Rudolfo “Rudy” Xavier ~ Class of 1962

Rudy Xavier ~ Class of 1962

Departed ~ 5/14/21

 Our Mission

The Coalition provides educational programs and resources to facilitate and advance the efforts of our affiliated organizations in order to promote and advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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AS THE CITY OF SAN LUIS OBISPO’S POLICE DEPARTMENT held a special meeting in mid-July to address hate crimes and hate speech—after a man was arrested for threatening his neighbors—they have a new ally.

As of May 2019 the Five Cities Diversity Coalition has expanded their reach with a new name and new members throughout the region, rebranding as the Diversity Coalition San Luis Obispo County.

The group’s profile has risen dramatically in the two years since the installation of the “Arboring Our Roots of Diversity” sculpture at the Arroyo Grande High School, a project that brought together diverse contributors under an initiative that started out as an anti-bullying program.

The group’s now president, Rudy Xavier, explained at the time how things got started for him joining the group. “Every one of my early formative years through high school were filled with serious prejudice and moderate-to-serious direct injury. I have been shot at, stabbed and suffered many wounds almost exclusively based on racial bigotry,” he wrote, “My friend, former Arroyo Grande City Manager Steve Adams, knew all of these things about me, and when he told me about an organization that sponsored anti-bullying he had me at ‘bullying’… one of our key services is to regularly hire anti-bullying speakers and speak out about micro-aggressions, things like hate speech based on characteristics such as gender, sexual preference, religion, ethnic origin, etc.”

The monument, featuring themes of culture, community, diversity, heritage, education, peace, individuality, and unity, was the culmination of the Arroyo Grande community’s long look in the mirror after a cross burning at the home of a mixed-race family in 2011. it’s a very public statement of community values which students now see on a daily basis.

Though Xavier grew up in a significantly different time and place than the lives led by Central Coast teens—being of Portuguese ancestry in Bangkok, Thailand as it was 60 years ago—he said, he understood the significant emotional events that shape the world view of youth.

As the group’s membership base has expanded, it became clearer that the Five Cities weren’t the only local areas where intolerance has reared its head. Students at Cal Poly have recently dealt with the implications of their peers deciding to dress in what couldbe construed as “Blackface” during fraternity events, holding parties with sexist and misogynistic overtones, and in the previous decade an incident of vandalism in which a noose was found at an outbuilding as well as swastikas appearing on doors.

“We’ve had a lot of requests from San Luis Obispo leadership which indicated we had a broader scope we needed to address,” Xavier said recently as the group arranged to bring a speaker to the San Luis Coastal school district to discuss the Holocaust and elements of religious intolerance.

The group was funding expansion into the San Luis school system with help from an SLO Community Foundation grant, he added. They’re also working on issues affecting the LGBTQ community. Photos of their attendance at the first 5 Cities Hope Pride Festival held at Heritage Park in Arroyo Grande on June 1 are available now at the Coalition’s new website,

“Our most recent speaker was Jessica Lynn, who experienced extreme discrimination. As a transgender individual,” Xavier explained, “This would be more than 700 times she’s told her story to an audience but it’s eye-opening as most people have no idea how painful it can be to be born a certain way and to not be accepted by others for who and what you are.”

Anti-bullying, “is still a huge plank for us,” Xavier said, adding that as the group gears up for summer and fall programs, actual membership growth has gone up by nearly a third since the announcement of their expanded coverage area, “but numbers have not been our focus. Our focus is on ‘mindshare’ growth of the mind. That’s the important part of what we’re doing. ”

As the group goes from a finite population base of 47,000 to encompass a region of 286,000 people, Xavier noted, “I’m very proud of our elected leaders. Social justice issues are not partisan.”

Camas Frank has been a San Luis Obispo County print journalist for over a decade. First drawn to the Central Coast for a stint at Cal Poly, he’s focused on community affairs, people and technology.




