In Memoriam

Tim "The Wizard" HoytTimothy “Tim” Hoyt, known to most by his self-chosen moniker Wizard, was a beloved chemistry lab instructor who taught at Puget Sound for nearly 25 years. He could often be found dressed in a long green robe and wizard’s hat with a natural, long white beard and performing “magic shows”—innovative lab experiments that used stories and dynamic chemical changes, smells, and explosions to illustrate chemistry concepts. He delighted hundreds of students and Washington residents alike at multiple schools, festivals, and museums. Provost Kris Bartanen said in a November statement to colleagues that Tim’s ability to engage was key for an instructor who taught mostly introductory courses. His Halloween magic shows, for which he would dye his beard a rainbow of colors, were among the best-attended events on campus. He retired from Puget Sound in 2014, shortly after being diagnosed with ALS. But the diagnosis did not break the spirit of the man known by colleagues as an “ambassador to the community.” After his diagnosis he continued to work by regularly collaborating with the manufacturer of the Meal Buddy—an assistive feeder powered by breath that helped him eat—on ways to improve the device. He also continued to attend Puget Sound events, such as the chemistry department’s cider squeeze, and Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society events. He passed away on Nov. 20 from ALS-related complications. He was 70. A memorial was held in Kilworth Memorial Chapel in January.

Alan ThorndikeColleagues remember Puget Sound Professor Emeritus of Physics Alan Thorndike as generous and extraordinary. He taught at Puget Sound for nearly three decades and, during that time, students learned from a brilliant mind engaged in a life of inquiry. Provost Kris Bartanen said Alan was “generous in the time he gave students both in and outside of the classroom. They went sailing together and they grappled with material together.” Alan also contributed his time to the college, serving for many years as department chair and on the Budget Task Force, and coordinating student summer research. He became something of a Puget Sound legend after being named John D. Regester Lecturer in 1985, becoming the university’s second William L. McCormick Professor of Natural Sciences, and organizing the Max Planck Symposium, which brought world-class scientists to campus to recognize the 100th anniversary of quantum mechanics. As a professor, he continued the polar ice research he began after graduating from Wesleyan University and contributed his findings on the role polar ice plays in world climate to the Earth Science Committee of the Space Science Board of the National Academy of Sciences, which advises both NASA and NOAA. He was known for the handmade ticking-clock and calculator machines he built that adorned the walls of his office, the complicated Penrose tiling inlay below the pendulum in Harned Hall, and the replica Antikythera mechanism he built with colleague Jim Evans, which drew international attention. He passed away from pneumonia on Jan. 8. He was 72.

Ernie Karlstrom Ernest “Ernie” Karlstrom, Puget Sound professor emeritus of biology, taught university students for more than three decades. But even after retiring in 1992, he didn’t stop. Ernie became a beloved volunteer for Harbor WildWatch, a Gig Harbor organization dedicated to providing learning opportunities about the Puget Sound marine environment. He was the organization’s Steward of the Year in 2016. Program coordinator Rachel Easton said Ernie “taught us so many facts over the years, but it is the passion he had for all living things that will carry on with those of us who had the privilege of walking the beach with him. I don’t think I have ever met anyone else who could get so excited about a worm or a clam.” The Seattle native began his career in biology at his alma mater, Augustana College, in Rock Island, Ill., in 1956. But after five years there, he yearned for the Pacific Northwest. He came to Puget Sound in 1961, at a time when Puget Sound’s biology department was still growing. He was proud of the fact that he was a generalist and went on to teach more than 14 different classes. He also prided himself on being an activist, and helped create and teach a popular Hawai’i “winterim” course. Ernie became one of the Faculty Senate’s first senators; served on the Honors Committee, helping to develop the Honors Program; served as curator of herpetology for Slater Museum; and chaired the Health Sciences Advising Committee for 20 years. Off campus, Ernie took a sabbatical at Friday Harbor Labs in 1981 that not only infused new life into his research but resulted in his designing and building a lab station on Tanglewood Island that supported faculty and student marine research. Ernie died on Jan. 1 at the age of 89.

Alvin Brown ’36 passed away on Nov. 26 at the age of 103. He was born in Tacoma and attended Puget Sound, where he played basketball, but went on to graduate from Stanford University. He worked in the candy business for 40 years and was president of the National Confectioners Association.

