1975 – Spring ’22 Class Letter
Give yourself a big pat on the back for making it through these past two years, and put a smile on your face!
In February, I read a study out of the University of Pittsburgh: 200 women, ages 45 to 67, standard ultrasound of their arteries, and a questionnaire asking them to rate how often they felt inadequate, disappointed by their (self-perceived) flaws or if they grant themselves caring during difficult life moments. Women who scored higher on the self-compassion scale had thinner carotid artery walls and less plaque buildup, which is linked to heart attacks and strokes, than those with lower self-compassion. So, all you perfectionists out there, give yourself a break!
If ever there was a perfectionist, it has to be U.S. figure skater Nathan Chen, the Olympic gold medal winner who dazzled in his performance of “Rocket Man.” He received a well-deserved two-page spread in The New York Times. Twenty years ago no one knew such a feat was possible.
The week before Valentine’s Day, we had amazing weather with temperatures in the 70s, people wearing shorts, and no need to turn up the heat at night! Last year, we had a couple of days like this at the end of January. Truth be told, we often have fog in summer – ask RICK ESTBERG ’75’s mom – some call it Faugust. So, we’re even.
Great news in California: The indoor mask mandate was lifted on February 16. Kids must wear masks in school, but state officials hinted a change could be announced on February 28. Sweden declared the pandemic over. Denmark, with only 30 patients in hospital intensive care, lifted restrictions. If you are among the 50% of Americans with a pre-existing condition, I offer a suggestion. Check your Vitamin D level with a blood test. I’ve done it at LifeExtension.com, founded and still owned by health-conscious Bill Faloon in Florida. Vitamin D plays a key role in the immune system and a low level is associated with depression. If your level is insufficient (below 50) or deficient, you can do something about it. If Bill had gone to Ripon, he’d be in the class of 1976.
Have a health challenge? See earthinginstitute.net for research (https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2011.0820) on how Earthing (aka grounding) reduces inflammation and has helped a variety of people, including heart patients. Worked for me, so I’m a fan!
Read on for classmate news: Two trips to the Holy Land, a lifetime achievement award, artistic ventures, a candidate, fun with grandchildren – they are the best, and an apology.
SUE CHAPMAN CARLTON ’75 of Fort Mill, South Carolina, emails: “We had two new grandbabies in 2021 and we have one on the way in May. We were gone 102 days last year helping out in Illinois and Florida and visiting both places numerous times. One visit to the Midwest included an ADPi reunion in Door County in September 2021. KAREN KUCKHAHN KEHL ’75 was there and 14 others from the Classes of ’72 through ’77. We went for a boat ride in Green Bay, a trolley tour around the island, and experienced our first fish boil. Some of the husbands toured Lambeau Field, a real treat for my husband, Ray, who has been a Packer fan all his life. We were in Door County when I learned from LIZ NICHOLAS WALKER ’75, my freshman year roommate, that ANNETTE REIGLE BARRETT ’75 had passed away. My deepest sympathies to all who knew and loved ANNETTE. We are planning a trip to Florida for February and will catch up with family and a few New Jersey friends. Can’t wait to get out of this cold and snow!
“Currently, most of my time is spent leading the Daytripper Club at our Del Webb community. We just had our first trip this week, to the BMW plant in Greer, South Carolina. Other trips that we are looking at include Shadow Springs winery, Kings Mountain, and a tour of the South Carolina capitol building. If you are ever in South Carolina, please give us a ring at (201) 707-3409 (we are 20 minutes away from downtown Charlotte, North Carolina).”
KATHY KURKE ’75 of Ormond Beach, Florida, emails: “I have become a ‘Resident Artist’ for the Concklin Davis Center for the Visually Impaired creating textured and three-dimensional hanging art for appreciation by blind students. This has been a real stretch for me because I have always focused on mixed-media two-dimensional work. There are six of us and we also now have a resident gallery where we sell our more traditional art. 30% of the profits go to the school where they train blind and sometimes additionally challenged adults for employment. This school is the only of its kind in the United States. See: www.cvicentralflorida.org/about/message-from-the-president. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, we have not been able to paint together and the new gallery has not yet been announced or made open to the public. It is just beginning to gear up again.
