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Fall 2003

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Centennial spotlight

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Class notes

  1950 | 1951 | 1952 | 1953 | 1954 | 1955 | 1956 | 1957 | 1958 | 1959


Adele Altenburg Mardirosian

Joan Stubbe Aker reports that the class of 1950 had great representation when outgoing president Jamie Studley attended a Skidmore club luncheon in Sarasota, FL, this past spring. In addition to Joan, Bobbie Bryant Briggs, Mary “Sis” Gould Markham, Sibyl Ringquist Connolly, and Jean Ann Rowe Tourt were on hand. Joan, Sibyl, and Bobbie also attended a concert by the Skidmore Bandersnatchers, who were in town during their spring break.

While vacationing in Florida, Ted and Joan Weller LaPann had a wonderful visit with Buzz and Nancy Appel Gross and Phil and Sibyl Ringquist Connolly. They enjoyed cocktails at Nancy’s home in Longboat Key and dinner out. Ted and Joan subsequently had lunch in Pennsylvania with Minna Laskin Shure, who was in Philadelphia for the flower show and some sightseeing. Although they hadn’t seen each other for 50 years, Joan reports, “We knew each other immediately.”

Leona Sobel attended the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC.

Set and yours truly had an enjoyable trip to Singapore, India, and Nepal. We escaped the SARS epidemic in Singapore and avoided hitting the cows, pigs, and camels roaming the streets of India. In Nepal, we ended our tour by flying over the Himalayas and viewing the “top of the world”—Mt. Everest—a magnificent sight.


Patricia Bryant Koedding

Lois Jenkins Tompkins and husband John had dinner with Joan Kreuser Noone and husband Roger while vacationing in Florida. Lois reports that she did not make a graceful exit: upon leaving, she tripped and fell flat on her face! The Tompkinses have moved into an assisted-living facility in Millbank, NY; Lois would love to hear from classmates.

Barbara Tyson Hartman is a long-standing member of the Thursday Musical Club of Schenectady, NY. Founded in 1911 as a choral group composed of the wives of GE executives, it has remained an all-female group but has had just one woman director. Barbara was honored when her mother’s original composition was performed at the club’s 90th anniversary concert.

Class co-president Pat O’Meara Jevons feels that justice has been served regarding the man who caused her grandson, Jake, to lose his eye by shooting him with a pellet gun—he was recently sentenced to ten years in prison. Jake has a prosthesis and is back in school playing basketball, “his first love.”

Mary Stirling Campbell sent a New York Times announcement of the marriage of Peirce McKee, the widower of Rosina “Roxy” Schmidt McKee, who died in 2001. Mary spent the summer at the New Jersey shore and then traveled to Nova Scotia in the fall.

Ann Caspar is sorting through years of accumulated stuff—both her own and that of her mother, who passed away in April—with the goal of moving into smaller quarters.

Anthea Merrihue Turner joined her children and grandchildren (21 in all) for an Alaskan cruise in June.

Joan Fexon Reese is relocating to be closer to family, especially granddaughter Annmarie, 3, “who is my greatest joy since my husband Wayne died.”

Laura Swegler Warner reports that all is well with her and her family.

Carol Saurwein Sullivan has moved to a new address at a nursing facility and would love to receive correspondence from classmates at: 300 Barber Ave., #119, Worcester, MA 01606-2476.


Doris Harbach Patten

In California, Dot Brown Aguais “keeps running into Skidmore gals.” Active in a community-service league, she rounds out her schedule with knitting, bridge, and judging radishes at the Del Mar Fair. She also enjoys spending time with three grandchildren who live nearby. In August she visited her eldest son and two grandchildren in London. She’s “proud to say I went to Skidmore.”

Arline Fisch had a mini-retrospective show of her work at Skidmore’s Tang Museum this summer. A festive dinner in the museum was attended by Jan Kirschman-Palau, Nancy Dalton Rogal, and Judy Schwarz Mossman and their husbands. Arline also directed a short workshop for jewelry students and delivered a public lecture on her work at the Tang in September. In July she took a brief hiatus to show a few pieces in the International Showcase at the Contemporary Applied Art Gallery in London in its exhibition Jewelry Meets Textiles.

Janet Cowles Kirschman-Palau and husband Joe had a wonderful talk with Arline at the opening of her Tang exhibit and marveled at “such beautiful work!”

Summer on Cape Cod, says Betty Johnson Boothe, provided “a green landscape and gorgeous roses.” Betty and husband Bill celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this summer with the whole family at North End Harbor, ME, where they spent four days sailing, kayaking, hiking, cycling, and eating.

