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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Suzanne R. Bevan
On January 1 a new scholarship in dance was presented by the Friends of Dance of UMW and the Sacred Dance Ensemble of Fredericksburg, in the names of Vicky Nichols Wilder and Florence Overley Ridderhof ’50. When endowed, this scholarship will join with the Claudia Moore Read Scholarship and Sonja Dragomanovic Haydar Scholarship to help dancers with their tuition at UMW. Congratulations to both ladies who have worked diligently for 20 years to promote dance at UMW and had no idea about this scholarship being formed in their names.
Our group continues to get together periodically and our big trip for the year was our 35th reunion in May at UMW. Anne Miller, Victoria Prescott, Alison Roedy Mack, Lizabeth Murray Patterson, and Martha Williams Locke all attended. Most of us stayed in the dorm and were pleasantly surprised at how nice it was. We especially loved the air conditioning on that blistering hot weekend. We then continued on to Asheville for a three-night tour of the area, including the Biltmore. The group is making plans to get together for lunch at Christmas as Alison will be up from Florida.
Amy Meyers Becker and Lizabeth Murray Patterson got together this summer in Phoenix, and then they flew to Whitefish, Montana, to stay at Beth’s mom’s home. They camped and hiked in Glacier National Park and toured Northwest Montana.
Beth retired in January of 2013 and has been leading the vagabond life, touring the west during the spring and summer and visiting national parks and hiking as much as possible. She also has been knitting and quilting again now that she has more time!
Kimm Harty writes, “After 31 years with the Utah Geological Survey, 20 of them as Deputy Director, I am retiring on January 1, 2016. Retirement plans include continuing to restore my 115-year-old house as well as extensive travel to Maui, Florida (twice), New York, and Cancun in 2016 and Bora Bora likely in 2017. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vicky Wilder celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Sacred Dance Ensemble and also the Friends of Dance of UMW at a large gathering of dancers on January 1, 2016. She is founder of both organizations and has been the principal choreographer of the Ensemble and leader of both groups. The Sacred Dance Ensemble has participated in many church services, weddings, funerals, pastor installations, and other events in Fredericksburg and other areas of Virginia. She has opened many hearts to movement being a part of praise and rejoicing. The Friends of Dance of UMW has given thousands of dollars over the years to deserving dance students at the University in the form of scholarships.
Lori Foster Turley
Audrey Komito Thomson has taken a new position as Executive Director of Philanthropy for the St. Mary’s Health System in Lewiston, Maine. She lives in Freeport, and her door is always open to alumni who are doing a little shopping at L.L. Bean (two and a half miles away). Her daughter, Bailey, has lived in Johannesburg, South Africa, for the past three years and is the Director of School Design for Spark Schools. Her son, Nathan, is in his final semester at Radford University.
Nancy Skinner Woodhouse is completing six years of teaching eighth grade Earth and Physical Science in Virginia Beach. She loves the students and teaching. In November, she and husband Bill celebrated 33 years of marriage. Bill has been working as a Financial Advisor for First Command for 30 years. Their daughter, Sarah (JMU ’09), who is living and working in Charlottesville, was married last September. Son Greg (VT ’12) is back in Virginia (after two-plus years in Huntsville, Alabama), living in Fredericksburg and working at Dahlgren.
This year has been one of joy and sadness for Mary Kay Lohr Crowley. Her son Andrew was married in June to his wonderful wife, Sarah. Her husband, Bill, passed away in December 2014 after a 30 year battle with heart disease. She has been the technical coordinator for the microbiology lab at a suburban Philadelphia hospital for over 25 years. For the last six years, she has enjoyed being an adjunct professor at Neumann University.
Just a reminder that our 35th reunion is June 3-5, 2016! I hope to see you there!
Marcia Guida James
Here’s the update. Sharon Robertson Williamson did go to Bangkok for work for four months and resumed her schedule in January 2016. She’s been busy painting (pictures, not walls) and starting a consulting firm and two “Lean In” circles in RVA to gather and mentor women in their careers in the area. Brian (hubby) is brewing a lot of beer and still designing mechanical things. Shelby is a senior at Virginia Tech and has had several internships in marketing and a semester overseas. Hunter is a sophomore at CNU and sang at the Vatican, and in Venice, Austria, and Germany in early 2015, concerts which Sharon and Brian attended.
