1980-Spring ’19 Class Letter


Class Agents: Jeff Penney ’80

[email protected]

(574) 247-1182

Peggy Gero DaValt ’80

[email protected]

(608) 658-3779

Spring 2019


“Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.”

~Corrie Ten Boom


“Memory is the diary we all carry with us.”
~Oscar Wilde


Greetings Classmates!!


Here it is early March. There’s lots of snow still on the ground. Daylight Saving Time is around the corner, so at least we will have lots of snow and we can see it longer.  Well…maybe that’s not the way it should be. A co-worker had a bunch of daffodils she handed out to her staff. hey really did make the workplace seem a whole lot more “spring-like.”


For those of you that follow the class’ page on Facebook, I’m sure you have seen some of the information I share here. If you are on Facebook, please make sure you continue to add to the discussion on the page for our class.  The Class of 1979, 1981 and 1982 also have pages on Facebook.


The link to ours is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/283209381878413/


News In and Around Ripon


As with anything we have learned – change is always there. You will notice some changes to what Ripon College is doing to keep you more connected to them.


You never know when Ripon College or Ripon, Wisconsin will show up!! I have to say that the college and the community are doing everything they can to integrate and help students enjoy the quaintness that is Ripon.


Remember the Heidel House? We often went there for spring/fall formals, for workshops, for food. I loved their branding which was “Runaway and Heidel.” One of my friends from work loved this place, so I shared this with classmates, just the other day:


[First Ripon Good Cookies….now Heidel House]…sad…




Classmate, CLARK WILCOX ’80, suggested that we get together as a group to have one last meal here. I am running a poll on the Class of 1980’s page. Several people have indicated interest. Currently, Saturday, May 18, 2019, is the favorite choice.  


[RIPON- The City] – While I was watching Channel 15 (NBC) out of Madison, Leigh Mills was showcasing a story about this place called Patina Vie and you can find their website and Facebook pages following:


(Website:  https://www.patinavie.com)

(Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/patinavie


When Leigh said the place was in Ripon, I really had to stop and smile.


I recall going to the Class of 1982’s reunion (always go to someone’s reunion in addition to your own – it’s so much fun) and I truly got to see how much the City is doing its best to make it eclectic and quaint.


Check out the Facebook page and their website. I love what was done to the old building they rehabbed in good old Ripon. For those of us that shared the old downtown area, businesses like Patina Vie may just help to lure that special student to Ripon.




Catalyst Day


[Where does time go?] Greetings to you in the Class of 1980 (and other years). It’s been a really long time since I have taken time to write or share anything in here. As I sit here at the computer typing to you the wicked winter winds of Wisconsin are howlin’ outside my house. It feels worse tonight than it did a week ago with -51 wind chill outside. BRRRRR….


Yesterday, my Ripon Magazine showed up and tonight I was reading through it. I love hearing about our Alma Mater and love this edition. I am also reminded that it is almost Class Agent Letter time and I’m going to need to hear from some of you so that we have something to share!!


And….I was inspired reading the Ripon Magazine about this article, “What is the greatest life lesson you took away from your professors at Ripon College?”


The photos in the section with Dean David Harris and Jack Christ and Professor Brian Smith are priceless, as are the incredible gems of wisdom that many of our fellow Ripon graduates have shared.


If you have a favorite memory or a favorite snippet of life that you took away from our 4 years at Ripon College, would you care to share them here? I would love it if you’d allow me to share them in the Class Agent Letter that will be coming out soon.


The other thing that I’d like to share with you is the first Ripon College Catalyst Day on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. This is part of the new curriculum Ripon College began a couple years ago via a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. I share a photo of the page so that you can all take a look. If any of you are interesting in going to see what this is all about let me know. It’d be fun to just go back to Ripon to see all the new changes….and I think…..yup…there likely will not be snow.


Class of 1979 – Fellow Class Agent, KEVIN WARMACK ’79, and his co-chair for their 40th reunion, BETH PALMBACH NEMECEK ’79 invite anyone from our class who wants to attend their 40th…..watch Facebook for more announcements, the Ripon College website (http://www.ripon.edu) and snail mail, of course for Alumni Weekend 2019 information.  


It is a BLAST to go back to Alumni Weekend, especially when it’s not your class’ reunion. I had a blast with the Class of 1982 a couple years ago and got to hang out with CATHY LOTHROP HAGER ’82, JUDY GILBERT BORDER ’82, KEVIN DYKSTRA ’83, and RHEA BELL BEHLKE ’87. So much fun was had. Right? SUSAN ANGELL SCHMIDT ’80 and ANDREW SCHMIDT ’81 and some other DUs?


