Alumni | Response Magazine

In memoriam, Spring/Summer 2021

ANNE “BETTY” SWARD ARONSON ’48 died July 29, 2020, at the age of 96. Born to Swedish parents in Seattle, Betty graduated from West Seattle High School in 1942. She attended Seattle Pacific College for one year, then took two years off to work at Boeing during World War II. Betty returned to SPC after the war, graduating two years later with a degree in elementary education. She married C. “Connie” Aronson in 1946, after the two met on a day trip to Victoria, British Columbia. After teaching for five years at High Point Elementary School in Seattle, Betty took a break from teaching until her youngest of three children started school. When she began teaching again, she was a substitute in West Seattle elementary schools for several years. Leaving behind teaching, Betty began working with her husband at C. “Connie” Aronson, later known as Aronson Security Group. She retired at age 89. With a gift for hospitality (and Swedish cooking), Betty was a member of West Side Presbyterian Church for over 50 years. She was preceded in death by her husband and a son. She is survived by a daughter, two sons, four grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.

KEVIN BONTRAGER ’14* died Oct. 28, 2020, at the age of 27. After graduating from Western Mennonite High School in Salem, Oregon, Kevin participated in a gap year program called Outtatown, taking part in several service projects throughout Canada and traveling to South Africa, where he met and was served Communion by Desmond Tutu. Kevin then attended SPU for two years before taking time off after the death of his father in 2014. Kevin had many passions, including writing, music, and travel. In 2016, he and a friend traveled in Asia for four months. Kevin is survived by his mother, a brother, a sister, and many extended family members.

WILLIAM “Bill” BURR ’50 died March 24, 2020, at the age of 91. Born in Southern California, Bill attended Los Angeles Pacific College and traveled with the college’s basketball team to compete again the Seattle Pacific College Falcons. By his sophomore year, he had transferred to SPC, graduating with a BS in physics. A week after graduation, he and RUTH DAVIS BURR ’50 married. They were married for 62 years until her death in 2012. An active member of Seattle First Free Methodist Church and the Homebuilders Sunday school class, Bill began a career as a software engineer at Lockheed in 1952. In 1954, he became a Boeing engineer. During the next 37 years, Bill worked on the first 707 jets, the first Boeing computer center, and various defense contracts. He was most enthusiastic about working on the Lunas Orbiter project when Boeing worked with NASA to send the Orbiter around the moon in 1966–67. After he retired from Boeing in 1991, he and Ruth moved to the Warm Beach Senior Community. They traveled across America in their RV for 17 years, spending winters as volunteers at Rancho Betania, a Christian camp in Mexico. They were also on the Haiti Medical Mission Team, and Bill traveled twice to Guatemala with a medical mission team. Bill jogged, climbed Washington state mountains, was a pickleball champ in his age group at age 89, and was an active gardener and birdwatcher. At the age of 83, he married June Beckworth, and together they took cruises throughout the world, even taking a trip around the Horn of Africa. Bill is survived by his wife, June, sons KEN BURR ’74 and DAVID BURR ’80, daughter Judy, five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

GRETE HELSTAD CARLSON ’70* died Oct. 8, 2019, at the age of 71. Born in Norway, she emigrated to the U.S. with her parents in 1954, settling in Seattle. A graduate of Ingraham High School, Grete attended Seattle Pacific College and met DOUGLAS WILEY CARLSON ’68. They married and moved to Colorado, Illinois, and New York. Grete finished her bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. After the young family settled in Iowa, Grete focused her career in the nonprofit sector, raising funds for the homeless, scholarships for women, and  programs serving people with disabilities. She was a grant writer, speechwriter, marketer, and designer. She and Doug retired to Lummi Island, Washington, where they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in August 2019. Grete is survived by her husband, Doug, her mother, and their two daughters.

RON DETRICK ’60 died Feb. 29, 2020, at the age of 82. Ron had worked with the NW Leadership Foundation and had lived in Tacoma, Washington. He is survived by his wife, JOAN BARNHART DETRICK ’60, three children, and four grandchildren.

EDWARD EVERETT ’69 died June 3, 2020, at the age of 79. Born and raised in Toppenish, Washington, Edward attended Bob Jones University prior to transferring and graduating from Seattle Pacific. He was a member of the National Guard and taught school. Edward is survived by two sisters, a son, grandchildren, and friends.

JOYCE HATFIELD GLEASON ’73 died Sept. 15, 2020, at the age of 69. Born in Lebanon, Oregon, Joyce also earned an MEd from Western Oregon University and had worked for the Salem-Keizer School District. She was married to John Gleason and had two children.

