1973–Fall ’18 Class Letter


Jean Kirkpatrick Lederer ’73

239-390-1349 / 630-987-9388 / [email protected]


Dear 1973 Classmates,

Alumni Weekend is now a memory, and a wonderful memory at that! For those of you not able to attend, those of us who were there missed you. As STEVE ILLICH ’73 just wrote to me in an email: “It was a blast!”  We reminisced, caught up, and enjoyed each other’s company. We laughed a lot, and even shed a few tears.”

GARY LEDERER’s ’72 and my weekend started Thursday evening with PAT WILKE EPTING ’73 and LEX EPTING ’72 joining our family for dinner in Green Lake. Friday Gary and I took part in the Annual Doc Weiske ‘50 Memorial Golf Scramble. Our partners were good friends JOHN CLARK ’71 and his wife Patti. Actually we were a fivesome as my son Stephen joined us. He and his wife Lindsey and our daughter Beth had come to Ripon as a surprise to see me receive the Distinguished Alumni Award! More about that later. The golf outing is always great fun and raises funds for the Athletic Department. The weather was decent and some people had really terrific scores. Sadly that was not us.

Friday evening was the Awards Banquet in Harwood Union. A tremendous event with great food, and even greater desserts! I was very touched to receive my Distinguished Alumni Award. I shared the stage with a man who ran for President of Panama and someone doing world renowned research on AIDS, a very illustrious group. My award is for service to community, and to Ripon and I am very proud of the things I have done for children in Swaziland, for the home my handicapped son Andrew resides in, for Girl Scouts of America, Baker Methodist Church, and Guardian ad litem, among others. I especially enjoy being your Class Agent; trying to keep you connected to the College, and our classmates and encouraging your giving. Special thanks to KAREN TESCHNER DORN ’72, SUE MIJANOVICH KEY ’72, and LINDA BRASSINGTON DANIELS ’72 who drove up to see me receive the Citation, and to the Class of ’73 friends who were there to cheer for me!

I may have failed a bit as Class Agent this time around by not getting more of you back for our 45th, but you did not fail the college in your giving. We again received the Award for the largest amount given over a five year period, an amount well over $2 million dollars. And this year’s Class Gift topped $496,000.00 beaten only by the Class of ’83 who presented a check over $1 million dollars. One thing all of us noted at the presentation of the checks was that no class gave an even dollar amount, all the donations included a number of cents which we all thought quite odd, especially the one that ended in $.01. I want to thank DOREEN CONFORTI CHEMEROW ’73 and BILL MACLEOD ’73 for leading the gift campaign and a special thanks to Bill for helping present the check and receiving the trophy! And thanks to each of you who gave to the Annual Fund! Your generosity is truly appreciated!

Speaking of gifts, I have decided that from now on when I ask for your donation, I will ask you to make  your gift for whatever amount you plan on giving and then have you add 73 cents. Just something silly, but it would add up and give even a bit more notoriety to our class which is already known for its generosity! I hope you’ll join in!

Over the Alumni Weekend there were many activities going on across campus. I know many of our classmates participated in the 5K, the Prairie Walk, the talks on various issues and the parade, the picnic, and our event Saturday evening at the Willmore Center. Everyone who attended our cocktail party took a quick tour and was blown away by this impressive facility. If you have not seen it, truly you should get up to Ripon to see it for yourself.

STEVE ILLICH ’73 again put together a slideshow of past reunions, our time at Ripon and acknowledgement of the classmates who are no longer with us. Jeanne Stiernberg had sent along a Memorial CD that a friend had put together about her husband JOHN STIERNBERG ’73 who died late last year. It brought tears to many of our eyes. Our discussions many times centered on the fact that 45 years is a long time, but the 5 years between now and our 50th will speed by, and how do we encourage more of you to return? I am not saying we needed more people because those of us who were there had a tremendous time and were quite content with everything. We all just felt bad that the rest of you were missing out on such a good time!

During the course of our cocktail party I thoroughly enjoyed listening to GERRY TROCHINSKI ’73 talking about the history of Ripon, the town and the college. Most of us recall Ripon as the birthplace of the Republican Party but the Socialists also got a start in the town. He told me that the College was funded by money that was really supposed to build a railway, something I did not know. I hope he will take my suggestion and write an article for the Ripon Magazine, as it would make very interesting reading.

It was so good to see JANE SCHORE ’73, JOANN SELLECK ’73, and KATHY GRAUNKE ’73 all who flew in from the West Coast. BRUCE CLAUTER ’73 was in from Ohio, and KATE PARISH MILLER ’73 from Michigan. DARCI JAEGER JAYNE ’73 and husband BRIAN JAYNE ’76 were there, as well as PAT WILKE EPTING ’73 with husband LEX EPTING ’72. JOHN FREDERICK ’73 with his wife, JANE RUNKEL FREDERICK ’74, JACK MEYER ’73,GERRY TROCHINSKI ’73, STEVE ILLICH ’73, and BILL MACLEOD ’73 also enjoyed the evening. When our reception ended people went on to the after party in the tent, as well as to the fire pit where they made s’mores.

