Woodrow Wilson High School Alumni Update - September 2009

Don't miss your upcoming reunion - make sure to check the reunion section below.


Fifty-one years later Ronald Tolls '58, MD FACS, Colonel, MC US Army (Retired) General Surgeon remembers the new Woodrow Wilson High School as "a new beginning for those of us struggling with the caste system at Lincoln. Midway between the wars in Korea and Viet Nam, even with Sputnik the world seemed like a kind and gentle place."  After Wilson Ron spent two terms as a missionary surgeon in the remote jungles of the Congo. Preparation included training in the Canal Zone, language study (French, Spanish, Koinia Greek, Lingala), Fuller Theological Seminary, and tropical medicine at the University of London. "Twice I took my young family to perhaps the most remote corner of Africa only to find that the hospital to which I was assigned was closed and there was no money budgeted (i.e. No lights, water, fuel, medication, or support)," adds Ron. "Making do with nothing in a sea of human misery in retrospect was the defining experience of our lives." At age 40 he returned to the Army, this time as a General Surgeon, and had a very fulfilling career, retiring at age 60. Since then he has been in a solo private practice starting at age 61, returned to the Army as a contract surgeon covering for surgeons deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and in recent years covering surgical practices in seven states. Ron lost my wife of 33 years just prior to Army retirement. Ron says, "Only through God's Providence and eHarmony did Margie and I find each other. Our two year anniversary is approaching."  Ron and Margie retired to his 61 acre farm about one hour north of Houston where they enjoy caring for their 21 cattle, 5 milk goats, 4 donkeys, 4 dogs, 3 cats, 2 miniature horses, and some 20 assorted poultry most all of which they know by name. "We are developing our beautiful hobby farm to do outdoor weddings, receptions, family reunions, church picnics and, God-willing and if the price of crude stabilizes such that we have oil revenues, a Christian retreat for intensive on-site counseling in a serene environment for couples in Christian service with marital challenges who need help away from the scrutiny of their constituencies.  We are blessed with loving children, good neighbors, a supportive church, and good health. We are excited about each new day and the possibilities it affords!"

After graduating from Wilson, Jennifer Hatfield (Brown) '66 attended Oregon State University, then moved to Lake Tahoe where she lived and worked for 14 years in Destination Property Resort Management. For the past 20 years, she has owned Wholesale Commercial Interiors, Inc., a design, purchasing and installation firm in Portland specializing in the hotel and resort design in the hospitality industry. The company is now listed as #21 of 100 design firms in the US. You can read more about her business at Jennifer married Ken Hatfield, also from the Wilson Class of 1966, after they met again at their 30-year reunion. Jennifer and Ken have been married for 10 years.

Gabriel Leif Bellman graduated from Wilson in 1991. He was awarded a Bachelor’s degree from University of Southern California's (USC) Film School (’95), a Master’s from New York University (’99), and a law degree from U. C. Hastings ('05). Gabriel has been a high-school teacher; MTV producer; umbrella salesman; restaurant host; dishwasher; lumber feeder; assembly liner; slam poet; warehouse stacker; SOMA magazine correspondent; opera composer at Juilliard, groundskeeper; and ‘Playboy’ assistant. He has worked construction (Mexico); lived abroad (Spain, Ireland); and devoted extensive time to traveling (Europe, North Africa, the United States, Middle East, and Caribbean). He directed a film about traveling with the circus in Ireland (Duffy's Irish Circus), and has done work with female prisoners in California. The founder of the Frozen Film Festival (and Music Festival), Mr. Bellman moved from NYC to San Francisco where he practices law, writing, and filmmaking. Read more about his firm at: One of the underrated 3 point shooters of his generation, winning the Los Angeles city hoops championship in 1995, he is now a free agent in the NBA, though he would prefer to sign with a title contender. Gabriel did improv at Wilson and won "Best Improv" for his efforts. His prom date, Jenn Dees '91, was elected Queen of Rosaria, for which he still is awaiting some kind of jeweled crown. Preferably at least 10 pounds of solid gold, although silver would be kinda cool if it were surrounded with many, many diamonds. He especially remembers his teachers at Wilson fostering his creativity and just generally being cool. Words of wisdom from Gabriel for current Wilson students: "You can do anything you want to do in life, if you don't mind spending time at it. On the other hand, time is limited. Don't think anything in the world is out of reach. The planet is full of people exactly like you, worrying that other people are definitely smarter, faster, more attractive, gonna get that job, school, live in Paris, etc. Flexibility is key. Go after what you want, but don't think that you need to go after it a certain way. Stay flexible and enjoy the ride. The fun part is the journey, and life will bend you in directions you don't forsee. That's a good thing. But learn how to type."