Lester “Les” Bona ‘40, P’67, P’70, P’73 died on Dec. 6 at the age of 100. A Tacoma native, he attended Puget Sound, where he was on the track team and a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. In 1945, he began what would become a 42year career as an executive for West Coast Grocery. His three children are also Puget Sound alumni: Bart ‘67, Susan ‘70, and Tom ’73.

Jean Lymburn Comfort ‘47 passed away on Jan. 25. She was 91. Born in North Dakota, she graduated from Tacoma’s Stadium High School and attended Puget Sound. She and her husband, Robert Comfort, had six sons and enjoyed traveling.

Bettianne Fulton Waters ‘49 died in Wenatchee, Wash., on Dec. 22. She was 91. After graduating from Stadium High School, she attended Puget Sound, where she was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority. She and her husband, James Waters, settled in Cashmere, Wash., where James took over his family’s orchard.

Robert “Bob” Washburn ‘50 died on Oct. 13 in Yakima, Wash. He was 89. Born in Tacoma to a pioneer family, Bob received a bachelor’s degree in geology from Puget Sound. Bob worked for the Washington State Department of Transportation for 30 years before retiring.

Carl Erb ‘52 passed away on Nov. 29 at the age of 88. A Bellingham native, he graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and worked as a cryptologist in the U.S. Navy.

Kenneth “Ken” Giske ‘52 died in Gig Harbor, Wash., on Dec. 28 at the age of 87. Born in Alaska, he came to Puget Sound, where he played football as a Logger and was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. He graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in forest engineering and worked as a forest engineer and land manager for Boise Cascade Corporation for 26 years.

Paul Kelly ‘52 died on June 29 in Florida. He was 87. Born in Texas, he attended Puget Sound, was a member of Phi Delta Theta, and sang with the Adelphian Concert Choir. He and his wife, Marguerite Donoghue,
raised three children before Paul retired and moved to Florida.

Richard “Dick” Landon ‘52 passed away in University Place, Wash., on Dec. 19. He was 87. Dick was a Tacoma native and earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Puget Sound, where he was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. He went on to receive a Master of Arts degree from Oregon State University and worked at Tacoma’s Nalley’s Fine Foods, which closed in 2011.

Frank Springer ’52 passed away on Nov. 26 in University Place, Wash., at the age of 91. He was born in Tacoma and graduated from Puget Sound, where he was a member of the Theta Chi fraternity, with a bachelor’s degree in physical education. He was a physical education teacher at Gray Middle School for 36 years.

Mary Jean Wasson Southern ‘53 died on Jan. 7 at the age of 86. Born in Tacoma, she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Puget Sound.

Elizabeth “Betty” Keeler ‘53 passed away on Dec. 8 at the age of 90. Betty was born in Georgia to a military family and graduated from Puget Sound with a bachelor’s degree in education. She went on to teach AP English.

Lois Wedeberg Phillips ‘53 died on Nov. 19 in Tacoma. She was 86. A Tacoma native, Lois attended Puget Sound, where she was a member of the Alpha Phi sorority. She and her husband, Jay Skidmore, settled in Chula Vista, Calif., where Lois ran a preschool.

Robert Omer ‘54 died in New Jersey on Jan. 3. He was 86. Born in Iowa, he graduated from Puget Sound with a bachelor’s degree in history and, four years later, earned a master’s degree in library science from Syracuse University. He ran the film department of the Upper Hudson Library Federation.

Dick Thayer ’56, an avid hiker and skier, died in Wenatchee, Wash., on July 13. He was 83. Dick graduated from Puget Sound with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. The four years he spent at Puget Sound “were among his happiest times,” according to his obituary. Throughout his life, he enjoyed more than a dozen Canadian helicopter skiing adventures and hiked every trail in Washington’s Pasayten Wilderness.

Marlene Nelson Wirsing ‘57, M.Ed.‘71 passed away on Dec. 3 at the age of 81. She was born in Everett, Wash., and grew up in Tacoma. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Puget Sound, where she also was a member of multiple honor societies, debate, and Model United Nations. After graduation, she taught at Puyallup Junior High and Mason Junior High. She later received her master’s degree in education from Puget Sound and wrote her master’s thesis about Mason Junior High. It’s a resource still used by the school today.

Raymond Prukop ‘59 died in Yuma, Ariz., on Jan. 23.

Mary Jo Grinstead Bucholz ’60 died on Dec. 16 in Spokane Valley, Wash. She was 81. Mary Jo was born in Yakima, Wash., and earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics from Puget Sound, where
she was also a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority. She went on to work in the food service industry.

