Alumni Notes

Alumni Notes

Check here often to keep up with your fellow SMV/VC alums and send us a note to let others know what you are up to these days.

Send your update to [email protected] and we will include it here.

Barbe Jenkins Gibson
Barbe Jenkins-Gibson – Photo from The News Guard

Barbe Jenkins-Gibson (‘65) is celebrating 50 years as the owner of Christmas Cottage in Lincoln City. Her husband Bob Gibson is a professional photographer and owner of The Photography Studio, also in Lincoln City.

Barbe is forever grateful for her time at SMVA.

Luke Vanderzanden Spirit Spring 2024
Luke and Ashlee (new parents) with baby Josephine.

Luke (’12) and Ashlee VanderZanden welcomed Josephine June VanderZanden to the world on Dec. 15, 2023. The latest little Valiant weighed
8 lbs. 3 oz.

Kelly Edwards
Kelly Edwards and Michael Blomenkamp

Kelly Edwards (’17) married Michael Blomenkamp at St. Partrick’s Catholic Church in Portland on Sept. 2, 2023. They couple met while working at the Valley Catholic Early Learning school in 2019.  

Mary Da Prato Think tank
Mary Da Prato is standing on the left, front row, in the white shirt and red polka dot skirt

Mary Da Prato (’09) participated in a think tank last summer for Montessorians under the age of 40. Co-hosted by AMI/USA and AMS in Orlando, FL, Mary was one of 40 people chosen out of 150 applicants to brainstorm about the future of Montessori education in the United States. Feeling inspired, Mary is currently working on her 30th book. Visit her website to learn more:

Katharine Jesse Bride And Groom
Katharine Jesse and Brandon Bettinelli

Katharine Jesse (’14) married Brandon Bettinelli at The Grotto in Portland on May 20, 2023. Alumnae in the wedding party included Anna Jesse (’11) and Allison Lambert Cook (’12). The couple reside in Beaverton.

Katharine Jesse Bridal Party
Katharine Jesse with her Valiant alumnae bridal party
John Eisenbacher '16 with wife Ruth Nelson
John Eisenbacher and Ruth Nelson

John Eisenbacher (‘16) was married to Ruth Nelson on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023 at St. Birgitta’s Catholic Church in Portland. William Detherage (‘16), Mary Eisenbacher (‘18), Joey Eisenbacher (‘20), Anthony Eisenbacher (‘22), and Jeannine Haener Eisenbacher (‘93), and all the Haener aunts were in attendance. John works for Hammelman Farms and the couple resides in Mt. Angel.

Haener Family
The Haener Family:
(L to R) Sue Haener, Mary Sue Wolfe (’06), Molly Fessler (’03), Margie Barnett (’00), Katie Ludlow (’98), Kelli Wilde (’96), Julie Wilde (’94), Jeannine Eisenbacher (‘93), Rich Haener
Anthony Eisenbacher '22 (1)
Anthony Eisenbacher and Gabriella Albrecht

Anthony Eisenbacher (’22), was married on Aug. 19, 2023, to Gabriella Albrecht at St. Birgitta’s Catholic Church in Portland. Anthony’s siblings and Haener aunts, graduates of Valley Catholic, were in attendance. Anthony works for N&S Tractor in Woodburn as a mechanic, and the couple resides in Mt. Angel.

Allie Merz with her family at the NCAA tournament

Allie Merz (‘20) had an impressive nine assists in Long Island University’s matchup at the NCAA tournament against #1 overall seed Nebraska. Although the Sharks fell short in three sets (13-25, 16-25, 22-25), they did win their 13th Northeast Conference championship. This was Allie’s second trip to the NCAA tournament.

Amanda Farmer
Amanda Farmer and her art students

Amanda (Farmer) Pewonka (‘03) founded St. Bezzie’s Art Collab, a non-profit that provides curriculum and supplies for groups to participate in healing through art. The Art Healing workshops are done locally in Oregon and globally by partnering with Mi Casa International in El Salvador.

Megan Co Fam Mirrorlake
Nathan (‘23), Megan (‘14) and Amber (‘19) Co with their parents

Megan Co (‘14) recently defended her thesis and earned her PhD at The Ohio State University in Biomedical Engineering. Amber Co (‘19) graduated with honors from Oregon State University in June.

Michelle Boss Barba Cropped 350x350
Michelle Boss Barba

Michelle Boss Barba (‘96) joined the Murdock Charitable Trust as senior program officer for Arts, Culture, and Education. Prior to this new role, Michelle was the founding artistic director of Ethos Music Center in Portland. However, the role that Michelle is most proud of is Momma to her two daughters – Layla, 2nd grade, and Gabriella, Kindergarten.

Classmates from the Class of ’73 gather for their 50th reunion.

