Class Notes

These are the unedited class notes as submitted by class agents and other alumni. Edited notes appear in the print edition.

If you prefer to submit Class Notes by mail, send to:

UMW Magazine – Class Notes
1301 College Ave.
Fredericksburg, VA 22401



Lois Loehr Brown 

Myra McCormick Cole reports that she is 94 years old and proud of it!  She still gets around like always, with the exception that she stopped driving after becoming an elderly widow.  She has two daughters and one has moved in with her to serve as chauffeur. At home, after completing work on the computer she will work on a project. For the past few years she has made baby blankets and donated them to those in need. She also crochets afghan blankets or whatever else might catch her eye. Myra keeps in touch with classmate Dorothy Shaw, who lives in Buffalo, New York. She is also getting out and about.

The Mildred McMurtry Bolling Memorial Scholarship had a value of $107,390 as of June 30, 2014. Freshmen Hannah Bratton from Powhatan, Virginia, and Elizabeth Erskine from Staunton, Virginia, and sophomore Aleksandra Szcesna from Shelton, Connecticut, received scholarships.



Virginia Bennett Skillman

The Class of 1942 Scholarship in Business Administration in Memory of James Harvey Dodd had a value of $84,299 as of June 30, 2014. Autumn Coakley, a senior business major from Fredericksburg, Virginia, received the $3,900 scholarship.



No Class Agent

The Class of 1943 Scholarship in Memory of Levin J. Houston III had a value of $39,914 as of June 30, 2014. Grahm McGlinchey, a junior philosophy major from Strafford, New Hampshire, received the $1,850 scholarship.


Phyllis Quimby Anderson

Anna Austin Ware has enjoyed the beautiful October weather but said that the price is way down for the big annual corn and soybean festival. She has been getting ready for cold weather. Her daughter took her for a ride to see the local leaves in full color. After her last check-up she had lost eight pounds by drinking three cups of green tea a day. The doctor told her to cut it back to once a day.

Elizabeth Cumby Murray says her life goes on as usual. She plays Bridge four afternoons a week, one being Duplicate, and was also reading The Aviator’s Wife in her book club. She found out that Lindbergh was, as you might say, not a hero at home! Her fourth great grandchild, a boy, is due in April, joining his two-year old sister and two cousins. Her daughter, Diana, has retired from teaching so she and her husband have been enjoying Sarasota, Florida. Their daughter Caroline is a nurse at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Elizabeth’s son John and his family, who live in Nantucket, will all be at Trish’s home for Thanksgiving. John’s daughter Lauren teaches Special Needs Elementary classes in Nantucket, and his son Gregory, who just graduated from George Mason, plans to seek employment in Washington, D.C. She wishes everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas.

Mary Ellen Gardiner Starkey is still moving and is still living alone but doesn’t drive and has some help. She does have some family nearby.

Isabel Hilldrup Klein lost her husband and has had a hard time without him. I was not able to reach her on the telephone.

Phyllis Quimby Anderson: I’ve been doing well; in fact my doctor said I was fantastic and not needing any medication, except for my hair (psoriasis.) I also play Bridge, but only once a week. My son is with me so he and I deliver Meals on Wheels (about 18) once a month. I sing in the Choir and am still active in our Church Fellowship and all. It’s a great little typical Vermont Church. Like Elizabeth, I have three great grandchildren and one due in January. So far the first two are girls, the last one a boy and a boy on the way. They are all in New Jersey and I don’t get to see them very often, which I really feel sorry about. We had a very sad spring because one of my daughters passed away in June. She had ovarian cancer and was living in Arlington, Virginia, so we had many trips going there but always went by train. In the fall last year she was doing well, even came up to Vermont for one of my daughters’ wedding. Her son left his job in Chile to stay and take care of her with what he could do. He was unbelievable. She was in and out of the hospital. Some of my other girls went to help her when they could. She would have been 60 years old in a week but looked 45 before she got sick. She was one of my artists. Our local Westminster Cares has had a celebration every year for all those in town who are 90 and older. We have one man here who was 100 in June and is as sharp as a tack. In September my two sons went to the annual USS NEW YORK reunion, which was in Washington this year. It is narrowing down to few vets so the children are trying to keep it going. We of course took the train, as we always do.

