Former Indiana governor, South Bend mayor Joe Kernan dead at age 74

In addition to the newspaper and media obituaries celebrating Joe Kernan’s exceptional life, memories have come from the friends Joe made when he was with us as a Notre Dame student. If you have an addition, pile on. You can send your memory to tfigel@reputecture.com or go ahead and post on the blog. There is no expiration date for appreciating Joe Kernan.

We knew Joe as a man who enjoyed a party, of course. Here he is at a class reunion party, Coveleski Stadium clubhouse, as he gives Kathy Malone Beeler, SMC 69, a whirl.

by WSBT 22Wednesday, July 29th 2020

Joseph E. Kernan, 48th governor of the state of Indiana and former South Bend mayor, passed away following a long illness.

Kernan served in the U. S. Navy during the Vietnam War. He was a POW for nearly 11 months in 1972 and received many awards for his military service.

The Democrat won three elections as South Bend’s mayor before being elected lieutenant governor with Gov. Frank O’Bannon in 1996. He took office as governor in 2003 after O’Bannon died from a stroke.

Kernan, 74, was diagnosed with dementia several years ago. He had lost the ability to speak due to Alzheimer’s disease and was living in a care facility.

Kernan’s former Chief of Staff Mary Downes says there will be no public service at this time due to the coronavirus pandemic

Here is the full statement from Downes:

SOUTH BEND, INDIANA (July 29,2020) – Earlier today, Joseph E. Kernan, 48th Governor of the State of Indiana passed away following a long illness. He is survived by his wife Maggie, and seven siblings who live in the state of Maine and the Washington, DC area.

Kernan’s distinguished career began as a United States Navy Lieutenant. He and his co-pilot were shot down while on a reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam in 1972. He spent 11 months as a POW in Hanoi, including at the infamous ‘Hanoi Hilton’ prison.

A graduate of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, Kernan returned home in 1974 to begin a career in business. In 1980, South Bend Mayor, Roger Parent asked him to serve as the City Controller in his administration.

Seven years later in 1987, he was elected to his first of three consecutive terms as mayor of the City of South Bend. In his third election as mayor, he received over 82% of the vote – still the widest margin of victory in the City of South Bend history.

In 1996, Frank O’Bannon, who was running for Governor of Indiana, asked Kernan to join him as the candidate for Lt. Governor. O’Bannon and Kernan were elected in November of that year. The team of O’Bannon and Kernan won reelection four years later in 2000.

When Governor O’Bannon died unexpectedly of a stroke in 2003, Kernan was sworn in as the state’s 48th Governor. Kernan made history immediately by appointing Kathy Davis as Indiana’s first female Lt. Governor.

Upon retirement from politics in 2005, Kernan moved back to South Bend and convinced fifty other members of the community to purchase the minor league South Bend Silver Hawks baseball team. At the time, the team was precariously close to leaving the city.

Kernan and his investors were able to keep the team in South Bend until a new owner by the name of Andrew Berlin was found in 2011. Not only did Berlin agree to keep the team in South Bend, he signed a twenty-year lease for the stadium at the same time.

Kernan continued to work as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Notre Dame, and through his own consulting firm until his death earlier today.

“Indiana mourns the loss of Joe Kernan, a bone fide American hero, decorated Navy officer, and truly selfless statesman who always placed the interests of his fellow Hoosiers first,” said Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb.

“Distinguished isn’t a strong enough word to describe him. Without regard for personal cost, Joe Kernan devoted every ounce of his life, time and again, to upholding the oath he took, and serving the country and state he loved.

Undeterred after being shot down and tortured in Vietnam, he returned and led his beloved City of South Bend as mayor for three terms, and our state as our 47th lieutenant governor. When duty called him to step into a role he didn’t seek, he served as our 48th governor.

Through his decades of servant leadership and sacrifice, Joe Kernan modeled all the best of what it means to be a Hoosier and his legacy will continue to live on in each of us whom he inspired.

Janet and I ask Hoosiers across our state to join us in lifting up in prayer Mrs. Kernan, their incredible family, and all whose lives he touched.”

Kernan passed away at 5:30 a.m. this morning after a prolonged illness. Arrangements are being made by Welsheimer’s Funeral Home in South Bend. Kernan, always a loyal friend, had expressed a preference for Welsheimer’s because the funeral home sponsored his little league team in 1958 when he was 12 years old.

“Joe Kernan’s many and noteworthy contributions to Notre Dame, our community, the state and our nation cannot be overstated,” said John I. Jenkins, C.S.C, President of the University of Notre Dame. “A student-athlete at the University, he earned a bachelor’s degree in government, then entered the Navy and served as a decorated aviator in Vietnam, where he demonstrated uncommon heroism when shot down and held prisoner of war for 11 months.

“As a three-term mayor of South Bend, he set the city on an upward trajectory that continues to this day. He likewise served our state with distinction, first as lieutenant governor and then, upon the sudden passing of Gov. Frank O’Bannon, stepping up as governor.

“In addition to his government service, he was a beloved civic leader who never shied away from challenges. He was always a good friend to Notre Dame, and a friend and support to me personally. We were proud to have him as an alumnus, and as an adjunct faculty member in political science.

“In presenting Joe with an honorary degree in 1998, the University praised him as ‘an accomplished public servant who played a pivotal role in strengthening the University’s town-gown relations.’ He went on to deliver a superb commencement address to the graduating class.

“Our prayers are with his wife, Maggie, their family and his many friends. We grieve over his passing, while simultaneously recognizing a remarkable life. May he rest in peace.”

Memorial contributions may be made to the Veterans Fund at the University of Notre Dame. Please direct your gift to support scholarships and fellowships for military-connected students to giving.nd.edu, by phone (574) 631-5150, or by mail: University of Notre Dame, Department of Development, 1100 Grace Hall, Notre Dame, Indiana 46556.

Pete Buttigieg@PeteButtigieg
There will not be another like Joe Kernan. South Bend will always be proud of his heroism in uniform and his leadership as our mayor and Governor. And his friends will always remember his exuberant joy, his compassion for the vulnerable, his ready smile, and his inimitable laugh.

7:52 AM · Jul 29, 2020

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Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s office issued the following statement:

INDIANAPOLIS — Governor Eric J. Holcomb offered the following after the passing of former Gov. Joe Kernan.

“Indiana mourns the loss of Joe Kernan, a bone fide American hero, decorated Navy officer, and truly selfless statesman who always placed the interests of his fellow Hoosiers first.