Joann Mendel Peterson '62Growing up in Montana as the youngest of six children, Joann Mendel Peterson ’62 never dreamed of attending Puget Sound. In fact, she was unaware the liberal arts college that would change her life even existed. That changed in 1958 when, during her senior year of high school, Puget Sound’s Adelphian Concert Choir came to town and was in need of local families to host its singers. Two female students were placed with Joann’s family overnight, and the three women “talked till dawn,” Joann recalled in the paperwork to set up her endowment at Puget Sound years later. That conversation convinced Joann that Puget Sound was the school for her. She applied, and late in the summer of that same year, not only was she accepted, but she received a scholarship that allowed her to attend. “I opened the envelopes. There were tears! There was screaming! There was dancing around the kitchen! I had received a scholarship that made all the difference,” she wrote in the Girl From Montana endowment memorandum. At Puget Sound, Joann was a member of the Christian sisterhood Kappa Phi and met her future husband, Arthur “Art” Peterson ’61, who proposed to her in Collins Memorial Library the same year she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education. She went on to become a registered dietician. In 2017, Joann and Art set up the Girl From Montana Endowed Scholarship, a gift given out of gratitude for the college’s longstanding recruitment of Montana students, which enabled Joann to receive a college education, gain many good friends, and meet her devoted husband. She died on Nov. 26, two days before her 77th birthday.

Cynthia Buckman Baird ’63 died on Jan. 15 at the age of 80. Born in Massachusetts, she received a bachelor’s degree in English from Puget Sound before earning her master’s degree in economics from the University of Massachusetts. She held several careers, as a teacher, librarian, church organist, and choir director, at schools throughout central Massachusetts.

Patricia Poe Bettridge ’63 passed away on Jan. 10, two weeks before her 98th birthday. A Tacoma native, she earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Puget Sound. While at the university, she was also a member of the Alpha Phi sorority.

Morris Paulson ’66 died on Jan. 23 at the age of 79. Born in Tacoma, he graduated from Stadium High School, then served in the U.S. Air Force before earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Puget Sound. He married Diann Long ’66, whom he met at Puget Sound. He worked at the Automobile Club of Washington, where he was a membership representative.

Mavis Engelland ’67 passed away on Dec. 25 at the age of 97. She attended Puget Sound, was a longtime Gig Harbor resident, and had been a teacher at Lincoln High School in Tacoma. Her husband, George Engelland ’52, was also a Puget Sound graduate.

Randall “Randy” Melquist ’68 died on Dec. 10. He was 72. Randy received a bachelor’s degree in English from Puget Sound, where he was also a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, track and field team, and Honors Program. He served in the Peace Corps in Libya before returning to Tacoma and beginning a career in finance.

Frederick “Fred” Stabbert ’68 passed away in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Feb. 2. He was 74. Fred was born and raised in Tacoma and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Puget Sound. Following graduation, he moved to California and began a 38-year career in the paper industry. After retiring in 2006, he began a second career in consulting and served as the director of several business organizations, including Christa Ministries, the Association of Washington Business, and Forterra. He and his wife of 54 years, Faith Stabbert, moved to Scottsdale in 2014.

Bonnie Anderson ‘69 passed away on Jan. 25 at the age of 71. Born and raised in Tacoma, she graduated from Puget Sound with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She worked as a graphic artist and in visual merchandising for Nordstrom and Casual Corner.

Ward Van Arnam M.Ed’69, P‘92 died on Dec. 1 at the age of 89. A Tacoma native, he graduated from Washington State University in 1956 before earning a master’s degree in education from Puget Sound, where he worked on the staffs of Tamanawas and The Trail, and was a member of the drama club. He worked as an elementary school teacher with the Tacoma school district for more than 25 years. His stepson, Doug Johnson ‘92, is a Puget Sound graduate.

James Hunter ’69 died on Jan. 4. He graduated from Seattle’s O’Dea High School, attended Puget Sound, and graduated from Central Washington State College (now Central Washington University). He went on to teach around the world and serve three tours with the U.S. Army as a contractor in Iraq.

Norman Munroe ’69 died on Jan. 19 at the age of 90. He earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Puget Sound and a master’s degree in education from Pacific Lutheran University. Norman went on to have a 20-year career as a math and science teacher at Yelm Middle School.

