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Phyllis Quimby Anderson
Elizabeth Cumby Murray was to turn 90 in September and, with another 90-year-old, planned a big party with lots of friends. Elizabeth has three great-grandchildren – the youngest is a girl – and hopes she can just keep going as well as she has been.
Libby Phillips Roe said what we all realize – the years are catching up with us. She turned 90 in June, and she and Bill celebrated their 69th anniversary! Lots of her friends and granddaughters plan to marry soon.
Anna Austin Ware turned 90 in April and had lunch with a schoolmate and a few locals. Her daughter took her to church on Mother’s Day. Anna has decided to stop going to the grocery store and let her once-a-week helper shop for her.
Isabel Hildrup Klein has her first great-grandchild. Willa is the daughter of Isabel’s granddaughter, Robin, a scientist who travels the country with baby in tow. They hadn’t had much storm trouble, but their driveway flooded. Bob isn’t doing too well, but Isabel is a pretty good nurse.
Mary Ellen Starkey still lives in her La Plata, Md., retirement house and is doing as well as can be expected with her cane. She has lunch with a friend at son Donny’s restaurant every day after Mass. Her great-granddaughter, Donny and Marta’s granddaughter, is in England.
Elaine Rolley Alley likes reading Class Notes in UMW Magazine and decided it was time to give her own update. She is in assisted living in Richmond’s Short Pump area and regularly sees her two children, five grandchildren, and one great-grandson who live nearby. She goes to church, reads, does word puzzles, and bowls on her iPad.
My children planned a big party for my 90th birthday. There must have been 100 people there. Half of them were my family, including three great-grandchildren – one boy, Gabriel, born at Christmastime, and two girls, ages 1 and 2. Three grandchildren couldn’t be there. One was in Hawaii, one in California, and one newly married in Germany. One of my grandchildren does photography and took hundreds of photos. I still play bridge and sing in the choir. My family keeps telling me to use the cane, but I haven’t given in yet; I guess I should because now I am one of the old ladies. One of my sons has lived with me for a while, and one of my daughters and her fiancé were living upstairs until their planned marriage in October, so I can’t be lonesome.
Betty Moore Drewry Bamman
Mark and I moved to a 5-year-old patio home last October and wondered about the shrubs and flowers the previous owner planted. According to the neighbors, she was a master gardener who designed the community garden. The small areas near our front door and around the patio are very colorful; she planned it to highlight different plants and colors at different times. I never know what to expect when I walk out the door.
Ladies, let us know what is going on in your lives.
Our class will be deeply saddened to know that our beloved Sarah Armstrong Worman Gregg, student government president in coordination with U.Va. and, more importantly, friend, leader, and inspiration to all of us ’48ers, died in May in hospice in Leesburg, Fla.
As the summer moved along, incoming news for this edition was slow and sorrowful.
Last year, we learned of the loss of Polly Bridges Allen, Florence “Flo” Archibald Barrow, Frances “Frankie” McGlothin Borkey, Ann Kitchen Midgett, and Ann Mathews Pope. At this writing, only halfway through the year, we’d learned that Jane Seeley Hansell died in January; Betty Lou Shelhorse Rogers in February; Primm Turner ffrench in April; Virginia “Jinny” Merrill MacLeod in May; and Helen Gresham Walton and Mildred Vance Secular, sister of Lucretia “Lucy” Vance Gilmer, in June. On behalf of the class, heartfelt sympathy was sent to the families. We are grateful to classmates for alerting us to some of these deaths and to the Office of Alumni Relations for supplying a list of classmates known to be deceased.
Flo’s daughter, Lisa Barrow, sent a note that told of her mother’s fond memories of her years at Mary Washington and the wonderful lifelong friendships she made. Flo graduated from the Peabody Institute and MWC, majoring in voice. Her singing and acting talents were well known on campus and continued throughout her productive life. Flo and husband John reared two sons and a daughter in Severna Park, Md., where she supported health care, political, and fine arts causes, and appeared in numerous musical theater productions. The program for the memorial service and celebration of life featured pictures of Flo, lovely as ever. Four grandchildren participated in her service, and one echoed Flo’s talent by singing Over the Rainbow.
Corinne “Conni” Conley Stuart was off to Halifax to do an episode of Mr. D, a Canadian TV sitcom about a teacher at a private school. Conni was to portray a wealthy donor who demands the attention of the young profs. Conni sent Primm’s obituary. Born in Richmond, Primm attended 12 different schools, graduating from high school at 16. After getting her degree at MWC, she began her teaching career at age 20. She taught throughout Virginia before the civil rights movement and was a strong proponent of equality. She moved to Stockbridge, Mass., where she was the K-12 art teacher for several years before marrying John ffrench in 1963. They met in Italy, where both studied pottery, and spent their first six years of marriage in Ireland, where their three daughters were born. They immigrated in 1969 to Stockbridge, where they secured jobs teaching art in the newly formed Regional School District. Primm was named Outstanding Educator of the Visual Arts in Massachusetts in 1985 and supervised the art department until retirement in 1992. John excelled at ceramics, and the creative couple started The Dolphin Studio and originated a silk-screened calendar, now in its 42nd year of international sales. Primm also was a masterful painter, mosaic artist, screen printer, and collage and textile artist. She loved her five grandchildren, music, reading, traveling, and spending summers at their studio in Galway, Ireland, where, before her sudden death, she planned to return in May to continue her late husband’s retrospective, including a book to be published during summer. Her passing was a shock to her family and BFF suitemates, Conni, Norah Pitts Byrnes, and Betsy Thorne Bultman. Conni held her own private memorial service for Primm, seeing the Art Gallery of Ontario’s exhibit of early Florentine art, noting that Primm met John at art school in Florence and much of the exhibit seemed to echo the couple’s work.
