Class Notes

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



Lois Loehr Brown 


Virginia Bennett Skillman


No Class Agent


Phyllis Quimby Anderson

Anna Roberts Ware wrote right away. I usually put her note in a safe place hoping for more news. I lost it and finally found it on the Class Notes due date. Thank you, Anna, for being on time. She enjoyed watching the celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, found herself humming to Yesterday, and said she’d never paid attention to them before. Her daughter was coming for dinner and to take her grocery shopping. At her January family reunion, Anna walked between two men in 4 inches of snow. She was the oldest; the youngest was 7 months. Anna hadn’t been able to get in touch with Nancy Gravatt Tucker and Nettie Evans Lawrey.

Elizabeth Cumby Murray plays bridge every week and duplicate sometimes. She uses a cane and drives but doesn’t travel. In 60 years in Nantucket, she’d never seen a winter as cold and snowy. Her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were well and thriving.

Mary Ellen Starkey was doing well, uses a cane, and has a lady in to help her. Isabel Hildrup Klein moved to a Southport, N.C., health and rehabilitation center. I hadn’t been able to get in touch with Isabel since she told me Bob passed away this winter. She has support from family and was expecting her first great-grandchild.

Nancy Turner Duval Andrews ’44, mother of Mary Turner Andrews Deworken ’75, passed away in August. Mary said her mother was proud of her ties to Mary Washington College and the Class of ’44, and shared happy memories from MWC with her family. Mary thanks the college and Nancy’s friends for helping make her the special person she was.

I (Phyllis Quimby Anderson) play bridge, sing in the choir and volunteer at church, do Meals on Wheels with my son, and am in the Red Hat Society. I walk with a cane if it’s icy, and I don’t drive at night. My son has been staying here, deciding whether to go back to his house in Utah. He’s been a big help in and around the house. He has his first car, a ’55 Thunderbird, here and has been working on it. My newly married daughter and her husband live upstairs in sort of an apartment while they house hunt. I expected my fourth great-grandchild in August.


No Class Agent


Patricia Mathewson Spring


Betty Moore Drewry Bamman

Nancy Robertson Guthrie met and married a Marine from Quantico in 1945, has lived in Atlanta for 43 years, has four children and eight grandchildren, and still travels. She remembers Mrs. Bushnell at Mary Washington and said, “The rules were quite strict … it was all girls!” Nancy no longer hears from classmates. One of her daughters was planning a summer party to celebrate Nancy’s 90th birthday.


No Class Agent


Anna Dulany Lyons

June Davis McCormick

If summer’s weather proves as severe as that of winter, we may wish for the return of record-low temperatures.

For her annual Christmas card, Elizabeth “Betty” Fischer Gore photographed her new gingerbread house, depicting a schoolhouse with a bell tower, gingerbread children at recess, a peppermint slide, and a teacher standing in the doorway. Betty and her late husband, Hershel, reared two daughters and two sons, who have given her six grandchildren. Two granddaughters, students at nearby Oakton High, named her Christmas creation for their school and added their own festive touches. Betty does water exercise, volunteers with the Vienna, Va., Woman’s Club, plays bridge, and enjoys family gatherings. Betty attended New York’s American Watercolor Society show in April, her grandson’s graduation from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in May, and a Gore family reunion in Richmond. An avid Washington Nationals fan, she attended a home game. In October, she joined an Elderhostel in Warwick, N.Y., to learn more about playing bridge. In November, she shared a celebration of her birthday and Thanksgiving with her daughters and their families in New York. Her sons and their families also were in NYC to see her granddaughter, Trisha Gore, in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as one of 800 dancers in “Spirit of America Cheer.” Betty also has a granddaughter who is a junior at George Mason, a grandson in his third year at U.Va., and a grandson who is a senior at Thomas Jefferson High.

Frances “Blackie” Horn Nygood wrote and illustrated a Christmas original featuring the residents of her Rum Bridge Kennel in Georgetown, Del. In keeping with tradition, Blackie put on a production of The Nutcracker, with apologies to Tchaikovsky. Her unique ballet featured the “Corps de Basset,” with the iconic roles portrayed by her bassets and dachshunds. Blackie is still an AKC judge, but after years of involvement in the annual Westminster show, is content to enjoy the telecast from Madison Square Garden.

Dolores “Dee” Ross plans her annual Christmas card around her adorable dog. Her most recent featured Joe against a crimson background, sedately sitting by a matching pillow embroidered with a golden halo over the words “good dog.” Dee returns to Mary Washington for official and unofficial functions, and enjoys meeting with her scholarship recipients during the annual April Donor Appreciation Luncheon. Later in April Dee was to receive a special honor about which we’ll report next time. Earlier in the year Dee took a few day trips. In March, she planned to join her Kilmarnock bank group, fly to Memphis, board a paddleboat, cruise down the Mississippi, and tour New Orleans. Meanwhile, Joe was well attended by a neighbor.

