Remembering David Lowe '63 and Sandy Rowe '78, M.A.T. '82; Alicia Denae Elfring '12; Dr. John Howarth; Lt. Col. Clinton Gruber '47, Leon Meade '70; followed by more Class Notes Obituaries.
A memorial service was held in Eugene, Ore. March 21 for Alicia Denae Elfring ’12, a Eugene campus College of Education student who passed away from injuries sustained in an automobile accident.
Alicia was born May 13, 1986, in Eugene to Johnny and Tammy Elfring Phillips. She graduated from Summit High School in Bend, Ore. and received an associate degree from Lane Community College. She was working on a bachelor’s degree with Initial Teaching License and an early childhood education and elementary authorization at Pacific. Alicia had worked in early education and retail.
Survivors include her parents, now of Bend; a brother, Johnny Phillips of Bend; a sister, Sheena Quick of Springfield; and grandparents Carole Elfring of Eugene, Lanny and Melvina Elfring of Eugene and Bobbie Phillips of Lebanon.
Remembrances may be made to the Pacific Early Education Program or the First Church of the Nazarene’s education fund or quilting ministry.
Mary Jo Simone, assistant professor at the Eugene campus, put together this remembrance of Alicia:
"Alicia’s recent and sudden death has impacted her cohort, her professors and all of us on the Eugene campus in a most profound way. When we gathered together to remember her and celebrate her life, the stories recounted were of a generous, bright and energetic young woman who experienced life fully and gave unselfishly.
"She was a champion of the underdog, always making sure that others were included and would never feel left out. One student who worked with her at River Road Elementary in a dual-immersion program told of her great dedication to her young students and to enhancing their self-esteem. She loved learning and being a part of a vibrant learning community. She loved her cohort members and they loved her. She brought a curious mind, a warm heart and a challenge to everyone to be the best they could be.
"They recalled an expression she used often to motivate her fellow students: "Let’s get this thing done!" Her kindness, generosity and zest for life will be a constant inspiration to all of us as we continue our work in the field of education which meant so much to her."
College of Optometry Professor Emeritus and alumnus Dr. Bill Preston ’57, O.D. ’58, passed away on Jan. 17 at the age of 82.
Beloved by both his colleagues and students, Dr. Preston served on Pacific’s optometry faculty from 1976-96. He was one of the University’s few second generation faculty emeriti, following his father Daniel, who served as the University’s School of Music Dean in the 1950s and became Associate Professor Emeritus of Music in 1963.
Bill Preston enrolled at Pacific as a sophomore in 1949, and joined the Marines to serve in the Korean War, advancing to the rank of sergeant. He returned to complete his undergraduate studies at Pacific following the war, and earned his doctorate of optometry in 1958. Upon graduation, Preston practiced general optometry for eight years in North Dakota, with a general emphasis on vision problems in children. During his practice, he became an expert on contact lenses.
He returned to the Pacific Northwest in 1966 and practiced in Portland for three years. He subsequently established a private practice in the Cedar Mill area near Beaverton before becoming a part-time clinical advisor at Pacific. He joined the College of Optometry’s clinic faculty on a full-time basis in 1976.
During his tenure at Pacific, he actively served on the College’s Admissions Committee, traveling extensively to the Midwest to recruit prospective students. He became the College’s Forest Grove Clinic Director in 1980. In addition to overseeing clinic administrative operations, he advised and lectured on various optometric topics until his retirement in the late 1990s. In addition to providing students and patients knowledge and expert care, Dr. Preston regularly bestowed financial gifts to the College of Optometry and other University offerings.
He once said, “I can’t help with the big bucks like some companies can, but I can help with the ‘real’ dollars that students need to buy food, pay rent and keep their cars running.” Dr. Preston had a fondness and talent for singing, gardening and landscaping. Countless audiences enjoyed his tremendous voice at local churches and in many performances at the Theatre in the Grove.
A memorial service was held on Jan. 22 at the United Church of Christ in Forest Grove. In lieu of flowers, the Preston family requests donations be made to the shelter at the United Church of Christ, or gifts to the music department at Pacific.
Lt. Colonel USAF (Ret) Clinton A. Gruber ’47 passed away on March 12, 2011 at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center at the age of 91.
Clint was raised in Silver Lake, a tiny town in the Oregon high desert. Entering Pacific on a scholarship in 1938, he concurrently enrolled in the university’s Civilian Pilot Training course at Hillsboro Airport. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor plunged America into the Second World War, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet, graduating as a Second Lieutenant in the class of 43-C.
Assigned to a B-24 “Liberator” heavy bomber crew as a copilot, he went to England to join the 93rd Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, based at Norwich. Temporarily posted to North Africa, he and his crew flew combat missions out of desert bases near Benghazi and Tunis, striking enemy targets in Italy and Austria.
Back in England he flew more missions, to strategic target in Germany. On November 1, 1943, on approach to a target near Solingen, Nazi fighters attacked, knocking out two of the four engines on his plane and killing the tail gunner. Clint and surviving crew members bailed out at 18,000 feet. He landed in a snowy field, injuring his leg. Nevertheless he evaded capture for two days. He was interrogated and sent to Stalag I prison Camp on the Baltic Sea, where he remained a prisoner of war until liberation by Russian troops shortly before the German surrender in May, 1945.
Clint resumed his studies at Pacific, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1947, then landed a job as an announcer for what would become Oregon Public Broadcasting. He later worked for KOIN radio for many years, serving as its program director, then became Executive Director of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and served as Deputy Director of the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs.
