1973 – Fall ’19 Class Letter

Jean Kirkpatrick Lederer ’73

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


Dear Ripon College Class of 1973, As I write this on June 4, the hurricane season has just begun in Florida. The weathermen tell us there are no severe storms predicted for this season, but that remains to be seen. It is hot, hot, and the humidity high. Afternoon thunderstorms are the norm, so Gary and I, while we love living here, will be heading out soon to avoid some of this. We will be gone when this letter is due into the College, so that is why I asked classmates to send me news early.

I have to say, I am really happy with the responses I got after I said I would accept any news including trips, broken ankles and news of grandkids! That brought a much greater response than my threat to make stuff up. I did not make any of these up. They are copied and cut responses I received from the person listed. I cannot attest to whether or not their news is real of fake, but here it is:

JACKIE FARMER ANDREWS ’73: “MARK ANDREWS ’73 and I are in the throes of selling and buying houses at the moment!  We did get away for two weeks in Switzerland, down (up) the Rhine to Amsterdam on our first adventure in Europe and we loved it!  Our favorite spots were Lucerne and the Alps and Strasbourg where we walked on cobblestones for eight hours eating our way across the city. Highly recommend Viking River Cruises!”

JANE BENSON ’73: “I am afraid my retired life is quite boring. I retired April 1, 2016, and love it but am still finding my way around this new part of my life. Since I retired, my stepbrother and sister both have passed away, and this last November my stepmother died at 109. She was great up until the end, still playing Scrabble, doing jigsaw puzzles that have 1,000 parts to them (MORE patience that I would ever have with those things) and enjoying life to the best of her ability. It certainly helps me to appreciate each and every day with the people I love. Got the obligatory hip replacement in February 2017. What a difference!  I went to Wales last year with a friend and loved it. It did spoil my love of lamb, though — more sheep in that country than people and lambs are cute as can be. Have a trip to northern Italy with the same friend in September. Not much else I am afraid. Rather boring. Oh, I am learning to play golf, too.” 

MARILYN BAXTER CARVER ’73 and her husband, Johnny, have just arrived back in Minnesota after spending the winter in Arizona. During their winters, they hike, take camping trips and play music as a duo. This winter they took a camping trip with their hiking club to Colossal Cave, southeast of Tucson, Arizona, where they hiked in the beautiful park outside the cave and also toured the inside of this world’s largest dry cave. They saw raccoon-like animals, called coatimundis that live in and around the cave! In the summers, they sail on Leech Lake, go camping and spend time with their two grandsons (ages 3 and 6) in the Twin Cities. They are pretty sure that their grandchildren are the cutest in the world! I am sure they are adorable, but Gary’s and my Emily is pretty darn cute!! JKL

KRISTINA DAVIS ’73: “We are doing sleepovers with our three grandchildren, Ivy, 9, Isaac. 7, and Quin, almost 5, taking care of our Appleton and up-north houses, and spending time with family and friends. Jim got his first taste of my hometown New York City in April visiting my family there. In May, I saw first cousins I haven’t seen in years in a Maine get-together. As a group fitness instructor through the American Council on Exercise, I have been doing community presentations on the benefits of walking and how folks can start their own in-home calisthenic walking program. I also volunteer at church.”

KATHY GRANUKE ’73: “My husband and I are going to Bulgaria in mid-June. He was invited to a math/physics conference in Varna on the Black Sea. I hope German will help to communicate! We also will fly to London to see his sister who is in a play. Also, our son Richard will get his master’s degree in information management at the University of Washington. He will be working for Allstate. One sad thing: we lost our dearly beloved cat, Luke, to carcinoma of the abdomen in April. His brother, Smokey, keeps us company still.”