Distinguished isn’t a strong enough word to describe him. Without regard for personal cost, Joe Kernan devoted every ounce of his life, time and again, to upholding the oath he took, and serving the country and state he loved.

Undeterred after being shot down and tortured in Vietnam, he returned and led his beloved City of South Bend as mayor for three terms, and our state as our 47th lieutenant governor. When duty called him to step into a role he didn’t seek, he served as our 48th governor.

Through his decades of servant leadership and sacrifice, Joe Kernan modeled all the best of what it means to be a Hoosier and his legacy will continue to live on in each of us whom he inspired.

Janet and I ask Hoosiers across our state to join us in lifting up in prayer Mrs. Kernan, their incredible family, and all whose lives he touched.”

AND NOW FROM THE CLASSMATES:

From: Joe Kernan <flare604@yahoo.com>
Subject: Class of ’68 Saturday Alternative Dinner
To: “Tom Gibbs” <tjlaw@gibbs.net>
Cc: “Kari Orpurt” <korpurt@professionalsportsmarketing.net>
Date: Thursday, May 1, 2008, 4:47 PM

Gibber – Following up on our conversation the ’68 Saturday dinner will be at Coveleski Stadium in downtown South Bend. The Upper Deck will be the location in the ballpark.  Plenty of parking.  Cocktails begin at 6:30, with dinner to follow whenever we feel like it.  Appetizers, buffet, dessert, beer, wine and gratuity included in $35 per head.  If you want hard stuff there will be a cash bar.  Our President for Life has agreed to lead the “Ruggers Run the Bases” event commencing at 8:00, or whenever four or more ’68ers demand it.  Please have our distinguished and responsible classmates respond to Kari Orpurt, Upper Deck, 501 W. South St., South Bend, IN 46601 with a check for themselves and guests; or by email to the above address; or call her at 574-235-9985.  Being somewhat familiar with the members of the class, I understand that getting an early and accurate head count will be impossible, but appreciate the effort.  Respectfully submitted – Joe

Mike Brennan, 1969, started a good string when he wrote to Bryan Dunigan and attached a photo:       ” I am sending a picture of the Sorin Hall Championship Interhall Football Team, 1967. You can see it has some of the greats of “68, Joe being one of them. You can do with it as you please, it is a terrific memory for me of what Notre Dame means to all of us. I will send a copy to Maggie with my condolences. God Bless, be safe and thank you for keeping so many of us appraised of our friends.” But who is who? Read on for the answer from Tom Durkin.

Bryan Dunigan said: “I can find Joey on the railing. Is that also the Baby Earl in the front row and Wheels Kenealy in upper left corner? Is this team enshrined in Canton yet?”

And Tom Durkin’s answer: “Indeed it is both wheels and the Baby. 

“Bill Bingle the second from left in front row, and I am behind him with the towel around my neck.  Skip Strzelecki, Jay Jordan and Dick Carrigan in the back row. 

“An incredible team.  The victory party in the basement of Sorin after we won the Championship was one for the ages—if my memory serves me Gibbs has an article about the game and party that made the Observer.  One of the top 10 days of my life. (Don’t ask me about the other nine.)  Seems like it was only yesterday.”

Jim Hutchinson wrote:

“He hosted a party at his house with Dave Martin when my son started at ND in 1993.  It was a nice way for the freshmen to get to know a few other kids before orientation.  Joe was a gracious host – he was mayor at the time
One kind of funny story from Freshmen year PE class.  At the end of our soccer session it came time to pick an “all star team”  Somehow our captain picked me over Joe.  Joe was a great athlete and, let me put it this way, I was not.  The looks on everyone’s faces were beyond shock, as they should have been.  I did not know Joe but looked at him expecting a “You’ve got to be kidding me, scowl”.  Instead I got the classic Joe Kernan smile that I never forgot.
I realize that this is a small and insignificant story in the scheme of things but it has always stuck with me.

“When you look at his life, everyone of us looks small but he would never make anyone feel that way.”

A Tom Figel addendum to Jim’s memory:

One of the times Joe and a group of his classmates were winding up at Sunny Italy restaurant, Joe didn’t just say good-bye to the owner Sis. Addressing everyone by name – any age, any station – Joe went into the kitchen and not just said hello but checked on family with the many people at work. Joe was ex-Governor then and occupied with, among other things, the Silver Hawks and a string of charities.

Another time, he spoke at a luncheon in Chicago. In those remarks, he talked about his Chicago history: during the Depression, Joe’s grandfather was in need of work. Then, a friend lost her husband, just at the time the man was about to begin work for a City crew. Immediately, Joe’s grandfather and the widow concocted a scheme: Joe’s grandfather would report to work but in the guise of the man who had passed away. What Joe’s grandfather made would go in part to the other family. Time went on. All of a sudden, the supervisor came along, a sad look on his face. “What’s the matter?” Mr. Kernan asked. He heard in answer: “This is terrible. I have to let you go. Some guy with a City Hall connection, someone named Kernan, is being given the job you have.”

Paul Zalensky wrote:

“I am truly saddened at the loss of Joe. As a freshman at Stanford Hall, Joe would dare passers to get a ball past him on the grass field. In sophomore year, at Howard Hall, Joe asked me to help him with Economics, saying “I need to figure this stuff out; can you be my special tutor?” And who can forget his kamakazi style playing for the Irish on special teams, where he would throw his body in the air to stop a kickoff return? We have lost a true warrior.”

God help anyone who tries to remove this bust of Joe from the South Bend Century Center.

Neil Rogers wrote:

” I remember sometime in the summer of 2008 my son Conor and I were in South Bend.Conor was visiting a young lady ND lady classmate and we were at the minor league ballpark and Joe tracked us down in right field. As the head of the ball club he was extremely busy, but he went.out of his way to make sure the Rogers were treated as Silverhawk royalty. Joe and I were not well acquainted but that mattered little. We were treated as part of a big family. All were blessed to know Joe.”

Mike Browning wrote:

“Gregarious, feisty, a fighter, always to the point, no subtlety, incredibly loyal, a man for all people….. on and on. 

