Category Archives: Board Members

According to Society and Museum bylaws, there may be as few as 9 or as many as 15 Trustees. There are 15 numbered positions. Biographies and officer/committee assignments follow the list of incumbent Trustees.

Position 1: term expires 2024 – Gerry Alexander
Position 2: term expires 2024 – Greg Griffith
Position 3: term expires 2023– Ann Olson
Position 4: term expires 2023 – David Goularte
Position 5: term expires 2022 – Ben Helle
Position 6: term expires 2024 – Gery Gerst
Position 7: term expires 2023 – Shirley Battan
Position 8: term expires 2022 – Charles Roe
Position 9: term expires 2024 – Shanna Stevenson
Position 10: term expires 2022 – Richard McCartan
Position 11: term expires 2022 – Paul Campos
Position 12: term expires 2023– Sue Lean
Position 13: term expires 2024 – Denise Halloran
Position 14: term expires 2022 – vacant
Position 15: term expires 2023 – Jean Wilkinson

Gerry Alexander

Justice Alexander has deep Washington roots. He was born in Aberdeen, and, at an early age, moved with his family to Olympia. He attended Garfield grade school and then graduated from Olympia High School, which, at the time, was located within sight of the Temple of Justice. After receiving an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Washington, he served as a lieutenant in the United States Army Infantry, and then returned to his alma mater to earn his J.D. in 1964. He was president of the Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity during his final year of law school.

Alexander practiced law privately in Olympia for nine years with the firm of Parr, Baker, Alexander and Cordes. During his years in private practice he was involved in a number of bar efforts to improve the legal profession and served a term as president of the Thurston-Mason County Bar Association. Alexander served as a judge of the superior court for Thurston and Mason Counties from 1973 through 1984, and as a judge for the Court of Appeals, Division Two, from 1985 through 1994.

Justice Alexander was first elected to a seat on the Washington Supreme Court in 1994 and re-elected in 2000. Shortly thereafter, his colleagues elected him to a four-year position as chief justice, and re-elected him as chief in 2004 and again in 2008. Although Justice Alexander stepped down as chief justice in January 2011, his nine years of service in that position give him the distinction of being the longest running chief justice in the state’s history. He retired from the Supreme Court on December 31, 2011. In February 2012, he became “of counsel” to the Olympia Law Firm of Bean, Gentry, Wheeler and Peternell, limiting his practice to arbitration and mediation and consulting on appellate procedure.

Justice Alexander has been involved in legal education and served on several boards, commissions and committees advising on legal matters, including chairing the Board for Judicial Administration and serving on the Statute Law Committee of the State of Washington. He is a co-founder and board member of the Washington Courts Historical Society and co-chaired the State Capitol Furnishings Preservation Committee, to help refurbish and care for the Temple of Justice and other Capitol Group buildings. Justice Alexander has also been active in his community serving in various capacities on local charitable, religious, and civic organizations. He was active in efforts to save and preserve the 1930s era Thurston County Courthouse and served as president for the Bigelow House Preservation Association.

Justice Alexander has been designated as a distinguished alumnus of the University of Washington Law School and has been awarded a Doctor of Laws by Gonzaga University. In 2012, the Legal Foundation of Washington presented him with the Charles A. Goldmark Distinguished Service Award.

He is the proud father of three adult children and has nine grandchildren.

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Shanna Stevenson

Shanna Stevenson is a long-time local historian in Olympia. Formerly the Historic Preservation Officer for Olympia, Thurston County and Tumwater. From 2006 to 2014  she served the Washington State Historical Society as the Coordinator of the Women’s History Consortium project.

She has a BA in History and Education from Gonzaga University and a Masters in Public Administration from The Evergreen State College. As Coordinator of the WHC, Shanna staffs a 15 member advisory board composed of Governor’s appointees and legislators, leads the WHC website initiative and planning for the commemoration of the Washington Suffrage Centennial.

Her most recent publication,  Women’s Votes, Women’s Voices: The Campaign for Equal Rights In Washington is available from WSU Press.  See our bibliography for more works by Shanna.

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Sue Lean

Sue Lean is an exhibit and event planner by profession. She serves as the Vice Chair of the Women’s History Consortium, an advisory board to the Washington State Historical Society.