The Class of 1944 Memorial Scholarship had a value of $322,317 as of June 30, 2014. Scholarship recipients Stephanie Buckler, a sophomore mathematics major, received $3,008, Sabrina McNeill, a freshman, received $4,000, Sarah Rogers, a sophomore historic preservation major, received $3,008, and Arriana Taylor-Roy, a senior biology major, received $3,008.




No Class Agent


Patricia Mathewson Spring

Frances McDonald ’67 reports that her mother, Jeanne Veazey McDonald, who graduated from Mary Washington in 1946, died in January.

The Class of 1946 Scholarship had a value of $59,319 as of June 30, 2014. Eynav Ovadia, a junior art history and museum studies major from Thousand Oaks, California, received the $2,810 scholarship.


Betty Moore Drewry Bamman

The weather here in Central Florida turns fall-like in mid-October; days are in the low 80s and nights are in the low to mid 60s. Flowers stay in bloom most of the year and the two seasons we have are fall and summer.

Ladies, let me know what is going on with you!


No Class Agent

Nina Giera Schmidt sent news hoping to catch up with fellow alumna. She summarized the past sixty-six years in an email, report that her first job was as a research technician at New York Hospital NYC; the research project was muscular dystrophy. Two years later, she met and married a wonderful man, Don Schmidt. They raised four children who were and are very successful in their respective careers. All have married, and have collectively produced seven lovely grandchildren. Because Don’s career was in the shipping industry, she was afforded many trips: New Zealand, Australia, Africa, France, Switzerland, England, Puerto Rico, Bermuda, Nassau, Jamaica and Hawaii. They toured with a church group to Hungary, Austria and Poland, and took part in a one week bicycle tour on Prince Edward Island, Canada. She still has a passion for golf three days a week and another day on a short course, and can still beat some young whipper-snappers. She spends time in the gym the other three days a week. Her church activities keep her busy, with being a Eucharistic Minister, Rosary maker, member of the Council of Catholic Women, baking for bake sales, participating in a small faith sharing group and Bible study. She is ever so grateful for the wonderful education and experiences she gained at MWC, now UMW. “Hey, 48ers where are you and what are you up to?”

The Ellen Alvey Montllor ’48 Scholarship had a value of $61,216 as of June 30, 2014. Freshmen Meghan Fens of North Chesterfield, Virginia, Justin Ford of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Emma Stanley of Ashland, Virginia, each received $940 scholarships.



Anna Dulany Lyons

June Davis McCormick

While our news is being written for the spring issue, the glorious colors of autumn currently surround us even as unusually low temperatures predict winter’s approach.

Sad news was relayed to us from Toronto when Corinne “Conni” Conley Stuart reported the passing of Norah Pitts Byrnes’ husband, William, in Atlanta, Georgia. Although Long retired from his practice as physician/anesthesiologist, he was known to both his patients and many friends simply as “Dr. Bill.” With a few health problems over recent months, he died in early August from pneumonia. It was quite sudden, unexpected and, thankfully, a less protracted ending to a productive life of helping others. On behalf of all her caring classmates, a message of heartfelt sympathy was sent to Norah, their three sons and their families.

