Robert McLelland Mercer BS ’53, JD ’57 died September 4, 2020. He was 89. Bob was born September 19, 1930, to Robert and Jessie Mercer in Coos Bay, Oregon.
David Albrecht LLM ’98—Rear Admiral, JAGC, USN (Ret.)—died on August 12, 2022. David served in the U.S. Navy for 32 years, the majority of which were spent in the Judge Advocate General Corps. He served with distinction throughout his career and retired as an admiral in 1995. David then went on to be a professor at Concordia University in Portland, where he taught in the School of Management for 18 years.
Teunis James Wyers Jr. JD ’76 passed away on August 26, 2019, surrounded by family at his home in White Salmon, Washington. He was 73.
Teunis was born in Hood River, Oregon, on April 4, 1946, to Teunis and Lucile Wyers. During his high school years he worked on the Kreps Ranch bucking hay during the summer. After graduating high school in 1964, he briefly studied sociology at the University of Oregon.
Teunis married Barbara Ann Clemmons on May 25, 1968, shortly after joining the U.S. Navy. He completed his military training while Barbara attended business school in Portland. Following his honorable discharge in 1972, Teunis completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon. He passed the bar exam one month before his father, also an attorney, died in 1976. Teunis moved back to Hood River to take over the law practice, where he remained until 2010. He practiced in Bingen, Washington, from 2010 to 2019.
Teunis married Sheila Mortenson in 1981 and Pat Kreps on July 31, 1993. He enjoyed horseback riding and packing, hunting, traveling, camping, restoring antique cars, tinkering, and community service.
Teunis is survived by his wife Pat Kreps Wyers; daughters Johanna Katherine Wyers and Darcy Lefebvre; sons Teunis Gerbrand Wyers and Randy Wyers; a granddaughter; several stepchildren and step-grandchildren; brother Jan Wyers; and sister Karen Robertson, as well as many nieces and nephews.
William “Sam” S. Simpson JD ’81 of Otsego, Michigan, passed away June 9, 2015. He was 68 years old.
Sam was born February 7, 1947, to Florence and Ray Simpson. He graduated from Otsego High School with honors and attended Michigan State University, where he met his wife of 43 years, Elaine K. Sheehan.
After returning to his hometown of Otsego, Sam was employed by Old Kent Bank as a commercial loan documentation officer. He later specialized in wills, trusts, and banking regulations. Sam also served on the Otsego City Commission and helped establish the Otsego Area Historical Society.
Sam had a lifelong interest in amateur radio; his call sign was KC8OZG. His passions were cooking, the Upper Peninsula, and animal welfare.
Constance “Connie” Emerson Crooker died April 10, 2015, at her home. She was 68 years old.
Connie was born July 23, 1946, in Portland, Maine, to Reverend Charles W. Crooker and Elizabeth (MacGregor) Crooker Bates. She earned a BA from Reed College.
Connie established a criminal defense practice focusing on the Hispanic community and led efforts in Oregon to professionalize the use of interpreters in the courts. She was also the first woman in Oregon to contract with the state to run a Public Defenders office, serving the community of Tillamook for many years.
Following her retirement Connie avidly pursued a wide array of interests, including skiing, hiking, camping, dancing, singing, and playing the guitar. She also relished traveling abroad and studying foreign languages. One of her passions was writing. Connie wrote and published several books, including Melanoma Mama: On Life, Death, and Tent Camping, in which she shared her experiences on a solo cross-country trip to celebrate her unexpected reprieve from ongoing cancer treatments, and Doc Jackson’s Letters Home: A Combat Medic’s 1968 Letters From Vietnam, which was released on April 30, 2015, the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam conflict.
Survivors include her three siblings and their spouses: Carol and Deane Farnsworth, Charles and Adrian Crooker, and Catherine Crooker and Griff O’Brien. Connie is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
Gary Marlette died on February 16, 2016, at his home. He was 76 years old.
Gary was born on March 26, 1939, in Redfield, South Dakota. He attended Redfield High School, where he was a football and track athlete, a member of the glee and chorus clubs, and active in many other student organizations.
Soon after he graduated high school, Gary’s family moved to Longview, Washington, and he enrolled at St. Martin’s College in Lacey. In 1964, he began law school and married JoAnn Berks. The couple moved to Baker, Oregon, after Gary graduated and he practiced law there until he retired in 2007. He and his family enjoyed many summers on the Snake River while bird hunting, fishing, camping, boating, and skiing.