Peter Gissel ~ Class of 1982

Peter Gissel ~ Class of 1982

Departed ~ 5/25/21


His daughter Olivia wrote:

The world has lost truly one of a kind. My Dad was a shining light and a guiding force for our family. There was no one with greater vitality for life, no one more caring, no one who could make me laugh harder, no one more passionate, driven and hard working. There is not a single thing this man wouldn’t have done for those he loved and cared for and for those he barely knew at all. He has taught me so much and shaped me in so many ways but given no greater lesson than the one in how to face adversity with the fight he has given the last few years. His mindset, bravery and sheer determination throughout it all was nothing short of amazing. I feel so lost and am so devastated to think of all the things in life he will not be there to experience with us but I am so grateful to have had 25 amazing years with this man being my father. Although his life was cut way too short, he lived a life of many lifetimes and I feel blessed to have been along for part of the ride. May he rest peacefully my hero, my role model, my partner in crime, my best friend.

To the Last Viking, jeg elsker dig for evigt ❤️






David Amber Wilkerson ~ Class of 1971

It don’t matter to the sun
If you go or if you stay
I know the sun is gonna rise
Shine down on another day
There will still be a tomorrow
Even if you choose to leave
‘Cause it don’t matter to the sun (oh baby)
It matters to me
It ain’t gonna stop the world
If you walk out that door
This old world will just keep on turning ’round (Turning ’round)
Like it did the day before
‘Cause see to them it makes no difference (ohh)
It just keeps on keepin’ time
‘Cause it ain’t gonna stop the world (Oh baby)
But it’ll be the end of mine
What can I say
What can I do
I’m still in love
So without you…
Mmm mmm mmm, oh yeah, oh yeah
What can I say
What can I do
I’m still in love
So without you
It don’t matter the moon
If your not in my life
No the moon will just keep hangin’ ’round (hangin’ ’round)
Like it’s just another night
Find another place to shine on down
On some other lovers dreams
‘Cause it don’t matter the moon (oh baby)
But is sure do matter to me
No it don’t matter to the moon (oh baby)
But it matters to me
Songwriters: Wayne Kirkpatrick / Gordon Scott Kennedy / Tommy Sims

William Wayne Bill “Billy” Ferguson Jr.~ Class of 1970

Bill Ferguson ~ Class of 1970

Departed ~ 2/20/21


Bill’s sister Linda D. Ferguson –  Morgan ’71 wrote:

There will be no service for William, so this is what I would have read.

My Tribute to my brother Billy. He was my Irish Twin, meaning we were not a year apart in age.

He was not my rock…he was my BOULDER!

He taught me how to make a snowman, he taught me to ride a bike, he walked with me to school.

He ate tons of ice cream with me when I had my tonsils removed.

He taught me how to climb trees which I never stopped doing until I no longer could.

He protected me as much as he could from childhood abuse, he broke up many fights I had with girls and guys as a kid.

He literally rescued me many times…once when I was 13 and left by the side of a country road far from home…once in Pattya when I had run away and took me back to Bangkok.

He took over my babysitting job when I had to be rushed to the hospital for appendix removal.

When he went into the Army and told me he was getting ready to leave for Korea, I drove from VA. to New Jersey late at night to say good-bye. Not knowing a thing about the New Jersey turnpike and ran the toll booth cause I didn’t have any tokens with bells and alarms going off! He laughed! I sent him underground comic books and home made cookies and bagels. He said the bagels made excellent door stops! I didn’t know it took months to get there.

Although we lived a lot of our adult lives in different states, we were always in touch.

When I broke my back he flew across the states from AZ. to VA. to the hospital. He got all kinds of paperwork filed for me concerning future Rehabs and Social Security. I was in a bed that had to be rotated every two hours from my back to my stomach. He laid down on the floor and crawled under to look up to me…I burst out laughing then crying hysterically with nose dripping and tears falling like rain…he never moved.

Many years later, I moved to Tucson, where he had lived for decades. This was the first time we lived in the same place. We went to dinners, dollar movies, spent hours at museums, long drives in the desert…and always went out together for our birthday dinner and always while we were both the same age for five days. I volunteered in his elementary classes as an aid quite a few times..I always got the grunt work, cutting things up. I got to see his daughter and son grow up until I moved to Belize. He thought I was nuts to move by myself and gave some good arguments, but hugged me after our last dinner and I remember his son asking him why we were crying. I have lived in Belize for 21 years now. I spent twelve years in Tucson with him.

He flew down to Belize for my wedding to walk me down the aisle, even though he almost had heat stroke and endured an anxiety attack while snorkeling! Said he wouldn’t come back…haha!

He never judged me or my bad decisions..even though he was frustrated many times.

He always let my independent spirit soar.

