Class notes submitted October 14, 2021

Dear classmates and friends of the Class of 1968, 
 First. . . If you have not done so, will you right now register with the Notre Dame community? If you have not registered for full participation in the array of things available from, please do so. (There’s a “register” button at the bottom of this post.) At the Notre Dame site, you can find a two-minute guide to registering (“How to register your myND account”). In essence, go to, remember the
Captcha requirement, and respond to the email that will tell you how to gt to the next step, mostly completion of postal address information and creation of a password. You’ll see that the process is simple and quck, probably no need for the help of a scornful adolescent or even a call to the Gene Cavanaugh help desk.What’s the point? As a member with access to the Notre Dame platform (, you’ll be able to post your own thoughts, upload photos, and sign up for many things: lecture and discussion podcasts, team news, for example. Most of all – in my opinion – you will have access to a place for posting something we all need to know instantly: e.g., a classmate’s death, information for contacting and consoling the family, or just a pass play that the team ought to try in the 4th quarter. You’ll be able to look up the contact information of classmates and other alumni. Together, we all will learn about features of the Notre Dame site: Live Feed for the immediate items, Forum for discussion of things by searchable subject, and News, where we can gather obituaries and also link to the blogs of classmates like Jay Schwartz.I don’t think you will be inundated, unless that is your wish. In “preferences”, you can select what you wish to receive. From then on, it’s Go Irish.
Class notes submitted October 14, 2021
On October 30, 2021, friends of Joe Kernan dedicated a bench and tree honoring him.Sadness, Comfort and JoyIn short order, within 24 hours, the announcements came: Rick Oldani telling of his wife Kaysie’s death in Phoeniz, AZ just before their 52nd wedding anniversary, this followed a month later by the death in Houston of Ed LaVigne, who had been Rich’s best man. Then, on October 1st, Bob Ptak, ever a mainstay of the Chicago classmates, died. All this occurred soon after Joe Masley wrote of his father John Masley’s death June 20, 2021.
Kaysie Oldani / Ed Lavigne. / Bob Ptak with Tom CugginoBob Ptak, always on top in his business life and frequently at the center of any party, managed to leave his family and friends while Notre Dame was enjoying an undefeated season. Small comfort there, and perhaps a factor in the team’s loss the next day. Rick Oldani, who met Kathryn “Kaysie” when she approached the Coca-Cola stand he was manning at a Stepan Center concert Rick’s junior year, said that Kaysie’s funeral took place on their wedding anniversary. John Masley, a mathematics professor at University of Illinois-Chicago, matched his brilliance in the subject (PhD from Princeton) with his success as a husband and father. Ed LaVigne, who came to Notre Dame from Coral Gables, FL, was an electrical engineer for Texas petrochemical companies and a musician who played bass guitar for groups that included the parish choir. After October 17, see the obituaries, including that received from Bill Betz’s daughter Emma, notes were barely in the hands of Notre Dame Magazine when new additional sad news arrived: Vernice Waddick wrote of her husband Thomas John Waddick’s June 23, 2021 death. Tom graduated from the University of Dayton in 1966 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and received his Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1968. A Senior Staff Engineer with ExxonMobil for over fifty years, Tom held numerous patents and earned global awards associated with his work. During his final years at ExxonMobil, Tom enjoyed mentoring new engineers and lending a hand on global projects and in the chemical plants he helped to build.