Wendy Burnett Dickinson reports that she is in touch with Sarah Thompson Doig, Susan Jurkiewicz Nelson ‘84, Anne Marie Thompson Steen, and Kerry Devine ‘84. Sarah continues to operate her Hand-to-Hand Therapy Clinic in Colorado. Susan and her family are in Foley, Alabama and, as always, are contributing to the well-being of the community. Kerry and Wendy caught up at the celebration of life ceremony of Dr. Otho Campbell. Oldest daughter Hillary lived with Anne Thompson Steen and Dan Steen ’84 while she interned in D.C. during the summer of 2015. Hillary graduated from W&M in May 2015 and is now working for the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health as a Research Assistant. Wendy is pursuing certification as a coach and Alison Metzler LaMura has even assisted with some of Wendy’s assignments. Alison is an empty-nester who is exploring all of the possibilities that an empty nest brings. Wendy’s husband, John “JD” Dickinson, is serving on the UMW College of Business Advisory Board. JD is a partner of Dickinson Williams & Co., a lower middle market investment banking firm.
Anne Thompson Steen reports that she spent a chunk of the fall of 2015 in Singapore and Hong Kong meeting with Georgetown Alumni this fall. Georgetown sent her to Dubai, Munich, and Asia in 2015! Son Harrison graduates in May 2016 from Sewanee. Daughter Meredith is working for a national security consulting firm in D.C. Dan continues his travels all over with his job. They have visited with Karrie Nelson Ferguson, Susan Bancroft Leavitt, Jennifer Blair, Wendy Burnette Dickinson, and Sarah Thompson Doig.
Judy Sweetman Gwynn reported that she and her husband moved into their dream retirement home on the St. Mary’s River in 2013 with room for the boat and gardening, although they are not quite retired yet. Their youngest is at home now, with their middle daughter a sophomore at Mississippi State University. Judy is serving her second term on the UMW Alumni Association Board of Directors and loves it. In October of 2015, Judy traveled to Italy with a friend and visited Rome, Florence, and Naples. She also sees Sharon Arnold regularly.
Farah Maynor Marks reports that they are making the best of an empty nest as well, and just celebrated 30 years of marriage! Daughter Marilyn is married and resides in Cleveland where she teaches and plays violin in several regional orchestras. Son Sam graduates in May 2016 from Hampden-Sydney College. Farah has continued as Director of Development at Randolph College and enjoyed a summer trip to London with a group from Randolph. Farah saw her former MWC roommate Terry Sckinto Hogan this fall at her daughter’s wedding in Alabama, and also attended a recent alumni event where she saw Jennifer Blair and Heather Mackey!
Lynn Conville Abraham reports that she and her husband recently celebrated 25 years of marriage. They are adjusting to life with one child after the loss of their oldest two years ago in February. Lynn keeps in touch with a group including Freda White ’84, Cindy Chalkley ’84, and Marye Downs ’84.
Dannehl Bounds Strautz reports that after 32 years working with Accomack County Public schools, she and husband Don are in the final stages of closing on their new home in Waynesville, North Carolina. Son David attends college at Mississippi State University. They hope to settle permanently in Waynesville within a year or so.
Scott Harris reports that things have been very busy at the James Monroe Museum as they gear up for the forthcoming bicentennial of Monroe’s presidency, beginning with commemoration of the election of 1816 next year. They recently published a children’s book about a family’s visit to the museum, and released a second CD of music (Christmas carols) played on the Monroes’ Astor pianoforte in their collection. Scott also became president of the Fredericksburg Museums Council, a forum for directors of the community’s museums and other cultural attractions. He also joined the board of the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries as representative for the nine-state southeast region.
Susan Leavitt reports that she and husband Jon just purchased a place in Burlington, Vermont overlooking Lake Champlain to use as their “dream for the future.” Susan is still active on the CAS Board. She is planning to run the Paris Marathon 2016 in April.
