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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.  


Walter David Alley JD ’60 died on July 29, 2016. He was 86 years old.


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.


James Blakely Eblin JD ’93 died June 24, 2020. He was 79.


Kenneth Spencer Solomon JD ’62 passed away May 22, 2016. He was 87.

Ken was born in Salt Lake City on May 30, 1928, to Charles Drew Solomon and Nellie Cable Spencer. He married in Jacqueline Lois Scovell in 1959 and they became the proud parents of three children. Ken was a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, a colonel in the Oregon Air National Guard, and practiced law as an attorney until 1988. He loved golf, flying model airplanes, traveling, dancing, and socializing with family and friends.

Ken is survived by his wife; daughters Kathleen Solomon, Teresa Hale, and Tamara Cowan; and grandchildren Kaden Solomon, Spencer Hale, and Travis Hale. 


Christian Hooley JD ’90 passed away November 1, 2020, at his home in Nehalem, Oregon, surrounded by his loved ones. Chris practiced law in Tillamook, Oregon, for nearly 30 years and was an exceptional husband, father, son, and brother. He was respected and loved by many and will be missed tremendously.


Stuart Sugarman JD ’91 passed away March 28, 2016, from diabetes-related causes. He was 52 years old.

Stu was born May 16, 1963, in Jericho, New York. He attended Jericho Senior High School and earned a BS in marine science and biology from the University of Miami.

A partner at the Portland law firm Warren & Sugarman, Stu was known for his devotion to providing every defendant with a robust representation. He assisted people in their darkest moments and was known to take even the smallest cases seriously. Stu took on numerous pro bono cases, particularly on behalf of activists. He most recently defended—for free—the seven Greenpeace protesters charged in connection with a 2015 incident during which activists suspended themselves from Portland’s St. Johns Bridge in an effort to halt oil drilling in the Arctic.

Stu was respected and loved by all who knew him. He is remembered for his humor, wit, fairness, honesty, and selflessness. An avid cyclist, Stu was a frequent participator in Portland’s annual World Naked Bike Ride and Cycle Oregon. He was also a longtime volunteer at the Oregon Country Fair.

Stu is survived by his son, Riley; his mother, Pearl Sugarman; and his siblings Steven and Lori Sugarman, among other relatives.


Karen Creason JD ’74 passed away in Sequim, Washington, on October 20, 2020, at the age of 76. She had battled Alzheimer’s disease for seven years, outliving her husband, Gerald “Jerry” Creason, by almost a year. Karen is survived by her daughter, Colleen Bittner; grandson, Kyle Bittner; and her siblings, Wayne Harms and Patricia Lewis.


Ward S. Armstrong JD ’66 passed away peacefully September 5, 2015, in Salem, Oregon, surrounded by family and the love of lifelong friends. He was 82 years old.

Born October 13, 1932, in Eugene, Oregon, to Hubert and Elizabeth Armstrong, Ward graduated from Newberg High School in 1950. He attended Willamette University, where he met his partner for life, Donna Marie Leonard, whom he married on December 27, 1959.

Ward earned a bachelor’s degree in forestry from Oregon State University. In 1961, he began work as director of the Association of Oregon Counties in Salem. Ward accepted a job as Oregon director of governmental affairs for Weyerhaeuser in 1966, embarking on a career as a lobbyist and public policy specialist that defined the remainder of his working life.

In 1978, Ward, Donna, and their three children moved to Federal Way, Washington, so Ward could manage Weyerhaeuser’s governmental affairs program. The family returned to Salem in 1986 when Ward was named executive director of the Oregon Forest Industries Council. He “retired” in 1994, after which he accepted a position managing the Executive Seminar Program at Portland State University’s Mark O. Hatfield School of Government. He would remain there for 10 years.

A past president of the Salem Tennis & Swim Club, Ward was also an active member of the Methodist Church in Salem and Bellevue and the Salem Downtown Rotary Club. He served on the state Easter Seals Board and was a trustee on the Oregon State University Foundation.

Cycling was a special passion. Ward completed many Seattle-to-Portland bike rides, the Oregon Bicycle Ride, RAGBRAI, and the Idaho Bike Ride.

Ward is survived by his wife and children Ken, Mark, and Diane; grandchildren Grace, Abby, Lucy, and Alice; and his brothers Hugh of Seattle and Richard of Salem.


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  • The Development & Alumni Office
    Lewis & Clark Law School
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