ed. Special Ed. '90), Deming, Wash. passed away June 22, 2008. He most recently taught at Bellingham and Squalicum High Schools. Fox particularly enjoyed horseback riding.

John Sevier Warden

(M.A. Music Education '50) passed away on July 21, 2008 in Bellingham. Warden began teaching music in Montana, where he met his wife Helen Reis. Warden taught music for five decades and continued to volunteer in many schools after his retirement.

Jon Speck

(B.A.E.) passed away on June 29, 2008 from cancer. Speck taught in Klickitat Washington for three years and spent the remainder of his teaching career in the Tacoma School district, where he taught for 26 years. Speck was an avid violinist and played with the UPS-Tacoma Symphony.

Joseph Borek

(B.A.E, M. Ed.) passed away on June 15, 2008 at the age of 83 after having celebrated Father's Day with his family. Borek served in the Shelton and Snohomish School Districts for 30 years. Borek enjoyed sports and spending time with his family, and will be remembered for his kindness and great sense of humor.

Kathryn Thomas

(M.Ed. '59) passed away on March 15, 2008 at the age of 99. Thomas was an active member of the Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church. Thomas taught for many years at Anacortes High School.

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