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Beatrice Twitchell Courtnage ’42

Born to teacher Helen Creegan and attorney Robert Twitchell, Beatrice spent her first years in Woodstock, Vermont. When Beatrice was 11, Helen moved with her children to Honolulu. Beatrice never saw her father again. She and her siblings were schooled at Punahou School, where Helen taught.

Beatrice left Hawaii to join her beloved older sister, Elizabeth T. Claus ’40, at Reed. Their younger sister, Barbara T. Lewis ’47, would follow years later.

At Reed, Beatrice met and married Clyde Courtnage ’41. While Clyde obtained his MBA from Harvard, Beatrice pursued her love of literature at Boston University. Following World War II, Beatrice and Clyde moved to Seattle, where their three sons were born. The family moved to Ketchikan, Alaska, in 1955, and lived there until they moved to Anchorage in 1963. Beatrice obtained a BA in education from the University of Alaska, and later a master’s from Alaska Methodist University (now Alaska Pacific University).

As as an elementary school teacher in Anchorage, she was instrumental in persuading the Anchorage School District to implement a program of testing to identify dyslexic students, and then to provide multisensory education—the Slingerland program—for these children. She was a tireless advocate for additional funding to expand the program and coestablished the Slingerland Institute in Anchorage to train teachers in the method.

After retirement, Beatrice and Clyde volunteered regularly at the Food Bank of Alaska and other places providing food for those in need. Beatrice also tutored adults acquiring English as a second language. She enjoyed reading and shared her love of literature with others by reading aloud to generations of offspring. In 1996, Beatrice and Clyde established the Clyde & Beatrice Courtnage Library Fund at Reed in support of the college’s outstanding rigorous academic program. Clyde died in 2006.

Her sisters Ethel and Barbara, three sons and their partners (Michael/Pam, John/Cheri, and Peter/Caroline), 7 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren survive Beatrice.

A generous and thoughtful woman, Beatrice easily asserted her opinions, and was usually ahead of her time. She once reflected on her good fortune, saying, “How very different are the problems we all face—some with too much ego, others with not enough. We’re all wounded spirits that yearn for recognitions, acceptance, and love.”

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2016

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