Honoring Celebrated Arts Leader and Faculty Member Kabby Mitchell
The Evergreen State College community is mourning the loss of Kabby Mitchell III, who passed away May 4, 2017. A faculty member since 1998, he taught dance, African American studies, and theater. He was also an acclaimed ballet performer and choreographer. He was 60 years old.
“Kabby was a beloved figure on campus,” says Evergreen President George Bridges. “In so many ways, his life represented heart and passion.”
At Evergreen, Mitchell designed interdisciplinary programs that combined his love for movement and dance with his passion for critical thinking and social advocacy. He was most recently teaching a program called Dancing Molecules, Dancing Bodies.
Mitchell taught ballet, modern, jazz, and Afro-Haitian dance for more than 35 years at schools and dance academies in Washington, Iowa, and Mexico. He also taught at a number of other Seattle-area institutions throughout his career, including Cornish College of the Arts, University of Washington, Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences, Spectrum, and Ewajo Dance Workshop.
Mitchell was named the 2016 Cultural Ambassador of Seattle. He has also been recognized for his contributions to the local and regional dance community by the Pacific Northwest Ballet, ColorsNW Magazine, DASS Dance, and many others.
Mitchell enjoyed a storied career as a dancer, performing with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Nederlands Dans Theater, Civic Light Opera, the Oakland Ballet, and many others. He was a soloist at the Pacific Northwest Ballet— the first African-American performer in the history of the company.
Mitchell was a dedicated supporter of local organizations that provide access to the performing arts to underserved communities. He was helping to launch the Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center, a program that will provide training for young dancers in Tacoma.
“Kabby embodied Evergreen’s commitment to relationships, which are key to how we serve our students and how we treat each other," says Bridges. “We will miss him terribly.”
Remembering Barbara Gibson's Guidance and Care
Barbara Gibson, who worked as a mental health therapist in Evergreen’s Counseling Center from 1985 until 1996 and returned briefly in 1998. She passed away on April 15, 2017 at age 86.
Gibson provided care and guidance to countless students who sought services at the center and to those who worked there. She will be remembered for her generous spirit and wonderful sense of humor.
Director of Student Wellness Services, Elizabeth McHugh ’91, worked with Gibson when she was a student employee and later as her colleague. “Barbara was an amazing and kindred spirit. She had a very direct, but pleasant way of communicating that made even difficult information sound straightforward and easy. She was a great mentor and role model,” McHugh said.
Not long after McHugh became director, a vacancy opened and Gibson came back to help out. “It was such a gift to be able to work with her again,” says McHugh. “She had a very easy, relaxed rapport with students and brought a great sense of humor. When she spoke, especially when she joked, it was like she had a twinkle in her eye. It may have just been the way her eyes squinted a certain way, but it always gave me a feeling that she knew something more than the rest of us.”
Gibson grew up in Normal, Illinois and was a lifelong learner. She received a Master of Education from the University of Washington and a Doctor of Ministry. Gibson was very involved with Interfaith Works of Olympia. She wrote multiple books and plays, was an artist, and an advocate for social justice.
Janet W. Asbury, ’87, November 28, 2016, age 82. Janet served as reporter and co-publisher for The Trinity Journal in Weaverville, Calif. She worked as a real estate agent and was a short-fiction writer and poet. Her play, “Smoke Signals” received an award and was produced for the Seattle stage. She worked for the Thurston County Elections Board and volunteered as a long-term ombudsman.
Anita Austin, ’99, October 21, 2016, age 71. A lifelong Olympia resident, Anita graduated from Olympia High School and earned her MPA from Evergreen in 1999. She recently retired from her 30-year career at the Washing- ton State Department of Labor and Industries.
Jeanette L. Boegl, ’77, November 29, 2016, age 83. Jeanette was a parochial and public school teacher before serving as a social worker for the state of Washington. She was active in her church and community, serving two terms as president of the Mason County Chapter of the League of Women Voters.
Patricia D. Cullen, ’86, March 15, 2017, age 54. A lifelong Washougal resident, Patti earned her BA from Evergreen’s Vancouver campus. She worked as a Washington State Child Support Enforcement Officer.
Mary A. Dillaway, June 28, 2016, age 97. Mary, an Evergreen student from 1979-1980, was a lifelong Olympia resident, active in her community, her church, and her family.
Betty Jewell Ferguson, ’79, October 12, 2016, age 88. As a textile artist specializing in the cyanotype process, Betty was recognized in many publications for her artwork, including Quilter’s Newsletter. She taught quilting and fiber arts at all levels.
