Where are they, now?
Sandpoint Magazine tracks down all 40 Feature Interview subjects from the past 20 years
By Susan Drinkard and Jennifer Lamont Leo
Since the premier issue of Winter 1991, Sandpoint Magazine has had a consistent department – Feature Interview – in all 40 editions to date. The magazine has published interviews with such notable Sandpoint-connected people as John Roskelley and Warren Miller, who were loosely connected to our fair burg, and others, such as Patrick McManus and Ward Tollbom, who were born and raised here. We’ve caught up with these individuals through e-mails, telephone, in person or through the Internet to find out if they are still doing what made them famous.
Legendary ski filmmaker Warren Miller (Winter 1991) was fresh off filming at Schweitzer Mountain and other exotic locales around the globe for his 41st annual action ski flick, “Extreme Winter,” when Publisher Chris Bessler interviewed him for the inaugural issue of Sandpoint Magazine. Miller, now 86, is retired and living on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands with his wife, Laurie. Miller, who broke his back while skiing in 2010, has been writing his autobiography.
At 84, composer and conductor Gunther Schuller (Summer 1991), former artistic director for the Festival at Sandpoint, is still active in music. The recipient of many awards, including a Pulitzer Prize in 1994, he received the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy in 2008. In 2010 he conducted Bach’s “Mass in B Minor” at St. John’s Cathedral in Spokane. His modernist orchestral work “Where the Word Ends” premiered at the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2009.
Artist Nancy Reddin Kienholz (Winter 1992) divides her time between Hope, Idaho, Houston, and Berlin. Since being widowed by the pioneer of installation or assemblage art, Edward Kienholz, who died of a heart attack in 1994, her solo work has been exhibited in Los Angeles, New York, Finland, London, Zurich, Berlin and Amsterdam. Ed Kienholz was buried in his 1940 Packard coupe in the mountains near Hope.
He’s climbed some of the highest peaks on the planet. After a nine-year stint as a Spokane County commissioner and then six years on the Growth Management Hearings Board, the world-class mountain climber and author John Roskelley (Summer 1992) is now self-employed as a photojournalist. He still lives on a farm with his wife, Joyce, in Spokane, Wash. “I still climb, although not at the same level of intensity. Climbing is no longer the obsession it once was for me,” he said. He has begun “sea kayaking the Columbia River from source to mouth and running ‘legs’ of the Pacific Crest Trail, both of which take a lot of preparation, training and time.”
Roskelley says he is still connected with Sandpoint through the Hawkins family. “I love the lake, walking through the draft horse show in the fall, glassing for bear in the high mountains, and romping up Scotchman Peak for exercise. Sandpoint has lost that small town feel, but it’s still a great place to visit,” he said.
Beloved poet and teacher Paul Croy (Winter 1993) of Hope died in 1997.
L.M. Boyd (Summer 1993), syndicated trivia and amusing facts columnist, died in 2007. He spent part of his childhood in Spokane and in Noxon, Mont., where his father lived.
Ward Tollbom (Winter 1994) continues to paint extremely detailed paintings in the unforgiving medium of watercolor. He cannot keep up with the demand for his work, sold at his Hen’s Tooth Studio at 322 N. First. Tollbom works with daughter Delci at his frame shop and employs a sharp comedic wit. Not long ago Tollbom painted a crow commissioned by Viggo Mortensen. His latest painting is a “very intricately complicated thing to paint” – a Franklin’s grouse, or fool’s hen.
Dennis and Ann Pence (Summer 1994), founders of Coldwater Creek, built up their company to successful heights before Ann retired in 2002 as creative director, followed by the couple’s divorce in 2003. Dennis retired in 2007 and then returned in 2009 as chairman and CEO of Coldwater Creek, as the company was reeling from the recession. Since his return the retailer has recovered somewhat, posting an income of $1.5 million during second quarter 2010, compared to a $4.9 million loss the same period in 2009. Pence says he feels “confident in our merchandising and creative direction” and that the company is “(positioned) well to meet our profitability expectations for the fall and holiday seasons,” as quoted in the Daily Bee, Aug. 28, 2010.
At 89, Dr. Forrest Bird (Winter 1995) is busier than ever with his twin passions, aviation and medical technology. His company, Bird Space Technology, continues to manufacture medical respirators, and he and wife Pamela Riddle Bird founded the Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center in 2007 near their home in Sagle. Staffed by 70 volunteers, the museum hosts such groundbreaking programs as Camp Invention. Bird has been featured on 60 Minutes and received two presidential honors: the Presidential Citizens Medal (2008) and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation (2009). He’s been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Living Legends of Aviation and the Idaho Aviation Hall of Fame, and has received several other honors in medicine and new technologies. He still rides his Harley-Davidson motorcycle and is “the oldest active helicopter instructor in the world.” He tells the kids at Camp Invention, “One person can change the world, and it can be you.”