DAVID GROSSMAN ’73: “2018 was a year for life-changing decisions. My wife, Robin, and I have become empty-nesters. Both our children live together in Berkeley. Too much house for us in Lunenburg, so we sold it and bought a nice bungalow on the Cape. It’s on Bumps River in Centerville.  We have our own dock for kayaking which leads right to the ocean. It was difficult for me to run my newspaper, The Lunenburg Ledger, from the Cape, so I sold it at the end of 2018. Retired life is great! Haven’t made too many long-distance trips yet but we plan to next year. The Cape house needed a lot of work which took up our time. We still own two other houses on the Cape which we use for income. The transition from working to not working was a little weird, but I got used to it. I’m the property manager for all three houses so that keeps me somewhat busy. Who knows what the future will bring?”

JAMES HAWES ’73: “My official ‘kind of semi-retirement’ began in late January. So ended sequels to the pinball cyber-technology book that I completed last fall. My business forges on, as I have ongoing projects. One of them: my web pages on the history of car reverbs. After the second page, the story is engineering nostalgia. (Not for everyone. But for intrepid souls that remain reading: https://bit.ly/2WqFxWB) Summary: The golden years of car reverb ran from 1964 to 1974. Reverb preceded stereo, but for a few delightful years, a driver could entertain riders with both. Over these years, the ordinary car radio became an ‘electromechanical concert hall.’ This captivating illusion owed its improbable existence to a spring: A spring that tinkerers borrowed it from a Hammond organ.

“Today, reverb is back. The low-rider culture adopted it. For this reason, my page 2 (reverb music recommendations) also depicts low-rider cars. Most of the best reverbable music is classic doo-wop, with emphasis on Hispanic and soul favorites. I wish that JOHN STIERNBERG ’73 and AZIZ GOKSEL ’72 were still with us. They’d get a charge out of this material.

“As part of the project, I built a reverb car amplifier. This was a difficult endeavor because the specified 50-year-old semiconductors are mostly obsolete. Some re-engineering was necessary. Next, I’m going to try to connect the little amp to an old car radio. By the way: Patching a 1960s reverb into a new car stereo would invite a scene out of ‘Mission: Impossible.’ Meaning, fire in the cockpit! Reverb for new cars involves rethinking. But with a will and a spring, the way presents itself.

“I’m also spiffing up my web page on the Apollo moon downlink facility. (July 20 is the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. I must hurry.) I’ve studied the Rube Goldberg electromechanics for converting color moon video to Earth video. Yes, electromechanics, including one of the earliest video disc machines, rather than computer memories. In the Apollo years, such memories weren’t up to video field storage. Researchers have peppered me with questions about the color downlink station. These questions helped me to update my story. And speaking of video history, I’m still working on my mechanical video book: How clocks became facsimile and then television.

“My wife, Jean, is even more active than I am. Yet her usual gardening season hasn’t really begun yet. We had a late spring here and then a lot of rain. On the other hand, her yearlong Christmas bread industry is burgeoning. Unfortunately, she’s fighting pneumonia now and hardly up to snuff. (Ha.) Fortunately with powerful antibiotics, she can still go on our evening walks.”

HILDE BORMANN HENKEL ’73 and MARK HENKEL ’70: “Well, today (May 29) is National Senior Health & Fitness Day, so all I have to share is that while we are happily semi-retired, we are very active in teaching taekwondo year-round (we are both seventh-degree black belts) twice a week and we have additional activities here on the hobby farm: raising a new batch of chickens and working up and weeding with our huge raspberry patch giant garden and literally acres of lawn.”  

CHRIS KOPEC ’73: “I am still teaching at Skidmore College (and my husband, Alan, still has his small-town law practice), and living on our farm in Cambridge, New York, with sheep, chickens, dogs. My son is getting married in September, coincidentally on what will be Alan’s and my 40th wedding anniversary (how is it even possible to be married for 40 years!!). Retirement hovers for us, but we have not yet answered its siren call.”