Judy Taylor Scholz and husband Herb had such a great time at our 50th that they decided to attend Herb’s reunion at MIT. They later met Julia Christman Zinsmeister (whom Judy had not seen in 30 years) and her daughter for lunch in Hendersonville, NC. The Scholzes’ daughter Jean Scholz Kegel ’81 and her four children live in London.

After giving up their Cape Cod home, Dawn Rylander Spitz and her husband moved to Rancho Mirage, CA. Dawn was delighted to learn that the lyrics of the Lily Prayer she penned for last year’s reunion memorial service will be rendered in brass on the wall of Skidmore’s alumni garden, behind the Surrey Williamson Inn. The Spitzes performed in two local musical reviews and continue to entertain in nursing homes; they also both enjoy tennis and golf.

Dawn Staples Davidson is still running her interior design business, while husband Marshall is semi-retired. Daughter Dawn and her son, Ian, 7, live nearby and provide lots of fun. Son Charles Davidson ’81 and his wife, Catherine Sedgwick Davidson ’84, live in Reston, VA, with their two children. In August the entire clan gathered at the Davidsons’ A-frame home in Newfane, VT.

Margery Blacker Griffith feels “like a nomad.” She and boyfriend Gordon Cooper drove from Florida to Ohio and then toured New England for several weeks, stopping in Pennsylvania for a granddaughter’s wedding before continuing on to Rhode Island and Massachusetts, where they both once lived. A subsequent road trip to Utah to visit Gordon’s daughter and her family included spotting Robert Redford. In July the pair traveled to Holland to take delivery of Cinderella, Margery’s new 41-foot boat. After a three-week tour of Dutch canals, Margery and Gordon picked up Cinderella and some friends in Baltimore before setting off down the Intracoastal Waterway to Florida, where they had started.

Mary Lyons Harberg writes, “It is with great sadness that I report the death of my beloved husband of 50 years, Jim. He was a very special human being and was also a pioneer in pediatric surgery. My world is certainly diminished without him.” Our hearts go out to Mary and her family.

Our condolences also to Barbara Reinfelder Bing, whose husband, Rupert, passed away in April 2002.


Susanne Eustis Bogart

Our reunion committee had everything planned down to the “nth degree,” and several other classmates contributed—in our class history or in presentations—by sharing their experiences and expertise in many areas. For our 100-plus attendance, we were awarded the spittoon that we had won so many times for our songs.

Carol Claflin Kurtz was elected new class president, Mary Lyman Heist and Judy McEndy Lynch were chosen to serve as fund chairs, and I was asked to continue as class secretary for the next five years.

Dolores Chambers Smith was unable to join us at Reunion and wished to be remembered to all. She had a great trip to Turkey last year and traveled in New Hampshire this summer. Ditty extends “an open door” to anyone traveling in the San Francisco area.

Reunion attendee Norma Morse Edelman hosted the TV segment “How to be Self-supporting in the Wedding Business” and is working on a book titled When Are We Going to Cut the Cake?

Patsy Lanpher Compton, who does house portraits and creates chocolate houses during the holidays, brought some fascinating sea-glass for our class art display in Wiecking Hall.

Besides her music (including her special hymn at Reunion’s Wiecking Hall dedication), Lois VanWagner keeps up with four grandkids attending the University of Vermont, Boston College, Tufts, and Adirondack Community College.

Josephine Kleinmaier Tornes and husband Jim are longtime residents of Columbus, OH, where one of their seven children still lives. The others are scattered from Alaska to Chicago to San Francisco and the West Indies. At 72, Jim is still a marathon runner!

Ann Mawhinney Hodgkins missed Reunion to attend her grandson’s high-school graduation, which she dubbed “a command performance.”

Mary Todd Caskey Avery went skiing with Sal Sanderson Cutler and Debby Phillips at Sunday River, ME, last winter. A Florida resident from February to April, she enjoyed a visit from Mary Jo Marcy Rines and husband Mel, who joined her for dinner with Betsy Singer Gluck.

Phyllis Slobodien Sigal also winters in Florida, where she raises funds for breast-cancer research. She has three grands attending college at Brown, Emory, and Tufts; seven others are in high school.


Reunion ’04!

Joanna Davenport

Judy Rice Vandegriff reports playing “a fast nine holes to get off the course before the ‘senior men’ arrive at 9 am.” She visited Saratoga Springs several times over the summer and was impressed by how festive it looked. Judy and husband John gathered with children and grandchildren for a week at Saranac Lake, NY, home of her father’s family.