After graduating from Wilson HS in 1975, Dan Golden attended University Of Oregon, and later spent 10 years in the TV & Video Production industry as a Producer/Director/Videographer and on-air talent, as well as teaching for nearly four years at the National Broadcasting School. Dan has spent the last 25 years as a professional musician, fronting the classic rock band “The Sinners Club” as well as playing the Bill Wyman bassist role in a locally renowned Rolling Stones tribute band named the “Rolling Tones” alongside another Wilson alum, Tim Baltus ‘76. He has performed over 2300 shows at venues and events such as the Rose Garden Arena, Crystal Ballroom, Portland Meadows Race Track, Rose Festival, The Bite Of Oregon, Tigard Festival Of Balloons, 92.3 KGON-FM events, casinos, weddings, corporate functions, TV specials and commercials, plus numerous nightclubs throughout the western US. Dan's current “day job” in the printing industry finds him working as Store Manager at the PIP Printing location on Pacific Hwy in Tigard, where he runs into many Wilson alumni that are his customers. Some of his greatest high school memories are winning the District championships in Lincoln-Douglas Debate and Extemporaneous Speaking in ’74 and ’75. You can reach Dan at (503)649-6366 or email:

Following graduation from Woodrow Wilson High School, Mike Pettingell '62 attended Portland State University and pursued engineering for three years. Mike remembers being tired of being on academic probation every other term and hoping to stay in college to avoid the draft, he eventually changed to Business Administration, got married, and graduated with a BS in 1967. "As this was during the Vietnam War, the U.S. Army wanted me to lead one of their platoons through the jungles. Not wanting to do this, I ran to the Air Force recruiting station and later graduated from Officer Training School in 1967." Mike's first duty assignment was as a Missile Launch Officer in South Dakota. He states that this was the most boring job in America as the military waited to launch US missiles for WWIII which never occurred. "One consolation was that the Air Force paid for my Masters Degree from South Dakota State University," adds Mike. He then applied for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI), commonly referred to as the "Mini-FBI" by Jack Anderson, a noted Washington Post Columnist at the time. His application was accepted and following a lengthy background investigation, he attended the OSI academy in Washington, D.C. and graduated in 1972 as a Special Agent. Over the next sixteen years, Mike commanded several OSI field offices, the last being the Washington, D.C. field office before retiring from the Air Force in 1987 as a Major. From there, he worked three years for Honeywell Federal Systems in Falls Church, VA, as the Corporate Security Manager for their classified government programs. He recalls that, "one day my wife came home and announced that she was moving to Phoenix for better weather and did I want to join her?" Once they had re-located to Scottsdale, Mike joined Rondo Pools, Inc as a pool designer and salesman. Nineteen years later, he is still working for the company on a part time basis while he and his wife enjoy traveling and retirement. They have since moved to Wickenburg which is about an hour from Phoenix.  When asked about advice to new graduates Mike states, "be persistent and don't be willing to give up so easily! If pursuing a job, research and select the companies you wish to work for, then apply in person and keep coming back until they kick you off their property or hire you! This shows them you are serious about wanting to work for them. Believe me it works. Be willing to accept a low position, then be willing to "earn" your way up the ladder. Learn all you can about saving and investing money and learn the art of negotiating as these skills will help you throughout life. Once you have your first job, begin an investment program and start putting money into equities for your retirement ... this will soon become a habit and you won't miss the income that you invest."

