Class of 1968 Notes Contact: Tom Figel, 312-223-9536 ext. 301
With Help From Friends
Joe Kernan, lolling around in retirement as an owner of the SilverHawks minor league baseball team in South Bend and as a professor of government at Notre Dame, came to Chicago in July. Thinly disguised as a luncheon speech to a business group on government and baseball, Joe’s appearance was a get-together with Notre Dame friends from several classes. Class President Tom Weyer was traveling but did his best to prep Tom Gibbs with jibes and jokes left over from class pranks and Rocky Bleier roasts, but, in the end, Tom Gibbs, unable to be anyone but his fine self in front of his son Bill Gibbs, went with his own instincts and introduced Joe Kernan as a friend who happened to be the ex-Governor of Indiana. Bill Giles, the former W. Hudson Giles of the Observer sports column, came from Lexington, KY, and John Buck, the Chicago real estate developer, double-parked long enough to say hello at the end. John Walsh came with Matt Faccenda, who claims that he learned from Joe Kernan how to hit a curve ball, a useful skill for the practice of law. Tom Durkincame by at the start but then had to run back to the defense of one or another beleaguered public official; in recent weeks, Tom, often presented in courtroom artist’s drawings, has been the stuff of the front pages: he mounted a strong, blustery, indignant defense of two Chicago officials accused of politically-motivated hiring practices.
The recent trial prompted an audience question that led Joe to tell a story of his grandfather. Joe’s grandfather, a professional baseball scout, came to a season’s end at a Depression time when jobs were scarce. At the same time, Joe’s grandmother received a sad call from a friend whose husband had suddenly died, leaving her and the children. And things had been looking up for all of them, the friend said: her husband was to have started a City job the following Monday. During the weekend, the Kernans and their friend cooked up a scheme. Under the friend’s name, Joe’s grandfather would begin the job; the Kernans would share the income with the deceased man’s family. In order to bring stability to the position, the Kernans quietly petitioned political friends for a shift of the position to their own committeeman’s domain. After some weeks, Mr. Kernan’s supervisor called him in and announced that his job was ending: the coming Monday it was being given to some guy named Kernan.
Bryan Dunigan, busy with preparations for the early August golf outing he organizes for Chicago area classmates, could not attend. He may have been answering correspondence sparked by his email about the event, which would take place under the sponsorship of Butterfield County Club members Bob Ptak and Roger Guerin. Some examples: Tom Weyer wrote “To All, I will be bring my 'GAME' to the outing. How courageous of Roger and Bob to risk their memberships in this way. Of course we are turning 60 this year and tend to be better behaved……NOT… Are costumes required or just optional?” From Dave Kabatcame: “My first thought was that with the number of classmates who are members at BCC that any membership risk would be minimal. Then I recalled that we did get thrown out of the Cabin that Club President Ptak owned. I guess we can take comfort in the fact that Butterfield does not have working fireplaces.”
The same group of friends heard sad news from Dave July 17th: his father had died. In New Orleans, John Flemming, his family and friends lamented the sudden death of John’s stepson Sage. Tom Cuggino asks for prayers for his son Tommy, a young father who is struggling with cancer of the stomach. In Washington, D.C., Pat Collins is recovering from a successful early summer operation.
John Walsh sent a note about John G. O’Brien, who has been elected third vice president of the Illinois State Bar Association and will be installed as president during the 2009 Annual Meeting.
In late September, Jay Schwartz, Ed Kickham and I are visiting Russia and Estonia. We were going to invite Joe Blake, too, but decided that Joe’s passion for climbing tables and everything high could be a lot of trouble: Joe just finished a climb of Mt. Baker in Washington State.
Please send news to: Tom Figel, 1054 West North Shore, Apt. 3-E, Chicago, IL 60626, tel. 312-223-9536 ext. 301, firstname.lastname@example.org.