Dan French ’56, MS ’64 died Nov. 14, 2012, at his home in Indian Wells, Calif. He was 78. A standout three-sport athlete at Pacific in the 1950s and longtime men’s basketball coach and athletic director, French was a member of the Pacific University Athletic Hall of Fame.
During his undergraduate years at Pacific University, French was a four-year letter winner in football, basketball, and track and field, but he especially stood out on the hardwood. He held the Pacific career record for rebounds until 2010 and ranks fifth on Pacific’s all-time scoring list. He was inducted into the NAIA District II Hall of Fame in 1968.
He served two years in the U.S. Marine Corps before starting a teaching and coaching career at Hillsboro High School. In 1960, he became Pacific’s head men’s basketball coach, a position he held for 12 seasons. He led the Badgers to a second-place finish in the Northwest Conference in 1962‑1963, and his 117 wins were the most in school history until 2001‑2002.
He served as Pacific’s director of athletics and chair of the physical education department from 1965 to 1972 and came back to the court in 1982‑1983 as interim coach for 14 games.
He and his wife, Varina, moved to Borrego Springs, Calif., in the late 1980s, where French coached football and worked at Ram’s Hill High School.
He is survived by his wife, Varina Heinrich French, who also served as a Pacific coach and physical education faculty member and holds her own place in the Pacific University Athletic Hall of Fame, as well as by son Daniel V. French and his wife, Hayley; daughter, Laurie Lund and her husband, Kurt; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Ellen Peirce Bump ’40 died Jan. 21, 2013, at Tuality Community Hospital in Hillsboro. She was 98. She attended Pacific University and earned a degree in social work in 1940. She worked in the law offices of D.D. Bump in Forest Grove, and he encouraged her to study law at Northwestern School of Law, now Lewis & Clark Law School. She passed the bar in 1937 and worked as the only juvenile court worker in Washington County for two years. In 1942, she married Kenneth Allen Bump ‘41 in San Luis Obispo and they returned to Forest Grove where she became a parter in the law firm of Bump, Young and Walker and served as a lawyer for 43 years. She was active in many civic and community groups. She also was a member of the Forest Grove United Methodist Church. She also was a long-time friend and supporter of Pacific University. She is survived by her husband; their son, Daniel and his wife, Kathryn; two grandchildren; two great-grandchildren, and a large extended family. Her family suggested remembrances in her honor be made to Pacific University.
Jay Thomas, professor emeritus in the Pacific University School of Professional Psychology, died Sept. 24, 2012. He spent more than 13 years as assistant dean of the School of Professional Psychology and director of the school’s counseling program. He was a dedicated teacher and mentor and helped found Pacific’s master’s degree in counseling. In 2010, he was named Distingiushed University Professor. He received professor emeritus status in Spring 2012, following his retirement.
Leonard W. Gilman ’41 died June 27, 2012, at the age of 94. Gilman is the only football player in history to be selected to the Northwest All Star team four years in a row, and he was honored three times as a “Little All American.” He also was a Golden Gloves boxer, a baseball pitcher, and set track records that still stand today. He entered the U.S. Border Patrol in 1941 as a horse patrol officer, but interrupted his career for World War II, serving as a naval air gunner. After returning to the Border Patrol, he stopped the first hijacking of a commercial jet in the U.S., earning accolades as a national hero and receiving special commendations from President John F. Kennedy. He retired in 1970. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Maxine Gilman ’42. He is survived by his wife, Mary Gayle, sons Lance and Brent, stepson James, four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Pat (Akin) Koenig ’65 died Sept. 6, 2012, after struggling with illness for quite some time. At Pacific University, she was a member of the Theta Nu Alpha sorority. She earned a full scholarship at Pacific in the Speech Department for the Debate Team and graduated with a bachelor of arts in speech/speech pathology. She went on to start her own speech therapy business in Seattle. She married Jerry Koenig in 1967 and enjoyed traveling before starting a family. Pat went into residential real estate when their daughter was young and had a successful career for 30 years. She is survived by husband Jerry; daughter Tiffany; and two grandsons.