John M. Masley / John Carlin Beers / Tom WaddickThen Jay Schwartz wrote from Baltimore where that day’s Baltimore Sun included the October 29, 2021 obituary of John Carlin Beers. After graduating with an accounting degree, the Baltimore native added a law degree that led to a real estate practice and ownership of various apartment properties. The paper’s obituary quoted John’s daughter Christy Carey: ““Dad spent every day trying to ‘make ‘em laugh, He had the clever ability to craft a good, or really bad, pun. It was legendary. He understood the power of humor to bring people together, lessen pain or make a moment memorable.”May time and the comfort we give our classmates’ families now dull the sharpness of each loss.A year and some months after his death, Joe Kernan’s classmates have raised funds for a tree and a bench that was dedicated with a ceremony three hours before the October 30th game. The memorial is near the new Architecture School building donated by our classmate Matt Walsh and his wife Joyce and the Raclin Murphy Art Museum donated by Chris Murphy and Carmie.If anyone needed testament to the class bonds that keep us the Great 68 forever, the largely Keenan Hall reunion Tom Culcasi and Judy organized in Lemont and Chicago, IL during August provides incontestable proof. A picnic in the Culcasis’ backyard, a boat tour of the Chicago River and lakefront, a Lemont restaurant dinner deepened friendships for Tom Phillips, Bill Cleary, Mike Obiala, Tom Curtin, John Soleau, Joe Hale, Phil Mika, Ed Marsh, Dan Collins, Steve LaPlante, Ted Bratthauar, Mike Woods, John Walsh, Chris Murphy, Gene Cavanaugh, Bryan Dunigan and Fred Ferlic. Tom Phillips’ friend Ellen and all the wives kept the reunion and the boat in their channels.In yet another way, Pete Farrell, longtime Princeton coach, has left others in the dust: the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association has named Pete to the organization’s hall of fame – and for Pete’s merits as the man he has always been, not just the coach he was for many years.Bob Brady, the business founder who has enjoyed success in almost everything except tennis competition with his friend Kathleen Callahan, celebrated his December birthday with a Naples, FL party and a performance of the new cabaret material he has been rehearsing. Bob figures in photos his former roommate Brian Schanning unearthed from 1973, when, just out of the military and in the case of Nancy Carlin SMC 69 and me, recently married, we posed on seaside rocks during a Boston area gathering. We men, in comparison to today, were hirsute. Judge for yourself.
Bob Brady at rest in 1973 Brian Schanning remembering the size of his old room in Farley         Tom Figel about to launch in 1973
Correspondence that began with Walt Moxham’s notice of an Observer letter assailing the cost and inconvenience of viewing games through streaming led to his former roommateTom Brislin presenting his own supporting view in new correspondence to the university. Let me know if you would like to read Tom’s thoughtful letters about Notre Dame as we knew it.A painting byTom Fitzharris appeared in an online show of the New York Studio School alumni during August, 2021.In the footsteps of Paul Zalesky, Mike Moore and many other left-behind grandparents – with along-the-route stops for camping near the Madison, IN lodge accommodations of Tom McKenna and Mary Ann, some nights in Alexandria, VA with Elise Stephens Reeder, lunch with Jay Schwartz and Pat Collins, New England visits with Joan and Will Dunfey and Tom Condon and Anne,Neil Rogers in Greenport, NY, – Nancy and I have relocated from Chicago to Long Beach, CA. There should be no diminishment in news of the Chicago area classmates gathered around Class President Tom Weyer. Instead, there should be an uptick in California news once we and the locals Bill Kelly, John O’Connor, Forrest Hainline, Dan Lungren, Tom Warner, Michael R. Ryan, Tom McCloskey, Rich Pivnicka, Mike Burgener and winteringTom Phillips gather beneath the Great ’68 flag at a Burning Man.Please send news and photos to the new address, old phone number:Tom Figel, tel. 312-241-7917,, 455 East Ocean Boulevard, Apt 202, Long Beach, CA 90802.
Since October, Sad AddendaPete Adams’ death December 8, 2021: from Bryan Dunigan:Sorry to bring you some sad news. I just received a text from Lloyd Adams that his twin brother, Pete, passed away peacefully late last night. In 2015 Pete was given 3-6 months to live with stage 4 lung and kidney cancer which Pete then battled for over 6 years!Pete’s wife ,Patricia, survives him. Her address is 42 Apple Way, Marlton, New Jersey 08053….I also attach Lloyd Adams e-mail address (LloydAdams < condolences to all of the great Adams Family on the death of Pete Adams.
 And then Mary Claire Knapp, nee Jacobi:Ken Beirne sent news that Mary Claire Knapp, wife of Bill Knapp, died June 20, 2021 in Buffalo, NY.
Arrival of Notre Dame’s new football coach Marcus Freeman: From Australia, Mike Crutcher offered this: “So happy for MF to take charge of ND Football . Seems like a quality person, husband, dad, mentor to young men & football coach.”I did not like BK’s exit from ND. It was shortsighted, immature and will cause his family some pain . Actually feel sorry for him because it tarnishes his legacy at ND and will damage many friendships he should have cherished. Credit where credit is due : BK did set the table for ND Football to get to the next level.”Go Irish !Blessings ,jmc
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