Lee Barron Bickelhaupt and husband David attended a family gathering held on an island in Lake Temagami in northern Ontario, Canada. In August they visited Saratoga Springs as guests of her brother-in-law and his wife, who provided a guided tour of the city and Skidmore. Lee is interested in arranging for a similar tour during our 50th reunion next June.

Lilli Brunner Kalmenson welcomes e-mail at LKalmen@aol.com and is looking forward to Reunion.

John and Marcia Weeks Clayton, Bill and Caryl Burns Hutchens, and Charlie and Barbara Cox Schanz got together in Nokomis, FL, for golf and lunch at the Mission Valley Country Club earlier this year.

Phyllis Rosenberg Kudan and her newly retired husband, Harold, visited Machu Picchu, the Galapagos Islands, Israel, and Cuba over the past year.


Mardi Duggan Drebing

Carolyn Ruscoe Burt has moved to Sarasota, FL, and wants to travel.

Audrey Schmierer Deren and husband Julius celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary with their three kids, their spouses, and six grandchildren ranging from ages 16 to 6. Julius still works full-time as a gastroenterologist and loves it. They are delighted with a new and larger sailboat they got in May.

Anne Sherman Owens is still publisher of the award-winning Islander News for the community of Key Biscayne, FL, where she is active in the Relay for Life, a race sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

Barbara Gordon Spiegel has copyrighted her mixed-media works incorporating poetry and art; they are selling well. She thanks Skidmore art professor Regis Brodie for his encouragement.


Averill Geus


Joan Page Hayes

Janel Carlson attended a McKay family reunion in Maine. She and her brother now find themselves the elders in the clan. They set quite an example for the younger ones by diving off their boat into 62-degree water at Ft. William State Park.

Joy Bell Mayhew’s family gathered for a reunion in Cape May, NJ, over the summer. Her children came from Maryland, Connecticut, and New York, along with her six grandchildren. Joy claimed to really enjoy her rocking chair on the porch at the inn! She passed along news that Sylvia Chalk Currie’s father had died—the last of the 7/7’s Happy Pappies. (Besides Sylvia and Joy, the seven nursing majors in this group are Nina Hills Hodge, Carolyn Haller Wallace, Ginny Carter Lombardi, Karen Handler Lent, and Judy Fletcher Baker.)

Now that husband Bill has retired, Barbara Donadio Doyle goes back and forth to Boston to visit their daughter, who is a doctor of clinical psychology doing research at Massachusetts General Hospital. Both devotees of art, Bill enjoys oil painting while Barbara writes and decorates picture frames.

Jean Kreger Carlson is taking two granddaughters on Elderhostel trips that feature intergenerational programs—weeklong camps for grandparents and grandchildren. This will be Jean’s fifth intergenerational trip.

Elsa vonKokeritz Herrmann and Sigi have a new lagoon-side home at the Jersey Shore, where they enjoy many boating activities. Son Pete, his wife, and 2-year-old son visit frequently. Elsa has a new venue for her watercolors and has become a member of several art groups.

Chick Glassey Ehbrecht still rides her 34-year-old Morgan horse, gardens, and works at Coldwell Banker Real Estate. She’s now assistant director of the 9th District of the Federation of Garden Clubs of New York State. Her second granddaughter was born in November to daughter Liz and her husband in Marshfield, MA. The Ehbrechts visited with Diana Brookfield Vollmer and husband Hank, who live surrounded by beautiful antiques in Ashley Falls. The Vollmers’ two sons live nearby. Chick, who is restoring and painting carousel horses, says it is very exciting “to see the results come alive.”

Florence Andresen, Marge O’Meara Storrs, Barbara Mansfield Saul, and Betty Hartz Hewitt were on campus in July to finalize plans for the alumni memorial garden being developed behind the Surrey Williamson Inn.

Alice Bemis Wiggin enjoyed her 50th high-school reunion. She and Dick then went to Bermuda for 10 days.

While traveling in Washington, DC, Joan Firmery tried to connect with classmates living in the area. Although Sue Gordon Mize wasn’t at home, Joan did manage a hello with Lenore Glasser Horowitz, who was entertaining, and a nice chat with Camilla Vilas Durfee. Camilla and her husband have five children, all married. She works part-time at Georgetown in the foreign language department and is a member of a private rowing club and participates in competitions around the world, most recently in Prague.