LINDA MOEN HURD ’89 died March 26, 2020, at the age of 79. Born in Burlington, Washington, Linda came to faith in Christ while a child and attending a vacation Bible school. After graduating from Sedro-Woolley High School, she attended Bob Jones University for a year and then transferred to Seattle Pacific. She put her education on hold, though, after meeting Roger Hurd, and they married in 1961. After raising their son and daughter, Linda returned to SPU to graduate in 1989. Linda worked at Skagit Valley College in the Adult Learning Center, serving students for 18 years. Linda was an accomplished pianist, and enjoyed motorcycle trips with Roger, parasailing, sailing, and bodysurfing in Hawaii. She enjoyed cheering on her grandchildren at their soccer, football, baseball, basketball games, and track meets. After retirement, she and Roger traveled with others from their church, Emmanuel Baptist Church, to Israel and Turkey to trace the Apostle Paul’s missionary journey. Linda is survived by Roger, her husband or 58 years, a daughter and son, five grandchildren, and several extended family members.

DANIEL “DAN” LARSEN ’67 died Aug. 2, 2020, at the age of 75. Born and raised in Seattle, Dan entered Seattle Pacific College after graduating from Ballard High School. While at SPU, he met LEANN FOGG ’70, and they married in 1969. Dan began his career with his father, uncles, and cousins at Duwamish Shipyards in south Seattle. He later moved to work at Fishing Vessel Owners, where he was part owner and comptroller. He retired in 2012. Dan and LeAnn shared a passion for golf and traveling, including to Norway and Hawaii. Dan’s faith and relationship with Jesus Christ grew stronger during the last few years of his life. It was important to Dan that he live in a way that exhibited his faith by his generosity and love of people. Dan’s love of God brought him comfort and peace in his final months. In his final weeks, when asked where he would like his bed to be, Dan would respond “Heaven.” He is survived by LeAnn, his wife of 51 year, two sons, five granddaughters, and eight nieces and nephews.

DELILA NICHOLS ’65 died April 24, 2020, at the age of 97. Raised in Nebraska, Delia earned her BA in education from Biola Christian College in Southern California in 1955. She then moved to Taholah, Washington, on the Quinault Indian Reservation in Grays Harbor, Washington, where she taught school until 1960. She was also co-pastor of the Bible Lighthouse Church in Taholah. She came to Seattle Pacific College to earn a degree in psychology. She lived in Pacific Beach, Washington, for 27 years and was named Teacher of the Year in 1982 by the North Beach School District. Delila founded youth camps at Camp Bethel, and helped to oversee them for 14 years. After moving to Hoquiam, Washington, she attended Harbor Assembly of God Church, where she wrote a camp manual for the American Indian Fellowships Camps and for the Assembly of God camps. She traveled to Hawaii, Norway, Sweden, and England. She enjoyed fishing for salmon, camping, and singing in nursing homes for residents. Delila also served as a caregiver for family members over the years. She is survived by numerous nieces, nephews, and other relatives.

RUTH LEPEL NICHOLS ’60 died Oct. 14, 2020, at the age of 89. Born and raised in Montana, Ruth grew up helping to herd 2,000 sheep during summers on the family farm. Her father died when she was 15. After graduating from high school in 1950, she was able to attend St. Paul Bible College only during fall semesters because she was needed at home to help on the farm. In the decade to follow, she attended several colleges off and on, finally graduating from Seattle Pacific College in 1960 with a degree in music education. She went on to teach and direct school bands, in South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana. In 1965, Ruth married Gilbert Lepel and they had one son, before Gilbert’s untimely death. She raised her son while also caring for her aging mother. Ruth wanted her son to attend a Christian school, so she started one for her son and other students in her basement in 1975. She later asked a local church to take over, and the school still exists today as Liberty Christian School. In 1980, Ruth earned a master’s degree in guidance counseling. She then worked at Pensacola Christian College in Florida and Culbertson School. After retiring, Ruth spent winters in Arizona with siblings. In 2004, she married Bob Kelly who passed away on their honeymoon a week later. In 2005, she married Richard Nichols. He was diagnosed with cancer soon thereafter and died a year later. Ruth is survived by her son, Bert, and a granddaughter.

JANICE LINDELL OLSON ’86 died Oct. 11, 2020, at the age of 66. Janice had many occupations, including working as a project manager with AT&T, preparing taxes for H&R Block, and working as a technical writer. She also held a strong messianic belief in Yeshua. She was a messianic dance leader, and she kept both the Sabbath and biblical feast days. Janice loved to travel, and she traveled to Israel four times. An accomplished cook, Janice volunteered with Love INC and other charitable organizations. She was an advocate for fundraising to support Multiple Myeloma research and participated in several fundraisers. Janice also appeared on KING 5 News regarding her groundbreaking CAR-T clinical trial cancer treatment. Janice is survived by her husband, Daryl; a stepson; her mother; a brother; and an aunt.

