S o c i a l – / / – D i s t a n c i n g

(Class of 1968 notes submitted April, 2020 for publication in Notre Dame Magazine, approximately June, 2020)

We know social distancing, don’t we? We know the disappointment of St. Mary’s women abruptly canceling Friday night dates, the misery of pointless Rathskellar circling, the envy as lovely Barat or Xavier students alighted from their busses and rushed past us to the likes of fortunate Tom Gibbs or our charismatic future Class President Tom Weyer. There were other exceptions, men such as Rocky Bleier, Dave Martin, Dan Harshman and Jim Smithberger, whose athleticism complemented their good looks. There were those who self-medicated and married during senior year: Pat Hermann, Mike Baroody, Jay Schwartz. In those days, social distancing had another hardship: many had to endure it in forced triples, for this was in the time before rooms meant suites with kitchenettes. We survived then, and we are surviving now.

See pages 226-227 of the 1968 yearbook. Shown is a triple in Farley and highlighted text above “Hall life at Notre Dame has a long way to travel. . . hampered by the lack of female influence and . . . crowded into small unattractive rooms . . .”

Joe Blake, former Marine officer, triathlete, grandfather, sent a photo of a project he took on during the early days of the national lockdown: the baking of an apple pie.

Just before the lockdown curtain fell in Florida, Bob Brady and his friend Kathleen hosted a dinner for ten in his Naples home. Neighbors Jeff Keyes and Meg were there, as were Will Dunfey and Joan, Elise Stephens Reeder, Julie Ann Bodner, Tom Figel and Nancy Carlin. Anyone expecting to find Bob and Jeff at the beach each day, busy with metal detectors in search of coins, maybe competing for same with other Naples winter visitors Chris Murphy, Bob Ptak and Paul Dunn, would be wrong. To their own amazement, too, Bob and Jeff have a regimen of daily tennis and golf. Bob’s friend Kathleen flavored that one day with a 37-mile bike ride. Somehow, Crossfit evangelist Mike Burgener is having an effect from Southern California.

When her winter sojourn ended in late March, the Boston Globe quoted Joan Dunfey’s observation that the corona virus could be “devastating” in Florida because “Everybody’s over 70.” No doubt, Florida’s median age rose when Joan, Will and the others returned to northern homes.

Prior to the quarantine and prior to Rich Roger‘s Easter note, Brian Sullivan and Nancy met for unmasked dinner in Bal Harbour, FL with Mike Ryan and Rich Rogers. While watching Easter Mass online from the Vatican, Brian passed away. John Walsh and Dia, the news of Brian’s death fresh, were unpacking boxes at their new condominium home when John came across a first grade photo of himself flanked by Brian Sullivan and Mike McCarthy.

From John Walsh: Here’s the kindergarten class photo I told you about yesterday: St. Vincent Ferrer (River Forest), Sister Marjorie’s class, 1952. In the second row, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th kids in from the right are Brian Sullivan, John Walsh, and Mike/Arch McCarthy—68 years ago. Little did we (or anybody) know then that we would go through St. Vincent’s, Fenwick, and Notre Dame together!

Jim O’Rourke, Mendoza Business School Professor of Management, endorsed the leadership of Queen Elizabeth upon her address to an English people grappling with the corona virus pandemic. Jim’s remarks, carried in an Associated Press article published globally, included: “Now, more than ever, the people of the U.K. must have someone to reply upon, someone whose word they can trust.”

When Chris Murphy praised Drs. Fred Ferlic and Steve Anderson in a message sent widely over the Bryan Dunigan network, the email not only produced additional testaments to both physicians, it sparked a clarification from modest Steve: “I had been doing administrative work as the CMO at St. Joe’s in Mishawaka until July, 2018. This was long enough to ensure that Fred avoided Stark Act investigations between his orthopedic business and his Tayco Brace sales. I then retired from full time administrative work and began spending five months annually in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, with winters down south in South Bend. Inspired by the frenetic work of my ND ’69 colleague, Mark Walsh, who is doing both emergency department and hospitalist work at St. Joe, I went back into working one shift a week as a hospitalist at St. Joe this past November.” A note from Bryan Dunigan soon followed: “Who goes to South Bend for the winter?”

As a member of the medical team addressing the corona virus problem, Dr. Fred Ferlic has advised Dr. Anthony Fauci that the Tayco Brace requires additional testing before application against the disease.

Email from Dan Kimball, Port Townsend, WA, indicates that ND68 has good representation on the Notre Dame Senior Advisory board: e.g., Dan is chairman and, ex officio, sits on the Notre Dame Alumni Advisory Board; Tom McGrath is Rick Gutowski‘s successor representing the Southeast Region. Dan’s year regularly includes game attendance with Herb Kaler and Ken Larson. Ready to golf and visit for the benefit of scholarships for veterans and children of veterans? Watch www.ndsa.undgroup.org for the Warren Golf Course, Thursday, September 17th sign-up information and raffle tickets.

Tom Dorsel, on Hilton Head Island, SC, has provided the guitar/vocal Irish music for St. Patrick’s Day at Reilley’s North End Pub for the last three years. Tom claims he learned the songs from the juke box at Sweeney’s, while there with Kevin Doyle, Tom Duxbury and Jim LaTerza.

The Observer student newspaper dipped into its archives for a November, 1966 Dennis O’Dea article about the arrest and beating Brian McTigue suffered as a civil rights worker in Georgia during summer, 1966. Brian, now a lawyer advocating for clients protesting unfair banking treatment, works in Washington, DC.

Even with Tom Gibbs‘ blunt recommendation of a live-streamed viewing because of virus concerns, Sheila Gates Gibbs’ funeral brought a crowd to St. Luke’s, River Forest, IL on March 18, 2020. “The Great ’68 was well-represented,” said Tom Weyer. “Rick McPartlin, Kathy McCann. . .” Sheila, the Barat grad who became Tom’s wife and enthusiastic center of myriad class gatherings, had not let her illness diminish any family or class life.

Sheila Grant Gibbs, second from left, not only attended 1968 events: she brightened them. Here she and Tom are with Paul and Susan Dunn and Tom and Mary Pat McKenna.

Easter had additional news from Bryan Dunigan: his Badin Hall roommate Mick McKeon, who suffers from cancer, had entered home hospice care in Butte, MN. There was hardly time to say good-by, something Brian McManus managed with Facetime before Mick died April 15th. Please remember Mick, his wife Carol and their two children in your prayers.

Mick McKeon from the 1968 yearbook. Bryan Dunigan says the room they shared in Badin Hall has become part of a stairwell.

On January 17, 2020, Tom Condon’s sister Pat, a celebrated, longtime financial manager for the government of her native New London, CT, succumbed to an illness resembling ALS, one that had caused her six years of intense suffering. See a following post.

Paul Zalesky wrote of the sudden January 19, 2020 death of Richard Jurjevic. At Notre Dame, said Paul, ”Rick and I worked, as student part-time technicians under the direction of the department head, in the Aerospace facility studying (under confidentiality) fluid dynamics for various-shaped vehicles that evolved into the Apollo mission selections. We used what, at the time, was pretty unique high speed cinematography in the smoke wind tunnel.” Found at www.ndclass1968.com, Rich’s obituary celebrates a classmate who figured significantly in his family, his work, his parish and his community. See a following post.

Please pray for our deceased classmates and their families. And please send news and photos to: Tom Figel, 1054 West North Shore, Apt. 3E, Chicago, IL 60626, tel. 773-764-4898, tfigel@reputecture.com. The class blog www.ndclass1968.com has additional news.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.