All in all it was a wonderful weekend. You can see pictures on the Ripon College website, and on our Facebook page. Mark your calendars now for June 22-25, 2023 which will be our 50th! Let’s make it a record turn out!

Here is  the news from classmates as sent to me in emails:

BRUCE CLAUTER ’73 and his spouse of 45 years, LaRue, retired early in 2017. He writes “FINALLY I’d say, and we should have done this sooner as we are both enjoying traveling. I don’t know how we ever got ANYTHING done before we retired, as there seems to be lots of things to keep us busy now! Not to mention that LaRue surprised me with an Australian Shepherd puppy last November: hardly miss a day at the dog park or walks in the woods with her. Our eldest daughter Jody took a new position in her field of Archeology in Montrose, Colorado early in 2017, and was married in July. LaRue helped her move from Laramie, Wyoming and we both spent a couple of weeks in Montrose for the wedding, and are already planning a fall “color” trip. Our younger daughter, Andrea, took a new position with Columbus Humane, which allows her to concentrate on her passion of rescuing neglected or mistreated pets and helping to find them families that will give them a “forever home”. We still call Columbus our official home, but spend time also at our lake house in Hamilton, Indiana. We’re making some long overdue upgrades to both properties – some of which we are doing ourselves. When we aren’t at one of these, you might find us at Ripon reunions (it was an enjoyable 45th one just completed in June, and I missed seeing others), with LaRue’s family in the Chicago area, or somewhere roaming the western slopes of Colorado.”

KRISTINA DAVIS ’73 writes, “I retired from my family therapy career last year. My husband Jim, also a retired family therapist, and I are spending time with our grandchildren, Ivy – 8, Isaac – 6 and Quin – 4. I recently became a certified Group Fitness Instructor with the American Council on Exercise and am planning to teach fitness walking classes to various groups. I am also a WALK15 instructor through Leslie Sansone’s “Walkathome” program. Fitness walking has been called the closest thing to a wonder drug because its benefits affect the mind, emotions, body and health of whose who do it . We have found a wonderful APP called “Walking” which lets you pick your music from many genres and then adjusts the beats per minute to the walking program you pick. Also Leslie Sansone’s dvds are fun. Jim and I are working on a grant for funding for a video on Praise and Worship dance I want to do for our WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) churches and missions.”

MIKE MIZEN ’73 writes, “Our grandson, Kael, continues to be a joy in our lives. She is “mobile” now and Alison and Trip will have him in a toddler swim class in June. Daily trips to the park where she construction is underway is another pleasant diversion. He loves the big trucks.  I cannot imagine how he will react when we have the RV in the driveway. In May we did a car trip through the Shenandoah Parkway and West Virginia ending up in Maryville, Tennessee to visit one of Peggi’s RC roommates, LINDA MOCHALSKI CARPENTER ’75. We are beginning to ponder an RV trip centered around the Mississippi River down to the Gulf Shores. Wheels up on or around Labor Day. Looking forward to seeing CAROL PARKHURST TULLIO ’73 and PETE TULLIO ’73 post 4th of July as they are in these parts visiting family and friends.”

BILL BRUCATO ’73 writes, “Ripon was the start of my National Security career (ROTC Scholarship – United States Army Signal Corps). I am now Vice President of Research and Development for Horizon Global Partners HGP working security around the world and in the US.”

MARTY MORRIS ’73 writes, “I have officially and finally moved to Portland, Oregon. I sold my house in Michigan and headed West over Memorial Day weekend. The most significant thing is that in 2 years I downsized from a 2900 square foot, 2 story colonial with a pool and 1/2 an acre to a mere 1500 square foot townhouse in Northwestern Portland. I’m working on becoming a dazzling urbanite too.”

DOREEN CONFORTI CHEMEROW ’73 writes, “We are spending our second season in our new summer home in Martha’s Vineyard and enjoying all that this special place offers including being near to lots of old friends from our early years in New England and New York City. David has recently retired and we are now able to take longer trips to more distant places. Last year we hiked in the mountains and glaciers of Patagonia in Argentina and this April we biked from Amsterdam to Bruges after a theatre week in London. We are heading to Antarctica in December. Anyone travelling this way or to the Boca Raton area, please get in touch.”

DAVE BUNTEN ’73 writes,I came out of retirement to substitute teach 3-4 days a week. I save a day or two a week for volunteer work at my parish food bank and for my weekly skate at the hockey rink. I still play the guitar quite a bit.”

KATE PARISH MILLER ’73 writes, “My son is getting married this July 22 to a wonderful match who has two little boys, 4 & 6. He will be an instant dad! They planned the wedding to be while my daughter and husband and family are visiting Michigan. In my activist life my 350.org is blending with other organizations to help Kalamazoo become fossil free and 100% Renewable. Good to have groups working together.”

JANE SCHORE ’73 writes, “We are having a west coast Ripon Reunion July 7 at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. JOANN SELLLECK ’73, RICH DIEMER ’72 and CINDY HAYES DIEMER ’73, Jean Stiernberg,  and myself are meeting for lunch and a little culture.”

On a personal note: Thanks for all the emails and messages congratulating me on the Distinguished Alumni Award. It means a lot to me, and I am very proud to have received it.