Alumni Echoes February 2023

Two UCA alumni, a couple dozen bicycles, and a rekindled friendship after 50 years. . . the makings of a great story, for sure!  It actually began years ago when, as young boys, Allory Deiss and Larry Petrie each discovered a love for bicycling.

Larry Petrie

Deiss has many childhood memories involving bikes, but one especially stands out. “I was about 10 years old, living with my family in Orofino, Idaho, and our Pathfinder leaders were helping us earn the Cycling Honor.  One trip we took was a 50 mile ride along the Clearwater River.  I have never forgotten that ride, and from that time on, I was hooked.  I never lost interest in the sport.”

For Petrie, it was a specific bike.  “The summer I was 12, I had a job picking strawberries near Portland, Oregon.  I saved up my money and bought a brand new Schwinn Varsity 10 speed.  It was one of the coolest bikes you could buy at the time, and in fact, I continued to ride it until I graduated from Walla Walla College.”

Petrie and Deiss both attended UCA, where they got acquainted, graduating together in 1970.  Petrie became a nurse, and Deiss a geologist, and both continued to pursue cycling as a hobby and as a means of transportation to and from their jobs.  Engaged in the bustle of careers and family, the two lost touch.

Then last spring, their paths again crossed at UCA when they arrived on campus to celebrate their 50 year class reunion.  “As we sat there going around the circle, catching each other up on our lives, I noticed that Larry’s interest piqued when I mentioned racing in the Wyoming Senior Games,” Deiss explains.  “When everyone finished, Larry and I spent the rest of the time talking about cycling.”

“We did have a lot to talk about,” Petrie agreed. “The more we learned about each other’s involvement with the sport, the more I wished we had stayed connected through the years.”   Between the two of them, the list of bicycle adventures is impressive.

Allory Deiss

Deiss has especially enjoyed racing, and has won his age division at the Wyoming Senior Games a number of times. He has also qualified for and competed in the National Senior Games, once placing 16th in his event.  Each year he participates in “Tour de Wyoming,” a week long ride around the state, camping with the other riders along the way.  He describes it as a great way to stay active and to meet others who share his passion.  Retired now, he finds he has much more time to dedicate to riding.  But even at his busiest, he made getting out on two wheels a priority. “During the last five years before I retired, I only missed two days of riding my bike to work,” he says. This past summer, Deiss qualified again for the National Senior Games to be held in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania in the summer of 2023.

Petrie got involved in triathlons a number of years ago.  He quickly realized that he was falling behind his teammates in the swimming and running events, but making up the time when he got to the bike portion.  Armed with that knowledge, he started entering bike races, and found his niche.  Competitive biking is not the only way he enjoys the sport, however.  He and his wife, Jan (Brown), also a 1970 alum, have enjoyed tandem riding, attending rallies in the Northwest and even touring Thailand on their tandem bike with several other couples.  Another memorable trip he spoke about was a cross country ride with a friend who was training for the Race Across America and wanted to be familiar with the course.  Beginning their ride in San Diego, they averaged about 150 miles a day, reaching Atlantic City, New Jersey 20 days later.  Petrie most recently competed in the Montana Senior Games, winning his age group in all the events he entered, and also qualifying for the 2023 National Senior Games.

Larry and Jan Petrie

The two friends, happy to have discovered a shared interest, are making plans to ride together in the coming months.  Deiss expressed a sentiment that Petrie would surely echo.   “Riding gives me a boost that keeps me feeling less than 70.”

UCA Alumni Homecoming Weekend

Save the Date! September 29-30, 2023

Now is a great time to reach out to your UCA friends and begin planning your class reunions.  Please check our website frequently, as details will be added here as they are confirmed.  We look forward to seeing each one of you in person in September!

Honored classes:  1953 and all prior classes, 1963, 1973, 1983, 1993, 2003, and 2013.

Pictures from Fall 2022 Homecoming Weekend

Class of 1952

Class of 1962

Class of 1972

Class of 1982

Class of 1991

Class of 1992

Class of 2002

Class of 2012

Tammy McGuire

Dick Hart

Elder Otis Parks

Principal's Note

Greetings from UCA. Another year has begun here at Upper Columbia Academy.  Once again, the hallways are full of students freshly back from the holiday break and preparing to begin a new semester.  It is a wonderful blessing to be a part of the UCA family.

Each school year a theme is chosen. This year’s theme, A Journey Together, was selected by the Associated Student Body (ASB) officers. They also chose Joshua 1:9 as the Bible verse. As I thought about this theme, it reminded me of the following story:

One day a small boy listened in school as the teacher told the class that the next day would be, “Bring a Friend Day.” The following day the boy brought a friend to school. For one of the activities the teacher had the kids participate in the “age-old game” of putting their hands together and interlocking their fingers to build a “church.”

 All the children were participating except the one little boy who was a guest. Instead, he was in the corner of the room with his back turned, crying. The teacher noticed this and immediately walked over to the boy and asked what was wrong. When the little boy turned around, the teacher saw the reason for the tears.

The little boy’s right arm had been amputated at the elbow. Crying sorrowfully, he told the teacher, “I want so bad to build that church, but as you see I only have one hand and I can’t.” The teacher’s eyes filled with tears as she thought about how to respond. Then, the little boy who had brought the friend to school walked over to his friend and said, “We are friends, and I tell you what. If you put your left hand in my right hand, together we will build that church.”

As UCA continues this new year, it is our hope that through your thoughts, your visits, and your prayers, you will once again place your hand in ours. Together, we will finish an amazing year based upon the foundation of Jesus and His love.

Until another moment in time:

Keep looking uP!

Jeff “PJ” Deming

A Note from the Editor

Packing away my Christmas decorations always puts me in a reflective mood.  Holding each ornament in my hands, I think of the person who made it, or the event that it commemorates, and my heart fills.

