About Alumni

Brion Hanks 1
I was born and raised in Bellingham. After graduation, during the summer of ’65, I got on a train and left for New Orleans in order to follow in the footsteps of my Grandfather and Great Uncle who were both Chief Engineers in the Merchant Marines. Upon receiving my “seaman’s papers” I had the good fortune to get on the same ship with my Great Uncle Guido and make a 70 day trip beginning with ports of call in Texas, Louisiana, and travelling close enough to see Cuba heading for 9 ports of call on the west coast of Africa. Great experience that made me think about going to the Merchant Marine Academy in Texas, with the goal of one day being a ship’s captain.

Not!!! When I got back from Africa “Uncle Sam” was looking for me with a draft notice. I was informed that I should not have left the U.S. (made to feel like a criminal). So I caught a Grey Hound Bus and made the trip back to Bellingham. Now came the first major cross road in my life. After my Dad made arrangements for me to make, and experience, a one day trip with the local Coast Guard in the San Juan Islands, I had to decide on whether to join the Coast Guard or go in the Army? Not wanting to just be fodder for the war beginning to rage in Viet Nam, I chose to join the Army provided that  my advanced training be in Surveying and Engineering, what I signed up for. That became a battle with the Army but I did get the schooling. Long story short, heath issues kept me state side during my stint in the Army.

Brion Hanks 2

Upon returning to Bellingham I began working for the Whatcom County Engineers as a Survey Crew Chief and did so from 1969 to 1979. Oh, and in early 1970 I had my right kidney removed which resolved the health issues I’d had while in the Army. Never mind that I had been in Army hospitals twice. Hmmmm?

Due to personal circumstances (ok, I got divorced) I left Bellingham in 1980 for a trip around the western U.S. looking for another location to live and work. In early 1981, to pursue working in private construction, I moved to Grand Junction, Colorado where I worked as a foreman for three years. Then frustrated with a scandal involving my company, and after a visit to my sister living in Sedona, Arizona, I moved there to work as a salesman at the Masters Art Gallery where my sister’s art was showcased. This was a unique experience. I have to say, it was the influence of Sedona, a very special place, which really initiated my writing a great deal of poetry.

Missing construction and making good money, in 1985 I moved to Post Falls, Idaho where I lived for five years working in private construction and going to college to get a degree in Business Management. After graduating in 1990 my wife and I moved to Oregon where we have lived for the past 25 years. While I had years as a construction superintendent, professionally I felt most fulfilled during the last 7 years of my career as a fulltime Construction Safety Manager for Kiewit working in seven western states, where I managed safety mainly on large projects with hundreds of employees.

Because of a chance meeting in 2011 with a person of vision, who really connected with my passion for safety in all types of work environments, during a flight back to Portland, OR, plus so many things I’d seen over 40+ years in construction, plus research of OSHA statistics, I was moved to co-write a serious 272 page book on safety and risk. Go to www.GlobalSafetySuccess.com. Look, it’s about saving lives and eliminating “accidents” . . . I’m gratified to say it is making a safety difference and will remain one of the things I am proud to have accomplished.

At my website, click on “Other Writings”  to see some of my poetry and the link to my first book entitled When The Rose Fades, which is a compilation of poems dealing with life, death and dying, inspiration on thought-provoking topics and our earthly journey . . . It has been a joy to give voice to my thoughts and feelings over the years via poetry, essays, letters to editors of newspapers wherever I lived and the two books thus far published.

Now retired and still living in Central Oregon, I am happy to say that life is very, very good . . . onward and upward!!!

*note* See Brion’s  reunion poem on the home page!

  Jean schuler andresen
Jean Schuler Andreson

I moved a lot as a child and continued to do so as an adult. I arrived in Bellingham from Santa Barbara, CA in 7th grade (Shuksan, Mr Rahm’s HR). Most kids grow up and live in the same house K-12; we had the same car K-12: a 4-door, baby blue Ford with an airplane hood ornament. After HS, I went to UW and 4 yrs later was working as a pediatric physical therapist in Milwaukee, WI, giving me an opportunity to better know my grandparents. Two yrs later I was a pediatric PT in Stockton, CA where I met Vic while backpacking. We backpacked in the Summer and snowshoed in the Winter. Vic was a banker who went back to school in Geology (CSU-Fresno). He was busy studying so I got my Spec Ed credential and taught in Fresno, CA. In 1980, we moved to Denver, CO with a lot of other geologists. I went back to school to work on an engineering degree (I wanted to design equipment for handicapped people). Vic was in Denver until 1987 when he was transferred to Oklahoma City. I stayed back to finish my MS in Chemistry and joined Vic in OKC in 1988. A job opportunity in OK caught my attention: 3M had openings in Weatherford, OK, 75 miles from OKC. I applied and 20 yrs later was a process or quality engineer in four 3M plants (OK; Chico, CA, Northridge, CA; and Monrovia, CA). I started volunteering at a school near work (3M encourages volunteering). I went through the Master Gardening (MG) program in LA County and resurrected the school garden. We knew we didn’t want to live in S CA in our 70s. We’d come to Bellingham often to visit my parents. I frequently told Dad I wanted to retire ‘where rhubarb grows.’ Here we are back in Bellingham since 2011. Jean Schuler Andreson 2

