Class notes submitted April 14, 2021


When can we gather for a reunion? The frequency of the question shows how we long for the Great 68’s default state: full herd impunity, no Zoom link needed. Among irons in the fire is a plan from Fred Ferlic: if we meet during a weekend without a home game, there may be hotel advantages as well as access to some campus facilities. Pay attention to our blog,, where notice will appear when Class President Tom Weyer can give us the official word.

The need to remember and mourn five classmates reinforces the wish to see one another. The obituaries on the blog attest to men whose lives were reflective of Notre Dame ideals. Close to these friends? Please honor them by posting memories and thoughts on the class blog.  For example, Michael A. Habing of Indianapolis, who died December 9, 2020, was a member of Notre Dame’s rugby team.

Michael A. Habing

Paul Bekavec of Clairton, PA, who was Tom Weyer‘s Keenan Hall roommate and a popular dorm barber who had learned his technique while working at the family funeral home he soon inherited, died February 4, 2021: Ed Lewis remembers that haircut clients had to lie in a horizontal position for the trims. 

Paul Bekavec

 Stephen R. Cooke, Sr., holder of a Ph.D. in chemistry, died March 20, 2021 in Honeoye, NY; a note in his obituary is telling: “Due to Covid, the family will have a private ceremony, and those who knew him know Steve wouldn’t want the fuss anyway.”

Stephen R. Cooke, Sr.

University of Florida Professor Edward T. Dugan died January 24, 2021; read the recollections of former students and colleagues.  

Ed Dugan, center, with two colleagues

Charles J. Simons, Jr. died February 9, 2021 in Somerset, NJ. When Charles, known as Skip, took early retirement from Smith Barney because of his MS illness, he volunteered with a local food bank, a senior center and parish groups. 

Charles J. “Skip” Simons

Dan Collins has added to the class literature trove with his novel Future Victories, available on Amazon. The well-organized tale begins with discovery of documents that suggest, no matter the disintegration of the USSR, nuclear weapons await detonation in US cities. To the delight of Dan and other Keenan Hall classmates who meet on Zoom, Professor Charlie Stevenson, now retired in Australia, wrote War Stories, his memory of an unlikely three years of Army service in Germany.  Gerry Moore‘s stationing at the same post almost overlapped with Charlie’s. In mid-April the Keenan group was exchanging thoughts about a subject Charlie introduced: the way Australia and the US regulate firearms.  Len Niessen is one of the teammates who have published a collection of essays titled “God, Country, Notre Dame . . . and Lacrosse”. (Lulu Press) The writers are lacrosse teammates who went on to serve in the US military and Peace Corps: Marty Stoehr, Tom Kingston, Rich DiLorenzo, Bob Noonan, Len Niessen, Jerry Kammer ’71 and Dave Jurusik ’73.

Greg Strick‘s photos and memory of an artifact from the 1966 Michigan State game have been posted on the blog. The same game was the subject of a Tom Dorsel column written for a community newspaper in Hilton Head: Schwartz‘s blog One More Thing. . . keeps the pot stirred with reflections on subjects ranging from an imperiled French rooster to the renaming of San Francisco schools. Naples, FL winter residents Bob BradyJeff Keyes and Meg, Will Dunfey and Joan arranged for Pat Collins to discuss his book Newsman with that book group and guests Dennis GallagherDennis Reeder and Elise, Tom WeyerTom Figel and Nancy. 

Mark Kush and Marti, grandparents of 15, have met and hugged their first grandchild Sienna, tantalizingly nearby before vaccinations arrived.

Mark Kush with great granddaughter Sienna

On the other hand, the celebration of Rich and Neil Roger‘s January birthday was a Zoom event for the Eagle Lake crew (those who shared a senior year residence there): Mike Trombetta (whose daughter will be ND ’21), Bob Santaloci, Brian McManusDave GravesPat FureyMike Carroll, Pat DeMareMike Ryan, and John Murtagh, a Rogers cousin from ‘70.

Steve Grace manages real estate interests in Florida and Manhattan from his Palm Beach, FL residence. Steve keeps in contact with Ed Haggar , Paul Dunne, Ken CollinsBill Sweetman, and Dave Boehnen. They miss Tom Roach, who died in Fall, 2020. 

Despite the joy of living in Ft. Worth, TX near his son’s alma mater TCU, Fran Mentone laments that his previous AZ handicap has ballooned from six to 11. For some reason, he wants to have a ‘friendly game” with Mike Heaton and  Bill Cvengross ‘70. Longtime Texan Leo Welsh may be too busy helping California emigrants with their housing purchases. Says Leo: “My nextdoor Stamford neighbor, Larry Gruber, had a giant Texas flag on his wall. Being from western New York, I didn’t even know what the NY flag looked like. Having lived in Texas 22 years, now I understand the Texas thang.”

In San Francisco, Forrest Hainline has bounced out of his short retirement and is now Senior Counsel with law firm Braun Hagey & Borden. From the San Diego area, Mike Burgener wrote of imminent family additions. “Number two son Beau Jackson and his wife are expecting in August as son number three and his wife will be expecting a son hopefully named Wyatt in July. So four sons for right now to carry on the Burgener legacy. Other than that not too much is happening although 29 April I will be getting my second new replacement and I’m looking forward to that. I know the rehab will be tough but I’m in really good shape and still strong as I was at Notre Dame. Well maybe not as strong but at least I’m fit for 75-year-old.”

Winter life was good for John Walsh and Dia, who spent months in New Orleans, including Easter with John Flemming and Zoli Perry. For his part, Bryan Dunigan could email: “Tom Gibbs and I have just returned with Joyce and Matt Walsh from Jumby Bay Island, Antigua.”

Jim O’Rourke’s knowledge of the US Postal Service brought the Mendoza professor to appear on NBC Nightly News with Jose Diaz-Balart:

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