A Magazine from California State University, ChicoSpring 2012 Issue

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

Wildcats on the Move Coordinator
Public Affairs and Publications
California State University, Chico
Chico, CA 95929-0040
E-mail wotm@csuchico.edu
Phone (530) 898-4143
Note: Only cities outside California will have the state name included.

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Araks Vartabedian Tolegian

(BA, Education and Credential, ’38) died Oct. 4, 2011, at the age of 95. She was active in organizations all her life, and at Chico State College, she was a member of the a cappella choir and Alpha Psi Omega and Theta Sigma Upsilon sororities and held leadership roles in the Associated Women Students group. She taught school in Sherman Oaks before moving back to Chico in 1997. Tolegian loved teaching and art. She donated a large collection of unique European art books to CSU, Chico and set up a scholarship foundation that has helped more than 25 future schoolteachers since 1984. She was predeceased by husband Manuel. 

Edwin Wager Sr.

(BA, Education and Credential, ’38) died Nov. 18, 2011, at the age of 97. He attended UCLA, graduated from Chico State, and worked as a teacher and administrator in Stockton for 33 years. During retirement, he was active in the Audubon Society, traveled, played golf, and enjoyed spending time with his family. He is predeceased by first wife Esther and second wife Ilene and survived by children Julie, Shirley, Walter, and Carrie; 12 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; and 8 great-great-grandchildren.

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Patricia Bidstrup Forni

(Credential, ’48) died Dec. 14, 2011, at the age of 84. She sang opera in college, and after graduating, taught school for two years. She also worked on her family’s cattle ranch. She was predeceased by husband John and is survived by son George and daughter Susan.

Carl Donica

(BS, Business Administration, ’49) died Jan. 19, 2012, at the age of 91. He grew up in Kansas and joined the Army Air Corps during World War II. His flight training was at Chico Air Force Base. After the war, he moved to Chico with wife Allene to attend college. He worked in real estate and was active in local government. Donica was predeceased by wife Allene and survived by wife Sylvia, son Gregory, daughter Sharee, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

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John Wainwright

(BS, Business Administration, ’50) died Sept. 4, 2011, at the age of 84. He was in the U.S. Navy until the end of WWII, when he attended Chico State and owned two service stations with his brother Dick. In 1955, they moved to Merced, where he was active in real estate sales and development with brothers Dick and Bill. Wainwright was preceded in death by daughter Joan. He is survived by wife Barbara; children Carol, Janet, Diane, and David; 11 grandchildren; and 5 great-grandchildren.

Carol Vikse Davis

(Credential,’ 51; BA, Physical Education, ’52; MA, Education, ’70) died Jan. 12, 2012, at the age of 83. She was active at Chico State in Alpha Chi sorority and the a cappella choir, and represented the campus in the 1951 Miss California Pageant [see the interactive version of the fall 2011 Chico Statements]. Davis was a line dancer at The Italian Village in San Francisco, which featured acts including the Marx Brothers. She went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York and acted in and directed Off-Broadway plays. She taught high school and spent 20 years as a counselor at Sem Yeto Continuation High School in Fairfield. She is survived by stepchildren Scott, Melanie, and Stephanie. 

Geraldine Jeffery Maddrill

(BA, Economics, ’53) died Sept. 21, 2011, at the age of 81. She was a lifelong Chico resident and a member of Omega Nu sorority, dedicated to serving the community. She worked at the family business, Jeffery Bros., and helped run Gorrill Ranch. She was predeceased by husband Demi. She is survived by sons John and Jay, daughter Jeffery, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. 

Jack Brim

(BS, Business Administration, ’54) died Jan. 12, 2012, at the age of 85. After serving in World War II, he graduated from Chico State and worked as a commercial landscape contractor for 29 years. He is survived by wife Mary; children Rodney, Andrea, Geoff, Celia, Mary, Gwen, Brad, and Catherine; 19 grandchildren; and 4 great-grandchildren.

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Katherine Haines

(BA, Physical Education, ’62; Credential, ’63) died Jan. 6, 2012, at the age of 70. She taught PE at Chico High School for 38 years. She also coached basketball and softball. Haines is survived by sister Patricia and niece Angela.

John Sears

(BS, Engineering, ’66) died Jan. 15, 2012. He was an officer in the U.S. Air Force and later owned Applied Testing Consultants, North Regions Construction, and Moores Awards. He also worked for CalTrans as a civil engineer. Sears was predeceased by wife Marci and is survived by son Dustin and stepson J.R. 

Howard McCandless

(BA, Social Science, ’67) died Nov. 14, 2011, at the age of 66. He served in the U.S. Army and worked in the gaming industry. He is survived by his life-long friends. 

