1979 Class Notes for 2016

Hello and good health to all who read these notes. My finger had scarcely left the “Send” button to some classmates on Facebook before Kathy McGowan Capelle (Homosassa, FL) responded with her news. Sadly, her mother died last June and her brother, Mike, died the following month.  “It is easier to die than to settle an estate!” Kathy said. “I am very blessed that my other brothers and I were all in agreement over who got what.”

Staring at 60, she said, seemed like a good time to reinvent herself, so she cut back on dialysis social work to once a week and started a private practice twice a week. Tom remains happily retired, and their grandchild count is steady at five, with four girls and one boy, ages four to seven.  At the time she wrote, they were “borrowing” their son Sean’s three children for the weekend. “Fun, but exhausting,” she added. She is keeping busy with community theatre, was elected President of the Board of Directors, and is also directing her first musical. Hope it went well, Kathy!

Claire Rabion Laveglia (Medford Lakes, NJ) also suffered the loss of her mother Polly (Class of 1950) last February. In May, they held a memorial service in her mother’s beloved garden with many friends and family. Her mother was able to meet her namesake, Polly, last year, which just amazed her. Claire’s son Joe and his wife, Julie, are Polly’s parents and live in St. Louis. He now is in the Air Force Reserves, and flies for FedEx. Julie works at Washington University in the study abroad department. Claire and Tony’s two other children remain single. Son Chris is in Montclair, NJ, and Janine is still in her beloved Newport, RI. Both are busy with work, weddings, and traveling. Claire now works part-time, but Tony loves his work, so it’s still a full workweek for him. They go to their home in Italy twice a year and love being part of a small community. Luckily, the recent earthquake did not affect their town, but it was felt. Even more fun, Claire and Bernadette Preston went on an amazing trip last September to South Africa, taking a tour run by friends of Claire’s. They went on safari, visited the Indian Ocean in Durban, flew to Cape Town and visited the Winelands and the Cape of Good Hope. Needless to say, they had a blast!

Kitty Ziehm Warkala (NYC) changed jobs (again!) this past June, to work for a smaller, profitable financial institution after so many years with the “big bracket” companies. She’s happy to say it’s been a very good move, although it’s tough being the “new kid.”

Speaking of kids, her daughter Liz is doing well, back in school at night getting her Masters in Sports Business at NYU.  She really loves the program. During the day she continues to work at her old high school (Marymount) as the assistant to the Athletic Director, managing the office and coaching volleyball and basketball.

Since Kitty just started the new job there have been no major vacations but she and Mark do manage to get away most weekends to places like the Long Island wine country, Jones Beach, Hudson Valley and the Jersey shore. In July they attended the lovely wedding of Trish Fusto Kanagy’s son in St. Petersburg, FL, along with Eileen Sergison Vogel. “Lots of laughs!” she added.

And here is Trish’s news: She and Dave downsized two years ago and moved into a 55+ golf community in Aurora, Colorado, which is much closer to his work and the airport. It has been the best decision, she said, and they are enjoying all the amenities, new neighbors and friends. Thinking about retirement (someday), they bought and renovated a three-bedroom condo in Naples, FL, and enjoy going down when they can. Trish has caught up with Lisa Griffin a couple of times when they’ve been in the area at the same time.  Dave continues in his 14th year as Executive Director of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration and Trish gets to travel with him. On the radar is Vegas for September, Singapore in November, NYC in January and then back to Peru in September. When she’s not traveling and unpacking her suitcases, she is staying busy gardening, playing golf and enjoying the beautiful mountains.  Their youngest, Andrew (31) married Erin Leigh Jones in July. Ben, their oldest, served as best man. “It was a lovely weekend and I was so lucky to be surrounded by the friends and family who came to help us celebrate!” she said.  “Mark, Kitty (Ziehm) and Liz Warkala and Eileen (Sergison) Vogel made the trek and I was so grateful for their presence as they kept me grounded the entire weekend with their love and support and wisdom. There’s something to be said about lifelong friendships.” Trish’s mom (83) has been in assisted living for a little over a year. Her health and mobility were compromised by spending three months in the hospital with pneumonia and this living situation has allowed her to become stronger and more active.

It was great to hear from Marie Murray (Charlestown, MA). The occasion was her recent trip to the New Jersey Meadowlands to see Bruce Springsteen. On her way home through Connecticut, she said she thought of me and Ann Novotnik. When she got home, there was my letter, so she wrote.  Marie has been a school counselor for the past 16 years, and has one year to go. No plans for the next chapter, but she knows it won’t be in a school. She completed her third MS Cape Cod Getaway, a 150-mile bike ride to raise money for multiple sclerosis. She took up riding a few years ago.  I’m hoping to meet her for dinner after Labor Day, when I’m in Boston on business.

