Notre Dame Class of 1968 Contact: Tom Figel, 312-223-9536, firstname.lastname@example.org
January 31, 2013
A Primer for our 45th Reunion
Let’s start with the main matter before rolling into all the great notes received from many of you: Our 45th reunion will be Thursday, May 30 to Sunday, June 2, 2013. Details, including registration connections and our lodging at a new-fangled hall named O’Neill, will be at reunion.nd.edu. Other information, maybe the real poop, including news of some mini-reunions and lots of photos, will be at our class blog, www.ndclass1968.com.
Bryan Dunigan, who has been mentioned in these notes from time to time, took a break in late January from ruminations about Kelly, T’eo situations with an observation about the advanced age now of Katharine Ross, who played Elaine Robinson in the Graduate. This led to chatter about immaturity, which led to Class President Tom Weyer, who replied with: “The only thing that bothers me about getting older is, I used to fantasize about older women. Now there aren’t any.”
Bob Smith, asked for news of himself and his Southern buddies, responded with a generous, witty abundance of notes that appear here and at the “This Just In” section of this blog. Among the many named in Bob’s report are Ron Scotti, Len Niessen, Jerry Niederman, Brian Peters, Chuck Belding, and Brian Muskus. The blog permits the posting of replies and clarifications. Legal actions have to follow regular procedures. Bob writes:
“Just for the fun of it I have three pictures, one a little faded from 1968 and one taken in November 2012 and one from 2011 of Ron Scotti. It is of Len and Pat Niessen and Dr. Jerry Niederman both of Class of 68 who were roommates in Dillon Hall together.
Jerry Niederman just retired after years of being in pediatrics at varying teaching hospitals, the last being in Chicago. Jerry did breakthrough research on the effects of exposure to lead in paint on children, especially in low income areas. Len is still working in his college discipline of electrical engineering and he has become expert in designing and managing interfaces in computer systems. Jerry lives in Oak Park, IL and Len and Pat are still in their same house from 1970 in Framingham, MA. Len’s passion was lacrosse (Len and Jerry both played) and Len wrote a book on the history of lacrosse at Notre Dame, a gripping history you would not want to miss. I also went to the wedding of Michelle Scotti, daughter of Ron (’68) and Sharon Scotti in Charlotte in October, 2012. It was great getting back with Ron reminiscing about the past. Ron got his PhD in optical physics from Arizona and was world class in his field. The phrase “beam me up Scotti” was actually invented by Ron in his work in space optics. He has retired to Oriental, NC where he fights off pirates in the Atlantic where he sails his big ship and they weathered hurricane Irene. He still runs the professional association for optical physicists, a riveting group to stay engaged with. Ron, Brian Peters (’68) and myself were all drafted together in ’69 and somehow all ended up in the same OCS class at Ft. Belvoir, VA, where we became fast friends. Ron’s dad owned a big pool hall outside Fordham University and the Scotti name was famous in Manhattan. Speaking of Brian Peters, he finally retired in 2012 after a tremendous career in construction management with such notable projects as London Harbor (Canary Wharf), renovation of Grand Central Station and the most observed project in the history of the world, the clean-up of Ground Zero, where Brian took over Sep 14 and completed ahead of schedule July 1 with only one lost time accident. His biggest claim to fame was that he was the best catcher in our class and not Joe Kernan although they were both in Vietnam about the same time. Brian and Joann still live in Cranbury, NJ where they are still fighting the War of the Worlds. Joann is still educating kids in Brooklyn so I guess Brian is now officially a kept man. Way to go Brian. Brian got his best Christmas present ever, tix to the BCS game in Miami where he went with his sons, Greg and Chris. Speaking of kept men, my classmate, Chuck Belding was world class and ended this year when his wife, Kathleen Wall retired as a VP with BMW. Chuck owned a wine and cheese shop on Long Island before BMW relocated its offices to the greater Greer, SC area. Chuck spends much of his time helping at our mission parish of St. Anthony of Padua, where he is grandfather to many African American elementary school children and benefactor to the parish. Chuck is also a bionic man these days with new knees and hips. Chuck’s most daring exploits included flying choppers in Vietnam, where you are a hero by chance not choice and racing his Corvette, which he finally sold. Speaking of chopper heros, I stay in touch with Bill Follette in Scottsdale, Arizona where he is semi-retired and servant of the people in local government. Bill finds the most amazing photos and information to share with a wide group on the internet. Definitely get on his list. Bill and Barbara are doing well and I am trying to prod him to come to the reunion this spring. Another classmate and curmudgeon is Bruce Morrow, retired from the Army as a LtC and living with wife, Ginny, in the Kentucky Lakes area, where he is fully retired and successfully battling cancer. Ginny is still working at Murray State while Bruce still engages is some internet businesses which he has spawned over time, all under the Ardvark label. My freshman roommate, Brian Muskus, finally fully retired for the 3rd time (US Air Force as LtC and C130 pilot), Honeywell rep in Japan, and college teacher in Ohio (while he took care of his mother, who died in 2012). He has now moved to Ft. Walton, Florida in his retirement home he has rented out for years. Any of you who think you have it hard, Brian is still raising twin 7th grade girls with his wife, Anne. Way to go Brian. Also heard from another Brian, Brian Kinney who lives with his wife, Pat, in Ellington, CT on the top part of a large hill overlooking Bradley Field and the valley below, pretty breathtaking actually. Brian is retired from the state of CT, where he was an environmental En and Pat is a retired teacher. Brian now works for the local parish, manages his rental homes in NH, and runs a service business related to managing census data for CT banks. I ran into Dick Couch (’68) at the BYU game at the DeBartolo Center with family and friends. Dick was a cheerleader when he was at ND and worked in accounting most of his career around the Pittsburgh area. He is fully retired living in a retirement community in University Park, Florida, where he is neighbors with another good friend from our class, Arnie (and Ginger) Vance. Arnie is stuck in a rut of playing golf and tennis just about every day. This is all the writing I can handle today. Lois and I are both retired, Lois as a teacher, and me as a marketing director of 35 years from Cryovac and as a COL of 32 years from the Army reserves. I was ordained a permanent deacon in 2007 and spend much of my “free” time with my Prince of Peace Parish. We went to our first game this year in Dublin, Ireland and our last in Miami for the BCS game. Great season this year. See y’all May 30.”
