Thank you to Jim Hutchinson, Larry “Monk” Forness, Tom McKenna (Indiana), Jim O’Rourke, John McCoy, Tom Fitzharris and Bob Smith for the contributions to “We’re Pumped!” and the four items following it. The items report the death of classmate Tom Connolly, the existence of ND grads who found South Bend weather milder than the weather at home, some photos documenting how little we have changed since our 25th reunion, the attention Tom Fitzharris is receiving for his paintings, and the news of some Bob Smith friends.
And thank you to all of you for being good Notre Dame subjects, in all the senses of that.
Mike Helmer’s popular contribution from the West Coast last time around has no immediate successor: after a night of revelry following his San Francisco Giants’ World Series success, Mike is recuperating from the strain of tipping over his neighbors’ cars. Since Mike and Elizabeth live in the Napa region, the cars are no easy matter: mostly Bentleys and Teslas, unlike the compacts known to most of us practical liberal arts majors. Fortunately, Forrest Hainline and John O’Connor had their fleets secured during the time of Mike’s joyous rampage.
Maybe southern California’s mound of muscle, Crossfit trainer Mike Burgener, can help Mike get in shape for any repeat of the Giants’ season. Larry “Monk” Forness, far along in his recovery from a heart repair, wrote from Granger, IN that Mike Burgener was one of the Father Bernard Lange‘s Gym group assembled for the Michigan weekend: “We had a great time at the Fr. Lange Weight Room in the Rockne Memorial Bldg. Big Steve Quinn was one of the better lifters. I couldn’t participate because of my recent surgery. Mad Dog (Burgener) looked so buffed that he didn’t lift, but instead was the judge. After the lifting, we went out into the parking lot and Kent “Iron Man” Durso (’67) had brought up an arm wrestling table stand, driven all the way from his farm, outside Nashville, TN. Big Steve Quinn got into a match with Dr. Jed Ervin, MD (’70) and tore Jed’s biceps tendon. Thankfully, it won’t require surgery. Iron Man got into it and dislocated his right shoulder. The only saving grace was that there were two bottles of booze — a 150-dollar bottle of Irish Whiskey (which we drained in toasts to Fr. Lange) and a 120-dollar bottle of scotch (that we drained to our own stupidity).”
During the Stanford weekend, Monk and Florida’s Jim Smithberger turned to heavy intellectual lifting when they sat in on a class in Classical and Scientific Genetics, an interest of Jim’s grandson Clayton, who is a Notre Dame prospect.
Also around for Michigan was Jim Hutchinson, who filed this mysterious report: “Jerry Murray, Bob Kubiak and I were part of the Rochester, NY crew that rented a house in Mishawaka. The weekend even included some non-pc insight from Mike Ryan re: the football player scandal. Only rough patch was a misunderstanding (now known as Towelgate) which resulted in Jerry M. shouting at everyone, ‘We are not supposed to use the towels, stand out on the lawn naked, and drip dry’.”
Feeling the prick of conscience after decades of presence at the tailgates of Class President Tom Weyer and his family, Carmel, IN’s Tom McKenna and Mike Browning organized their own party for the Purdue weekend. Tom reported, with attitude and a photo posted on the blog www.ndclass1968.com: “Beautiful weather, great food, uniforms looked good, rare sighting of Maggie Kernan and Mary Ann O’Toole, two former Governors, our own Joe Kernan and Evan Bayh, kicked Purdue’s ass, sneered at former Governor and current unqualified and incompetent Purdue President, Mitchell Daniels, wasn’t wearing his baseball cap nor riding in his RV. ’68’ attendees: Joe Kernan, Mike Ryan, Tom Gibbs, Gene Cavanaugh brought our class flag, Denny Toolin, Wally Moxham, Michael Browning, Class President Tom Weyer, Mike Wolf and Skip Strzelecki, generous provider of the tee shirts especially made for the game.”
Jim O’Rourke sent word of Thomas M. Connolly‘s death August 26, 2014. After serving as a U.S. Navy pilot, Tom came back to South Bend, where he married Bonnie McHugh, made his career in automotive and aviation industries, and enjoyed a wide circle of friends. Suffering from cancer at the end, Tom was the father of two sons and grandfather of four. Please keep him and Bonnie in your prayers.
Pals of John Schmelzer can write him at 200 North Maple Avenue, Apt. 611, Falls Church, VA 22046-4328. Though suffering from some health issues, John is sure to reply with interesting comments. Also, keep Bill Knapp and his wife Mary Clare in your thoughts as Mary Clare deals with some health matters. (In an early November phone call, Bill said that 2013 was a difficult time but, on January 6, 2014, Mary Clare had surgery that put her back in the pink. The Knapps are good.)
Thanks. – Tom Figel, 1054 West North Shore, Apt. 3-E, Chicago, IL, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. (office) 312-223-9536.