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[Editors’ note: We are sorry to share the sad news that longtime class agent June Davis McCormick passed away Feb. 26, 2019, just a few weeks after she submitted the Class Notes we share here. Throughout her illness, June displayed her characteristic grace and positive outlook, and that spirit is reflected in the final paragraphs of these notes — her enduring well-wishes for her beloved fellow Fabulous Forty-Niners.]
January actually began the 70th Reunion Year for the Fabulous Forty-Niners! We like to think there’ll be classmates returning for that very special weekend in June, “the Good Lord willin’ and the creeks don’t rise.” With only the possibility of Elizabeth “Betty” Fischer Gore’s daughter Carolyn accompanying her from Fairfax, there are no other likely attendants from our now-nonagenarian group.
Unhappily, we must report the loss of three more dear classmates who died recently.
Norma Edwards Tyler passed away in July at 90. She came to MWC from Richmond
to major in psychology. After graduation, she married Edward Tyler and they remained in Richmond to rear their family. Preceded in death by her husband, her parents and a brother, she is survived by two sons, James and Steve, a daughter, Joan Garton, three granddaughters and four great-grandsons. Known as “Grammy” and “Grandma Honey” to all, her greatest joy in later years was enjoying and playing with her grandkids. She also was devoted to her church, especially working with its women’s circle. In late July, a celebration of her life was held at Beulah United Methodist Church in Richmond.
With no maiden name reported, the obituary for Frances “Fran” Scandlyn Henley was difficult to trace, but we finally found her! Also 90, Fran passed away in November at Roane Medical Center in Harriman, Tenn. Born in Morgan County, Fran grew up in Harriman where she first met young David Henley when she was only 12 years old. They remained sweethearts from then on and were married for a grand total of 72 years! A member of First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, of Rockwood, TN, Fran and David were married in 1947, returning to Harriman the following year to work together in his family’s store, Henley’s Grocery. In 1956 they moved to Rockwood to join Fran’s brother, Hershel Scandlyn and his wife, as co-owners of Scandlyn Lumber Company. Fran found a special interest in her new friends’ artistic endeavors and soon began painting herself. She later took art classes at the University of Tennessee and, as a result, her paintings now hang in many area homes, businesses, art galleries and other areas in both Tennessee and Florida. She was a past-president of the Tennessee Watercolor Society and member of the Knoxville Watercolor Society, Art Market and Knoxville Museum of Art. Over the years, Fran won both state and local awards working in oil, pastel and watercolor and shared her love of art with a niece. She is survived by husband David, two sons, two daughters, six grands and seven great-grands. Fran was deemed a true “Southern lady” who loved sharing laughter and subtle fun with her many friends over the years, who will miss her gentle humor as well as her artistic production.
Word of the passing of our well-known classmate Jane Blair Yeatman Spangler, at 91, came from a sorrowful message in late November. A native of Washington, D.C.,
Jane had a lifetime of dedication to many areas of interest. Armed with her psychology degree from MWC, she then took 18 hours of courses between ’49 and ‘’52 at George Washington University to obtain her Reading Specialist degree in ’81 from Millersville University School of Education. Jane then taught elementary school classes in Virginia and New York State before marrying the love of her life, Robert Spangler, in 1952. They lived in Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina where Jane was an active volunteer in, among many other interests, various historical societies and political organizations and became deeply dedicated to Episcopal Church Women while continuing her activities in many other areas of special concern. In earlier years as an elementary school teacher, she resumed as a reading specialist after her children were grown. Highly opinionated and out-spoken, but with a quick wit, Jane was known for being the life of the party wherever she went. And wherever they lived, she made friends easily, keeping many for a lifetime. An excellent cook with a plethora of cookbooks, she loved trying varied recipes, with her family being most-willing guinea pigs.
Jane and Bob reared two daughters, Janet and Nancy, and their son, Robert, Jr., known also as “Beau.” When they all married, the family eventually expanded to include their grandchildren and great-grands, all of whom became the joyful bonuses of their lives. That’s a brief summary of Jane’s post-MWC and ongoing community involvements.
After Jane lost her husband of 56 years, she also had some health issues. However, her daughter Janet, a registered nurse, quickly moved in with her to oversee her daily care.
With steady improvement, Jane and Jan enjoyed a lovely European river cruise last year and anticipated others to come. Jan said her mother was in relatively good health this year as they made their annual visit to Beau’s home in Hershey, Pa. for several days. Jane was in rare form, laughing and joking, especially enjoying being with her children and all the grands and great-grands. Happily surrounded by her loving family, Jane suddenly and silently departed this life. Her doctors thought it the result of a cardiac arrest or a quick stroke, but her family recognized her gentle passing as truly her given blessing. Learning of Jane’s final moments, surely we all might wish for such a graceful ending. After Bob died in 2008, Jane and Jan started a new Christmas tradition. They invited any friends whose families were out of town, visiting in-laws or just without any family at all, to have Christmas dinner with them. Although none of her family could be there, Jan wanted to continue that tradition for one more year to honor her mother. So she had a pot-luck Christmas dinner for 24 of their friends. Jan said they had a festive dinner and everyone agreed that her Mom would have approved. We would be remiss not to include the relationship of the BFFs whose original friendships endured all these years. Betty Bond Heller Nichols, Charlotte “Chot” Baylis Rexon and Dorothy “Dotty” Booker Pinkham not only formed their forever-friends status at MWC, they stayed in close contact through the years, attended every Fabulous Forty-Niner Reunion Weekend well into their 80s and now sadly mourn their first loss. Preceded in death by her parents and her beloved Bob, Jane is survived by her two daughters, her son, the five grands, two great-grands and all who loved her. A memorial service was held in November at All Saints Episcopal Church in Concord, NC with a later internment to be at Christ Church in Reading, Pa.
