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Remembering Strong, Peterson, Gibson

In Memory is dedicated to YVC alumni, faculty and staff who have passed away. It offers a place where the YVC community can remember friends and loved ones.

Supsikwala (Wallace Clarence Strong)
Retired Ethnic Studies Instructor

Wally Strong

Supsikwala (Wallace Clarence Strong) was born at Satus, Wash., on December 14, 1943 to Margaret Nelson Strong and James Howard Strong. He passed away on August 10, 2021. He graduated from Granger High School in 1962.

Upon graduation from high school Strong enlisted in the U.S. Navy determined to serve the Yakama Nation, the United States of America and his family, which he did with honor. He served from 1962 to 1966 and was a Vietnam War veteran as a gunner on a patrol boat that patrolled the Saigon River.

When Strong was honorably discharged from the Navy, he earned a bachelor’s degree from UCLA. He furthered his education at Western Washington University where he earned a master’s degree. He culminated his formal education at the University of Illinois earning a doctorate and having his name Supsikwala (Educator) bestowed upon him in his last days. His career in academics took him to schools in Nevada and New Mexico before returning home. He worked at the Yakama Tribal School and retired as a tenured professor at Yakima Valley College. He asked many tribal leaders to guest lecture in his ethnic studies classes to help educate students on Yakama treaty rights, government and culture.

One of Strong’s loves for teaching was his involvement at Camp Chaparral. He relished the challenge of stimulating the minds, hearts and spirits of children seeking tribal culture and scholastic excellence. He was joined by other teachers from Granger High School who came to respect the high standards the Yakama Nation placed on youth.

Vern Peterson
Retired Offset Printer Operator

Vern Peterson

Vern Ralph Peterson was born in Yakima, Wash., on April 30, 1930 and was the fourth son of Ralph Theodore and Verna Mae (Colton) Peterson. He attended Yakima Senior High and joined the U.S. Coast Guard serving aboard the Northwind, an ice cutter. Peterson is remembered fondly for his wonderful sense of humor and quick wit.

After serving in the Coast Guard, Peterson took over the family business at PS Printers. He worked for a brief time as a real estate agent for Aumiller-Cahoon and ultimately retired from Yakima Valley College where he worked in the print shop. He was active in his community as a member of the Yakima JayCees and member and past president of Lions Club. He served on the board and was past president of Yakima Little League.

Ken Gibson
Retired Custodian


Ken Gipson was born on December 25, 1940, in Yakima to George Roger and Nellie Pearl (Dunn) Gipson. He passed from an apparent heart attack on September 21, 2021.

Growing up in the family business of buying and selling used furniture and antiques from an early age. In the 60s he worked as a Master Baker in Yakima and Kettle Falls. Ken and brother Tom had a commercial janitorial service in the 70’s. He went on to work at Yakima Valley College as custodian lead, retiring in 2005.

Ken married Lucille Balcom in November 1962 and they had three children: Annette, Carl, and Roger. Ken married Wilma “June” Butler in December 1976. He raised her three boys: Nelvin, Terry and Mark as his own. He enjoyed fishing, casino slots and betting the horses.