“As for most, the pandemic period was very difficult. My husband, Rich, and I spent most of our time serving as caregivers for Rich’s brother, Jim, as he navigated treatment for his stage four pancreatic cancer. His cancer was considered inoperable but the oncologist found a surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, who specialized in ‘inoperable’ pancreatic surgery. After many months of chemo followed by weeks of radiation, he had surgery successfully removing all of the cancer. Jim is now considered cancer-free and there is a very high likelihood it will not come back. But the poor guy went through hell and back as he went through the process. He has gone back to his own home as he fully recovers and deals with the side effects of the treatment. He celebrates every day that he is now cancer-free.
“During Jim’s treatment, I postponed treating my severe sciatica until Jim did not need our help. I finally had my own back surgery in the late fall with some success. Since then, I have had radiofrequency ablation for my right SI joint and am returning back to normal. I no longer need to use a cane to walk and I can sit and stand long enough to return to painting. I will have the same treatment on my left SI joint in a few weeks and believe that will be the last of it. I had an artist’s block during the family health issues and the worst of the pandemic, although while recuperating from my surgery I did return to making some jewelry and gave it all away to friends.
“Lastly, January 6 was devastating for this old political science major with a career as a federal attorney who faithfully served and protected the Federal Government and its system of democracy. It has been particularly hard to see the government I so faithfully served and protected torn to pieces and continue to deteriorate. I am finally expressing my angst through art that is being shown in a local show. All in all, things are looking up for our family and I realize there is much to be thankful for at this time. Good health is returning for me and mine, I can enjoy the warmth of Florida, a loving husband, and spend my retirement doing something I have loved doing since childhood, painting. I hope all is well with my Ripon classmates and would love to reunite with my old friends. I rarely go on Facebook so I have not kept up except through your Class Letters. I have a new email address: [email protected] and hope to hear from Classmates.”
LITA KATZ ’75 in Baltimore, Maryland, has a weather report: “I just got back from a walk in the park with my husband. We got about ¼ inch of snow yesterday, so everything is just nicely frosted.”
DICK O’CONNOR ’75 of Olympia, Washington, emails: “Cathy and I both retired last summer, and it is even better than everyone told us. The gift of time simply cannot be over-appreciated! We have spent (some of) our time being volunteer math tutors at the high school I just retired from, going to the gym ‘regularly,’ working on building ramps for wheelchair-bound older folks in our parish, and providing emergency daycare for our grandchildren when daycares/schools need to close down for a few days. It keeps us busy, but not too busy, which is just right! In mid-February, we are going on a ten-day guided tour of the Holy Land with a group from our parish. This is a trip-of-a-lifetime thing, which will happen as long as we continue to stay safe and test negative in the 72 hours before we leave. I’ll let you know next time how it was.
“Yesterday, I went razor clam digging near Ocean Shores, Washington, with one of my daughters, her husband, and their three young kids. The limit is 15, so the kids and I (as a team) tried to race Mom and Dad to their limits. Digging was tough, but we persevered and I helped the kids find a total of ten just as each of their parents got their 15. Then I dug on my own as the tide started to turn and picked up five and a half clams before dark fell. (The half was the result of a poorly-aimed shovel stab just before the surf came in, washing away the other half!) Technically, Team Kids+Grandpa won, 15.5 to 15 to 15. At least, if I’m making the rules.”
MARY ELIZABETH DELK ’75 of Austin, Texas, reports: “JACK DELK ’74 fully retired on December 31 – we are very happy to be enjoying a more leisure pace. We are going to Israel in April and we are very excited about that. We have a son getting married this summer. We love Austin, Texas, love being near our grandkids, and are very grateful for good health.” Connect with her at [email protected].
Congratulations to BOB BARRINGTON ’75 of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin! He emails: “I was honored to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wisconsin District Attorney’s Association in November. Nominating letters focused on two things:
1.) My team and I developed a ‘paperless’ file system and then worked with the Wisconsin Court system to institute e-filing which allowed every prosecutor in Wisconsin to take their laptops home and not miss a beat during COVID-19. They had every document in every file in their respective offices accessible via VPN and could do everything from home that they had previously done in the office.
2.) The second theme of nominations discussed my efforts to tear down silos between justice partners, particularly with treatment courts – working to be less adversarial with people charged with crimes who need treatment rather than incarceration. I serve on the board of the Wisconsin Association of Treatment Court Professionals.”