Each successive year brings fewer Christmas cards from classmates, with no news but only well wishes. Betty Bond and I usually rely on emails to keep in touch. However, she reports that her computer is old and slow, which sounds vaguely familiar in both senses. With her usual December activities keeping her busy, she again planned and played for another Christmas song fest for the nearby Kendal retirement facility, which takes a lot of her time but is greatly enjoyed by the residents. With all four grandkids home for the first time since summer, she anticipated more family gatherings during the holidays. B.B. is still driving herself to her 3-times weekly dialysis appointments, but limits herself to in-town trips and home before dark, which “works for her.” She said things are going along much as usual, but just in slow motion!
Relaying her plans for Christmas this year, Corinne “Conni” Conley Stuart said her entire family would be together. Son Curtis and his family were to leave Saint Louis to spend the holidays with his brother Tony and his family at their home in Los Angeles. Joining them from Toronto, Conni planned to stay on for several weeks after the holidays to look into the possibilities of relocated back to Los Angeles and taking up residence at the Motion Picture facility for retired members of the acting profession. Married for 64 years, Conni and Bonar had lived and worked in L.A. for several years prior to their major move to the busy production center of Toronto, but Conni said most of their contacts and former friends are no longer around. It’s a difficult decision to leave Toronto, but it may be timely to be near Tony and his family. Conni attached a great picture of herself with both sons, all happily smiling, and she actually looks too youthful to be their mother. Good genes!
With no word from Barbara Trimm Wright for a few months, I sent emails to ask if all was well with her in South Hill, Va. In the absence of any reply, my concern grew. She had always enjoyed our email exchange, especially the forwarding of humorous material. Contacting her former roommate, Alta Towe Fogelgren in Virginia Beach, also brought no current information. Because Barbara has had several health issues in recent years, I was worried. Finally, direct mail brought an answer. Since Barbara lives alone, her nephew and his wife felt she needed more care and got her admitted to a nearby health facility. With that address, I finally heard directly from Barbara herself, but she has left her computer at home and now uses her trusty typewriter for all communication. She agreed that she needs more care and sounds content in her new residence. Search concluded, mystery solved!
Since writing of Harriet Scott Brockenbrough chosing to spend her 90th birthday last July back on the Eastern Shore, I was anxious to learn whether she also had returned to her birthplace for Christmas. Having had three serious spinal surgeries last year, months of physical therapy and braces, she made it back to Chatham Farm as promised! Son Tom again had the house gaily decorated, with the tree in its usual place, and she spent four nights in her old room, for a total of five days there. One of her high school classmates took her to visit another who now is confined to a nursing home after a bad fall. After a nostalgic and rewarding stay in her childhood home, son Ben drove her back to Covenant Woods in Richmond, tired but happy. Harriet has made such progress recently she now is driving to church and the grocery store and only uses a cane for walking outside. She often “walks away from the cane” which is returned to her by friendly store employees. Son Scott, a research scientist, and his wife, Jenny, a radiologist, now are fully retired and have relocated to Tucson, Ariz. Harriet was visiting them in Phoenix last year when she was stricken and feels so very lucky that her daughter-in-law had immediate access to the hospital for her diagnosis and first surgery. But it’s Harriet’s indomitable determination that has allowed her remarkable recovery. Keep on keeping on, dear Harriet!
For a final bit of business, here’s a report on our Class of 1949 Scholarship. Our newest recipient is a young man named Brandon Lefebvre ’21 from Massachusetts. As an accounting major, he hopes to earn his CPA and start his own business one day. Now a sophomore, he made the Dean’s List both semesters of freshman year, is also on the Men’s Lacrosse team and was voted the peer leader for his recruit class. His parents are very supportive, even driving seven hours to see his game! His dad was injured on the job as a paramedic and is thankful for our help. The only criteria for our recipient is that he be aa odd-year DEVIL! Just as a reminder, our monetary awards are made every year, but the award budget grows much smaller without donations. So please keep our scholarship alive and healthy for future Devil recipients. End of commercial.
As for me, I made it through a full year of immunotherapies and hope to go even a bit further. We’ve lost too many dear classmates in our brief and mutual moment on earth, when friendships become even more precious to us. So may we keep setting our alarm clocks in the hope of seeing another new day dawn. With my love to you all, still June.
Frances Evadena Henley ‘49
Jane Blair Yeatman Spangler ‘49
Norma Edwards Tyler ‘49
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