He wasn’t really social, yet friendly, introverted. Worked hard, went down some rough roads, fought some demons which I could never rescue him from, no matter how hard I tried.

He fought hard after being shot and stayed positive.

He was kind, compassionate, caring and quite sensitive.

I will always love you and miss you Billy…until we meet again for a long awaited hug.


Bill’s sister Linda Ferguson ’71 wrote:

For those that knew my brother William Ferguson ’70… he suddenly passed today…not quite sure of details yet, heart attack or stroke. This is 8 years after he was shot in the head and was doing great…just talked to him 2 weeks ago……



Claire Marie Seale Amspacher ~ Class of 1980

Claire Marie Seale ~ Class of 1980

Departed ~ 3/12/2020

Lisa Seale class of 1975 wrote:

Claire attended ISB from March 1970 to June 1975. Our family returned to the States in August 1975, when my father was stationed on Oahu. Claire graduated from high school there, but would have been in the Class of 1980 had our family stayed in Bangkok that long. She was the youngest of four children. (I graduated from ISB in 1975 and was the oldest, so I’m not sure where Char came up with 1973, but it’s kind of here to have notified you). Claire’s dates are 1962-2020 and she is survived by two daughters.

Charlyn Jackson-Derrick class of 1975 wrote:

Lisa Seale’s sister, Claire was in class of 1980, she passed this last year. I haven’t seen a posting for her in ISBeings. I became reacquainted with Lisa and her family when I attended her mother’s funeral in Norman two years ago. They are an amazing beautiful clan. Thanks, Char

Claire Marie (Seale) Amspacher, 57, passed away peacefully on March 12, 2020. She was surrounded by loving family and friends.

Claire loved nursing and she devoted both her personal and professional life to caring for the ill and injured. Claire graduated from the University of Oklahoma’s nursing program as a Registered Nurse in 1995 and started her nursing career at the Veteran’s Administration hospital in Oklahoma City, later working on surgical-care floors at Norman Regional. Most recently she served in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Porter campus of Norman Regional. She had many friends and colleagues at the ICU whom she enjoyed working with, and she shared their deep dedication to patients. She is remembered by many for her hard work, kindness, and wicked sense of humor.

Claire spent her childhood in travels around the world with her family, as her father was posted on numerous assignments by the US Army; two favorite locations were West Germany and Thailand. The family also enjoyed travelling by Space-A to Italy, Spain, South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and India.

After graduating from high school in Hawaii, Claire moved to Norman, Oklahoma, where she met her future husband Mark Amspacher, working at the family business, which had been started during the Great Depression by Mark’s grandfather. The Southside Grocery was a beloved Norman institution and Claire had many stories to tell. The two were married in 1981. Later, Mark started another Norman institution, The Diner on Main Street, which Claire ran with her daughter Bonnie for five years after Mark passed away in 2010. (Fans of the Food Network can still see Claire on American Diner Revival, in season one, episode one’s feature of The Diner.)

Claire enjoyed gardening, knitting, horseback riding, hiking, traveling, and many other active pursuits, such as fossil hunting. She shared her enjoyment of the outdoors with friends and family, with many camping, hiking, and horseback riding trips throughout the United States over her lifetime. She had many pets over the years, including beloved dogs, cats, and horses. She had a particular love for bluegrass prairies and birdwatching. Her passion for travel took her back to Thailand more than once in recent years, where she hiked in a national park and visited an elephant park. She also traveled twice to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, as well as to Ecuador and to Rajasthan in India with her mother and one of her sisters (one of her favorite exclamations on that trip was, “Ruins!”). Claire had dreams of visiting the Great Wall of China and taking a walking tour of Scotland.

Claire is survived by her daughters Sarah Claire Amspacher (Brian Przywojski), Bonnie Marie Amspacher, and Shonda Peaches Amspacher, as well as her father Thomas Arthur Seale, her brother Eric Christopher Seale (Sandra), her two sisters, Lisa Ann Seale (J. D. Whitney) and Karen Marie Seale (David Fung), and extended family members. Claire was preceded in death by her husband Daniel Mark Amspacher, her mother Lois Ann (Guettinger) Seale, her maternal grandparents Oscar John and Pauline (Greenway) Guettinger of San Leandro, California, and her paternal grandparents Arthur Lisle and Mary Ethel (Marie-Attala Plante) Seale of Oakland, California.

