1975 – Fall ’19 Class Letter

Jondi Gumz

831-461-1120 / [email protected]


Dear Classmates, Have you seen the new R Connections online? You can find it at www.ripon.edu/rconnections. Basically, Ripon College is taking advantage of technology that didn’t exist back in 1975 to help alumni connect. You can submit your news and photos, report alumni sightings and obituaries, and read class letters from all the classes. I posted a photo from my visit with BECKY HADLEY ’75 in San Antonio, Texas. That’s where I read about LOIS VAN LEER ’78 pastoring the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene, Oregon, the mayor of Indianapolis honoring journalist WILL HIGGINS ’78 for his 26-year career with the Indianapolis Star/USA Today, and Mr. Basketball, Coach DICK BENNETT ’65. So check it out. Your news will make it a valuable resource.

Next, our 45th reunion is coming up in 2020, believe it or not. Dates are June 25-28, 2020, the last weekend in June. RICK ESTBERG ’75 of Severna Park, Maryland, has agreed once again to put together his Ripon Jeopardy game, which I am sure will be a highlight for everyone! Of course, there will be a class gift. One idea I have is a treasure hunt for classmates to visit special spots on campus — some you have not seen because they are new and some might not be recognizable because they have been renovated. What would you like to see or do? Which classmates do you want to see? Let me know. The folks on campus are inviting alumni to campus July 12 for a reunion planning get-together. I will be in Detroit with one of my sisters and I am hoping to Skype or FaceTime in. If you want to participate, use the online form below set up by the campus. AMY GABRIEL GERRETSEN ’04, [email protected], is our campus contact for conference calls starting in August.

Three important deadlines are coming up:

Aug. 15: Deadline to nominate a classmate for the Distinguished Alumni Citation. I want one of our classmates to be among the 2020 honorees so if you have a recommendation, let me or Amy know.

Oct. 1: Deadline to request a campus venue for our reunion. Great Hall in Harwood Memorial Union can fit 200; Heritage Room in Pickard Commons can fit 80; Lane Library, 60; West Hall, 60; Rodman Center, 60; and Bovay Terrace, 60, for a reception only. All the others are big enough for a dinner. The library or West Hall could be fun but I am leaning toward Great Hall or the Heritage Room. Why? Each has a sound system, which we’ll need for Jeopardy. Size matters, so if we have a big turnout with spouses attending, we’d need the bigger location. Do you have a preference? 

Nov. 1: Deadline to choose between a dinner event, $40 per person, or a reception event with appetizers only, $35 per person. Each has a cash bar or classmates who wish can buy the new add-on “alcohol package” for $35 per person covering beer and wine at four events: Friday night reception, Saturday lunch, Saturday evening reunion events and the All-Alumni Party with music Saturday night. I favor the dinner because it works well for Jeopardy. If the College has your current email, you should have gotten an email inviting you to volunteer to help with 2020 Reunion planning. I did! 

If you can help me with planning the reunion, or email me directly at [email protected]. Got questions? The College has put together a nifty nine-page PDF reunion planning guide with more details on timelines, and I can forward that to you. Just let me know!

I have good news to share: My integrative oncologist looked at my thermogram and my blood and urine tests in June and said, “Your numbers look fantastic!”

I’ve been following the “Radical Remission” approach. No chemo, radiation or drugs with side effects. Less stress, more movement and healthier nutrient-dense food. Left my reporting job after 26 years, which gives me more time to do Jazzercise, yoga and Qi Gong, go to farmer’s markets, make more meals at home with fresh veggies, fruit, pastured organic eggs, wild salmon and grass fed beef. No more coffee but lots of tea and Vitamin D, Vitamin Bs and C, plus zinc and selenium to reach optimum preventive levels. I have so much energy I have started a six-month program to become a health coach.

WARREN BLUHM ’75 of Luxemburg, Wisconsin: “My goal for 2019 was to resume my life as a publishing mogul. This week I published Myke Phoenix: The Complete Novelettes for Kindle and print; in July I plan to publish a collection of 101 reflections called A Bridge at Crossroads; and sometime this summer I’m going to launch The Roger Mifflin Collection, a series of editions of vintage books recommended by the proprietor of The Haunted Bookshop in the classic Christopher Morley novel I found a year ago and fell in love with. My Kewaunee County Comet news website continues to build momentum, but not so fast that I can leave my day job as editor of the Oconto County Times Herald. So I spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen these days! CJ, on the other hand, is fully engaged in retirement, helping plan her son, Lee’s, Aug. 10 wedding and pitching in as Lee and Sarah build their dream home.”

