1965: Winter 2017

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The deaths of classmates Patricia Johnson Speier and Regina Bond Wade took me by surprise when they appeared in last issue’s list of the deceased, so I went searching for more information. The obituary I found for Pat, a retired teacher in Prince Georges County, reported only that she was born on February 17, 1943 and passed away on Thursday, December 24, 2015, and had resided in Oxon Hill, Maryland. There was more information about Regina, who had attended the 50th reunion accompanied by her daughter looking the picture of good health and vitality. Seven months later she was gone. Her obituaries appearing some time after her death show what a rich and creative life she had lived: “Regina Ruth Bonn Wade, 72, of Columbia, Md., died on January 18, 2016 following a brief illness. She was the daughter of the late Robert H. and Osie G. Bonn. Survivors include her husband, Everett Wade of Baltimore, a daughter, Amy Wade and her husband John Dutterer of Glen Burnie and their children, Samuel, Jakob and Isaac, sons Eric Zeisel of San Diego, Cal., Matthew Wade and his wife Anette Vehus of Watertown, Mass. and their daughter, Anika. She was preceded in death by an infant son, Zachary. Also surviving are stepdaughters Deborah Wilson and Jennifer Tuttle of Greenville, S.C. and their children Nicole, Joshua, Alexis, Gavin, and Brianna, sisters Nancy Gibson of Bel Air, Janet Saunders and Alice McDaniel of Severna Park, Linda Bonn of Baltimore, brothers Robert Bonn of Rochester, N.Y., Donald Bonn of Silver Spring, an aunt, Ruth Bonn of Annapolis and many nieces and nephews. Regina grew up in the Anneslie neighborhood in Baltimore. She graduated from Hood College in 1965. After college she worked in school and local libraries. She worked as a children’s librarian for most of her professional career at Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. She taught Mother Goose on the Loose and after retiring, taught Music Together in Columbia, Md. She loved to paint with watercolors, take photographs of plants, draw with colored pencils, knit, sew, work on crossword puzzles and play with her grandchildren. Regina had a beautiful spirit, a warm smile, a love for children and music. She was so creative and could take discarded sweaters with holes in them and turn them into the cutest baby booties you have ever seen. She loved to teach and really slowed down to listen to children and grown-ups, exploring ideas with them and entering into their worlds. She had an amazing imagination, and could transform the space she was in with a story or a song. She was playful and childish in the best sense. Her excellent artistic skills were matched by her gentle sense of humor. She was a tremendously gifted and giving children’s librarian who shared her knowledge with colleagues throughout the Enoch Pratt branches. Her calm and thoughtful approach to working with children truly enriched them. Regina was the type of adult who would sing Girl Scout songs in the car, play with toys that were meant for children, roll down small hills with her daughter at midnight on a snowy walk. She never hesitated to love someone with an extra moment. She had wonderful, creative ideas and always found a way to connect with people. During her work at Enoch Pratt, there were many young mothers who wanted to adopt her to be a grandmother to their children. She helped them feel confident in their new role as parents. She was a warm, comforting presence. She gave good advice that was based on common sense, knowledge and experience. She always valued the importance of learning through play. Regina was a sweet, gentle soul and a peacemaker. She viewed life through her own special window on the world—seeing joy in the little things and finding beauty where others might miss it. She was so gifted and with such a generous heart. She had a profound understanding of, and connection with, children.” Jamie Barr Gartelmann wrote that she and Peter are still going strong and that tending a large cutting garden on their northern New Jersey farm for roadside bouquets keeps them busy in season. Jamie continues her involvement in the local garden club, most recently working in the Community Education and a Pollinator Garden Project, but she would love to go associate when there is an opening. The two sons’ families living nearby partake of the produce from their vegetable garden, and the five grands enjoy picking and eating the bounty for snacks. Two of the grandchildren attend the high school where Peter worked as a counselor, and a third is headed to high school in the fall. The two older grandsons are continuing the family hunting tradition, doing their part for deer control and putting meat on the table. Cora, a horse nut at 15, is doing well with her IEA equestrian program, “which should keep her away from the boys for a while yet.” Three of the kids worked on a local farm and learned a lot waiting on customers and stocking bins. Cora also has another barn job and plays violin in the high school orchestra. “We are thankful that the high taxes here in Morris County, are at least benefiting our grandchildren, who all do well academically in these super schools,” commented Jamie. Even though the Gartelmanns remain very busy in New Jersey they regularly travel to second homes in Maine and North Carolina. In November they visited Charleston to celebrate