Mabel Royal reports that in the fall of 2015, she, Verna Williams Watson, Harolyn Berry Bland, and Tia Scales met in Fredericksburg to attend the Dancing with the Fredericksburg Stars event at UMW. They enjoyed walking around campus and town, taking in the beauty of our alma mater in early fall. One of the highlights was seeing Dean Cedric Rucker ’81 as one of the stars in DWTFS. They had a wonderful time catching up with him at the champagne reception after the show and at brunch the next day at the Mason Dixon Cafe. Verna reports that she is retired and enjoying her new career as a Mom-Mom. Daughter Alexis and grandson Travis also traveled to Fredericksburg in September 2015. Harolyn reports that youngest son Justin graduated from Bridgewater College in May of 2015. He earned a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Art. He works for Premium Distributors and is still creating wonderful art pieces. He is hoping to show his art work soon. In November, Harolyn participated in a 5K Turkey Trot and won third place in her age group. Harolyn is a grandmom as well—daughter Jerilyn and her husband have two boys. Tia still works at the American Psychological Association, is active with Jazzercise, and has traveled to some pretty cool places in the last few years, including Canada and Greece. While in Fredericksburg for the DWTFS weekend, Tia enjoyed lunch at The General Store with Jocelyn Taylor (Gregory Taylor‘s daughter), who is a freshman at UMW.
Audrey Poindexter has embarked on a new career as a nurse and LOVES it. Mabel Royal is still teaching intro Biology courses at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina. Mabel got to travel this spring to the Association of Southeastern Biologist’s meeting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to present data from research investigating the infusion of research experiences in undergraduate Biology courses. After summer school, Mabel took a few days of vacation and enjoyed the beauty of Hilton Head, South Carolina.
Kathy Walters Along and husband Jim are empty-nesters now. Daughter Gina is a senior at FGCU’s School of Nursing. Son Joe is a freshman at Rice studying Korean language and linguistics. Kathy is still active in Junior League, and has hung up her Jazzercise shoes but still pursues yoga and spinning. They also now have a butterfly garden in their backyard.
Rae Morrison Scott completed a degree for registered nursing in December of 2015. She was the oldest member of the class and began employment at Norton Healthcare in January. Another highlight for Rae is that in July of 2015, she and her husband traveled to Israel.
As for me, my youngest son Frank is graduating from Vassar in May of 2016 and has accepted a job as software engineer for Bayden, an internet company in Mountain View, California. In November of 2015, I successfully defended my Master’s thesis in Health Policy titled, “Do Current Medicaid Policies Impact Continued Innovation? An Examination of the Value Based Model Experiment”. Three Masters degrees means I am done with school. My job with Aetna Medicaid has me on the road 80% of the time, so I’m everywhere, but coming home to Fort Lauderdale is fantastic!
Auby J. Curtis
In May, Betsey Dunn Kirkemo’s oldest daughter will graduate from Clarkson and her youngest from high school. She jumped the empty nest conundrum by downsizing first and selling her house second. She is still in the Denver area, along with fellow alum Lisa Featherstone Walsh who doesn’t live too far away. While they don’t get together often enough, it’s always fun when they do. A year and a half ago, Betsey was blessed to have Betsy Maguire Whiteside, Leslie Runaldue Tufarolo, and Eleni Sempeles Goldsmith support her family after her brother passed away suddenly. Betsey says it was so awesome to have people she’s loved for three decades offer their shoulders. This year, all four headed up to Juniata to watch the Clarkson volleyball team play UMW. It was fun to catch up on all the news from the student athletes and root for their alma mater (when they weren’t playing Clarkson). Betsey has been with the same company since 1992 and now she is the owner after her mentor passed away in 2014. It’s been a tough couple of years, but she says she’s blessed to have her MWC friends in her life.
Malinda Wilkerson Blevins has been married to the love of her life for 30-plus years. They have moved in and out of Virginia and have one son and three daughters. Their son, Baxter, graduated from VMI and is stationed in San Diego with the Navy. Their oldest daughter, Marshall, graduated from the University of Kentucky and is a track photographer, mainly for Evangeline Track in Lafayette, Louisiana. Emeline is a junior at the University of Richmond, and Meredith is a freshman at LSU. Malinda’s husband’s job has necessitated that they move, with their longest stay being in Tallahassee, Florida. Three years ago he was offered a job in New Orleans (Clerk of Court for the Federal District Court) and they made the move there, using the opportunity to downsize. Malinda found her dream job at the Historic New Orleans Collection. She is a docent, giving tours of the history galleries and founder’s home, in the French Quarter. She gets to meet people from ALL over the world. They just finished up the Christmas tour of the home, and they are in the midst of History of Mardi Gras tours, for at least another week. THEY LOVE being there. They have a lovely little shotgun on the west bank of the Mississippi, a quick ferry ride to the Quarter. They take every opportunity to attend a festival, concert, or parade!
