Mary Lou Bissett
Retired, Assistant Superintendent, Chehalis School District
Mary Lou Bissett started in the Chehalis School District in 1990, where she taught 1st Grade at Cascade Elementary School and Mathematics at Chehalis Middle School. She completed her administrative certification training at Pacific Lutheran University in 1996 and went to River Ridge High School, part of North Thurston Public Schools. Mary Lou returned to the Chehalis School District in 2003 in the role of Assistant Principal at Chehalis Middle School. She received her Superintendent’s Credentials from Seattle Pacific University, and before embarking on her career in education, received her B.A. from Western Washington University, and later her M.Ed. from Central Washington University. She retired from Chehalis School District in 2019.
Mary Lou joined The Chehalis Foundation Board in 2010 and is passionate about the work being done by the Education Committee, in which she is instrumental. She is also very active in Chehalis area Rotary Club as Assistant Governor of Area 16 for Rotary District 5020, Council Chair for Rotary District 5020 and a Chehalis Rotary Board Member. She also serves as a Lewis County United Way Board Member.
Mary Lou enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and working on anything related to sewing.
Retired, Vice President, Branch Manager, Columbia Bank
Connie Bode spent over 30 years of her banking career here in Chehalis and twenty two years managing the Chehalis Branch of Columbia Bank (formerly West Coast Bank). Connie is passionate about our community and enjoys participating in The Chehalis Foundation’s activities that benefit our school district and youth recreational programs. She is Treasurer of CF and recently chaired the campaign to rebuild the Chehalis pool, now known as the Gail and Carolyn Shaw Aquatic Center.
Connie was active in Chehalis Rotary, where she served as Treasurer 2008-2011 and President 2002-2003. She served for many years on the Providence Health Care Foundation, the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce Board and the Centralia College Foundation. Over the years Connie has chaired school levy committees, sat on various Chamber of Commerce committees and helped with youth activities in our community. She also participated in the first Leadership Lewis County program and currently volunteers her management assessment skills helping other local non-profits.
Connie is a graduate of the University of Oregon with a Business Administration degree. She has been a resident of Chehalis for over 40 years. She and late husband Chuck raised their two sons here.
Board Vice President
Retired Educator, W.F. West High School
After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Western Washington University, Dennis “Denny” Daniels began teaching and coaching in the Chehalis School District in 1971. In 1985 he earned a Master of Arts degree in Counseling at University of Puget Sound and became a school counselor at WF West High School. After 31 years at WF West and some part time teaching at Centralia College, Denny worked for as a counselor in the Onalaska School District for seven years before retiring.
Denny coached wrestling and football at WF West. He was also the Project Coordinator for building the Chehalis Wrestling Room, which gave him experience in fundraising and coordinating volunteers. Denny was voted Washington State AA Wrestling Coach of the Year in 1997 and was inducted into the Washington Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame in 2004. He currently continues to coach at Chehalis Middle School, in his 40th year as a wrestling coach!
Denny brings his passion for education and concern for young people to the Chehalis Foundation. He believes in the importance of both Educational Excellence and the enhancement of parks and recreation facilities for the city.
Denny and his wife Vicki have been married for 44 years, and have two daughters and two grandchildren. In retirement he is enjoying family, travel, and volunteer activities including Chehalis Activators and The Chehalis Foundation.
Retired, Manager, Providence Medical Group
Chuck Emerick moved to Chehalis in 1984 after growing up in the Midwest. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from DePauw University, served in the United States Army, and earned a Masters from Indiana University. Chuck held several administrative positions within Providence Centralia Hospital in the past few years, including being Manager, Providence Physician Practices in Centralia, Rochester, and Olympia.
One role Chuck played for Providence locally was to recruit physicians to Lewis County. In doing so he recognized the important contribution of the Chehalis Foundation in promoting a vibrant community, a strong economy, and first-class schools, all of which are key elements needed to attract medical professionals and their families to our area.
Chuck is also active in his local church serving on mission projects, both locally and around the world.
Chuck is an avid sports fan and participant. He and his wife, Nancy, are regular members of Thorbeckes Fitlife Center. They have two children and five grandchildren.
Hillier, Scheibmeir, Vey & Kelly Attorneys
City Attorney, Chehalis, WA
Bill Hillier was admitted to the Washington State Bar in 1978 and joined the firm of Hillier, Scheibmeir, Vey & Kelly in 1979. In addition to his position at HSVK, Bill serves as the City Attorney for the City of Chehalis. He has also served as City Attorney for the Cities of Napavine and Tenino, as well as Assistant City Attorney for the City of Winlock. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Washington State University, and attended Gonzaga University School of Law.
