The Clearwater Historical Society’s Board members come from a variety of backgrounds and interests from education and law enforcement to engineering and the timber industry, but they are all dedicated to preserving, protecting and sharing the history of Clearwater Country.
Get to know them a little better:
John Schwartz has dedicated most of his adult life to working in education, all in Idaho. He has a Bachelors and Masters degree from the University of Idaho. He spent 33 years as a teacher, counselor, high school principal, superintendent and state department of education consultant, federal program and curriculum coordinator. After retiring, he also spent three years as a school board member for Joint School District #171 headquartered in Orofino. He is married and has three children.
Besides being an expert on the Lewis and Clark Expedition in Clearwater County, Norm Steadman, as mayor of Weippe, is the longest serving mayor in the State of Idaho. He was appointed in 1968 and continues to serve. He has also served in other public service positions including secretary of the Weippe Development Corporation, board of the Association of Idaho Cities and board of Pioneer Medical Clinic. He worked for the U.S. Forest Service for 46 years before retiring in 2007.
Board Vice President Rodger Colgan was born and raised in Salem, OR. Following high school, he used a scholarship to attend Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR and graduated with a B.S. degree in Physics in 1961. He served three years as a Naval Officer from 1961 to 1964. The next effort was a couple years as an Electrical Engineer with the USBPA. Following the BPA experience was two years at Grand Coulee Dam and next to Orofino for the construction of Dworshak Dam. Following completion, Rodger was appointed Dworshak Project Manager and worked there until his September 1993 retirement. Not settled yet, he ran for public office and wound up as a Commissioner for Clearwater County for two years. He is married and has two married daughters that live in Boise.
Richard ‘Tia’ Pomponio
Richard ‘Tia’ Pomponio was born in Elk River and started his career in the timber industry working for Potlatch Timber Protective Association in 1959. He worked summers until 1961 when he went to work for Potlatch Forests at Camp T. He worked three log drives before going to work for JE Hall Logging building roads. He was part of the crews that cleared timber from the Dworshak Dam site. In 1973, he went back to work for Potlatch at Headquarters operating equipment and later moved to a supervisory position where he remained until his retirement in 2007. He and his wife, Deloris, have lived in Orofino since 1971.
Nick R. Albers
Society President Nick R. Albers was born in Orofino, but his roots go even deeper since his parents grew up in Russell on the Camas Prairie. Nick grew up on the ranch at Russell before choosing to be a Peace Corps volunteer and then staff. After he returned to Clearwater Country he got involved in law enforcement with the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Department. Moving up through the ranks, he eventually spent 26 years as Clearwater County Sheriff. He then worked as a consultant for a firm that designed, built and leased jail facilities. He has also been the Executive Director of the Idaho Sheriffs Association, Idaho Sheriffs Jail Coordinator and instrumental in founding and building Back Country Medics. He is married and has three children.
Jeff Dugger married his hometown sweetheart and they have two daughters. He is a plumbing contractor; his wife is a deputy court clerk and his daughters are students. His interests are history, science and nature, so basically everything. He attended school in Orofino which isn’t a surprise since he is fourth generation Clearwater Country resident. He has lots of well known family locally. History is an influence even in his favorite movie, Jeremiah Johnson, and his favorite black and television show, Gunsmoke.
Steve Cochran is a lifelong Idaho resident who was born in Grangeville. He graduated from Pierce High School in 1969 and attended college at Idaho State University and Lewis Clark State College. He then went on to work for Potlatch Corporation for 40 years retiring in 2010. He married his wife Dianne in 1973 and they have three children Jamie, Stephanie and Mark who produced seven wonderful grandkids. While living in Headquarters, he served on the board of the Headquarters Credit Union and served as president for one year. Retirement offered Steve the opportunity to play an active part in his grandchildren's lives. Summer is spent with family on the pontoon boat on Dworshak Lake; winter is spent skiing at Bald Mountain, where Steve is an active volunteer doing whatever it takes to help keep the mountain open. Throw in camping, hunting, following the grandkids sports events and he wonders how he had time to work.
