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.
(In addition to the main note, please read the following posts: deaths of Geoff Gillette and Tom Knowles, correspondence from Mike Crutcher and Joe Ferry, contents suggestions Richard Pivnicka sent to Notre Dame Magazine, and for a brief time, Tom Fitzharris’ new work at the NYC Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the link to Jay Schwartz’s blog One More Thing. . .)
When Honest John Weyer, father of Class President Tom Weyer, pushed at an unlocked Engineering Building classroom door fifty years ago, he only meant to find shelter for a pre-game celebration. At the time, some of us had hair, a military future, and hopes of girlfriends who didn’t come from the center of magazines. What Honest John opened turned into a tradition. Now that tailgate has abutting-the-stadium space arranged by Matt Walsh and tended by a squad of South Bend and Michiana classmates. While no one seems in need of help such as the pampers of early parenthood, we are enjoying the time before we need adult diapers along with our fellowship.
In the meantime, the tailgate is gloriously appointed with classmates.
John Walsh and his grandson Vasant Banks were with Roger Guerin, Dennis Toolan and Mary Lou, Tom Gibbs, Matt Walsh and Joyce, Fred Ferlic (the Tayco Boot entrepreneur), Bryan Dunigan, Mike Ryan and Ned Buchbinder at the New Mexico game. The Virginia game drew those friends plus Bob Ptak, Steve Anderson, Tom Durkin and visitors from beyond the Midwest horizons: Ed Lewis, Lloyd Adams, Pete Adams, and Bill Gormley from New Jersey, Rich Rogers and Pat from New York, Tom Condon from Connecticut, Bill Kenealy from Maryland, about three dozen classmates, none in need of anything but friendship and laughs.
Ed Lewis remembered the work required each of the game Saturdays: “Most don’t know that Gene Cavanaugh and Fred Ferlic arrive at the stadium parking lot at 6:30 AM to hold spaces near to Matt’s parking slots. Then the Chicago contingent (Tom Weyer, Tom Gibbs, Bryan, et al ) arrives. They all bring food and drinks for anyone who shows up to enjoy. And, this generosity has inconceivably gone on for 50 years! Wow.”
Ken DiLaura and Veronica made a May Spain and Portugal river cruise the time for their own reunion with Mike Coleman and Gloria. In San Francisco, the Hon. Czech Consul General Richard Pivnicka hosted graduates from the McCloskey New Venture competition winner Resonado at the time of the Louisville game. Rick frequently sees John O’Connor as well as Dennis Withers, who comes from Atlanta for visits with his Napa Valley daughter Boo Withers Berkstoffer.
Mike Crutcher wrote from China, his home since 2006: “Came here to do ‘humanitarian’ work. Met my wife in 2007, married in 2008. Education is our mainstay, mostly teaching English. A little background on me : after ND … USAF/ANG pilot, then lived in DC for a while , back home to Big D, real estate business there , age 31 my ‘born again’ experience which radically changed my lifestyle and priorities. Was led to go to graduate school to study theology/psychology.” In his note, Mike shouted out to best ND buddies Dave Martin and Jan, Dennis Withers, Chris Murphy, Rocky Bleier, Dan Harshman, Steve Anderson, Jay Jordan.
Recognition of Philadelphian Joe Ferry’s first return to campus two years ago awakened a hunger in him for repeat attention and a second return for the 50th reunion. The note Joe wrote (found in full in a following post) has pushed him to the fore with the labeling of John O’Connor as “effulgent” and with this sample: “In 1998, my wife and I went to Annapolis to celebrate our wedding anniversary and my birthday. The Naval Academy Class of ’68 was celebrating its 30th Anniversary and it was headquartered at our hotel. My wife alerted me to this and, pointing to a man who was about my age, said ‘That guy looks like he was in that class.’ I approached the man and asked ‘Are you a member of the Class of 1968?’ He said that he was. I told that I was, also but ‘not here, Notre Dame.’ The entire weekend the Navy Class of ’68 welcomed me like I was one of them because of the ND-Navy relationship.”
Joe Hale called attention to the recognition of Tom Culcasi’s son Phil, an alum who was one of four Illinois educators named in a White House list of the nation’s superior math and science teachers.
