1973 Fall ’23 Class Letter

 Dear 1973 Classmates,

All of us are now members of The Golden R Club! It means we graduated 50 years ago! I remember being at Ripon thinking someone who was 50 was old and now it’s been that many years since we wore our caps and gowns. Not saying we are old, just not as young as we once were. I saw that at the reunion with many of us having added a few pounds, having gray hair and not being as spry. Still going strong though! At the request of WENDY BRIDGES WAUGH ’73, I am going to try and add a few pictures of the Reunion to the end of this letter and you can see the changes in us for yourselves.

Speaking of pictures, I was glad a couple of you sent some along with your letters, and I will try to incorporate them as well. I am not tech savvy and am having issues as I just got a new laptop and am having trouble with its “bells and whistles.” But I will give it a try!


Ripon College formally launched the Forever Ripon campaign, a $75 million effort to expand access through student affordability and innovative programs, enhance our facilities and strengthen our institution through the Ripon Fund. This campaign will prepare Ripon for the celebration of our 175th anniversary in 2026, adapt to an evolving higher education landscape and ensure a Ripon College degree is relevant for generations to come. To date the College has raised over $61 million. Those of us on campus saw that the new stadium construction is well under way and the Franzen Science center’s transformation will be taking place soon. Coinciding with the opening of the Science Center in 2024, Ripon College will be offering an engineering program. Also the College is offering a Masters in Exercise Science.

I want to thank each of you who has contributed to the Forever Ripon Campaign! These are exciting times for the College and with your help the College will have a long and rewarding future ahead. Thanks too to all of you who contributed to our 50th Reunion Class gift. Our check was over $200,000. And, in total our  Class of 1973 has contributed over $10 million to Ripon. Well done, and thank you!! But, please do not stop now, keep on giving while you can, and as we get older maybe think of Ripon in your Estate Planning.

I went to ripon.edu/news to see if any of our classmates had posted there. I did not see anything, but please know the option for posting news on the site is always there. The College did receive an obituary from LEE JONES ’73’s family which I copied:

HOWARD LEE JONES ’73 of Astin, Texas died January 15, 2023. He majored in economics and participated in student government and Sigma Nu/Theta Sigma Tau. He received his MBA from UW-Whitewater in 1978 and a Masters in History from the University of Texas in 2012. He worked as an outreach coordinator with Government Emergency Telephone Services and Wireless Priority Services since 1995, first with Verizon and then the Department of Homeland Security. He also gave presentations regarding call set up services available for emergency responders in times of telephone network congestions, He is survived by one son and one daughter as well as three sisters. His sister LINDA JONES KAMMEN ’69 and his brother-in-law RICHARD KAMMEN ’68 are Ripon graduates.”


KATE PARISH MILLER ’73: “I’m still working with the local school to adopt ‘No Idle.’ We have approached the local stores and are met with “get out of my face” attitudes. The Michigan Climate Network is going to Lansing to encourage our leaders to stop Pipeline 5. A real struggle. Enneigée is powerful and sends its own people to do research. 🙁 My family visited from Minnesota. My Michigan family and I are presently in Pennsylvania vacationing. My garden is in.”

JOHN HEFFLEBOWER ’73: “So I am on the prowl for high level soccer players to bring to our fair school. I am currently coaching a women’s team in Jaco, Costa Rica and looking for up and coming women’s players to recruit for Ripon. Also looking for Ripon soccer team alumni who can support the current men and women’s soccer program.”

MARIAN “OZ” OSSMAN ’73: “We’re driving out to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to celebrate my daughter’s wedding in September. It’s a destination wedding for everyone except the bride and groom who will be married on the porch of the log home they built together. Then we’ll take the northern route home and stop by Ripon to check out Lane Library which was closed during the reunion and see how the new stadium and science center are coming along as well.”

OZ was also one of the first to answer my first request for news! Here is her response:

“It was great to be in Ripon again. MURPH LOWERY ’73 and I had a blast staying in the Wright Hall suite we shared as freshmen! But the highlight of the reunion for me happened in the aftermath when, thanks to information in the Memory Book, I was able to reconnect with JULIA “ROSIE” DEKKER ’73 again (another Wright Hall roomie). Truly, my Ripon friends are some of the dearest friends I have.”

MICHAEL PUCKETT ’73: Mike e-mailed that he became a widower in 2015. He has been married to his current wife, Rachel for 4 years. He also wrote: “I am doing well. Age is having some sway in life, but I am far luckier than most.”

CHRIS KOPEC ’73: “I recently retired from Skidmore College after 27 years of teaching! I’m happy to not be planning classes, etc. right now but also concerned about how to go about a life without work. I’d love to hear from others who have navigated this transition!”

DEBBIE WILLIAMS ’73: “Hello all. I’m so sorry I missed our 50th Reunion celebration. I’m thankful to have spoken with SHARON WALTON ’73, KATE PARISH MILLER ’73, and LEE HUFFMAN ’73 on Sunday. SHARON also sent pics from the last gathering before folks left town. I was planning to be there, but I’m not walking enough, nor strong enough YET to navigate the campus and handle a lot of stairs. I am getting stronger and feeling better each day. It’s been a JOURNEY since being rear-ended in January 2020, BUT GOD!!! Thank you for your continued prayers and I’m planning to see you at our 55th Reunion – standing tall and looking great (well, that goes without saying…) Stay safe. Get your booster. Talk with your doc about the RSV. LOVE YOU!”

