Classmates and friends of the Notre Dame Class of 1968,
In addition to reading new and old class notes – with the ability to search for names – you can submit photos and comments of your own.
Using the file directory at the right, you can navigate to pages set aside for various kinds of news
We can use the blog to leave comments, too. In order to add your comment, you will have to register. If you want to post photographs or new articles, send me your username at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will take care of the blog administration needed. You can also email me the note or the photo with instructions and I will post the material for you.
If you attend a game, look for the Class of 1968 flag. There, between the stadium and Legends (once the Senior Bar), you will find many of your friends.
There’s a rhythm of normalcy in the items of this report.
Yet, how abnormal is our normalcy.
When the death of a classmate is part of the news – and we have an instance in this report – the normalcy is stunning. Always, the guy we knew as the fellow down the hall, the former roommate, the Peace Corps volunteer or ROTC officer who went on to become the professor, the businessman, the husband, father, grandfather and vocal Notre Dame fan, this classmate inevitably and normally, also became the modest mainstay of his childrens’ Scout groups and sports teams, the maker of sandwiches for the parish ministry to the homeless, the neighborhood contributor, the guy whose death really is a loss.
Meanwhile, the living are living it up. Bill Matturo and his wife are enjoying the proximity of grandchildren in Sarasota, FL. Tom Gibbs and Sheila gathered Class President Tom Weyer and Mary, the McKenna cousins Tom with Mary Ann and Tom with Mary Pat, Tom Durkin and Janis, Rick McPartlin and Patty, Kathy McCann, Bryan Dunigan, Dennis Toolan and Mary Lou, Roger Guerin and Jean for a Les Turner fundraiser. Bob Denvir and Leslie chaperoned.
In Pittsburgh, Tom Weyer says, “Rocky Bleier is expanding his acting chops by playing a military judge in a professional Pittsburgh production of A Few Good Men this fall. He hopes for lots of rehearsal time, as he has spent 73 years prepping for his previous role.”
Tom Fitzharris, apparently not one for the golf course or the laziness of the beach, spent his July and August with two more New York City shows of his art work. Images are on the blog, www.ndclass1968.com. Californian Tom Loarie is in the third year of co-hosting The Mentors Radio, which airs on the Salem Network Saturdays in California. It is available 24/7 via podcast after it airs. Among the show’s inspiring guests have been Notre Dame alumni.
In Florence, SC, Tom Dorsel, father of five, grandfather of 12, devoted one of his Citizen Courier columns to fatherhood. Proposing that appreciation focus on the young dads still at their work, Tom closed with “If grandparents’ day ever catches on, then maybe the veterans of past parenting will get one last hurrah, one last nod, one final pat on the back for their sometimes forgotten years of service.”
Even though his own news is sloppy seconds, a duplicate of what he supplied for his University of Chicago law classmates, Ralph Neas sent pleasing word about his health: with a lot of grit and family support, he is recovering from the recurrence of Guiellen Barre Syndrome. After 180 days of hospitalization, Ralph is at home in Maryland, walking and climbing stairs, eager to resume work on his political memoir, about his work when politics included bipartisan collaboration.
Jim Woods, in Milwaukee, is a daily encouragement to groups of fellow military veterans he visits. A Falls Church, VA lunch visit Dennis Reeder and I had with John Schmelzer bubbled with John’s stories of classmates he knew in Howard Hall and in the summer ROTC training at Ft. Riley, KS. Joe Hale, in an email found in full on the blog, praised the accomplishments of Houston lawyer-accountant-MBA Dave Zell and Chicago area marketer Tom Culcasi: “right after graduation, Tom married Judy Donofrio (SMC ’68.), made his career in medical product sales, and with Judy, raised three Notre Dame graduates: sons Philip and Dave and daughter Maria.”
Another fine note on the blog is Father John Sheehan, SJ’s reflection on the 1968 and 1969 50 year reunions he attended.
Attesting to the normalcy of our classmates’ abnormal impact on those around them, USAF Captain Alya R. Reed, an ND’12 alumna, sent this with the obituary of our classmate Patrick Sharp, who died May 11, 2019 in Las Vegas, NV: “Pat was the definition of a patriot and his influence was crucial to the development of many of our greatest Air Force weapon systems. Although he did not have any blood-relatives at the time of his death, he taught, coached, and mentored an incredible number of people in the defense of our nation, many of whom considered him family. He was also distinctly proud of his alma mater (as all of us are).” Pat’s obituary appears on the blog.
Please remember, too, Brian Sullivan, whose mother Lillian, known as Snooky, died in June, 2019 and Bill Weiler, the former Irish Guards captain whose wife Edith, a photographer, died in January, 2019. On the blog is an article Bill sent about Edith and her work.