Apologies to LINDA MOGICATO SASSER ’75 of Peoria, Arizona. Her correct email is [email protected]. She has now lived in sunny Arizona for four years and “loves walking, hiking, biking, kayaking, swimming, playing bocce, and just being outdoors, all of which got easier once she got her new right hip last May!” Daughter, Nicole, and her husband (in Orlando) gave birth to a son, last March, so now LINDA and Carey (married 42+ years) have three grandsons they visit there several times a year. Son, Scott, (in-house counsel with NetApp) hopes to move out of California later this year since he can work remotely. Though she still does webinars, LINDA is looking forward to speaking engagements being in person again this year, including one at The Villages in Florida in April. Her book “Brain SENSE: A Guide and Workbook to Keep Your Mind and Memory Sharp” is on Amazon.
LEN KACHINSKY ’75 of Neenah, Wisconsin, emails: “I am coming out of semi-retirement to participate in school protests over mandatory masking and to run for school board in Neenah. The Primary is on February 15. The general spring election is on April 5. Not yet been interviewed by the FBI task force on domestic terrorism.”
BECKY HADLEY ’75 of San Antonio, Texas, emails: “In a few words, life has had its ups and downs, but my main mantra is ‘gratitude.’ Life is very good for Peter and me and we’re loving retirement. I officially retired on 12/31/20. I had a 17-year career in printing and graphic arts in Chicago and San Antonio and a 25-year career in nursing in San Antonio. I might have worked a bit longer in nursing doing “prn” but with the pandemic shutting down the surgical center I worked at for a while and some health issues, I decided to call it quits, I did have a time of finding it hard to let go of working for over 42 years, but now find retirement the BEST!
“Don’t want to bore folks with talking about my health issues, but I’ll mention them only to say that it’s so important to pay attention to your body and pay attention and get regular checkups even if you feel fine. In late 2019, I noticed a lump in my right breast—it was cancer. 2020 was an interesting year to have surgery but I did have a lumpectomy and then radiation. So far, I’m doing good and I’m followed closely. I’m also followed by a cardiologist as I’d reported intermittent palpitations; on a follow up I was found to be a potentially lethal heart rhythm (A-fib) and have consequently had two procedures to attempt to fix it. I now take some meds to help prevent a stroke. I am just so GRATEFUL to have had good care for these issues which are serious but treatable and I am grateful to be alive and feeling well.
“We have traveled quite a bit in the past two years. We’re triply vaccinated and most of our trips involve a lot of hiking and being outdoors. Like many, we’ve canceled several “big” trips, but have done much domestic travel—North Carolina, New Mexico, Colorado, hometown St. Louis, west Texas, the Texas coast, South Carolina, Washington D.C. (to visit our oldest daughter, Laura), and many trips to Houston to be with our youngest daughter Katy and son-in-law and adorable grandkids who are ages five and two.
“While in Taos, New Mexico last summer, I took a wonderful ceramics workshop on “spirit dolls.” It was hand-building with clay — no wheels involved! I’ve really gotten into this in a big way and have made a lot of stuff. Gift-giving this Christmas was a no-brainer! But I also answered a call for new artists in a cool gallery/shop here, and got my stuff accepted and have sold some things, and also work at the gallery one day a month. So art, painting watercolor, and now working in clay have been wonderful for me. I volunteer at least once a week for local Meals on Wheels. I saw DAVID GROSSMAN ’73 who was passing through San Antonio with his wife, Robin, a few weeks ago; we had a good time and I was a pretty good tour guide (if I do say so …).”
ANNETTE REIGLE BARRETT ’75 of Tucson, Arizona, died Sept. 8, 2021. At Ripon, she studied sociology and anthropology and was a member of Alpha Xi Delta. She worked in the construction industry. She was an avid reader, crafter, and dog owner. Survivors include two daughters; siblings, including a sister, SUDY REIGLE ALTHOLZ ’73, and a brother-in-law, THOMAS ALTHOLZ ’72.
BARB COLEOPY PORTER ’75 of Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, writes: “I have moved to Nanaimo from nearby Lantzville and I am now on my own. This is a temporary landing spot where I can determine my next steps. I would greatly enjoy hearing from you, and I welcome you to connect with me through email at eclecticq[email protected].”
