1964 – Spring ’22 Class Letter
Greetings to my ’64 Classmates,
The months seem to go by so quickly. I am writing this Spring Class Letter near Valentine’s Day. Writing these letters causes me to reminisce about my days at Ripon. I am remembering the Valentine’s Day at Ripon when JIM KOHNEN ’64, my future husband, presented me with a beautiful rose in a bowl and his Theta Chi fraternity pin in Farr Hall where we often studied together. JIM had a desk in Farr Hall because he was in charge of the Greenhouse plus the mice and cockroaches. In May, it will be ten years since JIM died. We dated for most of the four years we were at Ripon except for a time sophomore year when he announced that he planned to become a Catholic priest. He did not arrive at Ripon until the second semester of freshman year and my roommate set us up on a blind date, which I almost did not agree to. The Ripon Greenhouse had beautiful Bird of Paradise plants. We have several of those plants here on the Stoneridge Creek grounds. The grounds are a great place to walk and we have many beautiful trees and flowers to enjoy.
I feel grateful to be living here, it has been eight-and-a-half years. I enjoy the excursions and they are starting up again. I saw a Van Gogh immersion show and will soon see one for Picasso. I also like the opportunity to eat with other residents. The only downside of living here is when people I know decline and sometimes die, although at our age that would happen wherever I lived. June will be the big 80th birthday for me, but I know several people here who are in their 90s and doing well. I keep being reminded that if I want to do something and I still can I should do it now. At the end of August, I have a cruise on a small ship scheduled; it is called Bourbon, the American Experience.
The biggest news at Ripon is that a Presidential Search is underway for Ripon’s 14th President because Zach Messitte resigned at the end of the first semester. The Search Committee hopes to make an offer in late spring. I enjoyed meeting Zach Messitte a couple of times when he was visiting alumni in California. The interim President is Andrea Young. The Governor of Wisconsin has appointed Ripon Professor of Art, Rafael Francisco Salas, to the Wisconsin Arts Board. Do you remember Lester Schwartz P’88/P’89 when we were at Ripon? I have a black and white print of his hanging in my kitchen; it is a man playing a clarinet.
I always like to encourage you to donate to Ripon’s annual fund, known as the Ripon Fund. For the last few years, I have made a donation from my required IRA distribution. When the donation goes directly from my IRA to Ripon, I do not pay taxes on the money. Last year, our class did very well in two categories. In the Honor Roll, of all classes ranked for total giving, our Class of ’64 was number eight. Also in the Honor Roll, of all classes for the percent of class participation, our Class of ’64 was number ten. Congratulations to us!
I have a few class notes to share with you. If you have something you would like to share in the future you can either send it to Ripon directly or to me!
CAROL RUMMEL DINGMAN ’64 of Dallas, Texas, received the Lifetime Achievement award from Metrocrest Services for “exceptional individuals who have spent decades serving the Metrocrest community.” The award was presented at the Golden Gala on October 30, 2021 at the Renaissance Hotel in Addison, Texas.
JAMES S. KLEINHANS ’64 of Whitewater, Wisconsin, died September 1, 2021. At Ripon, he played basketball under KERMIT “DOC” WEISKE ’50, who had been his coach at Fort Atkinson High School. He was also a member of Sigma Chi. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He had a 40-year career in journalism, printing and publication, serving as editor at newspapers in Ripon, Minocqua, Arcadia and Menomonie. He also was senior associate editor of J.J. Keller and Associates in Neenah and administration officer in the Bureau of Information/Education with the State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. He was active in environmental issues and sports activities at local, county and state levels throughout his life. Survivors include his wife, Penny; one son TODD KLEINHANS ’86 and two daughters.
JUVENNA CHANG ’64 of Honolulu, Hawaii, writes, “I am fully retired and keeping active with pickleball, aquajogging, quilting, volunteering at church, etc. So far, I have weathered the pandemic, vaccinated. Seven grandchildren keep me motivated.”
MARJORIE GEORGE WILLIAMS ’64 of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, writes, “When I retired from my Monday through Friday job about ten years ago, I continued to work as a church organist, but began to expand my musical horizons to include piano jazz. Five years later I resigned from my church position and began performing piano jazz weekly in two amateur-friendly venues, one of them an upscale memory care facility and the other a church dinner gathering. When the pandemic struck, all of that was curtailed for a time, but now I am back playing at the memory care facility. It is so rewarding to see the residents respond to my music. The church crowd is another matter. With them, it’s a bit like playing at a supper club, with frequent applause and the occasional vocalist coming on stage to sing along as I play.”
I wish you all health and happiness,
Pat Ostrom Kohnen ’64
Your 1964 Class Agent