Class notes submitted July 19, 2021

Assembling and Renewing

Before getting to the news – of classmates lost, of reunions, triumphs and changes – please indulge this request: make sure you have registered at The more of us registered – that is, the more of us with a preferred email address recorded – the more of us able to be in touch with email. Not registered? Go to and find “Register”. Click there, enter your preferred email address and you are easily on your way. If you have no grandchild or adolescent neighbor at hand, let me know and I will

Registration is quick, easy

If Bryan Dunigan or I send an email through, we are able to use a list exceeding 800 classmates, including many of us who are registered. We registered ones are able to use features such as a directory of nearly every Notre Dame alumnus. And by the way, registration is open to people who are not Notre Dame graduates, to people who want to be informed about our class or other groups. 

Notre Dame Walsh Architecture Building

In the near future, on Saturday October 30th, three hours before the North Carolina game, Fred Ferlic and Class President Tom Weyer will lead our class in dedication of a bench and tree honoring Joe Kernan. The affection and the generosity of Joe Kernan‘s classmates have met the $25,000 cost of the installation in a campus area already linked to our class: the memorial will be 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. The gathering of classmates will continue before and after the game at the Great 68 tailgate near the stadium. If you are one of the 800+, watch for an email with the ceremony details in the days before the game.

In the very near future, August 11 and 12, in Chicago and suburban Lemont, Tom Culcasi has planned two days of reunion events for about 25 people, the core of them friends from freshman year in Keenan Hall: e.g., Joe Hale, Tom Phillips, Dan Collins, Phil Mika, Mike Moore, Ted Bratthauer, Tom Curtin, Steve Laplante.

Class President Tom Weyer praises “Our Anchor Men, the South Bend guys” for quick arrangement of a reception for Rocky Bleier during an early May visit: “Class Consigliere , Dr. Fred Ferlic and Sgt.-at-arms /Flag guardian Gene Cavanaugh organized a lavish pizza and beer evening at Rocco’s. In attendance were locals Pat Barth, Dan Harshman, Tom Cuggino, Dr. Steve Anderson …looking good during treatment. The Toms were represented by Tom Gibbs, myself and Tom DurkinSkip Strzelecki, who dressed us all elegantly in Ara sweatshirts and Great 68 hats, was there along with Bryan Dunigan, Denny Toolan and Roger Guerin. Rocky was quite surprised and rather touched. Our mini-tailgate proved how much we miss each other.”

 Larry Maloney has added to the ND68 literary canon with Unto the Altar of God, his coming-of-age novel based on five years as a high school and college seminarian with the Franciscans in Pennsylvania (available at Larry came to our class in junior year and, after graduation and service in Vietnam, became a Deputy Editor with U.S. News & World Report and then Editor/Publisher of Design News. Already, the coming-of-age novel about a high school student’s response to the feelings and events of a world encountered in vacation bursts and family contact as well as within the seminary has earned in mid-July 18 five-star ratings on Amazon. Boston radio station WROL did a 12-minute segment with Larry and other papers, including two in the Gannett chain, have interviewed him. “My book started at Notre Dame in a class on creative nonfiction with Professor Ron Weber, a terrific teacher,” Larry said. “I wrote a short story for him based on my seminary experiences, and he encouraged me to try a book at some point.” 

The following posts on our blog are obituaries and memories of classmates we have lost: Bill Betz, Richard Calone, John Tilelli, and John O’Brien‘s wife Karen nee Scherkenbach, Boyd T. Barnes who died during March, Tom Bettler who died in November, 2020, John Alzamora who died in May, 2020, and Raymond DeFabio who died in May, 2021. Remember all of them in your prayers and, if you know the family, please contact them and console them. Please remember, too, Jim O’Rourke‘s wife Pam, who is recovering from surgery for removal of a tumor and Pat Collins‘ wife Emily, whose femur shattered in a fall on July 4th.