Rhoda Irene Mills ’39 died July 25, 2012, at the age of 94. She graduated from Forest Grove High School in 1935 and from Pacific University in 1939. She taught English, French, bookkeeping, girls’ physical education and music at Corbett (Ore.) High School from 1940 to 1942. She took a break from teaching to join the Navy in 1942 in the midst of World War II. She earned the rank of ensign and was assigned to a unit responsible for commissioning warships launching in the Portland and Astoria areas. She was honorably discharged in 1946, but was called back to duty during the Korean War in the 1950s. She remained with the reserves until 1977, when she retired as a lieutenant commander. In the meantime, she earned a master’s degree in education in 1955. She taught business, coached tennis and advised the rally squad for more than 20 years, traveling the world during her summer breaks. When she retired from teaching in 1977, she volunteered for 13 years at the Naval Marine Corps Training Center at Swan Island. She is survived by her nephew and niece, Fred Haney and Kathy Gentemann and their families. The family suggests remembrances be made to Pacific University.
Sara Virginia Lasky MAT ’03 died Oct. 11, 2012, at the age of 35, due to a brain tumor. While attending Pacific University, Lasky earned her master’s of arts in teaching. She taught at Brookwood Elementary School and R.A. Brown Middle School in the Hillsboro (Ore.) School District. She also was an accomplished musician who belonged to the Greater Portland Flute Society and the Brooklyn Music Society. She is survived by her parents, grandparents and extended family.
Joyce (Bedortha) Haller died Jan. 29, 2013, at age 85. She married Dean Haller ’51 in 1950. They settled in Forest Grove, then, in the 1970s, moved to Lincoln City, where she owned and operated a gift shop, Pacific Originals. She was a breast cancer survivor. Haller was preceded in death by her husband. She is survived by her sister, Kaye Sith; sons, Larry and Jon; daughters, Marie, Kathy and Lisa; 14 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
Gilbert Weisman OD died May 17, 2013, at age 88. He was a World War II Army veteran. He played basketball at Pacific from 1947 to 1948, majored in biology and got his optometry degree. He practiced optometry for 44 years in Lindenhurst, NY. He is survived by his wife, Trina; sons, Steven and Adam; and three grandchildren.
Louis “Lou” Eiffert died Sept. 14, 2012, in Palm Springs, Calif., age 83. He served in the U.S. Army from 1952 to 1954 and graduated from Northwestern University in Chicago. He worked for Illinois Bell and National Bank of Commerce (Rainer Bank), then became co-owner of an office supply company in Puyallup, Wash., before retiring to Palm Springs. He is survived by his partner, Dick Hammer, and brother, Art Eiffert ’49.
Paul Roger Rice ’51, OD ’52 died April 22, 2013, at age 89. In 1943, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He flew 63 missions in a B-17 over Europe with the 99th bomb group while stationed in Italy. He practiced optometry for 46 years in Mill Valley, Calif. He also was a craftsman and inventor. He was preceded in death by his wife, Loretta. Survivors include his son, Paul; daughters, Mary Poulhazan and Laura Stock; and six grandchildren.
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.
Earl Frederick Why died April 21, 2013, at age 86. He attended the University of Oregon for a year before serving in the U.S. Army. He was in the Gamma Sigma Fraternity. He worked
for Southern Pacific Railroad in Coos Bay, Ore., for more than 30 years and also worked in the family store, Bert’s Cash Grocery. He is survived by his sister, Doris Lum, and brother, Dr. Bert Why ’60.
Everett J. Dickerman OD died March 27, 2013. He attended the University of Oregon for two years, then joined the Navy. He later joined the Marine Corps and was deployed to the South Pacific during World War II. At Pacific, he met Clara Vanderzanden ’51, whom he married in 1951, in Forest Grove. He was recalled to active duty during the Korean War, but then returned to Pacific and earned an optometry degree in 1955. He was in the Marine reserves for 26 years. He was the owner of Binyon Optometrists in Everett, Wash., until he retired at age 70. He is survived by his wife; son, David; daughters, Dale Johnson and Shirley Jo Dickerman; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.