Health problems continue to arise for too many of our classmates. Harriet “Scotty” Scott Brockenbrough alerted us to a serious health issue for her BFF Elizabeth “Liz” Barnes Hornsby earlier in the year. Harriet has kept us posted as to Liz’s progress over recent months as she continued to improve. In October, during a week’s visit to her hometown on the Eastern Shore, Harriet spent an afternoon with Liz. Because of her illness, Liz now lives with her youngest daughter, Jane, and her husband in Salisbury, Maryland, where Jane works as a nurse and gives expert TLC to her mother. Happily, the three spend frequent weekends back in Liz’s lovely home in Harberton and Liz has begun to play bridge again. Although her communication skills had temporarily left her, she was making good progress through speech therapy. With her indomitable spirit, we know Liz will continue to recover from this major setback.

During Harriet’s visit back to her roots, she stayed with her youngest son, Tom, in Onancock. They had a vantage point to see the NASA rocket launched from nearby Wallops Island, which was aborted. The following night, they again were in place and witnessed both the launch and the unfortunate explosion of that rocket. That same night, in a more festive atmosphere, Harriet and four of her high school BFFs had their annual reunion and so-called “sleep-over” although, even as octogenarians, we suspect there was more gabbing than sleeping! Harriet planned to return to the Eastern Shore again in November to attend a wine and oyster evening at Chatham, the farm where she was reared. A couple from Great Falls bought it, planted a vineyard and built a winery known as Chatham Winery & Church Creek wines. Harriet said she had wanted to attend one of the events since they were started. Accompanied by her oldest and youngest sons, she looked forward to an enjoyable, nostalgic time for them all.

As we’ve previously reported, Barbara Trimm Wright has endured traumatic eye problems for the past two years, originating suddenly by an aneurysm which affected her sight. After extensive surgery at the UVA hospital, she has been undergoing treatment and checkups on a regular basis. Left with double vision, she has relied on close friends and her nephew for transportation. Now for the good news: in October, following an MRA and examination, her neurosurgeon was quite pleased with the degree of improvement and saw the aneurism had been absorbed from nearly the size of an Oreo cookie to about nickel/dime size. Although her single vision had returned by about 80%, the consensus was that it might plateau there, but there still was hope for a full return of her single vision. Barbara said she would welcome further improvement but is content in knowing that she is “too blessed to be stressed!” And that is her indomitable spirit…and faith.

Another dear classmate, Dolores “Dee” Ross, also has been having ongoing tests and trials to determine the best course of treatments for her several health issues, further complicated by her being unable to tolerate chemotherapy for one diagnosed problem. Thankfully able to attend our 65th Reunion Weekend, she tired easily and had to rest in her donated bedroom at Kalnen Inn at frequent intervals. As we’ve reported, Dee was honored for that donation during the Inn’s 10-year anniversary celebration during our reunion. A faithful donor of Mary Washington scholarships in both her and her late sister’s names, she continues to attend the annual Scholarship Donors Luncheon and enjoys meeting with her respective recipients. Then, last April she was afforded the highest honor of being named to the Washington Society, exclusive to donors of an elevated total. Although slowed by her health status, Dee took great delight in planning, inviting and hosting a gala party at her club in Kilmarnock, Va. to celebrate her 85th birthday in October! Of the 150 invitations sent, 143 guests happily accepted. Among the attendees were several officials from Mary Washington, including Rick and Rose Hurley and other fast friends from Fredericksburg. Dee’s adored dog Joe sat in a place of honor, wearing a festive black and white striped bow tie, a picture of which we expect will adorn Dee’s annual Christmas card. Indomitable spirit? We think Dee already is formulating plans for her 90th!

With her two great-granddaughters graduating from two different high schools in June, Elizabeth “Betty” Fischer Gore was relieved that both ceremonies were held at the George Mason University field house, with unlimited seating. Betty noted that such a setting avoided the difficulty of “an old lady” having to plow through crowded venues. This so-called “old lady” went on an extensive cruise in October along the Iberian Coast, from Lisbon to Barcelona. It was a small ship with passengers of alumni from colleges all over the states. Betty’s roommate was an old (93!) friend who had attended Mount Holyoke. The ship made daily stops at different ports for excursions to interesting sites. Betty said her favorite visit was to the Alhambra in Grenada, as she had wished to visit that Moorish fortress ever since reading Washington Irving’s Tales of the Alhambra in junior high school. That’s a lifetime goal and Betty finally fulfilled her wish…with indomitable spirit!