Gary is survived by his wife, two daughters, a daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren.
Alvin Lawrence Andrews JD ’56 passed away December 25, 2015, at his home. He was 88 years old.
Al was born March 12, 1927, to Ellis and Leona Andrews. He was raised in Ontario, Oregon, where he lived until graduating from high school and joining the U.S. Navy near the end of World War II. Following his discharge, Al attended Eastern Oregon State College and the University of Oregon until he was recalled to active duty at the onset of the Korean conflict to serve aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Boxer. After his military service he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Oregon.
Al worked as partner in the firm of Fitzwater, Fitzwater and Andrews before beginning a solo neighborhood practice in North Portland in the late 1960s. He closed his office in early 2000 to become a full-time caregiver for his beloved wife, Darlene (Devine), whose death preceded his.
Al was a member of the Oregon State Bar, Bethel Baptist Church, and Peninsula Kiwanis Club for over 50 years. He was a longtime supporter of the Mount Hood Kiwanis Camp for children with special needs. He was also a member of the U.S.S. Boxer Association and had an interest in hunting, hiking, genealogy, stained glass, music, and the Oregon Ducks.
Al is survived by his children, Connie Stahly, Kris Wilkinson, Steve Andrews, Dixon Andrews, and Tony Andrews; two sisters, Florence Conant and Margaret Diehl; 12 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; and close friend Betty Doble.
Walter David Alley JD ’60 died on July 29, 2016. He was 86 years old.
Richard D. Acott JD ’78 passed away on February 18, 2018, at the age of 81.
Richard was born in Fort Collins, Colorado, April 23, 1936. He earned a BA in political science from Chapman College before he was commissioned as a Marine Corps officer. He received his naval aviator wings in 1957. While stationed in Florida, Richard met the love of his life, Constance, and they were married within a month of their first date.
During 1966–67, Richard flew 115 combat missions from Chu Lai, Vietnam, in the A4 Skyhawk. His awards and citations included the Distinguished Flying Cross.
After his Marine Corps experience, Richard worked in the insurance business and was owner/broker of a real estate company. Following law school, he was in private law practice, worked as a deputy district attorney, and was appointed to the county court bench as a magistrate.
Throughout his life, Richard had an enduring love of art. In 1988 he began studying sculpture at the Loveland Colorado Art Academy. In 1995 he opened a studio in Loveland, changing his career one last time.
Richard was preceded in death by his son Stephen and grandson Jesse. He is survived by his wife, Constance; his daughter, Lorri; sons Garret and Phillip; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren
Mathew (Russell) Smebak Abts JD ’11 passed away peacefully at home in Minneapolis on May 22, 2020, with his wife at his side. He was 41.
Mathew was born on March 13, 1979, in Minneapolis to Thomas and Martha Abts. He grew up in Rochester, Minnesota, and developed a lifelong interest in programming, gaming, and music. Mathew left high school to travel through Europe. When he returned, he earned his GED and, shortly before 9/11, joined the air force. He served as an intelligence analyst and specialized in Mandarin Chinese and not getting in trouble for reading Chinese comics while on duty.
When he left the military, Mathew drove cross-country in his beloved Buick, doing research for the FBI and studying electrical engineering, finance, and criminal justice. He started and sold a private investigation firm in Colorado, earned his bachelor’s degree online, was an over-the-road truck driver, worked as an EMT, learned to sail, and played in professional poker tournaments. He spent several years auditing circulation data for major U.S. newspapers and earning impressive loyalty-point balances at low-budget hotel chains.
Mathew completed a law externship with an arbitration firm in Beijing, where he bought remarkably durable knock-off Ralph Lauren polo shirts that he wore throughout the rest of his life. He qualified as a CPA in 2014. His love of a good story and good people was evident throughout his life. He also never ever stretched the truth about anything.
While living in a camper van in southern Oregon and serving with AmeriCorps, Mathew met the love of his life. He and Nancy Smebak moved to Champaign, Illinois, where she earned her master’s degree. The couple relocated to the Twin Cities where Mathew went to work, in his words, “hunting down millionaires” for the IRS, and Nancy began her career as a city planner. They were married in 2016, and their daughter Helena was born in 2018.
Mathew is survived by his wife and daughter; parents, Tom and Marti; and sisters Amy and Jennifer; as well as a great many far-flung friends he considered family.