From Bob Smith (not from Chicago):
From Ken DiLaura:
Our group, including Mike Wolf, Jim Ewing, Andy Kelly, Jim Hoffman, Dan Dickman and Mike Murray, thoroughly enjoyed getting together at the 50 year reunion. Lots of laughs and reminiscing and just hanging out. Two of our buddies, Mike Coleman and Mike Cooney couldn’t make it, so we roasted them without their knowledge. We also raised our glasses to our friend, Joe Scott, who passed away two years ago. We vowed to make the 55th reunion so we will see you there!
From Steve Sullivan:
Rich Falvey – with the beard – is next to Bill Nungesser (who is at the upper left.) In between them is Steve Sullivan (third floor of Keenan with Rich, Nungesser, Mike Woods, Mike Stephan, Tom Voglewede and myself.) Sullivan retired from FedEx as a pilot and is married to Kathy Huisking Sullivan (SMC ’68 – who served on her class’ reunion committee.) Steve and Kathy (who had a twin sister named Karen at SMC) are still in the Memphis area. Steve was instrumental in obtaining a wheelchair needed by Rich in order to make it to the induction plus the Saturday night dinner. This photo was taken at Holy Cross Village.
And from Joe Hale to Jim Woods:
Jim, Rocky put on “The Play” performance on Friday and again on Saturday. Some of my friends from Keenan and their spouses went to the really-nice downtown South Bend Lasalle Grill after the Friday performance. All of us were complimenting Rocky on his performance; he is a natural actor who for more than one hour was both serious and comical –without having to refer to any notes. Dave and I saw Rocky after the Friday performance as they, of course, knew each other well while Dave served as Ara’s head football student manager our senior year. In short: Rocky knocked it out of the park!
The Memorial Service in front of the Golden Dome was great as well. Tom and Dave got to meet each other afterwards while Dave was talking to Dan Harshman (who is a good friend of Rocky.) Rocky, Gene Cavanaugh and several others were in the receiving line as we ND veterans passed through to pick up items thanking us for our Vietnam Wartime Service (meant for all ND vets who served during that time whether in ‘Nam or elsewhere.) Decals, buttons and a specially-designed pin were handed out. In a folder we received a description of the pin along with a Certificate signed by Father Jenkins and a Certificate signed by President Trump. (The memorial for vets who served in any capacity wherever during the Vietnam War started in 2012 and will continue through 2025, which will be the 50thanniversary of the end of that war.) The names of all ND alumni who died during the Vietnam War while in combat were read commencing before when LBJ was president all the way through the end of the war. Our finance major classmate Joseph William McDonald, Jr. was shot down just a few months before the war ended; he was a A-6 pilot for the Marine Corps, and because his death wasn’t confirmed for a long time he was promoted to major. I got to speak briefly with Dennis Withers just before the program started. Dennis is still in the Atlanta area and is retired from law practice as a litigator. He said Jay Mannelly lives nearby in the Atlanta area, but he doesn’t see him much; Jay remarried after his first wife died. Jay and Frank Moye (who was also at the reunion) roomed together while at North Carolina’s MBA program right after our ND graduation. At the Memorial Service I sat between Gene “Skip” Schraeder (whom I knew from Keenan) and our Army ROTC classmate Steve Laplante – both were in ‘Nam and served in field artillery (Skip as an enlisted man and Steve, of course, as a lieutenant.) Skip (who early on got his MBA from ND after his ‘Nam service) works in South Carolina (near plenty of golf courses he gets to frequent there by the coast) in securities in the banking business. “Plant” is an attorney plus bankruptcy trustee in his hometown of Evansville, IN (he got his J.D. from IU right after ‘Nam service.)
Tom did a terrific job in organizing the Sunny Italy dinner that was held last Thursday night. The place was packed as more than one hundred attended. I had the privilege of sitting next to Mike Woods and my three-year roommate Tom Culcasi. Tom Weyer announced to the mob that he would continue to be our class president “whether you like it or not.” Vintage Weyer for sure!
Several of us helped Rich Falvey make it over from Holy Cross Village to the induction ceremony and the luncheon – plus the Saturday night class dinner. Rich and his wife Janine now live in a villa of their own at Holy Cross Village (which is across the road – 31/933 – from WNDU.) It is a really-nice facility. Rich’s family hosted a nice graduation party in ’68 for a bunch of our classmates (including Mike and me.) Rich and Mike were both from Niles, MI and were classmates at St. Joseph’s H.S. (then near the campus but now near Rocco’s restaurant which is still in business – south of Rocco’s on St. Louis Boulevard and not too far from Notre Dame Avenue.) The high school really looks nice with a football stadium there along with it. Rich had 39 years of accounting/computer work with Chrysler in Detroit before retiring.
At the induction (at the basketball court – Purcell) each of our class members were photographed individually with Father Jenkins. The whole class was photographed in the stands. The Friday and Saturday night activities were at the new Duncan Student Center at the west side of ND Stadium.
I guess that about covers the much-fun reunion, Jim.
J. Joseph (Joe) Hale
LTC, Ret. – U.S. Army Reserve
Active Army service: 1969-1971
Squad Tactical Officer for Army ROTC (whatever rank that was)
B.B.A. in Finance
From Allen Brown:
(to Joe Hale) Sorry I have been out of the loop for a couple of weeks. Things were really hectic, but now slowing down. Reunion was great. Can’t believe we had so many Keenan and Zahm guys there. Amazing how old those other guys are and we are just as young!
The week after reunion was our 50th Wedding anniversary. We had all of my family up, and Judy had here family here as well. We renewed our vows at Mass on the 9th, the day after our date.
We really need to keep in touch with these guys. Life is way way too short. Here are a couple of pics that I took and one of our anniversary. The twins are 13, Ben is 4, Erika (in white dress) is 6 and Adam is 6 weeks in that picture.
Father John Sheehan, S.J. and Father John Pearson, C.S.C.
Homily for Notre Dame Golden Reunion, 2018
Welcome to all of you, members of the Class of 1968 (known in all humility to ourselves and even some others as the Great 68), members of the 50-Year Club, and any other alums and connected folks who think this is a great time to attend Mass! I am Fr. John Pearson, CSC, assisted by Deacon Bob Smith, and concelebrating is Fr. John Sheehan, SJ, all members of the Class of 1968.
As a student I lived at Moreau Seminary, and when I returned to teach in the law school I lived in Sorin Hall, right above Fr. Monk Malloy. It is there that I learned that Sorin is the greatest of halls!
All of us in the Class of 1968 are in some awe that it has actually been 50 years since we were students here, 50 years since we sat out on the quad roasting in the sun at our graduation, looking ahead to what our lives would hold. Some of us may remember the wisdom given us by our Commencement Speaker or at least remember who our Commencement speaker was (I don’t). I am sure we were told to be grateful for what we had received here and to go out eagerly to change the world (those are words given by nearly all Commencement Speakers, mainly because they are true).
We’re also in awe at the alums we meet who are members of the 50-year club ahead of us and have had experiences similar to and very different from our own. I’d like to suggest that as we cross the 50-year line, we are just like we were when we graduated high school and moved on to college. We went from the being the oldest and most-experienced to being the youngest and least experienced. As we join the ranks of those gone ahead of us, we are once again the youngest and least experienced. And there’s something nice about saying we’re young again!
We’re back here now 50 years later, in part elated by the lives we’ve led, by the works we’ve done, by the friends we have made and kept, by the spouses we were fortunate to wed, by the children we may have brought into the world, and at the same time sobered by the moments when things have not gone the way we had hoped. As we share stories we see variations of ourselves in the faces of those classmates we’re meeting once again. I don’t mean taking stock of who seems to have aged better than others, or in comparing careers and works and so forth. I mean we hope to see some sort of hint to what kind of person we’ve become and they’ve become, based on the blessings we’ve received here.
We have a hint how to do that, one that involves looking into our own hearts, and it comes from our readings today, that come from the Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Sacred Heart is the symbol of the love that the Lord has for us, and it is the name given this church we pray in now. We hear from two readings, a letter from John and the Gospel of John. Both of those readings are dripping with love, the love of God for us and the love we’re called to return to God by sharing it with one another. “Everyone who loves is begotten of God,” we hear from the First Reading, and from the Gospel, “God is love and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.” “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you,” Jesus says. “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain….This I command you: love one another.”