Please send news and photos to Tom Figel, 1054 West North Shore, Apt 3E, Chicago, IL 60626, tel. 773-764-4898, email@example.com, blog: www.ndclass1968.com. Let me know if you need help finding and contacting a classmate.
SOUTH BEND, IN – Jacqueline Ann “Jackie” Stephens, 68, passed away on Aug. 23, at home with her family. She was the beloved wife of Philip Krause of South Bend. She was preceded in death by her parents, Col. Jack and Almira Stephens of South Bend. Jackie is lovingly remembered by her daughter, Jillian Sawyer (Chris) of Denver and granddaughter, Charlotte; siblings, Elise (Dennis) Reeder of Alexandria, VA and John (Joann) Stephens of Chicago; her brother-in-law, Father Ed Krause, CSC; and her nieces and nephews, Bridget Westhoven, David Reeder, Kelly Cecil, John Stephens, Michael Stephens, and Jimmy Stephens. Jackie will also be warmly and joyfully remembered by so many good friends.
Known affectionately as “the little colonel,” Jackie grew up in locations around the world as the daughter of an Army officer, and made South Bend her permanent home beginning in 1964. She graduated from St. Mary’s Academy as valedictorian in 1968 and from St. Mary’s College with a degree in Fine Art in 1972. She had a long and successful business career. She worked with Doolittle Realty as the manager of the South Bend office. She later joined Waterfield Mortgage, working in the South Bend and Ft. Wayne offices for over 25 years. As a loan officer, she set a record of loan closures that will never be broken. She also mentored and trained hundreds of staff and employees and became a valued and beloved member of the Waterfield community. Jackie retired from Mutual Bank in South Bend in 2018.
In spite or perhaps because of being called “Peanut” by her father, Jackie lived an outsized life. Her humor, infectious laugh, and loving, generous personality drew friends from every neighborhood and every walk of life. As the children of “The Colonel” and Moose Krause, Jackie and her husband Phil have personified the heart and values of the Notre Dame community. Her hand-painted leprechauns popped up everywhere, even in the center of the original Notre Dame ice hockey rink. Her loss will be felt deeply by so many. Those closest to her will treasure the handcrafted Christmas ornaments she gifted them yearly.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Notre Dame in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Aug. 29, her 69th birthday, at 3:30 pm. The family will briefly greet visitors outside the Basilica before the service. A celebration of her life will follow.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center or the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation. Welsheimer Family Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. Family and friends may leave email condolences at www.welsheimer.com.Published in South Bend Tribune on Aug. 25, 2019
I have the unusual distinction of being a member of both the class of 1968 and 1969, and since my 25th reunion with ’69, I have attended all the intervening reunions. I was not going to miss the opportunity of going to my 50th twice.
I found them very different experiences. I knew more people in ’68, and although I may be wrong, it seemed to me that 1968 may have had slightly better treatment in terms of schedules or facilities. ’69 was very well-organized; there were regular weekly reminders for months before the reunion, stories from classmates, contributions to the class blog, and the organizers put out a reunion book, with mini bios of members, stories from our time, a very impressive publication – and our registration packet included a map of the campus from 1965 when the class started. Little touches that were fun.
Because of the screening of the Hesburgh movie on Saturday night, the class dinner for ’69 was tightly scheduled so it ended pretty much on schedule, by ’68 standards very early. The university organization was, as it always is, impeccable. I had the same feeling with the lectures and seminars this year that I did last year, that most were way too academic and for me at least, did not hold a lot of interest.
But the key for any reunion is people – meeting old friends, reconnecting with friends made during earlier reunions, and just meeting “new” people whose paths had not crossed before and discovering just how much we had in common. I can’t put a finger on it, but the character – the personality – of the two years is markedly different. Although we shared the campus for three years, the focal points were very different, the memories decidedly different, the reactions to things.
I had a great time at each of my 50th reunions – and now, of course, we can go back whenever we can go back. Of course my assignments as a Jesuit determine availability – and budget – but I know I will be back to reunite with the Great 68 – and the fine 69 – which rhymes with wine – and as always, if anyone is coming to Jordan before the next reunion, stop in. We even have guest rooms for men. And a great hotel two doors away.
Not sure if this is the kind of thing you had in mind – it isn’t what I thought I’d write and words did not come But just in case – here is something completely different.