GEORGE BOOTHBY SR. ’74 of Montvale, New Jersey, will be among the Scoutmasters chosen to participate in the 2019 World Scout Jamboree in July at the Bechtel Summit in West Virginia. He will be responsible for providing guidance and supervision to 300 Scouts and Scoutmasters. He got involved with the Boy Scouts of America in 1992 as an assistant den leader. His wife, LOUISE BOOTHBY RENIER ’75, volunteered with the Girl Scouts of America for 12 years. Their son, George Jr., is an Eagle Scout, and daughter, Catherine, is a Gold Award recipient.

GEORGIANNE BRAVICK ’75, of Appleton, Wisconsin, who has been teaching middle school students in De Pere, Wisconsin, traveled in June to Atlanta, or as she calls it “Hotlanta,” for some sister fun.

DORN CARLSON ’75, of Saint Leon, Maryland, who retired in February after nearly 19 years at the National Sea Grant College, is working on his garden. He reports on Facebook that his ornamental peach tree is growing actual peaches.

SUE CHAPMAN CARLTON ’75 and her husband, Ray, have a new home address: 246 Olive St., Fort Mill, SC 29715, not far from Charlotte, North Carolina. She writes, “We are enjoying it very much, meeting many new friends and participating in numerous activities: water aerobics, golf, bocce ball, chair yoga, wine club, Metro NY club etc. Our kids are visiting now from New Jersey and Florida, and we’re renting a pontoon boat on Lake Wylie.”

JIM CURTIS ’75 and his wife, Cindy of Clinton, Connecticut, hit a milestone when their son, Sam, graduated from high school with plans to attend Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Services to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Their daughter, Alena, is pursuing her dreams as a freestyle skier. 

DENNIS FRAHMANN ’74 of Cambria, California, has written a new book, The Long Table Dinner, available on Kindle, about a cranky old rancher with grass-fed cattle who allows his coastal property to be the venture for a $250-a-plate dinner for 200+ people. “A finely crafted story about late-in-life regrets,” according to Kirkus Reviews. Dennis started with our class in 1971 and graduated in three years. When JAN PETROVSKI MACLEOD ’74, 1974 Class Agent, asked if Dennis and husband Robert were planning to come to Ripon for the 2019 reunion, Dennis said they definitely plan to be back on campus for the 50th.

RUTH GALES FRECHMAN ’75 of North Hollywood, California, participated in the inaugural Plant-Based Nutrition Leadership Symposium. She gave her assessment of the trendy low-carb diet for a report on NBC-TV New York.

BECKY HADLEY ’75 of San Antonio, Texas, and her husband, Peter Szermach, enjoyed a visit to Chicago to see family and art.

KAREN KUCKHAHN KEHL ’75 of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, retired in June. She spent 28 years teaching at Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran School, specializing in third and fourth grade with duties as co-athletic director. She was recognized with a big reception, and her mom flew in from Florida for the celebration.

JULIE OLSON KEILMAN ’75 and her family saw “Hamilton,” the smash musical, at the Kansas City Music Hall.

KATHY KURKE ’75 of Ormond Beach, Florida, and husband Richard Davis celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary this year. Since retiring in 2007 from NASA as chief legal counsel, Kathy has become an artist. In February, one of her abstract pieces, a mixed media work titled “On the Verge,” won a Merit Award at a show in Daytona Beach, Florida.

MICHAEL REES ’75 of Lakewood, Colorado, retired a year ago after 27 years as a planner with the National Park Service in Denver and 6½ years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska and Washington, D.C. He writes, “I’m now keeping busy volunteering, in the NPS Technical Information Center, at Saint Anthony Hospital, as a trailhead steward at the Jefferson County open space parks, and as an usher for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. I’m also doing lots of hiking. Enjoying my retirement!”

STEVE RUGO ’75, principal at Rugo/Raff Ltd. Architects in Chicago, provided design input for a new restaurant, Virtue, with Southern soul food by award-winning chef Erick Williams, and was just named by Eater as “one of the hottest restaurants in Chicago.”

PETER SWAN ’75 who lives in Hollywood, South Carolina, with his wife, Alexis, went back to work as a special education teacher.

I hope you will put June 25-28, 2020, on your calendar. Join us for all the fun!

All news welcome!

Your class agent,