The family of the late Carolyn Geismar Kaplan, who died of lung cancer in April, held a memorial service in May, attended by several classmates. Vivian Weisenfeld Gans and Ken drove up from Virginia (and their daughter performed Carolyn and Eddie’s wedding song). Ada Vapnek Ciniglio and Arthur, Steffie Merber Lench and Mike, Janel McKay Carlson and Arthur, Hope Thompson Kerr, Alice Vassallo Scott, and I were also there, along with more than 300 other friends. What wonderful tributes they paid her! Some of Carolyn’s artwork was displayed, and a spokeswoman from Eleanor Roosevelt’s Val-Kill praised her contributions to its visitor’s center. I met Carolyn on our very first day at Skidmore, when we moved onto the first floor of Thompson House. Fifty years later, we were still living near each other in New Jersey. Carolyn and husband Eddie were “regulars” at our class reunions; she was one of the first I called to join our 45th committee. Carolyn leaves us with happy memories of a special friendship.


Jane Goodman Hunter


Reunion ’04!

Carolyn Brown Straker

The Class of 1959’s 45th reunion planning committee has already met several times to lay plans for a memorable and exciting weekend, June 3–6, 2004. If you have any ideas or wish to participate as a reunion volunteer, please contact me at momstraker@aol.com. The Skidmore connection is strong, and sometimes one doesn’t realize it until getting involved.

Sylvia Smalley Chapman and her husband, John, returned to their place in Wayne, ME, for the summer, where they hosted Sue Gosch Martineau and husband Robert in August. The foursome also took a trip to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Syl and John returned to Florida in mid September in preparation for an October wine cruise on the Rhine River. They proceeded from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland, and then on to Luzerne for a three-day stay. Syl is looking forward to seeing everyone at Reunion 2004.

Martie Hubbard Harrigan’s husband, Jack, was diagnosed with malignant melanoma that had spread throughout his body earlier this year. After two weeks of radiation for the brain area, Jack opted out of any further treatment. “He is such a great patient and a real trooper,” writes Martie, who credits friends and family with helping her and Jack cope. In June they all gathered for a four-day reunion at a South Carolina beach, which Martie’s brother captured on film; the Hubbard family reunion photo can be viewed on the Class of 1959’s Web page (www.skidmore.edu/alumni/classes/1959/1959.html). Martie can be contacted at michiganduo@mindspring.com.

Pat Nicklaus Sabin is a full-time senior fundraising consultant for Ketchum Inc. Current campaigns have her traveling to St. Petersburg, FL; Detroit, MI; and Little Rock, AR. She would enjoy connecting with any classmates who may reside in or near these locations. She is at home in Dallas most weekends and some days in between.

Eleanor Dye Morgan hopes to get to our 45th reunion next year. Onnie and husband Bob are working a five-day week and still find time to horseback ride, “although the old bones feel it.” The one bit of planned travel took place in June, when son Douglas ’90 and his wife welcomed their second child. The Morgans’ son Bob and his wife have two boys, ages 3 and 2; daughter Blythe and her husband have a daughter, 13, and a son, 9.

Judith Clapp Bromley is still enjoying work at the Audubon Naturalist Society. Her three adult children are an astrophysicist, a neuroscientist, and a budding author who has appeared on both the History and Discovery channels. Judy is also the grandmother of eight.

Joan Cangelosi Kicska’s son Gregory graduated from the Einstein Medical School with a combined PhD and MD degree. Currently a fellow in oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC, he will begin a yearlong residency in radiology at the University of Pennsylvania in June.

Marlene “Tucky” Nicholas logs in frequently to the Class of ’59’s Web site (www.skidmore.edu/alumni/classes/1959/1959.html) and thinks it’s “great.” Our thanks to Joan Cangelosi Kicska, who set it up! After wintering in Sanibel, FL, Tucky attended a concert at Tanglewood in Lenox, MA, and spent some time in Pennsylvania this past summer. She plans to attend Reunion.

Condolences to Mary Heep Van Riper, whose mother, Gertrude Schanck Wolcott ’29, died in March.

My husband, Norman, and I enjoyed some fabulous summer weather at our Watermill, Long Island, beach house this past summer. We are planning a two-week trip to South America, including an eight-day cruise from Rio to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December.

As for me, I am active in the Skidmore Club of NYC. Interacting with all of the young alumni makes me feel not at all my age. However, when I get up from the table in a restaurant, my knees remind me of the truth. I am proud to say that my son, David, has been asked to be chief hospital resident for a second year and also presented a paper at the American Psychiatric Association meeting in San Francisco in May. Daughter Wendy, 28, who earned a degree in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin, has written a book entitled Sexy Jobs in the City: A Young Woman’s Guide to Climbing the Corporate Career Ladder, for which she interviewed leading women in the fields of fashion, television, and the Internet. It was published this month.


© 2003 Skidmore College