1978 – Fall ’19 Class Letter

Gregg Petersen

410-884-0407 / [email protected]


Dear Classmates: Welcome to summer, or rather fall, everyone! While this will appear in the fall, I am again writing it in June for the second year. First let me say thanks so much to our classmates who participated in the second annual #OneDayRally on May 1. While the current Ripon senior class led participation this year, we once again led all alumni classes. My most heartfelt thanks to those who gave generously and helped to remind the Ripon Office of Constituent Engagement of how well our class comes together when we choose to do so.  

Make sure you read the latest general updates from Ripon. Our enrollment numbers are looking much better this fall for the second year in a row

I am thrilled to tell you that this has been the best class letter input you have provided in some time! You made my task of pulling this together probably the easiest it has been in the 12 years I have been doing this. Thanks to all who provided an update!  

What updates? Well, we have the classmate who lives in a major city and had a day named in his honor by the mayor! We have another classmate not named Christopher George who has been leading a crucial “Rat Patrol” for 30 years. Another classmate aspires to be a “Road Scholar,” while another builds his own airplanes and the crafts actually fly, too. Other classmates traveled to jolly old England to visit our one of our published authors, while another classmate plans to become an author. Another classmate escorted a pilot who bombed his targets with 23 tons … of candy, without permission from his superiors, and won the Congressional Gold Medal. One classmate retired from the desert to the mountains, but not completely, another was just installed in a church along the Gulf Coast, and another will soon have in-laws in Myanmar. No, I did not make any of this up, we are just interesting people. Read on …

DANNI CALDWELL ’78 of Henderson, Nevada: “Advancing age is making itself known to my husband, Alan Potratz, and I, even though we don’t feel our ages! Alan had a hip replacement in May, and I had a cataract removed from my right eye in early June. The left eye cataract will be removed on June 26. We both have had easy recoveries from our respective procedures, for which we are thankful. Our oldest son, Sam, announced his engagement this Christmas. His fiancée, Sui Lynn, is a citizen of Myanmar, and in January, we will travel there for a Buddhist wedding ceremony. He has applied for a fiancée visa for Suyi and is awaiting word on that application. We continue to enjoy our lives in Nevada and keep active in our new 55-and-over community in Henderson.”

BECKY GALLOWAY ’78 of Shoreline, Washington: “Here’s a quick update from Shoreline (first cousin to Seattle) — I’ll retire from the other UW in August and am looking forward to …. still getting up early Monday through Friday to walk to my volunteer job at Whisker City, a kitty rescue shelter. Rick and I are looking forward to some “Road Scholar” trips (volunteer-run railroads are top of the list) and visiting friends and family from Portland to Pennsylvania.”

DAVE HANUS ’78 (Salem, Oregon): His wife, Ann, notes that Dave was, “… honored for his 30 years of volunteer service with the Marion County Search and Rescue Jeep Patrol. He serves as the Commander of Jeep Patrol. Over the years, he has been involved in countless searches to rescue stranded and injured people, transport emergency medical personnel during storms, find missing Alzheimer’s patients, teach kids wilderness survival skills, and assist in evidence searches.” I sent Dave a note that said, “(So you were) like a modern-day Christopher George in charge of a rescue Rat Patrol.” Dave responded, “Ha, ha. Funny you mention Rat Patrol. We have an upcoming training in helicopter hot loading and need eye protection. I asked our QM (quartermaster) if he could find some AN6530 goggles and included a picture of Christopher George with them. Ha. You (must be) reading my emails :). Oh, only jumped a dune in my FJ40 (jeep) once — too much damage and I ended up an inch shorter! Class letter, you bet. But the stories from the 600-odd missions over the years are more interesting than me.”

WILL HIGGINS ’78 of Indianapolis, Indiana: “Not to sound like a jerk, but Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett did proclaim Jan. 18, 2019, Will Higgins Day, which was nice except there was a blizzard with slide-offs, power outages etc. It was the last day of my 26-year journalism career with Indianapolis Star/Gannett/USA Today. Have some writing and video projects in the works and am doing some absurd art-type stuff of a dada nature (see American Society of Presidential Urine Collectors, see LinearBocce.com). I still play tennis and paddle tennis and am decent but can feel it slipping away — but so what? My wife, Dorothy Stites Alig, an actual artist, and I plan to split our time between Indianapolis and Northport, Michigan, and to also do some traveling and goofing around with our two grandsons.”

DAVE JUNG ’78 of Purcellville, Virginia, was invited to travel to Berlin, Germany, on May 12 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Berlin Blockade. He was photographed with Col. Gail Halvorsen. According to Wikipedia, Halvorsen “is best-known as the Berlin Candy Bomber or Uncle Wiggly Wings and gained fame for dropping candy to German children during the Berlin Airlift from 1948 to 1949. During (the Berlin Airlift) he founded Operation Little Vittles, an effort to raise morale in Berlin by dropping candy via miniature parachute to the city’s residents. Halvorsen’s operation dropped over 23 tons of candy to the residents of Berlin. Halvorsen has received numerous awards for his role in Operation Little Vittles, including the Congressional Gold Medal.”

DOUG KINGS ’78 was installed June 23 as pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in the Gulf coast town of Holmes Beach, Florida, on Anna Maria Island. He says, “It’s hot now but beautiful November through April. If you’re ever vacationing in the area, be sure to drop by.” 

THE REV. PAUL NANCARROW ’78, of Staunton, Virginia, will retire from parish ministry at Trinity Episcopal Church this fall. After 11 years at Trinity, and 33 years in the ordained ministry, Paul and Lee will move to the Twin Cities of Minnesota, where they will be close to Paul’s family and where Paul will take time to write up some of the theological ideas that have been incubating over three decades. There will also be bicycling!