She has created major exhibits on the Washington State Constitution of 1889, George
Washington as the state namesake, and the Washington State Supreme Court
She became interested in the Bigelow House Museum in 1996, and organized an event at the Capitol, with Shanna Stevenson, to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the first of three suffrage campaign visits by Susan B. Anthony to the Northwest.
A longtime member of the League of Women Voters of Thurston County, Sue has created
public events from pageants to parade entries for landmark anniversaries related to women winning the vote. For her efforts from the Magna Carta 800th celebration at the Temple of Justice in 2015 to the 2020 Centennial of the 19th Amendment, she received the DAR “Excellence in Community Service” Award.

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Jean Wilkinson

Jean Wilkinson is a Puget Sound native. She was born and grew up in Bellingham, and moved to Tacoma to attend the University of Puget Sound where she earned a B.A. in History. After spending a year in Saarbrucken, Germany on a Fulbright Scholarship, Jean attended the University of Washington School of Law, attaining a J.D. in 1985. She moved to Thurston County in 1988.
Until her retirement in 2020 Jean served as an Assistant Attorney General for the state of Washington for 35 years. During her career, Jean immersed herself in Washington State government, providing legal representation to more than 20 state agencies in all three branches of government, and to two statewide elected officials. One of Jean’s favorite types of legal research involved trips to the Washington State Archives.

Jean’s introduction to Olympia area history was a 1989 Bigelow House tour led by Mary Ann Bigelow. Jean is a longtime member of Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, as well as the Washington State Historical Society. Jean’s favorite type of reading is history. On trips, she and her husband, Jim Fulton, enjoy spending long days at historical sites, taking tours and carefully reading interpretive materials. In becoming more involved with the society Jean looks forward to promoting local historical knowledge and events in the Thurston County Community.
Jean and Jim raised their two children in the Gull Harbor area of North Olympia and proudly sent them to Olympia public schools.

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Gery Gerst

Gery Gerst was born in Houston, Texas but moved to Seattle and attended grade school and high school there. After moving to Olympia, he graduated from St. Martin’s College with a Valedictorian degree in Education, History and Spanish, and earned a Master’s in Education from Western Washington University. He taught Social Studies at Olympia High School for 29 years and served as a leader in the teacher’s union 25 of those.

Upon retirement, he became an adjunct professor of education at St. Martin’s and served as president of the Education Division Advisory Board. He then spent 12 years as a professor in the Masters in Teaching program at TESC and helped write and bargain the teachers’ union contract there. He was awarded four Teacher of the Year awards from the Olympia School Board, Olympia Education Association, and OHS Student Body, as well as a Distinguished Educator Award from St. Martin’s. He was chosen as a “Distinguished Alum” by St. Martin’s in 2016. He has worked as a tour guide at the state capitol, designed and taught the Olympia region’s first Women’s Studies course, and designed the Olympia School District’s Bicentennial curriculum, as well as a civics curriculum for the State Capitol Visitor Center. His curriculum on voting was adopted by the Washington Secretary of State and other states. He is passionate about teaching and learning history left out of textbooks, especially the Herstory of women, and that of minority groups, and enjoys working with life-long learners.

Today he helps evaluate applications for scholarships for the D.A.R. Sacajawea Chapter, teaches U.S. History courses for adults in several areas (including the Electoral College, the Constitution, Women’s Her-story, and more). Besides enjoying reading and learning about local history, he also works for social justice causes, helps distribute items to area Latinos in need via the county food bank, works for political campaigns, and enjoys singing in the church choir.

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Shirley Battan

Shirley is a graduate of Western Washington University and Seattle University Law School and, after graduation, served on the Washington State Supreme Court legal staff. She was a partner in an Olympia law firm, and served in both attorney positions and in key administrative positions at the executive level of the Attorney General’s Office. She retired from the Attorney General’s Office in 2014 after 35 years and since then has been a consultant for other government entities on strategic planning and transition management. She served on the Member Advisory Committee for Organizational Infrastructure at Twin Star Credit Union and was appointed by the Governor to the state Executive Ethics Board in 2017, where she continues to serve.

Shirley is an Olympia native who grew up in the Bigelow neighborhood and has a keen interest in preserving the history of the city, its neighborhoods and the Bigelow House. She served as OHS&BHM Board Secretary from 2014-2017 and as President from 2017-2020.

