Ronald Marek, President

Year Appointed/Elected to the Board: 2018
Prior board service 1997-2002 (former Board President 1999-2000)

Career Profile: United States Federal District Court 1969-present; Oregon Bar Association 1969-present; Arbitrator, Portland Arbitration Service; Benton County Bar Association 1972-present; General Law practice, Corvallis, Oregon-practice emphasis: trust, estate, probate, charitable planning, medical planning 1998-present.

Iowa State University B.S., University of Minnesota, J.D. 

Community/Professional Affiliations:
Corvallis Chamber of Commerce (President 1992-93)
Corvallis United Methodist Foundation (President, Secretary)
Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation
Heart of the Valley Choir Trustee
Rotary Club of Greater Corvallis
Sunset Kiwanis Club

Why are you serving as a Trustee?
“I’m interested in providing inspirational opportunities for youth, the greater Corvallis community, and visitors. I enjoy history and the development of devices created by humans to make things easier or more interesting.”

Kelly Gallagher, Vice President

Year Appointed/Elected to the Board: 2019

Career Profile: BA in Business Administration from Oregon State University 2001
Operations Associate for Smith Barney 2001-2003
Financial Advisor for Smith Barney 2003-2008
Financial Advisor for RBC Wealth Management 2008-2020
Financial Advisor for Wells Fargo Advisors in Corvallis – Current

Community/Professional Affiliations:
Secretary for the Good Samaritan Hospital Board
Secretary for the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation Board
Member of Corvallis Rotary After 5
Committee Member for the Corvallis Half Marathon
Crescent Valley Boys Head Golf Coach

Why are you serving as a Trustee? "Knowing, sharing and preserving history is vital to any community and I feel strongly of its importance here in Benton County. I am excited to be a part of an organization that helps to enrich and share with those in and beyond our community the importance of our local history for generations to come."

Susan Klinkhammer, Secretary

Year Appointed/Elected to the Board: 2019

Career Profile: Elementary and Middle School teacher and reading specialist

Community/Professional Affiliations: OSU Folk Club and OSU Folk Club Thrift Shop

Why are you serving as a Trustee?
"I’m hoping to help continue the fine work of the Benton County Historical Society. I’m sure I will learn a lot and hopefully be able to share my knowledge with the community."

Rodney Harvey, Treasurer

Year Appointed/Elected to the Board: 2004

Career Profile: Public School Teacher and Administrator

Community/Professional Affiliations:
First Presbyterian Church of Corvallis
Board Member Philomath Community Foundation


Wendy A. Beck-Nichols

Year Appointed/Elected to the Board: 2019

Career Profile: Worked for 18 years at Blackledge Furniture, after working 8 years at Rice’s Pharmacy. Currently owns Corvallis Floor Covering and is an interior designer.

Community/Professional Affiliations:
Business member of the Assistance League; Chamber of Commerce; ASID and IDS Interior Design Associations.

Why are your serving as a trustee? "I am a Corvallis native and I want to support my community."

Mary Brauti

Year Appointed/Elected to the Board: 2021

Career Profile:

Community/Professional Affiliations:

Why are you serving as a Trustee?

Chick Gerke

Year Appointed/Elected to the Board: 2020

Career Profile: Retired Architect

Community/Professional Affiliations:
Corvallis Planning Commission: Commissioner 1992-2000
Corvallis Historic Resources Commission: Commissioner 2006-2009
San Joaquin Pioneer Museum and Gallery, Stockton, CA: Museum Preparator 1972-73

Why are you serving as a Trustee?
"I have an interest in museums, building facilities, art, and historic preservation."

Cody Hull

Year Appointed/Elected to the Board: 2021

Career Profile:
Western Oregon University Monmouth, Oregon.
*Bachelor of Science Degree Major History, Minor Geography.
Class of 2000.
David Hull Tree Farms Bellfountain, Oregon.
*Assistant Timber, Lands & Operations Manager 2003-present.
Oregon Secretary of State; Archives Division Salem, Oregon
*Historic Document Processor and Microfilm Technician 2000-2002.
Oregon Secretary of State; Archives Division Salem, Oregon
*Student Intern Summer, 1999.