their 50th Anniversary. On one return trip from North Carolina they stopped for an overnight with Ann Fulton Warren and Tom in Potomac, Md. With the Warren’s daughter Jessie and family settled in Connecticut after several years in Hong Kong, the entire Warren family was home for the holidays. Diana Beers Lobdell and Ralph celebrated their 50th anniversary in June 2016 and in early December were on a cruise ship heading for India, Sri Lanka, Burma and Singapore to celebrate. They returned in time to celebrate Christmas with Ralph’s mother, who turned 100 in May 2016, surrounded by her family of 25 people. Diana has kept in touch with Hood roommate Helen Harrison Arrington, whose husband of 53 years died in April. “Dean and Helen met our sophomore year in the fall when he was at Hood with the U.S. Naval Academy choir to sing the Messiah,” Diana wrote. “They married in November 1964 in Pittsburgh. Regina [Bonn Wade] and I were in her wedding. Helen and Dean had retired three years ago in Delaware, but returned to the Lebanon, N.J., area, their longtime home, to be near his doctor and two of their three children. Dean had a short but very aggressive illness, and Helen took care of him until the end. I have spoken with Helen several times, and am very proud of her.  She has a positive attitude and has found a house to buy within an half-hour of her daughter Lisa and son Brian and not too far from her son Brad living on Long Island. She has three grandchildren, ranging from about five to twenty-two—but don’t quote me on their ages.” Barbara Casey Ruffino wrote “Life is good. My husband Russ, Episcopal priest, is now serving the Church of England as temporary chaplain in Palermo, Italy. We have been here, off and on, for the last two years and love it. This is our fifth assignment in Italy, and since Russ is fluent in Italian it has been great for us and for his parishes—Orvieto, Como, Milan, Naples and Sorrento and Palermo. I still work part-time in government-contract consulting out of the Washington area, mostly to have a little extra $$ for travel and, at our age, for ‘body parts and repairs.’  Three years ago, daughter Jane moved to Stockholm, Sweden, after 12 years living Dublin, Ireland. She loves living there, and we love visiting even in winter. Son Mike is in the magic land of Los Angeles where he is a music composer for TV and films, primarily for Anthony Bourdain’s shows.” Barb tries to keep in touch with Chris Plankenhorn Tischer and Joe, and Barb Hyde Sands and Larry, but with everyone’s travels it’s tough to find time to get together. Throughout the 2016 holiday season, Cathie Byers Meredith was living in a sort of limbo after having found out in late November that one of the bypasses performed three years previously had failed and that her heart was starving for oxygen. Treatment decisions were complicated not only by the potential for damaging the remaining functioning bypass during a second open-chest surgery but by the fact that suitable replacement arteries hadn’t been found in either Cathie’s arms or legs. Finally, the Hopkins cardiac surgeon seemed to have developed a workable strategy, and surgery was scheduled for February 8. The evening before, Cathie got a call telling her that her doctor would be operating all that night on an emergency case and would be too tired to do her surgery as scheduled. The rescheduled operation on February 16 got as far as the ribcage incision through which the implant would be made and the groin incision for the heart-lung machine and chest tubes. But then the surgeons discovered that the “good” artery from the arm wasn’t long enough and the leg vein then harvested was too narrow. Thus, a couple of hours into the planned six-hour surgery, the bypass was aborted, after which Cathie spent five days recovering at Hopkins. “So, now I’m having  to recover from a very bad incision and am in the same situation as I was in the fall,” she wrote in early March. “There are two other very high risk options. I am seeing my cardiologist next Wednesday [March 8] to discuss what’s next. I am not a happy camper, but I’m alive, so every day is a plus.” For Kathie Cribbs Tromble, 2016 was the usual family-filled year, with an August road tour taking her and Burt to St. Paul, Minn., to visit a childhood friend and a couple cousins, then to Lincoln, Neb., where another friend lives and on to Lyons, Colo., home of the Tomble’s lawyer daughter Connie, her husband and first-grade son. Daughter Alice, in residency in the burn unit at University of Arkansas, shares parenting duties of two young sons with husband J., while their other lawyer daughter Kate directs social-justice projects at Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown, D.C. Kate and her husband are busy with the activities of their two teen daughters. Closest to the Trombles’ central-Maryland home are son Wayne and his family of four school- and sports-involved teenagers. The abundance of family paid off in November when children and grandchildren provided assistance during Kathie’s recovery from knee-replacement surgery. The other knee was likely in line for replacement in February. Along with all the above, Kathie and Burt have remained active in local volunteer and social activities. Deborah Demmy Thomas continues to recall the delights of our 50th reunion. “I thought the campus looked great, and I came away being as proud as ever to be a Hood alum,” she