A Magazine from California State University, ChicoFall 2017 Issue

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

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.

1950s1960s1970s| 1980s | 1990s | 2010s

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Willie Simmons died March 9, 2017, at the age of 98.


(BA, Physical Education, ’50; MA, Education, ’51; Credential, ’51) died March 9, 2017, at the age of 98. He spent his formative years in Bristol, Rhode Island. His enlistment in World War II eventually landed him at the Chico Base of the Army Air Corps. At the end of the war, Willie enrolled at Chico State where he earned a BA in physical education, lettered in four sports every year for four years, and was student body president. In 1976, he was inducted into the Chico Sports Hall of Fame, and in 1986 he was inducted into the Chico State Athletic Hall of Fame. He was preceded in death by his sisters Margaret Vrona and Nancy Coleman; is survived by his former wife, Ruth Hendrix Hetherington; children Sam and Sara; and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


(BS, Physics, ‘59) died May 25, 2017, at the age of 82. Born June 10, 1934, in Nicolaus, California, he interrupted his education to serve three years in the Army as a second lieutenant and returned to college to become the first graduate of Chico State's newly created degree program in physics in 1959. He went on to earn an MS and a PhD in physics from Arizona State University in 1962 and 1965, respectively. He was the first to be honored by the College of Natural Sciences as a Distinguished Alumnus during the inaugural ceremony in 1994. He continued to provide service to the college as a member of the College of Natural Sciences Advisory Board for many years, while also serving on other boards advancing science and education across the country. In recognition of English’s personal and professional achievements, his inspiration to faculty and students to fulfill great dreams in the field of science, and his meritorious service to the University and to society, the CSU Board of Trustees and Chico State conferred him with an honorary degree of Doctor of Science in 2005. English is survived by his wife, Elaine; children Christine Borsom, Roxane Perruso, and Darryl English; and several grandchildren.

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(BA, Industrial Arts, ’68; MA Industrial Arts, ’75 ) died March 9, 2017, at the age of 70. He was in the US Naval Reserve when he first came to Chico State in fall 1966. He lived in Shasta Hall during his first year. During his time at Chico State, he was sent to fight in the Vietnam War from 1969 to 1971. After earning his MA, he taught geography and US civics at Calaveras High School in San Andres, and was a long-standing member of the community of Angels Camp. Gonzalez’s brother, Robert, and niece, Besty, also attended Chico State. His friends and family will miss him greatly.


(BA, Philosophy, ’68) died March 12, 2017, at the age of 72. He was the president and founder of the International Astrostatistics Association (IAA) and a prolific author of statistical modeling in the early 21st century. He made a number of contributions to the fields of count response models and logistic regression. He had great love and energy for statistics, and was a champion of astrostatistics in particular. Without his drive and enthusiasm to bring the statistics and astronomy communities together, the IAA would not exist. He worked with enthusiasm, excitement and love until his last moments. During his career, he coached track and field at the University of Hawaii and later the University of Arizona. Also, Hilbe was 2009 Chico State Distinguished Alumnus in Humanities and Fine Arts and inducted in the Chico State Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007 for cross country and track and field. He is survived by his wife, Cheryl Hilbe; children Heather Hilbe-Redfield and her husband James Redfield, Michael Hilbe, Mitchell Hilbe and his wife Ciara Hilbe; grandchildren Austin, Shawn, Jordan, and Kimber; and his daily companion, Sirr. 

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(Attended ’76–’80) died April 13, 2017, at the age of 61. Born March 20, 1956, Carlson attended courses in the College of Business at Chico State from spring 1976 to fall 1980. He was a certified instructor with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) for more than 38 years and owned Valley Scuba in Chico, where he also taught private, semi-private, and group sessions year-round. In the mid-90s, he began offering his expertise to Chico State, teaching three sections of scuba diving each semester. He also regularly took students to Monterey for open-water scuba dive certification training. He volunteered his services to the University because he simply loved teaching students and sharing his love for diving.

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Heidi Monroe  died May 10, 2017.


(BS, Computer Science, ’85; MS, Computer Science, ‘94) died May 10, 2017. Heidi grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, in the town of Belmont. After graduation she made her home, career, and life in Chico. She had an exceptional love for animals and did all she could to make their lives special. She is survived by her husband Russell (Damien) Taysom, whom she met in the Lassen dormitory at Chico State in 1983, her brother Zachary, sister Maria, and niece Malia.

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(BA, Political Science, ’09) died March 31, 2016, at the age of 30 after battling AITL lymphoma. He was born in Santa Rosa, as a twin and the youngest of four brothers. He was charismatic, intelligent, and a true romantic. After graduating from Chico State, he attended Golden Gate University School of Law, where he graduated with honors in 2014. He worked as a lawyer with his dad and oldest brother. He is survived by his parents; brothers Rob (twin), Dave, and Christian; nieces Isabella and Anna, nephews Lucas and Jonathan; aunt Linda Chandler; and cousins Allison Murphy, William III and Cassidy Murphy, Jasmin Ford, and Jalen Lewis.

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(Attended, ’15-’17) died May 4, 2017, at the age of 19. Born September 8, 1997, Monica came to Chico State from Long Beach and was in her second year majoring in animal science. She was described as an exceptionally well-organized incoming freshman, who launched herself immediately into AGRI 180, “The University Experience,” to immerse herself in the college and campus programs. She is survived by her parents and two siblings.

Nikki Fugate died September 24, 2017, at the age of 24.


(BS, Biological Sciences, ’16) died September 24, 2017, at the age of 24. Born May 2, 1993, in Crescent City, Fugate attended Del Norte High School and competed on the track and field team. She came to Chico State in 2011 with a passion for biology. She graduated with her BS in biological sciences and was enrolled in biology courses through Open University since spring 2016. As a student, Fugate was an active member of Omicron Theta Epsilon, the biology honors society, and studied abroad for a semester in Florianopolis, Brazil. Fugate enjoyed SCUBA diving, surfing, bird watching, camping, snowboarding, hiking, and riding her motorcycle. She is survived by her parents, Randy and Sonya Fugate; her sister, Mari; grandparents Dale and Louise Fugate; and uncles Carey and Chris Fugate and their families, and Brent Thompson and family; and numerous cousins and friends.

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Alum Notes

Bride and groom embrace


('10) and CHARLES SPRINGER ('12) married in October 2016.

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Robyn McClintock


('96, '98) attended Burning Man with three of her Wildcat family members.

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('70, '71) outlasted doctors' predictions and is thriving and retired. 

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yours now