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Pablo G. (Paul) Campos

Paul is a long-time Olympia area resident, moving to Olympia shortly after joining the staff at the Washington State Senate. He is married to Mary Ann and their three children all graduated from Olympia High School. Paul was raised in the small town of Harrah in the Yakima Valley. He graduated from White Swan High School and went on to the University of Washington where he worked at the UW Law Library. Paul interned for and then joined the staff of U.S. Senator Dan Evans where, as one of the last hires, Paul was charged with archiving the Senator’s Seattle office papers. Hired to the State Senate in 1991, Paul has held a number of positions, including stints as Deputy in 2003-2004 and again in 2015-2017. While on staff, Paul is responsible for the historic publications of the Senate and the Legislature, including maintaining the Members of the Legislature book, the lists of Women in the Legislature, and curator of the two-volume History of the Legislature by Don Brazier. Paul is also the Senate’s designee to the Capitol Furnishings and Preservation Committee which works on the Legislative Buildings historic furnishings.

 

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David Goularte

David has always been interested in history.  His maternal great great grandfather Joseph de Bettencourt came to California shortly after the Civil War to work on the western portion of the trans-continental railroad.  The Bettencourts were early settlers of Livermore, California. A portion of the original ranch is still in the family.

David has a BA in Interior Design from San Jose State University and has been in the field since 1967. After a few years as a buyer, and retail floor designer for furniture stores, he moved to Seattle in 1977. After a stint as retail floor designer for all the Doces and all the Ken Schoenfelt chains, David opened his design business in 1980. He moved his business to Olympia in 1989.

Besides designing many west coast and Olympia houses and businesses, David has worked in the Senior Living field since 1990.  Today he acts as consultant to Koelsch Senior Living Communities building new communities in the west and into Illinois.

David became involved with the Bigelow House Museum when it was being restored in the early 90’s.  His main contribution was meticulously uncovering the layers of wall coverings in the different rooms and choosing authentic reproductions for the restoration.  He helped with all aspects of the interior. It has been an ongoing project since then, and just this year another room was papered in  a Carpenter Gothic pattern circa 1845.  

David has been an honorary board member of the Bigelow House Museum since 1995 and recently also a board member of the merged OHS&BHM.  He is also on the board of a couple other organizations as well as on the Olympia Design Review Board.

David and his wife are fortunate owners of two historic properties, the Reed Block (1891) which Ruthann’s Drees occupies, and of the Egbert-Ingham House (1914).

 

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Greg Griffith

Greg Griffith has worked for over 30 years in the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historical Preservation. In that timespan he has worked as the agency’s historic preservation planner and implementing the Section 106 consultation process for the built environment. He later moved into the position of Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer. In that role he manages the work and programs of the Built Environment Unit and is responsible for the SHPO’s development and implementation of the Washington State Historic Plan: Getting the Future Right 2014-19. Greg is a long-time member of the Thurston County Historical Commission and in previous experience in the non-profit sector he has served the Olympia Heritage Commission, Olympia Design Review Board, the Bigelow House Preservation Association, and Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.

Before arriving in Washington, Greg worked for county planning organizations in northeast Ohio and metropolitan St. Louis. He has a Masters in City and Regional Planning from Ohio State University; a Masters in Historic Preservation Planning from Eastern Michigan University; and a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Miami University

 

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Denise Halloran

Denise Halloran is a 20 year resident of Olympia and is Chief Executive Officer of a philanthropic foundation.  She previously worked for the State of Washington for 26 years as a program manager and social worker, and had an antique business for 10 years.  She owns one of Olympia’s historic homes on the east side which she has spent twenty years restoring.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and a Master of Arts degree in psychology.

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Ben Helle

Ben Helle is an archivist with Washington State Archives (Office of the Secretary of the State), having previously served as Government Records Archivist for the Ohio Historical Society. He received his BA with an emphasis in anthropology from Ohio State University, Columbus, in 1993 and has worked in the archives field since 1995. He has been a member of the Olympia Heritage Commission since 2013. He brings not only his extensive archives and historical research experience to the board, but also a keen interest in local history.

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Ann Olson

A native Washingtonian, Ann was born in eastern Washington and raised in Tacoma. She moved to Olympia in January, 1971 and for most of those nearly 47 years has been active in the community. As her children were growing up she had a strong interest in their various activities and education volunteering with many youth programs and educational endeavors. Ann is a past state PTA president and past national PTA vice president serving on those boards over 10 years. Locally Ann co-chaired the Olympia Citizens for Schools levy campaign with Dick Pust from 1982 until 2015.