Those are comforting and challenging words. We don’t make God love us, by loving one another. We don’t win God’s love. It’s because God already and always loves us that we want to love one another, that we find the strength to love one another. It is the fruit of God’s gift to us that bears fruit. Sometimes it’s hard for us to think like that – so much of what we do is by our own efforts, individual or collective. But the Gospel tells us that what matters most, what is the foundation of everything, is God’s love for each one of us.
Remembering that is a little bit of what college reunions are for, why we come back 50 years later, or even more. Something happened to us here; something touched our hearts in a way that makes us want to relive it. The mentors we admired, the rectors who cared for us even when tried to find ways to keep the lights on at night, the friends we made, the classes we studied, the long hours of conversation where we talked of war and peace, love and the hunger for meaning, and how to change the rules at Notre Dame, the excitement at the miracle that Ara wrought. (I remember “Ara stop the snow”). All of those things and more contained enough seeds of the love God has for us that we can’t help but come back and try to touch it and feel it again.
And so, we’re back. “We love thee, Notre Dame”, Our Lady and the university bearing your name, because it was here that we had experiences and relationships that could blossom elsewhere and enrich our lives. Keep teaching us to love one another as your Son commands us!
John H. Pearson, C.S.C.
Basilica of the Sacred Heart
Notre Dame, Indiana
June 1, 2018
Ralph G. Neas, University of Notre Dame, Class of 1968
50th Class Reunion Speech:
“Making America Work Again: Lessons Learned from Father Theodore Hesburgh and Republican Senator Edward W. Brooke”
University of Notre Dame, Indiana
June 2, 2018
Good morning! Wonderful to be here with you. I am honored and humbled to have this opportunity to share some thoughts at our 50th class reunion.
This morning I want to discuss how, as Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, we can make America consistent with the values we learned from our beloved Father Ted Hesburgh and his colleagues at Notre Dame and reinforced by the political lessons I learned from Republican Senator Edward W. Brooke, my first boss and lifelong mentor. Their deaths in early 2015 left a huge void in my life, but their integrity, courage and patriotism endure and inspire. I will also discuss how the spirit of Notre Dame and Notre Dame graduates have played a key role in virtually every aspect of my life.
But first I want to salute:
The members of The Great 68 Reunion Committee. Special plaudits to Chairman Fred Ferlic, Tom Figel, and Tom Weyer for their tireless efforts and effective leadership.
All my Notre Dame classmates, especially my Notre Dame roommates David Cortright, Fran Lenski, and Jim Franczek. Jim, incredibly, not only went to Notre Dame with me, but also the University of Chicago Law School and Marmion Military Academy in Aurora, Illinois. For 54 years, Jim has been my best friend.
And finally, Katherine Neas, my wife of 30 years, my partner in every way, and the mom of our miracle daughter Maria. Katy has had an extraordinary career, first with Senator Tom Harkin, then 23 years with Easterseals, where she became one of the nation’s leading advocates for children with disabilities, and currently as the Executive Vice President of the American Physical Therapy Association, where she is perfectly positioned to assist us with the next stage of our lives.
If it were not for Notre Dame, Katy and I would never have made it far enough to become a married couple. We met in early January of 1986. For me, supposedly a permanent bachelor, it was love at first sight. For Katy, no reaction at all. Somehow, I managed to get her to join me for lunch at the Senators’ Dining Room in the U.S. Capitol. I was hoping to impress Katy with my friendships with Democratic and Republican senators. A real power lunch. Perhaps more importantly, I hoped she would meet the servers who had promised my mother after my near death from Guillain Barre Syndrome in 1979 that they would provide me with extra fried chicken and mashed potatoes to help regain the 65 pounds I had lost during my 140 days in a hospital.
The lunch did not start well. Like many people during those awkward introductory moments, we talked about where we had gone to college. I proudly stated that I was a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, class of 1968. Katy, growing paler by the moment, told me she graduated from Georgetown, class of 1985. We were both undone by the 17 year age difference. But Katy was almost as upset when she learned that I was a Republican. If lunch had not already been ordered, we both would have politely said goodbye and left.
But then came divine intervention. Katy, trying to keep a conversation going, said to me “so you went to Notre Dame. Well, my father went to Notre Dame. My uncle went to Notre Dame. And all my aunts went to St. Mary’s. Then the coup de grace: “and my grandfather played next to Knute Rockne in 1913 when Notre Dame upset Army with the Gus Dorais to Rockne forward passes.” Immediately, the clouds parted and a shaft of bright light entered the dining room. I thought to myself, “She may be too young. But she has royal blood!”
About two years later we were married in Des Moines, Iowa, Thanksgiving weekend at St. Augustine’s Church by a priest who had been Katy’s father’s Notre Dame roommate. That day, before the wedding, Notre Dame defeated Southern Cal on its way to the 1988 college football national championship. Kneeling at the altar, just after Communion, I asked Katy if she had heard the score. Rather dismissively, she replied that she had been too busy with her bridesmaids that afternoon to know what had happened. With a huge smile, I told her that Notre Dame had won 27-10. Katy replied “That’s just great.” To which I responded: “But honey, don’t you understand, it was a 17 point difference. What a great omen!”
Tumultuous and Dangerous Times
After Fred and Tom extended the invitation to speak at the reunion, I had a chance to reconnect with many classmates and ask them what I should talk about. Almost to a person they mentioned two things. First, the spirit of Notre Dame and what it has meant to us in our lives. And second, the current political environment. Everyone thought the times were chaotic, excessively partisan, and dangerous.
Internationally, there was serious concern about the North Korean situation, the Iran Nuclear Accord, the Paris Climate Treaty, the Middle East, possible trade wars, and, of course, Russian intervention in the 2016 elections and possibly in future elections.
Domestically, there was unease around health care, immigration, gun safety, race relations, the nation’s debt, environmental protections, reproductive rights, income inequality, and numerous other issues. Many brought up their fear that our 230 year constitutional system of checks and balances and the rule of law were endangered. Regardless of political persuasion, everyone was deeply worried and skeptical about the ability and willingness of either party to do anything constructive about the mess we are in.
But several of our classmates pointed out that the Class of 1968 is no stranger to tumultuous times. And they were not alone. Earlier this week, CNN broadcast a documentary, produced by Tom Hanks, entitled “1968: The Year that Changed America.” Consider just a few of the momentous events that occurred that year:
In late March, President Lyndon Baines Johnson startled the nation by announcing that he would not seek re-election.
On April 4th, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, precipitating major riots in many American cities.
January and May saw the bloodiest months of the Vietnam War.
Four days after our graduation, on June 6th, moments after winning the California presidential primary., Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles.
More race riots occurred in the summer.
In August, the Democratic Convention in Chicago was engulfed by chaos and violence and battles in the street with police.
Richard Nixon won the presidential election, narrowly defeating Hubert H. Humphrey, with arch-segregationist George Wallace capturing more than 13% of the vote.
Several days before Katy and I left for Notre Dame, Jim Franczek emailed me that I should purchase Jon Meacham’s new book, “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels.” Great advice as usual. The award winning presidential historian points out that America has experienced numerous events that tested our nation’s soul and our very existence, including the revolutionary birth of our country; slavery and the Civil War, which took 500,000 American lives; World War I; the Depression; World War II; and the Cold War, especially the precarious days of the Cuban Missile Crisis and 9-11. Each time a resilient America has regrouped and rededicated itself to the fundamental American values of hope, optimism, faith in our future, patriotism, and, while not always immediately, a commitment to guaranteeing all of our citizens not an equal result, but an equal opportunity. I believe strongly that we will do it again.
The Class of 68 was exceptionally lucky to have several of the country’s better angels guiding us at Notre Dame and preparing us to be good citizens in the future. First, they made sure we had the finest Catholic (with a large and a small “c”) education possible.
Second, they reinforced what helped propel us to Notre Dame in the first place, the “Spirit of Notre Dame’: “Notre Dame as a place of teaching and research, of scholarship and publication, of service and community.” But there are intangible characteristics that also help define Notre Dame graduates. One of those is never giving up, “what though the odds be great or small.” That indefatigability has helped us through life’s most challenging personal and professional moments.