The class of 1973 gathered at the home of Meg (Dever) Mertens to celebrate their 50th reunion on Sept. 9, 2023. Patricia Mann, Debbie Wangler, and Patti Janego toured the SSMO campus earlier that day. 
Meg’s sister Rita is a chef and catered the event. Elizabeth Whalon made a quilt that was raffled as a door prize that was won by Theresa Peterson Ast.
The following day a few members of the class went to Mass with the Sisters and spent some time with Sr. Juliana Monti, Sr. John Therese Miller, Sr. Catherine Hertel and Marcella Parrish.


Ikuma Nakagawa (‘97) came from Japan to study at Valley Catholic and the University of Oregon. Ikuma has had an extensive public relations career with several companies such as Sony and Carstay, a van life company based in Tokyo. He has also created his own tourism community where he shares rural lifestyle experiences with people who live in urban areas. Living in the coastal region of Noto, Japan, Ikuma provides PR support to startups and venture companies. He also has a guest house where he welcomes people who are looking for a place to relax near rural rice fields and outstanding oyster bays.

VC friends today

Valley Catholic friends Brigid (Kelley) Kucz (‘83), Mary (Bronec) Henry (‘83), Betsy (Petersen) Haas (’84), Mimi (Zapien) Bell (‘83), and Wendy (Vanderbeck) Burton (’85) traveled from Texas, Oregon and Illinois, gathering at Mimi’s place in Denver for three days in early August. The friends had a lot of fun – including going to a Foreigner/Loverboy concert. The last time all five of the friends were together was at Brigid’s wedding 30 years ago. They are already brainstorming their next get together. 


Olivia Jackson (‘16) graduated from Willamette University College of Law in May. She received the Bruce Spaulding Trial Advocacy Award and the nationally-recognized Barrister’s Award for excellence in trial advocacy. Olivia passed the Oregon bar exam and is now an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. 

Dr. Allison

Dr. Alison Balbag, Ph.D., DMA (’02) is a featured expert on TV’s Dr. Phil, discussing the power of music for our mind and health. Dr. Alison Balbag has two doctorates in separate fields. She is also a musician, health gerontologist, and educator.

Michael Bayley '10 photo

Michael Bayley (’10) and his wife Hayden welcomed Eli Kade into the world on Sept. 18. The little Valiant weighed 8 pounds and 3 ounces. Eli Kade is named after his great-grandfather and shares his middle name with his aunt. 


Matt Twenge (’07) and his wife Kate welcomed baby Julia on July 7, 2023. The family currently lives in Tualatin, OR.


Ambrose “Ace” Calcagno (‘17) released “Wonderful,” an EP of original music in October. You can find Ace Calgano’s “Wonderful” on YouTube

Zack Cramer (’10) and his wife Meaghan are the proud parents of Cameron David Cramer. He was born on Sept. 12, 2023 weighing 6 lbs. 6 oz. and was 18 inches long. 

In Memoriam


Pat Christensen Joyaux March 25, 2024
St. Mary of the Valley class of 1954

Rose Mathilda Coussens Jan. 14, 2024
St. Mary of the Valley class of 1941

Sister Rose Mary Heineck Feb. 1, 2024
St. Mary of the Valley class of 1950

Carolyn Sadler Hudson March 6, 2024
St. Mary of the Valley class of 1945

Karen Alexander Dec. 20, 2023
St. Mary of the Valley class of 1979


Virginia A. Bingenheimer Jan. 12, 2023
St. Mary of the Valley class of 1969

Helen Gallagher Siro-Brigiano’ Aug. 2023
St. Mary of the Valley Class of 1965

Sister Ruth Etzel March 15, 2023
St. Mary of the Valley class of 1949

Margaret Livermore Jan. 20, 2023
St. Mary of the Valley class of 1954

Barbara Ann Martin Sept. 18, 2023
St. Mary of the Valley class of 1952

Daniel J. Morantte Jan. 7, 2023
Valley Catholic School class of 2008

Susan Elizabeth Runtz Aug. 22, 2023
St. Mary of the Valley class of 1965

Lorraine M. Schneider April 12, 2023
St. Mary of the Valley class of 1941

Ellen Lenhardt Whitehead July 31, 2023
St. Mary of the Valley class of 1959

Carolyn Kennish Williams May 31, 2023
St. Mary of the Valley class of 1955

Carolee Sinfield Truesdale May 13, 2023
St. Mary of the Valley class of 1957

Carol Day VanderZanden Oct. 14, 2023
St. Mary of the Valley class of 1959

Lucille Vanderzanden Bernards Sept. 29, 2021
St. Mary of the Valley class of 1949

Laura Michelle Sahlfeld April, 10, 2020
Valley Catholic School class of 2006