Follow us:

Originally published March 25, 2014 at 10:23 a.m.

Remembering the victims of the Oso mudslide

The following are known victims of the March 22 mudslide near Oso on the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. This page includes persons confirmed missing or dead by authorities or families. It will be updated as information becomes available.

The Herald

Linda McPherson, 69

Confirmed fatality

When Linda McPherson helped Sno-Isle Libraries design a new branch library for Darrington, she insisted on a big window with a view of Whitehorse Mountain. McPherson grew up on an Oso dairy farm whose pastures stretched down to the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River.

She earned a degree from the University of Washington in oceanography and worked as an oceanographer for 10 years, but when it was time to start a family, she and husband Gary "Mac" McPherson, returned to Darrington and bought land from her parents where they built a house. The two were in the living room when the slide hit. Battered, he survived.

After living in the same mountain community all her life, McPherson likely wouldn't have moved away, even if the danger of a slide were fully known, her daughter said. "She loved the land. That was her home. She was never going to leave."

Northwest Smile

Christina Jefferds, 45

Confirmed fatality

Christina Jefferds was among the kindest of souls. "Everyone can remember how sweet and kind and generous and gentle she was," said her daughter, Natasha Huestis. "She wanted everyone to love each other and to be happy."

Jefferds, a wife, mother, grandmother and dental-office manager, was also a strong woman who raised her daughter for many years as a single mother, Huestis said. She loved gardening and even delighted in picking up garter snakes, Huestis said. And she had an adventurous side, having taken a trapeze class and gone sky diving with her husband, Seth Jefferds.

"I have a lot to learn from her," said Huestis, who also lost her 4-month-old daughter, Sanoah, who was at home with Jefferds when the slide hit.

Family photo

Sanoah Huestis, 4 months

Confirmed fatality

Sanoah Huestis enchanted people. With her constant smiles, "She could just light up a room," said her mother, Natasha Huestis. "We wouldn't be able to walk down a grocery-store aisle without someone saying how beautiful she was."

Sanoah, who was killed along with her grandmother, Christina Jefferds, had many family members living nearby. "Everybody in the family was so excited to have her be part of their lives," Huestis said. "Everybody wanted to show her so many things as she grew up."

Sanoah was "a little girl who captured your heart," said Peter Jefferds, father of Sanoah's grandfather, Seth Jefferds.


John Regelbrugge, 49, and Kris Regelbrugge, 44

2 confirmed fatalities

Married 17 years, John and Kris Regelbrugge were an affectionate couple, who adored each other and hosted countless bonfires for the neighborhood, said Debby Rule, a former neighbor. The couple had three sons and two daughters. The couple's third son, who lived with them, had left for work at a lumber mill just before the slide.

John was a 32-year-Navy veteran. He was the officer in charge of the Everett detachment of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & and Intermediate Maintenance Facility. Kris was a stay-at-home mom, Rule said. Kris Regelbrugge "had a great heart, a wide-eyed innocence. She was a lot of fun and a wonderful mother," said John's brother, Joe, who along with siblings Greg and Danny, and their nephews, searched for the bodies of John and Kris.

"They were just great people," Joe said. "When you walked into their home, you knew you were welcome."


Summer Raffo, 36

Confirmed fatality

Summer Raffo, of Darrington, got married two years ago. She worked as a custodian at Darrington High School and as a farrier on the side. She was driving on Highway 530, headed to a horseshoeing appointment, when the mudslide hit. She was fifth in a line of 13 children, who were hard to miss in a small logging town, said husband Joel Sundstrom.

Brother Dayn Brunner said she was the type of person everybody in Darrington knew. She checked her phone and talked on it religiously to keep up with a wide circle of friends and family. She was on the phone with her mother just before heading out that morning.

Lennick family

Confirmed fatality

Amanda Lennick, 31

Amanda Lennick, a nurse at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, had just moved into her new home. She didn't have hot water yet — the tank was broken — and wanted television reception in the remote area. She scheduled three workers to do work at her home — an electrician, a technician from DISH Network and a plumber. Those workers were Bill Welsh, Steve Hadaway and Stephen Neal.

Lennick texted friends about 9:30 a.m. to say the workers had started to arrive. "She was super excited. She was 50 yards from the river. She talked about taking walks and enjoying nature," said friend Manda Greenwood.


William Welsh, 66

Confirmed fatality

William Welsh, of Arlington, celebrated every Fourth of July with his extended family, attending the Sedro-Woolley parade followed by a big picnic.