September, 2019 news included the sadness of two deaths: Geoff Gillette, well-known for his work with the band Captain Electric and then his career in music production, and Tom Knowles, one of the Fenwick High School classmates who expanded the Oak Park, IL friendships with myriad Notre Dame ones. Please remember them and their families, and please read the memories in posts that follow this one.
Please send news and photos to: Tom Figel, 1054 West North Shore, Apt. 3E, Chicago, IL 60626, email@example.com, tel. 773-764-4898.
On September 7, 2019, Geoffrey Robert Gillette passed away at age 71 in Beach Haven, NJ. He cherished being at the shore where he vacationed since he was a child, so it was fitting that he would be there in his last days.
Geoff had a zeal for traveling and although he saw much of the world, he was mespecially fond of the Jersey Shore. He had great enthusiasm for surfing, sailing and just being in the salt air. Music was Geoff’s passion: singing, playing and making it. He was a world-class Studio recording/live sound and Mastering engineer. He was blessed to be able to work at a craft he loved wholeheartedly. Geoff had an infectious smile, an easy laugh and a knack for telling a good story.
Geoff is preceded in death by his parents, Phyllis and Bob. He is survived by his wife, Jennifer, his sister Deborah Hennessy and her husband Richard, his niece, two nephews, their spouses and five great-nieces and nephews.
A memorial service was held at 10:00 AM, October 5, 2019 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Main Street in Chatham. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to Center of Hope Hospice, Scotch Plains, NJ.
Like all of you, I’m still piecing together all the fond memories of time spent with Geoff. After college, our communication drifted as I moved to the East coast and he was trailblazing in the West. But then, in the mid-80s I made a trip with my daughter to CA to tour colleges she had here eye on (went on to get a scholarship from UCLA) and Rain and I were graciously invited to stay with the Duffy’s during that trip. Toward the end of the trip, it turned out the contractor working on the Duffy’s house wanted everyone to vacate for several days so he could refinish the floors, and offered his house in Cabo for all of us to stay. Well, I extended our stay and Geoff came along with the whole Duffy family, Rain and I, and we had an awesome vacation together. All the Mexico delights plus catching up on a decade. And that cemented a strong friendship that continued through the many years I lived in Santa Barbara afterward. I always new that Geoff would be surprising me again and again with invitations to hang out with him at the Santa Barbara studio to sit on recording sessions or the Santa Barbara jazz festival when he worked it. He got me hooked on some music I might never have found otherwise. His blood and sinew seemed to be music. And when I’d be in LA visiting my daughter, I’d give him a call and it was life as usual for him and we’d end up at a party to hang out with members of The Eagles and the like. I’d be star struck and this was everyday life for him. I recall in the 90s noticing a grammy on his wall and matter-of-factly he said it was for having worked on an Eva Cassidy album and flipped her music on the stereo. This kind man, a superb craftsman, traveled the world of masterful music a gazillion miles with his whole heart. RIP Geoff
Subject:Re: Geoff Gillette Interview : Sean Kneese : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
Geoff was such apart of my life it is totally surreal to think that he is gone. He offered me a space in his house to crash for about 10 years whenever I was working on a movie in LA after Donna and I moved to Santa Cruz. We shared many an adventure as well as a wealth of musical experiences. He will be sorely missed.My love goes out to you all my brothers and sisters on this life journey, Joe
Sent: Sunday, September 15, 2019 11:06:47 AM Subject: Re: Fwd: Geoff Gillette Interview : Sean Kneese : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
In 1968, my roommate Geoff, continually tried to teach me to sing…to no avail! He was quite the musician even then…obsessed (in a good way) with music and eager to share.
We had a lot of laughs over the years and I’m glad he was able to visit occasionally and to keep up our friendship.
Very sad to see him die so young. Leaves a bit of a hollow in our hearts.