In addition to serving on Board of The Chehalis Foundation, Bill is a Board member of Lewis County Work Opportunities and Twin Cities Chamber of Commerce. His past civic activities have included serving as both President and Board member of the Providence Hospital Foundation, Chehalis Activators and Chehalis Kiwanis.
Robert Pehl Jr.
Vice President, I-5 Cars
Before joining the car business, Robert was a 2011 Honors Graduate of W.F. West High School. He attended the University of Washington on a Baseball Scholarship and played three seasons earning accolades for being a 2012 Cape Cod All-Star and 2nd team All Pac 12 Academic Honors. In 2014 he was drafted by the Kansas City Royals and played three seasons in the minor leagues. Before finishing his baseball career and returning home to live in Chehalis he finished his degree in Sociology.
Robert joined the Chehalis Foundation board because of his family’s strong belief in reinvesting into their own community. In recent years they’ve helped with the library, the pool, and the ball fields. It is Robert’s goal to help make the community he lives in and where he grew up the best place it can be.
He also serves on the Board of the Chehalis Boy’s and Girl’s Club.
Isaac S. Pope, M.D.
Board Member and Founder, Chehalis Foundation
Founder, Pope’s Kids Place
Chehalis City Council Member
Dr. Isaac Pope had a vision to create the means to care for and maintain the infrastructure for quality of life in our community without raising taxes. So in 2003 he founded The Chehalis Foundation in collaboration with Joanne Schwartz. Isaac is most interested in making Chehalis a place where families want to live by having quality parks, playgrounds, sports facilities and educational programs.
Since moving to Lewis County in 1979, Isaac has actively served on several non-profit Boards. He has also been elected to the Chehalis City Council continually since 1983. Isaac sold his thriving pediatric practice after 20 years to volunteer at Pope’s Kids Place, a licensed Group Home he founded to serve children with special health care needs and provide respite care for the community.
Dr. Pope received his M.P.A. and M.D. from the University of Washington, prior to which he served in the military and Peace Corps. He was raised in Tennessee, and keeps close ties to his home town. He continues to volunteer pediatric services at Pope’s Kids Place, and lives in Chehalis with his wife. They have three grown children, seven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Isaac enjoys family, bowling, and cooking.
John was named Manager of Washington State Government Relations for Avista Corporation in December of 2012. John worked for nearly 18 years in the Washington State House of Representatives, including five and a half years as Chief of Staff for the House Republican Caucus. Before coming to work for the Legislature, he lived and worked for 10 years in Central Washington, working in media and public relations.
John is a 1981 graduate of W.F. West High School and holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Washington State University. John and his wife Brenda make their home in Chehalis. They have two children, Joseph and Payton, both recent W.F. graduates now pursuing careers in engineering. Watching his kids benefit from investments in STEM curricula in Chehalis schools, John became a passionate advocate for the work of the Foundation that has helped elevate educational opportunities for young people and set a new standard for civic enhancement in this community.
President, Service Saw/Workwears, Inc.
Tim Sayler is the President of Service Saw/Workwears Inc. in Chehalis. He has owned and operated Service Saw since 1992, selling and servicing Stihl power equipment, light logging supplies and outdoor work wear. Prior to starting Service Saw, Tim’s professional experience included time with Cascade Loggers Supply, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., Tires Inc., and other retail–oriented companies in management, sales and service.
In 2009 Tim was asked to become part of the board for the Chehalis Foundation and in June of 2012 became its President. He also serves on the Board’s Development Committee. In addition to his involvement with The Chehalis Foundation, Tim supports Chehalis by serving in the Chehalis Activators Club and on the Board of the Chehalis Industrial Commission.
Tim is a graduate of W.F. West High School in Chehalis and received his degree in Business Administration from the University of Northern Colorado. Born and raised in Chehalis, he has a son and daughter and lives with his wife about a block from where he grew up.
Founder, Chehalis Foundation
Joanne Schwartz has lived in Chehalis for over 50 years, and has a long history of community service. She co-founded the Chehalis Foundation with Dr. Isaac Pope in 2003. She is a member of the Centralia College Board of Trustees (appointed by Governor Chris Gregoire in 2008, reappointed by Governor Jay Inslee in 2013). She has served on the Providence Centralia Hospital’s Community Ministry Board for the past 12 years. Joanne was the 2014 recipient of the Lewis County Economic Development’s Gail and Carolyn Shaw Industrial Award for leadership and contributions to Lewis County. And in 2014 she received the Providence Centralia Hospital Community Member of Merit Award.
Joanne spent 25 years in local government service. In 1984 she was (the first woman) elected to the Lewis County Board of Commissioners, where she served two terms. Beginning in 1992 she spent 17 years serving primarily as the Director of Community Services and Economic Development Administrator for the city of Chehalis. 1980–1984 she was the Community Relations/Marketing Director for Centralia General Hospital. She is a founding member of the Lewis County Economic Development Council. Joanne is also a member of the SERTOMA service club (Service to Mankind).
