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Dr. Winona Trason Memorial Page - MPC Foundation


Mom, Ann Western States 100 mile 1989Pictured: Winona (L), Tilly and daughter, Ann (R)

A Note from Dr. Winona Trason’s Daughter – Ann 

“I learned early from my parents that the best reward for working hard to achieve your passion is the opportunity to give something back. My father is a retired educator and coach. He always worked hard to share his knowledge and help his students succeed. My mother was an extraordinary woman, a zoologist who earned a Masters from Stanford in 1955 and a Ph.D. from Cal in 1959 when it was very rare for a woman to succeed in the sciences.

She loved all creatures – from cute dogs, cats, birds, and turtles, to homely sea squirts – and loved helping others to understand their beauty and place in the natural world. She taught at Monterey Peninsula College and went on to become the Chairperson of the Life Sciences Division. She had an incredible passion for teaching, and a special affection for those whose dream was to spend their lives helping others. There are many nurses and doctors practicing today who never would have achieved their career goals except for my mother’s caring and mentoring.

Trason Camping Napa

 The Trason family camping in Napa circa mid-1970’s.

When she passed away, far too young, the College established the Dr. Winona Trason Health Sciences Scholarship in her honor. It provides funds for a deserving student in the health sciences. Recently I established the Dr. Winona Trason Scholarship Fund at the MPC Foundation to benefit an outstanding student in the Maurine Church Coburn School of Nursing. This fund will honor the memory of my mother in a very special way, by recognizing a student who excels in the area of nursing and is on a path to make a difference in peoples’ lives, much like my mother did.”


Winona Trason

In loving memory of
Dr. Winona Jean Bethune Trason 
Obituary dated December 15, 1991, Monterey Herald

Winona Trason, who taught biology and microbiology at Monterey Peninsula College for 25 years, died yesterday of cancer at the University of California Medical Center in San Diego. She was 66.

Born April 8, 1925, in Oakland, Mrs. Trason was a resident of the Peninsula for 35 years.

She retired from MPC as a professor emeritus two years ago. Before teaching there, she taught at Hartnell College in Salinas, Contra Costa Community College in Contra Costa County, the University of California at Berkeley and Victoria College in Victoria, British Columbia.

She received a bachelor of science degree from the University of British Columbia, a master’s degree from Stanford University and her doctorate from UC-Berkeley.

She was chairwoman of the Life Sciences Division and the Biology-Microbiology Department.

“In my 26 years at MPC, of all the people who have come and gone, I can think of few who have contributed more than she has,” said MPC President, David Hopkins.

In addition, Hopkins said, “she was truly a master teacher – her ratings by both students and administration over the years were almost perfect.”

She is survived by her husband, Dennis of Pacific Grove; a daughter, Ann, of Kensington; a son, John, of Castroville; and two grandchildren.

Click here if you would like to share a memory about Dr. Winona Trason.

Click here if you would like to contribute to the Dr. Winona Trason Scholarship Fund at the MPC Foundation.

4 Memories Shared on the Guestbook

  1. Allye H.R. says:

    Winona is my hero. Incisively analytical, commandingly intelligent, warm and wry, she shines brightly in my memory. I see her in two places: flat on her back, along with the rest of us at a Life Science camp out on Chews Ridge, marveling at the night sky; striding elegantly down the aisle in the Lecture Forum to make the speech introducing Dr. David Hopkins as the President of MPC. She defined leadership and modeled strength and grace.

  2. Bill L. says:

    During the course of the last 79 years I have met many people who have had an affect upon my life. These people include relatives, friends, teachers, colleagues, professors, bosses and others. Some of those people have profoundly influenced the development of my character. Winona Trason was one of those people. Winona was kind, funny, clever, intelligent, likable, wonderfully organized and very sensible. She was my colleague and friend and I shall never forget her. She changed my mind about politics. I became a Liberal because of Winona and I remain a Liberal to this day. She and her husband Dennis helped me so very much during a very difficult time in my life and, for that, I am eternally grateful. Winona and I team taught some classes at MPC and her presentations were always superb. The students loved her. Her colleagues loved her. I cried when she died and I cried again when I recently read her obituary and found that she was only 66 years old when she died.

    In the area between the life science building and the physical science building there is a small “parklet” that the members of Life Science Division built as a memorial to Winona. This small memorial park reflects how much her colleagues loved her. We didn’t have it built, we built it ourselves and whenever I find myself in the neighborhood, I amble over to the park, take a seat on one of the benches and have a little chat with Winona.

  3. Mary R. says:

    Winona was a wonderful scholar, a teacher, and a friend.

  4. John Kern says:

    Winona Trason helped me become a better teacher as a young man in the 1980s when I joined the life science division as an adjunct to teach horticulture. And I really needed that help. Now I’m back at MPC again to help our horticulture program regrow. I recently cleared weeds and pruned a bit around the memorial patio. You can sit and see the whale bone in the shade of sycamores and madrone. Come by and reflect on the contributions of Dr. Trason and excellent educators everywhere. Consider the thriving Monterey Bay ecosystem. Consider the Gray whale, recovered and off the endangered species list. Consider the plants, adapted, living and beautiful – on their own. Consider the life science building, where high standards and strong support produce so much confidence and competence. And when you leave, consider taking away some of the darned English Ivy! You might meet me there, doing all those things. Thank you Winona.

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