The family thanks the dedicated doctors, nurses, and staff at Norman Regional Health System’s Oncology Clinic and Cancer Management Center for extending Claire’s life after her initial diagnosis in 2017. The family also extends its deep gratitude for the in-home care of hospice nurses and staff from Good Shepherd Hospice. She was treated with care and love.

A memorial gathering for family and friends will take place in the fall. This timing is out of consideration for health concerns amid the global pandemic. A small funeral Mass with immediate family will be celebrated at St. Thomas More University Parish in Norman, Oklahoma. We deeply appreciate your kindness in wishing to say good-bye to Claire and to help celebrate her memory, which all her family shares. Updated information on a larger service in the fall will be provided on the Havenbrook Funeral Home page for Claire. May she rest in peace.

Memorial donations may be sent to the WildCare Foundation at, or to the Norman Regional Health Foundation at, which will direct gifts made in Claire’s memory to cancer care.



Please send pictures (old and new), anecdotes, articles, stories and tributes to isbeings at gmail dot com

David Douglas Thomas Neiman ~ Class of 1971

David Neiman ~ Class of 1971

Departed ~ 11/22/2020


David Neiman ~ Class of 1971 ~ Departed ~ 11/22/2020
David Douglas Thomas Neiman May 13, 1952 ~ November 22, 2020 (age 68) With extreme sadness we announce the passing of David Douglas Thomas “McNasty” Neiman. David passed peacefully in his sleep Sunday, November 22, 2020 after a prolonged battle with cancer. He was born May 13, 1952 in Philadelphia, PA. The son of Jack Neiman, Jr and Elizabeth Neiman, both deceased. His sister Meda Neiman Jones passed away in 1975. David is survived by the love of his life, his wife Susan Neiman. Theirs is a love story 50 years in the making and cut way too short by this horrible disease. David attended International School in 1969 for a few months. Susan and David reconnected after 50 years just prior to his diagnosis. They had two life and love filled years together. David is also survived by two brothers, John Neiman of Colorado and Mark Neiman of Florida, and his sister Evelyn Neiman Green of Florida; Two stepdaughters, Brianna and Tacia; one granddaughter; Several nephews and one niece also survive; One grand nephew, two grand nieces and one more unrevealed grand niece or nephew (due in May) also survive. He is also survived by his sweet little fur babies, Luna and Lilli, who he loved greatly. David is also survived by many other “family” members, both biological and simply adopted by his love. David lived an adventurous life traveling all over the world. He embodied brotherly love and was generous with his smile and laughter. He was loved by all he met. He loved life and spread cheer wherever he went. David worked for many years for Cadence in Dallas Texas. He followed the sun from Texas in the Spring and Fall to Colorado in the Summer and if it got too cold he headed to Belize in the winter. He lived in Hawaiian print shirts, shorts and flip-flops. David, his smile and laughter will be missed by all who knew him. David was married for 37 years prior to finding the true love of his life, Susan Mulholland-Neiman class of 74.
Please send pictures (old and new), anecdotes, articles, stories and tributes to isbeings at gmail dot com

Marvin L. Kennaugh ~ Class of 1968

Marvin L. Kennaugh ~ Class of 1968

Departed ~ 1/15/2021

Two Sorely Forgotten. Jon Cole and Marvin Kennaugh 1968 Erawan.

Dennis Lloyd Kennaugh wrote:

Marvin passed away at 1pm 01/15/21. He was tested twice at the hospital for Covid, and 2nd one was positive. He went to hospital to find out he had a minor stroke, but no bleeding in brain, also was type 2 diabetes, HBP, complete blockage of one aorta, partial blockage in another aorta, had trouble walking long distances which is why he still was working at Dulles Airport USPS Distribution Center 2 wks  before going to hospital why he never retired, he loved the work, and co-workers he worked with, only exercise he got.

Our family appreciates all the prayers, and blessings given.
He appreciated, and loved all his families/relatives, FB friends , and of course all his ISB’er friends, especially 67, 68, 69 & 70.

He went peacefully in his sleep with wife Shin, his son Jonathan, and daughter Stephanie(they all came to the 1990 San Antonio reunion, only one he ever attended) at his side.

God bless, and is resting in peace.

Please send pictures (old and new), anecdotes, articles, stories and tributes to isbeings at gmail dot com