Again, with regret, I start my report with a classmate obituary. According to the Portland (Maine) Press Herald, Linda Chase Heimbach, at Hood for our sophomore and junior years, “died at home Mar. 13, 2012, succumbing to cancer after a courageous 10-year battle.” James Heimbach, her husband of 48 years, survives her, along with a son and daughter and four grandchildren. Linda, a Massachusetts native, and her family had lived in Oklahoma, Germany, Montana, North Dakota, North Carolina and finally Springvale, Maine. She completed a nursing degree in North Carolina, and her last full-time job was as a pediatrics nurse in Asheville. Linda’s hobbies included sewing, weaving and quilting, and she was at her happiest when organizing gala meals attended by friends and family, with special attention to grandchildren. “She introduced a tradition for Thanksgiving dinner which has each person sign the tablecloth and write what they were thankful for.” Linda was another classmate gone too soon, but not without leaving a rich legacy with family and friends.
Katherine Blatchford is thriving in Nashua, N.H., after a long residence in the mid-Atlantic. “It only took me 43 years to get back to my roots and to be near family again,” Kate wrote. “The one exception is my son Chris and his family who live in the Cleveland area, where he is art director for the Cleveland Browns and does all of their graphics. My daughter teaches first grade across the border in Massachusetts, so I see my grandkids there at least five days a week. My official role involves school bus stops, transport to and from after-school activities and much more. The fun parts include snow, jump ropes, exploring the woods and working on projects. The first redecorating of my Nashua condo included creating a four-wall mural in the guest room and turning the pass-through ledge between the kitchen and dining area into a ‘mantelpiece’ with painted faux fireplace below. I have since completed more projects and have plenty left to do. Right now, I’m entering revisions for a book I have written and working on the sequel at the same time.”
After retiring from 32 years teaching high school government and history in South Carolina and Maryland, Joan Dixon Bailey turned hobby into business by opening an antiques shop. Since then, she has been on the road from Maine to Georgia, looking for good examples of early 19th century American furniture. Joan and Andy, her husband of 47 years, restored an old home overlooking the Patuxent River near Mechanicsville, Md., that has its own graveyard dating back to 1714. With Andy’s recent retirement, they now devote more time to travel, including planned returns this year to European favorites, such as Barcelona and Rome. “But our most favorite trip,” Joan wrote, “is a short one to Chevy Chase to see our daughter Kristi and son-in-law Sean plus the two most perfect grandchildren of all, our Katie, 8, and Dylan, 4.”
Diane Phillips Hughes and husband Bob “live in the boonies” in Dorchester County, Md., and work part time for a marketing company. Until 2003, Diane was a social worker, first for Dorchester County Social Services where she had the “truly fun job” of supervising two daycare centers. After the state stopped operating daycares, Diane headed the social work department at a chronic-disease facility in Salisbury, Md. In 1987, they bought a chicken farm with two-layer houses that was Bob’s primary job until all layer farms were pulled out of Maryland in 2003. “We say we bought 25 acres with 50 cats,” Diane wrote. “They were all feral, of course. We still feed an assortment of kitties, and they are one of my real pleasures now, along with gardening.” Their family now consists of two sons—“one his and one mine”—after the death of one of Bob’s sons in a traffic accident in 2012. Their six grandchildren range in age from 1 to 21 years.
Maxine Rouch Jones retired in 2004 after 26 years as a middle school librarian in Amherst, Mass., and now enjoys a variety of volunteer and organizational activities. Her husband Bob, a longtime Russian history professor at the Univ. of Massachusetts, now retired, will have his third book come out this spring. They have enjoyed traveling in Europe over the years, and now spend several winter months each year in Tampa to be near daughter Kate and her two children, Alex, 13, and Gregory, 9. They also make several visits annually to Alexandria, Va., to see their son Ben; his wife Leah; and children, Juliet, 5, and James, 3. JoAnn Smith Alspaugh reported from her home overlooking Frederick’s Baker Park. “For most of my adult years I was a stay-at-home mom, but when number three son came along when I was 41, I attended Frederick Community College and took math classes in case I wanted to teach. During my mid-50s, I took nursing courses, but instead of going into clinicals, I went into home and hospital teaching, which I really enjoyed. Ten years ago, those nursing classes helped me keep my husband home throughout his illness, and he was able to die at home with dignity. After three years, I gave up trying to keep up with our 1861 farmhouse, a barn and six acres on my own. As much as I miss Jack and our farmette, I have learned to love living alone and being involved when I want or just being a slug some days. Jack III, who was my 40-plus baby, is a 2007 Hood graduate teaching English to elementary and middle school students in a small village in southern Japan. Jason, 43, is an artist in Los Angeles after giving up his architectural-drafting company a couple years ago to follow his dream. Middle son Aaron, also in architecture and the only one to stay close, is the father of my two sweet granddaughters, Grace, 9, and Leah, 7.”
Christine Plankenhorn Tischer was hit by a car that drove through a red light on Nov. 6. Her car was totaled, but thankfully she is OK, although she was shaken up and suffered a broken thumb. Margaret York Gladish had a bout of life-threatening pneumonia in 2011 that kept her hospitalized for two months. Fully recovered now, she remains busy in Huntingdon Valley, Pa., doing volunteer work and enjoying traveling, gardening, playing golf and bridge as well as singing in two choirs. Thanks to email, she is now in regular communication with Dawn Rieser ’64. Margaret signed off by saying, “I am looking forward to our 50th reunion.” I encourage you all to nurture that same vision! Catherine Beyer Meredith wished an early happy birthday to most of the class who will be celebrating a big birthday in 2013.
Catherine Beyer Meredith