Boyd T. Barnes and Tom Bettler, top row; Raymond DeFabio and John Alzamora, bottom row

Please send news, including photos, to: Tom Figel 1054 West North Shore, Apt 3E, Chicago, IL 60626,, cell 312-241-7917.

Raymond DeFabio death May 8, 2021

Raymond DeFabio, photo from 1968 yearbook

Raymond De Fabio, age 75 of Lansing, Illinois passed away Saturday, May 8, 2021. He was a loving son, brother, uncle and friend. Ray was an English teacher at Andrean High School in Merrillville, Indiana for 34 years. It was there, where he touched and shaped many students lives over the years. His Love and his care for his students were second to none. He truly wanted to make a difference in their lives. Ray graduated from the University of Notre Dame and was a very proud Fighting Irish Alum. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made in Raymond’s name to the American Education Foundation or the American Diabetes Association.

A Celebration of Life for Ray will be held Friday, June 11, 2021 at the Schroeder-Lauer Funeral Home, 3227 Ridge Road, Lansing, Illinois from 4:00 to 7:00 PM. A service for Ray will begin promptly at 6:00 PM in the chapel. Ray was loved by many and he will be truly missed. Go Irish!!!

Boyd T. Barnes death March 21, 2021

Boyd T. Barnes, from 1968 yearbook

Boyd Thomas Barnes, 74 Logansport, passed away on Saturday, March 20, 2021 at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis.

Born on July 1, 1946 in Springfield, Illinois, he was the son of Ronald George Barnes and Mary Geraldine (McCahill) Barnes.

Before retirement, he was employed with Central Paving, Logansport.

Boyd was a 1964 graduate of Logansport High School and a 1968 graduate of the University of Notre Dame.  He was a former member of the Logansport Elks Club and a member of the University of Notre Dame Alumni Association.

He will be lovingly remembered by one brother; Brian (wife, Connie) Barnes, Merrillville; one sister; Rosemary (husband, Stephen) Kern, Flemington, New Jersey; and one sister-in-law, Jane Barnes, Lisle, Illinois.

Also surviving are three nieces: Katherine Barnes Kubal, Stephanie Kern Gomes, and Kristen Kern; and two nephews: Joseph Barnes and Kevin Kern.

He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Dennis P. Barnes.

Family and friends will meet at Kroeger Funeral Home between 10:00 and 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 25, 2021, and then proceed to Mount Hope Cemetery for direct burial.

Tom Bettler death November 8, 2020

Tom Bettler, from 1968 yearbook

Thomas Joseph Bettler, 73 of Charlestown, IN passed away peacefully on Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.

He was born January 26, 1946 to the late John J. and Frances C. Bettler.  Also preceding him in death was brother Donald R. Bettler and sister-in-law Lou Ann Bettler, who loved him dearly. Tom was a graduate from Notre Dame University and retired from the City of Philadelphia as a computer programmer. After retiring Tom returned to Charlestown to take care of his father.

Tom is survived by his brothers, Charles R. Bettler (Barbara) and David L. Bettler (Bobbi) and many nieces and nephews who also loved him dearly.

Life Celebration Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday November 14, 2020 at Grayson Funeral Home with burial in Charlestown Cemetery.  Visitation will be from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Friday and after 9:00 a.m. on Saturday.

Tom wanted any expressions of sympathy to go to the Charlestown Alumni Association.

John Alzamora death March 16, 2020

Note the warmth in the memories John’s friends told at the time of John’s Covid-related death.