Vic volunteers for NSEA doing fish surveys and at the Community Boating Center rejuvenating boats. I went through the MG program in Whatcom County as it’s a wonderful way to learn about the local resources. I volunteer at the Fairhaven Middle School garden. I’m a DAT Captain for Red Cross which means I go out to fires as needed to help people who have been devastated by fire. I know the County by where the fires are; Vic, by the fish. I still work a little for NORC at the University of Chicago as a Field Interviewer. I get to travel around the country interviewing people about their lives. My favorite question: How satisfied are you with your life on a scale of 1 to 7 where 1 is not at all satisfied and 7 is completely satisfied.

diana hansen young
diana photoDiana 6th grade

Diana Hansen Young grew up to be a beautiful woman, who obviously loves muffins; but I remember her from Mr. Runestrand’s 6th Grade class at Shuksan Junior High! Her life story reads like a novel – and yes, Diana, you should write it!

 She was born in 1947 in a Mormon farming community in Bellingham, Washington. Her four passions were books, writing, politics, and horses.  She picked strawberries, raspberries and beans between 6th and 7th grades to earn the money for a blue portable Smith Corona. on which she turned out short stories, novels, and a musical produced by Bellingham High School, where she was student body vice-president. After graduating with honors, she went on to a freshman year at Brigham Young University, which she hated.

      The day after school was out, she set sail for Hawaii and adventure — and stayed. Read more about her incredible life by clicking on the below link -or- Google her! http://dianahansenyoung.com/DianaHansenYoung/About_Diana.html


Frank, like a lot of you, became interested in cars and all things mechanical at a young age.  In 1958, at age 12, he was already building model cars and airplanes and reading hot rod magazines. His favorites were Car Craft, Hot Rod, Rod and Kustom and many others.  Read more of Frank’s biography on his Website http://www.carguytour.combio.php

Frank and Janet

Frank and Janet Mandarano

*Car Guy Since Age 12
*Decorated Veteran
*Licensed Commercial Pilot
*Founder of Maserati Club     International and MIE Corporation
*Founder of Concorso Italiano
*Founder of the original and one and only Car Guy Tour
*Still a Car Guy at 69 and loving it!



Gary Watson
Bellingham 1965 Alumni - Gary Watson

Bellingham. 1965. We graduated. I grew up there, left there, and still visit, occasionally. I’m sure those of us who have managed to stay alive between our time of graduation and now have many stories to tell. Work. Travel. Happy moments. Sad moments. Times when just living became extra special. In the interim, I’ve wandered from being a student to a scientist, a father, a papermaker, inventor, business leader, fly fisherman and grandpa to a growing population of grandchildren.

Way, way back in time, as a senior in high school, I was a student in Darlene Nelson’s English class. I remember her as being tough as nails, of having breath that reeked of Sen-Sen’s (she smoked between classes, I’m sure). She put a small note on one of the many essays she made us write. It said-“this is good … you should write more”-something like that. Encouragement. Some mentoring gesture I never forgot.

On one of many long flights from east Asia to New York, I thought about her comment and began scribbling. My first novel emerged two years after I retired and returned to the US from Singapore. My wife and I now live in Vancouver, Washington. My BFF is the guy I first met in the fifth grade at Roosevelt Elementary, Gary Hershey. In my final years, I’ve decided telling stories was something I always wanted to do. So, I did. My most recent book-Gabriel’s Covenant-draws upon scenes imagined from my childhood in Bellingham and can be found on Amazon. So, I guess it might be true. We are what we were, and my early literary underpinnings needed the perspective of the rest of my life to find expression.

P.S., My third novel-In a Fog of Madness-set in East Africa, should be out in 2015. Best to all Red Raider mascots.

Bellingham High School Alumni - Class of 65 Diane (Lounsberry) Williams

My interest in art began in 1974, some nine years after graduating from BHS. A late bloomer I guess, with absolutely no idea where this journey would take me. I was an art appreciator, but never imagined what could transpire for me after picking up my first drawing pencil. I had found my voice and my passion. Scott was in the Air Force and moving frequently became a part of our lives, affording me the opportunity to study throughout the United States and with some of the top painters in the country. My career as a professional artist took off from there. I pursued painting while co-owning a fine art gallery in Michigan and working as a gallery Director in Omaha. Teaching abstract painting classes and workshops entered later in my career.

Diane Williams - BHS Class of '65Not without my share of “bumps” along the way, I look back on the awards, the collections, the museum exhibitions, my work hanging in universities, major corporations and luxury hotels across the country and wonder… what if I’d just started earlier with an art class at BHS? Married to Scott Williams (Class of 65) for 46 years, two extraordinary children and 7 grandchildren, it’s been a truly unpredictable, incredible journey!

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