Wheelock College Class Notes for Winter 2015 | Classes of 1930-1959
Bette Mosher Geci '63 writes: "After attending my 50th Reunion, where our class received large yellow flowers, I gave my flower to Rosemary O'Reilly Hoben '38 [a member of Wheelock's 75th Reunion class that year]! For years, Rosemary ran the Little Brick Nursery School in Litchfield, CT. Rosemary had fond memories of Wheelock: She sang to my husband and me a little ditty the girls used to sing in the dorm, 'Will you have tea with me? Then I'll have tea with you. ... ' Lucy Wheelock was still director in '38. Rosemary remembered how petite Miss Wheelock was and said, 'She was so tiny that we were afraid to sneeze for fear she'd blow away!' Incidentally, Rosemary had found many ways of using the yellow flower that she moved about her room at Noble Horizons in Salisbury, CT. On an early June  visit, she had a golden bird nesting in it! So, the yellow flower of a Wheelock Reunion was still 'blooming' with Rosemary's creativity. I feel fortunate that on June 18 we fulfilled a wish Rosemary had for a public reading by my husband, Jerry, of Richard Wilbur's Loudmouse, one of her favorite children's books. She died on June 30, 2014, at age 97."
1941 Lucy Parton Miller In May 2013 Laymon and I (Lucy) moved to an assisted-living court in the Shell Point Retirement Community [in Fort Myers, FL]. It was the right move at the right time. In two months, he had his 95th birthday, and in five months, we had a family celebration of our 71st anniversary. Though lacking in his usual energetic lifestyle, Laymon was happy to enjoy that momentous occasion. Sadly, 10 days later, he died peacefully in his sleep. We can feel nothing but gratitude that we were able to share such a beautiful long life together and in relatively good health. Our precious children and 12 grandchildren with 12 great-grandchildren are unceasing in their loving, thoughtful care. We have good friends and excellent nursing care, and we both were fond of our little apartment. I am taking a sittersize class and enjoying concerts and lectures and otheractivities provided. Visitors, cards, and letters keep those Wheelock memories alive. The Alumni Relations Office recognizes, too, and appreciates that Laymon used to type Lucy's scribe reports; attended "as many Reunions as [she] did," as Lucy says; and co-hosted several class parties at their house when they lived in Weston, MA.
The publisher of Helen "Stevie" Roberts Thomas' memoir, In the Valley of the Yangtze: Stories from an American Childhood in China, has called the book a "literary triumph." A representative from the company emailed Wheelock to share praise from one reviewer, who wrote about how it easily sparks readers' interest in faraway China and helps them "learn more than they ever could from reading a history or any other nonfiction (or even fiction) book of that period in China."
Jean Sullivan Riley Gertrude Van Iderstine Phillips and husband Tom are "still living a quiet life except for [their] expanding family." They are now up to 10 great-grands, and some members of their huge family are still living around Boston. She says they have much to be thankful for.
Jean Reilly Cushing
Anne Mulholland Heger
Doris Jackson Marshall still uses her Wheelock skills when teaching an adult Bible study group. She continues after 10 years volunteering with Meals on Wheels. Once a week she answers the phone at her church. Jane Bartlett Mason and her husband went on a Danube River cruise in September 2013. Jane has five great-grandchildren. One of her grandsons and his family moved to Zimbabwe for three years. They are working with peasant farmers to dig wells and provide irrigation. Mariah "Cindy" MacGilvra Temby found living in Texas very different from Massachusetts. Houston is immense, she said, with "much to offer" culturally, and more conservative (in the Bible Belt). She said the western part of the state is desert where towns are 50 miles apart. Cindy was planning to be back in Massachusetts by the end of 2014.
I (Anne, your class scribe) have been kept busy with the weddings of three grandchildren in the last year and half. I welcomed a great-grandson in July 2013. It is so wonderful to see the family grow. Sorry I did not attend Reunion as I had a family graduation.