Betty’s dear friend Mary Elwang Sharpley and Barbara Westerman Newlon enjoyed attending basketball games at UVA together, but the Colonnade, their retirement center in Charlottesville, hadn’t had enough requests for the Cavalier’s football games to provide transportation. However, UMW’s perennial and willing escort, Jan Clarke, drove Mary to the October alumni meeting in Charlottesville, where Mary said she met Pres. and Mrs. Hurley for the first time.

Speaking of great-grands, Joyce Hamilton Eisler reported the arrival of her and Joe’s newest great-granddaughter, Leila Marie. Born in September, she was to be christened in November in Mission, Kansas, home of her parents. The new arrival is the fifth great-grandchild for Joyce and Joe. Their two sons, David and Doug, and their daughter, Anne, have given them an extended family of 10 grandchildren, each one pursuing divergent careers, and the current total of five great-grands. Joyce and Joe were actively involved in November’s Annual Bazaar at Brittany Pointe, their retirement community in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. With all merchandise donated, they made over $31,000, the bulk of which goes for scholarships to graduating high school seniors who comprise the Wait Staff in their dining room. Recovering from that two-day event, Joyce said she and Joe both were well and looking forward to a great family gathering at Christmas.

Writing of those awards reminds us to report on our own Class of 1949 Scholarship. At the end of the last fiscal year, 2013-14, with only three donations totaling $3,165, we had two recipients to continue aiding for the academic year of 2014-15, Jessica Hopkins ’15 and Casey Klein ’17. This is the fourth year that Jessica, a senior history major from Duncannon, Pennsylvania, has received our scholarship. Casey, a rising junior from Fredericksburg, had not yet declared his major. Let us all remember that our donations are needed to give assistance to these and future students, in honor of our iconic class, the Fabulous Forty-Niners!

Our bubbly Betty Bond Heller Nichols wrote that she didn’t know where the summer went, saying one minute it was June, she turned around and it was suddenly September. She knows that her summer was good, with her annual trip to the beach with the kids. After that she didn’t do anything eventful, but says at this stage of life, uneventful is fine! Her taking on playing at the piano bar in Lexington seems eventful to us! Oh, the gig is going great and the owners want her to play every Friday night, but she really doesn’t want to play that much, so it’s every other week. She said if she had to go too often it would get to be work and she wants it to continue to be fun. B.B. admits it’s a big ego trip, saying she feels like Dolly Levy coming down the steps at the café (Hello, Betty!) because all of the cute young waiters are attentive and are simply fascinated that she plays for a total of three hours with no sheet music on the rack before her. She does keep a list of titles at hand in case she goes blank and doesn’t know what to play next. As if that wasn’t enough, Betty Bond continues playing at the local Kendal retirement home every week for a group that loves to sing (some of them younger than we are.) They’ve done a Broadway show that was a huge success, and were working on a Thanksgiving one. She said some of them she’s had to drag into the musical theater scene, while others are reliving their pasts and having a ball. She adds that by planting herself on a piano bench and leading the singing, she feels she’s still constructive in doing something for others. That she has given freely of her time and talents all her life truly speaks of Betty Bond’s ongoing indomitable spirit!

We began with word from Conni, who also wrote of her husband Bonar’s recent hospitalization and rehab for ongoing health issues. She was expecting him to be released from rehab to return home in November, adding that she’s been kept very busy as a result. She also mentioned that the two recent movies in which she was featured now were being shown on The Movie Channel. So, you might be able to catch Conni’s performance in either Old Stock or Cas and Dylan (with Richard Dreyfuss) on TMC…watch for our amazing Conni, with her own indomitable spirit.

As ever, love to all of you from both of us.