Jinny’s daughter, Merrill MacLeod Baldwin, sent her mother’s obituary, noting how Jinny, who passed away on May 30, the 64th anniversary of our graduation, loved her MWC years. As one of few students from New England, she said her Boston friends laughed at the accent she acquired during the year, while her Virginia friends laughed at her accent when she returned from summer vacation. Her roommate, Jean “Murph” Murphy Baptist, with whom she maintained a lifelong friendship, was a bridesmaid in Jinny and John’s wedding. The couple spent the early years of their marriage in Providence, R.I., then moved to Massachusetts, where they reared three daughters and a son. The MacLeods have 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, with two more expected in October. Jinny was a longtime member of a power squadron; garden, yacht, and bath and tennis clubs; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She shared with her growing children her interest in travel, art, gourmet cooking, and reading. Jinny and John traveled the world, visiting 35 countries. Their love of picnics and road trips took the family from Nova Scotia to Key West and left no New England back roads undiscovered. They explored the coastline from Maine to Rhode Island by land and sea. Her extended family will continue to be blessed by her wonderful life and love.
Murph said Jinny’s passing leaves her sole survivor of their suite, with the earlier death of Barbara “Slip” Haislip Lynch, our class president, and the unknown fate of Slip’s roommate, Janet Ewerhardt Dengle, said to have taken a foreign assignment with the CIA.
In 2009, Betty Lou, newly widowed, returned home to the TLC of her family in Fredericksburg and visited campus briefly during our 60th reunion. By doctor’s dictate, she’d abandoned her lifelong love of riding, so, during her stay, her brothers put her on a horse for the last time. Her sister-in-law took a picture as proof of that nostalgic final ride.
Barbara Tripp Wright reported Helen’s death after learning of it from Alta Towe Fogelgren, Helen’s roommate junior and senior year. Helen had been in ill health, and her two sons, who live in North Carolina, found a nursing home near one’s home in Greensboro, where widowed in 1971 and taught school for 33 years.
As both their maiden names began with T, Alta and Barbara were seatmates all four years of chapel/convocations and continue their friendship today, especially via email and phone. Alta and husband Carl traveled widely for years but now enjoy staying home in Virginia Beach, especially when their son, grandson, or granddaughter visits. Alta’s macular degeneration is responding to new treatments.
After two hip replacements and a fall last year that fractured her shoulder, Barbara was finally recovered and driving again when she began waking to pain and double vision, and was diagnosed with a giant aneurysm above her right eye. She did so well during her seven-hour surgery in Charlottesville in April, the surgeon proclaimed her “a miracle.” A week in a hospital skilled-care facility and therapy followed. Unable to drive again, she felt blessed to have her nephew and his wife, good neighbors, and church family at hand. She was to have another angiogram in October and anticipated continued improvement. With all her travails, Barbara has lost neither hope nor her delicious sense of humor. That’s our Barb!
Lucy Vance Gilmer reported the passing of her sister, Mildred, in Silver Spring, Md. They lived in Bristol, Va., where they attended two years of college before transferring to MWC. Though Mildred was older, the sisters began school together. Their majors, art for Mildred and chemistry for Lucy, were as divergent as their personalities and interests. Mildred had been in failing health, and Lucy credited Mildred’s husband, Sidney, for her excellent care. Lucy also recently lost two sisters-in-law with whom she was extremely close. Lucy’s active dedication to her family, church, Sullins College and Virginia Intermont College “daughters,” and wide circle of friends has been documented in Class Notes, and she continues to be a faithful correspondent.
Mary Elwang Sharpley’s BFF, Jeanne Farrington Leslie of Roswell, Ga., called in May to say her husband, Mike, died after a stroke last December left him immobile and unable to speak. Jeanne said his spirits remained remarkable. Our heartfelt empathy was offered to Jeanne and her family.
Anna “Andi” Dulany Lyons and Marion “Wendy” Selfe Kelly meet frequently in Lynchburg, Va., to remember the old days. Of the BFF classmates who shared a suite, only Andi and Marion are still in touch. Irvin “Kitten” Whitlow Westbrook, Margaret “Myrt” Thompson Pridgen, and Frances “Frankie” McGlothlin Borkey are deceased. Marion said that Norvell Millner Thomson ’48 ran into UMW President Richard V. Hurley in Richmond. He was interested in the fact that several MWC alumnae live at Westminster Canterbury and said he wanted to pay them a visit. And he probably will!
When Katherine “Kate” Mayo Schmidt’s sister from Alabama was recovering from back surgery and visited her in Texas, Kate learned to be a caregiver but found it exhausting. She planned a 10-day summer visit with her son, his wife, and a friend at the nearby family farm.
On Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Judith “Judy” Stone Johnstone and Bob sold their Melfa, Va., farm, moved into an apartment at Onancock, and seemed settled, but we recently lost contact with them. After consulting Elizabeth “Liz” Barnes Hornsby, who confirmed she still mows her eight acres and plays bridge, and Harriet “Scotty” Scott Brockenbrough, we learned that Judy and Bob moved in April to Weston, Mass., close to daughter Ann and husband John. Judy said the move meant changing everything – email addresses, insurances, etc. She got a new ID card, as her macular degeneration negates driving, and added, “at least we could keep our names!” The Johnstones planned to drive to Illinois for granddaughter Katie’s August wedding.
Elizabeth “Betty” Fischer Gore believes ignoring advice on avoiding would-be public health problems has allowed her to build up normal immunity and “still be kicking at 85,” though she admitted her kicks don’t have the same power they once did!
Thanks to those who sent news, sad as much of it was. As ever, love to all of you from both of us.