He left us some time ago and we tried hard to pretend that he was with us.  But last night we grieved and Tom McKenna and I reminisced with a beer and we were reminded of on Mick Jagger song. “Let’s drink to the hard working people, let’s drink to the lowly of birth, Raise your glass to the good and the evil, Let’s drink to the salt of the earth… “

Tom Weyer wrote:

“I must commend our South Bend crew who took so much time taking Joe out for lunch , movies appointments and other events. Maggie sure needed an occasional break. Tom Cuggino, Pat Barth, Gene Cavanaugh, Skip Strezliki, Dr Freddie Ferlic, Chris Murphy…and I’m sure others, were a super CareTeam…..They had something going on every week . Great 68” at its finest…. As I said at the Reunion…we didn’t need Fraternities…..Notre Dame gave us all the brothers we would ever need.”

Video of Indiana lowering flag at news of Joe’s death: https://twitter.com/i/status/1288491261998047232

(received by Bryan Dunigan from Claire Toomey)

Dave Martin wrote:

“Indeed it is difficult to see one of our classmates pass on.  However, in Joey’s situation, of course it’s our loss, but it may truly be a blessing in disguise as the Alzheimer’s was enough of a burden, but with other complications it was difficult for Joe and many of his family and friends.  But as we know, Joe built and nurtured many friends  over a lifetime of good cheer, kindness, and truly caring for all he met, so that the prayers from all those friends and family hopefully made his last days a blessing of love for all who cared for him and about him.   May Joe rest in the love of our Lord in heavenly peace!

“Here’s but a little story of Joe’s interaction with me.  It is but a snippet of my recollection and experience with a marvelous guy and a HUGE HUMAN BEING.  It was very hard not to love the guy, but I was tested at least once.   It was on the golf course, and I recall Joey was a reasonably crumby player, but a player that would never give up or even show the slightest possibility of quitting (which word was simply not in his vocabulary).  Once upon a time, in his home territory we had a golf match at the South Bend Country Club (or I like to think it was there, and if it was there we were only there because Joey had friends in high places).    

“As it was, we were betting often and excessively, along the lines of a $2 Nassau.  As we played we continued the banter back and forth for the entire round.  Of course, one of Joes major abilities was to talk, and when on the golf course he’d normally be talking at the wrong time (in my backswing more often than not).  And as the round progressed and his putter, not to mention his other clubs, started to really let him down around the 15th hole, he started to press our bet.  I recall he won the 16th hole but I took back the 17th and we were down to the final link…..#18.    I drove where I was supposed to be, in the fairway (a place normally not with which I was very familiar).  Joey drove to the right somewhere in the rough……or at least he told me that’s where his ball came to rest.  We both hit our second shots and mine was well placed and handsomely played (even if I do say so myself), while Joey was swatting flies, and his ball which barely rolled into an unfamiliar place for him that day…..the fairway.  My third shot was on the green and Joey’s was way short.  He had to press and indeed the pressure must have gotten to him as he duffed his next shot to with about 100 yards of the green.  Bottom line, due to some inordinately poor shots by Hizzoner, he ended up loosing the match and the BIG MONEY (maybe around $7 or $8 bucks).  But as the competitor Joey was, he hated losing….especially to a rank amateur like me.    So it is my contention that Joey hatched a plan between the 18th green and the bar that targeted my winnings, or at least hatched a plan to avoid paying his debt to me, at least for that day. 

“His plan, drink enough beer (back in those days) and “over-serve” me so that I’d forget about the debt the future governor of Indiana owed to yours truly.  Well, I’m sad to say I didn’t get him to pay up on his debt, but I think that my consumption was sufficient to qualify for a win in that day’s betting circle.  Joey was a competitor to the end because it took at least two major malaises to bring the man down……but we know down did not happen for Joe.   He is high above and cheering us all on and is rooting for each and every one of us.

“Today, I will raise a glass in honor of a truly good man.  God bless you Joe and may you continue to bless us with your friendship and the love that you brought to all our lives! “

A Tom Figel addendum to Dave’s memory:

John Walsh, Tom Moore and I had come to a Joe Kernan roast put on by a South Bend group with a name like Goose and Duck. His South Bend friends did a good job of roughing Joe up, with some stray shots directed at never-RSVP-on-time Fred Ferlic. Joe held his own when he had his chance to rebut. One of his stories concerned a golf outing when, as Governor, he had a state trooper in attendance. Somebody in the foursome, someone at the event that day, was lining up for a meaningful but lengthy putt. Joe turned to the trooper and said, “If he makes that putt, I want you to shoot him.”

Mike Burgener wrote:

“ya i have great memories of joe kernan at notre dame…..as i recall joe was a baseball player and i might even had a class or two with joe and his bb coach jake cline….those were the days!!! on one occasion i can remember being back on campus, sometime in the mid to late 70’s as i recall……Joe and i saw each other and my first comment to joe was: “well joe, you got your ass caught!!” we both laughed and he said: “yup, i sure did!!!” joe was an amazing person and i am sad to see him leave this world, but we all know he is in a better place!!! RIP JOE!!!

Pete Farrell wrote:

“Several years back I happened to land a terrific blue chip runner out of Culver Academy. She was one of the best if not the best high school prospect in the country. As nine time Indiana State Champion in cross country and track, Alex Banfich was chosen as the top high school athlete In the Hoosier State. She was to receive her award and recognition at the half time of the Colts game. Having already decided on Princeton as her college choice, she stepped forward to receive her award from the governor who greeted her with “Pete will take good care of you next year.” Her parents told me this story. Thanks Joe.

“Terre Haute, Indiana is to college cross country what Omaha is to baseball. While driving my team through downtown TH, I noticed a store front displaying Headquarters of the Joe Kernan’s Campaign for Governor. Errrrrhhh. I immediately pulled the van over and told the team I‘ll be right back. Entering the room I found two idle young men leaning back in their chairs waiting for business. I asked “Do you guys know who Joe is?” They answered that they had met him once. I felt compelled to unload on them. “I know you’ve read of his accomplishments, his war record and his civic service. I had the privilege of living next door to him in college. He was and is no ordinary or average Joe. No, Joe is quite extraordinary. He’s the good guy who also gets things done. No nerd here, he enjoyed college as much as any body you know. He was the catcher on the baseball team. If you can’t trust the catcher who can you trust. He’s the man this state needs as governor.” I exhorted them to be aggressive in doing his bidding. I think I put some life behind his picture. Not hard to do with a guy like Joe.”