An avid bowler, Welsh was head electrician for Whitley Evergreen, a Marysville manufacturer of modular commercial buildings, where he worked for 25 years. Welsh was going to Amanda Lennick's house on East Steelhead Drive to install a hot-water heater.

He and his wife of 43 years, Barbara, had two sons and two grandsons. He was an Army veteran of the Vietnam War.

Hadaway family

Steve Hadaway, 53

Confirmed fatality

Steve Hadaway had worked at DISH Network for less than a year, said his daughter, Brandy. His brother, John Hadaway, said Steve attended school to earn a degree while working full time as a manager at Diebold. "Whatever he did, he was dedicated to it," his brother said. He was to be at Amanda Lennick's house to hook up TV service.

Stephen Neal, 55

Confirmed fatality

Stephen Neal owned a plumbing business for about 30 years, said son Ryan Neal. The senior Neal sometimes worked as an independent contractor for Whitley Evergreen and was to do plumbing work at Amanda Lennick's house. He was a friend of Bill Welsh's, who also was scheduled to work at Lennick's house.

Ryan Neal described his father as always concerned about others. "He was definitely out to help people."

Courtesy Nichole Webb Rivera

Thom Satterlee, 65, and Marcy Satterlee, 61

Confirmed fatalities

Thom and Marcy Satterlee bought their home on Steelhead Drive in late 2012.

Marcy loved living near the river and was a passionate gardener who doted on her dahlias, and she was excited her 60-foot by 60-foot vegetable garden had just been rototilled, said sister-in-law Debbie Satterlee. "She was ready to can and sauce the summer away."

Thom grew up in Seattle. He joined the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, and suffered a disabling injury, said Debbie Satterlee. He was a leader of the Freedom County movement that sought to secede from Snohomish County in the late 1990s. A 1998 state Supreme Court ruling denied the claim.

He was happiest, Debbie Satterlee said, making Marcy happy.

Courtesy Bejvl family

Alan Bejvl, 21, and Delaney Webb, 19

Confirmed fatalities

Alan Bejvl and his fiancée Delaney Webb were staying with her grandparents, Thom and Marcy Satterlee, and planning their August wedding at the Satterlees' property.

Bejvl grew up on his parents' farm, where they raised trout, not far from the mudslide area.

Perpetually happy, according to family members and friends, he worked at Reece Trucking & Excavating in Tulalip. "You couldn't ask for a better employee. He was always trying to better himself," said his boss, Andy Reece.

Webb first met Bejvl at Darrington High School, where she was a cheerleader. She was studying business at Everett Community College in hopes of opening her dog-breeding and training company.

The couple dreamed of owning their own 10 acres, with a log cabin and horses in the Darrington area, and starting a family in a few years.


Spillers family

4 confirmed fatalities

A native of New Albany, Penn., Billy Spillers enlisted in the Navy in 2002 and served aboard two ships, the USS Stout and the USS Momsen. Last November, he transferred to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard's Everett location. A chief petty officer, Spillers, 30, worked as a career counselor.

He was home with the kids, watching TV. Mom, Jonielle Spillers, who works as a nursing assistant, was out. Billy Spillers died in the mudslide along with daughter Kaylee, 5, Brooke, 2, and 13-year-old stepson Jovon Mangual. Another son, Jacob, 4, was rescued by helicopter.

Jovon's father, Army Staff Sgt. Jose Mangual, described his son as a very happy seventh-grader with a love for playing sports, while Kaylee and Brooke tended toward dolls and drawing.

Family photo

Joseph R. Miller, 47


Joe Miller lived for many years with his dad, Reed Miller, on Steelhead Drive, where they fished together for steelhead trout in the Stillaguamish River.

Joe was a photographer who sold nature pictures at local fairs, and he worked at several other jobs, his family said. "He was a nature person. If he saw some paper on the ground, he picked it up," said his mother, Maralee Hall of Everett. "He was a very gentle, caring person. He mountain biked."

He was planning to move out soon, into an apartment in Darrington. Reed Miller was buying groceries in Arlington and thinks Joe was probably drinking coffee when mud buried the house.


Denver Harris, 14


Denver Harris was home alone on Steelhead Drive when the mudslide hit, said his great-uncle Wes Wicken. Denver loved snowboarding and having imaginary sword fights and "could get up in a class or room and get everyone laughing," Wicken said.