CAROLYN PERRY MEd ’72 died Sept. 25, 2020, at the age of 88. Born and raised in Sacramento, California, Carolyn taught Spanish and sewing at her high school alma mater after receiving her bachelor’s degree from Sacramento State University. She and her husband, Paul, and their five children relocated to the Pacific Northwest, where Carolyn earned her master’s in education from Seattle Pacific. She went on to teach until 1999 in the Shoreline (Washington) School District. Like her parents, Carolyn was faithful to the Carmelite Secular Order, and became a third order Carmelite at St. Joseph’s Monastery in Seattle. Proud of her Italian heritage, she cherished trips to Italy visiting famiglia e amici and seeing the birthplaces of her parents and grandparents. When in Italy for a granddaughter soccer competition, she was affectionately known as ‘La Nonna’ by the team and relished cheering on the sidelines and fending off Italian boys from the teen girls. In 2017, she and her husband, Paul, returned to Sacramento to Mercy McMahon Terrace Assisted Living, where she lived her final years in peace, dignity, honor, and joy. Carolyn is survived by her husband of 67 years, Paul, three daughters and a son, 10 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by one son and three grandchildren.

JOHN “ANGUS” PRATT ’92 died Sept. 1, 2020, at the age of 51. Raised in Alaska, Angus graduated from Linfield Christian School in Temecula, attended the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and graduated from SPU. When he was young, he loved pulling shrimp pots at the family cabin in Halibut cove and duck hunting at “the Duck Shack” across the inlet. Angus loved singing and was also in the band Tangent, where he opened for Ozzy Osbourne. He enjoyed weekly Dungeons & Dragons games with friends. Well-liked and respected by friends, family, and co-workers, Angus worked in a variety of positions over the years, including for the hospital industry. Angus is survived by his wife of 20 years, Rhonda, and his son, grandson, and sister.

CHRISTINA RIVELAND ’76 died June 30, 2020, at the age of 86. Born and raised in Germany, Christina met her future husband, Dale, while working at a bank in Copenhagen. They married in 1957 and moved to Richmond Beach, Washington, where they lived for the next 60 years. After their four children had grown, Christina attended Seattle Pacific and Central Washington University, ultimately earning a master’s degree in education. She next taught home economics at Rainier Beach High School. Christina was a kind and generous person known for welcoming and befriending others. Christina spent her final years at Richmond Beach Rehab, where she learned the names of everyone assisting her and learned to say “hello” and “thank you” in Amharic, Tigrinya, Yoruba, Urdu, Mandarin, Tagalog, Somali, Akan, Italian, French, and Spanish. Preceded in death by her husband, Christina is survived by her son and three daughters, four grandchildren, and many extended family members.

JOY WILSON STALEY ’66 MEd, PhD died Nov. 30, 2020, at the age of 75. A native Washingtonian from Yakima, Joy had many passions including her immediate family, students, the African people (especially Ugandans), the Seattle Seahawks, her longtime Bible study, and music of all kinds. In high school and college, she played viola, violin, piano, drums, and trumpet. As a pastor’s wife, she spoke to many groups around the state, sang duets, and led a 50-voice choir that performed in many churches and regularly at the Walla Walla State Penitentiary. Joy reviewed Christian books for the radio and on a television show called The Master’s Touch. She also earned a master’s degree in education and a doctorate in clinical psychology. After becoming Dr. Joy, she taught for the Medex UW PA-C program, Seattle Pacific University, Heritage PA-C program, and Heritage University. She was asked to co-develop the psychology course for the master’s degree in medical Science (MAMS) program at Heritage University and Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, Doctor of Osteopathic Medical School. She loved students deeply and called them her students. She enjoyed skydiving, flying her two-engine plane on land and sea, parasailing, rollerblading, swimming with stingrays in Tahiti, snorkeling in Molokini, jumping off cliffs into the Firehole Rover in Yellowstone Park and in Kauai, biplane flying over San Diego, and traveling to Africa. Joy faced numerous medical challenges from birth, which led to a lifelong interest in health care. At age 71, she landed in Ntandi, Uganda, to do mission work at an orphanage. She eventually helped found a medical mission, Our-ganda. Joy is survived by her husband, Ed Staley, children Chris Staley, Juli Staley Christo, SEAN WILSON ’95, SEAMUS WILSON*, Vanessa Staley Wirth, Tony Cornejo, and Margo Barden, 13 grandchildren, and many extended family members and friends. Donations may be made to Seattle Pacific University’s Edward and Joy Staley Scholarship Endowment for graduate students in clinical psychology.

SUSAN HARMON TRONSCO ’86 died June 24, 2020, at the age of 58. Born in Montebello, California, she attended Northwest Nazarene University and Seattle Pacific University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing. She was employed at hospitals in Idaho and Seattle, including Providence Hospital in Seattle. She delivered more than 400 babies during her career as a night nurse and loved helping mothers and their newborns. Susan also fostered injured dogs and was a dog trainer and consultant. She was active in community service — working with pizzerias to provide meals for families, arranging transportation for the elderly, gathering and delivering toys to children at Christmas, and more. She was awarded the 2018 KZTV Pay It Forward award for community service. She enjoyed playing flute for social events, church services, weddings, and funerals, even sitting in with harpist Bron Journey and other club musicians. She won scholarships for continuing education and received outstanding musician awards for band and choir. Susan also enjoyed knitting, cooking, and water skiing. She is survived by her husband, Jeff Geist, her parents, two brothers, and other extended family members.

* attended Seattle Pacific with indicated class

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