John died from COVID-19 in May, 2020.  He lived in Harrisburg, PA.  Joe Helfer  wrote this about John: He was a quirky, smart, poetic soul who always treasured his Peruvian roots. After graduating from Notre Dame with an English degree, he went on to become an attorney specializing in education.Mari  Zipes added to Joe’s remarks:   As Joe Helfer so rightly said, “Alzy” was a bit of a poet. Here’s what he wrote in my year book:” Para una mujer linda preciosa, I look upon a pool of cool water/ripply light comes from its edges and delights eye and ear./ In it swim thoughts and words of kindness/and I think of you./from an Iberian who sees on goodness, Alzy.”Added May 11, 2021UPDATE:  Coming up on the 1 year anniversary of John’s death, the family published the following obituary in the Journal News this week…John Anthony Alzamora, Esquire of Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey passed away on Saturday, March 16th, 2020 due to complications of Covid-19. Born on December 21, 1946 to the late Dr. Elio F. Alzamora and the late Kathryn Mruzak Alzamora in Neptune, N.J., John was raised in Marlboro, N.J., Lima, Peru, Louisville , Kentucky , White Plains , N.Y. and Pleasantville, N.Y. John graduated from Pleasantville High School in 1964. He received a Magna Cum Laude BA at Notre Dame University in 1968. John earned his Juris Doctor of Law from Penn State Dickinson School of Law in 1975. During his career , he worked as an assistant attorney general for the Pennsylvania Board of Education before going into private practice at Thomas, Thomas, Armstrong and Nielson in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  Once retired, he moved to Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey to be closer to family and to care for his aging mother. John is survived by his siblings: Anita and Rod Watson of Mytholmroyd, England; Charles and Rita Alzamora of Lake Hiawatha, New Jersey; Mary and Robert Moss of Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey; Eliot and Jenifer Alzamora of Brick, New Jersey plus several adult nieces and nephews as well as his grand-niece Kaelyn and grand-nephew Jack. John will be remembered as a talented poet, artist and gardener. John and his sense of humor and dry wit will be missed by his family and friends. Private services and burial of his remains will be held at a future date 
06/13/20 11:17 AM#1    Tom BossertIt was hard to hear that John had died of Covid-19.  He had been a very good friend through high school and I remember that we visited each other at our homes where I met his dashing Peruvian psychiatrist father and bubbly mother and cheerful sister.  I remember his unusual sensibilities, observations and clever debating style that combined to make for an entertaining and enriching discussion that intrigued me.  I appreciated his self awareness and thoughtfulness and we seemed to enjoy a sense of being outsiders observing and criticizing the strange “normality” of the early post 1950’s Westchester.  We met sometimes during college and for one of our high school reunions and briefly restored our sense of togetherness as we observed the different paths we were taking.  For a short time he and Joe Helfer and I tried to get together perhaps 15 or more years ago but were not able to work out the cross continent logistics and lost touch.  He was a unique person who taught me to appreciate bright and unusual minds and I feel sad that we were not able to restore the closeness we had once shared and now of course it is too late to try. 

Death of John O’Brien’s wife Karen June 4, 2021

Karen Scherkenbach O’Brien

May 2, 1946 ~ June 4, 2021 (age 75)Obituary & ServicesTribute Wall

Karen Scherkenbach O’Brien of South Bend, IN, passed away surrounded by her family on Friday, June 4, 2021.

Karen was born on May 2, 1946 to Elmer and Marjorie Scherkenbach in Milwaukee, WI. After graduation from Alverno College, where she was student body president, Karen married her high school sweetheart, John O’Brien, at St. Raymond’s Church in Mount Prospect, IL. Karen was a lover of books, flowers, and the arts, and she brought these passions to her work as an elementary school teacher and librarian. Her shared nurturing with John of their three children and devotion to their eight grandchildren, however, will always be her proudest accomplishment. Karen’s joie de vivre and generosity of spirit impacted all those around her as witnessed hosting tailgates in the Notre Dame parking lot, vacationing on Nantucket, dancing to the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen, reading to her grandchildren, or preparing an elegant dinner. Her attention to detail, care for those she loved, and commitment to social justice will leave a lasting mark for generations to come.

Karen, shown with John, was Senior Ball Queen

Karen is survived by her husband, John O’Brien of South Bend, IN; six siblings: Cheryl (Rob) McGrath, Lee (Judy) Scherkenbach, Jed (Mary) Scherkenbach, Kurt (Audrey) Scherkenbach, Craig Scherkenbach, and Jeff (Kim) Scherkenbach; 3 children: Sean (Felicia) O’Brien, Meghan (Bret) Hendrickson, and Bridget (Andrew) Hoyt; and 7 grandchildren: Sophie O’Brien, Eleanor Hendrickson, Lucy O’Brien, Nat Hendrickson, Seamus O’Brien, Colm Hoyt, and Eoin Hoyt. 

