Get to know John!


Located In
Walla Walla, Washington


Andrews University, D.Min., Leadership, 2000

Andrews University, M.Div., Leadership and Counseling, 1980

Southern Adventist University, B.A., History and Religion, 1977

Memberships & Associations

Fellow in Charitable Estate Planning (FCEP), Charitable Estate Planning Institute

Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, Past Member

Rotary Club of Walla Walla, Past President and Director

Paul Harris Fellow

Don Sherwood Fellow

Walla Walla University Annual Community Service Award, Honoree

Community Council, Past Treasurer and Trustee

Walla Walla Ministerial Fellowship, Past Officer

Helpline of Walla Walla, Charter Trustee and Board Chair


Walla Walla General Hospital Foundation, Executive Director, 2008-2017

Blue Mountain Broadcasting Association, President, 2005-2008

Walla Walla University Church, Pastor, 1984-2008

Walla Walla University, Campus Chaplain, 1988-2001

Arizona State University, Campus Minister, 1982-1984

Flagstaff Adventist Church, Pastor, 1980-1982

Camelback Adventist Church, Ministerial Intern, 1979-1980

John Cress has enjoyed a successful leadership career in the nonprofit sector, with distinguished roles in higher education, religion, healthcare, broadcasting, social services, and community organizations. He is a gifted communicator and facilitator with a broad range of experiences including community hospital chief development officer, university vice president, campus chaplain, pastor, adjunct professor, and nonprofit founder and trustee. 

John’s listening skills and expertise in helping people clarify their core values and fulfill their most important objectives and aspirations are qualities that enable him to serve individuals, families, and nonprofits well, in collaboration with his Thompson & Associates professional colleagues.

As one who believes that humans are hardwired for story and live their lives in and through their individual and interconnecting narratives, John is a deeply curious student and enthusiastic gatherer and teller of life-transforming stories.

John and his spouse, Pamela Keele Cress, Ph.D., a university administrator and bereavement scholar and practitioner, share a passion for excellence in leadership, relationship building, and community service.  Walla Walla, Washington has been their home for more than three decades.  Pam and John have two daughters—one is a publications editor and the other a hospital chaplain—and three delightfully lively grandchildren.  The Cress family enjoys traveling, reading, storytelling, music, laughing out loud, community engagement, and spending time with family and friends.