1963 – Spring ’22 Class Letter

Greetings, Classmates!

These are certainly trying times, but thankfully there are indications that COVID-19 is becoming manageable. But, oh, for the good old days!

Class Notes:

VERNON CRONEN ’63 of Wilmington, North Carolina, ([email protected]) writes, “Hi Classmates of 1963. There’s not much new to report. I continue to teach and do research at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. It has been great to teach face to face again (masked, and distanced of course). My wife and I do little outside the house as we are both at high risk for COVID-19. I hope to live long enough to eat at a restaurant (inside) and go to a basketball game. (UNCW has won 12 straight.) I very much appreciate my students and colleagues here and Myrna and I can still go to the beach, just ten minutes away. To those of you who, like me, will hit the 80 years mark very soon I offer this straight off a greeting card so it must be true: ‘Another day older only matters if you are a banana.’”

SUSAN KELLER MATTHES ’63 of Carson City, Nevada, ([email protected]) writes, “Hello, Classmates of 1963! How can it have been so long? Me turning 80 seems like somebody else – I really don’t feel much older than 60, except for a few occasional aches and pains! My husband and I have been staying safe in this COVID-19 environment – individual immunity is so important, as is diet and daily exercise. We haven’t done much in the way of travels these past two years – we’re hoping for some later this year, but it will all depend! Meanwhile, we enjoy the DVDs my husband has made of our past travels (now that we are ‘old and gray’ and we’ve seen so many beautiful places here in the USA!). ‘I never expected to see that’ are his words, often referring to growing up in Germany and seeing movies of the American West.

“I volunteer two-three times a month with Friends of the Carson City Library in our Browsers Book Store. It’s a really good store with volunteers even alphabetizing books, especially fiction and biography, by author! We’ve become a special place in Carson City! I also continue to volunteer as an election official here in Carson City – I remember starting in Hinsdale back in 1976!! Quite a run, wouldn’t you say? Do make sure you each get out and exercise your citizen’s right to vote. We each have a voice in the outcome if we all do vote! Stay safe, healthy, and enjoy each day – it is a gift!”

Unfortunately, there is sad news to report:

PAUL BERENS ’63 of Appleton, Wisconsin, died March 28, 2021. At Ripon, he studied economics and history. He was a member of Partners in the Legacy. He obtained a teaching certificate from Lawrence University and was a member of the National Guard. He had worked in retail clothing, had an antique booth at a downtown Appleton mall, and also was a teacher in the Milwaukee public school system. He enjoyed traveling, shopping and collecting antiques. He was a grateful member of A.A. for close to 50 years. He will be remembered by family and friends for his goofy smile and quick wit with a hint of sarcasm!

KAREN GOEPFERT JOHNSON ’63 of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, died August 7, 2021. At Ripon, she participated in Alpha Phi Sorority and became a lifetime member. In 1960, she joined her parents in Brussels, Belgium, and later lived in Germany while her husband served in the Army. They settled in Burlington, Wisconsin, where she worked in various administrative and clerical roles at Burlington Memorial Hospital for more than 25 years. She retired to Sturgeon Bay in 2002 and was involved with Birch Creek Music Theater, Crossroads at Big Creek, Friends of White Fish Dunes State Park, Miller Art Museum, Bay View Lutheran Church, and Learning in Retirement. She enjoyed painting, creating collages, attending concerts, knitting and participating in book clubs. Survivors include two sons.

HENRY “HANK” MATHEWS ’63 of San Diego, California, died February 22, 2020. At Ripon, he majored in mathematics and was a member of Delta Upsilon. He received an MBA in marketing from Loyola University Chicago.

MARCIA MACLEISH HIGGINS ’63 of Sarasota, Florida, died January 29th. She was born June 24, 1941, to Douglas and Jean MacLeish in Chicago. Marcia graduated Taft High School in 1958. She then attended Ripon College, where she was a member of Alpha Phi Sorority and met her husband, JUDSON HIGGINS ’62. She graduated in 1963 with a degree in Education. She worked as a teacher and later was the office manager for Libertyville Vision Center. She was an avid golfer who enjoyed travel and boating on Green Lake, Wisconsin. Marcia is survived by her husband, Judson Higgins; sons, Jeffry (Theresa) and Douglas (Carol); granddaughter, Madison; and sister, LORNA MACLEISH ’64. She was preceded in death by her parents; and sister, Caroline. Donations may be made to the National Breast Cancer Foundation at www.nationalbreastcancer.org.

We all knew MARCIA as a good friend and as a strong supporter of Ripon College and of our class. As you know, she served as our Class Agent for years, and she and JUD hosted many get-togethers of our class at their Green Lake cottage during our Reunions.

Stay safe everyone, and hopefully, I will hear from more of you for the next Class Letter. Just think, next year we will be celebrating our 60th Class Reunion (June 22-25, 2023)! I hope that many of us can attend! This summer’s Alumni Weekend is June 23-26, 2022.

Until next time,

(313) 550-5094
Your 1963 Class Agent