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Happening People

March 27, 2014

“I think of myself as a New Englander,” says Hope Crandall, who grew up in Connecticut and went to boarding school in Massachusetts. She moved west to Lake Forest College in Illinois for a degree in philosophy, then continued on to Woodburn, Ore., in 1970, for an Office of Economic Opportunity job in migrant child development. “I realized I wanted to pursue multilingual, multicultural education,” says Crandall, who enrolled in a grad program at UC Santa Barbara, earned a California teaching license, then returned to Oregon.

March 13, 2014

Born and raised in Eugene, Julia Harvey got interested in marine biology as a second-grader at Spring Creek School. “We did a unit on marine mammals,” she recalls. “In fourth and fifth grade, we went to see tide pools and the aquarium.” Harvey took every science course available at South Eugene High School, then enrolled at Occidental College in L.A. “We shared a boat with other small colleges,” she says.

February 27, 2014

After high school on Long Island and a year at Brooklyn College, Marc Friedman hitchhiked west in 1971. “When I was in Banff,” he says, “I was recruited to fight forest fires.” Inspired by the experience, Friedman left New York for Alaska the following summer. He worked at many jobs, from building log houses to the construction of the Alaska Pipeline. He also returned to school at University of Alaska Fairbanks, completed a degree in geography and regional development in 1978 and worked in land management for the university.

February 6, 2014

Raised on a farm in southern Oregon, Sherry Whitmore graduated from Eagle Point High School and worked at a Sizzler restaurant in Medford. “I came up here for management training and met Brian Whitmore,” she says. “Three months later, I moved to Eugene.” She got married, spent summers as a forest firefighter, then had three kids, Shelby, Maddie and Trevor, and became a stay-at-home mom. “I coached volleyball for 13 years, at Kidsports and at South Eugene,” she notes.

January 23, 2014

“I started work as a bus boy when I was 14,” says Mike Grudzien, then a Catholic-school kid in Northwest Chicago. “I’ve never not worked.” A straight-A student, he pumped gas during high school, put in a year at Wright College, then joined the Marines. “I was looking for adventure and college benefits,” says Grudzien, who served on embassy security duty in Bucharest, Romania. He made sergeant in 22 months, but he left active duty to return to college and earned a master’s degree in advertising from the University of Illinois.

January 9, 2014

“I’m on my ninth life,” says Jimmy Jennett, who grew up amid drugs and dysfunction at home in Sacramento. “I got addicted to hard drugs at 16.” Jennett was an all-city basketball player, but needed a second senior year at Cottage Grove High School in Oregon to get his diploma. After one year of school and hoops at Sierra College, he dropped out and into a life of drug dealing and aggressive behavior that landed him in Folsom Prison at 27.

December 26, 2013

“I was a professional girl scout,” says Lyn Gilman-Garrick, describing a childhood in Salisbury, N.C., devoted to hiking and camping. She studied biology at Guilford College in Greensboro, a Quaker school and hub of anti-war and environmental activism. “We celebrated the first Earth Day in 1970,” she recalls. After two years researching fish populations off Montauk Point on Long Island, she came west to continue at OSU.

December 12, 2013

“I was a troublemaker as a kid,” says Kemy Joseph, the seventh of 10 children of divorced parents in Miami. “I was kicked out of school in fourth grade.” He got arrested twice in eighth grade, but turned things around in high school, where he captained the cross-country team and produced videos that helped him win a scholarship to study film arts at the University of Miami. There, he joined a campus club called Random Acts of Kindness. “It was a big turning point,” says Joseph, who became club president in his senior year.

November 27, 2013

“Our family hobby was rock hunting,” says Ron Wold, who grew up in Beaverton and majored in geology at Amherst. He got a master’s degree at the University of Montana, then came to Eugene to pursue a Ph.D. “After two years, I got a job as a geologist with the Bureau of Land Management,” says Wold, who eventually became a realty specialist in the agency’s Eugene office. “I managed right-of-way agreements on 320,000 acres.” After 30 years of service, he retired in 2004 at age 56.

November 14, 2013

A 2003 graduate of Interlake High School in Bellevue, Wash., Kate Wheeler majored in astrophysics on a swimming scholarship at the University of Nebraska. Afterwards, she traveled to Micronesia as a volunteer teacher of high school physics and math. “I stayed three years,” she says. “After the first year, I taught part-time and worked on nutrition projects for the public health department.” On her return, Wheeler moved to Atlanta for grad school in public health at Emory University.

October 31, 2013

Shortly after graduating from University of California, Berkeley in 1963 with a bachelor’s in journalism, Bay Area native David Kayfes joined the Army National Guard. He had the good fortune to be stationed for two years in Italy, where he met Anneke, a young woman from Holland. “I got out in October of ’66,” he says, “and got married in December.” Back in the U.S., he worked for the Associated Press in Salt Lake City, then found a job back at Cal, in the Sports Information Department.

October 17, 2013

“I could see Manhattan from my roof,” says Alley Valkyrie, who grew up in suburban New Jersey. One of six girls in her class at school with the same trendy first name, she ran away from home at 17, changed her name, took up painting and sold art on the streets in New York. “I learned more about people than about artwork. It moved me to activism.” She protested globalization and the Iraq War, and she met a few Cascadia Forest Defenders from Oregon. On a visit to Eugene in 2004, she spent two weeks in the woods and then discovered Eugene’s Saturday Market.

