Larry Purchase



In 1943, I was born in Pendleton, OR. My youth was spent working on my family wheat and cattle ranch. After graduation from Pendleton High School, I left for Corvallis to attend Oregon State University. In 1965, I received a BS degree in Range Management. In 1966, I was drafted into the Army, and deployed to Vietnam in 1967.After four years of active duty, I went to work for Bonneville Power Administration doing environmental work. While working at Bonneville, I became Lieutenant Colonel in the army reserves. After 42 years of Federal Service, I retired in 2008.

I am married to Wenonah, and live.in Vancouver, Washington along the banks .of the Columbia River. We have two daughters, and three grandchildren.

Over the years I have always been interested in geology and fossils. I became a member of GSOC in 2006, and served as their president in 2010-2011. Other clubs I belong to are the "Ice Age Floods", North American Research Group, Oregon Archaeology Society, National Speleological Society, and Mt. Hood Rock Club.

My retirement years have been very rewarding. My GSOC and NARG fossil trips to the Oregon Coast, Columbia River Gorge, Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Washington State have been great. I have had a chance to meet new friends, professors, authors, and professionals working through the universities and museums. But by far my association with members of GSOC has been the best, and I'm looking forward to many more fantastic years. Retirement has been good!

Larry’s 2010 President’s Field trip to Delintment Lake, Oregon, was a return to the site of GSOC’S first President’s field trip. He did this to commemorate GSOC’s 75th anniversary.


Rik Smoody



Rik Smoody has a MS in EE, from the days when Computer Science did not have its own department. He is a software architect and peripatetic consultant. Rik has worked for Tektronix, Sony, John Deere, AggFlow, and numerous other clients. He is a Polymath, or at least Polyscience: also a punster. Geology is one of many scientific interests. He has a commitment to education without ceilings.

Rik reported that his President’s Field Trip was blessed with good weather, excellent speakers and gorgeous views of Mt. Rainer’s glaciers, dams and the featured topic of aggradation. The guide used for the trip, Pat Pringle’s “Roadside Geology of Mount Rainer National Park and Vicinity,” is highly recommended for anyone wanting to take a self-guided tour.




Jane Walpole



John Piccininni



Nature or a developer had placed career hints and puzzles in the vacant lot behind my boyhood home. Two large pink granite glacial erratics with thick layers of mica were more colorful than a candy   store. At 8 or 9 years old in the 1950's I didn't have a camera or a rock hammer, but I looked, poked and wondered. A short distance away, my street intersected Gun Hill Road up which George Washington's troops hauled their cannons during an early retreat from the British. The sparkling surface of a vacantlot at this intersection was Manhattan Schist. It was covered with deep glacial grooves and scratches pointing north - northeast towardnearby New England.  Another puzzle.

By education I am a physical geographer with a background in geology. As an undergraduate I was in a Geology and Geography Dept. in a college within the City University of New York. Since it wasn't a large department, majors tended to take courses in both fields and at both campuses. As I moved further into geology I realized that I couldn't graduate with a double major. Lacking several math and peripheral science prerequisites for the geology degree, it would have been unwise to stay beyond four years. If I did, my Vietnam era student deferment would end immediately.

I began my graduate degree at the University of Chicago. Geomorphology was taught in my Geography Dept. as were fun courses such as Pleistocene Environments. I spent time with folks in the Geophysical Sciences Department (where J. Harlan Bretz had an office). They had funding for field trips around the country during breaks and for local trips on weekends. Soon I developed a fanatical interest in caves and karst geomorphology, and I became a lifetime member of the National Speleological Society. I grew in many ways during my travels on caving, climbing and backing trips.

In Chicago I met my wife Remy, a surgical intensive care nurse at the UC Hospitals. After 6 years in water quality programs at EPA's Regional office, we moved to Portland. We live in a 100+ yr. house on the Alameda Ridge and have two adult children. For nearly 30 years I worked for BPA as a surface and ground-water quality specialist in environmental, hazardous waste, and Fish & Wildlife programs. While in the hazardous waste program, I benefited from the excellent hydrogeology training courses offered by the National Ground-Water Association.

As a new GSOC member I didn’t know many local geologists. Past GSOC presentations appeared to focus on the Columbia River Basalts, Ice Age Floods and local geologists. Most GSOC members were not geologists and probably lacked a broad historical geology context. So, as Vice President, I invited a range of geographical geology presentations. Other guest speakers covered relevant topics including landslides, earthquake hazards, and shale gas production.


Sheila Alfsen

I was born in Chicago, Illinois; my father was a physician in Chicago’s Loop and my mother had been an entertainer and involved in community development before raising a family. Unfortunately, she left this life far too early, and as a result my family moved across the country a couple of times. I had the chance to travel within the United States and observe the differences in locations on both sides of the continent.

2014 - Sheila alfsen

2014 - Sheila alfsen

My young adult life was spent high in the Siskiyou Mountains of Southern Oregon where I grew a subsistence garden, raised livestock and rode horses. I became a certified farrier and dreamed one day of riding the Pacific Crest trail from Mexico to Canada. After marriage, I raised two stepsons and gave birth to three children. I was deeply involved in my children’s education, and planned one day, when they were older, to go back to school to become a teacher.

I always had a fascination and love for the natural world, so my first geology class was a real eye opener! For the first time, all the questions I had pondered regarding the landscapes and oceans were answered. I realized that I could still enjoy places for their natural beauty, but understanding their geologic history and formation greatly deepened my appreciation. I have the privilege of introducing many high school and college students to the geologic wonders of this remarkable planet!

My initial involvement with GSOC gave me the chance for continued professional development; attending lectures and field trips as well as opportunities to know and work with many geologists. As vice president I was able to continue the quality of presentations we were accustomed to. As president, I answered requests for school presentations and developed outdoor programs for children. Our President’s Field Trip was a time slice of the Oligocene environments on each side of the Cascades. We celebrated GSOC’s eightieth birthday during my office with a banquet that featured renowned plate tectonics expert, Tanya Atwater.

Upon completing my year as the president of GSOC, I was made the outreach coordinator and can continue fulfilling our mission as a speaker and educator. It has been an honor to serve the Geological Society of the Oregon Country!