Fr. John Sheehan is back in Amman, Jordan, after a flying trip to attend his SECOND 50th reunion, this time with the class of ’69. (Those who don’t know WHY he is in both classes should ask around, it’s a great story.) To celebrate his return he will be offering a solo concert in October; his first concert last year got national attention and great reviews in the national English-language newspaper. He reports the usual schedule of activities for a parish priest covering three different churches, including an upcoming pilgrimage trip to Malta, publishing a calendar and teaching several classes each week. But there is always time to host visitors and go to some of the wonderful places in Jordan – so any classmates coming to the REAL Holy Land, be sure and look him up. The Jesuit Center even has guest rooms (for men) and if you’re traveling with a wife or girl friend, there is a great hotel two doors away. You would be MOST welcome. The second is probably the better piece. I’ve included a couple of pictures from the first concert in case they’re looking for filler. And one visiting the son of Tom Holstein who I believe was ’68 – gone to God – Tom’s son is my godson, and I met HIS first born son on this trip – the 4th generation of the family I have known. Fr. John R. Sheehan, SJPastor – Sacred Heart Parish
The English Language Church in Amman Cell: 079 013-8985 (in Jordan)GMT +3The Jesuit Center, PO Box 212074, Amman 11121, Jordan. Packages: The Jesuit Center – LATIN CHURCH, PO Box 212074, Amman 11121, Jordan. Fedex: The Jesuit Center – LATIN CHURCH, 43 Al-Razi Street, Jabal Hussein, Amman, Jordan.
Rocky Bleier confronts his past in ESPN’s ‘The Return’
Rocky Bleier still isn’t used to being the center of attention, despite all he has accomplished in his documentary-worthy life.
“I think that the majority of people don’t know [my story], unless you’re an old Steelers fan,” he said. “I now am introduced to people outside of this area or even younger people in this area, and their parents or friends will say he played for the Steelers. I get that blank look, so then I have to put it in perspective.
“I go, ‘Listen, have you heard of Terry Bradshaw? Have you ever heard of Franco Harris? I’m the other guy.’ ”
Bleier’s story is about to be thrust into the national spotlight again due to “The Return,” a 30-minute documentary chronicling Bleier’s life from his days winning Super Bowls with the Steelers to him going back to the spot where he was injured as a soldier in Vietnam 50 years ago.
The full Tom Rinaldi-hosted documentary will debut on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 20, with a shorter version airing as part of “SC Featured,” a weekly series on “SportsCenter” Aug. 17-18.
“It’s a very powerful story,” producer Jon Fish said. “It’s an important story. Rocky was wonderful sharing himself with us and being so open. … “[I]t was really great and it’s one of those stories you’re proud to be a part of.”
Bleier’s career as a running back included a college football national championship with Notre Dame in 1966 and four Super Bowl rings with the Steelers . His most famous play as a Steeler was a touchdown he caught in Super Bowl XIII that gave the Steelers a lead over the Dallas Cowboys they never relinquished.
The lesser known part of Bleier’s story involves his time in Vietnam. He was drafted into military service in 1968 and came home a year later after suffering a severe injury to his legs while on patrol in Vietnam’s Hiep Duc district. Bleier was shot through the thigh and suffered a grenade blast to his foot.
He was told he could never play football again, but Bleier worked his way back into health and form enough to help Franco Harris anchor the backfield during the Steelers’ dynastic run. In “The Return,” Bleier goes back to the place where he was hurt 50 years ago and tries to make sense of his experiences since and the Vietnam War itself.
“What I did not expect was the strong emotional overtones that took over while in the rice paddy in Vietnam,” Bleier said. “I couldn’t understand where that emotion came from. Partly, I’m sure it was my visualization that when we went from Da Nang to Hiep Duc and how it had changed and grown in 50 years, how prosperous it had become.
“Maybe that became a subconscious feeling, because as I stood in that rice paddy recounting what had taken place … it was like, what for? Fifty-eight thousand Americans died, for what?”
It’s a hard concept to understand even all these years later, and the documentary includes multiple scenes of a raw, emotional Bleier being unable to hold back his feelings as they overwhelm him. Despite how hard it was for him to relive his trauma, Bleier is thankful for the opportunity to represent the voices of Vietnam War veterans in the 21st century.
“The thing that I had told [Tom] Rinaldi and Jon Fish was, it’s not as if the majority of Vietnam veterans specifically ever had an outlet to be able to talk about their experiences because of the way the war was perceived and the soldiers were perceived in that war,” he said. “There was nobody to talk about it, so the majority of soldiers had to repress those feelings. It wasn’t until years later that the American people finally warmed up or accepted veterans for serving their country and not necessarily identifying them with the war they served in.”
Fish had wanted to work with Bleier on this project for a decade. He remembered calling Bleier while the former Steeler was watching Notre Dame take on Princeton in the first round of the 2017 NCAA basketball tournament and finally getting him to agree to make the documentary.
“This was a story that everyone was on board with doing, so it was nice to finally be able to tell it,” Fish said. “It all kind of came together, but the most important piece was Rocky allowing us to tell his story. We just wanted to get it right and honor his story as best as possible.”
Rocky Bleier talks to ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi about his experiences during the Vietnam War as part of “The Return,” a documentary about his football career and his time as a soldier.(Screenshot courtesy of ESPN)
In addition to his war recollections, the documentary also includes plenty of archival footage of Bleier’s football exploits and a few of his former teammates talking about how inspiring they found his will to play football despite everything he had been through. Bleier, of course, never saw himself as an inspiration while he was trying desperately to get back on the field and then maintain his spot as a Steelers contributor.