Richard Geiger played tennis while at Wilson and graduated in 1973. He is currently the Associate Dean at Cornell Law School in New York. Rick's favorite teachers were Mr. Hood (social studies), the teacher who taught U.S. History (can't remember his name), Mr. Lotz (music), Mr. Murray (English), and Mr. Hanby (math). Rick received his undergraduate degree in Political Science and Natural Science from Lewis & Clark College. He received his J.D. degree from Boston University. Following graduation, he clerked for Chief Judge Raymond Pettine on the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island. After that, he worked as an associate at Sidley & Austin's Washington, D.C. office and at Bowker, Elmes, Perkins, Mecsas & Gerrard in Boston. He was also assistant counsel at Corning Incorporated for 3 years before coming to Cornell Law School.

Kris Van Auken (Nelsen) graduated from Wilson in 1968. After Wilson she received a Music Ed. degree from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. After college Kris taught elementary music in the Evergreen School District in Vancouver, WA while earning her master's degree at Lewis and Clark College. Kris then taught elementary music in Oregon City and North Clackamas and at Oregon Episcopal School, where she still teaches an after school choir. Currently she is the Artistic Director of the Oregon Repertory Singers Youth Choirs, where children K-12 grades sing in six choirs. It is a community, tuition-based choir and kids come from all over the Portland metropolitan area to rehearse once a week and sing in several concerts in Portland during the school year. Go to: to learn more. When asked about favorite teachers, Kris said that Merle Lotz, her choir teacher, had the biggest influence on her at Wilson. "He and his wife Pat gave me some wonderful opportunities to accompany the choirs on piano, as well as sing some very high quality music during my high school years," states Kris. "This was a huge influence on my choice of career." We also asked Kris if she had any words of wisdom for Wilson students. "I would advise current Wilson students to pursue their dreams and to look at life with an open mind," she adds. "Don't get stuck with a small, select group of people, as it will narrow your opportunities and your outlook on all that the world has to offer."

Today, Colin Reese from the Class of 1996 is a Research Scientist. After Wilson he spent a few years off and on at Portland Community College, Sylvania Campus and worked in Operations management at Fred Meyers to pay for living expenses. Colin eventually received his high school diploma from PCC. He finished taking the majority of his math, chemistry, and writing requirements at PCC and then transferred to the University of Washington where he received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering (minoring in Chemistry) in 2003. He graduated magna cum laude for remarkable academic distinction and was first in his Chemistry Engineering class. Colin spent one summer doing research at the University of Florida and continued that research for the following summer in Bordeaux, France. He picked up graduate studies in Chemical Engineering at Stanford University the following fall, receiving his M.S. in 2006 and his Ph.D. in 2008. "Since October 2008, I've worked for a solar cell startup that spun off from Intel," states Colin. "I'm one of about ten senior research scientists, working to design more efficient solar panels in a laboratory setting. It's a dream job, and I genuinely enjoy going to work every day." Colin moved back to Portland in April, 2009 with his fiancee Nicole and dog Olive. "I live in NW Portland, renting a house I'd like to own before too long," adds Colin. Colin tells us that chemistry and physics classes were always his favorites at Wilson. "Although I did really like Mr. Theissen for English and my math teacher, Walt Looney," remembers Colin. "Melnichuk and Penk were my favorites overall, with Penk's passion inevitably fueling my own in my pursuit of higher education. Strangely enough, my neighbor is the new Wilson physics teacher, Amy Feller. I haven't seen Mr. Penk since I've been back." Colin plans to speak with Amy Feller's physics class at Wilson, so he hopes to run into George Penk on campus. When asked about any words of wisdom for the students at Wilson, Colin says that it's important to find your own way, to live life on your terms, and understand why you do the things you do in the context of what you want out of life, rather than what is traditionally valued by your peers and/or society. "I took paths that were far from average (or straight, for that matter), but at every step of the way I had a sense of purpose that was borne of deliberate decision-making and a dedication to my goals. I may have taken a more circuitous route, but I think I'm better off for it."