Joanne has three children and four grandchildren.
Amanda Hubbert Smith
Financial Controller, Tires, Inc.
Amanda is the Financial Controller for her family’s 64-year-old business, Tires, Inc. in Chehalis, WA. Amanda is a 2003 graduate from W.F. West and she went on to the University of Oregon where she studied business. Following college, Amanda pursued a career with Nordstrom working in various management roles in Arizona and Washington stores. In 2010 Amanda relocated to Chehalis to join her brother in helping their father run the family business, where they are the fourth generation to be involved.
Amanda loves being active within the community. She serves as the Vice President of Young Professionals of Lewis County, Chair of Washington Business Week, and is on the fundraising and events committee for Popes Kids Place. She also serves on a National Tire Dealer ACE committee; an advisory board for ASA tire systems. In 2017 Amanda received the Lewis County Economic Development Council Excellence Award, recognizing her work in the community.
In May of 2017 Amanda married her husband Anthony. They both enjoy the outdoors and are avid golfers and snow skiers.
Dr. Linda K. Smith
Retired High School Principal, W.F. West High School
After graduating from W.F. West High School in1965, Dr. Smith attended the University of Oregon where she earned her B.A. and M.S. in Special Education and her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. Before moving to Chehalis, she served as a special education teacher in Coos Bay, OR, Honolulu, HI, and Eugene, OR and as a principal in West Linn, OR. Dr. Smith returned to W.F. West High School in 1989 as school principal. After 42 years in the education field, she retired in 2011.
In 2001, Dr. Smith helped establish the W.F. West High School College Scholarship Program. In 2011 this scholarship program became part of the Chehalis Foundation. She was also part of the education committee for the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce.
Other civic roles include:
- Member of West Linn Rotary
- Member Chehalis Rotary
- University of Oregon Alumni Board of Directors
- University of Oregon College of Education Board of Directors
- Board member of Eugene/Lane County ARC
Dr. Smith is interested in helping to make Chehalis a place where families choose to live. She believes out-standing educational programs, college scholarship opportunities, quality parks, playgrounds, and sports facilities all contribute to making this community so special.
Dr. Smith and her husband Chuck have three children and three grandsons.
Gail Van der Hoeff
Gail Van der Hoeff moved to Chehalis 30 years ago and began a 28 year carrier as a Real Estate Escrow Officer/LPO. The majority of those years were spent owning and operating Hometown Escrow, Inc.
Gail grew up in Oregon and lived several places before discovering Chehalis.
During her professional carrier Gail’s community involvement included serving as Treasurer of the Centralia/Chehalis Chamber of Commerce and President of Chehalis Kiwanis. Currently she is a member of Chehalis Rotary and serves as an intern on the TwinStar Credit Union Supervisory Committee.
Gail’s spare time is spent with her husband Bill, 2 children and 4 grandchildren when she is not gardening or traveling.
J. Vander Stoep
Partner, Vander Stoep, Remund, Blinks & Jones
J. is a Chehalis practicing attorney and partner in the firm of Vander Stoep, Remund, Blinks & Jones. He proudly continues a 130 year tradition of serving the legal needs of the people and businesses of Lewis County. In addition to property law, his practice includes crisis communications and public issue problem solving. His early career included time as a Washington state representative and Chief of Staff to a U.S. Senator.
One of the original Chehalis Foundation members, J.’s Foundation work focuses on the board’s Educational Excellence efforts.
J. and his wife, Ann, have three daughters.
Vice President, Finance and Administration, Centralia College
Executive Director, Centralia College Foundation
Steve Ward has enjoyed a long career in higher education finance. Prior to his current positions as VP of Finance and Administration at Centralia College and Executive director of the Centralia College Foundation, he worked as the Controller at University of Puget Sound and the Assistant Comptroller at Northern Arizona University. Steve is a Certified Public Accountant in Washington State, and he earned his degrees from three Washington schools: Master of Public Administration from the Evergreen State College, Bachelor of Arts in accounting and economics at St. Martin’s University and Associate of Arts from Centralia College.
Steve brings his passion for education to The Chehalis Foundation. His focus is on creating programs in schools that promote and prepare students for post-secondary education. He is interested in making the world a better place through education, one person at a time. In addition to serving on the CF Board, Steve serves on the Providence Centralia Hospital Community Board, and is active in Chehalis Rotary and the Lewis County Community Trails Association.
Steve enjoys mountain biking, backcountry skiing, fly fishing, playing acoustic guitar and watching his kids play collegiate soccer.