My first introduction to Notre Dame occurred in 1954 during the summer after second grade in 1954 when I read “Knute Rockne: All American” (every afternoon at around 2 p.m., my mom would interfere with my baseball playing and give me a choice: a nap or read a book). From the outset, I was hooked on the Fighting Irish, absorbing all the stories about the upset of Army in 1913, the deathbed remarks of the Gipper to Rockne, and the dominance of Notre Dame’s Four Horsemen: Stuhldreher, Crowley, Miller, and Layden. Ten years later, even after some exceptionally lean years on the football field, the only university I applied to was Notre Dame. Little did I know what was going to happen next.
Ara Parseghian came to Notre Dame in 1964, the same year as the Class of 68. In my judgment, he was among the greatest college football coaches ever. Not only did Ara win football games, but he also demonstrated daily total integrity, the spirit of Notre Dame, a sense of fair play, and most importantly a commitment to a Notre Dame education for every one of his players. Indeed, one of the most impressive accomplishments of the undefeated 1966 football championship team, perhaps the best college team ever, was that its graduation rate was one of the highest in the country.
Like you, I can also remember vividly the national football championship seasons of 1973, 1977, and 1988, as well as the women’s basketball national championships of 2001 and 2018 (thank you,Title IX!). And will anyone of us ever forget Dwight Clay’s last second basket ending UCLA’s record 88 game winning streak. Or Joe Montana’s pass to Kris Haines as the clock ran out in the 1979 Cotton Bowl against Houston, coming back from a 34-12 deficit in the last 7 minutes and 37 seconds. Or Arike’s Ogunbowale’s unprecedented last second game winning shots against both Connecticut and Mississippi State in this year’s Final Four.
But my most memorable Notre Dame football game was not a victory, but a loss. As you remember well, Ara and the 1964 team had won nine games in a row and were ranked number one in the nation going into the Thanksgiving weekend Southern Cal game. Leading by 17-0 at the half, we lost the game with one minute and thirty-three seconds to go when Craig Fertig completed a touchdown pass to Rod Sherman. Absolutely devastating.
However, two days later, I was about to find out what Notre Dame was really all about. My true baptism as a Notre Dame man occurred in the dilapidated old Notre Dame Field House as we welcomed the team back from California. For almost two hours, 10,000 students and supporters applauded, yelled, cheered, and cried, as Ara and team captain Jim Carroll talked about the Southern Cal game, their love of Notre Dame, and how much the student body meant to them. The experience was beautiful, magical, and inspirational. And in that field house, after a crushing loss, we were united in solidarity, sad but optimistic about the future. From that moment on, I felt that I was a full-fledged member of the Notre Dame family.
Father Ted Hesburgh was a role model for me even before I arrived at Notre Dame and for many decades after my graduation. After the 1957 enactment of the first new civil rights law in almost 100 years, President Dwight David Eisenhower appointed Father Ted to the newly created United States Commission on Civil Rights. He later became chairman and helped lead the Commission through historic and controversial times. Indeed, under Father Ted’s leadership, the Commission conducted comprehensive hearings in D.C. and around the country, gathering meticulously the documentation of racial discrimination that helped enact the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, the landmark laws prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations, education, employment, voting, and housing.
Time and again, Father Ted demonstrated considerable courage and independence, especially when chairing the Commission hearings in the heart of Mississippi in 1963, contrary to the wishes of the White House and Department of Justice. He demonstrated that courage again in early July 1964 when he came to the assistance of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. While King is considered by almost everyone today, and deservedly so, an icon of the civil rights movement, in 1964 he was a polarizing figure who did not have the backing of most Americans. The day before King held a major civil rights rally at Soldiers Field in Chicago, on behalf of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he called Father Ted and told him that Mayor Richard Daley and Catholic Church leaders would not attend. He asked Father Ted whether, as a renowned and respected religious leader, he would join him. And Father Ted did, giving one of his best civil rights speeches. Forty-five years later, in his Hesburgh Library office, Father Ted gave me an inscribed picture of himself and King arm in arm that day in front of Soldiers Field. That picture will always hang in a special place in my home and in my heart.
Father Ted’s independence, not surprisingly, sometimes hurt him. In 1972, President Nixon fired Father Ted from the Civil Rights Commission for daring to criticize the Nixon administration for not fully enforcing the civil rights laws. As a second year law student at the University of Chicago, Father Ted’s moral courage left a lasting impression on me.
Senator Edward W. Brooke
After working for Nelson Rockefeller’s 1968 presidential campaign, graduating from the University of Chicago Law School, and serving in the U.S. Army, I was asked by Republican Senator Edward W. Brooke of Massachusetts in December 1972 to join his staff. I was overjoyed. Finishing his first term as a senator, Senator Brooke was already an historic figure — the first African American popularly elected to the U.S. Senate. In his second year as a senator, Senator Brooke, along with Senator Walter Mondale, cosponsored the 1968 Fair Housing Act. In 1969 and 1970, Senator Brooke was the Republican leader of the successful bipartisan efforts to defeat the Supreme Court nominations of Clement Haynsworth and J. Harold Carswell. To oppose the nominees of the president from your own party, someone you had campaigned for, was not an easy thing to do.
Senator Brooke’s courage and political independence continued unabated during my six years as his Chief Legislative Assistant. Early in my first year with him, Senator Brooke assigned me to cover the Watergate scandal. Right after the “Saturday Night Massacre” in October 1973 (when President Nixon fired Special Counsel Archibald Cox and then accepted the immediate resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus), Senator Brooke was the first senator to call for the resignation of President Nixon.
After the election of archconservative Republican Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina in 1972, Senator Brooke, working with a bipartisan coalition, spent the next six years leading the opposition to the relentless and unsuccessful efforts of Helms and conservative southern Democrats to weaken the civil rights laws enacted in the 1960s. With Democratic Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana, he led the 1975 defense of Title IX (prohibiting gender discrimination in education) and in 1978 the effort to extend the time period for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.
And then also in 1978, he defied the conservative wing of the Republican party, by supporting the Panama Canal Treaty, a vote that contributed to his re-election defeat later that year.
Senator Brooke was a Republican in the mold of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Nelson Rockefeller. He taught me everything about the legislative process, especially the importance of bipartisanship. Repeatedly, after all the ideological and political arguments had been exhausted, Senator Brooke would help craft the timely bipartisan compromise that would catapult a bill into a law that advanced the nation’s interests. And like Father Ted and Ara, he taught me about integrity, courage, independence, and perseverance. For 42 years, Senator Brooke was a superb mentor and close friend. He even made the closing arguments in my long campaign to persuade Katy to marry me.
Battle with Guillain Barre Syndrome
After Senator Brooke’s tragic defeat, I started working with moderate Republican Senator David Durenberger of Minnesota. Six weeks into the new job, while on my first visit to Minneapolis with Senator Durenberger, I contracted Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) which would take over my life for 140 days. The first week went pretty well. On my first day, I met the chaplain of my new home, St. Mary’s Hospital, who was a Notre Dame graduate. I then met another Notre Dame graduate who would become my gastrointestinal doctor and subsequently insert a feeding tube through my nose and into my stomach that would help keep me alive. Most importantly, I met Sister Margaret Francis Schilling, a 73 year old nun from the convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph. She had Guillain Barre in her 25th year as a nun and met me as she was celebrating her 50th anniversary as a nun. Sister Margaret became my guardian angel, psychologist, and all-around advisor. Perhaps you can understand why I turned down a strong recommendation from my parents, Senator Durenberger, and the U.S. Surgeon General to transfer me to the renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Within three weeks, the paralysis (usually reversible over time) which had started in my face and extremities, had spread throughout my entire body. On March 5th, I had a tracheostomy, surgery that cut a hole in my neck allowing me to be connected to a respirator, a machine that would breathe for me over the next 75 days. The tracheostomy also eliminated my ability to speak. I could only communicate by blinking my eyes, once for “yes,” twice for “no.”
On Sunday, March 18th, a priest came into my room wearing his vestments and giving me what I assumed to be general absolution or the Last Rites of the Church. I knew then with certainty that I was in serious trouble.
Two days later, things became much worse. The pneumonia, which most patients get when lying on their backs for a considerable length of time, was literally drowning me in my own liquids. The pulmonary doctor and a team of nurses hovered over my body until midnight, constantly using a straw-like medical device to suction out massive amounts of watery green mucus from my lungs and nasal cavities. I thought the end was near. At midnight, I silently said goodbye to my mom and dad and prayed many Our Fathers, Hail Marys, and Acts of Contrition.
