These are the unedited class notes as submitted by class agents and other alumni. Edited notes appear in the print edition.
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Anne Summervold LeDoux
The pandemic has changed so much in our world. Most of us are doing many of the same things at home, and nobody’s going anywhere! Our 50th reunion was postponed twice and now is scheduled for May 14-16, 2021.
Kathi O’Neill passed along some news from a Zoom get-together: Susan Johnson Gillette is a first-time grandmother to beautiful baby Rebecca.
I caught up with Loren Lawler Wilee, who has moved from Chesapeake to Northern Virginia. Genie Hamilton Roper ’71 and I met up in Fredericksburg. I also heard from Lucia Smithey Bushway, who has retired from teaching at University of West Florida. She and Jeff have two daughters and two grandchildren.
I know that many of us recently celebrated our 50th wedding anniversaries, including Susan Johnson Gillette and Nancy Buchanan Perry. Happy anniversary to all.
Please try to join us at our 50th reunion in May. Also, if you have not contributed to our class gift for the Talley Center, please consider donating to this most worthy cause.
Karen Laino Giannuzzi
We are living in strange times indeed. Last fall, we were all traveling the world. That was cut short just as we were preparing for Founder’s Day in March 2020. Now we wonder, “What next?” Our 50th reunion is scheduled for May 14-16, 2021. We hope we’ll be able to gather on campus by then. Meanwhile, we do what we can do to make life during the pandemic fun, palatable, and interesting.
Sally Reichner Mayor wrote that Switzerland is affected by COVID, but with so many mountainous regions the numbers are low. Social distancing is easy. Sally plans to come back for our 50th if all goes well.
Elizabeth “Betty” Whichard Robinson has been staying close to home in Indiana and trying to support small businesses. She works out, reads, and Zooms with friends. Betty’s is a recurring theme with most of us.
Along with webinar and Zoom visits to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Lisa Barker hopes for a trip to Ireland next May, postponed from this year.
Cooking every day has become a chore for Bryn Irving Winn Roth, as it has for many. She missed her children, grandchildren, and a great grandson. She also missed a trip to Canada and a high school reunion.
Kathy Lewis Newbold was able to keep golfing with new rules in place, but she was sad that the traditional 19th hole had stayed empty. She was involved in virtual fundraising events. Cam and Kerry were home for the Fourth of July and joined with Kathy’s sister for a family barbecue. Masks were the fashion statement of the day.
Many of you wrote about the excitement of renaming E. Lee Trinkle to James Farmer Hall. You also praised the Alumni Association and UMW in general for online lectures, classes, and trivia nights. Kim Warren Noe and Bob appreciated the diversions. Her family reunion in Marble Falls, Texas, was canceled, and she had not been able to visit her 97-year-young father in San Antonio. Kim’s daughter and family live near her in South Carolina, and they had drive-by and distant deck visits. She used FaceTime and Zoom with her son in Chicago and other relatives.
Kim said Jan Reynolds Cooke, who lives in New Orleans, had recently recovered from COVID-19. Jan’s large family had supported her from a distance. Jan was also in touch with Frannie Sydnor Cook in North Carolina. Susan Taylor Frank, Kim’s freshman roommate, still works part time at the Presbyterian Community Center in Roanoke, Virginia.
Susie Sowers Hill passed through South Carolina last year, and she and Kim had a wonderful catch up dinner. Karen Clark Jones has moved to Marietta, Georgia. Kim, Jan, and Karen were high school buddies in Newport, Rhode Island, and came to Mary Washington together as roommates.
Laurie McIntosh has been homeschooling neighbors’ children, which is challenging but fun. She claims to be numerically challenged (I relate to that!) so will help in any subject except math. With historical parks and trails close by, Laurie treks about five miles a day, meeting interesting people along the way. Gardening remains a passion. She finished a novel late last year, set in 1968, and one of the central characters is a rising sophomore at Mary Washington. The pandemic has slowed her efforts to find a publisher.
Ongoing BLM protests and removal of Confederate monuments also have been in the news. Diana “Diney” Rupert Livingston lives near Richmond’s Monument Avenue and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, so she was in the thick of the protests. Someone threw a rock through the first-floor window of her building and lit up a dumpster in her alleyway. The nearby Methodist Campus Center was also the scene of smashed windows, but peaceful protests had become the norm. Monument Avenue certainly looks different these days. Diney had been auditing Italian at VCU and continued her studies with a private tutor with the goal of returning to Italy when possible.
