News Notes: Faculty & Staff at Rest

Harold Clark- Taught history from 1963 to 1965. Mr. Clark died October 15, 2013, in Loma Linda, Calif. Harold was born in Clive, Alberta, Canada, on May 26, 1921; grew up in a missionary family in China. He spent his career as a minister and teacher. Besides grandchildren  and great-grandchildren, he is survived by five children, among them two graduates of Rio Lindo: Vin (class of 1963) and Phyllis (class of 1965).


Shirley Devine – Nurse at Rio Lindo from 1975-80
Shirley Devine passed away unexpectedly March 13, 2012 in Beaumont, CA. Shirley served as the nurse at Rio Lindo from 1975-1980. She loved living on Rio Lindo’s campus and caring for the students who were injured or ill.


Marlee Griswold – English teacher at Rio from 1969-1987
Marilee James Griswold, 83, died gently on the evening of January 12, 2012 at her home in Sterling, Utah. She is survived by her husband of 64 years (and a very long engagement), Stanley M. Griswold: three children, Terry and his wife Rhonda (Butler) with grandchildren Loren and Shondene and her husband Justin Ammon, Colleen and her husband Mike Meadows with grandchildren Bruce and Mindy, and Jim and Catherine (Cahoon) Griswold with grandchildren Chase and Erin with her husband Joseph Jacobs.

She taught in Bellflower, Pine Hills Jr. Academy in Auburn, and Rio Lindo Adventist Academy in Healdsburg, California, for a combined 30 years of teaching before retiring to Sterling, Utah.

Marilee left us with a rich legacy of travel and books. She loved her vocation as a high school English teacher and was passionate about both the sound and the sense of language. She was a born editor and proofreader. The school year provided her with a fitting career as well as a requisite pause to plan and budget the next summer’s traveling adventure. She loved space and privacy, but loved those who populated her classroom.

The necessary companion of language is history and Merilee had a great appetite for history to enrich her travels. She thoroughly documented her life and “tripping” via journals and photographs. As the archivist of her family’s historical images and documents, she ensured that the window to the past remained wide open.

Marilee expressed her love for her family and all those in the communities she lived in. She was blessed by all those she came in contact with as all of us who knew her were blessed by knowing her.


George Erman Stearns Jr. (Math and Science teacher at Rio from 1963-1981) was born in Glendale California on 7/14/1921 His family lived in Somerton Arizona but his grandparents lived in a much cooler climate, Huntington Beach, California.  His family moved to La Sierra Junior College in 1925.  His father was the farm manager for 30 years and GE Stearns was educated in Adventist Schools.  He joined the Navy in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor’s attack.  He served most of his time as a Pharmacist Mate in Hawaii.  His continuing education was paid for by the GI Bill.  He earned a BA in Math and Education and a Masters in Education.  He taught at Fresno SDA Academy, San Pasqual Academy, Rio Lindo Adventist Academy, and Floral Crest Junior Academy in Georgia.

He spent his retirement being active with Maranatha and being one of the guides at the Historical Site of Wm Miller’s Home in New York. He was married 37 years to his first wife, Martha M. Gibson and (after her death in 1978) 30 years to his 2nd wife Rhodafyrnn M Jefferson Helm.

He died 12/14/2009, after a decline in strength that stretched over a year, and an illness of about five days in December.  He was with his wife and his oldest daughter Kay Dorchuck when he peacefully fell asleep.  He is mourned by his wife Rhodafyrnn, his four daughters; Kay Dorchuck, B J Bannister, Mary Anne Dorchuck, and Nancy Weeks and his three sons; John Stearns, Wilton Helm & Lyle Helm, 15 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren, nieces and nephews, many cousins, colleagues , students and friends. He was in-movable in his loyalty to his Savior, his church, his family, his students.  He disciplined with out rancor.  He smiled with out a trace of a sneer. He genuinely liked people. He was peacefully certain of his part in God’s promises. (1/10)


Lynn Curtis Johnson – Teacher at Rio Lindo from 1969-86
Lynn Curtis Johnson passed away in his sleep early Sabbath morning, February 18, 2012 at the age of 88.

Lynn taught Industrial Arts and Drivers Education at both Monterey Bay (MBA) and Rio Lindo Adventist Academies (Rio). He taught at MBA for 14 years and at Rio for 17 years. He worked with hundreds of youth during his years of teaching and he will be remembered by the many graduates of MBA and Rio whose lives he impacted.

Lynn took his first teaching assignment at Westlake Seventh-day Adventist Elementary School, at Lake Port, CA. In July of 1955 the family moved to Monterey Bay Academy near Watsonville, CA (in central California) where Lynn taught Industrial Arts and Driver Education. In July of 1969 the family moved to Rio Lindo Adventist Academy, near Healdsburg, CA (in northern California) where Lynn continued to teach Industrial Arts and Driver Education.

They retired in July of 1986 after 35 years of service of teaching, to a home that they built from scratch on five acres of land near Dobbins, CA. As you will see below, he moved many times during his youth and yearned to stay put once he grew up. His years of teaching were centered in three schools and he only moved three times after college.