The next morning, to my pleasant surprise, I awoke. And then around April 1st, slowly but surely, and initially unknown to me, the painful reversal process started kicking in. I learned anew how to sit up, kneel, crawl, stand up, and walk.
Several months later, while beginning my rehabilitation at my parents’ home, Mom and I were reading a number of the 2,000 letters and get-well cards I had received while at St. Mary’s. Suddenly, I yelled out: “Mom, you are not going to believe this! Remember on March 21, when the nurses called you after the night that we all thought I might not make it? Well that same night, at Universal Notre Dame night in Washington, D.C., Nordy Hoffman, then the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms and an All-American guard on Knute Rockne’s last football team, asked the several hundred Domers present to dedicate that night to my recovery, say prayers on my behalf, and had everyone sign the get-well card I now have in my hand.” You can well imagine my deep and incredible feelings of gratitude, loyalty, and love.
I am so happy to see our classmate Rocky Bleier in the audience today. In March 1980, Rocky helped me, Senator Durenberger, Senator Brooke, and others launch the Guillain Barre Syndrome Foundation. A year later, the foundation merged into what is now the GBS-CIDP Foundation International. Under the phenomenal leadership of Co-Founder and former long-time Executive Director Estelle Benson, the Foundation has now become an international organization of 30,000 members with 182 chapters in 33 countries.
The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
While with Senator Brooke, I worked closely with the nation’s oldest and broadest coalition, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), “The Lobbying Arm of the Civil Rights Movement.” Founded in 1950 by legendary civil rights leaders Arnold Aronson, Roy Wilkins, and A.Philip Randolph, LCCR has played a leading role in the enactment of all the civil rights laws over the past seven decades. Along with Notre Dame and the U.S. Senate, LCCR is one of my favorite American institutions.
After the dramatic 1980 election of Ronald Reagan and the Senate turning Republican for the first time in a quarter of a century, LCCR asked me whether I would be willing to consider becoming the first full time and paid executive director of LCCR. I responded that of course I would consider it. Coincidently, that same week in March 1981, John Sears, the campaign manager for the 1968 presidential run of Richard Nixon and the 1980 presidential campaign of Ronald Reagan and a 1960 graduate of Notre Dame, took me out to lunch to ask me to join his law firm. I mentioned to him the possible Leadership Conference offer. John immediately responded, “Forget my law firm offer and accept the LCCR position.” I was taken aback. I asked him why a conservative Republican would urge me to be the CEO of the Leadership Conference. John was direct. He told me that “his friends who had just been elected would do everything possible to undo many of the things that my friends had accomplished since the New Deal. There is going to be an epic battle. Our nation will need the best people to represent both sides. In addition, you should never turn down an opportunity to be on the front lines of history.” I am not sure I have ever received better advice. Nor more patriotic. John knew that disagreements over political and judicial philosophies were not fights over “good versus evil.” They were constitutional debates over the proper role of government that have been hard fought since the founding of our nation.
Ten days later, the LCCR Executive Committee offered me the executive director job. I can tell you that choosing me was not a unanimous decision. Indeed, one civil rights leader with a smile on his face congratulated me after the decision and told me: “I like and respect you, Ralph, but as far as I am concerned, you are 0-4 in certain qualifications. You are white, male, Republican, and Catholic.” A quote that I would never forget, especially when trying to forge a consensus coalition position for the next 15 years among 180 national organizations representing minorities, women, labor, older Americans, people with disabilities, LGBT communities, and many religious denominations,
During the Reagan-Bush administrations, despite steep odds, the national organizations in LCCR managed to help enact legislation to strengthen all the major civil rights laws, overturn more than a dozen Supreme Court decisions that had weakened those laws, and enact the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act. All these laws passed with, on average, 85% bipartisan congressional majorities, something that seems unthinkable in today’s polarized political environment. And in 1987, in perhaps one of its most important efforts, LCCR helped the Senate defeat the Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork by a bipartisan vote of 58-42, the largest margin of defeat for a Supreme Court nominee in our nation’s history. Currently, I am writing a book about how all this happened.
The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights has been successful in large measure because of its ability to harness and direct the resources, constituencies, and skill sets of its member organizations, especially with respect to grassroots organizing, media outreach, policy expertise, and legislative advocacy. But most importantly, LCCR’s success over the decades has depended on its unwavering commitment to bipartisanship. Bipartisanship matters not just because of a commitment to good government or because it is necessary to garner majority votes in the House and Senate or super majorities to overturn a presidential veto or a Senate filibuster. Bipartisanship is necessary because it is important that our citizens understand that a newly enacted law reflects support from both parties. Only then is there a high likelihood that law will be sustained over time.
To achieve a bipartisan result, LCCR members knew that at some point in the legislative process they had to support their congressional Democratic and Republican champions in their efforts to craft a principled and timely bipartisan compromise that would enable a bill to become a law. No organization or coalition has been as successful as LCCR at doing this over the past seven decades. Whenever I am asked by journalists, students, or any participant in the legislative process what is the basic LCCR legislative strategy, I always respond: “to help put together the strongest possible bipartisan bill that would advance the nation’s interests and can be enacted into law.”
A week ago, at the request of my daughter’s political science professor, Larry Gerston, I gave a lecture to his class at the University of California at Santa Cruz. It was a special moment to have the opportunity to watch the reactions of my daughter and her classmates as I discussed coalition building, bipartisanship, and making government work.
The day before I had a comparable moment when I met with my friend Leon Panetta at the Leon and Sylvia Panetta Public Policy Institute in Monterey. As many of you know, Secretary Panetta has had an extraordinary public service career, serving in the Clinton Administration as Secretary of Defense, the Director of the CIA, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget at the White House, and President Clinton’s chief of staff. In addition, he served 16 years in the House of Representatives, compiling an impressive legislative record, in large part because of his ability to work with both Democrats and Republicans.
I have two memorable take-aways from that meeting. Number one was at the end of the meeting when Leon showed me a brick from the wall of Osama Bin Laden’s house in Pakistan, a gift from the Navy Seals who found and killed Bin Laden. It made me shiver with respect, awe, and gratitude.
The second was a framed letter on an office wall that Leon, then the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, had received from President Ronald Reagan after long and arduous negotiations had produced an historic budget compromise. The letter on presidential stationary thanked Chairman Panetta for all his hard work. It went on to state that President Reagan had not gotten all that he wanted from the compromise bill and he knew that Leon had not either. But President Reagan said, “the American people got what they needed.” That sums up a government working as the Framers of the Constitution intended. I walked out of Leon’s office on Cloud Nine.
1994-2018: Collapse of Bipartisanship Leading to Government Paralysis and Dysfunction
During my eight years with Senators Brooke and Durenberger in the 1970’s, the government worked well. During my 15 years with the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, including the 12 years of the Reagan-Bush presidencies, I saw our constitutional system of checks and balances succeed time and again. Not only were all the civil rights laws strengthened with strong bipartisan support, but the Congress and the Republican administrations worked out historic compromises on Social Security reform and a comprehensive and fair 1986 Tax Reform Bill, as well as paving the way for the fall of the Berlin Wall and communism and the ending of apartheid in South Africa and the ascendance of Nelson Mandela to his nation’s presidency.
But things started to change dramatically after the 1994 elections. Over the past 25 years, we have regrettably seen the rapid rise of excessive partisanship and political polarization in our country. This disturbing trend has led to government paralysis and dysfunction. While I believe there are bipartisan majorities outside of Washington favoring health care reform, the rebuilding of the nation’s infrastructure, immigration reform, environmental safeguards, gun safety, civil rights, and many other domestic and international issues, Washington has been incapable of getting things done. Our political system is broken.
As a result, the confidence of the American people in their government has plummeted drastically. Consider:
In 1958, according to Gallup, 73% of the American people had confidence in the federal government in 1958. By 2015, that number had dropped to 19%.
In January 2018, The Economist’s annual “Democracy Index,” for the second year in a row, described the United States not as a “full democracy,” but as a “flawed democracy.” Twenty nations were ranked ahead of us.
In the past two years, several polls have showed that among millennials less than 30% believed democracy was essential for our form of government.
That, ladies and gentlemen, constitutes a crisis of confidence. Democracy is in trouble. Steps must be taken. Now.