Edith "Anne" Runk Wright
How quickly we seem to be turning calendar pages these days! Last May, requests for class news arrived from the Alumni Office with responses due back in June. And then suddenly it was the July 4 weekend with responses being compiled and then readied for the fall issue of the Magazine. But the publishing schedule was changed, and Class Notes won't reach you until early 2015. Nevertheless, read on!
Beverly Boardman Brekke-Bailey writes that at this time of life her growing family is her priority - with two great-grandsons added to 11 grandchildren. She is still an active learner with classes in theology study, water aerobics, and silversmithing. Her jewelry is sold statewide and is in four juried art galleries through the Prairie Art Alliance and the Illinois State Artisans Program. Shirley Stevens French says that even at 85 she is still enjoying her Wheelock degree! And I (Louise) am sure that is true of so many of us at 85 - above or yet to be! Shirley volunteers weekly in the city schools with a teacher who works with gifted elementary schoolchildren, and also in a day care center with 3-year-olds. Two book clubs keep her inspired, the tennis court keeps her fit, and their 10 grandchildren are a stimulating part of their lives. Patricia Gindele Guild still teaches Sunday school, plays bridge, plays games with neighborhood children, and preaches about "the futility of homework in lower school - children need to PLAY," she writes. "Today's kids don't even know how." She continues to stay in touch with some of her foster care children and is also still a strong advocate for positive foster care programs. Her daughter-in-law is head of school at Brimmer and May School, and her granddaughters have visited China; one speaks Chinese and is a tutor.
"Hi to all" from Harriet Howenstein Hull, who reports that she is a "lucky old gal" moving around from Grosse Pointe, MI, to Vero Beach, FL, and to Harbor Springs, MI, in the summer. Two grandchildren recently got married. "I have five children and 14 grandchildren, so my motto is 'One day at a time' or life can be overwhelming," she writes. Laura Richardson Payson says she is still trying to stay busy at North Hill, a retirement place with lots to do. (Those of us who also live in retirement communities are finding lots to do, new people to meet.) Laura did spend a few days in New York with Mary Hathaway Hayter '50 and also saw Edie "Anne" Runk Wright '50. Both are fine.
We had hoped for more news/responses, but the above were the only ones sent. Thanks to Connie Brennan Ryan, who prompted a few telephone conversations amongst the commuter group classmates. Connie keeps going - does some gardening and enjoys family gatherings in spite of two knee replacements and having to meet the challenges of Parkinson's. Two of her daughters live nearby in Portland, ME. Connie said her sister-in-law, Anne Ryan King Gilpatrick, is doing well and is still an avid Red Sox fan.
A phone chat with Joan Higgins Foley told of her 85th birthday surprise celebration. Her entire family was there in California with a video, scrapbooks, photo albums, and so many memories exchanged that it was almost worth being 85! Nancy Williams Mohn finds time to play bridge and to volunteer at the library and for other projects. 2014 travel included two weeks in Florida in February with her three sisters and then time in the Boston area for Mother's Day with daughter Karen's family, which included a trip to Nauset Beach so she could smell the ocean and feel the salt (icy) water on her feet. Back home in Ohio, daughter Randy's family includes Nancy in various nature trips - e.g., a canoe trip, hikes in the woods, etc.
And finally, here I am, Louise Butts. As I read and listened to your shared news, I was aware of the common threads that connect us ... the many aspects of family lives, activities, accomplishments, health challenges, the mid-80s birthdays, the loss of family members and friends ... but first of all, we are Wheelock classmates and grads of 63 years ago (is it really that long ago?). Looking ahead to 2016, our 65th Reunion! See you there - if not before.