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Cynthia Gaddy Chalmers

(BA, Social Sciences, ’71; Credential, ’72) died Jan. 22, 2012, at the age of 62. She was active in the community, volunteering and mentoring students and serving as PTA president. She and husband Scott were named Humanitarians of the Year by the Boys and Girls Club in 2004 and received the Community Service Award in 2006 from the Chico Noon Rotary Club. Chalmers is survived by Scott, daughters Christa and Cara, and five grandchildren. 

Cheryl Grimsley Frye

(BA, Music, ’71) died Nov. 29, 2011, at the age of 63. She taught elementary school for 29 years in Pahrump, Nevada, and was active in the Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church. Frye is remembered as a talented musician. She is survived by husband Lynn, sons Kevin and Matthew, and four grandchildren. 

John Peeples

(BA, Political Science, ’72) died Dec. 14, 2011, at the age of 66. He served in the U.S. Air Force after high school. After graduation from Chico State, he started Peeples Brothers Construction and Plumbing with his brother, then opened the Tackle Box with his brother and nephews. He is survived by wife Brenda, sons Robert and Ronnie, and two grandsons.

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Marilyn Ward

(MSN, Nursing, ’81) died Nov. 11, 2011, at the age of 85. She studied at Sacred Heart Hospital in Washington and earned her pilot’s license before returning to school at Sac State and CSU, Chico. She worked for Yolo County Public Health in the methadone and mental health programs, set up services for older adults, taught sexuality courses, and was a flight nurse. She is survived by loving family and friends.

Curt Griffiths

(BS, Chemistry, ’86) died Sept. 3, 2011, at the age of 48. He worked as the project manager for environmental cleanup companies and volunteered for Butte Humane Society. Griffiths is survived by son Zack and parents Ray and Lani. 

Sheila Jansen

(BA, English, ’86) died Nov. 21, 2011, at the age of 76. She was born in Newcastle, England, and worked as a secretary for a top Bond Street Agency. Her freelance jobs included working for Orson Wells in Paris and for the Saudi Arabian Embassy. After completing her degree, she taught English at Butte College and wrote four historical family sagas. She is survived by husband Henricus.

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Kathleen Cox

(MA, Anthropology, ’92) died Nov. 17, 2011, at the age of 86. She was a Chico resident and Ashtanga yoga master. She was predeceased by husband Jack and sons John and Jeff, and is survived by daughters Lisa, Linda, and Lana; son Joe; 10 grandchildren; and 7 great-grandchildren.  

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Aaron Weiss

(BA, Communication Design, ’04) and RYAN MILES (fall 2011) died on Oct. 30, 2011, in an accident while driving in a PG&E utility truck. Weiss was 31; Miles was 29. Both were journeyman linemen with the company, specializing in dangling from helicopters to repair power lines.

    While at Chico State, Weiss ran on the track team. After graduating, he married his college sweetheart, LISA WEISS (BA, Child Development, ’04; MS, Psychology, ’06), and he was expecting his first son at the time of the accident. He is survived by Lisa, son Aaron David, and parents Dwight and Debbie.

    Miles majored in communication design and media arts at CSU, Chico, but he took a leave of absence in 2002. He was married to AUBRAE MILES (BA, Communication Science and Disorders, ’11). He is survived by Aubrae and parents Gary and Rosy. 

Tony Foss

(BS, Psychology, ’08) died Dec. 28, 2011, at the age of 27 from complications from a transplant. As a student, he was involved in CAVE as a Special Pals group leader, and coached Special Olympics. Foss received the President’s Volunteer Award for 2008–2009. “Everyone who knew him knew he was a special person,” says friend Kristina DeMoulin. Foss is survived by his parents and younger sister Amanda.

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Valen "Val" Wymore

(fall 2010) died Dec. 3, 2011, at the age of 25 after struggling with cancer. He was a mechanical engineering major. Wymore is survived by parents Mark and Sherry and brother Kyle. 

Tracy Khamorn

(fall 2011) died Nov. 28, 2011, at the age of 19 as the result of a car accident. She was in her first semester at CSU, Chico, where she was majoring in art with an option in interior design. She is survived by parents Kham and Pane and siblings Puen, Tong Wan, Nancy, and Sam.

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Alum Notes

John Concannon


CONCANNON (BS, Business Administration, ’85) is a fourth-generation vintner at Concannon Vineyard.

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Tanja Poley

Tanja Poley

(BS, Business Administration, ’94) is the human resources manager for the News & Review, headquartered in Sacramento.

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Kathy Crusco

Kathy Crusco

(BS, Business Administration, ’87) is executive vice president and chief financial officer of Epicor Software Corporation.

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yours now