Sharon Burns Walsh
I decided to reach out to classmates who weren’t able to come to our 50th reunion for this column. The reunion was an emotional high for almost everyone who attended. If you were one of those people who couldn’t attend and I haven’t contacted you yet, please send me an email for the next column. Your classmates missed you and would love to get an update about you. Kathy Rieser moved to St. Petersburg, FL two years ago with Jill, her partner of 10 years, after 40 years on the farm in the western Catskills of upstate NY. It was a “big change– no more animals, no more snow and ice and cold– but lucky to still be working as The Trash Queen and still able to do physical labor.” She and Jill are also vendors at Brocante, a monthly vintage market in St. Pete that keeps them busy. She saw Cynthia Newby last year when she was in the area. Kathy would love to hear from classmates through email or Facebook, or let her know if you’re passing through St. Pete. Sally Eser Stuart wrote: “I enjoyed the postings online about our 50th reunion and was sorry not to be able to join all of you. It looked like a wonderful trip back in time! I suddenly recalled and re-sang some of the songs from “Good Grief, It’s the Sheik.” I had hoped to attend, but the past year was very busy for me handling the health crises of others. My mother died at age 97 before Christmas. My husband of 50 years was in a car accident last January and continues to work toward recovery. Thankfully, the rest of the family are very well — three adult children and five grandchildren. Until last January I was working as a medical social worker. Prior to that I was a director of Christian education and hospital chaplain. After Hood, I got an MTS degree from Candler School of Theology (Emory University) and an MSW from Dominican University in River Forest IL. We started out in Atlanta, moved to Chicago for 12 years with Fred’s law practice, then came back to Atlanta in 2009. So that’s about it! Fifty years in a nutshell. It’s been great!” Lucille VanBaaren and I had a lovely chat on the phone, in which I learned she has an advanced degree in toxicology and continues to work as the person responsible for Global Regulatory Affairs for Estee Lauder. She works mostly in New York City and at the company’s R&D facility. While she doesn’t do much traveling for work now, she has spent considerable time in Asia, Latin American and Europe on business. Although she had expected to retire before now, she was persuaded by the company to stay in order to complete a special project. She expects to retire in 2019 and isn’t sure what she’ll be doing after that except spending more time with her two grown children and two grandchildren, ages 16 and 14, who live nearby. Carrie Wissler-Thomas: “I am still President/Executive Director of The Art Association of Harrisburg, the nonprofit art school and gallery, which keeps me very busy 6 or 7 days per week. I manage the art school for youth and adults, coordinate our extensive community exhibition program, and oversee a part-time staff of 5. My husband will be retiring in February, but I plan to continue to work, as my work is truly my mission. I still paint and exhibit my own work as well. Scott and I travel to Scotland and England every Oct. for three weeks of hiking, visiting friends, and touring historical sites and museums. This April, however, we are going to Greece and will visit Crete and Santorini – fulfilling my dream ever since I wrote my Hood Honors Paper on “Lyricism in Minoan Art”! Our son Dylan, his wife Sheena and our grand-daughter Catherine live nearby and we enjoy spending time with them. We have lived in our Uptown Harrisburg home since 1991 and love being in the city…our house is literally a “house museum,” filled with our extensive art collection, and we like sharing it with the public in fundraising tours and soirees to benefit the Art Association. We have a busy life, which is why I did not attend our 50th class reunion!” Remember that our next big reunion is coming in 2023, so if you missed the 50th, resolve now to join us for the 55th!