In Memoriam, Fall 2013

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Gary Edmond Williams 1957  (Obituary)

Gary Edmond Williams 1957 (Obituary)

Gary Edmond Williams '57 died June 12, 2013, at age 78. Born in Iowa, he attended high school in Seattle and became an Eagle Scout at age 17. A talented artist who studied architecture, he designed his parents’ house while still a teenager. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Pacific University, he earned a master’s in business administration from Seattle University. He served briefly in the U.S. Army in the late 1950s and then began working for Kenworth Trucks. He married Eleanor Sue Turman in 1959. Williams worked as a business executive for Paccar, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of medium- and heavy-duty trucks in the world, retiring at age 45. He continued as a business consultant and later worked as an antique dealer. He also volunteered for United Way and the Seattle Chamber of Commerce. He is survived by his wife, Eleanor, his daughter Cynthia Lorraine and a granddaughter. 

Mary Lisa (Carey) Hargis 1976  (Obituary)

Mary Lisa (Carey) Hargis 1976 (Obituary)

Pacific University Trustee Lisa Hargis '76 died July 12, 2013. Hargis received her undergraduate degree in business administration from Pacific, then worked for Oregon Mutual Insurance Company for 34 years, beginning in 1979 as an underwriter and retiring as a vice president of underwriting. She joined the Board of Trustees in 2011 and worked to guide a risk management task force. She also served as president of the Oregon Fair Plan Association, a nonprofit association supported by insurance companies licensed to write property insurance. She enjoyed boating, cooking, traveling and caring for her husband and her cocker spaniel, Murphy Brown. She is survived by her husband of 27 years, Gary M. Hargis; her parents, John and Sally Carey; and two brothers, Jay and Colin Carey. She was preceded in death by her brother, Kevin Carey.

Paul Kohl 1980  (Obituary)

Paul Kohl 1980 (Obituary)

Paul Kohl '80, faculty emeritus, died Feb. 27, 2013, following a long battle with cancer. A native New Yorker, he earned a bachelor’s degree from State University New York, Binghamton in 1973 and his doctorate in optometry from Pacific University in 1980. He then became the first teaching fellow in the College of Optometry. He went on to become a tenured faculty member, earning the Pacific University Trustee Award to Young Faculty, and then the Pacific University Distinguished Professional Faculty Award. A dedicated teacher, he served on several boards and committees at the university throughout his more than 30 years of service to Pacific.  Among other achievements, he established pediatric optometric services and developed the pediatrics curriculum at the College of Optometry. He published many articles on pediatric and behavioral vision. He also provided presentations and chaired continuing education conferences for practicing optometrists. Kohl retired in 2011 and was awarded faculty emeritus status. He is survived by his wife, Cathy; daughter, Maja ’14; and son, Jesse.

Shirley L. Abbott 1952  (Obituary)

Shirley L. Abbott 1952 (Obituary)

Former U.S. ambassador Shirley L. Abbott '52, OD '53 died April 23, 2013, of congestive heart failure. He was 88.

An optometrist by trade, Abbott also was a rancher, a politician and served as ambassador to the Kingdom of Lesotho under President Ronald Reagan’s administration. He also was a devoted alumnus of Pacific University, where, in 2003, his support established the Abbott Alumni Center. In 2007, he received the Pacific University Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award.

Abbott spent his early years on a tenant dairy farm in Minnesota before moving with his family to El Paso, Texas, where he graduated from high school. He attended what is now the University of Texas at El Paso but left to join the Army during World War II. Following the war, he earned his bachelor and doctorate degrees at Pacific University.

He returned to El Paso, where he was one of the first in the region to fit corneal contact lenses. His optometric practice became one of the largest in the city. In the late 1960s, he started an optical company that later became Sunland Optical, then the largest military optical contractor in the country. He also developed apartment housing and operated farms in New Mexico, Texas and California, as well as one in South Africa with his grandson, Jason. He also was director of several local banks.

In the mid-1970s, he was appointed regional director of the Bi-Centennial Administration. He co-founded the Granaderos de Galvez, which honored the Spanish influence on the development of America. He also traveled to Spain several times as a guest of the Spanish government, was named Honorary Consul General of Spain for Texas and was granted The Order of Isabella La Catolica, the highest honor awarded to a non-Spanish citizen.