Since our 30th reunion two years ago, Sarah Calvert has returned to active ministry from her year-long travel and study sabbatical in 2014-15. She lives in Fairfax and works with the 100 United Methodist churches in Northern Virginia, doing revitalization and leadership development. It is hard work, but she loves it! Her 22-year-old son, Matthew, lives in her house at Lake of the Woods, where he is pursuing ‘on the job training’ at a restaurant in Culpeper, rather than following in his over-educated mother’s footsteps.
Amy Blasch Liberty lives in Springfield, Virginia, with her family and is the proud mom of TWO Eagle/Devil daughters in the Classes of 2017 and 2019.
Glenn Birch happily continues to live in Ashland, Virginia, with his wife, Ellen, where they regularly perform original and traditional folk music as part of a trio. They also enjoy spending time on the Northern Neck. Glenn also works as Director of Public Relations for Virginia Credit Union in Richmond.
Russell Berry, Director of Operations at Nathan Grace Real Estate, was installed as the 2016 President of the MetroTex (Dallas area) association of Realtors, the fifth largest realtor group in the nation. Russell also sits on the Board of Directors for both the National Association and the Texas Association of Realtors.
Michael E. Weigel is a senior software engineer who lives in Goose Creek, South Carolina, with his wife Julie and their four kids. Their oldest daughter Emily, 19, was married on New Year’s weekend. Matthew, 16, is in 11th grade and plays varsity basketball. John is 14 and a very popular young man. Hannah is 10 and full of life and joy. In 2011, Michael and his family became involved with Civil War reenacting as members of the 10th South Carolina Volunteer Infantry, Company E, of the Palmetto Battalion (a real Unit during the Civil War). His mother passed away suddenly (less than 3 months) from pancreatic cancer in May of 2013.
Carmela Garcia Patrick lives in Prince William County with her husband Sherman with three of their six kids still at home. They have a seventh and 11th grader, and a freshman at JMU and another at NOVA. Their oldest daughter is married and lives in Los Angeles, and their oldest son works on Capitol Hill and has two daughters, so they are grandparents. Carmela is a zoning expert in commercial real estate and her husband is a development consultant working in a law firm. The two of them work on development and real estate projects in Northern Virginia, sometimes working together. After MWC, Carmela earned a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from UNC-Chapel Hill, worked as a planner in local government, took a break to raise kids, and is now working from an office in Manassas, Virginia.
Carmela and her former roommate Carol Green Major regularly meet in November at the Urbanna Oyster Festival. Carol is originally from Urbanna, and they have been going to the Oyster Festival as often as possible since freshman year. Carol lives in Stormont, Virginia, with her husband Tommy and their two children, Katlin and Trey. Carol is a CPA and works in Kilmarnock, Virginia. Carmela often sees Gayle Greenwood Whitlock, as they both volunteer for several community fundraisers and events. Carmela also occasionally sees Liz Stamoulis Via-Gossman.
Susan Gray Barrett has been living along the coast in Clinton, Connecticut, for the past 30 years. She has two daughters; Gillian Peters is a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts majoring in legal studies and women and gender studies, and Kelli Peters is a junior in high school at The Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, Massachusetts. After working in health care in Connecticut for the past twenty years in various financial and operational leadership positions, Susan currently is the Vice President of Primary Care Operations for Hartford HealthCare, working with over 25 primary and urgent care offices across the state. When not working, Susan and her boyfriend enjoy spending time outdoors hiking, biking, and snowboarding in Stowe, Vermont.
Ann Marie Victor and Scott Stableford ’86 happily made their last tuition payment when their son Sean Stableford ’15 graduated from Mary Washington in December.
After an exciting year and a half adventure living in Manhattan and working for NBC Universal, Charles Kennedy is back in Los Angeles and has a new job heading up TV and Film research for Amazon Studios—the group that makes original programming (“Transparent,” “Man in the High Castle,” etc.) for the streaming service of Amazon. His daughter graduated from Washington University in St. Louis last May and has been working for ABC. His son graduated from NYU and is following the actor route. He was an extra on “Orange is the New Black” and many other shows. Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Charles still surfs, bikes, and generally soaks up the California sun
As for me, we are enjoying our 10th year in Madison, Wisconsin. Our kids are doing well. Our son works in Seattle, and our daughter teaches elementary school in the area. Scott earned his PhD in History from UW-Madison and teaches Naval History at the University. I continue to work with ELL students in our local schools and love talking about books with my book club friends.