wrote. Debby and Gary celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in January in a quiet fashion but hoped that they can take a celebratory trip at some point. Debby’s weekdays are still occupied with childcare for five-year-old granddaughter Caroline and her weekends with serving as a nurse at the Grier School. Boston-suburban dweller Lynn Farnell took time from making Christmas jams to send in her newsiest Hood news which was that she had tracked down her freshman roommate, Joan Spurgeon Brennan, in Denver. Joan left after freshman year to attend Cornell, then married and worked on Wall Street until she and her husband retired to Denver. Her husband died a few years ago. This year when Joan was on her way to Boston to visit her daughter and grandchildren she met with Lynn and they had a lovely long brunch to catch up! Lynn herself headed to Pennsylvania on Christmas Day to visit with sister Jean, also a Hood alum, and her large family. Like me, Lynn became an “orphan” fairly recently with the death of her mother and remarked,  “Not sure I like being the oldest in the family!!” Lexie Horne Bickell wrote from Columbus, Ohio, that “life has been interesting for me and I have been very fortunate.” The Bickells are frequent travelers, with their latest trip being a Rhine River cruise in May, 2016, preceded by a week in Switzerland. “We love river cruising and have been on the Danube twice in the past few years,” wrote Lexie, “and we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary in June in New York City!”  Lexie, a costumed interpreter at a living-history museum in Columbus, is enjoying “becoming” a woman of 1898, wearing the period clothes and interacting with the visitors to draw them into “our” era. For the previous five years she’d helped represent the Civil War experience. “It has been fascinating to learn the similarities between life today and life in 1898,” she wrote, “and to discover how many aspects of our life today began in the late 1890s. I love the fact that my grandparents came of age during that time! We all have specific characters—I am the president of the Women’s Study Club, typical of the women’s clubs that took root on a national level in 1894. Among other causes of the time, we are working hard to gain women the right to vote and to establish child labor laws. I believe that in the 21st century women have a way to go to insure fair treatment, but we have come a long way since the 1890s!” Part of the Bickell family lives in Columbus and part will be moving there this coming summer, so more fun is in store for Lexie. “It is all good!” she wrote. “I so enjoyed seeing everyone at the 50th Reunion. It was a wonderful trip down memory lane as well as a chance to reconnect with dear old friends. Come out for a visit! We love company!” HannahJane Hurlburt claims, “I’m very lazy since I stopped working.” nevertheless she mustered the energy to travel from her Greenwich, Conn., home to visit Priscilla Obreza in Guelph, Ontario, last summer where they did their usual—always theater, used bookstores in search of out-of-print books, outdoor summer concerts and more. “Priscilla is well, and we still talk a bit about the 50th!” wrote HannahJane, who also reported that in December Sandy Hickman Lee was earning her way across the Pacific to Tahiti and near by islands by teaching knitting classes on board a theater/film-themed cruise. Nancy McAdams Baggett’s son David Baggett, a Univ. of Md. graduate and successful tech innovator and entrepreneur, was the commencement speaker for the December 2016 graduating class of his Alma Mater. “An innovative thinker who has been writing software since childhood, Dave Baggett is always searching for new ways that technology can solve everyday, practical problems,” reads the speaker bio. “The son of an electrical engineer and cookbook writer, Baggett earned degrees in computer science and linguistics from the University of Maryland in 1992.” I’ve appended the rest of the bio at the end of this column if you’re interested in learning the details. Nancy is rightly proud of her son’s accomplishments. Jane McKinney Ingrey wrote, “I am doing well for the state I am in…aches and pains and an eldest child who will turn 50 this next year. Our family is doing well, with each grandchild finding his or her path of growing up. How time flies by, with one in college and the others close behind. We continue our nomadic lives that go between Florida and Lake George, N.Y. We wish the Auto Train went door to door! My hope is for us all to walk forward this next year making our own ‘worlds’ a better place with kindness and generosity.” Mary Lew Penn Sponski finds it hard to believe it has been 18 years since John and she “retired” to the countryside of Virginia. John’s main commitment is to the board of the Montpelier Foundation, home of James and Dolley Madison in Orange, Virginia. [A side note from me, Emily Kilby—For the past six years, I’ve been doing some serious historical research into the history of Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area next door to me in Cecil County, Md. In 1927, William du Pont, Jr., who owned Montpelier at that time, started buying up contiguous small farms here to create a 7,000-acre estate he called Foxcatcher. My mission has been to reclaim the social, family and industrial history that vanished once du Pont and a number of relocated Orange County employees displaced