Community/Professional Affiliations:
Benton County Historical Resources Commission
*Commission Member, 2010 - Present
Oregon Logging Conference Eugene, Oregon
*Active volunteer every year at the three-day conference
Pacific Northwest Truck Museum Brooks, Oregon
*Active member and volunteer.
American Truck Historical Society (ATHS) Kansas City, Missouri
*Semi-active member and volunteer.
Muddy Creek Charter School Inavale, Oregon
*Volunteer, groundskeeper/maintenance 2009-2015.

Why are you serving as a Trustee?
I was born and raised here in Benton County and am a fifth generation Oregonian. My
family has been here in Oregon in either Linn or Benton Counties since 1852. Our family’s
deep roots in our community, plus my deep love and appreciation of history, will help me
serve as a Trustee and continue the mission and goals of the Benton County Historical

The quest to learn history never stops. The Benton County Historical Society’s mission to
preserve our local history and culture will make it a gem of our community, and I am proud to
be a part of it.

Larry Landis

Year Appointed/Elected to the Board: 2021

Career Profile:
I retired from Oregon State University on July 1, 2020 after having worked as an archivist there for nearly 30 year – assistant university archivist (1991-1996); university archivist (1996-2011); and director of the Special Collections and Archives Research Center (2011-2020). Prior to OSU, I was the photographs archivist at the University of Texas at Austin’s Barker Texas History Center (now the Briscoe Center for American History) from 1984 through 1990.

As part of my university archivist position, I also served as the consortium director for the Northwest Digital Archives (now Archives West, a program of the Orbis-Cascade Alliance) from 2002-2007. More recently I was part of the OSU150 team that developed the major 150th anniversary exhibit at the Oregon Historical Society. I am also the author of A School for the People: A Photographic History of Oregon State University, published in 2015 by the OSU Press and available at the Corvallis Museum store!

I currently have a courtesy faculty appointment with the OSU Libraries and Press and work on special projects, typically involving some aspect of university history and/or the history of local communities of color.

Community/Professional Affiliations:
Member of the Benton County Historical Society since 1992
Benton County Historic Resources Commission, 1996-2021 (chair, 2004-2021)
Oregon Century Farm & Ranch Program Management Committee, 2005-present
Oregon Historical Society, member, 1992-present
Oregon Encyclopedia Editorial Board, 2006-present
Oregon Heritage Commission, advisory member representing the Oregon Higher Education
Coordinating Commission, October 2018-present
American Association of State and Local History, member, 2021-present
Northwest Archivists, member, 1991-present
Society of American Archivists, member, 1983-present
Academy of Certified Archivists, member, 1989-present

Why are you serving as a Trustee?
I have been a member of BCHS for nearly 30 years and have witnessed it develop into one of the most robust and highly regarded local historical societies in Oregon. We are a vital community asset. I am at a point in my life where I can help the Society continue to develop and be even more impactful.

Janet Nishihara

Year Appointed/Elected to the Board: 2016

Career profile: Oregon State University Educational Opportunities Program Director, supporting first-generation, low-income students, students of color and other underserved populations. Taught courses that develop a deeper understanding of the history of students of color at Oregon State University and in Oregon.
Serving at OSU since 1981.

Community/Professional Affiliations:
NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education
AAC&U-Association of American Colleges & Universities
Oregon Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs - former member
CARDV, Friends of the Library

Why are you serving as a Trustee?
"Because I am interested in both learning more about the history of our region and in seeing the development of our understanding of the roles that people of color played in our history. I would like to see if there are ways for groups to collaborate even further in re-discovering this information and providing access to it by the public at large."

Lorna Avery Scott

Year Appointed/Elected to the Board: 2019

Career Profile:

Community/Professional Affiliations:

Why are you serving as a Trustee?

Bond Starker

Year Appointed/Elected to the Board: 2021

Career Profile:
Corvallis High School -1965 Grad
OSU – Forest Management 1969 Grad
OSU - MBA program 1969-70
Bruce Starker Forestry 1962-1971
Starker Forests 1971-1981, Partner
Starker Forests, Inc
President & CEO 1981-2017
Chairman of Board 1981-2021
Chair Emeritus 2021-present

Community/Professional Affiliations:
Corvallis Chamber board 1983-2000?
Corvallis-Benton County Economic Development Partnership 1986- 2005?
Chamber Government Affairs committee 2000-2017?
OSU Foundation Trustee 2005-2017?
Oregon Forest Industries Council board 1987-2017
Benton County Budget Committee 1984-86?
OSU Forestry Education Council 2015- present
Old Mill School for Children and Families board 2005-2011?
Citizens Bank Board 1984-1986?
Sunset Research Park - Managing Partner 1984-1995?