“Let The Voters Choose” (LTVC)
About two years ago, a number of Democrats and Republicans approached me about putting together a nonpartisan effort to address the extreme partisanship and political polarization that besets our nation. Key leaders from the beginning have been Bernie Aronson (senior official in the Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush administrations and most recently President Obama’s Special Envoy to the Colombian Peace Accords), Mary Frances Berry (former chair of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, co-founder of the Free South Africa Movement and distinguished professor at the University of Pennsylvania) , Leslee Sherrill (communications aide to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush), Paul Kirk (former Democratic Senator and Chair of the Democratic National Committee), former Republican Senator David Durenberger, and John Shattuck (former Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador to the Czech Republic). After several hundred meetings, many others have signed on, including senior officials from the past seven presidential administrations. Everyone agrees that we have to do everything possible to fix our broken electoral system in order to strengthen our democracy. That includes maximizing citizen participation in primary and general elections, rewarding candidates who appeal to a broader spectrum of an expanded electorate, and providing incentives to elected officials who are willing to craft timely and principled bipartisan compromises — without the fear of being “primaried” by a narrow segment of their party’s base in the next election cycle.
Operating principles agreed to include:
Nonpartisan project with Republican, Democratic, and Independent support. It must not be perceived as an effort to benefit any political party.
Feasibility: Let The Voters Choose will commit its time, energy, and resources to efforts that promise realistic and meaningful success in the near term. No federal constitutional amendments.
State-Centric; The primary focus over the next 6 to 10 years should be on building election reform movements in the states that will lead to successful ballot initiatives and state laws.
Help lead a public education campaign at the national, state, and local levels to explain the need for electoral changes that will increase political participation, diminish excessive partisanship and political polarization, and help restore public confidence in our democracy.
Seek support from business, labor and former military leaders. Very importantly, include religious leaders representing all denominations.
Work with strategic partners across the political spectrum.
Everyone agreed that a top priority should be eliminating extreme gerrymandering by setting up fair and independent redistricting commissions in the states. Voters should be choosing their representatives, not the other way around.
Another priority was supporting automatic voter representation when a citizen turns 18 (with a provision to “opt-out”).
While needing evidence-based research and a consensus process before taking a position, supporters want to take a close look at Ranked Choice Voting, opening up primaries (perhaps the “top four” model), and other possible initiatives that would optimize citizen participation, increase civility, decrease negative advertising, diminish the cost of elections, address the serious problem of “dark” money, and very importantly encourage elected officials to seek bipartisan compromises.
I am pleased to report that the New Venture Fund has agreed to incubate “Let The Voters Choose” as one of its projects. We should begin full operations in the fall. I hope many of you will choose to participate.
Before concluding my presentation, I would like to make three brief points.
First, I would like to underscore how vital the Constitution is to us as a nation and to us as individuals. Every day, I am in awe of the brilliance of our founders and those who passed subsequent constitutional amendments, especially the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments immediately after the Civil War.
And we must always remember that the Constitution was the result of many compromises. Equally important is that, thanks to James Madison and his allies, the Constitution encourages compromises in order to make our government work. Dividing constitutional powers among three separate and coequal branches of the Federal Government was a stroke of genius. Perhaps nothing has held our nation together and made our government workable more than our system of checks and balances. In the days and months ahead, Republicans and Democrats must respect and adhere to these checks and balances. And above all, they must act consistently with the rule of law.
Speaking of the rule of law, I would like to say a few words about Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Having observed this conservative Republican for almost two decades, I believe Mr. Mueller’s life, first and foremost, has demonstrated that he is an American patriot. Robert Mueller has been:
A war hero, having earned in Vietnam a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star with the “Valor” designation;
An Assistant United States Attorney and then U.S. Attorney in California;
An Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division of the Justice Department and an Acting Deputy Attorney General in the administration of President George H.W. Bush; and
A Director of the FBI for 12 years. Appointed by President George W. Bush in 2001 for a 10 year term and reappointed for two more years by President Barack Obama in 2011.
To me, Robert Mueller is a combination of the incorruptible Elliot Ness of the “Untouchables” and Sergeant Joe Friday of the T.V. series “Dragnet.” Like Sergeant Friday, all Mueller wants is: “Just the facts, ma’am.”
I would recommend that we all withhold final judgments about the Russian investigation until Mr. Mueller has had an opportunity to pursue the facts wherever they may lead him and then submit his report to the Department of Justice. Then as citizens we can examine with the Justice Department and Congress the evidence that Mr. Mueller and his team have produced.
It is imperative that Republicans and Democrats do everything possible to ensure the independence and completion of the Mueller investigation.
I mentioned earlier that in April 2009 I had an opportunity to spend time with Father Ted in his Hesburgh library office. I had been invited to Notre Dame to deliver the annual Otis Bowen lecture and had asked for a private meeting with Father Ted. At that meeting, we discussed our mutual commitment to civil rights and some of our favorite civil rights memories. During the conversation, we were interrupted by a phone call from Father Jenkins who wanted to discuss the upcoming commencement address by the nation’s new president, Barack Obama, and the request by some that Notre Dame withdraw the invitation because of Obama’s position on abortion rights. That request was of course rejected.
After the call, Father Ted started talking to me about the Obama controversy. He believed strongly that Notre Dame should honor an invitation to the President of the United States. He also discussed his views on the university being a place where differing points of view should be discussed. Father Ted told me that while he supported the Church’s position on abortion, he always learned something from a discussion with someone who held contrary views. I will never forget that moment.
As I prepared for this presentation, I did a little research.
I discovered a marvelous quote from a fundraising video that Father Ted made in 1975 entitled “The Endless Conversation,” I would like to read it to you:
“Notre Dame can and must be a crossroads where all the vital intellectual
currents of our time meet in dialogue, where the great issues of the Church
and the world today are plumbed to their depths, where every sincere
inquirer is welcomed and listened to and respected by a serious consider-
ation of what he has to say about his belief or unbelief, his certainty or un-
certainty; where differences of culture and religion can
co-exist with friendship, civility, hospitality, respect, and love.”
The quote is also a wonderful description of how our nation and our citizens individually should act with respect to differences of opinion.
Please know how profoundly grateful I am to be with you today and to be one of your classmates.
God bless America. God bless the University of Notre Dame. And God bless every member of the Class of 1968.
The Great ’68 in Force!
Miss June 1968
(See following post “Reunion Plans as of mid-May” for a reunion schedule and other information.)
Notre Dame’s efficiency will have the trash removed, the broken glass replaced, the furniture set back upright, the carpet stains erased by the time these notes appear in a printed magazine. Before then, for three or four sweet days at the beginning of June, we will behave as if we are young and middle-aged again.
Confident of a clean election in June, Class President Tom Weyer is also confident that Special Counsel Brian Sullivan will complete his examination by then of alleged Russian interference in some voting during the late 60s and early 70s.
Fred Ferlic, frothing to his planning committee through calls, texts and emails right up to the time of the weekend, has activities gelling into one good time after another: nights of dinners and dancing, days of programs, memorials, Mass, and being together. Handball player Mark Lies continues to trash talk Bill Cleary. South Benders Fred and Mary Jane will take up residence in a hall, a chance for Fred to obstruct any big government/big university regulations affecting free living. Many others, acting on Joe Hale’s discovery of good rates, will stay at the Doubletree. While attempting to make his own reservation for himself and Marilyn, Mike Obiala happened on a loophole: when the “nice young lady” (Mike’s term) found all 1968 rooms taken, she located space under the 1958 class heading – and at a price $1 better than ours. Bryan Dunigan and Roger Guerin, who made the reservations as they graduated in 1968, chose the Morris Inn.
Registration by the end of April had regular campus visitors and infrequent visitors returning: Rocky Bleier will perform his one-man show several times. John O’Connor, Ralph Neas and maybe Jim Stoffel will give presentations. Mike Suelzer is coming from Iowa City, IA, Jim Davis from Charleston, SC, Dick Faherty from Austin, TX. Wally Moxham had little trouble luring Tom Brislin. Jim Hutchinson and Eileen have their peeps Jerry Murray and Rich and Neil Rogers attending, maybe even camping with the Hutchinsons in a gaudy, Grateful Dead type of RV behind the Bookstore. Paul Higgins and Jim Chapman are coming from Oregon, Bill Clark from California, Paul Ramsey from New York. Think of a name and you will find that friend among the merry-makers of the weekend. Female readers may wish to note that John McCoy is still single!
found by Tom McKenna (Chicago cuz)
The reunion will test the truth of what Bob “Rabbit” Noonan wrote as he retired from his consulting position in 2017: “After retiring from the Army, I joined Booz Allen Hamilton here in Northern Virginia and led a business unit supporting defense intelligence agencies, organizations, and units. On Oct 31, 2017, I retired from that great company as an Executive Vice President and now it’s all about travelling and catching up with old friends and spending more time with family. Diane and I live in Herndon, VA, just outside D.C. in Northern VA.”
