Faculty & Staff
Gaydena Thompson, Clark’s beloved former athletic director and faculty member, died on December 31, 2019. Thompson was a 1995 Woman of Achievement Honoree, a 2012 Hall of Fame inductee and a recipient of Clark’s Exceptional Faculty Award in 1996-1997. In 1977, she made history when she was named athletic director at Clark College, the first female to take that post in Washington State’s community college system. She held her position until opting to focus her attention on teaching in 1982. Thompson was a leader in promoting fitness for students and community members through her classes, college activities and public service. Clark’s fitness center carries her name in her honor.
David Abts was employed in facilities services at Clark College before passing away unexpectedly on August 29, 2019, at the age of 56. David was born in Portland, Ore, and was raised and educated in Vancouver, Wash. He is remembered by his wife of 25 years, Tina Landroche, a history instructor at Clark. Photo by Tina Landroche.
MaryAnn Thimmes, a Clark alumna, taught nursing at Clark College from 1960 to 1993. She made many contributions to the nursing profession such as helping to establish the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington, which provides free health care to Southwest Washington residents. She was active with the Washington State Nurses Association and Soroptimist International, a volunteer organization that improves the lives of women and girls. In 2015, Thimmes received Clark College’s Outstanding Alumni Award. In 1998, she was inducted into the Washington State Nurses Association Hall of Fame.
Lora Whitfield ’02 was a tenured professor of Early Childhood Education and a passionate teacher. She passed away on July 9, 2019, at the age of 49. Whitfield earned an associate degree in Early Childhood Education at Clark, then went on to earn her master’s degree. She returned to Clark College to teach.
Shirley Ann Sackman worked at Clark for 26 years as an English faculty member. After retiring in 1992, she worked part-time through 2006. She was the first faculty member to receive the Presidential Coin from Clark President Robert Knight. She was well loved by her students and admired by colleagues. “She’s a one of a kind. She’s the most magnificent woman I’ve ever met,” said Joan Raney, who was Sackman’s student in 1973.