Class News


In what has become my shameless begging for news of classmates, this is what my plea brought forth the other day.  This is worse than cramming for an exam. To those of you that have shared your snippet of life since the last Class Agent letter, I thank you so much!!




Sue is always there to give me a report!!  Thanks, Sue!! Here’s her report to me.


Hi Peggy!   I’m sending you half of our story.   The class of 1980 gets the first half; the class of 1981 gets the second half.


Our son, Alex Schmidt, graduated from Hamline University in May 2018. He started law school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is excited to start the step in his life!  


We said goodbye to Spritz as she crossed the Rainbow Bridge. She was 17+ years old.   We welcomed Topaz to our family in September. She is an Australian Shepherd/Golden Retriever mix and extremely cute. She is an 11-month-old puppy with bundles of energy…..(the rest of the story is continued in the Class of 1981’s entry….see ANDREW SCHMIDT ’81).


I recall the year, 1976….freshman year. English class with Mr. Ken Alrutz. He had a way of giving us all nicknames, and in some instances stuck. I remember him saying James. D (for JAMES D. GREENEBAUM ’80)….I got called, Margaret Peggy and I’m sure there were others. Anyway, my friend, James D, shared this:  


“My life is boring, Sorry.”

To which CHARLOTTE POHANKA SPARROW ’80 replied, “James D. Greenebaum…no way!!  

To which he replied back:  “Way”

And then I responded:  “James D no way. Mine is boring.  I live under a rock….”


Classmates KATHY GOODBOUT ’80 and LISA HEIMLER ’80 shared this the other day:  “Lisa Heimler and I are our last day of a 9-day cruise. Have already booked another cruise for February of 2020.”


CHARLOTTE POHANKA SPARROW ’80 wrote: “DEB WILCOX ’80 and I celebrated our “special” bdays together with a long weekend in Quebec City last August. Had never vacationed together and had a blast enjoying the history, the walking, the people, the farmers market, the dining, the wining, the shopping. You name it.”


Co-Class Agent, JEFF PENNEY ’80 shared this: “I attended a lacrosse coaches clinic in Aurora, Illinois and met up with RUSTY RYAN ’80, JOHN GOSSELIN ’82 and BRYAN GHALIOUNGUI ’83 afterward. We had a spirited exchange of ideas, recalls of Ripon and old people ailments.”


  1. SARA MAURER ’80 shared this “I retired January 1 after over twenty two years of practice as an anesthesiologist/pediatric anesthesiologist in Anchorage, Alaska. I would occasionally run into GREG GERBOTH ’81, who is a pulmonologist.”


DAN BESTUL ’80 and his wife, SANDY VAHLE ’79 BESTUL shared they “traveled to Cuba in early February. In our short time there, we traced 600 years of history through Cuban music, examined the state of US Cuba relations from the Cuban perspective, studied the transition of Cuban art from pre-Revolution to the present, witnessed the impact the collapse of the Soviet Union had on the Cuban economy and learned the secrets to making a great mojito.”


As for me, I get to keep in touch with ELLEN BARTH ’80, by phone or in person. Both of us have celebrated over 27 years working for the State of Wisconsin. Ellen works for the Department of Natural Resources and I work for the Department of Health Services.  The “r” word comes into conversations often. For me it’ll be later than sooner and for Ellen…stay tuned!! My co-breeder of Gordon Setters and I recently had a fun litter of 10 puppies of 5 boys and 5 girls born the day before Thanksgiving. We managed to travel a bit to deliver a couple of them. My brother, PAUL GERO ’82 and his wife, Nicki and children, have returned to Wisconsin from California. The Wisconsin winter greeted them with lots of love this year. Their return has been great for my mom, ANNE GERO P’80, ’82, ’84 and ’85 as it has given her great purpose to see and spend time with Paul’s kids; her grandkids.  


Thank you all for the information you share!!  As always, there is the Facebook group (here’s the link again, in case you really do want to sign-up and join us). It’s FREE!!  


The link to ours is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/283209381878413/)


Don’t forget – our 40th Class Reunion will be one year from now.  


SAVE. THE. DATE.  June 25-28, 2020!!  I hope to see lots of you there!!


Co-Class Agents,


Jeff and Peggy