“It’s all about being in the right place at the right time, fitting in,” he said. “You work hard, and things happen. It wasn’t as if I was an All-American running back or even the running back at Notre Dame, or even the star running back with the Steelers. That was fine, and when you look back you go, ‘Wow. I got to play and be an integral part of those successful seasons and become part of a dynasty.’ ”
Since his heyday with the Steelers, Bleier has moved into the world of entertainment. He’s written a book about his life — “Fighting Back,” which recently came out with a reprint featuring two new chapters written by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Gene Collier — did a one-man autobiographical show called “The Play” and has a small role in an upcoming production of “A Few Good Men” opening Sept. 12 at O’Reilly Theater Downtown.
He’s still paying close attention to the Steelers, as well. Bleier has faith in Ben Roethlisberger and the offensive line, and expects big things out of James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster in their first seasons as undisputed starters. As is usually the case when discussing this Steelers, his questions are about the defense.
“What we’re watching and hoping for is that the veterans who are there will step up and play up to their potential and that some younger guys will be able to have an impact this year,” he said. “We’re counting on [rookie linebacker Devin] Bush to fill in that middle linebacker spot and the secondary to step up and play more cohesively. Given all that, I really believe we’ll win the division this year and do what we were supposed to do last year and get into the playoffs and championship game.”
Fish is hoping that Steelers Nation and beyond will watch “The Return” so Bleier can receive the proper appreciation for the obstacles he overcame throughout his long, storied career.
“Rocky Bleier in many ways is the perfect Pittsburgh Steeler for that time period,” he said. “As Pittsburgh goes forward, he’s one of the guys that created the reputation and DNA of the franchise you know today. If you want to tune in and learn more about his story, here you go.”
Joshua Axelrod: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @jaxel222
I don’t have a lot of exciting news to report, but you could mention that I’ll spend the weekend of July 4th at the San Antonio, TX home of my brother John (ND ’66) and sister-in-law Georgia. San Antonio is only 200 miles from Houston so I get over there periodically. The three of us – plus my niece and her husband in San Antonio – make periodic trips throughout the year to a place we have on Beaver Lake in northwest Arkansas (where I grew up.) Mike Moore (a fellow pilot like Mike Woods and also my friend from Keenan Hall days forward) was with Cessna in Wichita/Independence, Kansas before finishing his working career with the FBI. While living in Kansas Mike and his wife Anne visited us at the lake house and enjoyed the boating, etc. while seeing us at Beaver Lake a number of years ago. Mike and Anne joined myself plus John and Georgia and my niece and her husband for the Shamrock Series game played in 2009 at the Alamodome of San Antonio; the Irish dominated Washington State in that game. After his retirement Mike and Anne wound up living in suburban D.C. – Virginia (which they like very much); he sees our classmate Tom Curtin and Tom’s wife Kathy (Tom is also retired in suburban D.C. – Virginia) quite often, and we stay connected by e-mail. I see our classmate Dave Zell (whom you will recall I introduced to you at last year’s military commemoration roll call) here in Houston often. We, of course, spoke with Dave while he was with Dan Harshman. I told you that Dave (originally from Little Rock, Arkansas) was Ara’s head student manager our senior year. Dave won’t brag on his four degrees so I’ll do it for him. After leaving South Vietnam as an Army first lieutenant he got a MBA from Penn’s Wharton School of Business. Dave was a Deans List E.E. major at ND. He later got a J.D. from South Texas College of Law Houston before obtaining a Masters in Accounting from the University of Houston – so he is both an attorney and CPA. He is now semi-retired but still as needed does business valuations (reviews of finances, etc. in order to prepare estimated valuations.)
My three-year roommate Tom Culcasi (BBA in Marketing) right after graduation married Judy Donofrio (SMC ’68.) I was in their wedding. Tom retired from sales of medical equipment. He and Judy have lived in Lemont, IL for a long time. Their two sons (Philip and Dave) and daughter Maria all graduated from ND. You remember seeing Tom at the neat Sunny Italy dinner you arranged (thank you once again for that!) Sitting between Tom Culcasi and Mike Woods at that dinner was really enjoyable.