Outdoors humor writer, novelist and Sandpoint native Patrick McManus (Summer 1995) has nearly completed his fifth Bo Tully mystery novel. The fourth, “The Huckleberry Murders,” published by Simon & Schuster, comes out in November. The novels are set in the fictional Blight County, Idaho, where Bo Tully is the not-so-rule-bound sheriff. One reader wrote McManus to say that, at age 73, she had fallen in love with his fictional protagonist. “My editor wants me to start appealing to younger women. Editors are never satisfied,” he says.
McManus, 77, lives with his wife, Darlene, in Spokane, where his main outdoor activity is working on their almost-vertical garden. He says his connections to Sandpoint are few, though he still has many friends here. “My mental image of Sandpoint consists of the way it was when I was growing up. Schweitzer Creek, where I learned to fish and camp, is now gone, dried up, disappeared completely. So there is not much of the old Sandpoint left that I can still relate to. It has become much too sophisticated for me.”
Singer-songwriter and local favorite Beth Pederson (Winter 1996) was one of the Wild Roses when interviewed with partner Cinde Borup 15 years ago. Borup passed away in 1998, but Pederson continues to sing and play acoustic folk, often collaborating with Bruce Bishop. A solo lullaby album and a CD with Bishop is in the works, she says. Pederson hosts concerts at Di Luna’s in Sandpoint, a great venue for an intimate musical experience, and she has a sign-painting business. See http://www.bethpederson.com to learn about her two solo CDs and earlier Wild Roses CDs.
Renowned landscape artist Stephen Lyman (Summer 1996) died at age 38 in a hiking accident in the spring of 1996 while hiking in Yosemite National Park. Published posthumously, Sandpoint Magazine’s interview with Lyman is believed to have been the artist’s last interview before his death.
Author and environmental activist Rick Bass (Winter 1997) has a new novel, “Nashville Chrome.” He says his connection to Sandpoint now is Scott Daily, a fellow member of the Yaak Valley Forest Council, a group working to protect the “last roadless areas in the Yaak.” He divides his time between the Yaak and Missoula, Mont., where his daughters are finishing up school.
Interviewed a year after moving here amid the cacophony of O.J. Simpson’s murder trial, Mark Fuhrman (Summer 1997) is now an author and a forensic and crime scene consultant for FOX News Channel. His latest book, “The Murder Business,” explores the media’s role in high-profile criminal cases. When not traveling, Fuhrman enjoys fishing, hunting and pampering his 1961 Porsche. About Sandpoint he says, “We’re lucky we’re here. The mountains, the lakes, the climate – we have the best of everything.”
Ben Stein (Winter 1998) recently co-wrote “The Little Book of Bulletproof Investing,” with Phil DeMuth. His controversial 2008 documentary, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” critiqued mainstream academia’s attitude toward intelligent design. He still lives part-time in Sandpoint and is spotted regularly around town.
Former Green Bay Packer and Sandpoint Bulldog Jerry Kramer (Summer 1998) has signed with ESPN Films as assistant producer on a movie about Vince Lombardi. Robert De Niro will play the legendary coach, and Eric Roth (“Forrest Gump”) is writing the screenplay. “Lombardi” is scheduled for release in early 2012. Additionally, Kramer is one of the founders of HealthSpan LLC-120 Plus Club, a medical facility in Scottsdale, Ariz. While he spends a lot of time on the road, Kramer, who lives in Boise, says, “I love Idaho, and whenever I have some spare time, I want to be here.” For the past two years, he has participated in fundraising efforts on behalf of the DayBreak Center, a local organization offering respite care for dementia patients, alongside former Denver Bronco Jake Plummer (see Summer 2008, below), whom he calls a “classy guy.”
Brothers Edward and Doug Hawkins (Winter 1999), president and CEO respectively of Litehouse Inc. report that since 1999, “sales volume is about 125 percent greater,” citing new products and the purchase of Seattle’s Green Garden Foods. “Probably the biggest event is our decision to become an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Program),” Edward said. “As original owners, (Doug and I) are committed to Sandpoint and the jobs we have been able to create. … The Hawkins family has been a part of the Sandpoint community since 1881 and hopes to be part of it for generations to come.”
Back in 1999, Nancy Hadley (Summer 1999) was serving two terms on the board of Idaho Fish and Game. Today she’s a certified financial planner with D.A. Davidson, consulting on financial security and retirement planning. She’s also active with Rotary, Bonner General Hospital Foundation and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The avid outdoorswoman recently added archery to her skills. “Hunting,” she says, “is how I feed my spirit.”