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at the Church of Our Lady of Loretto, St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN, on Wednesday, June 9th, at 2 pm with Rev. Paul Kollman, C.S.C. officiating. Because capacity at the church is limited due to COVID restrictions, we invite you to join the live stream of the Mass at Burial will follow at a later date in Cedar Grove Cemetery, Notre Dame, IN.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: Farm of the Child Honduras, visit to donate; or Hospice Foundation, Center for Hospice Care, visit to donate.

Bill Betz death June, 2021

Bill Betz in 1980, photo from John Phillips

John Brady and Kathleen received an email from John Phillips about the death of Bill Betz, friend and former housemate.

John sent this memory of Bill: Attached is photo of Bill from Nov 1980. He was still in the Air Force, stationed at Carswell AFB in Ft Worth, at that time. I don’t know much about his career after that. Bill and I had taken the AF entrance exam together in South Bend in senior year. The writing was on the wall for both of us and we had decided that life in the AF would probably be cleaner and more civilized than life in the Army.  He started active duty a little behind me – OCS at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, then UPT pilot training at Laredo AFB. I don’t know all his service details, but I do know he was a really fine B-52 pilot/commander during and after the Vietnam conflict, including 2 six month TDY combat tours flying out of Guam. After Vietnam I believe he was stationed at Otis AFB for a while and then came to Carswell AFB. Unfortunately we lost contact with each other about 1982/83, so I was really glad when Rick Gutowski arranged a zoom call for the Meade Street roommates in January this year. Bill had a full beard, but under it was the same Bill from the picture in 1980. 

Richard Calone death May 21, 2021

Richard Salvatore Calone was born in Napa, CA June 22, 1946 to Salvatore and Elaine Calone. He passed away peacefully on May 21, 2021 in Stockton, CA.

Dave Zell wrote: “On May 21, Richard Calone died after a lengthy illness.   He was my roommate for 4 years and a fellow ROTC cadet.  After graduation he attended Santa Clara Law School and became the premier tax attorney in the Stockton, California area.  The funeral Mass is to be on June 22 at the Cathedral in Stockton.  He was a good friend and although we were separated by a thousand miles or so, I miss him.”

Richard’s youth was spent in Pittsburg, CA and upon graduating High School, he went on to attend the University of Norte Dame where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. Rich continued his education and went on to earn his Juris Doctorate from Santa Clara School of Law and a Master’s Degree in Taxation from Golden Gate University. He was also a Certified Specialist in Taxation in the state of California and worked as an attorney for the IRS before launching his own law firm, Richard S. Calone, Inc. in 1989.  
During his continued education, Rich was involved in ROTC and served in the Army Reserves as a Tank Captain. He was an avid bird hunter, enjoyed trap and skeet shooting, loved the San Francisco Giants, good food and absolutely CHERISHED the time he spent with his family and friends. He loved life and all its challenges, and will be deeply missed by those who knew and loved him.
Rich is survived by his loving wife Sharon, daughters, Heather Coldani (Troy), Charise DeCoito (Daniel), son Salvatore Calone, step sons, Blake and Eric Alley, brother Robert Calone, sister MaryAnn Ingram and his dogs Buddy and Molly and his cat Elvis.
Those who knew Rich are invited to a Mass at the Annunciation Cathedral in Stockton on Tuesday, June 22nd at 11 am followed by a Celebration of Life at the Stockton Golf and Country Club from noon to 3 pm.  
Donations in honor of Rich Calone should be made to Hospice of San Joaquin

A co-worker left this description of Rich: “Rich gave me opportunities that fueled my practice. I will always remember the first time that I met him, with Mike Schmidt, in Turlock and he gave me a chance. When the Irish meet the Trojans, I will think of him. FIGHT ON my friend – FIGHT ON!”