Helena On 9/12/2019 12:31 PM, mingus (Shawn Reynolds)wrote: Hey,Don et al,Thanks for sharing that interview with Geoff. Last time I was in LA for the Siggraph (computer animation) convention he and I and Joan went out to dinner and a club and he talked about a lot of those things, especially his prejudice toward analog over digital recording. At least 10 music people came up to thank or praise him and chat. I felt like I was with a celebrity but his natural humility dismissed any of that. He will be sorely missed…
Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone Subject: Fwd: Geoff Gillette Interview : Sean Kneese : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive Gus and I spoke after Geoff’s passing and he forwarded this interview of Geoff on his career in sound engineering and the music biz. I didn’t know the fine texture and breadth of Geoff’s career. The interview covers a long span of years and Geoff’s technical insights on the way recorded sound has changed. I found it brilliant and very worthwhile, especially to hear Geoff’s own voice. With love, Don
Begin forwarded message:
From: Gus Duffy <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: September 8, 2019 at 6:38:26 PM PDT To:email@example.com Subject:Geoff Gillette Interview : Sean Kneese : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
Thomas K Knowles, 73, of Westchester, beloved husband of Diane Knowles nee Hart, passed away on September 11, 2019. He was the loving father of Molly (Ryan Day) and Ryan (Claudia Moreno), adoring grandfather of Aden, Eric, Margaret and Eleanor and uncle to many. He was preceded in death by his sister, Nancy, and is survived by his two brothers, Bruce (Mary) and Richard (Regina).
Tom attended Fenwick High School before heading to Notre Dame for undergrad and DePaul for Law School. He and Diane married in 1969 and moved to Oak Park shortly after. Tom practiced law on Chicago Avenue with Diane by his side for almost 40 years. They moved to Westchester in 2011 and were to celebrate their 50th anniversary in November.
He will be remembered by many as a loyal friend with a witty sense of humor.
Tom sent a note indicating that, while the Reubens and Matisses and Picassos are out on the walls of the Met and available for viewing by the hot polloi, Tom’s own work is available for viewing by special arrangement.
Dear Friends: I have a landscape in the Employee Art show. It’s up until Sunday, November 10th. (See image below.) Unfortunately, it’s not open to the public. You need an employee to get you in. So if you’re going to the museum, let me know and I’ll see if I’m going to be there at the same time. It’s the Greek galleries where Play It Loud, the guitar show, was.
Tom – Thanks. Your acknowledgment that we non-Chicago Metro alums can be forgiven if we feel like the ND equivalent of fly-over country in the Class Notes is most welcome. A few years ago I dragooned Tom Weyer into getting me a mention in the Class Notes which you generously fulfilled, though not without a cheeky aside that was both warranted and clever. After graduation, like a lot of us, I spent nearly 3 years in the service of our country as a US Army Officer, something I was privileged to do. One day, I saw a guy in the Officer’s Club in Korea whom I recognized but did not know from ND. I spoke to him—he was getting assigned elsewhere—but haven’t seen him since, though he lives fewer than ten miles from me. Perhaps I’ll reach out to him now that it’s on my mind. Mike Basquill. The Notre Dame Club of Philadelphia of which I was an active member in the ‘70s and ‘80s has undergone a hostile takeover by Gen X sansculottes and I’m no longer a Philadelphia resident and, to be fair, seldom awake when its confabs take place. So there’s that. I did go to the Fiftieth Class Reunion, which see, the only Reunion that I ever attended and was pleasantly surprised at how welcoming our classmates were. I had met Tom Weyer and Fred Fertig at the ND-Temple Game the previous September. Those two are a class treasure. I had a great time and met classmates I had never managed to meet when I was a student and a few that I had. The effulgent John O’Connor bought me a drink. In 1998, my wife and I went to Annapolis to celebrate our wedding anniversary and my birthday—I got married on my 34th birthday. The Naval Academy Class of ’68 was celebrating its 30th Anniversary and it was headquartered at our hotel. My wife alerted me to this and, pointing to a man who was about my age, said “That guy looks like he was in that class.” I approached the man and asked “Are you a member of the Class of 1968?” He said that he was. I told that I was, also but “not here, Notre Dame.” The entire weekend the Navy Class of ’68 welcomed me like I was one of them because of the ND-Navy relationship. It was very touching and I will never forget it. That weekend I also ran into a couple of ND guys, Rich Rogers from our class, whom I had not previously known and another FBI guy whose name I can no longer retrieve but who played football for the Irish. It’s a great time of life, Tom. Old enough to appreciate the gifts that you have been given and wise enough to know that you don’t deserve them. I hope one day to meet you. Warm regards. Joe