Abbott served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1977 to 1978. In 1983, President Reagan appointed him ambassador to the Kingdom of Lesotho, an independent monarchy in southern Africa.

In his later years, Abbott and his wife, Arline, divided their time between Texas and California. He was preceded in death by his wife. Abbott is survived by his son, Alan, a former member of the Pacific University Board of Trustees; his grandson, Jason; his granddaughter, Allison Kaelin ‘06; two great-grandchildren; and a brother, Bill.

General Comments

Billy Gene McComb

Billy Gene McComb, a former Pacific University employee, died Aug. 6, 2013, at age 80. He was born in Talala, Okla., and entered the U.S. Army in 1953. He married Mary Simmons in 1962, and they later divorced. He retired from the military in 1973, as a staff sergeant. He married Frances Ann Martin in 1974, while both worked at Pacific University. He later worked at George Fox College. He was a member of the Cherokee Nation. He is survived by his wife and stepdaughters, Laurie Skoog and Kathy Hays. 

Louis B. Perry Hon ‘64

Louis B. Perry Hon ’64, a former Pacific University honorary trustee, died Sept. 28, 2013, at age 95. He received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Pacific University. He was the former chairman and president of The Standard Insurance Company and the eighth president of Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., from 1959 to 1967. He served on several boards and also worked for the Oregon State Board of Higher Education. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Dawson Perry; son, Robert B. Perry; daughters, Barbara Perry Rutzer and Donna Perry Jones; eight grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren.

Trixie (Johnson) Wortham '28

Trixie (Johnson) Wortham died Feb. 13, 2013, at age 105. She was born in Tillamook, Ore., and attended Pacific University, before earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Oregon. She taught in several Oregon schools, then moved to California, where she met her husband, Jim Wortham, and continued teaching. She is survived by a niece, a nephew and many great- and great-great-nieces and -nephews.

Howard F. Horner '40

Howard F. Horner, recipient of the 2008 Pacific University Alumni Achievement Award, died Aug. 12, 2013, at age 94. He earned honors in high school as the state champion tuba player. At Pacific, he played football and was an all-league fullback. After graduation, he taught at The Dalles (Ore.) High School before being drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served for five years before retiring as a first lieutenant. He went on to become principal at Estacada (Ore.) High School, then at David Douglas High School in Portland. In 1968, he became superintendent of the David Douglas School District, where the auditorium is named in his honor. He retired in 1981. He is survived by his sons, James, Robert and Gregory; seven grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and his brother, George Walter Horner ’44. His wife, Grace (Boyles) Horner '41, died Dec. 20, 2013.

Grace (Boyles) Horner '41

Grace (Boyles) Horner died Dec. 20, 2013, at the age of 95. She had a great love of music, was an excellent pianist and an outstanding soprano. She sang in many choirs and earned a letter at Pacific University as song queen. She earned her degree in education and worked as a substitute teacher. She was an avid gardener, member of many garden clubs and successfully competed in many flower shows. She served on the board of Cherry Park Methodist Church and, in 1961, was named “Mother of the Year” by the David Douglas High School Girls League. She and her husband, Howard Horner ’40, wrote and edited The History and Folklore of the David Douglas Community. She was preceded in death by her husband. She is survived by her sister, Ruth Maxine (Boyles) Petrasso; sons, James, Robert and Gregory; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

David R. Walt OD '49

David R. Walt OD died July 1, 2013, at age 87. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Sue; three children, Wendy Thingvold, Cindy Kirchem and Scott Walt; 11 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

Harold Whitbeck '49

Harold Whitbeck died Sept. 7, 2013, at age 93. He enlisted in the Army Air Forces during World War II, serving in Africa and Europe. He served more than 50 missions, was shot down twice, imprisoned once and earned a Purple Heart. He attended Pacific University after the war. He taught science and coached at Springfield (Ore.) High School for 27 years. He was preceded in death by his wife, Leona. He is survived by four daughters, Glenna Johnson, Barbara Whitbeck, Sally Donovan and Kathy Cotton; son, Rob; 16 grandchildren; and 10 great grandchildren.