Beth Fleming Skidmore also lives in Richmond. Son Alex and his wife, Alli, finished five-year medical residences in Pittsburgh and, after a year in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, moved to Fredericksburg in July. They have a new son. Beth’s other son was to marry this summer but big plans were reduced to a small, immediate-family-only ceremony. Beth and husband Alex met over 51 years ago at Mary Washington and recently celebrated their 46th anniversary.
Betty Barnhardt Hume retired from the library in Fredericksburg in 2016 but still works part time. Husband Randy Hume ’75 enjoys playing golf.
Mona Davis Albertine’s downtown Fredericksburg store, Jabberwocky, was open with almost regular hours. For some time, the nonviolent but loud BLM protesters marched downtown daily. Mona and Jack were seeing relatives but not friends. Mona had gotten to know the wildlife on her property, including a crow family, cardinals, a snake she named Henry, and visiting bears.
Nancy Belden and her husband run a polling firm in Washington, D.C., focusing on progressive issues such as human, civil, and reproductive rights. Their son, Giovanni Russonello, lives in New York and writes for the New York Times covering politics, jazz, and polling. Nancy has found time to escape to a small house on the Eastern Shore during the pandemic.
Debbie Oja Tuttle and Ed spend winters in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, and summers in Linville, North Carolina. She said golf courses had remained open, and their club served meals at distanced tables. Debbie said that’s better than her cooking!
Diane Mowrey was still at Queens University of Charlotte, North Carolina, in March but she said it was to be her last semester teaching. At that point, classes were moving online.
Susannah Athey Warner reminded me of two happy events in 2020, the appearance of the comet NEOWISE and the successful launch and recovery of SpaceX. Susannah is in touch with college roommate Karen Murray Wood. Susannah had some lovely mementos of Fredericksburg State Teachers College, which she got from her mother. It would be great to display some of these vintage items at our 50th reunion.
Mary Jane Chandler Miller and Fred feel blessed in Vermont, where COVID cases were low. Her office on the Council of Aging and all schools closed in March, and MJ retired in June. Her daughter and son-in-law in Burlington own the Vermont Comedy Club which hadn’t yet reopened. MJ Zooms, reads, golfs, and plays tennis.
Mary Carson, the grande dame of our class, and Roger have been married 62 years and walk several miles daily. In the past Mary served as alumni director and development officer for Mary Washington, and she has wonderful memories to bring along to the 50th reunion. Her daughter is news director of Sinclair News in Washington, Virginia, and Maryland. Her sons are with Verizon and hospital security.
Mary Weaver Mann reported that Jim has been in a long-term care facility for Alzheimer’s but was doing OK. Son Geoff is out of the Army and working as a pilot for a Richmond hospital. Daughter Emily and family live in Washington state. Son Zeph and daughter-in-law Erin were working remotely for a company in Los Angeles. Mary finally retired from the library and did some house renovations.
Penny Falkowitz Goodstein wrote that the infection rates were still skyrocketing in Alaska. She missed seeing her grandsons. Her beloved 12-year-old dog passed away in March and her other dog was not well, so she and her husband adopted a puppy Canaan dog. Penny has taken up sourdough baking. She mentioned that after the online COVID-19 class many of us took, she reconnected with Gloria Shelton Gibson ’69, who was a freshman dorm counselor.
Some of us recently learned that Natalee Spiro Franzyshen was diagnosed with ALS after several years of undetermined symptoms. Her husband also has had health problems, but they celebrated their 48th anniversary in late August.
Plan to attend our 50th reunion. It will be historic celebrating alongside the Goat Class of ’70, so let’s make it a grand and fun affair!
Sherry Rutherford Myers
Salutations to one and all! To be sure, we have been living 2020 with many challenges and are certainly viewing our world quite differently.
In September 2019, Nancy Mahone Miller and her “traveling sisters” – Kathryn Ray, Mary Saunders Williams, Terri Hall Alford, Shirley Harris Sutton, and Anne Toms Richardson – took their third Rick Steves Tour together. This time it was 14 days in Spain, where they visited Barcelona, Madrid, Granada, Sevilla, Toledo, Segovia, and Ronda. Also last year, Nancy was elected state corresponding secretary of Virginia DAR. Since the advent of COVID-19, Nancy and friends have met every other week via Zoom. Martha Stansell Vogel, Kathy Duley, and Sherrie Mitchell Boone have joined them.
Cheryl Prietz Childress welcomed grandson Charlie, son of Cheryl’s daughter Thea and son-in-law Eric. Granddaughter Ellie seems delighted with her new brother. Cheryl and husband Dave were able visit the family in the Atlanta area. They’ve also been catching up on their farm and riding their new horses.