John Tilelli death November 4, 2020

November 22, 1946 – November 4, 2020. John Tilelli, who was a roommate of John Schmelzer, graduated from University of Notre Dame in 1968 and University of Chicago in 1970 with a Masters of Science in Physics. He spent 2 years in the United States Health Service with a rank of Health Service Officer (O-4). He was honorably discharged in 1972. In 1976, he graduated with a Doctor of Medicine from University of Utah. John Tilelli held positions of intern, resident, fellow, and chief resident at University of Minnesota Hospital before moving to Florida. From 1987 to 2016, John Tilelli worked as a Pediatric Intensive Care Physician for Arnold Palmer Hospital. 

John Tilelli held board certifications in Pediatrics, Medical Toxicology, Emergency Medicine, Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, and Pediatric Emergency Medicine. Throughout his career, he had over 30 publications and numerous presentations. 

John Tilelli is survived by his 6 children, Nicholas, John Jr. Bridget, Maria, Matthew, and Michael. 

Among the reflections friends and family posted was this one, left by one of John’s students: “I was a PICU RN when John came to Orlando in 1983. He was such a rare combination of pure genius, kindness, and compassion. On Monday mornings when he took over as PICU attending, everyone would bring a chair as his evaluation and plan for each patient was comprehensive and thorough. He was never boring and never bored. Is there another person who had as many board certifications as JT had?! Once we had a baffling and very rare case come in, but JT had the diagnosis immediately. When I queried him on where to find information on it, he gave me the name and author of the book which I found in the medical library. In the 4 inch thick volume, the only mention of the illness was in a mere 6 lines. I was in awe of the man, his interests, wisdom and knowledge. I hope the Buddhists are right and JT gets to come back again. The world needs him.”

Tribute from classmates of Joe Kernan

Gentlemen of the Great ’68,

Many classmates have asked how to honor Joe Kernan – POW, former Mayor of South Bend, Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Indiana and most important, part of the ND Great ’68.  To that end, we have made arrangements for a tree and bench to be dedicated in Joe’s honor, that will be located adjacent to each other outside the Matthew and Joyce Walsh Family Hall of Architecture.  That way, both are facing the stadium, which was hallowed ground for Joe.

In the spirit of brotherhood and camaraderie that have so long distinguished the Great ’68, we are writing to ask that you all join us in making a contribution to fund this tribute to Joe of either $250, $100, or a funding of your choosing. The amounts were decided to get as many classmates as possible to participate. Total cost of bench and tree is $25,000.

The easiest way to donate is online, via this website that Notre Dame has set up just for this effort:  As you can see, this website has pre-selected the allocation for this donation in Joe’s memory, and offers two suggested contribution amounts.  

For those who would prefer to donate by check, please make the check out to “University of Notre Dame” and include a notation to designate the gift to “Hon. Joseph E. Kernan Memorial Fund.”  Please mail checks to:  1100 Grace Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556.  You can also donate by phone by calling (574) 631-5150 and advising that you would like to make a gift to the Joe Kernan Memorial Fund for the Class of ’68.

Any funds raised in excess of the amount for the tree and bench dedication will be designated for the Veteran’s Fund at Notre Dame, which supports the Office of Military and Veteran’s Affairs.  This was a designation for gifts to Notre Dame that Maggie Kernan made at the time of Joe’s passing, and we know any contributions made to this effort will also be a fitting way to honor him.

The dedication of the bench and tree will be the Saturday morning of the ND-North Carolina football game October 30th. Events will be held at our classmate’s (Matt/Joyce) Walsh Architectural building. Thank you all in advance for joining us in this effort, and as always, Go Irish!  

Tom Weyer – President for Life of the Great ’68 Steve Anderson          Fred Ferli Rocky Bleier               Tom Figel Gene Cavanaugh       Chris Murphy Tom Cuggino              Jim O’Rourke      Joe Dietz                     Skip Strzelecki  Bryan Dunigan        Matt Walsh    Tom Durkin