Faculty & Staff
Warren Dunn, a retired Clark professor and donor to the college, died March 17, 2022, at the age 80. Dunn grew up in Southern California. He held a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the California Institute of the Arts and a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Washington. During his 30-year career at Clark College, he developed programs and taught ceramics, cast metal sculpture, glassblowing, jewelry, stained glass, drawing, design, computer graphics and film studies in ceramics, cast metal sculpture and glassblowing. Upon retirement in 2003, he and his wife Marcia settled in Santa Fe, N.M., and finally back to Southern California.
Adjunct professor Russell Wallace Crooks III passed away in July 2022. Crooks began working at Clark in 2019 in the Transitional, English, Communication and Humanities department. Dr. Karin Edwards, president of Clark College, wrote an email about Crooks’s death, offering her condolences to the community. “Students have described him as an optimistic, creative and caring guide who always went the extra mile, gave great feedback, and provided whatever help the students needed to be successful. Faculty peers have described him as a colleague who clearly respects and values his students. They shared that he was calm, had a positive classroom presence, was organized, responsive to student needs, relaxed, attentive and focused on student learning.” A Clark student who took Crooks’s pre-college English class commented, “this was by far one of the best courses I have ever taken.” Crooks earned two English degrees, a master’s from Ohio University and a bachelor’s The Ohio State University.
Jane Jacobsen passed away May 22, 2021, in Vancouver, Wash. She was a generous donor to Clark College Foundation, giving for 30 years while also establishing a Clark College Board of Trustees Scholarship in 2017. At the time of her death she was a member of Clark College’s Board of Trustees, a post she had held since 2016.
Dr. Rita Carey, a professor of English of 20 years at Clark College, passed away on October 1, 2021. Carey was an English professor and served as a literary adviser to The Phoenix, Clark’s student art and literary magazine. Before coming to Clark, Carey began her career in education at St. Mary’s Academy in Oregon, where she served as an English teacher, vice principal, and principal. She also taught and was vice principal of Holy Names Academy in Seattle, Wash. After retiring from Clark, Carey utilized her wealth of creativity in numerous writing projects, poetry, book reviews and short stories. She was also sought after as a highly knowledgeable educational consultant. She earned her doctorate in English from Florida State University.
Craig Milnor ’69, an instructor of 29 years at Clark College, passed away August 16, 2020. Milnor taught many classes over his years including business administration, marketing, economics and personal finance until he retired in 1990. Before beginning his teaching career at Clark, Milnor enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1947 and served in the reserves. He was deployed to Korea and assigned to the 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion where he attained the rank of sergeant.
Gaydena Thompson, Clark’s beloved former athletic director and faculty member, died on December 31, 2019 at the age of 84. Thompson’s career at Clark began in 1962, where she was a physical education instructor who taught swimming, fencing, dancing and fitness classes. 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 the position until 1982, when she stepped into a department chair role so she could focus on teaching. In 1994, Gaydena received the Service Honor Award from the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. She was the first Northwest community college staff member to win it. Thompson was a 1995 Woman of Achievement Honoree, 2002 Northwest Athletic Conference Hall of Fame recipient, a recipient of Clark’s Exceptional Faculty Award in 1996-1997, and a 2012 Hall of Fame inductee. 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.
Vicki Collins ’02, senior secretary at Clark, passed on October 23, 2020, at the age of 64. Collins came to Clark in March 2001 where she supported a variety of Career and Technical Education programs while working in the Workforce, Professional and Technical Education unit. Her passion for her work and commitment to the faculty, staff and students was steadfast.
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.
Priscila Martins-Read, a 30-year beloved faculty member at Clark College, passed away March 10, 2020. Martins-Read worked primarily with refugees and exchange students as an English as a second language instructor. She was proud of her foreign-language students who went on to become published authors in English. In 2009, she was recognized for her excellence in teaching at Clark, the highest faculty honor.
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.
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.