The infrequent visitors such as the Noonans, most of them from the coasts, will have the thrill of face-to-face encounters with the Chicagoans whose names appear so regularly in the class notes, usually because Chicago classmates have a propensity to provide news about themselves.
While a 50th reunion is special, it is not the only reunion opportunity. Bill Maturo, Chris Manion, Brian McTigue, Pat Hermann, John Schmelzer, Jerry McCabe, Dick Farina, Michael R. Ryan, George Kelly and the rest of you, Joe Blake, Bill Kelly, Dick Kelly, Dennis O’Dea, Tom McCloskey and all of you who are unable to come back the first weekend of June, know that you are missed and cherished. Remembering someone? Reunite by phone, by email, by arrangement of a lunch, of a mini-gathering at a destination or on a cruise.
Bryan Dunigan, Ted Nebel, Jim Woods, Tom Figel, John Walsh, Tom Gibbs, Tom Weyer and Mike Heaton, just after departure of Mike Tyrrell and Mark Lies and just before presentation of lunch check
A mostly Chicago group proved the reunion-everywhere-often theory in late April, when Jim Woods came from Milwaukee. Chicago area native Jim flew right into the lunchtime comparison of the high school alma maters attended by Mike Heaton, John Walsh, Bryan Dunigan, Tom Weyer, Mike Tyrrell, and Ted Nebel. Afterward, Mike Heaton summed up the debate: “I have come to appreciate the difference between those who grew up on the ‘South’ side, the ‘West’ side and the ‘North’ side. In the words of Brian Shannon, the South side guys think they are the toughest, the West side guys think they are the smartest, and the North side guys think they are English.”
During February, Paul Zalesky and Steve Sullivan chose a Florida location for their own reminiscing over several conversation-stimulating drinks.
Mike McCullough re-discovered his report of Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign stop in South Bend, “To Make Gentle the Life of This World”.
The deaths of Ray Munchmeyer March 26, 2018 (see obituary in following post) and of John Hughes’ wife Trish during January, 2018 are sadnesses that make us grateful for the time these important friends were with us. Please remember the families and pray for them. In addition, remember Dave Hirschboeck’s family. The April death of this friend from the 1969 class produced a gathering of classmates from many years: John Walsh and Dia, Kevin Daly and Helena, Kelly Baruth and Ruth, Shaun Reynolds and Susan, Nancy Carlin and Tom Figel.
Dennis Reeder will repeat the favor he did the class at the previous reunion: he will video classmates who wish to send greetings to absent friends. Once completed and placed on a hosting service, the video will be available on our class blog and will have a link for sending by email or text.
April 27th email from Mike Burgener:
Son beau comes in on may 28th and will be here for 5 days…..cannot wait to see him…..so i will not be at the reunion…please pass on my best to all our great class of 68!!! tell rocky, dave martin and all the other great men i will miss them. we are back in the house….still lots of work to do rebuilding but it will get done. the best is that my gym is up and running and i am coaching and training as hard as ever……my style now is: GEEZERS RULE!! the geezer group ranges in age from 83 down to the youngest buck being 62!!! the geezer categories are: 50-59 you are a geezer in training. 60-64 you are a geezer. 65-69 you are a super geezer. 70-74 and i designed the tee and made the groups so we are: stud geezers!!!! 75+ since hopefully we will make….we will then be SUPER STUD GEEZERS!!! SEMPER FI TO ALL MY CLASSMATES. MIKE _________________
Please visit the rest of www.ndclass1968.com for photos and other items. And please send news and photos to Tom Figel, 1054 West North Shore, Apt 3E, Chicago, IL 60626, tel. 312-223-9536, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bonus from 1968 yearbook:
Received from Bryan Dunigan May 9, 2018: During the reunion, Joe Kernan will receive the Sorin Award. Joe will receive the award during a special presentation following the Reunion All-Class Mass on Saturday, June 2. Mass will begin at 4 p.m. inside the Joyce Center Fieldhouse, and the ceremony will start at 5 p.m., immediately following Mass.
Also, Bill Kenealy says that Bob Noonan will receive the Corby Award in November.
Gene Cavanaugh called when he learned of the death of Professor Don Costello’s wife Christine. Known to many of us because of the Costellos’ endlessly open door at their home as well as Mrs. Costello’s support for her husband’s spirited Notre Dame life, Christine Costello lived fully. This is the obituary from the South Bend Tribune:
Christine H. Costello
Oct. 15, 1931 – May 12, 2018
NOTRE DAME – Christine Helen Costello was born on October 15, 1931 and died of congestive heart failure in her home at Andre Place in Holy Cross Village. She died surrounded by all of her children, music, God, and her beloved husband.
She was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago and came to South Bend in 1960 when her husband, Donald got a teaching position in the English Department at The University of Notre Dame. They settled on Wakewa Ave. in the North Shore Triangle neighborhood where she not only raised their six children, but also took numerous classes at the University of Notre Dame, and hosted glorious dinner parties. She was a foodie before anyone knew the word. She was farm to table before it was even invented. Her glorious garden was the talk of the neighborhood. Christine was also an expert needle worker and a member of the Embroiderers Guild of America. She read widely and was a longtime leader of the Evening Book Group of the Ladies of Notre Dame. She loved opera, theater, and travel.
Christine was preceded in death by her parents, Helen (Curtin) and John Kane; and by her sister, Mary (Harold) Schwind. She also lost her brothers, Br. John S.J., Gerald (Marilyn), and James. Fortunately, she still had her brothers, Thomas (Jean deceased) and Robert. Christine is also survived by her husband of 66 years, Donald; children, Christopher (Lois Vanderhoof deceased), Maria O’Connor, Monica (John) Dilenschneider, Paul, Matthew (Anne), and John (Leigh Ann Marchant).
Christine was a supportive and loving wife and an unfailingly kind, giving, and sensitive mother. She was the best grandma ever to twenty-one grand kids and three great-grand-kids, with one more on the way.
Christine said after learning of her heart failure, “Don’t worry about me: I’ve had a very good life and I’m old!”
Funeral Services will take place Monday, May 21, at 9:30am at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, on the Notre Dame Campus. Burial will follow at Cedar Grove Cemetery, Notre Dame. Friends may call Sunday from 3-7:00pm at the McGann Hay Funeral Home, University Chapel, 2313 E. Edison Rd., just east of campus. There will be a Wake Service at 3:30pm Sunday in the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, please make memorial contributions to: Logan Protective Services Board, PO Box 1049, South Bend, IN 46601; Community Foundation of Saint Joseph County; or your own favorite charity. To send your condolences or to share memories log on to: www.McGannHay.com.
Published in South Bend Tribune from May 16 to May 20, 2018
The news came Wayne Micek. Please remember Ray and his family in your prayers.
Raymond P. Munchmeyer “Ray” passed away on March 26, 2018 at the age of 71 years. Born in Brooklyn, NY and spending his formative years in New Hyde Park, NY and Breezy Point, NY (Roxbury). Leaving NY for the University of Notre Dame where he graduated in 1968. He later earned his MBA from Northwestern in 1969 (accomplishing a 2 year degree in 1 year). Ray served in the U.S. Army as a 1st Lieutenant during the Vietnam War era from 1969 to 1971. In 1969 he began his career with the Polaroid Corporation where he worked 39 years and retired as a Senior Production Planner. For his son’s and daughter’s soccer teams, Ray coached for the Framingham United Soccer Club for over 10 years. Ray also served on the Board of Directors for the club as Treasurer. Ray was an athlete who ran and completed the NYC Marathon 3 times. Later on in life, Ray developed a love for spin classes (indoor cycling). He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Carmela (Zito), son Paul, Paul’s wife Amy, daughter Michelle Salvi, Michelle’s husband Matt and 4 grandchildren: Anthony (Ray’s best friend), Eric, Shay and Libby. Ray lived a full life and touched many people. Whether it was “down the beach” at Roxbury, in college at Notre Dame, in Germany serving in the Army, working at Polaroid or at a spin class in NY or Massachusetts, Ray met and befriended almost a countless amount of people. If you became Ray’s friend, you were a friend for life. Not one person was more important to him than his wife Carmela. Ray and Carmela met at 16 and were never apart after that. Together they traveled the world, loved each other and created a loving family. Carmela, Paul and Michelle felt an endless amount of love from Ray and all of us will miss him immensely. Family and friends will honor and remember Rays life by gathering for visiting hours in the McCarthy, McKinney & Lawler Funeral Home, 11 Lincoln St., Framingham on Wednesday, April 4th, from 4-7 P.M. Funeral services and interment will take place in Queens, NY in the following weeks. Details to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the CJD Foundation at www.cjdfound ation.org or PO Box 5312, Akron, OH 44334. For directions and online tributes, kindly visit www.mccarthyfh.com
You will be able to register at this site: http://reunion.nd.edu
Notre Dame’s notifications to classmates have been helter skelter: sent to some, not to others. (Jay Schwartz forwarded his notice to the overlooked Figels.) (Thanks to Steve Sullivan, we know that, at the time of our 1968 graduation, the class of 1918 was preparing for its 50th reunion.)
trouble keeping up.