Dennis and I, Sherry Rutherford Myers, have also been catching up on home projects – a gratifying feeling at the end of the day. Life in the Roanoke area has agreed with us these past two years. While we have all been disappointed by so many cancellations, my women’s club managed to have some events outdoors this summer. And we have the Blue Ridge Parkway close by to take drives and enjoy the scenery.
My heartfelt wish for classmates everywhere is that you are navigating this pandemic as carefully as possible and that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.
Joyce Hines Molina
No news to report from the class. It’s a difficult year, no doubt about it. This year many of us are celebrating the final birthday of our 60s. Wear it well, and go out kicking and screaming. Now raise your glass and toast a new decade of our lives. May we continue to learn, to laugh, to love, and to look forward to each day.
The time has come for me, Joyce Hines Molina, to step down as your class agent. It’s been over eight years, and it’s time for new beginnings. It was an honor to serve. We need a volunteer. Are you interested? Contact the magazine staff at email@example.com.
Stay true to all that you are and all that you are yet to be.
Denise Mattingly Luck, Nancy Brown Jones, Anne Reynolds Guest, and Bettiann Glass Aylor enjoyed several Zoom cocktail hours and planned to meet in person in Virginia Beach this summer – the first get-together for all four in at least 35 years.
Bridget Binko accompanied JoAnn Menzer Kevorkian to Cebu, Philippines, for JoAnn’s son’s wedding in early March. They returned to the United States just as the borders were closing due to the pandemic. Bridget was furloughed for three months from her part-time registered nurse job at a hospital cancer resource center. She eventually got back to work, dressed head to toe in stylish PPE, collecting virus samples through car windows. She wrote: “You wouldn’t guess the number of people I need to ask to put their car into park gear! Some days I wonder why I hadn’t turned in my retirement notice as I had been thinking, but it is nice to feel useful to my community.”
Patti Goodall Strawderman wrote: “Like many Americans, I watched as the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others sparked a movement. Feeling overwhelmed but unsure of how to best show support for the Black community, I asked myself, how can I help? I discussed my idea to make a gift with a small group of MWC ’74 alumnae, and everyone responded enthusiastically. Serendipitously, we received a letter the next day from UMW President Troy Paino regarding the establishment of the Scholarship for Building Civic and Social Leaders. It is intended to promote the development of leadership skills for students committed to addressing societal issues disproportionately affecting black and underrepresented communities. The Painos seeded the scholarship with a gift of $5,000, and I thought this was a perfect opportunity to offer support to a worthy student seeking to make a difference for underrepresented citizens. If you feel moved to support the Scholarship for Building Civic and Social Leaders, you can make a gift at fund.umw.edu, or you can contact Lee Ann Reaser ’98, UMW development officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope you’ll join me and other members of the Class of 1974 in making a gift; any amount is welcome! Thank you to all the members of our class who have already made a gift to the scholarship!”
Patti is part of a group that gets together annually for mini-reunions. This year’s planned trip to Las Vegas had to be canceled, so Jonette deButts Hahn suggested they start Zooming, and it’s been fantastic.
Patti and daughter Megan were traveling in the Czech Republic in March when borders were shut down and they had to evacuate – a planes, trains, and automobiles affair involving an overnight flight from Prague to Manchester, a train ride to London, and an international flight back to the United States.
Patti and her husband and daughter had a series of rabies vaccine/immunoglobulin shots because they had a bat in the house while they were asleep, and the local health department recommended it. She reports that it didn’t hurt a bit, except for the outrageously high copays for each of the four visits.
Armecia Spivey Medlock
Hello, classmates! I hope everyone has been able to stay safe and healthy during this pandemic.
Since we’re all in the same age bracket, I’m sure many of you have been voluntarily isolating yourselves as I have. I, Armecia Spivey Medlock, spent the summer as a virtual nana to my two older California granddaughters, ages 7 and 5, tutoring reading via Zoom for an hour each weekday. I’ve also been walking and doing outside Zumba. If you’d told me last summer that I’d be doing Zumba outside in summer in the South, I would have said you were crazy! But my gym has a spacious parking lot with shade and lots of fans, and we can dance socially distanced. I’ve also enjoyed summer water aerobics at our community’s outdoor pool. I’m in a virtual Bible study and will teach virtual Sunday school this fall.
Our daughter is expecting her first child in mid-December, which energized me to make a long-overdue T-shirt quilt for her. I hope to have the quilt done by the baby’s arrival, but I’m not saying anything about it to my daughter in case my timeline slips. Quilt-making is a whole new territory for me, so time will tell!