Which Classmates are posting on Facebook? I’m starting with “A.” I may not get to “Z” so look for more updates in the fall. A reminder that we have a Class Facebook page: facebook.com/RiponCollegeClass75/.
I noticed NAN ANDREWS ’75 of Geneva, Illinois, shared a number of photos on her personal Facebook page that I found to be uplifting. They were a photo of the 2022 Ice Castle from the Eagle River Fire Department, poet Amanda Gorman reciting her latest, “New Day’s Lyric,” and a photo of her mom celebrating her 91st birthday.
SAM ARVANITIS ’75 Long Branch, New Jersey, has retired from university teaching — he’s a friend of BRUCE GUILFOILE ’75 in Japan.
In February, Black History Month, GLENDA HARRIS BARNETT ’75 of Hanover, Maryland, shared biographies of Louise Ceila Fleming, the first African American woman to the Women’s Medical College of Philadelphia, Surya Bonaly, who did a backflip at the 1998 Olympics (which was banned afterward), and Raven Wilkinson, the first African American woman to get a contract to dance full-time with a major ballet company, Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo of New York City and she was barred from performing on tour in the South — to ensure her safety.
When the snow fell in DePere, Wisconsin, Grandpa BOB BARTINGALE ’75 got outdoors with his grandkids on skis.
MARY SCHULTZ BARTKOWIAK ’75 of Brookfield, Wisconsin, co-hosted a bridal shower for Katie in August.
WARREN BLUHM ’75 reports JIM HANEY ’76 died on Dec. 2. JIM had an unforgettable voice if you ever tuned into WRPN for news on campus. WARREN tells how he recruited JIM to do that daily broadcast and JIM helped WARREN get a job at WDUX, starting the morning after the Ripon graduation. He remembers JIM as “one of the most likable intelligent and intentional people I’ve ever met, with a smile that made you smile.” JIM was a professor of communications at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and was communications director for Attorney General Jim Doyle and then-Governor Jim Doyle. We’ve lost two more from WRPN, WAYNE DAVIS ’76, a walking encyclopedia, great photographer, tremendous wit and caring human being, and ROB “TEX” MEYER ’78, a truly original human, as WARREN put it, “My memories of them bring a smile to my face and an ache of nostalgia for what were truly good old days.” WARREN adds, “I find myself wishing I’d stayed in touch and making a mental list of people really need to touch base with again, while I can.” I agree 200 percent! I also noticed that WARREN posted a picture of a puppy on social media named Willow. Willow is a cutie! Here’s her picture as proof. I reached out to WARREN and it turns out this picture is 13 years old, but it is still worth sharing with all of you, in my opinion!
Let’s move on to Ripon College news.
I must thank Classmates who supported Ripon College this past fiscal year, especially those who supported the Ripon Fund, as well as #OneDayRally is scheduled for Wednesday, April 27. Mark your calendar!
Our Class gave $45,862 in 2021 — 32.21% compared to 26.67% of alumni as a whole. I’m sure we will have a higher percentage going forward! 🙂
I have been helping my daughter-in-law homeschool Matthew, who is five, who is very interested in planets and firefighting, and Amaris, four, who loves to draw. She has a very nice setup with desks, a whiteboard, an easel, and a desktop computer for educational videos, like one on Japanese calligraphy. Matthew remembers sakura means cherry blossoms and Amaris produced the symbol for the sun.
I am excited about 2022 Coastal Health & Wellness, the news magazine I’m working on, which will include a study on Earthing, an explanation of Ayurveda from a local practitioner, and a recipe from Chris Wark, who beat stage two colon cancer in 2003 with surgery and dramatically changing his life. He says cancer is not an emergency, it’s a wake-up call. So many people asked him how he did it, he created a ten-part online series (free in March) — forgiveness is a must — hosted monthly chats, wrote a book to inspire others, and now Beat Cancer Kitchen, written with his wife. Believe me, these recipes will have you salivating! More at ChrisBeatCancer.com. Our 2022 magazine will be posted at tpgonlinedaily.com.
Our Class is not in the reunion cycle this year but you are welcome to make plans to attend Alumni Weekend on campus: June 23-26, 2022.
Our BIG Reunion will be in 2025.
I am looking forward to seeing you!
Your Class Agent,
JONDI GUMZ ’75
H: (831) 461-1120 / M: (831) 461-5946