The registration process seems simple. Still, people ask about accommodations. A group of us – Tom & Anne Condon, Mike & Muff Baroody, Jay Schwartz, John McCoy, Ed Kickham, Tom & Mary Ann McKenna – took advantage of advice from Joe Hale and reserved rooms at The Doubletree. The hotel has – or had – a good discount for our class. Whether rooms are available there seems to depend on the person who answers the phone at the hotel desk. John Walsh said Feb. 20th that the hotel is full. Father John Sheehan found rooms available a few days ago.
During the registration process, you will see an offer of dorm accommodation at $35/night.
People ask about price options for reunion attendance. There are options. The Figels have the full $350 option for Tom and the $99 one night option for Nancy (Carlin SMC ’69), who will attend the class dinner and, otherwise, cruise around with St. Mary’s friends.
From reunion 2003, when we were young
As of May 18, 2018:
Probably because of the good work of Fred Ferlic, Gene Cavanaugh, Chris Murphy and other South Bend classmates, Notre Dame has become aware that a 50th reunion weekend is approaching.
Last minute news includes this note from Fred Ferlic about a campus architectural history presentation and below that, the reunion schedule as of mid-May:
“ The Great ’68” 50th class reunion is almost here! Mark your calendars for a weekend of renewed friendships under the Dome, May 31 to June 3 and reflect upon your personal and family experiences as part of the exceptional group known as “The Great ’68”.
Register now at reunion.nd.edu .
We plan a very personal 50th reunion, including Rocky Bleier’s “ The Play ,” Friday and Saturday class dinners at Duncan Student Center overlooking “the House that Rockne Built,” a ceremony honoring the military of The Great ’68, a speakers bureau featuring interesting, “out of the box” classmates, a Saturday night tribute to The Great ’68 / Notre Dame by Lou Holtz and President Tom Weyer, and much more.
Here is a lineup of events for our weekend Reunion:
- ● TBD – Class of 1968 Golf Scramble at Burke Golf Course
- ● 6:30am – Breakfast at Dining Halls (until 10am)
- ● 9:00am – 10:30am – Flag Raising/Vietnam Commemoration with reception in front of the Dome
- ● 10:30am – ND Perspectives (ND faculty offering an insightful discussion) at Washington Hall
- ● 11:00am – Lunch at South Dining Hall with the Dining Hall Queens (until 1pm)
- ● 1:30pm – University Leaders Forum at Washington Hall with John Affleck-Graves
- ● 3:00pm – Rocky Bleier “The Play” , Decio Theater
- ● 5:00pm – 1968 & 50 Year Club Mass at Basilica of Sacred Heart
○ Presiders: Fr. John Sheehan ‘68 & Fr. John Pearson ‘68
- ● 6:00pm – Cocktail Reception at the new Dahnke Ballroom at the ND Stadium with views
overlooking the field
- ● 7:00pm – Dinner at Dahnke Ballroom (until 1am)
- ● 9:00pm – Neverly Brothers (a great Chicago band!) performance at Dahnke Ballroom (until 1am)
- ● 6:30am – Breakfast at Dining Halls (until 10am)
- ● 9:00am – Seminar for Class of 1968
- ○ Featuring the following speakers:
- ○ John O’Conner “The Voice of Deep Throat”
- ○ Ralph Neas “When America Works Again”
- ● 10:00am – Seminar for Class of 1968 (until 10:30am)
- ○ Doug Marsh, Vice President and University Architect
- ○ “Then and Now: The Future of Our Campus”
- ● Noon – 1968 Induction Lunch for Class of 1968 at Joyce Center Arena with Father Jenkins
- ○ Featuring the following class speakers:
- ○ Tom Weier – Opening Remarks
- ○ Chris Murphy – Invocation
- ○ Matt Walsh – Presentation of Class Gift
- ● 1:00pm – Class Photo immediately following at Joyce Center
- ● 2:00pm – Rocky Bleier “The Play” , Decio Theater
- ● 4:00pm – All Class Mass & Program at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse
○ Classmate Joe Kernan will be honored as the 2018 Sorin Award Recipient ● 6:00pm – Cocktails Reception at the Dahnke Ballroom
● 7:00pm – Dinner at Dahnke Ballroom (until 1am)
○ Featured speakers Lou Holtz and Tom Weyer ‘68, President for Life
● 9:00pm – Darryl Buchanan and The Motown Review – at Dahnke Ballroom
Show your ND pride by purchasing the exclusive 1968 Reunion polo produced by our own Skip
Strzelecki ‘68. Class of 1968 Polo Shirt Order Form
As part of our Reunion celebration, we invite you to participate in our class gift honoring the mission of our legendary coach, Ara Parseghian in his fight against Niemann-Pick Type C. We are all aware of the tragedy that befell Ara and his family, and this is a fitting tribute to them and the research that takes place on the campus of Notre Dame.
“There will be no cure without research and no research without funding.” ~ Coach Ara Parseghian
Our goal for The Great ’68 is to have the highest percentage of participation in the history of ND class gifts, whether the amount is $10 or $1 million. A group of our classmates have agreed to match class gifts made from April 2 to June 30, 2018 .
We believe our 50th reunion Great ’68 motto should be a quote from Ara:
“You know what it takes to win. Just look at my fist. When I make a fist, it’s strong and you can’t tear it apart. As long as there’s unity, there’s strength. We must become so close with the bonds of loyalty and sacrifice, so deep with the conviction of the sole purpose, that no one, no group, no thing, can ever tear us apart.”
Thank you for going above and beyond in your continuing generosity to Notre Dame. See you at Reunion 2018! Go Irish!
As of March 2, 2018:
The names are coming in an abundance that has let the list get away from me. Jim Chapman and Paul Higgins from Oregon; Father John Sheehan, S.J. from Jordan; Father John Pearson, C.S.C., from Arizona, Jerry Murray, Paul Zalesky, Jake (Pat) Keenan, Jim Hoffman and wife Carla. . . The no’s are scant: Joe Blake, Chris Manion. . . Someone you want to see? Get in touch. Make plans. Use www.my.nd.edu and look up contact information.
Tom Condon filled his article with humor, sentiment, photos of the likes of Tom Gibbs, Brien Murphy, and Sandy Carrigan, and stories when he wrote about the Rugby Club’s trip to Ireland for competition with Irish clubs in 1968: click on ND Rugby Club in Ireland 1968
As of November 7, 2017:
Tom & Mary Weyer, Matt & Joyce Walsh, Tom & Anne Condon, Larry “Monk” Forness, Tom & Nancy (Carlin) Figel, Jim O’Rourke, Tom Scully, Tom Warner, Brian McTigue, Joe Hale, Tom & Judy Culcasi, Tom Phillips, Jake Patrick Keenan (now living in Cambridge, MA), Ed Kickham, Mike Tyrrell, Tom Dorsel, John & Dia Walsh, Bill Cleary (daughter ‘98 has her ND 20th with our 50th. We both agreed we will be there! Go Irish!!! – Bill), Mike Burgener, Walt Moxham (Wouldn’t miss it and will make sure Tom Brislin joins us. I have already booked rooms. He wouldn’t agree to stay in the class dorm for that “real”Stanford or Farley Hall experience. But he is threatening to re write his valedictory speech. Hope all is well. Definitely a great year for the Irish faithful. Wally Moxham); Tom Gibbs, Bob and Donna Ptak, Bill Follette, Pat Demare with Bob Santaloci, Dave Graves, Neil and Richie Rogers and Mike Carroll. (We are all trying to get Pat Furey to join us.)