Martha Brown McGandy
Jeanne Cadigan Berlew and husband King are living in a retirement community a short distance from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME, but also still go to Vero Beach, FL, for five months of the year. She regrets that they had to give up tennis, but they play golf when they can. They find having their two children pretty close by most enjoyable and helpful when needed. We were sorry to hear from Ann Sibley Conway of the difficult times she and husband Carle went through in late 2013 and the first half of 2014, when Carle was found to have stomach cancer and then needed surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. By June, he was a little more interested in food and his tests seemed to show improvement. Ann loved last summer's beautiful blue skies but enjoyed the 106-degree days from her air-conditioned home. They are "still into Porsche cars." Their grandchildren visited for a week last year, and Ann reports that they are doing well in school and sports.
"Best wishes to you all!" from Elaine Barnes Downing, who wrote last spring from her lovely Rosewood Retirement Health Center (Bakersfield, CA) room overlooking "a colorful rose garden set in green lawns and trees overflowing with hand-sized leaves." Daughter Debbie, recently divorced, now has a home near the University of California, Davis and visits Elaine often. Son Kent and his wife still visit from New Zealand a few times a year. Nancy Walker Driscoll continues to enjoy being with friends and meeting new residents after living at Winterberry Heights in Bangor, ME, for three years. When she's not playing bridge or cribbage, she's listening to musicians or enjoying a delicious meal or dessert. "We have an active knitting club that has made hats for hospital newborns, scarves for school children, and, now, blankets for the Bangor Humane Society," she writes. "I was interviewed on WABI-TV for our donation of 40 newborn hats!" Nancy finds Maine summers lovely and says she didn't mind last winter's record cold because she was warm and cozy sitting by the fireplace there. She still enjoys keeping in touch with many classmates through the "Round Robin" that has continued for more than 50 years.
We are sorry to learn of the passing of Selby Brown Ehrlich's husband, Peter, last February from complications of Parkinson's disease and dementia. Selby continues her usual volunteer work and stays busy with her four sons and four grandchildren. Two sons are in Miami, one in Atlanta, and one in British Columbia. Pat Conzelman Greeley '52/'90MS was in touch just after she attended Wheelock's festive Pre-Commencement Dinner last spring, when she was still mending and doing pool therapy after a bad car accident she'd been in the previous November. At that point, the five broken vertebrae in her neck had been repaired and doctors were still working on a number of broken rods in her back. All of that hasn't stopped her from serving on the South Middlesex Opportunity Council Board and thereby helping low-income community members with things like affordable housing, job training, mental health issues, and heating assistance. Pat laments that her singing days are over but says she's getting used to her two new hearing aids. She and husband Tony enjoy their grandkids' activities and have no great-grands yet.
Anne DeLamater Hansen let the College know last summer of the passing of her husband, Dr. John Hansen, on July 6. We are very sorry for her loss. Anne is getting used to the mountains of her new area (Brevard, NC) and loves its beautiful flowers, many of which she'd never seen in the Northeast. Her son and his wife own the very popular Blue Ridge Bakery in Brevard.
"Every season has its transitions," writes Cornelia "Connie" Krull Hutt, who adds that the biggest transition for her and husband Earl has been seeing single grandchildren enter into matrimony: In a recent seven-month period, they attended four such (very different-from-each-other) weddings in four different states! As much of a blessing as all of that travel and family time were to Connie, she was happy to get settled back home in Westborough, MA, with her watercolor art lessons at the Worcester Art Museum, knitting projects for charities, and challenging but joyful church singing. "Another activity which consumes fairly large segments of time is the creation of greeting cards with the help of computer programs which supply the pictures," she writes. "I create the poems and choose the fonts and their colors." Connie says she and Earl have been blessed with good health and have no plans to move out of their home. Ann Harvie Ormond has retired from her job as a guide at the Nemours Mansion and Gardens in Wilmington, DE, after 34 years there. "To survive this life change," she writes, "I will be taking Spanish lessons to be able to communicate with my 13-year-old grandson who lives with me." Ann has been living in the same house since 1971.