Lynn was born in St. Paul, Nebraska on August 15, 1923 to Arthur Fred & Laura Augusta Johnson and was their only child. Lynn was not alone in childhood though, since he had 49 first cousins! During his childhood years he spent a lot of time with those cousins, mainly in Greeley, Wolback, and Fullerton in east central Nebraska.

Memories Lynn has shared with us include his father taking him to school on horseback, the hard depression years with the dust and drought and his parent’s difficult attempts with farming and finding work. He started high school in September of 1936 at St. Paul, NE. Hearing of work in Oregon, his parents, in February of 1937, moved to Tillamook, Oregon and his father worked on a dairy farm. Lynn spent the 2nd half of his freshman year there.

His father’s health deteriorated with the 14-16 hour days and so in the summer of 1937 they moved back to Nebraska, settling in Fairdale. His father recuperated and began selling Watkins products. His sophomore year he attended Fairdale High School. When his father was transferred to Osceola he attended that high school his junior year. His senior year he attended Auburn High School staying with a couple that took him in. It was at this time that his mother found a study group that was studying Bible prophecy, and began attending the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Auburn, Nebraska. In April 1941 his parents moved to Arizona selling The Arizona Farmer magazine. In the fall they moved to Oakland, CA where his father found work in a furniture factory.

It was about this time that WWII started and Lynn found work in the Oakland ship yards. Sometime during 1942 his parents were baptized into the Oakland SDA Church. On June 26, 1943 he was baptized into the East Oakland SDA Church. On September 1, 1943 he reported for military duty at the Presidio of Monterey, CA. His military training found him in several places in the US, at the conclusion of which he shipped out to the Pacific on board a troop transport and eventually landed in Palo, Leyte, The Philippines, where he served as a postal clerk. In January 1946, with the war over, he returned stateside arriving in San Francisco and in February was discharged from the military.

After visiting his parents who were in Oregon at this time he came to Pacific Union College, enrolling in the Spring Quarter of 1946. He initially enrolled as a ministerial student, but quickly discovered his love and talent for teaching in the area of industrial art. Somewhere during this time he took up the trumpet, but discovered that this was not his talent. He was happy that his son took up the trumpet during grade school and high school and ecstatic that his grandson went on to be very prolific during his high school and college years on the trumpet.

He met, dated and married Vivian Doris Lind, a secretarial science student, while studying Industrial Technology. They were married on August 24, 1947. Their son, Dan, was born just before Lynn graduated in 1951 with a B.A. in Industrial Technology. Their daughter, Lynnette, was born in 1953 while they were in Lakeport, CA.

Skipping to the present, on August 17, 2007, Vivian Johnson died of Acute Myeloid Leukemia just a few days shy of their 60th wedding anniversary. After two years of loneliness, Lynn, on July 28, 2009, remarried to a dear companion, Maxine Sears of Shingletown, CA and they made their home on the homestead in Dobbins.

This last fall, Lynn seemed to tire a little more easily and had difficulty catching his breath. With congestive heart failure issues and his PSA climbing, he decided to forgo chemotherapy and died peacefully on Sabbath morning, February 18, 2012 in hospice care in Lynnette and Steve’s home in Glendale, CA. He was 88.

Lynn was preceded in death by his wife, Vivian Doris Lind-Johnson, and his parents, Arthur Fred and Laura Augusta Johnson.

He is survived by his wife Maxine of Dobbins, CA; a son, Pastor Dan Johnson and his wife Sylvia of Weatherford, OK; a daughter, Lynnette Clement, a nurse, and her husband Steve, a CPA of Glendale, CA; two grandsons, Edward and his wife Jennifer Clement of Port Richey, FL; Jonathan and his wife Caitlin Clement of Rancho Cucamonga, CA; and numerous cousins, nephews, nieces, his Dobbins SDA Church family, former college classmates, academy students and faculty colleagues, and many, many friends.

Maxine is currently staying with her daughters, Shirley Babienco, who works at Montery Bay Academy, and Linda Martella who works at Rio Lindo Adventist Academy. She can be reached by contacting Linda and Shirley or writing to her.

The family members can be reached as follows:

Maxine Sears Johnson – 7014 Edinburgh Ct
Windsor. 95492
Daniel Johnson – ten.t1498337345enlti1498337345@nosn1498337345hojsd1498337345
Lynnette Johnson Clement – ten.k1498337345nilht1498337345rae@t1498337345nemel1498337345cjl1498337345 (818)240-6034
Shirley Sears Babienco – moc.l1498337345iamg@1498337345lagsr1498337345evirx1498337345is1498337345
Linda Sears Martella – moc.l1498337345iamg@1498337345allet1498337345raml1498337345


Jessie Pluhovoy Van Deusen – Girls Dean at Rio Lindo 1962-1970
Passed way June 6, 2012. She is survived by her daughter Judith Pluhovoy Hook (Rio class of 1965).

Florence Boodt Adams – Girls Dean at Rio Lindo 1972-1977 

Passed away May 3, 2012.