Send us the details on where/what you have been doing since graduating from Wilson, and we'll post in an upcoming WWHS Alumni Update e-newsletter.  Send details to Linda Doyle.



Bill Graham '61 recalls that the Wilson fight song is the same tune for "Semper Paratus" The Coast Guard marching song.

After attending his 45th reunion this summer at O'Connors Restaurant in Multnomah, John Richard '64 had a chance to tour Wilson after many, many years. John tells us that he was very pleased to note that old Wilson High looks MUCH better than in 2004 when he last visited it after attending the 40th reunion. "On Monday, August 10th I was able to tour the old school due to the kindness of a lady working in the admin office," adds John. "The new pool was built in the same place the old one was, which caused me to remember P.E. class and the many pool sessions we had.  The curtains were clean and the hallways were buffed and shiny once again. The mold on the concrete bench area near the front door had been cleaned away, and the missing or cracked bricks from the front of the main building had been repaired. Wonderful! Ms. Brent, the current principal, deserves some Kudos!" One of my first stops was the stage in the auditorium. It was weird but one look out from center stage, into the seating of the auditorium, and a long buried portion of my memory recognized it instantly. The last time I stood on that stage looking out, I was 17 and worried I would forget my “lines” for the play. This time I was astounded that 45 years had passed! I was the lead in my Senior Class play. The production was “Rebel without a Cause” and trying to play the role immortalized by James Dean was intimidating. Especially since I wasn’t even a blonde! However Mr. Lowell Slick our wonderful drama teacher helped me to make it through the play. The stage crew was composed of wonderful and very competent kids also, some of whom I met again at the 45th reunion. My “leading lady” was Ms. Sandy Cochran '64, then and now a very beautiful lady, whom I was privileged to reconnect with also at the 45th reunion party, played the role made famous by Natalie Wood in the movie. In fact Sandy looked very much like Natalie Wood right down to the big brown eyes. In any event it was a privilege to have been a part of that play and I remember it like it was yesterday (almost). Truly our school and the kids who attended it then, and now, are wonderful people." John Richard, Class of 64

This is a tribute to Mr. Jones, who taught American History at Wilson. Mr. Jones told us stories that were not in our history books. He made events and times and people come alive for me by sharing his vast education. Thanks Mr. Jones! You made it so much fun to learn! - Toni Piland Anderson - Class of '69 Tualatin, Oregon

PS:  We hope some teachers will attend our 1969 class reunion on Sept. 11, 2009 at the Stockpot Restaurant in Progress.



Mel Kraus Memorial Golf Tournament - Fall Fundraising Event: September 21, 2009

Steve Rudolph '75 (member of the PIL Hall of Fame Board of Directors) would like everyone to know about the upcoming Fall Fundraising event - the 2009 PIL Hall of Fame Golf Tournament to be held on Monday, September 21, at Broadmoor Golf Club in Portland, Oregon. The tournament is now dedicated to the memory of Mel Krause, one of the founders of the event. Your participation in this and future events will continue to provide educational and athletic opportunities for deserving student-athletes in the 10 Portland Interscholastic League High Schools. The event is open to anyone that wants to play. This is an excellent way to enjoy a fun day of golf, meet old and new friends and support a worthwhile cause. On the day of tournament, activities will start with a box lunch. The scramble format will begin at 1 p.m. with a shotgun start. All participants and contributors will receive a registration gift acknowledging their support and participation. A post-event awards dinner will recognize all the winners and sponsors. A popular event will be the short oral auction and raffle that will include golf packages, sports memorabilia and other nice prizes. Afterwards, a buffet dinner will be available. "PIL athletics allowed me the opportunity to properly channel my energies in high school resulting in an athletic scholarship that would never have otherwise been possible," states Steve. "Today many kids are hard pressed to pay participation fees, secure proper clothing and equipment, and find the time to participate. It is our goal to financially support those kids where possible and recognize their achievements. Please find it in your heart to support and recognize the PIL athletes by playing in the tournament, making an individual donation of any amount, becoming a major sponsor or donating items for the auction." Please pass this email on to all those you feel have the ability and the desire to help the PIL Hall of Fame achieve their goal our student athletes. If you have any questions or would like to be Steve's partner in the golf tournament, contact Steve Rudolph at (503) 449-0438 (cell) or Reserve your spot now to guarantee a place in the 2009 event. (Go to Entry Form at They anticipate a full field.