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A lot of us have hit the half century mark or are preparing to. So far, I love my fifties, but it is hard to believe that we graduated from college so long ago. Ken and I are now in our 20th year with the computer business, and the yoga studio just celebrated its second anniversary. Time goes way too fast. In addition to my businesses and my yoga practice, I have now taken up hiking. We are fortunate enough to have the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge just north of where we live and I hike most weekends. I have also started blogging on WordPress about hiking and yoga. Yoga and hiking are affording me new opportunities all the time, and I incorporate photography whenever I can. Life is busy and fun!
Jennifer Lee Parrish’s daughter graduated from high school in 2015 and is attending the Savannah College of Art and Design. In addition, Jennifer was elected in April of 2015 to a three-year term on the Executive Council of the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys (ADTA). ADTA is a national defense lawyer organization with one attorney per community of one million people, and she is the Fredericksburg member. The EC is the governing board of the ADTA. Congratulations to both of them!
Jane Ellen Brennan Herrin is still self-employed and her main client is photographer Joe McNally. She guides his social media across all his social channels, and travels with him and the crew once or twice a year. At the end of last summer, she attended PhotoshopWorld in Las Vegas and had the opportunity to do hair, makeup, and styling for the Cirque de Soleil performers. She also assists Joe with his podcast, “BTS with Bill and Joe.” In addition, she has a group of smaller clients who come to her for personal and business branding, social media training, strategy, analytics, and media coaching. Jane Ellen and husband Jim still live in the same house they bought when they married in 1993. Anna Grace turned 10 in May of 2015 and started middle school at the end of July as she entered fifth grade (Putnam County goes year round). Jenna rules elementary school as she is now in fourth grade. Anna Grace is in her second theatrical production as a workhouse orphan in Oliver at Cookeville Performing Arts Center Both girls are looking forward to the Cookeville Children’s Theater version of The Wizard of Oz. Jane Ellen reports that both girls are hilarious, smart, and sarcastic, and she and Jim couldn’t be more thrilled about that combination. Jane Ellen’s parents are alive and well in their early 90s, but Jim’s mother passed away earlier this year. In addition to the four human members of the household, the Herrins also have Gracie, a 13-year-old shepherd/Akita mix that they rescued from the local shelter; Max, a 15-ish blue heeler mix; Scout (To Kill A Mockingbird reference), who is half English shepherd and part blue heeler and black lab too; and three guinea pigs.
Julie Magness, like many MWC alumni, has celebrated the big 5-0 and survived. The celebration for the Pisces-born started last August with the trip back to Alaska, the land of her birth. Numerous other celebrations of the big 5-0 continued for many months (hey, it’s a milestone birthday so you should celebrate for a long time!) and now she feels like she’s at least 51. Alaska was awesome and everything she dreamed of and she’s saving pennies to go back. Julie and Kathy celebrated 14 years together in October (five of them legally married!!) and she is looking forward to 14+++ more.
Toni Moore Milbourne continues as editor of the Shepherdstown Chronicle (West Virginia). After nearly 20 years in the newspaper business, she is considering a potential run for local office in 2016. Her oldest daughter, Polly, graduated last May from Fairmont State University and will finish her masters with FSU in December. Son Allen has moved from learning the trade of hardwood floor installation to commercial heating and air. Maggie recently started 11th grade and Samantha started 10th grade. After visiting Mary Wash’s campus in June, Samantha has hopes to continue in Toni’s footsteps and attend. An upcoming tour is in the works. Toni and husband, Tom, celebrated 25 years of marriage this year with a trip to the Connecticut shore.
Jan Breen Tomes is married and living outside of Detroit. She and husband Mark became grandparents last July to a wonderful new grandson, Greyson Sean. Their daughter, Ashley, and her fiancé, Rob, live in Florida, so seeing the new grandbaby will not be frequent except on the great Facebook. Mark and Jan both work in automotive-related fields. In her spare time, Jan is the lead researcher and an investigator for Michigan’s largest paranormal investigation team, Metro Paranormal Investigations. She reports that her life is pretty dang busy and awfully fun. The team travels all over the country to investigate and help host events, and they also host their own events on one of the two last Forrest Sherman-class destroyers left in existence.
Please keep sending updates, either to my email address or you can find me on Facebook under Kim Jones Isaac.
Marsha D. Baker
Beverly J. Newman