233 East King StreetApartment 304Malvern, PA 19355 Home = 215-836-9298 Mobile = 215-806-8965.
Dear Tom , Been in China since 2006 . Came here to do ‘ humanitarian ‘ work .. making peoples lives better through the revelation of Truth ( worldview ) and empowering grace . FYI : Because of where I live some vagueness in details is better in this email . Met my wife here in 2007 , married in 2008 . She is what the locals call ‘ foreign born Chinese ‘ . Born in Malaysia , raised in Hong Kong , then family moved to Australia . Education is our mainstay ..mostly teaching English . She has A little background on me : after ND … USAF/ANG pilot , then lived in DC for a while , back home to Big D , real estate business there , age 31 my ‘ born again ‘ experience which radically changed my lifestyle and priorities . Opened my heart and mind up to a more eternal perspective rather than the temporal pursuits … the Big Picture . Was led to go to graduate school to study theology/psychology . Best ND buddies .. the Coyote (Dave Martin) by a long shot ( so blessed to have him as a loyal friend along with the lovely Jan and daughters ) , Dennis Withers , Chris Murphy , Rocky Bleier , Dan Harshman , Steve Anderson , Jay Jordan . Life is good ..asking the Lord for another healthy 20 years to do His bidding by loving Him and loving others . Thanks for your time ! mc
Hi Jay, Tom Figel just sent me your Blog… and I am sending him my thanks….Your blog is really very well done! Enjoyed reading several of the articles, particularly the plastic article.
Occasionally I email the editor of ND Magazine, Kerry Temple suggesting a few topics for the magazine since ND’s award winning magazine does not seem to take on tough, self-critical topics, like ND being the number university having “legacy students.” (Stanford at 15%, is half of ND). I think the most far out issue in recent times….but not by global standards …. was that fashion issue a few years ago that was criticized by some but I thought it was surprisingly interesting…up beat and fun. Pls see a recent exchange of emails with Kerry below. Perhaps with your credentials and moral authority you could encourage the ND Magazine to address some important hot topics of the day: 1. Concussions in all contact sports. Am aware that a startup, Hitcheck can diagnosis a concussion but have not heard of much about materially reducing concussions except for some rule changes. And Rene Torrado, who you know (ND ’69, Sorin basement) is a legal authority on the topic, and former President of the Chicago Bar, just retired. 2. Priesthood: what are the canonical and other objections to married men becoming priests (as they are trying to do in the Amazon) and ordaining woman as priests? (Think the latest version of Canon Law was 1983). 3. McCloskey (like in Tom) New Ventures Competition at the Idea Center. The best new ideas coming out of ND are among the 165 teams presenting in the annual McCloskey startup competition. Its in its 19th year with over $400,000 in prizes…and you never read about some potentially great achievements. 4. Why isn’t ND among the top 100 “green” universities in the country (considering GREEN is in its DNA) except for a recent article mentioning that this year ND is the second school in the nation to install the Emerson Electric Grind2Energy system which turns organic scraps into clean power. 5. Peace Institue at ND….what’s going on here? …..Originally funded by Ms. Kroc, the McDonald heiress. 6. My wife Barbara says ND should be awash with articles and an issue on how to solve the immigration crisis humanely considering it claims moral authority and was founded more or less for Irish Immigrants to go to college. She says ND could be internationally known for this topic… and, its ND’s to lose! Like at Michigan? 7. How about a rundown on Mayor Pete? But for these hotter topics, I think the ND magazine does a first rate but could use a topical update? Wow, do I feel so much better getting all this off my chest!:).
While former Observer columnist Jay Schwartz’s blog, One More Thing, https://jayschwartzonthegrid.com/category/uncategorized/, is not specific to any Notre Dame topic, the essays do reflect the mental sharpening Jay gained during wide-ranging General Program debates with such classmates as Tom Durkin, Tiger Schaefer, Tom Gogan and Ned Buchbinder (when they attended class). Jay asks that you read his recent essay and others found at https://jayschwartzonthegrid.com/category/uncategorized. Feel free to comment (on the blog) and to share the link. Anyone who wishes to receive future essays should send Jay a note with something like “add me” in the message line. Jay’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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