Does anyone from the Class of 1967 have a list of 1967 classmates who have passed away?  If so, please send the names and details to Linda Doyle.

I have been searching for a former classmate (Steve Hooker) who went on to college at Harvey Mudd. If you know how to contact him, please contact me at Clayton C. Carter, '60

Thanks so much for the update. These newsletters are getting better and better! Nice work!! Scott Fenton, '72

I attended Portland State University from 1962 to 1964, then went to active duty in the US Navy during the Vietnam period and did not finish college until after my military service. I married Candi Cole (class of 64) and we had two terrific age 43 and 37. We divorced and Sharon Arnett (Mitchell) '62 and I have been married since 1994, Sharon has two daughters from her previous marriage, the daughters are now 36 and 34. We have seven grand kids.. I know, hard to believe. I am a lucky man, kept my love and affections directed toward Wilson ladies... I retired after a 32 year career from United Way. My career took me to four different states and the last 14 years of my career I was CEO President of United Way's of California.. Sharon and I bought land in Central Oregon back in 2000 as we anticipated retirement some day, well we did. We retired in 2007 and enjoy our home here in Prineville. We wanted the quiet life of a small town where we see the deer daily along with the quail and morning doves and we can see the cascades and Mt. Jefferson from our property........ We also enjoy the Rodders classic car club, Rotary and other community volunteer roles. We frequently cruise to car shows in our 65 Mustang convertible.... We are showing our age I suppose. Our 1962 class has been blessed in so many ways, specifically the reunions every five years. Hard to believe we are a few years away from #50.......especially when we are all still so very young at heart. Keep in touch.  Lynn Arnett, '62

A quick note of personal thanks to everyone that keeps us connected through the WWHS Alumni website and newsletter. This means a lot. Clayton C. Carter, '60

Thank you so much for your faithfulness in producing this monthly newsletter. It's so interesting to read the news of other Wilson Alumni. I graduated in 1962 and soon after married a man who was in the Air Force. We traveled and lived around the world ending up in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. I was widowed in 1987 and a couple of years later I moved to Reno, Nevada where I have been ever since. Over the years I've made many trips back to Portland (still have family & friends up there) and we always drive by good old Woodrow Wilson High School - reminiscing about the good ole days. It looks the same today as it did back in the early 60's. Earlier this year I retired and am loving every minute of this next chapter in my life. Any Wilson '62 Alumni that would like to reconnect can contact me at (There's an underscore [_] between my first & last name) Look forward to hearing from you. Cathie Gundle (Halverson) '62

My wife, Carolyn, and I took our first cruise in early January 2009 to the Panama Canal and visited some countries along the way that we never dreamed of seeing. The experience was wonderful and would recommend this opportunity to anyone that has never taken a cruise but would like to. This is also my 5th year to sing with the "Westside Singers", a jazz ensemble made up of 25 - 32 men and women that sing music in the style of the Manhattan Transfer. Check our website for performances and dates at Clayton C. Carter, 60

The older I become the more I truly appreciate the fine education and learning atmosphere provided by WHS. It was and still is a special place for all of us. Thanks for the terrific job on this webpage. It is super for all of us who attended Wilson High! Alan Mushen, '67

So this will sound very wired maybe ... I was attending the class of 1977 reunion for our 20th. I believe it was at the Montgomery Park Center.  Well I had to fly out quickly that weekend following the softball game at Pier Park, and I left my 1977 Yearbook there without thinking about it till days later, but I had no contacts for checking on it.  If you could email me if found @  I would appreciate it tons. That year was very fun for me and would appreciate the return of that book whom ever found it laying on a table or at the BAR!!  Scott Larsen '77

La'Tonia Foster '81 is looking for a 1981 yearbook.  If you have one, contact Linda Doyle.

