1970-Spring ’19 Class Letter
Class Agent: Susan Hecht Gebhardt ’70
Greeting from sunny Florida.
Bill ’69, and I are certainly glad to be missing the Midwest winter and are enjoying both the weather and continuing to work on the condo we purchased last year. It is a work in progress, slowed by Bill’s time on the links. I have only done 9 holes so far. I had some unexpected surgery before Christmas and am finally able to swing a club again, though not very accurately. If any of you are in our area, the Treasure Coast, send me an email or text (815-260-1656). We would love to see you.
We had a wonderful fall. In September we took a Rick Steves trip to Greece, spending 15 days touring Athens and the Peloponnese. We added 3 days on Crete to visit Knossos, home of the Minoan civilization. I was a classics major at Ripon and taught Latin for 20 years. Having studied and taught Greek history and culture as well as Roman, it was overwhelming to finally visit the sites, and walk, climb, and run (Olympia, site of the first ancient games!), where the heroic figures had centuries ago. The food was outstanding and luckily all the walking took off the extra calories. The guide was an archeologist and fantastic, as were the local guides. I could have easily stayed another two weeks. The weather was great. However, the mini-cyclone Zorba, which hit and flooded southern Italy, southern Greece, and Eastern Turkey, was two day behind us. It did alter the last two days of the trip. The sea was too rough and no ferries were allowed to the island of Hydrae. We had more time just south of Athens and in Athens. Our guide and the Rick Steves agents had to scramble to find accommodations for those unscheduled nights. They did a great job. I highly recommend his tours. They can be strenuous at times, but with a little conditioning, (we wish we had done more!), even at our age they are fun.
At the end of October, Bill and I spent a week in Colonial Williamsburg. It was my fourth time there, but it was 20 years since our last visit. I also majored in History and occasionally taught U.S. History, so it was fun to see everything again. The visitors’ centers at Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown have all been expanded and were a nice addition. We managed to get in a few rounds of golf also.
Our sons are still in the Chicago area. Matt, our older son, is head golf professional and general manager of Calumet Country Club in Homewood, Illinois. As I write this newsletter he and Bill are golfing in the member-guest tournament at our club, Meadowood CC in Ft. Pierce, Florida. Matt is looking forward to actually playing in this event since he has organized so many in his career. Our younger son, Will, is a bridge design engineer and manager, and new engineer trainer for Canadian National Railroad. He is based in Homewood, Illinois and spends one week a month in Winnipeg, Canada. He and wife Tera had their third daughter this October. They have their hands full! It is nice having the family so close.
JOHN LEONARD ’70 of Cornwall, Vermont writes: JAMES DANKY ’70 and I visited Ripon’s campus on January 21. Guided by JOLENE RUEDEN SCHATZINGER ’07 from the advancement office we were treated to an extensive tour of the campus, town of Ripon, and enjoyed lunch at the Mexican restaurant, El Fogon, (Dairy Queen in 1970). We learned of the many programs, initiatives and upgrades. We appreciated the many changes and use of space. It was comforting to visit familiar buildings significantly upgraded to accommodate today’s technology and curriculum.
TOM BURTON ’70 of Oak Brook, Illinois writes: Dee and I are about to celebrate our 45th anniversary on St. Pat’s day, 3/17/74 seems like yesterday. Last year we downsized again and now are living in a condo in Oak Brook, just west of Chicago. We are in the same building where I met Dee on a blind date in 1973 and her mom still lives in the building. Mom is 99½ and still mentally sharp but fading physically. We are happy to be close to her and able to visit each day.
I am still working full time in my business and am blessed to be working with both of my sons and my youngest son’s wife, Danielle. She and I work as a team. We are doing business as Megent Financial which is owned by oldest son Eric and his close friend Ron. We are securities representatives and investment advisors. Our business has transitioned over my career from insurance to financial advisors. Actually, my grandfather started a career in life insurance on May 1, 1918 so last year was the 100 year mark. My dad joined him in 1947 and I joined my dad in 1972. Eric joined me in 1998 and Reid and Danielle joined Megent Financial in 2010 and 2012 respectively. I have no plans to retire and still enjoy the challenges and the reward of helping people. Working with my family and the great team Eric and Ron have built is fun for an old guy. Dee says it is adult day care.
The family is great and still growing. Eric and wife Tina will be married for 19 years this year. They have two great kids. Sydney is 15 and attends Benet Academy. She is athletic and also an avid equestrienne. She has shown in English, Western and Ranch style events with great success. It is a treat to watch her cut cattle and rope calves. She loves jumping and we have enjoyed riding together for more than 10 years now. Her horse is a great addition to the family.
Cade is 13 and attends Bridgedale Academy which is a hockey centered school. Cade is an outstanding hockey defenseman. He is currently playing in AA hockey in the Central States Division. He will probably attend Benet Academy next year.
Reid and Danielle have a 15 month old son named Rhett. They are expecting a little girl in May. I work remotely from their home several days each week to help with Rhett and allow Danielle to work with our clients. My usual workday consists of lots of playtime between naps, Rhett’s and mine.
We are enjoying traveling as always. The entire family goes to Mackinac Island each August for a week at Grand Hotel. Bike riding and pool time are our favorite activities. Sydney and I enjoy the horses also. We go to Disney World with the kids but don’t try to keep up with their pace. We enjoy skiing in Vail every March but I am no match for Cade or Sydney. I had my right knee replaced in 2017 but still can ski as badly as before. We still go to Galena in NW Illinois several times a year although we sold our log home there in 2003. It was a great place but too much work.
I am looking forward to the 50th reunion. The last 50 years have gone quickly but they have been great. I am a big fan of casual activities and think a relaxed dinner would be great. So much of the fun at each reunion seems to happen when we get together at Norton’s and the Heidel House (closing May 20).
Thank you for sharing your news with us. Please continue to keep in touch with your Ripon friends and send me some news later this summer for the fall R Connections. Also include any suggestions for our 50th reunion in 2020. We love to hear from you. Please notify Ripon of any changes in address, email, or phone.
Susan Hecht Gebhardt