He taught us all
The South Bend Tribune announcement of Professor Emil T. Hofman’s death July 11, 2015 included the fact that, between 1950 and 1990, Professor Hofman taught half of each freshman class. Regardless of our own half, this professor taught us all. Who can deny that he affected our Notre Dame experience through his influence on the other phenomenal people who, like him, strove to make us educated, moral, and happy? To remember him and his Notre Dame era, our era, is to remember Professor Frank O’Malley, Professor Ed Goerner, Professor John Malone, Professor Ernest Sandeen, Father John Donne and many vigorous retirees such as Professor Don Sniegowski and Professor Don Costello. At times of reunion, we visit and admire the spread of new buildings but we return because of appreciation for the faculty and administrators who poured themselves into us. Add your own names to the reflection.
Only able to pass the basic, non-Hofman freshman chemistry through the help of the late John Fowler, I had my own brush with the Emil T. Hofman version through rooming with Brien Murphy. The approach of the weekly exam had the power to quiet that . . . wild man and many of his ilk. Do you remember, too, the once-a-week absence of so many from our quad and our dorms? With our engineering and pre-med classmates taken out of the mix for a time, the rest of us could make hay. We became available to the neglected St. Mary’s coeds pining for the bright fellows sweating over test questions. Pat Collins and Bob Brady had space to spread out in a library study area. Bryan Dunigan, working without interruption, could progress with the amassing of his now prodigious contact list, a replacement for an early passion for winding string into a ball. In his own Keenan dorm room, future Class President Tom Weyer could deliberate in private the outfit for his next basketball game appearance: Batman or the Flash, maybe Green Arrow or . . . a gorilla?
Did you see the August, 2011 Notre Dame Magazine article written by Brendan O’Shaughnessy, “The Excellently Extraordinary, Iconic Emil T. “? We know that when we meet in reunions, half of us know chemistry well and all of us know more about life because of Professor Emil T. Hofman.
Bryan Dunigan forwarded a striking note from Mick Hyland, who had been approached for a ride by an elderly man waiting in the same medical reception room where Mick was awaiting his wife Connie. After giving the man the lift, Mick asked him “Why me?” and heard “Your ND shirt told me that you were a good man and would help me if I needed it.” In reporting the incident, Mick said, “What a great reminder it was for me and all the years I have enjoyed my ND connection. As always, wear the colors proudly.”
Notre Dame appointed Jim O”Rourke to a Department of Athletics Advisory Council that is providing, comment, and reaction on a wide variety of issues. Says Jim, who requests help at email@example.com: “First up: the fan experience. We’re looking at everything imaginable that fans would encounter when they come to campus.”
A road trip from the West Coast to Chicago took Nancy Carlin SMC 69 and our three granddaughters through Davenport, IA, scene of a remarkable Thanksgiving, 1964 combat involving Tom Condon, Mike Helmer, Jim Henegan and me. The three former New London, CT high school classmates had come to Davenport for a Thanksgiving with the Figels. Larry, a sister’s boyfriend, was showing us the adventures of Davenport’s one-ways cruising when an adventure ensued. Through mistake or intention at a stoplight, another carload of boys jumped our car. Tom Condon, even then no shrinking violet, engaged immediately while Mike Helmer first held his door fast and then relinquished his hold, whereupon the boy pulling on the door immediately smashed it into the face of his fellow. Jim Henegan and I took notes. Tom Condon and Mike Helmer later pursued these combative instincts in brief Army and Navy careers.
Don Hynes and Linda served up a mid-July reunion brunch in their Portland, OR home for John Walsh and Dia, Tim Swearingen and Denny Lopez. More of this may be in the offing: the Walshes son’ Conall will marry in Michigan in September, 2015.
Please read the following notes telling of the deaths of William E. Sullivan, Margaret Brady (Mrs. Robert Brady) and Peter J. Noonan.
Please send news and photos to: Tom Figel, 1054 West North Shore, Apt. 3-E, Chicago, IL 60626, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. 312-223-9536.