Larry “Monk” Forness wrote:

“I remember when a friend moved back here (South Bend area) in 2008, I was out at a little eatery with Ron Jeziorski. He leans over and tells me that there is Joe Kernan at another table. I had not seen Joe since we graduated. I walk up to Joe’s table and reintroduce myself. But I’m not even done talking when Joe says, “Hey, Monk. Great to see you again. Welcome back, Brother.” I was stunned that he’d not only remember me, but see who I was after all those years, and that I had been in ‘Nam. Joe adds: “I remember that you lived in Stanford freshman year.” Again, I was stunned, and said, “Joe, given that you were shot down and in the Hanoi Hilton, it should you be ME telling ‘Welcome back, Brother’ to YOU.” Which I did.And I also remember all those great evenings at the South Bend ball park and having root beer and good conversation after the game was over.”

Skip Strzelecki wrote:

“Notre Dame as we all know has no fraternities, but what we do have is an even stronger bond, a bond of brothers. One of the great benefits of our beloved university! The “Great 68” is filled with great leaders who have impacted and inspired all of our lives. Sadly we lost one of the greatest of the Great 68 Joe Kernan who served his last run, caught his last pass, made his last putt and is now enjoying his ultimate victory and reward for his life well lived. Joe embodied for all of us one of Father Ted’s favorite quotes, “If you want to fulfill your life, live it for others”. May God Bless Joe and Maggie and may the beautiful Lady on the Dome continue to watch over them and all of our classmates.

Bryan Dunigan sent link to Joe’s commencement address video, 1998:

https://video.whyy.org/video/lt-governor-joe-kernan-commencement-speech-gergl4/

John O’Connor (at Jim Hutchinson’s urging) wrote:

What a great guy he is. My firm represented a POW who was charged with consorting with the enemy. The partner came into my office one day and said, “You were a classmate of Joe Kernan!” I said, “Yeah?” He said, Joe is the greatest guy I have ever met. Joe was considered a solid loyal officer and he stuck up for the officer charged. And showed how the officer was cleverly getting the Vietcong to treat them better, without being disloyal. Joe’s known  integrity was the centerpiece to the defense.

Mike Crutcher wrote:

(After watching Joe’s commencement address, 1998 class) “Joe’s demeanor and observations very accurately reflect the uniqueness of ND . A wonderful blend of faith , academics , community service and athletics . May ND always strive for excellence in representing our belief in God and service to others as the highest of achievements .”

Rich Rogers wrote:

“I first met joe during our 10th reunion I believe. I and some other 68ers went to his house near Angela for refreshments. He gave us a tour and pointed out his pool table in the living room,bar etc. Over the fireplace he had a painting of a green jungle with a fighter jet with the numbers on it on the way down into the greenery. To the right was a smaller parachute with a small figure. He told me that was him, laughing that when he returned to ND and South Bend he was never going to leave ,ever. He left out the POW aspect modestly.   As a loyal patron of THE VIEW tavern on Jefferson in SB I became friendly with some of the luminaries. One was Jack Dillon who was a chemistry professor at St. Mary’s. Jack had lost his wife to cancer and was left with their young daughter who had survived spina bifida and was permanently confined to a wheelchair for life. He was burdened with serious ongoing medical bills because of his daughter’s conditons. I told him i was a ’68 grad. He lit up and said, “You must know Joe Kernan”. He told me that when Joe heard of his situation, Joe set him up with a position that needed to be filled with the South Bend Dept of Streets. Jack left St. Mary’s and Joe was then his boss as mayor. Joe did this on his own so that Jack and his daughter would have excellent health benefits and their financial burdens would be lifted. It was never about Joe, always others.   Jack called me the day Joe passed. He said, “Today i lost a great boss and a SPECIAL friend”. So did we all! GOD BLESS JOE KERNAN
tom- we sure left ND with much more than a degree. how fortunate we are!”

Jay Schwartz wrote (to Dennis Gallagher):

“Dennis: Your email mentioning Joe Kernan brought this memory. His obit mentioned survivors in D.C.( maybe siblings). Joe had been raised in South Bend but his family moved to D.C. while he was at Notre Dame. He had never been there. So, on one break or another, I told him I knew where he now lived and we drove to D.C. I think a ND friend of mine was driving as neither Joe or I had a car.In any event, we delivered Joe to his family in D.C.in Northwest D.C. and proceeded on to the wrong side of the tracks ( albeit in a fashionable section).The best part of the obits I’ve read was his insistence to be buried through the funeral home which had sponsored his little league team.

Bob “Rabbit” Noonan wrote:

Tom, soliciting stories about Joe will only be restrained by the storage on your computer.  We all have Kernan stories from our ND days but let me share one from 1988.  

Still in the Army, we were transferring from Hawaii to the Army War College in Pennsylvania in the summer of 1988.  I decided to make a side trip to ND and as we pulled into South Bend, the billboard said: Mayor Joe Kernan.  As this was before the internet and we had spent the last three years in Hawaii, I still thought he was the comptroller.  We pulled into our hotel and I called City Hall just to say hello.  I hadn’t seen him since 1969.  His assistant put him through and it was like we were back in our undergrad days.  Then he said he was busy but would call back and maybe we could go out for dinner.  My wife and kids had already cleaned up and I was in the shower when my wife came into the bathroom and said there was a policeman at our door demanding to come in. I grabbed some shorts and opened the door.  The policeman asked me if I was “the rabbit”.  I said yes and then Joe appeared down the hallway, laughing his butt off.  He demanded we all go to Corby’s for pizza and so we did.  We were going to leave the next day but he asked us to stay because he was hosting a veteran’s ceremony at the ballpark and wanted me to come. I said sure and the next morning we went to the ceremony.  After a few remarks, Joe then announced that the speaker would be LTC Bob Noonan, a Vietnam Vet still on Active Duty.  He gave me that mischievous look and handed me the microphone.  I winged it but Joe couldn’t get the smile off his face.  He then invited my family to a social event at his house that afternoon.  We went and I was impressed that Joe was spending time talking to our 11 year old son about moving and finding new friends.  As we left he told my son to wait and then ran back into his house and brought out a football autographed by Lou Holtz and the entire coaching staff; an incredibly generous gesture.  

He will be missed.

On 40th anniversary of his flight out of Vietnam, Joe Kernan counted his blessings

Joe Kernan, front row, second from left, is shown in this undated photo with members of his Navy squadron aboard the USS Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War. Tribune File Photo

Editor’s note: This story was first published in the Tribune on March 28, 2013.