Born in Wyandott, MI in 1949, Mike Goodwin was raised in a small farming community outside of Mt. Pleasant, MI. He graduated from Mt. Pleasant High School in 1967. Mike enlisted in the Army on Sept. 4, 1968 and served until Oct. 3, 1971. Then he attended Mt. Hood Community College from 1972 -1974, graduating with an Associates Degree in Forestry. He went to work for Potlatch Corporation on June 1, 1974 and worked for them for the next 32 years. With the exception of 5 years working out of Lewiston, the rest of this time was spent working out of Headquarters. He also worked for 5 years for Clearwater County as an appraiser for the Assessors Office. He retired in May 2012. He and Karen Bird married on Dec. 18, 1971 and have two grown sons, Joshua and Caleb.
Tony Wilson was born and raised in Orofino and graduated from Orofino High School. He gained a love history as he grew up hearing stories from his grandparents and learning about it in school. “How things became what they are is amazing,” he said.
Tony has been on the board about two years and wishes he had more time to spend working on projects. Being manager of Barney’s Harvest Foods and his family keep him pretty busy. He started out as a box boy at Barney’s 32 years ago and worked his way up to manager, including a number of years as assistant manager.
He loves outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, golf and camping with his family. He also enjoys people whether it is working one-on-one with his employees or interacting with customers.
James Steven Bird
James Steven ‘Jim’ Bird was born in Orofino in 1958 to James D. and Geraldine Bird. He grew up in Konkolville, where his parents both worked in the Konkolville Lumber Company, Steakhouse ,Tavern and Konkolville Motel, a 40-unit motel, all of which were built by his grandparents, Andrew and Bernice Konkol, from the late 1940s through 2007.
Jim went to school in Orofino, graduated from Orofino High School in 1976 and then went to work in the family business at Konkolville Lumber Company. He worked for Konkolville Lumber Company until it sold in 2007. Since then he has been working at Orofino Builders Supply. In 1981 he married Carrie Cuddy, who was also born and raised in Orofino. They raised their two children, a son, Jesse Bird, and daughter, Christa Bird, in Orofino. His wife, Carrie has worked for Clearwater County as a deputy clerk, and as the County Clerk, Auditor and Recorder. Jim is currently serving on the Konkolville Water Company board of directors. His hobbies are camping, river kayaking, white water rafting, woodworking and reading and learning about the history of the area. He also enjoys being a Grandpa and visiting via Skype with his grandson, Kalen Bird, who lives in Canada.
Museum Director Bernice Pullen graduated from Orofino High School; attended the Museum Art School, an accredited school in Portland, OR, for four years receiving a Certificate of Completion and later a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree.
She Moved to Colorado and stayed 22 years, working at Storage Technology Corporation 18 ½ years as an assembler running DIP, VCD and Sequencers, as Engineering Assistant and Engineer.
Returned to Orofino and has been Museum Director at the Clearwater Historical Museum 19 years. She is a member of Kiwanis Club of Orofino, a Beta Sigma Phi Sorority and a member of Rebekah’s, a Fraternal Order.
Orofino native Debbie Anderson graduated from Orofino High School in 1973 and went on to study business administration and business practices at Lewis-Clark State College. She has also completed additional classes and seminars related to taxes and business management.
She was on the Board of Directors for Orofino Credit Union and also served on the Clearwater Planning and Zoning Commission. She was the office manager and owner of Anderson Plumbing and Appliance for 12 years prior to being the office manager and owner of DEBCO. Since 1994 she has been the office manager and owner of Riverview Construction.
She has two sons and five grandchildren and feels it important to preserve history for future generations. Her hobbies include: recreating on Dworshak, spending time with family and friends, traveling, water aerobics and gardening.
Most of Donna Leach’s life has been spent in Idaho. After graduating from high school in Kamiah and the University of Idaho, she taught at Deary High School and Moscow Junior High while her husband obtained his Forestry degree. After spending several years at different locations on the St. Joe National Forest Ted was transferred to the Clearwater National Forest in Orofino where they have resided every since. Besides raising three children, she worked as Clearwater County Extension Home Economist, substitute teacher, special education teacher and supervised adult basic education classes. For 25 years, she owned and operated a Retail Clothing Department store.
Now retired, traveling, gardening, and keeping up with three grandchildren and their activities are among the favorite things to do. She is currently on the Board of Directors of Orofino Retirement Properties, Inc., active in the Methodist Church, PEO, Friends of the Library and Fine Gold Campers.
Donna has agreed to serve on the Clearwater Historical Society Board. Preserving and expanding the museum is vital to a well rounded community and she and husband Ted Leach are both interested in the history of the area and preservation of some of the historical buildings.