1981 – Fall ’20 Class Letter

1981 – Fall 2020


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Class of ’81,

Hopefully, this Class Letter finds you healthy and creating new ways to keep yourselves entertained and happy in this crazy COVID-19 world we are living in. It is hard for me to believe that in just nine months we will be celebrating 40 years since our graduation from this fine institution called Ripon College. I am glad to see that for most of us, we are proving that being 60 does not mean over the hill. Everyone seems to be biking, hiking, walking, running, traveling, and generally taking advantage of what life has to offer. Keeping my fingers crossed and saying a prayer that we have the chance to meet in person at our reunion next June.

Please look at your calendar and consider making the pilgrimage back to Ripon for our 40th Reunion on Saturday, June 26, 2021. We will be also looking for volunteers to help us plan a memorable gathering for the Class of ’81. If you are interested in helping, please let me know!

LARRY ’81 and KATHY HARBUT NIKOLAUS ’81: Here in Colorado, Kathy and I are attempting to excel at social distancing by getting out into nature for some camping, biking, and climbing an occasional 14ner. I continue to work for MITRE supporting the Air Force missile warning program. Like most folks, I am working from home 90% of the time. Kathy, as a physical therapist, is still seeing patients a few days a week. The biggest challenge for me has been keeping my Scouts together with virtual troop meetings and campouts (all of us in our own backyards and Zooming).

JEFF GILMER ’81and Mary have been busy with the move to retirement, and Jeff finalized his two-year transition from the company. They are enjoying wintertime in South Carolina- cycling, running, and getting time to see MIKE ’83 and ELI PETERSON GUZNICZAK ’83. They purchased a lake home in Minnesota that kept them busy with lots of remodeling and are looking forward to making the permanent move there.

Delta Upsilon: The brothers of DU (classes from ’78 on) have been making the best of social distancing by joining together in regular virtual pub crawls. Great beer, greater company, awesome memories, and no drive home. 

JEFF MCANDREW ’81and his wife, Debbie, celebrated 26 years of marriage this year and have taken some time to travel. They went to New Orleans for Jeff’s 60th and to Door County this summer for biking and hiking, staying at their favorite resort called The Country House. Jeff published a book of fiction in May 2019 called “Numinous” about a pastor who struggles with his faith. Jeff finds time to keep in touch and collaborate with FRED HERSOM ’82 and MICHAEL TOLLIFSON ’82 on song ideas and songwriting in general. Jeff’s family has stayed in regular contact with CRAIG SATHER ’80 family over the past 20 years and their sons have become good friends.

BLAINE GIBSON ’81 is looking forward to being a grandfather soon and working on his golf game. Living in Wisconsin as empty nesters they are looking to downsize in the next few years. Blaine recently co-curated his first art exhibit at the Cedarburg Art Museum featuring Black Collectors of Art titled ‘Eye Of The Beholder.’ It was a lot of fun and runs through September 27th. Blaine will step down as the museum’s board president in January. He is still working his day job with RBC Wealth Management. Life is good and they are blessed.

DAVID ’81 and KRISTIN KOHLES JANSSEN ’82 traveled to Alaska this summer. They visited with GREG GERBOTH ’81 and his family in Anchorage. They spent time on Fox Island in the Kenai Peninsula where we saw lots of orcas, humpback whales, sea otters, sea lions & puffins, as well as incredible glaciers. They were able to see Denali in all her glory as well as caribou, dall sheep and even grizzlies up close & personal (a mom & 2 cubs walked right behind their car)! They held their son Michael’s & Silvie’s wedding at their home in August of 2019 and they are moving back to Wisconsin from Colorado in October. They will be celebrating their son Greg’s & Lindsey’s wedding in Boulder on September 12.

Thanks to all of you that contributed to Ripon’s #OneDayRally. Our class contributed over $80,000. Remember what Ripon College meant for you and continue your support.