BILL LAKE ’73 and ROBYN MACKIEWICZ LAKE ’74: “So much has recently happened in Robyn’s and my life and we thought this would be a great time to recap the highlights and share them with you. To begin, we are proud grandparents to our granddaughter, Aria, who is about to turn 4 years old. What a bundle of energy! Next, we just celebrated our daughter, Jessica’s, wedding in New Orleans, complete with a ‘second line’ parade; and then we went off to the 50th anniversary of Jazz Fest. Of other significance, Robyn retired from her retail job and after 40 years, I retired from our family business at IMS. We now are doing a 50/50 split of our retirement time between the Eastern Shore, Cambridge, Maryland, and Ajijic, Mexico (crazy, yes?). And yes, golf plays a big part in both places. We welcome anyone who is interested in exploring Maryland’s Eastern Shore or has an interest in visiting us in Ajijic.”

MIKE MIZEN ’73: “Last weekend GARY SHARPE ’73 and Gail Sharpe’s daughter was married in Milwaukee. We spent some quality time before the wedding in Green Lake. We look forward to being together again in October when ROB GADDIS ’73 and JAN BEAN GADDIS ’71’s son will be married in Minneapolis. MARGARET SEELBACH MIZEN ’75 and I are well and remain blessed. Our grandson, Kael, always brings a smile to our faces whenever he is with us either in person or via FaceTime.”

KATHERINE PARISH MILLER ’73: “I have become a stronger activist for the environment. Michigan risks polluting all of the Great Lakes with Pipeline 5. Organization is working with all of the surrounding states petitioning. Oops, I won’t use this as a political platform! OK. Glacially slow work! I’m volunteering at Telluride Mountain Film Festival. My son married a lovely woman with two boys. He is 41 and always wanted to be a dad! My children and grandchildren are all well. So thankful. Also, I am building a passive/net zero house! Builders, architects, students, interested people will be welcome to watch and learn. Activism on many levels!” 

MARTY MORRIS ’73:“Enjoying spring and summer outdoor activities. Been beachside camping up and down the Oregon and Washington coast. Attending wine pairing dinners at Oregon wineries has been fun, too. Showing up at local festivals and exploring new neighborhoods adds to the excitement. It’s hard to believe we have been here a year now. Of course, it all hasn’t been fun and games. Had some major surgery to basically rebuild an ear. It turned out well. I’m hearing things that I couldn’t for 26 years! Total readjustment.”

BETSY MOLL REZEL ’73: “Here is what Bill and I are up to. We are loving retirement! In November we went to Egypt — unbelievable! The length of history in Egypt is so amazing and the size of some of the temples boggles the mind. The people we met were all very nice but I admit we did have security. In January we went to Chile and Antarctica. That trip was planned by my daughter (the one who lives in New Zealand). Torres Del Paine park in southern Chile was very beautiful. Antarctica was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We loved the penguins, and my son-in-law and I spent a night camping out on the snow. Bill and my daughter decided to stay on the ship. We visited Hawaii a couple of times this year to visit our grandchildren who are now 9 and 11. How is that possible? Time flies way too fast. We continue to volunteer for the zoo in Milwaukee while we think about what trips to take next. I feel so lucky that it makes me nervous to even say that. Wishing everyone the best!”

JOSEPH SANDRIN ’73: “I visited campus in April 3, 2019, to meet with science majors about careers in the sciences and how mine developed. I also gave a talk about my current project, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Gulf War Remediation and Restoration Program. The talk highlighted what we are doing to restore impacts from the 1991 oil spill and the impacts of troops in the northern desert area. I enjoyed the visit and got to see a much different campus from when we all arrived there 50 years ago this coming August. I am planning to return on May 24 for the 100th Ripon College ROTC commissioning ceremony. I was one of many commissioned in the past 100 years through the ROTC program and view Ripon College and ROTC as two keys to my success — both taking second place to my wife, Janice. We, too, have been together 50 years since January 1969 and married since 1972. Anyway, that is it for the moment. More to follow as it happens. Maybe retirement will come in 2020 or 2021. We shall see.”