He was America’s favorite veterinarian in 2000, and it appears he still has the charm. Marty Becker, DVM, (Winter 2000) is the “resident veterinarian for ‘Good Morning America’ and ‘The Dr. Oz Show,’ ” according to his Facebook page. He continues to write a syndicated pet-care column with Gina Spadafori. He and wife Teresa live near Bonners Ferry, and he works as a vet at North Idaho Animal Hospital.
Biologists Mark and Delia Owens (Summer 2000) continue to help some 52 villages in Zambia with microlending for small, sustainable business development, conservation education, improved subsistence agriculture, and rural healthcare, so “people will not have to poach or cooperate with commercial poachers in order to survive,” says Mark. He says they are also “protecting and restoring wetland habitat in northern Idaho and supporting the restoration of predator populations to our ecosystems so that they are better balanced and more resilient.” For a closer look at their work, look up http://www.owensfoundation.org.
Dr. Foster Cline (Winter 2001), cofounder of the Love and Logic Institute, has written three new books with Lisa Greene for parents of kids with chronic illnesses, including “Parenting Children with Health Issues.” He supports Jacey’s Race and also enjoys photography. Living in Sandpoint, he says, “is like living inside a Kodak moment.”
In the past nine years, filmmaker Erik Daarstad (Summer 2001) of Sandpoint finished “Sandpoint: At the North End of the Long Bridge,” which premiered at the Panida Theater in November 2002. He has continued his work as cinematographer on documentary films. “Sing!” was nominated for an Academy Award in 2002 and followed up by “Sing Opera” in 2008 and “Sing China” in 2009. In 2005 he started work on “Fighting for Life,” an account of doctors, nurses and wounded soldiers in the Iraq war. Another documentary, “Lt. Watada: A Matter of Conscience” about an army lieutenant who refused deployment to Iraq because he believed the war was illegal, was on the short list for an Academy Award this year. Currently Daarstad says he is working on a film about Gregory Boyle, a Jesuit priest in Los Angeles, who some 20 years ago started a successful program to help L.A. gang members find jobs and integrate into society.
World-champion ski racer and wood craftsman, Reider Wahl (Winter 2002) is still making custom-made furniture and cabinetry at Lost Cabin Studios, home of Norwegian Wood, in Sagle.
Although he no longer owns it, Scott Glickenhaus (Summer 2002) is known for developing the architecturally stunning Cedar Street Bridge. The entrepreneur, who has lived in the Sandpoint area for nearly 40 years, is also known for his opposition to the Sand Creek bypass, calling it the “worst blunder Sandpoint has done in 100 years” because he does not believe it will solve Sandpoint’s traffic problems. Glickenhaus is “nearly retired,” he says, and is planning to climb a volcano in Ecuador this winter.
Hailing from Bonners Ferry, singer and songwriter Shari Short (Winter 2003), whose talent was discovered at the Miss Teen Idaho competition, opened for Air Supply at the 2002 Festival at Sandpoint. She subsequently joined the soft rock band as a background singer and toured the world. Short no longer tours with the group. “I still keep in touch with them. They are family!” she says. Short now lives in Los Angeles where she is writing music with other artists including Jessica Simpson, Miley Cyrus and Joe Jonas. “I have had songs placed on ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ and I am just loving life,” she says.
After 28 years, Steve and Elizabeth Willey (Summer 2003) sold Backwoods Solar, but the company lives on, “doing very well as the green energy field continues fantastic growth.” The Willeys continue their untiring volunteerism with the Panhandle Animal Shelter and are still active in Sandpoint Friends (Quaker) as well as the new Sandpoint Vegetarians, “both of which fit our lifelong beliefs and work for a more peaceful, non-violent approach to solving problems in the world.” When they travel in the winter months, they carry an electric motor scooter to help explore and do errands, “charged often by the solar panels on top of the camper.”
Frank VanderSloot (Winter 2004) has been CEO of Idaho Falls-based Melaleuca, Inc., for more than 25 years, reporting that 2010 will be a record sales year – success he attributes to “our wide range of wellness products based on safe, natural ingredients.” The northern Idaho native, 62, says: “I get back to Cocolalla quite often. We still own the 80 acres I grew up on,” plus an additional 260 acres. VanderSloot’s sister and brother-in-law, Luana and Wilbur Hiebert, run an all-natural farm on the property, selling range-grown chickens, eggs, milk and beef. “There seems to be a very high demand for natural foods in northern Idaho,” VanderSloot says.
Silverwood founder Gary Norton (Summer 2004) reports that since 2004, Boulder Beach has almost doubled in size, and Silverwood has added thrilling attractions like the Panic Plunge Drop Tower and Aftershock. “I’m proud of the fact that Silverwood has become the No. 1 attended attraction in the state of Idaho, per the Idaho Department of Commerce,” Norton says. “I plan to continue to invest in the park and our great state with new attractions like Scarywood Haunted Nights, rides, venues and events.”