SOUTH BEND — There are some days a person never forgets. Forty years ago, March 28, 1973, was one of those days for Joe Kernan.

Kernan, then a naval flight officer, had just endured 11 months as a prisoner of war toward the end of the Vietnam War. But on this early spring morning, Kernan and 67 other former POWs were at Hanoi’s Gia Lam Airport. They were escorted by Air Force officials to a waiting C-141 transport plane.

“We got aboard and taxied out and started to roll,” Kernan said. “When the pilot said, ‘Wheels are in the well’ that’s when everybody went nuts. A big hoot and holler went up.”

For Kernan, the former South Bend mayor and Indiana governor, it was the end of a long ordeal.

Kernan followed in the footsteps of his grandfather and father when he enlisted in the Navy in the spring of 1969.

“I had decided I wanted to join the Navy and I wanted to fly,” he said. “It was the opportunity to do something I wanted to do instead of sitting around and waiting to get drafted.”

After completing aviation officer candidate school in Florida and navigation training in Georgia, Kernan was given his wings and assigned to a flight squadron. He spent more than a year training aboard his RA-5C Vigilante reconnaissance aircraft before he was assigned to a fleet squadron and deployed to Vietnam in January 1972 aboard the USS Kitty Hawk.

“We did two things. We did road reconnaissance, which was searching for enemy traffic primarily along the Ho Chi Minh trail,” Kernan said. “We’d bring our film back to the ship, it would be developed and if there was traffic that merited some kind of attention we would have other aircraft that would go after those targets.

“The second thing we did was bomb damage assessment. That was to determine whether a target had been sufficiently destroyed or whether we needed to go back and hit it again.”

On May 7, 1972, on Kernan’s 26th combat mission, his RA-5C Vigilante took off with its F-4 Phantom fighter escort for a bomb damage assessment run. After the assessment, squadron commanders asked Kernan to do some road reconnaissance along Vietnam’s Highway 1, the main highway.

“We came over our target, it was a truck park, a staging area for troops and tanks and trucks. We took pictures of that target and as we continued down Highway 1 we were about halfway through our mission and got hit by anti-aircraft fire,” Kernan recalled. “We got hit in the tail. The nose pitched down violently. We came right out of it.

“As we rolled wings level, the nose pitched down again and we were pointed at the ground. I look at the altimeter I had — 2,900 feet — I made the decision to eject not knowing anything other than I didn’t want to ride it in.”

The cockpit filled with light and Kernan was flung at forces approaching 23Gs from the aircraft, rendering him unconscious from the force of the ejection.

He landed in a small village.

“When I got up, people were coming from everywhere. I was surrounded and was getting kicked around,” he said. “I was carrying a .38 revolver with flares in it. So, you’re not going to start a land war with six rounds of small flares.”

Kernan was quickly subdued, stripped to his underwear and brought to Hanoi. He did time in two of the most infamous POW prisons of the war, the Hanoi Hilton and one dubbed “The Zoo,” he said.

There he would stay for 11 months, until the peace agreements were signed, the C-141s allowed in to remove the former prisoners.

For seven weeks, Kernan was listed as missing in action.

The first month, Kernan was kept in isolation. Eventually, another prisoner was brought in with him. The two discreetly talked.

“He said, ‘Your escort lost you guys and you’re presumed dead.’ That was the worst day of my life,” Kernan said. “I assumed my family thought I was dead, the Navy thought I was dead and if everybody thinks I’m dead there’s no reason for these guys to keep me alive. It wasn’t until three months later I found out my family knew I was alive.”

Kernan’s path home came through the Philippines, Hawaii and eventually Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, D.C. After 90 days’ leave, Kernan spent another 18 months in the Navy even though he could have gotten out at any time.

“Wouldn’t trade it for anything,” he said. “I loved it. Made great friends.”

He’s spent the past four decades observing his shoot-down day as a nod to those less fortunate the more than 58,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who never made it out of Vietnam alive.

“Every May 7, I play golf with friends,” Kernan said. “Of the things I missed in Vietnam what I missed most was pizza and beer on Friday nights. So after playing golf I go to Rocco’s, eat pizza and drink some beer.

“I’ve been doing that a long time now. It’s a day when it could have gone the other way, very easily and with greater probability. With flight crews in Vietnam that got shot down, three out of four didn’t come home.”

Kernan said it’s hard to believe it’s been 40 years.

“Some days it seems like it was 100 years ago. Some days it feels like last week,” he said. “I got the big break. I have no regrets, no second thoughts about the things I’ve done over the last 40 years.

“I count my blessings. The odds are that I wouldn’t be here. If I’d waited to eject another second, to punch out, I wouldn’t be here.”

Michael Daher, death June 26, 2020


Born January 26, 1946. Passed away June 26, 2020 from cancer. Michael died at home surrounded by family. He was husband of Nancy (Henry) Daher, father of Julia, Margaret, and Matthew Daher, stepfather of Ann Chrapkiewicz and Elaine Lande, grandfather of Freya, Forrest, Lynn, and Alex, and brother of Donald and Douglas. He was a lifelong resident of Grosse Pointe and a deeply committed public servant and educator. He dedicated his career to creating as many educational opportunities as possible for his students as an English professor at Wayne State University and at Henry Ford College, where he taught for nearly 40 years. His industriousness, compassion and vibrant mind were admired and appreciated by his students, colleagues, family and friends. He will be remembered for his pursuit of knowledge and adept ability to connect with the world around him and those he cared about through his love of language and literature. Warm remembrances of him by current and former colleagues and students at Henry Ford College can be found here: https://www.hfcc.edu/news/2020/mike-daher-remembrances-hfc-community

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.

Brian P. Sullivan death April 12, 2020

(August 22. 1946 – April 12,2020) Sullivan, Brian P. Bal Harbour formerlyof Chicago, Illinois passed away suddenly on April 12, 2020. Cherished husband of Nancy Sullivan and devoted father of Edward Sullivan, Brian was the loving son of William and Lillian Sullilvan. He is survived by his sister, Suzanne Sullivan Brennan, and predeceased by his brother, William and sister, Shannon Sullivan. Brian was the brother-in-law of Bridget Edwards, Kathleen Soeder, and Patrick, Ned and Tim Hyland. He was the beloved Uncle B to his many nieces, nephews and cousins. Brian was a highly respected retired Senior VP at Raymond James Financial Advisors and had a distinguished career as a Stockbrokerfor over 45 years. A proud graduate of his beloved Alma Mater, the University of Notre Dame Class of 1968, he placed a high premium on his faith, family and friends. He will be remembered as a loving husband and father and a kind and generous friend to many. A Mass of the Resurrectionwill be celebrated at a private ceremony at St. Rose of Lima on Saturday, April 18th at 2:00pm. Interment immediately to follow. A Memorial Mass and celebration of life will beheld at a later date due to the current pandemic. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Scholarship Funds at St. Rose of Lima School, Miami Shores or Chaminade Madonna College Prep, Hollywood. Gregg L Mason Funeral Home Miami, Florida 305-757-9000
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!