"What fun to be in my 80s!" writes Mary Major Rubel. Healthy and grateful to be so, she and husband Peter live in a "'retirement home' for independent people" where there seems to be no shortage of activities. Mary sings second soprano in two choral groups, belongs to two book clubs, gets treadmill exercise, does cross-country in the winter, and attends the Boston Symphony on Friday afternoons. Their seven grandchildren are their delight.
Priscilla Buckingham Banghart
Ruth Flink Ades is still talking about what a "delightful experience" the 60th Reunion was for her. Her winter and spring 2014 flew by and included returning to the North four times for various holidays and outstanding family events. She and husband Alan also took a great Tauck trip to Singapore and a cruise up the China Sea to Vietnam ports and Hong Kong and spent the Chinese New Year in Beijing. "A big treat was spending time at Wheelock Singapore," Ruth writes. "I spoke to seniors and grad students. Such fun! Such beautiful faces of these young students. Thank you, Wheelock, for this great opportunity. We are all doing great work promoting Wheelock."
Elizabeth Bassett Wolf
Sue Hamburger Thurston
It was an exciting time for our Class of 1954 last spring. For those who could join us at our 60th Wheelock Reunion, we felt both lucky and honored to be celebrating such a remarkable milestone in our lives. Read on to learn more.
Volney Forsyth Dawson had a "Rocky Mountain High Fourth of July Visit" with the three of her families who are Colorado residents. Then some of them took a few days in the mountains, at Winter Park, where they used to ski. It is always hard to come back down from the mountains, but "Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home." Sylvia Tailby Earl writes that the last two weeks of July were busy for her: meetings, painting in plein air, and a two-day stay at a Chesapeake Bay Foundation Educational facility in Virginia at Tangier Island where there are no cars - only golf carts, bikes, and scooters. "I loved getting the Reunion picture," she writes. "Everyone looks great." She sends her love to all.
"Sorry I couldn't be with you at our Reunion due to too many commitments in Pennsylvania, including working hard to elect a new governor," says Janet Culbertson Gill. "I had a terrible bout of bronchial pneumonia in the fall [of 2013] but am doing well now after a long recovery. I'm back at Fitness Center, playing bridge, staying busy with family activities and church involvement, and keeping body and mind alive and well." Ruth McKinley Herridge writes: "Bill and I thoroughly enjoyed the 60th Class Reunion, with our friends and the delightful events. A great occasion to always remember at Wheelock." Nancy Shapiro Hurwitz and husband Mike returned from Naples, FL, where they spent six months, just in time to join the class for the Sunday Brunch at our 60th Reunion.
It was a very busy spring for Nicky Wheeler L'Hommedieu. First a wonderful 60th Reunion, then a grandson graduated from college, followed by a granddaughter getting married in June at a beautiful home wedding. Cheers to all! Eileen O'Connell McCabe loved our 60th and mentioned how everyone enjoyed each other, remembered those who were not there with warmth and affection, was treated with care by staff and students, and appreciated the variety of planned activities. She also mentioned how big and beautiful Wheelock now looks with its amazing expansion and additions. For her, being with classmates, exchanging memories and sharing family news, was one of the highlights. She was so glad to be able to be part of this special event and is looking five years down the road.
"I shall always hold treasured memories of my four years at Wheelock - Colchester House, friends, and a superb education," says Caroline Howard McCarty. She also says that all is very well with her family and with her, for which she is truly grateful! She also keeps up with two wonderful Wheelock friends from the Class of '53: Dody deVausney Ames, a neighbor, and Gina Daly Lundstrom, now from Wisconsin. Lois Barnett Mirsky and husband Irwin have made a "big life change." They sold their home in Plymouth, MA, and have become apartment dwellers in Westwood, MA. "It's like going home again because that's the town we lived in for 38 years," she writes. "We are following the advice of so many friends who say that at this stage in our lives we should live near one of our children." They are now 15 minutes from son Andrew, wife Trish, and 12-year-old twin grandsons, Alex and Ben.