the families who’d lived here for more than two centuries.] Mary Lew serves on the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Virginia. The Sponskis also travel extensively while they are still able to do so and invite any classmates visiting in the Charlottesville area to get in touch. Jo Ann Sether Bowes claims no major changes her life, and she continues to find Loch Haven, Penn., a great place to live. Husband Ron’s Alma Mater, Lock Haven University, named a building Bowes Hall in recognition of their donations. As president of the local historical society, Jo manages all the details for preserving and maintaining five properties, fundraising, volunteer oversight, program development and so on. One of the job requirements has been learning grant writing and computer skills. Jo continues to enjoy birding trips for fun and stress relief, and last summer she introduced her two sons and their families to cruising with a Bermuda trip on the Anthem of the Seas. Her favorite amenity on board—the robotic bartenders. Since attending our 50th reunion Lissa Shanahan has been traveling and learning to quilt. One of her trips involved taking her six-foot-tall, 16-year-old grandson on a four-day stay in New York City. “Trying to keep up with him was hard on my five-foot, 73-year-old body, but we had a wonderful time.”  Next was a cruise accompanying her brother and his wife from San Francisco to New York City via the Panama Canal —“amazing engineering for 100 years ago!” Prior to these adventures she had spent most of the winter of 2016 visiting her son Scott and his wife to escape the Indiana winter. When at home, Lissa attended three different quilt guilds’ meetings and worked to complete her first quilt. This May, she’s off on an Alaska cruise. “If anyone wants a place to stay for the Indy 500,” Lissa wrote, “I have an extra bedroom.” Before reporting her own “humble news,” Gretchen Walter Pinkerton put in a plug for our “brilliant classmate Sally Fairfax,” whose academic and personal accomplishments are enumerated at her publisher’s website. “Google ‘Sally K. Fairfax  SAGE Publications,’ “ Gretchen suggested to reach that site. “Sally appeared in a recent dream of mine, which sent me on the search. Sally is also on Facebook, for those interested.” As for Gretchen’s recent life, she wrote, “not a great year for me and Jack. We were in a horrendous auto accident on Mother’s Day, when a driver coming from the opposite direction crossed the center line and hit us head-on. He died at the scene, and we were taken to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, which has an excellent trauma center. We had no life-threatening injuries, but plenty of broken bones and severe bruising. Seat belts, airbags and a sturdy little Hyundai saved us, along with some blessings from Above.” The Pinkerton’s recovery has taken most of the year, with a lot of help from family and friends. Jack took the worst of it, Gretchen said, and continues to have mobility and intestinal issues following abdominal surgery for a tear, plus an awful C. difficile infection associated with the long hospital stay. “Now we are back to semi-normal, with both of us volunteering for Meals on Wheels and my serving as program co-chair for the Bradford Woods Women’s Club, a great group of ladies that raises funds for local charitable causes. A new set of kitty siblings, Sidney & Samantha, has added a lot of merriment to the house, and we continue to enjoy the cultural & sporting life of the super city of Pittsburgh – Go Steelers, Penguins, & Pirates! Happy 2017 to my Hood classmates!” [David Baggett speaker biography continued: By the time Baggett graduated, he had already founded companies that designed video game development systems and published interactive fiction. While pursuing his master’s degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he became part of the team behind the groundbreaking and wildly popular Sony PlayStation video game “Crash Bandicoot.” Besides giving Sony a mascot, the game series from Naughty Dog Inc., where Baggett was a programmer and vice president, was pioneering in its graphic speed and detail. In 1997, Baggett co-founded ITA Software, which revolutionized how people could travel with the help of cheaper and more powerful computer programs. By assisting airlines like America West and websites like Orbitz, the company’s software greatly expanded the choices and convenience of booking flights. As COO, Baggett oversaw software development, operations and customer relations, expanding the company from 20 employees to more than 500, with revenue topping $70 million a year. In 2011, Google acquired ITA for $700 million. More recently, Baggett, founder and president of Arcode Corp., has focused his creative and entrepreneurial spirit on email and messaging: his new startup’s product Inky makes it easy for anyone to encrypt their email with any mail account, ensuring confidentiality and preventing identity theft and phishing attacks. Baggett also sits on the boards of the University of Maryland College Park Foundation and the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. Named a distinguished alumnus by both the College of Arts and Humanities and the Department of Computer Science, Baggett has supported undergraduate scholarships and post-baccalaureate fellowships at UMD in linguistics research.

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