National Title for Cape Cod Team captained by Jim Bisceglia

<h2>National Title for Cape Cod Team </h2><h1>Headlines 65 & Over Invitational</h1>
Jim Bisceglia is in photo. Look for the young ringer mixing with the others, all over 65 years.

ORLANDO, FL– New England picked up its first USTA League National Championship of the year thanks to one of Cape Cod’s most consistent teams. The Outer Cape Stripers, from Willy’s Gym in Eastham, MA, won the 65 & Over 7.0 Men’s National Invitational on February 9 at USTA’s National Campus in Orlando, FL, headlining New England’s success at the two-weekend Invitational.

In their five years as a team, the men from the Cape have won the last three New England Sectional Championships and earned as high as a third-place National finish in 2017.

This year’s road to Nationals may have been their toughest yet, as the team faced unthinkable adversity.

Following New England Sectionals in September, Captain Jim Bisceglia and his team committed to 30 practices to prepare ahead of Nationals. But in December, their home court, Willy’s Gym, temporarily closed, forcing the team to relocate to Mid-Cape Athletic Club in Yarmouth.

“So many things had to go just right for us to win this year. It almost seemed like it was destined to happen,” said Bisceglia said. The key for us was this year was a total commitment to practicing and to the team-first concept.”

Things didn’t get any easier in Orlando, as the Stripers were faced with powerhouses USTA Florida and Middle States over the first two days, both of which reached the semifinals.

New England split its day one slate, sweeping Northern California, 3-0 but dropping the Florida match, 1-2.

“When our record was 1-1 after the first day, we knew we had to sweep all three lines in our next match and at least two out of three in our last, and that’s exactly what we did,” Bisceglia said.

The men bounced back with a 3-0 drubbing of Intermountain and, in a must-win match, defeated Middle States, 3-0. The pairs of Jim Bisceglia/Dave Kenney and Peter Weinman/Chad Small eked out two, third-set tiebreak wins.

New England advanced to the semifinals as the No. 3 seed and matched up once again with Florida, which claimed the No. 2 spot. New England had the home team’s number this time around, as they swept the Floridians, 3-0.

In a shocking upset, Middle States defeated top-finishing Southern in the other semifinal, setting up another rematch from early-round play.

In a similar result, New England took the match, 2-1, thanks to wins at the Nos. 2 and 3 positions from the pairs of Weinman & Small and David Bernstein & Jerry Haigh respectively.

“The deciding match of the tournament featured Dave Bernstein and Jerry Haigh playing a tiebreak. There must have been 60 people watching from an adjoining court,” Bisceglia recalled. “When we eventually won the tiebreak, 20 of our players and team supporters rushed the court for a group hug with Jerry and David. It was reminiscent of the Red Sox winning the World Series, only better.”

Weinman and Small led the way the entire tournament for the Stripers, finishing 6-0 as a duo.

“Tennis on Cape Cod has brought so much joy to all of us; fostering friendships that will endure,” Bisceglia said. “Our late dear coach, Joe Abbott, is responsible for introducing many of us to each other and teaching us how to play the game the right way and to not take the game or ourselves too seriously.”

Class notes submitted January 19, 2020

Joy, Sadness and Hope

Bryan Dunigan hosted an annual Christmas party at his Oak Park, IL home

Can the emissions of the jets transporting so many classmates south to Naples, FL this winter be an unremarked contributor to the global climate change? Tanned Bob Ptak and Donna were back in the Chicago area for holiday celebrating with Class President Tom Weyer, Tom Gibbs, John Walsh, Gene Cavanaugh and Pat, Dennis Toolan and Mary Lou, Matt Walsh, Roger Guerin and Jean, Ted Nebel and other Bryan Dunigan guests. Ted Nebel spoke of January, 2020 retirement, though he then told of a prodigious “reduced” schedule of tax form preparations.

Brian Schanning, whose Navy service was submarine duty, now is seeing the world from above the waves. Brian and Sue took a cruise ship along the Norwegian coast, around the North Cape and into Murmansk, Russia, where they toured the Russian Northern Fleet Museum. Said Brian: “Never imagined back in ROTC, I would pay my respects at a memorial to the Russian submarine Kursk.” The Schannings had lunch with Bob Raaf and Barb when the two came to Boston from Ft. Myers, FL for Christmas with their daughter and grandchildren.

Bob Brady, Brian’s former Farley Hall roommate, was also traveling – and writing about what he found in Egypt: https://robertlindsaybrady.wordpress.com.

In February, Gene Schraeder and Ellen will make a bucket list trip to New Zealand, their third ND trip. They meant to see New Zealand while in Australia years ago but then 9/11 occurred. Gene is “still working, but finding the time to do things like this before age takes over.”

Jim Hutchinson and Eileen had fun with Jerry Murray and Mary Ellen at the Duke game. Jerry, said Jim, has a bad knee “but ran 40 yards in 4.3 seconds when I mentioned ‘Manhattans’.”

In Western New York, Walt Moxham and his Vietnam Veterans group are hosting Rocky Bleier’s performance at North Tonawanda’s Riviera Theatre on August 8, 2020. The four-minute video Steve Anderson sent of Rocky’s NCAA award supports everyone’s admiration for our classmate. Click on https://youtu.be/IIxXaFGY4lk.