Mary Jo Cronin Boehner (Lynchburg, VA) sold her large house and is now in a new home that she loves. She has three grandchildren, Jax (5), Aspen (3) and Rowan (18 months). She’s taking herself on a cruise in the Caribbean before Christmas (and turning 60). She’s still teaching kindergarten, and would love for this to be her last year, but will probably hang in there two more years.

Back to Cape Cod, and Lisa Griffin (Yarmouthport, MA). She’s been enjoying the summer, and working with a new real estate firm, Old Cape Sotheby’s. A quick recap: Her younger brother Stephen died four years ago from colon cancer. At the time, her father was dealing with stroke-induced dementia and the news sent him downhill quickly, and he passed away two years ago. She shared one of his sayings: “Once you’re over the hill, you pick up speed!” We can all appreciate that.  Her mother (82) is very crippled from osteoarthritis, and moved into a townhouse in Yarmouthport. The unit next door came on the market the same day, and Lisa grabbed it. Now she lives next door to her mother, and checks in often, because her office is only five minutes away. Lisa’s daughter Betsy (32) is an attorney, and she works from home for a national trade organization in the real estate arena. She lives locally, having just bought her first home. She has a nice boyfriend, Lisa added, and she’s enjoying life! Her son Tim (31) is living in Naples, FL and is about to get his real estate license. Lisa had lunch with Kitty and her husband last fall, and keeps missing Elaine McDermott Carey (South Hamilton, MA) at the yacht club where they are members.

Susie Hayes Long (Derwood, MD) hates to see summer ending, “because fall means anything and everything is gearing up again.” You will understand her dread when you learn Susie is still running DC Design House, and is on the board of the parent organization, Children’s National Medical Center. She’s in her second year as president of the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary of Washington, and she also chairs the Family Concert Committee at the Kennedy Center. Whew! After two years at Villanova, her son Roland transferred to the American College of the Building Arts in Charleston, SC, the only college in the U.S. that gives a four-year degree in one of the specialty trades, masonry, ironworks or carpentry. Roland is specializing in plastering for historic preservation and spent the summer in Germany working with stone masons, rebuilding a wall at a castle. Brady is a sophomore at Montgomery College, their local community college. Husband Joe is still busy as ever, with no retirement in sight, after 20 years as head of his own company. “Amazing how fast it all goes,” Susie noted.

Charleston, SC came up again when Kathie Madden Gerecke wrote to say she and Tom have moved into an even larger condo in that city. They divide their time between Charleston and Lynn, MA, where Kathie is still teaching English as a Second Language at North Shore Community College, and wondering how the time has flown so quickly. (Come to Reunion 2019, everyone, and we can discuss this in person.) Having a condo in Charleston means having lots of guests, Kathie said, but loves the visits. “On top of being a beautiful area dripping with history, culture, and southern hospitality, the people are super friendly and it’s an absolute foodie’s paradise,” she added.  She and Tom have been quite fortunate this past year keeping busy, enjoying life, meeting new people, and just having fun with family and friends.  Tom has now been retired for three years and Kathie is looking forward to reaching that milestone in the not too distant future.

Karyn Foley Rivara (San Antonio, TX) thought she’d take it slow when she sold her business and her kids went to college, but that hasn’t happened. Her daughter Carolina attends the University of Texas at Austin, pledging TriDelt after an intensive rush week her freshman year.  Then, she became an active TriDelt and a double major while also interning for a family friend, Joe Straus, Speaker of the Texas House. As a junior, Carolina was on panel this year during rush, so, Karen has “had to drag her [to] spend time at our seaside home in Florida or to Playa Conchal in Costa Rica.”  Danny, Karen’s youngest, suffered a catastrophic injury during his second college basketball game his freshman year at Trinity University.  He recovered in time for a summer international basketball champion tour of Spain, and returns to Trinity Tiger Basketball for his sophomore year as co-captain of his team. This spring, Danny will be Carolina’s escort for her debutante ball.

Life in the Phillips-Morgan (Stamford, CT) household has gotten very quiet recently, as Cecelia (23) moved to Boston to take a teaching fellow position at a not-for-profit charter school. She’s teaching grammar and other things in one of the second-grade classes and is loving it. Last weekend I dropped off Fiona (18) at Catholic University for her freshman year. Little did I know that Eileen Vogel was doing the same with one of her daughters! I’m sure we’ll meet there some time in the next four years.  Liam (26) has a full-time job with great benefits, doing floor plans and more for ComicCon and other big shows at Reed Exhibitions. He still lives at home, but is gone quite a bit of the time. Like other husbands, Barry continues to work, but once Fiona is graduated, that may change quickly. I’m still gainfully employed, and staring hard at age 60. It is staring back at me, even harder, it seems. Hopefully I will drag Barry to Florence, Italy, to celebrate 60, and our 35th anniversary. It’s about time!

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa E. Phillips