JEFF OREAR ’78 of Peshtigo, Wisconsin: “I’ll put my two cents worth in for the class newsletter.  As you have seen on (Facebook), I sold my dental practice/building and retired at the end of April.  I’m currently experiencing the ‘what day of the week is it’ syndrome, as every day seems like Saturday to me now!  I’ve been doing a bunch of ‘binge’ flying because now, if it’s a nice day, I can literally take off and fly. Also have been spending more time with airplane project number 2, my Hatz Classic Biplane. So, as you see, I’m trying to adapt to this retirement thing as best I can.

“Our second oldest daughter, Kelly, blessed us with the birth of our fourth grandson, Ronan Edward Callahan, on March 6.  He’s quite the chubby-cheeked cutie. He will no doubt enjoy get-togethers with our oldest daughter Melanie’s three boys Colon, Aidan and Bennet. One more grandson and we’ll have a heck of a basketball team! This July, we will welcome another son-in-law, Josh, into our family as our youngest daughter Megan is getting married on the 13. Per usual, being an experienced father of the bride, I’m staying out of the planning and will show up where and when I’m told. So, as you can see, we’ve had a busy start to 2019.”  

JOE O’SULLIVAN ’78 of Tacoma, Washington: “Still enjoying semi-retirement as just received another trauma research grant. Decided on moving from San Antonio, Texas, to south of the Tacoma, Washington, area. Found a beautiful house on forested 20 acres with stunning mountain views. Also, my children have been busy over the last few years as I am now a grandpa times three. They are adorable. Looking forward to seeing everyone the next time our paths cross!”

BARB ROMANELLO ’78 of North Prairie, Wisconsin: “In January, GREGORY ROMANELLO ’77 and I traveled to the UK. We spent an incredible weekend visiting TAMMY BODEN-ELLIS ’78 in Taunton (three hours southwest of London). While Greg went off to work in London, I spent a week with Tammy fully immersed in the English culture. The Boden-Ellis’ homestead sits on Crown property with the original house dating back to the 1400s and a newer edition from the 1600s. I truly enjoyed catching up with her and reliving stories of Ripon College days.”

Class of 1978 Again Leads Alumni Participation for #OneDayRally May 1:  

As you may recall, our class topped all other class year groups in participation in the first-ever Ripon #OneDayRally last year by nearly 10% with 48 donations. This year, we AGAIN topped all alumni classes for participation! Although this may sound odd, we were the only pre-turn-of-the-century or pre-2000 class to be in the top 10 for participation. Thanks to this year’s participants in our leading #OneDayRally showing: JOSE ALEMAN ’78, DENISE BAIRD ’78, BETH BENEZRA ’78, DANNI CALDWELL ’78, DANNY DAVIS ’78 and JUDY REISINGER DAVIS ’76, PATRICIA GARDNER ’78, MARLA FULLER GARFIELD ’78 and HORACE GARFIELD ’78, MARK HEBDA, ALAN HODKIEWICZ ’78 and SUSAN HIGBY HODKIEWICZ ’77, HELEN HOLTER ’78, MARY HOLTROP ’78, MEREDITH VALENTINE JOHNSON ’78, LOUISA GEBELEIN JONES ’78, CARLA OLSEN LARSEN ’78, AMY ORR LARSON ’78 and KEVIN LARSON ’76, LAWRENCE LAUX ’78 and NINA WULFF ’77, KAREN ANDRESEN LEAHY ’78, ROBERT MEYER ’78, PATTI KRUG MORRELL ’78 and EDWARD  MORRELL ’77, PAUL NANCARROW ’78, JUSTIN NIEBANK ’78, JOSEPH O’SULLIVAN ’78, JEFF OREAR ’78, BILL OTTO ’78, LIZ PECHA-POELKER ’78, GREGG PETERSEN ’78, GRETA PORTER ’78, BARBARA JANSSEN PUGH ’78 and STEPHEN PUGH ’76, LINDA REMICK ’78, TOM RITSCH ’78, DONNA HANSEN SCYMANSKI ’78, SUSAN FEITH SHANNON ’78, JON VERSON ’78 and JOAN BALAUSKAS VERSON ’78,  LAURIE MEYER WAGNER ’78, JIM WILKES ’78, LISA WOLLAN ’78, JOHN ZINDAR ’78 and Anonymous x3.  

Special thanks to LOUISA GEBELEIN JONES ’78 who does outreach like this for a living and worked hand-in-virtual hand with me on our outreach and in coaching me. Many of you heard from her as she supported the #OneDayRally for 18 hours & 51 minutes (1851, the founding date of Ripon) in addition to performing her responsibilities at the Pomfret School on a normal workday, and refereed a lacrosse game on May 1.

So, it’s time to start planning for next year’s #OneDayRally — if you are planning to give to Ripon, you might consider waiting for May to make your contribution so we can continue our dominance. One other nuance is that if you are busy, travelling or otherwise unable to call in or do a web contribution on the day of the #OneDayRally, you can earmark or annotate a contribution given in the days before the Rally to count for Rally purposes. My wife and I give from a charitable trust, so it takes some time to send in the check. So, we gave in advance with special instructions for our contribution to count on the day of the Rally.  

Class Letter Updates: I am so very encouraged by the strong response you all (or ya’ll if you are south of the Mason-Dixon Line) provided for this letter, so morale is high here in Columbia, Maryland, today! I wonder what the rest of you folks have been doing. Please solve that mystery for me and your classmates and send in your updates and pictures for the spring ’20 letter and please continue to have a healthy, happy 2019!

Best wishes and warmest regards,