Best regards, and have a nice long July Fourth weekend,
Haven’t viewed the video record Dennis Reeder created of the 50th reunion? Enjoy about 40 minutes of unvarnished classmate comments, emotions and behavior with a click here: ND68 50th reunion. If you’re ready for some binge viewing, click to John Oliver’s celebration of Pat Collins’ Washington, DC NBC Channel 4 reporting. And after reloading the popcorn bowl, click in order to watch the South Bend PBS station’s documentary about Joe Kernan. Among friends appearing on camera is Skip Strezlecki, who was present with many other classmates on March 14th, when station WNIT hosted a viewing. During the reception Matt Walsh and Joyce hosted in the new Architecture Building resulting from their family’s gift, class president Tom Weyer noted the ubiquity of the Great ’68 in the evening’s celebration: not only Joe Kernan himself, but the Architecture Building, then to the Debartolo building and the viewing in the Michael Browning theater. The crowd was strong and proud: Matt Walsh and Joyce, Chris Murphy and Carmi, Tom Cuggino, Gene Cavanaugh and Pat, Pat Barth and Jenny, Greg Downes, Jim O’Rourke, Steve Anderson, Dennis Toolan and Mary Lou, John Walsh, Tom Gibbs, Tom Figel among many. Former track team members Pete Farrell, Ron Kurtz, Ken Howard, Bob Timm, plus Paul Nowak traveled far for Joe’s evening and for a mini-reunion. Still, Matt pointed out that a May showing would have swelled the group to include those then wintering in Naples. As he looked about him at the reception group and the environs, Tom Weyer observed that as some guys age, they carve out a man cave in a basement or a garage. “But Matt Walsh did this,” the grand new building for the Architecture Department. The whole visit was a fine time for Ron Kurtz, who wrote, “Four former track teammates attended the Joe Kernan tribute, Ken Howard (San Francisco), Pete Farrell (Princeton, NJ), Bob Timm (Lake Geneva , WI) and Ron Kurtz (Houston), also joined by fellow Badin Hall denizen, Paul Nowak (Nashville). We stuck around until Saturday morning so we could be entertained/educated by two of our Class of 69 teammates who failed to escape Northern Indiana’s clutches, Mark Walsh and Dan Saracino. Lately, in an attempt to lessen the crankiness brought about by the preponderance of night home games on the schedule, our group has been gathering, along with our wives, at remote locations on fall football weekends. This fall we’ll be joined by John O’Connor and his wife Jan in Sedona, Arizona.” Later, Jim O’Rourke wrote: “I think we each imagine going out like Ted Williams to the adoring hurrahs and applause of our friends and family. Few of us, though, will ever get that chance. Joe deserved every minute of (the evening).”
During January, Dave Graves married Marcy Callahan in Del Ray, FL. At the ceremony were Rich Rogers and Pat, Neil Rogers, Marty Rogers, Pat DeMare, Mike Carroll and Joan, and Brian McManus, who hosted a reception in his Gulf Stream apartment.
Left off the guest list of 180 attendees was Jim Hutchinson, despite lab reports he let Dave “borrow” senior year; Jim took out the slight as victor against all comers in a nine-ball pool tournament. Look for future announcements of the Graves’ dog, minivan, and childrens’ soccer play. Brian Schanning and Susan cruised in Norway during January for viewing of the Northern Lights “and were on the same ship that got in trouble recently. No problems on our cruise, although we had to bypass a port on the way back due to weather conditions. It’s a good reminder that on the water, it doesn’t take many failures/mistakes to get into big trouble quickly. In March, we travelled to NYC to celebrate Sue’s latest decennial birthday with friends who came up from Baltimore. Tom Fitzharriswas on hand to offer us his Metropolitan Museum of Art docent services for an afternoon. We had a fantastic time as Tom led us through a tour of Greek, Roman and Egyptian art and architecture. Tom and I have been friends since growing up in Eastchester, NY and attending Immaculate Conception School from K to 8. Needless to say, Tom’s art portfolio has come a long way since we were in Miss Noble’s weekly art class.” Jay Schwartz has begun the blog “One More Thing. . . “ for expression of his sentiments on varied topics. Click https://jayschwartzonthegrid.com/category/uncategorized/.
In Scottsdale, AZ, where they have lived for eight years, Bill Kelly and his wife Mary, are happily engaged in grassroots political organizing for their Democratic Party candidates. Bill writes that they also enjoy cruise ship travel, even when schedules run afoul of class 50th reunions. In his letter, Bill said that he and Mary see Bill’s senior year roommate Tom Vecchi, ’69, who has lived in Phoenix more than 30 years. “We are heading off to an Arizona Diamondbacks game next month before Tom and his wife take off for their summer home on the finger lakes of upstate NY.”
In your prayers, remember the mother of Tom Misch, who died in March, and the family of James Bigler, who died in Gainesville, FL Dec. 18, 2018. After studying law for a time, Jim spent a career as a police detective in Miami. Also, remember Tom McKenna, Carmel, IN as he recovers from hip replacement surgery and anticipates surgery on his knees. Please send news to Tom Figel, 1054 West North Shore, Apt 3E, Chicago, IL 60626, tel. 773-764-4898, email@example.com.