On Facebook pages, friends and family members shared stories of how Denver enjoyed going on long hikes in the mountains and once gave his mother his shirt to wear for the two miles back to the car after she fell in the water. A relative wrote that she has a box of Pop-Tarts waiting for him.


Tom Durnell, 65

Confirmed fatality

Tom Durnell was retired. His wife, Debbie Durnell, was at work when the slide hit, said her daughter, Pam Keller.

He was known for making and selling wood furniture, said Debby Rule, a former Steelhead Drive neighbor. "Anything made of wood, he could do," she said. "He would get orders from people and he made his own furniture."

Durnell grew up in Eugene, Ore., and worked as a stage manager and carpenter for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, and for Intiman Theatre in Seattle, before working as a carpenter in Snohomish, according to the Eugene Register-Guard. He retired shortly after his wedding to Debbie in 2010, said a friend, Carrie Milburn.


Brandy Ward, 58

Confirmed fatality

Brandy Ward was a retired nurse who "had two grandkids she just adored" and five dogs, all pointers, said Debby Rule, a former neighbor who moved to Black Diamond in July.

Ward was "an outdoorsy woman" who sewed and knitted, canned vegetables from her garden and made jellies that she'd give to neighbors, Rule said.

Ward has been confirmed dead. Her husband, Tim Ward, was taken to Harborview Medical Center with a broken pelvis.

Courtesy Bellomo family

Shelley Bellomo, 55, and Jerry Logan, 63


Shelley Bellomo and Jerry Logan were longtime partners. Both have been confirmed dead.

Shelley Bellomo "loved living by that river," where she would watch bald eagles fly by, said her father, Pete Bellomo. Neighbor Ruth Hargrave said that whenever Shelley saw her, she "would give you a big hug and say, 'I love you so much.' Everyone loved her.''

Whether it was feeding homeless cats or helping a neighbor install a new hot-water tank, Jerry Logan was always ready to lend a hand, friends and a relative said. He was known throughout the area as a skilled handyman. Neighbors said he had a Saturday morning habit of going to the store to buy a cup of coffee, two packs of cigarettes and three DVDs, and then he'd be set for the weekend.


Steve Harris, 52, and Theresa Harris, 53


Steve and Theresa Harris were south Texans who came to Washington in 1998 for his job as a naval architect at Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG) in Seattle. Theresa was a retired nurse, according to her brother, Mark Christoph. The couple had two adult daughters, Laura and Kristina.

During the week the couple stayed at an Edmonds condo and on weekends headed for their cabin near the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River, where they liked to fish, walk and relax and intended to retire. Theresa was a free spirit and "hippie environmentalist," her brother said.

The couple's travels included Singapore, Dubai, the Galápagos Islands and other faraway places Steve's job took him to. A licensed engineer, he helped design ferries for four states, including Washington, said Christina Villiott, EBDG marketing director. "He was there for our customers," Villiott said.

Family photo

Ruthven/Vandenburg family


Shane Ruthven, 43, and Katie Ruthven, 34, had just landed some new contracts and their small business, Mountain Lion Glass, was expanding. The couple and their sons Wyatt, 4, and Hunter, 6, have been confirmed killed.

Shane Ruthven wanted his mother and stepfather, JuDee Vandenburg, 64, and Lou Vandenburg, 71, to be close to their grandkids and moved them from Spokane to the place next door. Both have been confirmed dead. Lou, who had served in the Marines, worked for the state before retiring. JuDee had operated a bar in Spokane.

The Ruthvens had "found their dream home" along the river, "a little A-frame they rebuilt from scratch," Pszonka said. "They had 150 feet of water frontage. It was a beautiful spot where no one bothered you."


Julie Farnes, 59

Confirmed fatality

Julie Farnes was a mother of three. Her son Adam Farnes was also killed in the mudslide. Her husband, Gerald Farnes, was away from the house that morning.

For many years, just about every new mom in Cordova, Alaska, received a simple baby blanket woven by Julie Farnes. And if some family never got a blanket, they probably received a package, as Farnes was the UPS delivery driver in the fishing town of 2,300 people.

A couple years ago, she retired and moved south to the Stillaguamish Valley with Gerald. The couple planned to become snowbirds, spending most of the year around grandchildren in Everett, then back north to their cabin on an island in Prince William Sound, in summertime.


Adam Farnes, 23

Confirmed fatality

Adam Farnes lived with his parents, Julie and Gerald Farnes. His mother was killed in the slide; his father wasn't home at the time.

