Catherine Beyer Meredith
50th reunion, June 5-7, 2015
In April, Pixie Fell contacted me, Emily Kilby, from Corvallis, Ore., with the distressing news that classmate Marsha Schmidt was hospitalized in New York City with life-threatening complications after surgery. Pixie continued the updates as Marsha showed some signs of improvement, then finally succumbed to acute pulmonary distress on April 14 in the company of family and friends, including Brooklynite Bonnie Bolway Nuzum. Marsha’s New York Times obituary reported that she “graduated from Tenafly High School in 1961 and from Hood College in Frederick, Md., in 1965 after making lifelong friends at both schools. She excelled at languages and earned several graduate-level teaching certificates, which enabled her to teach Spanish and coach non-English speaking visiting diplomats from the United Nations who were new to New York City. She also had a successful career in marketing and held several executive positions at book publisher Doubleday and Company. It was at Doubleday where Marsha met John O’Donnell, whom she married and with whom she spent 10 happy years before his death in 1993. Since his death Marsha split her time between New York City and Oakdale, Long Island, and enjoyed the loyal companionship of college and career friends. She loved to travel to Europe and especially to Mexico where she had enjoyed many happy vacations with John.” Marsha is survived by her father and her brother Paul and his family. Despite their East Coast/West Coast separation, Pixie and Marsha had renewed their close college friendship in recent years and enjoyed travels together and weekly phone conversations. “We shared the same wry sense of humor about the absurdity of life,” Pixie wrote, “and we both thought cats were often more captivating than humans.” Marsha had been planning to attend our 50th reunion with Pixie, Bonnie and Barb Hyde Sands and her absence will be felt next June. Jamie Barr Gartelmann wrote that she and Peter still move around between their three homes, but when at their New Jersey home their five nearby grandchildren and their garden keep them busy. The last few years have included the loss of both sets of parents, with the sadness offset by the good memories. Last November, the Gartelmanns visited with Ann Fulton Warren, husband Tom and Ann’s father in Potomac during travel between New Jersey and North Carolina. Dr. Fulton recalled in great detail a dad and daughter weekend when he and Jamie’s dad were roomies. Jamie wrote that Ann and she “are very excited about our reunion and hope that many of those who we have not seen for a while will make the effort to come. At our last reunion I had such a good time visiting with classmates that I did not even know that well at our last reunion. There are so many interesting life journeys to share with one another.” The big event of the year for Catherine Beyer Meredith and her family was the marriage of her “baby” Caroline (age 37) on May 25 at the family compound in the northern Baltimore suburbs. Both the bride and the day were beautiful. Meg Knox Marik has been living in Yakama, Wash., for the past 18 years following retirement from a 30-plus year career of fund-raising for higher educational institutions around the country. Yakama is in wine country on the “dry” side of the mountains and Meg really likes the weather and the community. “Starting in September 2012,” Meg wrote, “I spent eight months in four different hospitals until the doctors at Oregon Health Sciences Univ. in Portland finally diagnosed what was wrong with me and began treatment. I am now almost fully recovered and will try to attend the class reunion in 2015.” Carolyn Oldman Gregory remains in Albuquerque, N.M., with her pooch Higgins, although she sometimes considers moving to Columbia, S.C., to be close to her ailing mother and her sister. Sympathies to Chris Plankenhorn Tischer, P’86 whose mother died last December after turning 100 in November. My own mentally capable, physically diminished 96-year-old mother became a permanent resident in my little rancher in June. My next-older brother had been her very obedient companion in the 16-room farm house for many years, but he fractured his first vertebra in a fall after Easter and, following rehab and assisted living, he is now in an apartment of his own. Dismantling Mother’s home of 53 years has been hard. I am amazed at how many of us have living parents even as we prepare for our 50th college reunion.