"I'm looking forward to rooming with Eileen O'Connell McCabe, Penny Power Odiorne, and Chippy Bassett Wolf at our 60th Reunion," wrote Nancy Pennypacker Temple '54/'80MS last spring. "I'm also eager to visit with classmates, view Wheelock's improvements, visit museums, and watch the Red Sox in their summer quarters. While I'm in New England, I also plan to visit with family, especially my sister in New Hampshire, Henriette Pennypacker Binswanger '56." Penny Power Odiorne writes: "The highlight of my year was being with dear classmates (all 11 of us) at our 60th Reunion ... sharing a suite with Pennypacker, Chippy, and Eileen in the new and huge Campus Center, sitting through a Red Sox game in the rain, and dining in the beautiful and amazing Earl Center (Thanks, Syl and Jim!). We're already planning to reunite for our 65th."
"I'm SO sorry to have missed the Reunion," says Pattie Andrews Richmond. "Thanks to Bob's help, I was able to get through both airports with a wheelchair and special assistance to get to Minneapolis for all the festivities at a grandson's graduation party, a granddaughter's summer theater camp performance, and a competition involving 67 high schools throughout the state of New Mexico. My walker enables me to get around Maris Grove very well, but outside activities are very minimal." Fran Levine Rogovin was very touched that our class was greeted by all the alumni at the Reunion assembly with a standing ovation. Our octogenarian Class of 1954 looks and acts a lot younger than our years might indicate. Sue Hamburger Thurston feels that it was the right decision for her to move from Florida, where she had lived for 25 years, to a retirement community near her younger daughter in Illinois. She has joined a knitting group, a writing group, and a retired teachers group and will join a pen and ink drawing class and an art group soon. She and her two daughters loved the new campus and had a wonderful time at the Reunion.
I (Chippy) feel convinced that our class has gone out of its way to make our College even stronger than when we graduated 60 years ago. We felt very honored at the Reunion by those at the State of the College gathering, where many other classes have also made a similar effort. Wheelock, Wheelock, we're loyal to thee. ...
Penny Kickham Reilly
Nancy Cerruti Humphreys
Reunion 2015 May 29-31
Margaret "Maggie" Weinheimer Sherwin
Hello to all of you! This is the news I (Maggie) collected from classmates last spring:
Carol Yudis Stein and husband Jim celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary with Laura Lehrman and attended the Sarasota, FL, Wheelock luncheon late last winter. She was very impressed with President Jenkins-Scott and the direction in which the College is going. A lot of Carol's family chose to escape the terrible winter weather in the Northeast by visiting Carol and Jim in Florida. Mardy Moody O'Neil and Hugh were planning numerous trips: one to Boston for meetings, genealogy research, and memories, followed by a trip along the Elbe River. Also on the travel schedule were a granddaughter's wedding, a trip to England, and a research trip to Salt Lake City. Hugh celebrated his 80th birthday in February 2014.
I (Maggie) don't know how Sally Beckwith Novak found time to send her news. She's still busy with book clubs, teaching swim classes, singing, her watercolor painting, and family get-togethers. Mollie Farnham Love still teaches bridge two days a week and plays competitively the rest of the week. She is a Silver Life Master in duplicate bridge and still finds time to work in her garden. Nancy Hallock Cooper received a new hip in May but was planning to dance at her granddaughter's wedding in July.
Liz Sturtz Stern relates that they even had snow in North Carolina. While her husband, Murray, was "housebound" (i.e., couldn't golf in the snow), he came across a scrapbook full of Liz's high school and Wheelock photos. She's promised to bring it to our next Reunion. They had a golfing trip to Cornwall, England, and then, on their own, toured Wales.