David Lyles ’70, a Salem, Ore., native, passed away on Dec. 23 at the age of 69. He received a bachelor’s degree in speech from Puget Sound, where he was also a member of the drama club, worked for KUPS, and played cello in the orchestra. He went on to become a therapist and record a cello CD.

David Nevitt ’73 died in Olympia, Wash., on Oct. 15. He was 72. He held a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Puget Sound.

Kent Lambert ‘75, a California native and U.S. Air Force veteran, passed away on April 3, 2017. He was 72 and had been fighting thyroid cancer for a decade. Kent graduated from Puget Sound with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and went on to form Lambert Construction with his brother. Kent worked at the company for nearly 40 years.

Thomas “Tom” Nelson ’76, P’15 died peacefully on Nov. 13, one day after his 65th birthday. A Seattle native, he attended the University of Washington on a full-ride scholarship before earning a bachelor’s degree in political science at Puget Sound. He played football as a Logger and was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. After graduating, he worked at the Norwest Corporation. His daughter, Molly Nelson ’15, is also a Puget Sound graduate.

John Combs ‘78 passed away on Jan. 5 at the age of 61. Born in Seattle, John graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a bachelor’s degree in English. As a Logger, he played football and was a member of the 1978 team, which, according to teammate Brian Threlkeld ’83, was the first to win nine games in a season. John went on to earn a law degree from Willamette University and practiced as a lawyer in the Tacoma area for nearly 30 years.

Helen O’Donnell ‘78 died on Dec. 1 at the age of 61. She lived most of her life in California but earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Puget Sound, where she was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority and wrote for The Trail. She went on to earn a master’s degree in education from California Lutheran University and teach elementary and special education students in Ventura County, Calif., for 13 years. 

John Jamieson ‘79 passed away at his home in Everett, Wash., on Nov. 20 after seven months of battling cancer. He was 60. John was born in Pasadena, Calif., and graduated from Puget Sound with a bachelor’s degree with a double major in comparative sociology and economics.

Jean Musser M.Ed.‘79 passed away on Jan. 16 at the age of 89. An Ohio native, she graduated from Smith College in Massachusetts with a bachelor’s degree in history before earning a master’s degree in history from Ohio’s Case Western Reserve University and a master’s degree in education from Puget Sound. She went on to work as a counselor at the Clover Park School District and become a poet and playwright.

David “Dave” Snow ‘81 died on Dec. 21 at his family home in Mexico. He was 58. A Portland native, Dave earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Puget Sound. As a Logger, he graduated summa cum laude and was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Sigma honor societies. Shortly after graduating, he moved to Boulder, Colo., and spent his career working in computer technology and information systems. Most recently, he worked with his wife, Seana Grady, at Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten & Preschool.

Kenneth Knutsen ‘82 passed away in Fairhope, Alaska, on Jan. 8, four days after his 79th birthday. Born in Seattle, he graduated from Puget Sound with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Mollianne Pickett M.B.A.‘82 passed away Dec. 27 in Lacey, Wash. She was 87. Mollianne was born in Miami, Fla., and earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington State College (now Washington State
University) before receiving a master’s degree in business administration from Puget Sound. She and her husband, George Pickett ‘80, moved throughout the country, from Washington to Alaska and Illinois, and had four children.

Linda Zovanyi Czeisler M.B.A.’84 passed away on her 71st birthday, on Nov. 23. She graduated from San Diego State University in 1970 and received a master’s degree in business administration from Puget Sound. She worked as the human resources director for the King County Superior Court and later as director of human resources for the Seattle Fire Department.

Martin Hale ‘85 died April 19, 2017 at his home in Summerville, S.C. He was born in Tacoma and received a bachelor’s degree with a double major in computer science and business. Martin went on to work as an inventory specialist for RGIS in South Carolina.

H. Michael “Mike” Dunkle ’90 died on Jan. 24 after a 10-year fight against kidney cancer. A Renton, Wash., native, Mike earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Puget Sound. He went on to work in the high-tech industry and joined VALVE Software. The Mike Dunkle Summer Research Endowment has been set up at Puget Sound with the goal of supporting grants for summer research projects focused on physics.

Jennifer Weeks ’97 passed away on Nov. 13 at her home in Delta Junction, Alaska. She had turned 43 two days prior. Jennifer was born in Shelton, Wash., and earned a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from Puget Sound. She went on to work as a dental technician, medical assistant, and custodian.