MARILYN BAXTER CARVER ’73 and her husband Johnny are back “up north” for the summer. They’ve been spending their winters in Arizona, where they hike in the mountains, play music with a four-piece band, bike and dance. In the summers they spend as much time as possible on Leech Lake, Minnesota, with camping trips here and there, and they treasure their times with their two grandsons, ages 7 and 10.  Some highlights of this past year include a two-week Caribbean cruise with their daughter and daughter-in-law last November (with another cruise planned for next February), a visit from their son and daughter-in-law with the grandchildren last April in Arizona and a 99th birthday celebration for Marilyn’s mother in Wisconsin this past June. Marilyn sends greetings to fellow Riponites. Email: [email protected].

JANE BENSON ’73: “Spent two fabulous weeks in the Greek Islands in June, before the fires and the tourist season but still fabulous weather. I’m a water baby having grown up in Hawaii so anytime I can be in and around the latter I love it (including doing a plunge in the Puget Sound on the first Saturday of the month). Going to Cabo in October, which is great but I love the fall, so next year I will do the warm weather getaway in February or March when we in the PNW are sick of the rain and gray. Looking at a river cruise through Germany next September, so if anyone has advice, recommendations please let me know. Email is [email protected]. Picture is Jane having a G&T in the Aegean in Greece.

SARAH LILLARD ADAMS ’73: “My husband and I are still living in Denver. Both of our daughters and their families live here as well. We are so lucky to have seven grandchildren and be able to interact with them on a daily basis. Life is good.”

KATHY GRAUNKE ’73: “My son, Brendan, married his partner, Phinehas, on August 4 with a nice ceremony at the courthouse where they live. They will be driving to New York so that Brendan can start a master’s degree in jazz saxophone performance at Queens College CUNY at the end of the month. They will be taking their Aussie shepherd dog  Yonk, with them and trying to sell the six puppies he had with their other dog Roxy a couple of months ago, together with Roxy. Anyone interested in very cute Aussie-Siberian huskie mixes?”

MICHAEL MIZEN ’73: “Back in January we began a discussion about going across Canada to British Columbia. We have done a portion of Canada, but going beyond Calgary was the objective. By the calendar we should have left last week. Wildfires put this plan in the trash. We took our two oldest grandchildren (6 and 3) on their first RV trip. Locally about 90 miles south of Lakewood; we had a great site, weather, and memories. Thinking about a late September adventure closer to home. Just started looking at choices. We remain very blessed. Our eldest grandson starts first grade this Friday. The youngest grandson is 13 weeks and doing well. The ones in between keep us smiling as well.”

DAVID GROSSMAN ’73: “While you guys celebrated your 50th Reunion, I was ensconced in touring England. On my way to York from the Lake District I stopped by Ripon just to see what it was like. Ripon, England is very different from the Ripon we all know! However, I did pass a combine on my way out of town.”

PAT WILKE EPTING ’73: “Twenty-four years ago, LEX EPTING ’72 and I started building our dream retirement house on the Texas Gulf Coast. Since I retired in 2009, we have spent the winter half of the year in Texas and summers in Princeton, Wisconsin. We’ve loved our time on the coast, but change is in the air. Thinking it would be nice to climb fewer stairs and worry about fewer hurricanes, we started looking at options for a new winter retreat. We settled on the San Antonio area, sold our coastal abode, and will close on our new home sometime in September. For the last time, we’re keeping a close eye on hurricane forecasts, hoping to move our furniture out of storage on the coast before Mother Nature has her way! It was great seeing so many people at our 50th Reunion! If you’re ever in the Ripon area during the warmer months, let us know. We’d love to connect again!”

MARTY MORRIS ’73: “Still basking in the afterglow of the Reunion – it was very nice. Back in Oregon trying to stay out of the smoke from wildfires.”

DON DEW ’73: “Not much new except the summer is almost over. We spend time every day with our horses and am able to spend most weekends with three of my grandkids. I am coming to Milwaukee in early November to see my 91 yr old aunt and go to a wedding in Madison. September is my favorite month as upstate NY is beautiful with the leaves turning. I still enjoy skiing, so I look forward to winter!!”

JACKIE FARMER ANDREWS ’73 and MARK ANDREWS ’73: “MARK and I thoroughly enjoyed our walk through many memories with classmates, MURPH LOWERY ’73, RUTH ANN DELESS SEAVER ’73 (and JACK SEAVER ’72), MARIAN OSSMAN ’73 and MIKE MIZEN ’73…The college and 50th Reunion committee made such a lovely effort to make us all feel welcome and appreciated for attending! We were also impressed with not just the campus changes and improvements, but also those made to downtown RipA bulletin board and a mapDescription automatically generatedon. Both areas are thriving! Meeting and spending time with President Folse and her husband was very special. It was fun sharing with her some of our experiences at Ripon 50 years ago. We were so blessed to be able to travel to this event and relive a time in our lives which, at least for MARK and I, determined who we would spend the next 50+ years of adventures with.

GARY LEDERER ’72 and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing everyone at the Reunion. As I am the picture taker in our family, I tried to take reunion pictures, but I was preoccupied with visiting with old friends and seeing things were running smoothly…So here are a few pictures that captured some of our classmates. I am not identifying people in the pictures, see if you can guess who is who!

If anyone else has reunion pictures, please share them on Facebook or send them to me.

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Thanks for the news! Always great to hear from you.


Jean ’73