October 3, 2013

Scott Burgwin and a small crew of volunteers set up the Coast Fork Farm Stand in Cottage Grove’s Coiner Park by 2 pm on Wednesdays. Burgwin volunteers as coordinator of the Cottage Grove Growers’ Market during its summer season, when it shares Wednesday evenings with a series of concerts in the park. “The music has given us a lift,” says Burgwin, who moved the market from Saturdays downtown to Wednesdays in the park six years ago.

September 26, 2013

On the afternoon of April 22, 2011, as LCC media arts student Sakti Sarfati was walking home from class, she stopped at a railroad crossing. “I was filming to illustrate a song,” says Sarfati, who was so focused on a westbound freight train that she didn’t hear the horn of the approaching Amtrak passenger train. “She flew like a rag doll into the gravel,” a witness reported. Sarfati spent five days in the hospital, had 12 staples in her head and nine months of vertigo, but recovered and won a scholarship to continue her studies. 

September 12, 2013

Raised in Brooklyn, Sakti Sarfati rode the subway to Hunter College High School on the Upper East Side. She majored in psychology at SUNY Stony Brook, except for junior year at the UO. “My boyfriend and I drove out,” she says. “We went to Dead shows and national parks.” She came back to Eugene two weeks after graduation in 1989, on her way to a five-year travel adventure to Hawaii, India and Southeast Asia. On her return, she entered an international studies graduate program at the UO. She also got pregnant, had a son, Ami, and became a single mom.

August 29, 2013

Avid cyclists and year-round bike commuters Ellen Singer and Gary Rondeau will pedal in style at Burning Man on their wood-frame DateTrike, a side-by-side two-seater, built for romance. “Ellen came up with the idea,” says Rondeau. “I did the design and construction.” Brooklyn native Singer studied and practiced law in the Bay Area before moving her practice to Eugene in 1992. Rondeau studied engineering until a research job at Cornell turned into a Ph.D. in physics. He moved to Eugene and co-founded the firm Applied Scientific Instrumentation.

August 15, 2013

September 2003: On a hot August afternoon, master gardener Maggie Matoba shares a patch of shade with Willamette Oaks Retirement Center residents who raise veggies and flowers in the therapeutic garden Matoba maintains as part of her Healing Harvest program. “Maggie’s been such a blessing,” Evelyn Higgins says. “She put in new soil and a watering system.” Matoba witnessed the healing potential of gardening when her father came to stay after a stroke. “Gardening added 15 years to his life,” she says.

August 1, 2013

December 1997: “I’m the brokest famous man in town,” says veteran musician Eagle Park Slim, talking his blues. “I’ve had trials and tribulations.” As a kid, Slim learned Chicago and Delta blues from artists who played his parents’ roadhouse in Eagle Park, Ill. “Harmonica Sam could blow out a brand-new harmonica on the first song,” says Slim, who started blowing Sam’s castoffs at age 9, learned guitar from Johnny Wright at 11 and fronted his own band at 13. In the 1960s and ’70s he had bands in East St.

July 18, 2013

November 1997: “Volunteering is an excellent way to explore a career,” says Sarah Grimm, education coordinator for BRING Recycling. Five years ago, as a “career waitress” at Delfina’s in Portland, Grimm took a master recyclers class through OSU Extension Services. Her work schedule allowed time to volunteer for nonprofit recycling programs. “Do what you love — the money will follow,” says Grimm, who was soon working fulltime for Metro Recycling’s telephone hot-line.

July 3, 2013

“I grew up surrounded by bars,” says Germaine Bennett, who was raised in Hurley, a small town in northern Wisconsin notorious for its raucous nightlife and prostitution ever since lumber and mining boom eras in the 1800s. Every summer in high school, and later in college when her family had moved to Oregon and she was at the UO, Bennett returned to Wisconsin as head waitress at the Dairymen’s Country Club, a private lakeside resort. “I was self-sufficient,” she says.

June 20, 2013

“I decided I was going to be a nurse when I was 5,” says New Jersey native Kallen Korin, who grew up in Burlington, earned a bachelors from Rutgers College of Nursing in Newark and married Joel Korin of nearby Camden. They lived there for 35 years and raised two sons in Haddonfield, where he was a trial attorney and she was a public health nurse. “Since 1978, I’ve been a childbirth educator, working in doctors’ offices and hospitals,” she says.

June 6, 2013

“My first attempt at college was a failure,” says Elaine Walters, who fled her unhappy family life in Santa Fe to enter college at University of New Mexico before she’d finished high school. “I had no study skills.” A year later, she was pregnant. She had a son, Kienan, and two years later a daughter, Nitara, but when the children’s father got violent, she gathered the kids again and ran off to another college.

May 23, 2013

An Army brat and the eighth of 11 kids, Denise Thomas-Morrow was born in England and raised in Baker City, Ore., where her dad retired after serving at a nearby radar post. A four-year three-sport letterman athlete at Baker HS, she spent two years as a PE major at Oregon College of Education in Monmouth. Inspired by a jazz dance class, she transfered to the UO dance program, earned a BS in 1985, and moved to New York City for further study.

May 9, 2013

October 2004: One of two RNs with the Bethel School District, Annemarie Hirsch divides her time between Danebo, Fairfield and Malabon Elementary, Cascade Middle, Willamette High and Calapooya Alternative High Schools. “I try to go to each school one day a week,” she says. Hirsch grew up in Norway, then moved at age 18, to a commune near Crow. She got a nursing degree from LCC and worked at Sacred Heart before returning to school for a BS and certification as a school nurse. She started work for Bethel in 1998.