Bill Weiler suffered the loss of Edith in January. “Sadly, my beloved wife, Edith Weiler, passed away in January after a long fight with cancer. She was a professional photographer and loved visiting campus for all the ‘photo ops,’ and to visit with our favorite priest, Fr. Herb Yost at Holy Cross Assoc. “
Bill was Captain of the Irish Guard our senior year, Chairman of the Mardi Gras Carnival, and a past president of the New Hampshire ND Alumni Club.
An article Bill sent presents Edith and her creative use of an old process in her work.
Artist Profile: Edith Weiler
Chief Mark Tibbetts with Volunteer Matthew Kimball (left) Volunteer Charles Butler (right)
The Philbrick-James Library in Deerfield features the work of area artists in its gallery on a rotating basis. On display until the end of January 2017 is the photographic work of Edith Weiler.
There’s no question that the Philbrick-James Library has, until now, never exhibited the types of photos Edith Weiler creates: Tintypes. The images are contemporary and are made using the 19th century process that gave us the first-ever presidential photo, of Abraham Lincoln.
The simple definition of “tintype” is “a photograph taken as a negative, then turned positive on a metal plate.”
And that definition is about the only simple thing you can say about the process of creating a tintype. Those in the know refer to the craft as “wet paint collodion photography.” It involves the perfect mixing of volatile chemicals, some liquid silver, excruciatingly careful timing, and lots and lots of time. Oh, and a good eye.
Jack Sherburne – Resident – Age 94 Air Force Pilot in three wars – Past Town Selectman – State Rep
Deerfield resident Edith Weiler has been creating such photographs for the past seven years or so. She loves the uniqueness of the 19th-century medium and how it brings the past to life.
“Tintype is actually a nickname. During the Civil War, if photographers ran short of metal, they flattened tin cans — anything strong enough to apply chemicals to, including glass and metal plates of any kind.”
Edith uses trophy plates for her work because they’re easy to cut and they’re readily accessible.
It sounds very demanding. It is very demanding.
“It’s not at all forgiving. You can’t adjust anything once it’s finished and lots of things can go badly. I’ve had a few experiences where I just wanted to cry and quit because I’d have a perfectly wonderful image but I didn’t rinse it properly and it just turned black.”
But when things go well, the results can be striking.
“Lilly” – Deerfield resident
Edith was a trained photographer when she learned about tintypes on a whim. A friend urged her to come with her to a workshop given by a well-recognized photographer specializing in tintypes. The John Coffer workshop took place in the town of Dundee in the Finger Lakes region of New York in 2010.
“The minute I stepped on the property I was hooked. It’s a mix of things, it’s part chemistry, part photography, and part mystery.”
Edith says the work is dirty, requires knowing precise details about several chemicals and how they interact with each other and with the environment. They have to be mixed precisely and yet the end process is 100% guesswork.
Garland Barn Rt 107 – day before crew arrived from Barnyard Builders to dismantle
I wondered how long it takes to create a tintype from start to finish. There’s no easy answer to that. Edith says preparing the live (and highly dangerous) chemicals alone takes about half an hour.
Packing up the car with chemicals and equipment takes another half hour.
“The camera weighs 35 pounds. I use a Pelican waterproof box with a shroud to create a kind of free-standing dark room. It (the darkroom) is about the size of a suitcase. I put it on a suitcase stand like the ones you find in hotels and on the top there’s a solar panel with a red filter.”
It’s kind of like “Have Darkroom, Will Travel.”
Gary Duquette Chief of Police
By this time in the conversation we lose sight of how long things take and discuss the materials. Edith mentions that the environment has to be just right. The fussiness of the chemicals means it needs to be no colder than 50° and no warmer than 85°. Collodion boils at 89°. There’s plenty more involved.
“The developer shouldn’t be mixed until you’re ready to use it. I need about six gallons of water, three water trays for the dark room, one for developing, one for rinsing, and the third one for the second rinse.”
This is a precise undertaking. So, rather than trying to describe in detail and with great accuracy all the detail and great accuracy required to create a photograph using the tintype process, you may want to read the Artist Statement Edith Weiler created for her exhibit at Philbrick-James library. You can find it here.
Joanne Wasson – Lifetime Resident – Age 92 – Town Historian – Writer – Photographer – First town Woman Selectman – Retired Teacher
Edith tells me she’s not a patient person and indicates her devotion to photographing in this manner is a testament to her passion.
“That’s the absolute love and intrigue I have for it. This keeps you in the moment. You can’t think of anything else. You can’t stop and go back. You have to start it, you have to follow through, and then you have to finish it. You have to concern yourself with the process of time.”
“The other part I like about this is the adventure. Like at the transfer station, I spent all day there but I had the worst chemical spill ever. My entire darkroom fell over.”