From San Francisco, John O’Connor sent an effulgent shout-out to Tom Condon and Pat Collins: “They were two of the most insightful, pull-no-punch reporters during Watergate.” John’s new book, “Postgate: How the Washington Post Betrayed Deep Throat”, similarly is a pull-no-punch appraisal of Watergate cover up and the initiation of today’s partisan climate. Tom Condon piled on with “Beat Reporter”, an online ND Magazine feature about Pat Collins’ journalism career: https://magazine.nd.edu/stories/beat-reporter/ Bryan Dunigan‘s alert to his list (if Bryan had a dollar for every name, he would qualify for the Democratic Party’s national debates), Bob Noonan wrote: Enjoyed Tom’s article and it’s spot on. I have three grandchildren who live in the DC Virginia suburbs and after identifying Pat as he measured snow on TV one day as one of my classmates, they now refer to him as ‘that Notre Dame guy who measures snow’. I told them he did other things but we are all known for something special.” (Note that space in the printed version of the magazine was not available for the feature about Pat. Exhibiting something of the Scholastic‘s famous work ethic as they struggle to produce four issues per year, the editors selected, for example, the current issue’s feature about two Chicago alumni who design cocktails. So, go Irish there. )

Tom Fitzharris , a volunteer Metropolitan Museum of Art docent and a painter, explained works and philosophies with December visitors Pat Collins and Emily, Tom Condon and Anne, Jeff Keyes and Meg, Dennis Reeder and Elise Stephens, Tom Figel and Nancy Carlin.
An important work, most likely a full length nude, had the attention of Pat Collins, Dennis Reeder, Jeff Keyes and Anne Condon.
The gathering in New York City, December, 2019 included Virginia Waters (at left), Neil Rogers, Rich Rogers and Pat, Michael Browning and friend Jolene (in front of Tom Condon and Dennis Reeder.

In the parallel universe our General Program classmates occupy, a long email exchange begun with Tom Durkin’s recommendation of a New Republic article by alumnus Tom Geoghegan, “Educated Fools”, produced Ned Buchbinder’s hope for a General Program reunion before the 2020 Presidential election. Ned included: “I guess I am retired from getting up every morn and “going to work” (and getting paid moola.)….but, I teach kids (volunteer) one day a week, audit one or two courses for free at two-year campus of U. of Wisconsin.”

After hosting Jim Smithberger the weekend of the Virginia Tech game, Larry “Monk” Forness sent a funny recollection of a first class, Language and Logic: “The prof was Fr. Brennan. Smithberger was from the tough area of West Virginia. And, Fr. Brennan, first day of class, he asked every student to give his name, where he was from, and something about himself. Smithbeger was called, and gave the info. Then, it was dead silent for many seconds, and Fr. Brennan finally said: ‘Did even one guy in this class understood even a single word of what that hillbilly just said?’ Place went nuts!”

Brian Schanning’s correspondence also included sorrow: Brian and Ben Lucchese saw each other at the New Mexico game Ben attended with his daughter. Then, Brian heard from Ben again: news in late November, 2019 that Ben’s daughter Nancy Marie had died. May Ben and his family have the help of all of our condolences and our prayers.

Carolyn Pat Condon, sister of Tom Condon

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. Tom expressed a feeling similar to his sister Dede’s: “It’s an awfully sad thing to be glad for her sake of her passing, but the past month must have been torture for her. Now she is released from that. Prayers greatly appreciated.” See Pat’s obituary in a following post.)

Sunday morning, January 26, 2020 began with a note and obituary from Paul Zalesky, who had learned 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.” Rich’s obituary, a celebration of a classmate who figured significantly in his family, his work, his parish and his community, is now available in a following post. Know Rich and his family? Please say prayers and console them.

John McCoy, shown with Maureen Walsh McAtee at a reunion twelve years ago, was a DC tax lawyer, a sailor, a scuba diver, an Observer mainstay. . . and now a missing skier in Taos, New Mexico.

A thudding email from Dennis Gallagher January 9, 2020 had the shocking message line “John McCoy Death”: “A few minutes ago, I received a telephone call from John McCoy’s sister Anne. John returned to Taos on New Year’s Day after spending the holidays with family. After being unable to reach him for several days, his sister called the Taos police, who found that he had signed in to ski on January 2 and his car was still there. Given the passage of time, it’s presumed he had a fatal skiing accident and a search for him is under way. His sister says she will keep me informed of developments, which I will pass on to the group. I’m kind of in shock, so I’ll just end here for now.”

On January 23, Dennis sent a second email, this one with an obituary (see in a following post) and the news that the search for John had ended with police issuing a “presumed dead” document. John’s family is holding a memorial service in Annapolis on Saturday, February 15.

Anyone who knows Dennis knows that his remarkable intelligence extends to sports and the arts, two interests he and John shared through conversation and through attendance at years of DC concerts and sporting events. They were friends, great friends, with an early link formed in a dispute over which one had come to South Bend for an improvement in climate: Dennis’ Oswego, NY hometown prevailed over John’s hometown, near Erie, PA.

Missing now, how present John was in his years. Absorbed into the small group Pat Collins assembled for publishing of three Observer issues per week (Note that, Notre Dame Magazine), John applied himself to whatever tasks were given him. Most often, the duties came from Bill Kelly, the business manager, or Bill Knapp, the paper’s advertising salesman. While columnists such as I pontificated about the world, John worked to correct it: without any fanfare, he began helping South Bend families who needed guidance with household budgeting. After graduation in 1969 (a class affiliation John would set aside in favor of 1968), John joined the Peace Corps for two years of service in Lesotho, Africa, a country surrounded by South Africa. He began his professional career as an Arthur Andersen accountant in DC before earning a law degree and joining Arent Fox. More than once, during Chicago visits, Nancy and I saw John receive an email, begin pacing, begin noodling for a couple of hours, and emerge with a way for a mogul to pass through the needle of the US and global tax codes.

Too many classmates remain out of contact, their achievements and thoughts going uncelebrated. If Joe Ferry could come back – twice in recent years – from the gravitational pull of Philadelphia, what about others: e.g., Mike Bylebyl, Mike Botti, Edward Wilbraham, Thomas Weiford, Paul Ramsey, Sam Misuraca, Thomas D. McCloskey? Come into the light, friends from 1968.

Effulgent or otherwise, please send news and photos to: Tom Figel, 1054 West North Shore, Apt. 3E, Chicago, IL 60626, tel. 773-764-4898, tfigel@reputecture.com.

Richard Jurjevic death January 19, 2020

Richard Anthony Jurjevic  Sunday January 19th 2020

Richard Anthony Jurjevic Sunday January 19th 2020

(Paul Zalesky sent this sad news.)

