1956 – Fall ’21 Class Letter

1956 – Fall 2021 Class Letter

Class Agent:


(813) 468-0997 / [email protected]

Greetings, 1956ers!

Well, folks, it’s that time of year again to update you as to any College news or any news that I have heard from any of you.

Below are notes from your classmates in order as I received them. 

PETER PORATH ’56 of Camden, South Carolina, did not graduate but rather went into service. He is or was a lawyer. I only talked with him through a phone call so my memory does not always keep all the information. He is still keeping in touch. 

ROGER GERTENRICH ’56 of Portland, Oregon, wrote, “I served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in Korea. I then graduated from Northwestern University Dental School. Then my wife, Caryl, and I moved to Oregon. We have been married 61 years and have four kids and seven grandkids. I retired from dentistry and was a Salem, Oregon City Councilman and its mayor before moving to Portland, Oregon. We love Oregon. I have done dental exams on many fish before releasing them.”

CAROLYN CALLAHAN LANDWEHR ’55 of Glendale, Wisconsin, wrote with some sad news: JAMES B. LANDWEHR ’56 of Glendale, Wisconsin, died May 8, 2021. At Ripon, he majored in English and participated in student government. He stayed active in several ways, including serving on Class Reunion committees and as Class Agent. He served in the Coast Guard and particularly enjoyed being stationed in Alaska. He worked for GM’s AC Spark Plug for the space program and First National Bank (now US Bank). He was involved in his children’s sports, coached boys’ and girls’ softball, and was a swim official for the swim clubs and high school swim teams. After retiring, he volunteered with the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society, researching and lecturing on the history of the Great Lakes. Survivors include his wife CAROLYN CALLAHAN LANDWEHR ’55; two sons and two daughters. Carolyn said four wonderful “kids.” They were married 62+ years. Carolyn said, “We all want to keep learning.” I agree with her. 

GERALDINE “GERRY” JENSEN JAMES ’56 of Dunwoody, Georgia (metro Atlanta area) married JERRY JAMES ’55 in November 1957. She writes, “We lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, and then Brookfield, Wisconsin, where two daughters were born eventually moving to the Atlanta area in 1964 where one daughter and one son were born. All four children live in the area including seven grandchildren and one great granddaughter born last year. Although I worked for several other national companies, the majority of my working career was spent working for several of the Johnson and Johnson companies until retirement in 1999. JERRY passed away August 2013 after a lengthy battle with lung cancer. I have been an active volunteer and part-time employee at one of the Emory University hospitals during the past twenty-one years. I also volunteer at church plus sing with a community senior choir. As the pandemic has caused a curtailment of my volunteering this year, I look forward to returning ASAP.”

My news: GLORIA BERTSCHIE LUDDECKE ’56 of Saint Pete Beach, Florida, goes to a senior center on a bus five days a week. I drive, but I don’t like it as well as I used to. At the center, I volunteered to play the piano for a sing-a-long while another member of the group sang the words with a microphone. Plans for the next sing-a-long include another person who sings and plays. We hope to alternate- each of us playing piano on some songs and leading the singing on the microphone on some of the songs. We also have open mic days during which I have told a story or played the piano or sang with the Karaoke machine. At church, I play the keyboard once a month at a nursing home while other church members lead singing or lead a mini service with a homily. I enjoy playing Scrabble, Rummikub, and Kings in the Corner (a card game) with friends. 

I wish I had more class news to share but, as Bugs Bunny used to say “That’s all folks!” Or was it Elmer Fudd at the end of the cartoon?

I hope all of you are keeping the College up to date as your address including zip code, your phone number, and your email address. Please send all updates to Ripon College by contacting me or by filling out the online form at alumni.ripon.edu/services/update-info/ or by emailing [email protected].

Be sure to read the Ripon Magazine mailed to you twice a year. In the Memoriam section in case you missed it in the summer 2020 edition of the Ripon Magazine  

ROXANA GRISEWOLD FOREMAN ’56 of Richmond, Virginia, died April 19, 2020.

JOHN WEMPLE ’56 of Naples, Florida died March 15, 2020.

The Ripon Magazine also contains other interesting articles about alumni of Ripon College. 


During Alumni Weekend this past August, 29 states were represented, including Alaska and Hawaii. The classes of 1961 to 2023 were represented. None of the 50’s crowd. Alumni Weekend for next year is planned for June 23-26, 2022.

2,087 donors supported the annual giving day on April 28, known as #OneDayRally, with a total of 3,600 donors this past fiscal year. 

The endowment hit an all-time high as of August 29, 2021, with $112 million. We have some alumni with money to pass on to others!

The McCullough Family Lounge received an extreme makeover with contemporary and technology being the focus. These were made possible through a lead from a Trustee PHILLIP MCCULLOUGH ’69/P’04 and his wife Pat. Also, a new Data Visualization Lab was installed in Todd Wehr Hall with a focus on math and computer science.

Classes started on Monday, August 30. The College is continuing to follow CDC and Fond du Lac Health County Health guidelines regarding safety protocols. 

For those using Facebook, check Ripon College (facebook.com/ripon.college) and Ripon College Center for Diversity and Inclusion (facebook.com/ripondiversity). 

So long for now. Hope to hear more from you,

Your Class of 1956 Class Agent,