Dennis Paradise – Resident – Deerfield Transfer Station Employee
“Everything went everywhere. How appropriate that it happened at the transfer station. But I had to come home, clean everything, remix everything and I made myself go back because I knew I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t do it then. And I’m so glad I went back because I did portraits of people all day, and still lifes of recycle material.”
One of the things she especially loves is that while the images of people in portraits appear to be fixed, there are between five and ten seconds where the exposure takes place. She says that’s one of the places where the mystery of these types of photographs lie.
“When you’re capturing people, it’s really like a movie. It’s a collection of ten seconds of thought and movement. During those ten seconds that person, or those people are thinking about something.”
It’s not like stretching time quite, but it does make me consider Einstein’s theory of bending time. And yet, the images are fixed, still photos.
Rick Pelletier – Resident – Building Inspector with “Herb” – Resident – Town Welder
Most of the photographs in the library exhibit are of Deerfield, in celebration of Deerfield’s 250’s Anniversary in 2016. She displayed them at the Fairgrounds so I asked what kinds of comments people made about them.
“Wow, that’s spooky,” was a not uncommon response.
Deerfield Fair Grounds
Edith uses a reproduction 19th century camera and an authentic 19th century lens. Everything she sees through the lens is backwards and upside down.
“In the modern-day world, it’s quite fascinating to go from a digital image that you can take in seconds and get results to something that takes hours before you’re even ready to start.”
Even Edith laughs at the disparity between the two styles.
Deerfield Center Gazebo
“I just love it. I love the messiness. It’s so hands-on and I think that’s the big intrigue and that every step of it is my doing.”
Dennis Reeder arranged the production of a video featuring classmates and companions – some eloquent, all interesting, many misbehaving – on the night of the class dinner during the 50th reunion, June, 2018.
Is this Sundance? Cannes? No, it’s not. It is authentic 1968, Great ’68 memories and entertainment.
Notice that you can add your own comments. Please go ahead. Fill a bluebook. And when you see Dennis, say thank you for the hours and the funds he invested in the work.
Keenan Hall residents prepping for St. Mary’s panty raid, Spring, 1965
Periodically, journalists begin turning to favorite words and phrases with the regularity of Fed Ex packages heading to Memphis. Examples from recent years include eponymous, iconic and bespoke. Now, there’s true freshman, which, it turns out, means something other than the people we were in the fall of 1964. Or does it? Weren’t our roommates true freshmen? Sure, at age 21 and a former Marine, Larry “Monk” Forness appeared borderline at first, an outlier able to help the true sophomores of Zahm Hall obtain alcohol. But he soon fell into step as a true freshman acquiring knowledge with everyone else of the Norton Anthology and the schedule of buses from Barat or St. Xavier’s. Paul Stulgaitis, Jerry Maglio, Dick Bertel, all of us lived as true freshmen with access to a proper Gilbert’s wardrobe and timed payments. Brien Murphy, equally true, eschewed that look for a sweatshirt with sleeves ripped – or with Brien, bitten – off. Who were truer freshmen than Class President Tom Weyer, Tiger Schaeffer and Chuck Grable as they belly-flopped onto the icy mud of the North Quad? Open our heavily redacted yearbook to any headshot and remember the true freshmen squirting shaving cream beneath doors or getting excited about Ara: Gary Olney, Dave Vecchia, Tom Sherer, John Myers, Paul Widzowski. And what about the poor rectors – Father Matthew Miceli, CSC, and Father Robert Austgen, CSC, for example – who tried to ride herd over the likes of Charlie Schmitt and Brice Parker?
True freshmen must progress to become true sophomores. To their dying days, Chuck Wordell and Eddie Kurtz probably made it no farther than that. As for true juniors, maybe Thomas D. McCloskey, Jr., James Leger, Jr., Thomas L. Bush, Jr., Daniel W. Casey, Jr., Frank Chuck, Jr., and Robert Wildes, Jr. held that station, while Christopher Murphy III, William M. Dewey III and Joseph A. Schwartz III over-achieved.
True seniors are impossible to imagine. Impossible. Jeff Keyes’ liking for 4 pm dining only makes him fiscally prudent, ready for his long true sophomore phase. Even after a half century and some, who can think of one true senior? Senior Class President Mike Minton? Fred Ferlic? Thomas F. McKenna? Boyish John Flemming? Nope.
True is an apt word, just the same: true friendship, true spirt and heart, the Great 68. This includes true loss, the death of Dave Kabat at the end of 2018, shortly after a fall in Michiana led to a rousing reception in South Bend as physicians Fred Ferlic and Steve Anderson led a line of visiting well-wishers; Gene Cavanaugh, Joe Kernan, Bryan Dunigan, and Tom Cuggino.
Dave “Lunch” Kabat
On November 13, 2018, we also lost Dr. Jim Fticsar, USN (ret) of Chesapeake, VA.