Michael Browning, Jerry and Mary Ellen Murray along with Bob and Sharon Kubiak, Jim & Eileen Hutchinson, Jim & Pam Stoffel, Mike & Beth Helmer, Tom Fitzharris, Rich Pivnicka, Jim Davis & Betty, Paul Zalesky, Bryan Dunigan, Jeff & Meg Keyes, Ned & Melinda Buchbinder, Roger & Jean Guerin, Ted Nebel, Bob Smith, John & Karen O’Brien, Ken Howard, Pete Farrell, Ted & Ann Bratthauar
Tom Cuggino, Tom McKenna (Chicago), Tom McKenna (Carmel, IN), Brian & Susan Schanning, John O’Connor, Ray & Carmela Munchmeyer, Wayne & Jackie Micek
Zingers that came with the notes Nov. 3:
From Mike Helmer: Beth and I are in! She has long told me that based on my stories, the classmate she really wants to meet is Bob Santaloci. Once I told her he’d be there we were a definite go.
From Bill Gormley regarding proof to Morris Inn of Class of 1968 membership: For purposes of national security it is under seal until 2050.
From Jim O’Rourke about same, proof of 1968 membership: I’m not showing anyone my transcript until Donald Trump releases his.
From Jerry Murray, who had an experience of Jim Hutchinson’s rental car choice during a post-season game trip: He just bought a used mini van. He is hosting a Woodstock party in the lot behind the hotel. He swears medical marijuana will be available.
Says Pat Demare: I will be attending the reunion with Bob Santaloci, Dave Graves, Neil and Richie Rogers and Mike Carroll. We are all trying to get Pat Furey to join us.
Bill Follette says: Just a note from a fellow ’68 grad that I am looking forward to attending my 50th with my wife of 50 years, Barbara (ND Homecoming Queen ’66). I hope all my fellow Cavanaugh, Dillon, and AFROTC friends will join us.
- 20 years flying Air Force air-refueling tankers and Special Ops helicopters (active and Reserves)
- 25 years Sperry/Honeywell
- 6 years International Consulting
- 8 years bureaucrat for City of Mesa, AZ
On your mark, reunion! With style.
(Be sure and see a post below. Walt Moxham sent the note Dennis Hunt, now-deceased, wrote about Notre Dame and friendship on graduation day, 1968.)
Likely reunion schedule: see the schedule in “People Coming to the Reunion”, which is one of the following articles or posts. The calendar comes from a document sent to Fred Ferlic by a Notre Dame staff member helping Fred and his committee with plans.
left in their Howard Hall room at the end of a year.
In June of 1968, as eager young grads, we departed from a campus life that could seem cloying and filled with regulations. Fifty years later, we return with well-developed habits of independence. Still, there are minor strictures on us. Take service animals, for example. Neil Rogers found that his ploy to attend as brother Rich Rogers’ companion will not work: Neil will have to pay, same as the rest of us. The stringent policy makes it unlikely that we will see Tom Culcasi’s honey badger or Jerry Murray’s comfort python. And cougars? Men, we are in our seventies. Cougars are out of the question.
Other than that, reunion time will be freewheeling. The bar service logjam affecting our class dinner five years ago will be solved with new staffing: a bartender for each 290 guests this time rather than 300. Spouses still need proof of age. So have fun. Compare handicaps. Boldy, go up to Roger Guerin and show him photos of grandchildren. Discuss Middlemarch with members of a new southwest Florida book group: Will Dunfey and Joan, Jeff Keyes and Meg, Bob Brady. Join Gene Cavanaugh, Tom Gibbs and Class President Tom Weyer in a gator pile. Watch Bill Cleary and Mark Lies resume a handball competition; Mark hopes someone will bring oxygen. Participate in the Depends raid Jim Hutchinson is organizing at St. Mary’s.
Presentations by John O’Connor (the Mark Felt Watergate history) and Rocky Bleier, plus a Friday morning performance of Ned Buchbinder’s play “Coming Attractions” will provide cerebral stimulation.
are helping Notre Dame planners fix some bugs and get the reunion schedule ready for us.
The abundance of emails indicate that the reunion will have great attendance and rich conversation subjects. Here are bits from the letters, photos and posts found in full at www.ndclass1968.com: Chris Murphy and Carmi, along with Carmi’s mother Ernestine Raclin, are lead donors for a new Notre Dame art museum. Physician Tom Mork and Dona will attend from Monterey, CA; Tom’s former Cavanaugh roommate Tim Swearingen now lives in Vancouver, WA. Mike Burgener and his wife are in a temporary Southern California residence after the widespread fires damaged their home and destroyed their business facility. Ken Howard will be at the reunion with former track team members Pete Farrell, Bob Timm and Ron Kurtz; they, their spouses and Paul Nowak and Barbara spent an October weekend with the Timms in Lake Geneva, IL. John O’Connor and Jan had to skip when John was needed for a San Francisco opening of his film Mark Felt. Long out-of-touch Dick Blumberg has surfaced – in the class of 1969. Former lawyer and ESL teacher (Laos), Dick splits his year between Polson, MT and Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. Tom Dorsel has composed and performed “Buy a Brew for Jesus”. Philadelphia lawyer Joe Ferry likes to appear in the class notes as often as he appears on campus; he came back to the Temple game, first visit since 1968. Pat Collins will be the grand marshal of the Washington, D.C. St. Patrick’s Day Parade March 11, 2018.
I’m in the middle of this photo. Captained the 65 and over New England team, Outer Cape Stripers (Cape Cod), to 3rd place finish (out of seventeen national regions) at the National Championship in Surprise Arizona last weekend.
Regards, Jim Bisceglia
PS. Incidentally, my Uncle Pat (Pasquale Bisceglia) was a first team AP All American at ND in 1955. He later played for the Montreal Alouettes. His son, JP, was a classmate and football teammate of Brian Kelley (team captains in successive years) at Assumption College in Worcester.
Paul Ramsey, along with Richard Coburn, travel globally while devoting year-round attention to two robust programs they founded in India and in the Yucatan, Mexico. The 21-year old school serving Mexican Mayan families now counts numbers of college graduates. The program in India is on the same track.
After viewing a CBS Sunday Morning Report that included Dan Doyle’s work in Appalachia, Mike McCullough wrote about the network of health clinics our physician classmate and another man brought into existence. Father John Sheehan will come to the reunion from the Jesuit Center in Amman, Jordan. Gene Schraeder and Ellen live in Bluffton, SC where Gene is a Wells Fargo branch manager. Jim O’Rourke, teaching at Notre Dame’s London, England location (and shown in dining attire below), sent a grand report of dining at the Athaneum, a club with some history.
Chris Manion is one who will not attend the reunion; from Maryland, he sent some thoughts about the Notre Dame of then and now: ”
Tom and ‘mates: Last fall, ND’s guiding light these days, Dean Thomas McGreevy, announced to the world that the Notre Dame we graduated from (yes, “fifty years ago”) was “mediocre.” I was baptized at Sacred Heart and have three degrees from ND. I suppose that my attendance would allow others more progressive to mourn my mediocrity as I walked across campus from one fundraising event after another, disguised as a “reunion” …. clearly an act of humility and charity to those superior souls who had the sense to attend a more perfect Notre Dame in Later years. But no thanks. Notre Dame Our Mother, pray for us.”
See a following post, a moving one from Walt Moxham. Walt sent a note received long ago from our now-deceased classmate Dennis Hunt.
Does joy ever come pure? We have the sadness of Dana Hart’s death Dec. 16, 2017 after years of trouble with Parkinson’s. John Hickey wishes us to remember Bret Bernoff, a class member who is carried on the 1969 list but began with us: Barnett “Bret” Bernoff passed away after being involved in a motorcycle crash in Volusia County, Florida, on Thursday, March 16, 2017. Pray, too, for Professor Donald Sniegowski and his family; the Sniegowskis’ youngest son recently learned he has leukemia.
Please send news and photos to: Tom Figel, 1054 West North Shore, Apt 3E, Chicago, IL 60626, tel. 312-223-9536, email@example.com.