“I have a ps. I had dinner with Bob Marotta in Columbus, Ohio in early 2012 when I was up visiting my sister in Chillicothe. Bob is a well known attorney who holds court at the Sciotta Country Club, where he discourses life and banters with just about every member present. It warmed my heart as I was eating the liver Bob had the chef reserved for himself. Bob is a very special person and he and Peggy enjoy their children and grandchildren greatly as they just added another reason for Peggy to travel to California.. Also visited another roommate on that trip to Ohio, Dick and Sharon DiLorenzo in Xenia, Ohio outside Dayton, where Dick just retired after a career as a military professor at the Air Force College located at Wright Patterson Air Base. Dick is recovering well from his heart attack suffered while dunking on young airmen at the base gym. But all is well as he is back to playing and showing up the youngsters at the base gym with the moves I taught him at the Rock. Dick and his two children who went to ND were trying to go to the BCS game. Hope they made it. “- Bob Smith
Paul Robillard and his Lyons Hall roommates Ron Droste and Paul Rittman met in Seattle last August. Paul says the three were part of a group of ten living in a so-called “ghetto” of three rooms over the arch in Lyons Hall (Did student housing know about so few living in such commodious space?). They included Tom Jansen, Frank Melewicz, Tom Theis, Phil Morrow, Doug Heisler, Jim McCoy and Ralph White. Paul, who is executive director of World Water Watch in Portland, OR, is getting the group together for the June reunion.
Brian Schanning, who will be at the reunion with Susan in June, calls attention to Pete Kogge’s receipt of the IEEE Computer Society 2012 Seymour Cray Award. The award, a significant one, is only a recent adornment on the career of Pete, who is on the school’s Electrical Engineering faculty.
Rick McPartlin, who had not seen many of his west suburban Chicago classmates in days, organized his annual late January gathering at a Rush Street spot. John Walsh was there, along with Tom Gibbs, Ted Nebel, Bob Ptak, Mike Tyrrel and Rick. Out of this correspondence came a powerful note from Mark Lies, another West Side pack member with the common Fenwick High School, Notre Dame credentials. ”My dad is ND ’43, is a WWII Navy Veteran who survived the sinking of his destroyer off of Okinawa in 1945 when it was hit by Japanese suicide planes and the ship sank in minutes, with the loss of half the crew. The story has a happy ending. He was rescued by another Navy ship. When he went on board the rescue ship, an officer greeted him, his ND roommate Bart Ramsour. There is magic about ND. I followed his lead and went through ROTC at ND and served on a destroyer off Viet Nam and also sailed off Okinawa where my Dad’s ship was sunk.”
Jim Hutchinson and Jerry Murray were among those who got to Miami for that game, along with Ken Beirne and Susan and Jay Schwartz and his daughter Megan. At the blog, you can read the banter and see the photos Jerry sent. Here’s a bit of it from Jerry: “The pep really had 33,000 screaming fans jammed shoulder to shoulder on the beach. You couldn’t fall or pass out if you wanted, just like the rallies in Stepan Center or the old Field House. It was surreal.”
The rest of this is tough news. Please remember our friends and their families. Roger Guerin says that John Tracy is in hospice in Michigan City, ready for communication by phone (312-343-2723) and email@example.com.
John Flemming and Zoli are heading a March 2, 2013 afternoon at New Orleans’ Tipitina’s for celebration of Eddie Kurtz, who was the life of New Orleans’ party and many of Notre Dame’s. Eddie died January 12, 2013 with his usual set of exuberant, fantastic creative projects in progress. For example, he had been working on a sequel to Hair, a followup to the five novels he completed in the past year or two. The Facebook site Eddie’s Exes (and other lifelong friends) is worth following, since lots of the anecdotes have weavings of Notre Dame. Eddie died not many months after his father and a couple of weeks before his mother Marilyn, so grief is well settled on this major New Orleans family.
Carl Frank of Riverside, IL died at the beginning of January, leaving his wife Ruth and his children and grandchildren with memories of a “Bumpa” whose legal career had been a series of accomplishments over more than 40 years. Al Berryman, who started his Notre Dame years as lanky beanpole from Bellevue, WA and went on to practice law in Fresno, CA, died October 5, 2012 with his family around him. Al asked to be remembered with a smile and a raised glass. We can do that, and will. Gary P. Verleye of Mason, OH passed away September 22, 2012, survived by his wife Linda and son Michael, who will graduate from Notre Dame in 2013. Gary headed his own accounting firm in Cincinatti, OH.
John Pearson, C.S.C., who will be working the reunion as celebrant of a 50 year Mass at Notre Dame and a 25 year Mass at St. Mary’s, sent word of former Cavanaugh Hall Rector Rev. Matthew M. Miceli, C.S.C.’s death on Dec. 9, 2012. Father Miceli came to Notre Dame in 1954 and held all kinds of meaningful teaching and administrative posts for four decades.
Please continue sending news to: Tom Figel, 1054 West North Shore, Apt. 3-E, Chicago, IL 60626, tel. 312-223-9536, firstname.lastname@example.org. Or reach me at Lake Effect Communications, LLC, tel. 312-223-9536.