Bob Ptak flew from FL and Brian Gormley from VA for Dave’s New Buffalo, MI funeral, where friends included Sheila and Tom Gibbs, Mary Ann and Tom McKenna, Mary Pat and Rock McKenna, Skip Strezlecki, John Walsh, Bridget and Pat Herald, Jean and Roger Guerin, Mary and Tom Weyer, Mary Lou and Dennis Toolan, and Patty McPartlin, while Dr. Rick McPartlin tended his own hospital patients. Where did Dave pick up the nickname Lunch? Bryan Dunigan explained: “Often times, Dave, who was manager of the Notre Dame baseball team, could not be located and the team would say he was ‘out to Lunch’”.
Gene Cavanaugh sent news of former Government Professor Donald Kommers’ death December 21, 2019 at Holy Cross Village. The South Bend Tribune obituary appears in a following post.
True also joins with service and brilliance. In a following blog item, read about (mandated) retiring Traverse City, MI Judge Tom Phillips and the wise programs he began for offenders, including drug addicts.
Joe Kernan’s health is not good but the impact of his government service and kindness is powerful. Matt Walsh and Joyce, Class President Tom Weyer and Mary will be among many classmates attending a March screening in South Bend of a PBS documentary about Joe’s life.
Ted Bratthauar, Tom Curtin, Mike Moore and Mike Obiala
During the Christmas season, when Mike Obiala and Marilyn visited their DC daughter Julie, they had an evening of reunion with Ted Bratthauar, Tom Curtin, Mike Moore and their wives.
Tom Culcasi found levity in texts exchanged during Notre Dame’s game with Clemson: “Mike Moore, Tom Curtin, Tom Phillips and I have had a texting conversation going for a year now for each game. Mike starts the countdown by being the first to own and wear the year’s spirit shirt. He then gives us regular updates as to the start of the season. Mike stands and paces for the entire game unless he is at Tom Curtin’s house. There Curtin duck-tapes him to a chair until the end of the game. We start texting each other mid morning of game day with coaching tips etc. Moore is the eternal optimist–we could be down by 30 with 10 seconds on the clock and he still thinks we can win. The rest of us are not quite as positive.. The closer the game, the poorer we play, the more texts fly back and forth during the game. (Judy thinks we are worse than teenage girls with our texting, a feeling that Curtin’s wife also supports). We don’t have a name for our group yet, but it sure made the season even more fun. Almost like having 4 seats together in one of those fancy new skyboxes.”
Tom Fitzharris’ Warm Winter oil
Tom Fitzharris’s art secured another honor, presence in a January, 2019 show put on by the Blue Mountain Gallery Winter Show, Chelsea, NY.
Jim Schindler sent regrets from St. Louis about missing two reunions last year: the 50th and then the Marching Band’s fall reunion. You can imagine his year 2019 resolutions.
True or not, please send news and photos, epiphanies and fatwahs to Tom Figel, 1054 West North Shore, Apt 3E, Chicago, IL 60626, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. 773-764-4898.
Hadn’t seen my old roommate for almost 50 years until the gathering in June of “The Great 68”. So happy that we connected then. And to Bryan: so pleased for both of you that you had good communication after his fall.
Truly one of the ” Greatest ” of the GREAT 68 !!!!
David Lee Kabat, 72, passed away peacefully on Dec. 29, 2018. He was born on July 6, 1946, in Chicago, Illinois, to parents Leo and Eleanor (DeTrana) Kabat.
David is lovingly remembered by his wife, Leslie, and their children, Lindsey (Larry) Montgomery, Jonathan (Jenny), Allie and Jessie; and his four cherished grandchildren, Taylor, Anabelle, Emma and Bodin. He is also survived by his mother, Eleanor; sister, Betty Ann (Tim) Shanley; numerous nieces, nephews, and dear friends. David was predeceased by his father, Leo and sister, Mary Ellen Barron.
David attended high school at Loyola Academy before earning degrees from the University of Notre Dame and Notre Dame Law School, where he made many lifelong friends. As he began his law career, David also served in the Army Reserves for six years during the Vietnam era. Among other things, David was admired for his humility, honesty, work ethic, and unwavering commitment to his loved ones. David focused his legal career on construction law, commercial real estate law, and banking law, with noted skills in contract negotiation and litigation. He achieved an AV® Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, in which peers rank a lawyer at the highest level of professional experience.
A Funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 2, at 11 a.m. CST / 12:00 EST at St. Mary of the Lake Parish, 718 W. Buffalo Ave., New Buffalo, MI 49117.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of David may be made to Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck Cancer, where he volunteered his support to others for many years: https://www.spohnc.org/donate-to-spohnc/.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Geisen-Carlisle Funeral & Cremation services, located at 613 Washington St. Michigan City IN 46360.
To sign guestbook or leave condolences, please visit: www.Carlislefh.com. (219) 874-4214.