CHRISTINE WOLK ’73: “I am going hiking in the Scottish highlands in 10 days. It is a bucket list item. It looks like a wet walk. Also heading to Poland in September with my then-89-year-old mother on a genealogy tour to visit the archives and my roots. I am not yet retired. I broke my ankle three to four years ago — a shopping injury — so not new news.” Glad you took me at my word when I was asking for responses. Happy you are recovered and off hiking! JKL

As you may or may not know, KEN MAGRATH ’73 passed away in December. BILL MACLEOD ’73 writes: “It took more than the Class of ’73 to celebrate the life of Ken Magrath. On Saturday, June 1, a rag-tag team – DAVE BUNTEN ’73, CHRIS DOHERTY ’74, THOMAS “FUZZ” FREESE ’74 and ANN GUNDERSON FREESE ’74, RICK GLAD ’74, BRUCE GRAY ’71, BILL HICKEY ’74, ROB LEITSCHUH ’73, DAN PINS ’72 and GEORGE STEVENS ’74 – all came to Darien, Connecticut, where JULIE FENWICK MAGRATH  ’73 and her family hosted a ceremony and party in Ken’s honor. BILL HICKEY ’74 captivated the congregation with a eulogy that recalled Ken’s wit, warmth, wonkiness – and countless folks Ken counseled back to health and happiness. Then we all retired to a bar that we immediately rechristened ‘The Spot.’  With brews in hand, we told tales about ourselves, each other, and mostly all you who weren’t there. 

“For the PG version of those tales, DAVE BUNTEN ’73 (Dr. Bevis) is still teaching high school in the north suburbs of Chicago. CHRIS DOHERTY ’74 (Cleanhead), is still dabbling in real estate in the north ’burbs of Boston, but we’re more likely to find him on the Gulf Coast of Florida, where he claims his handicap is lower than ever. He and Sheryl are heading to Pebble Beach to catch the U.S. Open, where they hope to see RICK GLAD ’74. (Sounds like a party at the doctor’s house on the course!) THOMAS “FUZZ” FREESE ’74 and ANN GUNDERSON FREESE ’74 are still the unlikely entrepreneurs of New Hampshire, where their business has morphed from selling camping gear to trading in cargo containers and truck trailers.  RICK GLAD ’74 and BRUCE GRAY ’71 are busy as ever, with Rick replacing knees, hips and shoulders in Wisconsin and Bruce on call in Ohio for every injury and illness that comes through the hospital doors. They cast sideways glances at health insurer BILL HICKEY ’74, who collects premiums from rich patients and doles out payments to poor doctors. ROB LEITSCHUH ’73 (Rat, for those who remember him only by the nickname) has a contracting business that keeps buildings from Dartmouth College to Florida’s coast in tip-top trim. A (finally married) DAN PINS ’72 is still buying and selling real estate in Summit County, Colorado. If you’re looking for a mansion on the slopes or a condo in Keystone, he can make a deal. And GEORGE STEVENS ’74 could have passed as class of ’83, if we hadn’t been there and didn’t know better. 

“Forty-five years out, we still revert to Ripon form when we gather. Fortunately, the statute of limitations has run on all the Ripon misdemeanors — the epic cream puff food fight, fake IDs, underage purchases from Uncle Milt, etc. — and we managed to avoid any new infractions all evening. Like our college days when hardly anyone could afford a car, we walked to our watering hole. There would be no driving home after someone announced, as Daryl always did at closing time in The Spot …

“Spoiler alert: I was the one who gave Daryl’s benediction. Then we all returned to our hotel, motel or wherever we had to go.”

GARY LEDERER ’72 and I may run into CHRIS DOHERTY ’73 and RICK GLAD ’73 as we are headed to Pebble Beach for the U.S. Open as well. Of course, by the time you are reading this that event will be long over. We are actually headed to California to see our 6-month-old granddaughter, Emily. From Facetime — which we think is the greatest thing ever — we can tell she has grown so much since her visit to Florida in March. We are keeping very active with our three guardian ad litem cases, spending a lot of time waiting in the courthouse for hearings, trials and mediations, as well as doing are monthly visits and then some. We are playing lots of golf, too, though neither one of us seems to be lowering our handicaps by much.

Thank you all so much who answered my plea for news. I do appreciate it. I also know everyone likes to hear what classmates are doing. So till the next time …