Ann’s interest in history and genealogy began at a young age when she used to draw pedigree charts of her family. Her mother’s paternal side came to the Dayton, Washington area in the early 1860’s where the first of four consecutive generations were born, Ann being the 4th. Continuing that interest, in 1974 Ann was one of the founders of the Olympia Genealogical Society where she held every elected office and twice served as president. She continues as a board member chairing the Beginner’s Genealogy Workshop held annually at the Olympia library. She is also the society’s annual Spring Seminar registrar, which she has done for a number of years.

A docent at the Governor’s Mansion since the mid 1970’s, Ann was encouraged to seek a tour guide position at the state capitol. She retired in 2011 after 17 years of providing civic

educational tours to 100’s of school children, youth and adults from around the world – a job she thoroughly enjoyed.

Ann was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Governor’s Mansion Foundation in the early 1990’s where she served as the Foundation’s historian. In 2008 Ann co-chaired the Governor’s Mansion Centennial Garden Party held on the front lawn of the mansion. Over 300 guests attended, most in period costume, including then Governor Gregoire and First Gentleman Mike. In 2015 Ann was elected treasurer of GMF and is currently serving a second term in that position.

Ann served on the committees to celebrate the centennial of the Temple of Justice in 2013, our state’s 125th birthday party in 2014 (she was in charge of the giant 3’ by 5’ cake decorated with a historical map of the state), and the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta in 2015.

A 33-year member of the local Sacajawea Chapter of the DAR, Ann is finishing her second term as registrar. She is also the chapter’s parliamentarian. She is a life member of the Pioneers of Washington and a 35 plus- year member of the Daughters of the Pioneers of Washington where she is a trustee on the state board. Locally, she belongs to Olympia Chapter #4 which manages and operates the Crosby House Museum in Tumwater. She is serving her second term as president of the chapter. Chapter Daughters opened the house as part of the OHS/BHM Holiday Tour of Homes in 2015. She is part of the South Sound Historical Association as well as the group supporting the new Thurston County Journal. She has participated in the History Conferences put on by Don Trosper with the Olympia/Tumwater Foundation and, dressing in period costume, she has manned a booth at the Thurston County Through the Decades event. Ann most recently served on a group providing input to the City of Olympia officials regarding community arts, culture and heritage.

In her genealogical research, she finds she is a distant relative of the Bigelow family.

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Charles Roe

Charlie Roe is an honored local attorney who pioneered the practice area of environmental-resource law beginning when he joined the Washington State Attorney General’s Office in 1960.  Among his many accomplishments was to head the office’s Environmental Protection division (and under other titles) for nearly a quarter-century.

Graduating from Tacoma’s Stadium High School in 1949, Charlie received a BA in history from the University of Puget Sound (UPS).  While pursuing a Master’s degree in Washington State history at UPS, he was called to active duty in 1954 for three years with the U.S. Air Force.  In 1957, he attended the Boalt Hall School of Law at U.C. Berkeley for one year and completed his law degree at the University of Washington (UW) Law School in 1960.

In 1990 Charlie retired from the Attorney General’s Office and joined the Olympia office of Perkins Coie, a large Seattle-based international law firm, where he continued to practice environmental and water resource law until 2008.  Still not completely retired, Charlie continues to represent several longtime clients.

Charlie has also been an educator.  Over the years he taught at The Evergreen State College (1974) and the law schools at UPS (1985-1990) and Gonzaga University (1973-1977), and supervised the Sea Grant Program of the UW Law School (1970-1972).  Both the American Bar Association and the Washington State Bar Association have honored him for establishing continuing education programs, especially in environmental and water issues, and for chairing sections of both organizations.  Over the years, he was a consultant on water policy to the federal National Water Commission (1970-1972), as well as serving in all three branches of state government: (1) Assistant Director of Ecology (1967-1969); (2) Counsel to the Natural Resources Committee, Washington State House of Representatives (1970); and (3) Referee, Stevens County Superior Court (1968).

In 1990 the Washington State Legislature passed a resolution commending Charlie for drafting and pursuing to enactment many environmental protection laws, especially during the 60s and 70s.  Since 1998 he has served of the board of the Washington Courts Historical Society.

Charlie and Marilyn, his wife of 60 years, have two daughters: Sharon, who heads a consulting firm in St. Andrews, Scotland; and Jeannine, a long-time State Senate staffer, who has served on the Olympia City Council since 2009.

Charlie’s great-great-grandfather, Dr. Nathaniel Ostrander, served on term in the Territorial Legislature and was elected twice as Mayor of Olympia in the 1880s.

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