Why are you serving as a Trustee?
Provide my perspective having a long-time family association with Benton County starting in 1907. Starker Forests is now a large forestland owner in Benton County. The Starker Forests Family has made significant contributions to both the Philomath facilties and the new Corvallis Museum.

Jo Anne Trow

Year Appointed/Elected to the Board: 2013

Career Profile: Resident of Corvallis since 1965 when she joined Student Affairs Office at OSU. Originally from Ohio, she holds degrees from Denison University, Indiana University, and Michigan State University. She worked in student affairs before coming to Oregon. She was OSU's last Dean of Women and its first female Vice President.

Community/Professional Affiliations:
Active in:
The League of Women Voters
First Congregational United Church of Christ
OSU Folk Club Thrift Shop
Willamette Criminal Justice Council
United Way
Corvallis Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Old Mill Center

Joan Truckenbrod

Year Appointed/Elected to the Board: 2021

Career Profile:
As an artist I began creating artwork by programming a mainframe
computer in Fortran, using mathematical equations to create drawings
and then textiles. These coded algorithmic drawings and textiles are in
collections at the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC, The Art
Institute of Chicago and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. My
artwork is exhibited internationally and is represented by RCM Galerie
in Paris. Currently I am creating hand woven digital Jacquard textiles.
Recently my artwork was exhibited in a one-person show at the
Schneider Museum of Art in Ashland, and in a group exhibit at the RCM
Galerie in Paris, France. I have also exhibited in the Art Gallery at the
Benton County Historical Museum in Philomath.

I am Professor Emeritus at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
In Corvallis I am the Director and Curator of the Truckenbrod Gallery,
creating exhibition opportunities for professional artists.

Community/Professional Affiliations:
My community and professional affiliations include the OSU Art/Science
Steering Committee, and the Corvallis Artwalk Committee. I am
Director and Curator of the Truckenbrod Gallery. Previously I served on
the Board of COPI, Corvallis OSU Piano International, and the Arts
Advisory Board at OSU, which included sponsoring an Art and Science
Scholarship. I was also a member of the Corvallis Downtown Advisory
Board until Covid closed meetings. I am a member of a group of seven
professional artists that meets in individual artists’ studios to discuss
artworks. These artists are currently exhibiting in Truckenbrod Gallery.

Why are you serving as a Trustee?
I am serving as a Trustee because the Museum embodies the pride and
spirit of the community. It is the site of community identity; historically,
today and in the future. The pioneering history of Benton County
creates an identity that strengthens community ties, particularly among
young people. Exhibits are innovative and unique, bringing new
perspectives and understanding to visitors, including a broad range of
students. This innovation is mirrored in the design of the Corvallis
museum building.

I am committed to supporting the Museum’s outreach to our diverse
community and educational groups. I am interested in the Museum
connecting with people and groups who are not familiar with the range
of exhibits and collections, and exploring opportunities for them to visit
the museum. The Museum presents an inspiring combination of the
Arts in Benton County with the diverse dimensions of our history.

Shirley Wirth

Year Appointed/Elected to the Board: 2019

Career Profile: 1963 BS, Elementary Education, Oregon State University
1987 MS, Oregon State University
1975-1999 Elementary School Teacher, Corvallis School District 509J

Community/Professional Affiliations:
The Arts Center, Board Member 2000-2006
Vistas & Vineyard Plein Air Painting group, 1995 - present

Why are you serving as a Trustee? "I was born in Corvallis and have lived most of my life here.  I vividly remember going to the Horner Museum as a youngster, and later taking my 5th grade classes there on field trips.  I feel honored to serve as a Trustee and help enlarge this tremendous historical, educational, and cultural resource in our community."

Marlys Amundson, Advisor
Natchee Barnd, Advisor
Tom Gallagher, Advisor
Duane Jager, Advisor
Alice Rampton, Advisor
Mike Schweizer, Advisor