1965: Winter 2014

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Once again, the column begins with losses: First is the death of classmate Olga Boriakoff Johnson on August 10, 2013 from complications following a stroke. Olga was one of our most international classmates, a Russian national who came to Hood via Argentina. When last she reported her news, she’d retired from teaching, lived with her husband in Henderson, Nev. and took pride in her two accomplished children. Sandra Smith Hanna wrote from Omaha, “I want to let my Hood friends know that my John died this June just as we were completing our 47th year of marriage. He was 85. Apparently, his body had been shutting down all spring without our truly knowing it until we made a trip to the ER after he had a fall, which didn’t break any bones or bring on any new ailments. He desperately wanted to be at home, and with the help of Hospice that happened after six days of hospitalization. He lived just 10 hours at home, but time enough for all five children to say goodbye. They are taking great care of me this summer, which means it is noisy, exhausting and wonderful in my Nebraska home!  Four of our five now live within twenty minutes of the house, and the fifth still gives me a family stop in Chicago whenever I travel east or west by train.” Our sympathies to you, Sandie, and admiration for having raised such a loving family to support you through the most difficult of times. We co-reporters [Cathie Beyer Meredith and Emily Kilby] wanted to gather news from classmates who’d been absent from these pages for quite some time but had only mixed results. Karen Ayersman Smith was one of the good respondents even though her tenure at Hood was just three semesters our freshman year. “I’ve lived in Harrisonburg, Va., in the heart of the lovely Shenandoah Valley for 41 years,” she wrote. “My husband taught at James Madison University, and I worked in several elementary schools for 30 years. Now retired, we’ve enjoyed many trips abroad as well as in the States. Our son now lives nearby after living in Georgia for 23 years, and it’s wonderful to spend more time with him. We have no grandchildren, but thoroughly enjoy our two grand-dogs.” Mary/Pixie Fell says she doesn’t have much to report from Corvallis, Ore., but a monthlong visit in September with her former in-laws whom she calls her “Italian family” near Lucca, Italy, sounds like a pretty good nothing much to me. She planned the visit so she could attend the fourth and first birthday parties for two new grandnephews (technically her second husband’s). More quality family time will take place at Christmas with a visit in Newbury Park, Cal., with a very close friend and her three children, 15,12 and 9, all of whom “I’ve cuddled, diapered and fed over the years.” Pixie reports that New Yorkers Marcia Schmidt and Bonnie Bolway Nuzum plan to attend the reunion in 2015, as do she and Barbara Hyde Sands, followed by a river cruise in Russia. Everyday retirement in Corvallis, finds Pixie playing bridge and mentoring two newer players, volunteering at a preschool and local animal shelter, leading a book group and spending time with friends and her delightful kitty Bianca. Susan Gibson Bennett, another good soul to respond from her home in Strasburg, Va., after long silence, retired after 30 years of teaching 5th grade. Then she took nursing classes to work in eldercare. More recently she was “slowed down” by complications of multiple joint replacements in both knees. Staph infections set in after the first implants and again after the second, and Sue was finally sent from Virginia to Johns Hopkins Hospital for the third try. She spent eight weeks there and the next 10 months at home in a wheelchair before she was back on her feet. Water aerobics now help her maintain her mobility, and she volunteers at the local library and her church helping at the homeless shelter and food bank. Sue has one grandson and five step-grandchildren. Barbie Hyde Sands and I [E.K] both attended a Hood alum event at Longwood Gardens in early September. Barbie looked marvelous even though she’d only recently retired from full-time work teaching anatomy and physiology at an area community college following an earlier stint in clinical nursing. Her retirement will include additional travels as well as continuing her musical interests and family activities. She also regularly attends basketball games with two other Hood alums when the Blazers play at nearby colleges and roots for the Blue and Gray. Mary Kathryn Kahn Irvine Rusk lives a busy “retired” life in Kirkland, Wash., keeping up her registered dietitian license to work as a health coach for the likes of Microsoft and consult as needed at a psych hospital, five assisted living homes and a childcare center. “But I always make time for my children and seven grandchildren aged 4 to 14,” she writes. Kathy’s son, Robert Irvine, co-authored a book, Fallacies in Education, which was published several years ago and has a second ready for release, title not yet decided. Kathy is also a co-author of a recipe book, Saving With Salmon, that combines her nutritional wisdom with the recipes of chef Fred Becker. Kathy would love to have classmates visit when they’re in the Northwest, as was the case last summer with Nancy King McNamara, whose daughter lives in Seattle. Sandra Jean Kline Devorss, another Northwesterner, left Hood after sophomore year. She attended Katherine Gibbs School in New York, where the hat-and-gloves dress code prepared young ladies for the then-real-world life as big-city secretaries. Sandy Jean went on to work for McCall’s magazine in the city but eventually married a med student, James Devorss. The last years of his med school took them to Burlington, Vt., after which they moved on to Kansas and finally on to settle in Salem, Ore., where James practiced cardiology. He is now retired, enjoying woodturning, and Sandy Jean plays tennis weekly and volunteers with the Assistance League. The Devorss have two married daughters in their early 40s—Cathy, admin for the manager of Nordstrom, and Caroine, a book-publishing agent—son John, 37, a tennis pro. But no grandchildren.

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