Sunday January 19th 2020
Richard Anthony Jurjevic passed away unexpectedly Sunday, January 19, 2020 surrounded by his loving family. Richard was born June 3, 1946 to Rudolph Anthony and Pearl Mary Trumbic Jurjevic in Hammond, Indiana. His childhood was spent in Hegewisch, Illinois where he attended St. Columba Parish and grammar school. There, Richard served as an altar boy and Grand Knight of the Altar. He then attended Mendel High School in Chicago where he graduated with honors. Richard’s childhood dream was to attend West Point and he received an appointment there or to any of the military academies from Senator Everett Dirksen. However, he was unable to attend when he became diabetic. He received his Undergraduate degree ‘68 and his Master’s Degree ‘70 in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Notre Dame where he made several lifelong friendships. As a professional, Richard became a patented engineer working mainly in the rubber industry. In 1974, he married Susan Caley. Together, they spent 45 devoted, loving and fun-filled years together. Throughout his life, he enjoyed all the holidays with his family, fishing, golfing, rooting for Notre Dame, and watching his family participate in athletics and school activities. He was active in the Knights of Columbus where he was proud to manage three outreach programs. He was most proud of his work to assist Associated Charities during the Christmas season. He is survived by his wonderful family, wife Sue, son Todd and Heather Jurjevic, Daughter Sara and Jake Castle with grandchildren Natalie, Luke, Owen, and Ethan Jurjevic, Miki and Jacob Castle, Shea and John Happ, great grandson Jameson Happ, brother and sister-in-laws, as well as, a very loving extended family. He was preceded in death by his parents, his in-laws Fred and Goldie Caley, his beloved uncles and aunts Anthony and Anna Kovacic, Frank and Angeline Trumbich, Rudolph and Dorothy Kovacic, his cousin and childhood best friend Dickie Tomich, and his nephew Jeff Rickett. Funeral services will be held Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. at the Denbow-Gasche Funeral Home with Rev. Kevin McClain officiating. Burial will be in the Nankin Cemetery. Friends may visit with the family on Friday, January 24, 2020 from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the Denbow-Gasche Funeral Home and on Saturday, January 25, from 1:00 p.m. until the time of the service. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Associated Charities, 240 Cleveland Ave., Ashland, Ohio 44805 or to the Notre Dame Club of Greater Sarasota Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 49453, Sarasota, FL. 34230. Expressions of sympathy may be made to the family by visiting denbowfh.com

John McCoy, missing January 2, 2020, presumed dead in skiing accident

John Christy McCoy of Annapolis, Maryland and Taos New Mexico is presumed dead. He disappeared while skiing alone in Taos, NM on January 2nd. John was born on July 22, 1947 to John Christy McCoy senior and Madeleine Lesser McCoy, both of whom preceded him in death. He is survived by his sisters Ann Ziegler (Jim) of Chester MD and Mary Micket (Wes) of Rochester NY, two nephews Samuel Ziegler (Rachel Chellappa) of San Jose CA and Matthias Ziegler (Charlotte Liu) of Oakton VA and great nephews, Oliver, Sebastian and Quentin and great nieces, Lorelei and Adriana.

He attended Notre Dame University and was a life-long Notre Dame fan returning every year for football games. After graduating from Notre Dame, John spent two years in the Peace Corps in Lesotho, Africa. He returned to the Washington area and recieved a law degree from George Washington University, and then spent his law career with the firm of Arent-Fox in Washington, becoming a partner early in his career. Upon retiring he moved to Annapolis, MD, and divided his time between Annapolis and Taos.

John was an avid skiier and had skiied several times in the Alps and the Andes and returned annually for many years to spend four months skiing in Taos. He also was an accomplished scuba diver, diving on several occasions every year in the Carribean. He had also dived in the Galapago Islands, on the Australian Great Barrier Reef and in New Guinea. He climbed Mount Kilimanjaro when he was in his sixties. Since the 1970’s, he had sailed – keeping his boat in Annapolis. He was a thirty year member of the Eastport Yacht Club and recently served on the condo board of his home condo: The Tecumseh Association.

John was a loving brother and devoted uncle. He valued his friendships and maintained life long friendships with numerous people. He will be missed.

A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, February 15th at 11am at Saint Anne’s Episcopal Church, Church Circle Annapolis. A reception will follow at the Parish Hall. The family requests that donations be made to your favorite charity in his name.

Tom Condon’s sister Carolyn Patricia Condon died January 17, 2020

Carolyn Patricia Condon
1947 – 2020

Carolyn Patricia Condon Obituary

Carolyn Patricia Condon, of New London, beloved wife of David Duranti, died Friday, Jan. 17, surrounded by family and friends, after a long illness. Born in New London in 1947, she was the daughter of the late Thomas P. and Mary Carolyn Macdonald Condon. She attended St. Mary School and St. Bernard High School, later earning two associate degrees from Mitchell College and a bachelor’s degree from Post University. She worked for many years for the City of New London, rising to the position of Cost Accounting Supervisor in the Finance Department before retiring in 2005. Pat was an avid golfer and bowler. She was a skilled amateur artist, rabid Red Sox fan and proud Irish-American. She was devoted to her family and was a companion and caregiver to her mother. In addition to her husband, she is survived by four siblings and nine in-laws: Thomas J. and Anne Condon of West Hartford, Deirdre Wyeth of New York, Garret and Daria Condon of West Hartford, Brian Condon of New London, Sherri Condon of New London, Virginia McGehee Condon of Colchester, Vermont, Richard and Patricia Duranti of Quaker Hill and Pat Duranti and Craig Walker of Ocala, Fla. She also is survived by her stepson, Dayne Duranti, his partner Melanie Duranti, and their children Jackson and Logan, of Westerly, R.I. She also leaves five nieces and nephews and their spouses: Carolyn and Matt Jacobs of Fairfield, Clare Condon-Grade and Aaron Grade of Chicopee, Mass., John Condon of Chicago, May Wyeth of New York and Thomas L. Condon of Los Angeles. She also leaves a grand nephew, William Jacobs, of Fairfield. She was predeceased by her brothers David and Jim Condon and her brother-in-law, John Wyeth. The family would like to thank the many skilled and compassionate professionals at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital for the care and kindness they provided. Calling hours will be from 10 to noon on Saturday, Jan. 25, at Thomas L. Neilan & Sons Funeral Home, 12 Ocean Ave., New London. A short service will be conducted at the funeral home. Private interment will be at the discretion of the family. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The New London Homeless Hospitality Center (www.nlhhc.org) or the ALS Association of Connecticut (webct.alsa.org).