My tree is crowded with ornaments, and yet new ones are added each year, documenting life’s poignant moments.  My family welcomed a new daughter-in-law in June, and in July, Mark and I were married and my little family grew again to include his two daughters and their husbands.   Of course, these blessings bring change.  I have a new last name now, and we happily add a leaf and extra chairs to the dining room table when our families gather.

As we look to the new year, we welcome changes at UCA, as well.  Publishing our Alumni Echoes online is an exciting change, and I am eager to connect with each of you through your inbox in the months to come.  Keeping in touch is very important to me through this transition, so please help spread the word to those who may need to update their email addresses.  It’s easy to do by visiting the UCA website.

Speaking of staying in touch, plans are already coming together for Alumni Weekend on September 29 and 30, 2023.  The classes of 1953 and prior, 1963, 1973, 1983, 1993, 2003, and 2013 will be honored.  I look forward to seeing many of you there, connecting with treasured friends and making new ones.

Even though the trappings of Christmas are put away for another year, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate.  The hope we share in Jesus is at the top of my list.  I wish each of you a joyous and blessed New Year!


Krista Mikkelson

Family at Rest

Robert Earl Bolton

October 3, 1914 – January 13, 2022
Written by daughter, Earlene Bolton

Today we lost one of the legendary brothers of the Century. Their parents were missionaries in Sierra Leone, Africa, but left before their term was up because of illness. When they arrived in England they heard about the largest ship leaving and hoped to be on that ship. But the waiting period of departure changed their minds to leave earlier on a smaller ship.  That larger ship was the Titanic in 1912.

After reaching homeland, they bore 4 sons. The second son, born October 3, 1914, started first grade at his mother’s feet at the age of 4 along with the first-born son.  By the time the second son graduated from Yakima Valley Academy, he was only 15 years old. He was called “Baby Face” because he was such a little guy and was so young.   In college, he and his brothers lived in a shack to make brooms to support themselves and pay tuition.

One by one the four brothers entered medical school….all became physicians.  Two of the sons were WWII veterans….the third brother was in Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack! Miraculously he survived …. at first he was supposed to be on the Arizona but he did not have the full uniform so they assigned him to USS Honolulu. The second son was sent to Italy as an army physician (Captain).

After the war, the second son and the first-born son had a clinic together in Wenatchee, Washington. The third and fourth sons practiced in California.. Through the years of the second son’s practice, he was a Bible student and began paraphrasing  Bible texts to help him during his devotions. After 30 years he had covered the complete Bible….all by hand. After the age of 80, he learned to type, and typed the whole manuscript. Someone noticed his interpretations of the texts in group studies and suggested his paraphrase be printed. Only the New Testament was printed: Physician’s Paraphrase.

His true love was the mountains. He climbed all the major peaks of Washington State, and covered the Cascade Crest trail from Canada to Oregon. He hiked many more miles of trails taking along anyone who loved the mountains.

He had to give up the car keys at the age of 102. He figured he drove more years than any human being on earth because he started driving at the age of 13! No license was required back then.

There are many more stories to tell about the life of the second son.  As you can imagine, at the age of 107 (the oldest gentleman in all of the Northwest for several weeks) there are many years of events. But, unfortunately life does end. He died today, January 13, 2022.

He was my dad. Robert Earl Bolton. Those of us who knew him will miss his sense of humor.  He loved to make people laugh. We will miss his musical talent….he loved to play the piano, accordion, mandolin, and during his college days he played the trumpet in a pep band and percussions in the college band. We will miss his knowledge and discussions on just about any subject.

And so….the last of the four legendary boys is asleep. Good night, Dad. We’ll see you in the morning!

Patricia Ann Gomes

March 18, 1936 – December 7, 2022

Patricia Ann (Parks) Gomes passed away on December 7, 2022, at the age of 86 at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla, Washington surrounded by her family.

Patricia was a dedicated wife, mother, nurse and was active in various capacities at the Stateline Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Patricia displayed a consistent example of a life of Christian humility and service.

Patricia (Patsy) was born March 18, 1936 in Genesee, Idaho to Theodore Albert and Gladys Anna (Harms) Parks.  She was the oldest of 7 siblings and attended Upper Columbia Academy, graduating in 1954.  She then attended Walla College and completed a bachelors’ degree in nursing 9n 1960.  Patricia worked for Walla Walla General Hospital from 1960-1961.  Later in 1961, she moved to Toronto, Ontario Canada and worked as a nurse for the North York Branson Hospital in Willowdale, Ontario as well as instructing students in surgical nursing.  In 1963 she met Eliseu (Leo) Gomes at the North York Branson Hospital and was married in 1964 in College Place in a double wedding ceremony with her sister Naomi, who married Rollin Shoemaker.

Patricia worked as a nurse and in nursing administration for over 38 years.  Patricia’s service included five years in Willowdale, three years in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico and the remaining years in the Walla Walla valley, including Elzora Manor nursing home in Milton Freewater, Oregon where she was a nurse and nursing director for 17 years.  She also worked at the Walla Walla Senior Center for several years before her retirement in 1998.

Patricia is preceded in death by her parents Gladys Anna (Harms) Parks, Theodore Albert Parks, siblings Neomi Shoemaker, Theodore (Bud) Parks, and David Parks.

Patricia is survived by her husband of 58 years, Eliseu (Leo) Gomes and by children Rebecca Gomes of Loomis, CA, David Gomes of Everett, WA, and Daniel Gomes of Miami, FL, as well as siblings Ruth Massey of College Place, WA and Tom Parks of Walla Walla, WA, and Lois Pryor of Bainbridge Island, WA.