Keenya Browder '93 is looking for a 1993 yearbook.  If you have one, contact Keenya at

1962 GRAD
Almost retired and loving it...  John (Robert) Butler '62

Charlene Sherer (McDonald) '65 has her yearbook handy, and she'd like to know where people are who graduated with her in 1965. Charlene has three sons, four grandchildren. She is single and a legal assistant in Portland. If you'd like to communicate with Charlene, contact her at

Is there going to be a 30-year class reunion for the Class of 1980? Let us know, so that we can help spread the word to classmates. Bob Altman '80 is willing to help get a reunion effort started. Send Bob an email at

Back in 1980 it seemed impossible to think of 30 years into WWHS's future. Looking back now it seems that 30 years went by rather quickly. I no longer live in Portland and my work and education moved me to eight different US cities and three international ones. Never knew life had more plans for me than I had for myself. It would be nice to see how all these trips around the sun have been for my other WWHS classmates!   Bob Altman '80

Wilson was so long ago but it seems like yesterday ... those memories of high school. Away from Oregon now, I live in sunny Scottsdale Arizona and love it!   Stew Keene '74



Please send an email to Linda Doyle if you have an obituary that should be posted here.  Below is a list of classmates who have passed away.  Here are the names for those who have just been added to the list:







Read more about classmates, teachers, community members who have passed away...



CLASS OF 1959 ... 50-Year Reunion ... September 11-12, 2009

CLASS OF 1969 ... 40-Year Reunion ... September 11, 2009

Click here for all the reunions and the latest details.

Is there going to be a 30-year class reunion for the Class of 1980? Let us know, so that we can help spread the word to classmates. Send an email to Bob Altman '80 at

Click here to read a recap of the event.



There are so many ways to support the current Wilson High School students.  You can contribute to individual programs, you can attend athletic and performing arts events, or you can volunteer to help clean up the campus, just to name a few.  If you would like to help the next generation of Wilson graduations, please contact Erica Meyers, WHS Business Manager, at

Each year the Wilson Area Arts Council, a nonprofit supporting the arts in the nine schools in the Wilson cluster, hosts a sidewalk Chalk Art Festival.  This year's event is Sunday, September 13, 2009 from 10am to 2pm at the Hillsdale Farmers Market.  It's free, all ages and abilities.  So join us to support the arts in the Wilson community.  NOTE:  We are looking for experienced chalk artists for the event, especially 3D chalk artists. If you would like to volunteer your time, send an email to,



Check out the WWHS Alumni website and don't forget to complete the simple online form to join the WWHS Alumni database. To help us reach as many graduates as possible, please consider adding the link to our website ( from your website. Pass the word along to your Wilson High School classmates about the Wilson High School Alumni website and the opportunity to register. Tell your friends.

We've set up a new online Woodrow Wilson High School Alumni "Ning" online community network. The purpose of the WWHS Alumni Ning is for you to add stories about your time at Wilson, share what you've been doing since graduating from Wilson, and announce upcoming class reunions. Check out some old photos posted at the site. Click here to see more.

We are interested in gathering as many stories as possible from Wilson alumni. Do you have a story you would like to share from your time at Wilson? A memory of band class, football games, assemblies, typing class, wrestling matches, autoshop or home economics class, or about your time in Hillsdale. Please send the details to Linda Doyle. We will post the stories in future WWHS Alumni Update e-newsletters and on the WWHS website.

If you are receiving the WWHS Alumni Update, please make sure to add the following email address to your address book ( This way your internet/email provider will not view the e-newsletter as spam. Thanks! If you would like to be removed from the list, just send an email to Linda Doyle.

Send the details to Linda Doyle, including your name, class year and quote about your time spent at WWHS. Do you have a story about a classmate's achievements. Send us the story and we will post it in our next WWHS Alumni e-newsletter. All you have to do is to give us the full name and graduating class of the individual along with their story. Then let us know your name and graduating class.

Interested in purchasing 50th Anniversary t-shirts, sweatshirts, caps? To place an order, contact Jack Bertell '58.