I hope that you, too, have found interests and activities to occupy your time during the pandemic. I’d love to share with our classmates how you’ve been faring and what you’ve been doing. Who knows? Perhaps something you’ve been doing may inspire others.
Reunion Weekend is set for May 14-16, 2021. I hope by then we’ll will be in a position to belatedly celebrate our 45th in person. Here’s to seeing you there!
Please send news to the designated class agent according to the first letter of your last name.
Yolande Long’s third grandchild, Eleanor Catherine Fallen, was born May 26, 2020, to son and daughter-in-law Drew and Allison. She weighed in at 7 pounds, 7 ounces, and is the couple’s first child. Yolande’s daughter is the mother of Olivia and Gemma. All three of Yolande’s children and their children live near her in Richmond. Yolande was still working remotely for the Virginia Organization of Consumers Asserting Leadership but hoped to retire by year’s end.
Carolyn Roberts, Judy Sledge Joyce, Susan Grimes, Marti Taylor Clements, Laura Toler, and Jan Biermann have had a few Zoom calls to cheer up during the quarantine. Judy reminded us we have a reunion May 14-16, 2021. Thanks to her and Lucy Dee Kinsey for volunteering to be our reunion chairs.
Anne Robinson Hallerman
Janice Wenning, hubby Brad Stewart, and Blaze the schipperke started the year in Belize, as they usually do. They normally return in April but extended their stay to avoid a pandemic-related travel crunch. After Belize closed its resorts and shut down tourism, Janice and Brad were amazed to see the marine life venturing close to shore in the absence of zooming boats. They swam with eagle rays daily. Back home in Berkeley, California, they did several house projects. They planned more travel this summer, taking their Sprinter RV on the roads less traveled to New Hampshire and Virginia before returning to California in the fall.
Barbara Goliash Emerson
It was wonderful to hear from some classmates we have not heard from in a long time, if ever.
Pattie Auray Walker and Bobby married in July 1979 and have lived in San Antonio, Texas, ever since. Their eighth and youngest child graduated virtually from the University of Texas Austin in May. Pattie has started scaling back from her job as a broker associate with Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty, and Bobby was looking to retire in two years as a project executive for the Guido Bros. Construction Co. Their children live in cool cities including London, Seattle, Houston, and Austin. Patti, an avid runner, tries to run at least one half marathon per year.
Patti and her sisters get together once a year for a girls’ trip. Maryanne Auray Guido ’74 lives just five miles from Patti. Barbara Auray Hampden ’77 lives in Orlando. Laurie Auray Gobillot, who attended Mary Washington before graduating from the University of Texas in 1983, lives in Houston. And Susan Auray Schulz, a 1988 University of Virginia grad, lives in Atlanta.
Patti keeps in touch with Class of 1980 friends Ann Cary Nelms Carr, Betty Kay Williams Manzi, and Sue Carr Sabo.
In August 2019, Lorenza Amico went to Peru for a week and saw Machu Picchu. Lorenza also joined the Mary Washington group trip to Morocco in February 2020, returning just as the pandemic was shutting things down. Lorenza works in acquisitions and cataloging for the University of Virginia Library.
Kathy Shelton Sieg would love to connect with friends from Marshall Hall, Trench Hill, the volleyball team, psychology classes, and the Baptist Student Union. Kathy is a private tutor. She and husband Sam, a pastor, have four children and six grandchildren. A son and his family are missionaries overseas, and three other children live in the Maryland and Washington, D.C., area.
Ron Bennet ’80 graduated in December 1979 and sent an update to our Class of ’79. He and Barbara Swank ’80 married a few years after college but later divorced, and sadly, Barb passed away in 2006.
Ron wrote that he and then-girlfriend Barbara came to UMW together from Long Island. Ron worked part time at Hazelwild Farm, where the equestrian team trained. Ron lived in Bushnell Hall with Mike Garst, Larry McKenzie, and Tom Mazzarella. His last semester he lived off campus with Steve Jones of the administrative office. Ron served in the Navy from 1981 to 1985 and served two more years as a reserve, stationed in Virginia Beach.
Ron worked in computer programming and analysis in North Carolina. He and Barbara also leased horse farms and had horses, and Ron ran a business building horse-show jumps. The couple divorced in 2002.
Ron moved to Port Orange, Florida, in 2011, where he does computer systems work for a dialysis lab. He enjoys riding his 2015 Harley Davidson Ultra Limited.
Finally, a big shout-out to Gayle Weinberger Petro for her entertaining videos. Titled Positively Petro and posted on Facebook, they have focused on the bright side during the pandemic.