He continued service in the Air Force Reserve and the Oregon National Guard until his retirement as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1972. In his memoirs he recalled: “I am forever grateful to have been of an age to actively experience the war years, and to have been allowed to serve my country in World War II as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Force. I am proud of that service, and thankful that I was spared to see the fruits of our victory.”
Lt. Colonel Gruber is survived by his wife Doris, of Beaverton and son Dwight, of Portland. His story, “Missing in Action Over Germany” appears in the on-line versionof Pacific magazine at: www.pacificu.edu/magazine.
-- Sig Unander '87
A tragic auto accident Feb. 16 in South Carolina took the lives of University Trustee David Lowe, ’63, and his wife, Sandra Spurling Lowe, ’78, M.A.T. ’82.
David Lowe, age 69, earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Pacific in 1963 and began his career in banking in California. He returned to Pacific in 1969 and served in several positions in university relations, community relations, alumni relations and fundraising until 1986. He then moved to Boca Raton, Fla. and worked as a development officer at Florida Atlantic University, retiring as associate vice president for development in 2004.
His wife, Sandy, age 66, earned a degree in English and sociology at Pacific in 1978, and a master’s in education in 1982. She taught high school English in Oregon and was an adjunct professor of business and professional writing at Florida Atlantic University.
David served on many community boards and councils, but was known to be most proud and honored to be on the University Board of Trustees, a position he had held since 2005. An avid sports fan and a former standout tennis player and coach, he also enjoyed a fine cigar, a good blend of Scotch and time with his wife, family and friends.
Contributions in the Lowes’ memories may be made to the Lowe-Spurling Endowed Scholarship for Business at Pacific University. Sun Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Feb. 26, 2011
Dr. John Howarth, husband of the late University President Faith Gablenick, passed away Feb. 21.
Born near Bolton England in 1924, he was the first person in his village to attend a university; his sister Jean was the second. He studied physics at Cambridge University, earning a master’s degree, then completed a Ph.D. in 1963 at the University of London.
He was then invited to New Mexico to work as a radiological physicist at the Lovelace Clinic in Albuquerque. In 1964, he joined the physics department at the University of New Mexico and was appointed director of the university’s general honors program in 1971. He moved to the University of Maryland in 1978, continuing as a physics professor and honors program director.
Dr. Howarth spoke of New Mexico as his “spiritual home,” but the career of his wife, Dr. Gablenick, led the couple to many adventures. They lived in Kalamazoo, Mich., Oakland, Calif. and finally Forest Grove. He contributed to academic and local communities wherever he lived, including serving as a volunteer mediator at the Washington County, Ore., courthouse and supporting causes such as local public radio stations, the Oregon Cultural Trust and the I Have a Dream Foundation.
He spent the last years of his life in Forest Grove, pursuing his passions for photography, painting and social justice. His 2008 book of photographs, I and I: Ironies and Idiosyncrasies in Everyday Life, portrayed his fascination with the accidental visual and textual humor people see all around them, but rarely appreciate.
Dr. John L. Middlebrook, who was given Pacific University’s Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 1978, passed away July 18, 2010 in Salt Lake City. He was 63 years old.
Dr. Middlebrook was born Dec. 16, 1946 in Astoria, Ore. He graduated from Pacific with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, then earned a doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology at Duke University in 1972. He completed a postdoctoral degree in pharmacology at Stanford University Medical School in 1975.
An avid outdoorsman as well as an avid gourmet cook and skilled woodworker, Dr. Middlebrook was deeply involved in scientific research in toxicology and an early pioneer in the field of recombinant DNA. He worked as a research chemist testing nuclear, chemical and biological warfare items in several positions with U.S. Army, the Department of Defense and other private or governmental organizations in need of biological testing services. He was also interested in compounds that crossed the blood-brain barriers and the use for such drugs in fighting diseases of the nervous system as well as in treatment of trauma to the brain and spinal cord.
In 1999, Dr. Middlebrook was severely injured in a car accident in his hometown at that time, Frederick, Md. He spent several months in intensive care, and then underwent rehabilitation for several years. When a return to his work proved impossible, he moved back to Salt Lake City, where he had worked years before as scientific director at the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Ground.
The Chinook Observer, Long Beach, Wash., Jan. 12, 2011.
An 2007 inductee of the Pacific University Athletic Hall of Fame, Leon Stacey “Squeak” Meade, age 63, died Feb. 6. He was born Nov. 11, 1947 in a Forest Grove hospital that later became the Gamma Sigma Fraternity house at Pacific University.
As part of a military family, Meade lived in many locations throughout his life including overseas bases in Italy and Germany. He was a pitcher for the U.S. Little League All-Star team as well as the Babe Ruth European Championship team when his family was stationed in Munich. When they came back to the states, he attended David Douglas High School in Portland, Ore. where he played basketball, football and baseball.
At Pacific, Mead was a key member of Coach Chuck Bafaro's highly competitive baseball teams in the late 1960s. A four-year starter at second base, Meade earned First Team All-NWC honors in 1967 and 1968 and earned NAIA District II honors in 1967 while batting .340. His .320 average in 1968 helped lead the Boxers to the NWC championship. Meade played the 1969 and 1970 seasons despite suffering severe hamstring injuries. In the 1990s, the baseball team's most inspirational player award was named in Meade's honor.
A scholarship for student athletes has been set up in Meade’s memory at Pacific. Donations can be sent to the Leon Meade Baseball Scholarship, in care of Ken Schumann, Pacific University, 2043 College Way, Forest Grove, OR 97116.
The Oregonian, Portland, Ore. Feb. 15, 2011
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, 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 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, 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 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 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 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.