Actor Viggo Mortensen (Winter 2005) still lives part-time in Clark Fork (brother Charles lives in Sandpoint) and has just published a new book of his poetry and photographs, “Canciones de Invierno/Winter Songs.” He is currently in New Orleans, working on the movie version of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” set to release in 2011.
Georgia Shonk-Simmons (Summer 2005), president and chief merchandising officer at Coldwater Creek, plans to retire from the retail and catalog giant in May 2011. Still involved with Panhandle Alliance for Education, Shonk-Simmons works to improve education in Lake Pend Oreille schools. She and husband Howard Simmons live on the lake, where they enjoy recreating together.
Called the most admired novelist of our time, Marilynne Robinson (Winter 2006) is author of the contemporary classic, “Housekeeping.” This Sandpoint native still lives in Iowa City, Iowa, teaches at the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, and works on nonfiction. “I travel more these days, but I am fond of my life here and don’t contemplate any change more radical than (probably partial) retirement,” she said. Since being interviewed five years ago after she won the Pulitzer Prize for “Gilead,” she wrote “Home,” and “Absence of Mind.” She recently appeared on “The Daily Show” where she met Jon Stewart only “very briefly, but I was impressed with his graciousness and his seriousness.”
World-class kayaker Ed Lucero (Summer 2006) no longer lives in Sandpoint but still paddles every chance he gets. As a full-time dad to infant twins, he vows “no more huge waterfalls.” He helps at-risk youth near his New Mexico home; teaches swimming and kayaking through the YMCA; and also teaches kids how to build and repair bicycles used in developing countries like Kenya, where Lucero spent several years. He is a court-appointed special advocate and serves on the board of a teen pregnancy coalition. Lucero and his wife, Erika, are designing their own eco-friendly solar home out of shipping containers and adobe – a design he calls “a low-cost and architecturally pleasing alternative to trailer homes.” He loves northern Idaho and claims the Clark Fork River is the ideal spot for a whitewater park.
Mark Story (Winter 2007), a retired film director who specialized in TV commercials, spent years photographing aged people across the globe and in 2006 self-published his work in a limited edition book, “Living in Three Centuries.” In conjunction with the book, he debuted his photography exhibit in galleries in Sandpoint and Missoula; four years later this traveling exhibit has been around the world and garnered an immense amount of press (see http://www.markstoryphotography.com).
When contacted in September, Story said the exhibit was heading to Denmark for inclusion in a huge show on health. Now 63, Story still lives part-time in East Hope, as well as in Garfield, Wash., and in the mountains of Arizona. He continues to photograph people and eat and drink well.
“I walk six miles every other day and bike 15 miles every other day so I can keep eating and drinking all I can,” Story said. He and wife Pam still support the Panhandle Animal Shelter and help rescue dogs, including two shelter dogs they adopted in recent years.
Political cartoonist Bill Mitchell (Summer 2007) is still enjoying life in Sandpoint but says he “stopped cartooning about a year ago. The reason is quite simple: Once America elected Barack Obama, there was no longer any need for scathing political cartoons – so I retired!” Mitchell is working with four “really smart guys on a Web-based application for medical practices.”
Jack Fowler (Winter 2008), the Spokane dentist who envisioned a ski area near Sandpoint in 1960, died in 2009 at age 87.
Former Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer (Summer 2008) now heads the Jake Plummer Foundation, committed to helping sick and abused children and raising awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and its effects. He works with fellow NFL great Jerry Kramer on annual fundraisers for the DayBreak Center. In 2009 he began helping to coach the Sandpoint Bulldogs football team and established a youth handball league at Sandpoint West Athletic Club; about 20 participated last winter, five of them starters on the football team. He also runs a handball tournament in Coeur d’Alene – the Plummer Family Handball Bash – now in its third year, which draws top-ranked handball pros. All money raised goes to his foundation and, in turn, is returned to the local community. Finally, he and wife Kollette are new parents.
Paul Schaller (Winter 2009) is still CEO of Quest Aircraft, Inc. Per the company’s website, Quest manufactures the Kodiak aircraft and is currently exploring “how it might fit the United States military’s needs for light mobility as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance roles.” Schaller quips, “Personally, I lead a fairly boring existence, trying to keep the wheels spinning at Quest.”
Curt Hecker (Summer 2009) remains CEO of Panhandle State Bank and its parent corporation, Intermountain Community Bancorp. He is also on the board of directors of Coldwater Creek and of Pacific Coast Bankers Bank.
Classical guitarist Leon Atkinson (Winter 2010) remains an active musician, including a current tour performing in South Carolina and California – despite his need of a kidney transplant from a living kidney donor with Blood Type A.
Kristy Osmunson (Summer 2010), cofounder of the country music duo Bomshel, lives in Nashville, Tenn. Bomshel was nominated by the Academy of Country Music for Top New Duo in January.
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