Jean “Murph” Murphy Baptist of Martinsville, Va., is sad to read in Class Notes of the passing of so many classmates. Murph mourned the passing of her dear roommate Virginia “Jinny” Merrill MacLeod, whom she thinks of often. Murph reported a possible shoulder surgery, which she hoped might relieve pain. She has five great-grandsons and expected a great-granddaughter in January.

Margaret “Peggy” Walton Mason is also sad to learn of the loss of classmates in Class Notes. Peggy’s great-grandson was born to her only granddaughter and her husband in Decatur, Ga., in February. Her first great-grandson was born the previous February in Ashburn, Va. We believe our record for great-grands continues to be held by Gwen Brubaker Connell of Fort Myers, Fla., who currently has 17! Gwen got an early start when she left MWC freshman year to wed Jack and start a family. If our math is correct, Gwen and Jack were to celebrate their 69th anniversary in October.

In the midst of Christmas preparations and performances, Betty Bond Heller Nichols was thinking about Reunion Weekend, beginning on Memorial Day again this year. She doubted our class attendance would be large but felt the need to at least show up, even for just a day trip for lunch on Saturday to see everybody. This year was to mark the 13th official reunion that B.B. and her BFFs, Jane Yeatman Spangler of Concord, N.C., Charlotte “Chot” Baylis Rexon of Haddonfield, N.J., and Dorothy “Dotty” Booker Pinkham of Montpelier, Vt., had attended – a record of which they, and we, should be proud. B.B. promised to try to keep her group, and their record, intact.

Last year Anne “Miami” McCaskill Libis was hospitalized in January with pneumonia but recovered nicely. Claude recovered from his stroke of a year ago but was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which hadn’t spread. He was undergoing eight weeks of radiation. They took an Elderhostel/Road Scholar trip to Charlottesville – probably their last overnight journey – and visited the homes of presidents Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe. Through activities at their Glen Meadows residence, the Libises saw an outdoor bluegrass concert at a historic mill, attended the Baltimore Symphony concert season, visited an Amish home and farm, and saw a display of ancient mummies at the science center. During the holidays, they attended a music presentation at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, took a bus tour of light displays, and anticipated many evening music programs. Anne is active in the League of Women Voters, is a member of their garden and grounds committee, and even with her bad back, leads a monthly hike. Claude keeps busy with responsibilities at Glen Meadows. They attend the local Methodist church, where Anne volunteers at the thrift shop.

Last year Lucretia “Lucy” Vance Gilmer lost her sister, her brother, other family members, and close friends, attending more than a dozen visitations, funerals, and memorial services. She and a few remaining classmates attended their class of ’45 high school reunion luncheon. Lucy wrote a newsletter for her “other” college, Sullins, notifying classmates of an April reunion. She had her house painted. Her brother’s daughters and grandson came to Lucy’s for lunch at Thanksgiving.

Elva Tate Hasher of Mechanicsville, Va., celebrated her 88th birthday on Mother’s Day, then fell and broke her wrist.

In the last Class Notes, we described the latest role of our peripatetic actress, Corrine “Conni” Conley Stuart in Toronto, which sent her west to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, last November for the horror movie Wolf Cop. Filming a lengthy scene outdoors in snowy weather, she wore layers of clothing under her costume. Wardrobe also provided her with a full-length white shearling coat. Imagine Conni’s surprise when her agent arranged for her to be given that coat, which she said is perfect for Toronto’s frequent blizzards. In March, Conni saw clips and did additional dialogue for the film, scheduled to open June 6 (D-Day!). She also looked forward to the premiere of Cas & Dylan in April at a Toronto International Film Festival theater. Its star, Richard Dreyfuss, was to be there. Conni claimed she was “briefly crazy” in her role but said it seemed funny when they shot it.

We found Joyce Hamilton Eisler’s new email address and reconnected. She and her husband of 60 years, Joe, live in a Lansdale, Pa., retirement community. On Valentine’s Day, they were featured in a front-page newspaper story in The Reporter. Originally from Lexington, Va., Joyce and Joe knew of each other but didn’t meet until their blind date in summer 1951. Back from ROTC training, Joe needed a date for a fraternity party and friends suggested Joyce. “When I heard it was Joe Eisler, I was disappointed,” Joyce said with a laugh. “We moved in different circles.” But something clicked, and the summer was full of parties at Joe’s fraternity. They fell in love and two years later were married at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Lexington, which both their parents had been instrumental in building. Joe finished Naval OCS training and began his three-year service. They lived in government housing in Virginia, where eldest son David was born in 1955. They moved to Jacksonville, Fla., then Orange, Texas, where Joyce found a little house beside railroad tracks that shook every time a train passed. When his service ended, Joe took a job with Lees Carpets and was told they’d probably move every three to five years. They had two more children, Anne and Douglas, in the ’60s. When they moved, they’d get involved with Welcome Wagon, the local church, and book clubs. Their family was adaptable, and they credit their success as a couple to compromise and teamwork. On that special Valentine’s Day, they planned a dinner at the William Penn Inn. “We’ve had a whole life full of love and great memories,” Joyce added.

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