Farnes worked at Mountain Lion Glass in Arlington, according to a friend, Kellie Howe. The business was owned by Katie Ruthven and Shane Ruthven, both of whom were killed in the mudslide.

He grew up in Cordova, Alaska, worked as a police dispatcher, and volunteered as a Cub Scouts leader, friends say. "He was so proud of his family, and he had this old dog Emma he loved," Howe said.

Farnes played bluegrass on the banjo, bass guitar and drums. "He loved everything. He was that person," Howe said.

Miller family

Larry Miller, 58, and Sandy Miller, 64

Confirmed fatalities

Larry and Sandy Miller were slowly moving into a grand home they had been building near a bend in the Stillaguamish River. They had added a guest house along the water for friends and family. The couple ran their own roofing company, Seattle Roof Advisor, where Larry Miller, 58, was a broker and Sandy, 64, did the bookkeeping. Active members of Northshore Christian Church, they counseled engaged couples and married couples struggling to hold it together.

Both have been confirmed dead.

On the morning of the mudslide, Ron DeQuilettes, an electrical contractor who also did blacktop installation work, was to come to the house to give an estimate for a new driveway. Greg Gorsuch, a friend of all three, introduced them to one another at the Seattle Home Show in February. DeQuilettes was killed in the mudslide.

He wrote in an email: "I imagine the three of them, Ron, Larry and Sandy all standing out in the front of the house facing the river and the beautiful mountains on the other side while reviewing the possibilities."


Ron DeQuilettes, 52

Confirmed fatality

On the morning of the mudslide, Ron DeQuilettes, an electrical contractor who also did blacktop installation work, was to come to Larry and Sandy Miller's new dream house near a bend in the Stillaguamish River to give an estimate for a new driveway. Greg Gorsuch, a friend of all three, introduced them to one another at the Seattle Home Show in February. The Millers also were killed in the mudslide.

He wrote in an email to The Seattle Times: "I imagine the three of them, Ron, Larry and Sandy all standing out in the front of the house facing the river and the beautiful mountains on the other side while reviewing the possibilities."

Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times

Michael W. Pearson, 74

Confirmed fatality

Michael Pearson could easily have lived off the land, said his neighbor, Ruth Hargrave. He fished and hunted and hiked in the mountains to pick huckleberries. In his home in Steelhead Haven, he usually had a stew bubbling. Hargrave said she'd invite him over for dinner and once in a while he'd come, sitting out on the deck and listening to the river cascade over the rocks.

He would go on the mountain and find fallen logs and bring them back in his truck to split the wood. He even pulled out the previous owner's landscaping so he'd have plenty of room for his woodpile, Hargrave said.

"He had other friends on the lane," said Hargrave, who wasn't at her cabin the weekend of the slide. "He wasn't a guy looking for friends. He was looking for a secure place to retire." Pearson was a loner, she said, and over the years, she came to know that he had served as a police officer in Everett and a Marine in Vietnam.

He was the father of two daughters, Abbie Pearson and Julia Pearson.

As victim after victim of the mudslide was identified and names added to the list of the missing, Hargrave and her husband, Davis, worried about Pearson. The couple reported him missing and after several days, John Doe, whose identity the Snohomish County Medical Examiner had been seeking, was confirmed to be Pearson. A Washington State Patrol chaplain contacted the Hargraves with the news.

Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times

Lon Slauson, 59

Confirmed fatality

From his front porch on a sunny day, Lon Slauson could hear birds singing and the Stillaguamish River roaring just a stone’s throw away. Slauson appeared in The Seattle Times in 2006 after a landslide diverted the river through his front yard, taking his driveway, outhouse and shed with it.

Army Corps of Engineers workers cleared, coaxed and fortified the new channel shortly after that slide, when it was clear the river was changing course. "They saved my house," Slauson told the Times then.

Mark Gustafson, 54

Confirmed fatality

Mark Gustafson was a construction worker who lived alone. He had a daughter and three sons, said his sister, Patty Gustafson. He was a custodian in Belt, Mont., before moving to an area near Oso several years ago, family and friends told the Great Falls Tribune. A sister and nieces and nephews still live in Belt. Patty Wakeford, a family friend, told the Tribune that Gustafson went to school there and "everybody in Belt pretty much knows him."

Bonnie Gullikson, 91

Confirmed fatality

While Bonnie Gullikson died, her husband, Larry Gullikson, 81, was injured and has been hospitalized.

Jerry Halstead, 74, and Gloria Halstead, 67

Confirmed fatalities

The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►