Phyllis Haines, ’96, December 26, 2016, age 84. Phyllis worked for Catholic Community Services before serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Arizona.
Mary B. Higgins, ’87, October 10, 2016, age 70. Mary was a retired dental hygienist. She earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Portland University.
James M. Houston, ’88, January 24, 2017, age 57. James is described as a free spirit who spent his time pursuing his varied interests: painting in Alcatraz, working in national parks, creative writing, and photography.
Leslie E. Jacobs, January 15, 2017, age 57. Leslie, an Evergreen student from 1981-82, earned her RN degree from Oregon Health and Science University. Her career as a nurse provided comfort and assistance to others.
Paul M. Kramer, February 24, 2017, age 54. Paul’s studies at Evergreen, which focused on the fine arts and curation, led him to work for Portland’s Foster-White Gallery and the William Jamison Gallery, Seattle’s Greg Kucera Gallery, and the Getty in Los Angeles.
Nancy M. Lloyd, September 20, 2016, age 91. Nancy attended Evergreen from 2006-07. She loved music, singing, dancing, bicycling and hiking. Nancy enjoyed writing poetry and had some of her work published throughout the years.
Cory Michael Looney ’16, May 1, 2017, age 27. Cory graduated cum laude from Port Angeles High School, where he played varsity football and was a two-time Washington State qualifier for wrestling. In addition to sports, Cory loved the outdoors.
Joseph H. Matlock, ’99, December 3, 2016, age 36. Joey “Casio” passed away tragically in a fire at the “Ghost Ship” Warehouse in Oakland, Calif. He played regularly in different venues and recorded with Olympia’s K-Records. He also worked with Olympia’s Head-Start program.
Norma Stockton-McClaflin, ’82, February 24, 2017, age 84. Norma worked as a mental health counselor for the state of Washing- ton. Later she earned her massage therapy license. She was active in her community as a volunteer.
Robin McClary, ’96, October 24, 2016, age 45. Robin taught computer technology at Morgan Stanley, Astra Zenica and AXA Financial. She also worked in homeless shelters before returning to Yakima to teach children.
John R. McKillip, ’84, January 22, 2017, age 59. John was a skilled salesman and business manager who built a successful career in the storage and packaging industry.
Andrea L. Miller, ’91, October 19, 2016, age 49. Andrea was editor of Women’s Work Magazine and was features editor for Enter- prise Newspapers. She wrote about the North Cascades and its railroad history in her blog “Beyond the Depot.”
Stephen M. Pestarino, ’74, January 30, 2017, age 64. Steve was a lifelong Giants fan. He played the guitar, loved music, and the beautiful outdoors.
Loree A. Poutre, ’98, March 13, 2017, age 63. Loree was a record-setting swimmer. She enjoyed the outdoors, and was happiest when surrounded by her grandchildren and family.
Nicholas P. Russell, ’16, December 18, 2016, age 27. Nick loved the outdoors, especially hiking, camping, and spending time on the coast. He was planning to pursue a career in horticulture.
Bert S. Savarese, ’87, September 21, 2016, age 73. Bert served as a career counselor on several military bases, helping service members transition to civilian life.
Laura R. Shortridge, ‘95, December 21, 2016, age 51. Laura grew up in Roanoke, Va. and graduated from North Cross School. She attended the University of Virginia and graduated with a BA in Anthropology from the University of Colorado. She went on to get her MES from Evergreen.
William Alexander Sigman, ’94, October 20, 2016, age 45. Alex played soccer for the Geoducks all through college, and advanced to pro-soccer for Seattle Storm.
Jessie Turner, ’75, February 21, 2017, age 77. Jessie worked as a bookkeeper for the Mission Creek Youth Camp in Mason County, Wash. She served as chapter president for the Soroptimist International of Port Orchard and was awarded their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.
Jessica Walden, ’82, August 4, 2016, age 68. Patti Walden worked in real estate management after graduating from Evergreen. She later worked in the Job Training Partnership Act in Astoria, Ore. and was the Human Resource Manager at Tongue Point Job Corps Center.
Marjorie P. Yung, ’74, October 26, 2016, age 81. Marj was the first woman elected to the Thurston County Commission. She was a member of the League of Women Voters and served on many committees. She was responsible for the relocation of the North Bonneville powerhouse and proposed site plan for Bur- foot Park. She worked as a registered nurse for 12 years.