There was a nice article in The Frederick News-Post (MD) about Lionel and Sandy Meyers Chaiken. See if you can get to http://m.fredericknewspost.com/news/health/middletown-race-for-hope-founders-still-in-it-for-their/article_2f500b6f-c65e-588d-a947-152e80e0d451.html?mode=jqm. They remain very active in supporting brain cancer research. Jane Bowler Pickering and Dick finally sold their house in Jefferson, ME, and have moved to a retirement community in Belfast, ME. They were there only a few days before heading to their winter abode in Florida. They even had an ice storm in the panhandle area.
Mannie Cook Houston was about to attend her grandson's T-ball game when she wrote. Colin started going to all-day kindergarten last fall, and Mannie misses the time she used to spend with him. Her son and daughter-in-law from New Zealand were in the States last spring, and Mannie flew to Louisiana to visit them. Somehow, on her trip home she was seated in first class and thoroughly spoiled.
Your scribe is much too busy but better busy than bored. The mowing business is doing well, I ushered at Glimmerglass Opera again last summer, and I still find time to do a lot of "crafty" projects, attend concerts, and keep in touch with grandkids. The oldest graduated from community college last spring and has been weighing her options for the future. The next one down started college last fall. Where did all those years go?
Sally Schwabacher Hottle Margot Moore Greener
Arlene Platten Baxter spends six months every year in Florida, where she volunteers at a museum, a repertory theater, and a performing arts center. The other six months she lives in Monroeville, PA, where she gets her "Granny fix" with children and grandchildren, ages 8, 13, and 14. Barbara Sahagian Carlson writes from Alfred, ME, that she has been very busy at the Alfred Shaker Museum working to increase an active membership. Go to AlfredShakerMuseum.com to see a newly made video about the Alfred Shakers that is being shown at the museum.
Maddy Gatchell Corson writes from Falmouth, ME, that she sees Patty Haas and Jan Swanson in the Sarasota/St. Pete beach area; they are busy with family nearby. Maddy says Reunion was loving and full of memories, as always. The only missing pieces were all classmates who were unable to come.
Last March, Linda Bullard Lipnik moved to a continuing care facility, Blakeford at Green Hills, in Nashville, TN. "If anyone is in the area, I would love to hear from you," she writes. Sue Abbot McCord, much to her surprise, had open-heart surgery last April due to an inherited heart disease. What a shock to her particularly because she had been so healthy all her life; she says she's getting better every day. She lost her beloved Charlie last spring and still misses him terribly. Sue's children and "grands" are doing very well. Cassie is going to the University of Massachusetts, and Riley spent her high school senior year as an exchange student in Bosnia.
Virginia Ludwig McLaughlin is well and busy in Houlton, ME, doing rug hooking among other things. Her brother, Leland, died unexpectedly on May 3, 2014. Granddaughter Elizabeth is doing the college search, and grandsons Jack and Sam are into sports, music, and volunteering. Gini sends a special "Hi" to Margie Riner. Diantha Sheldon Patterson writes that they moved to Carlsbad, CA, in November 2013 to be near their daughter Sarah and grandsons, ages 10, 8, 6, and 4. She enjoys being able to help them after school with their homework. Gail Grew Thomson writes from Naples, FL, that they sold their house in Concord, MA, last year and will now rent in Osterville, MA, in the summer. Their address is 64 Bayview; if anyone is nearby, she would love to get together.
As for me, Sally Schwabacher Hottle, I still advocate for seniors and adult disabled individuals in Fairfax County (VA), volunteer in my church, play bridge, and travel whenever I can. In January 2014 I went to Antarctica, and in March I spent a week in the Caribbean on the Star Clipper, a 21-sail clipper ship.
We who attended our 55th Reunion had a wonderful weekend filled with conversation, renewal of friendships, and thoughts of all who were not able to be with us. Our hope is to see many of you at our 60th. Our love to all of you from "Boo" Sahagian Carlson, Maddy Gatchell Corson, Nancy Dorrien, Sally Schwabacher Hottle, Del Eldridge Osborne, and Margot Moore Greener.