Patty Lynas Ford
5555 Montgomery Drive, #23
Santa Rosa, CA 95409
[email protected]

I am sorry to inform you of the following losses. These notes are abbreviated. If you would like to see the complete obituaries, please contact Bonnie Seitz at ([email protected]) or (434) 381-6131.

Mrs. Joan St. John Curtner of Newport, AR, died at her home 8/5/13, at age 83. She was born on 1/25/30 in Memphis, where she grew up. There she developed a wide range of interests. She especially enjoyed time spent outdoors, hiking, fishing, tennis and swimming. She was a 1948 graduate of The Hutchinson School for Girls in Memphis. Following her high school graduation, she attended Sweet Briar. She met her husband, Tom, in Memphis, where they were married on 2/14/50. After their marriage, they lived in Los Angeles; Fort Wayne, IN; and Mobile, AL, before settling in Stuttgart in 1955. In 1967 they made their home in Newport, where they raised their family, doted on their grandchildren and enjoyed life. Throughout the yrs. Mrs. Curtner especially enjoyed reading, flowers, entertaining, corresponding with friends and even fly-fishing. She taught children’s chapel at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Newport. In 2005, the church nursery was dedicated to her for her many yrs. of service. Because of her interest in politics, she also enjoyed working the polling precincts during election time. She loved traveling with her husband, family and friends. Her favorite destinations were Alaska; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Africa. Anyone who knew this lovely Southern lady knew that her family and her church were her greatest loves. She also served for many yrs. as an officer of the Arkansas Episcopal Church Women, and was twice a delegate to the National Episcopal Church Convention. She loved her family and friends; loved to laugh and to dance and to eat chocolate. Memories of this sweet wife, mother, grandmother “Chug,” sister and friend will be shared with a smile for many yrs. She was preceded in death by her husband of 63 yrs., Thomas Robert Curtner, on 4/20/13 and 1 granddaughter on 3/30/07. She is survived by 2 sons, 2 daughters and 9 grandchildren.
Mary Jane French Halliday, wife of Quincy Stanford Halliday Jr., passed away on 8/6/13 in Spartanburg, SC. Born in Baltimore, Mrs. Halliday was a graduate of Sweet Briar. She was a member of the Tom and Tare Garden Club, The Piedmont Club and the Spartanburg Country Club. Mary Jane was an active member of First Presbyterian Church. She will always be remembered as an avid Clemson fan, shell collector, loving wife, mother, “Grandmommy” and wonderful friend. In addition to her husband, she is survived by 2 sons and 3 grandchildren.
Mea culpa. I owe an apology to Jeanne Molyneux, as I had erroneously referred to Betty Crisler Buchignani as our May Queen. Beautiful as Betty was, she was in the May Court but left after her junior yr. Jeanne was our lovely May Queen and I don’t wish to dethrone her. During our move, my Briar Patch yearbooks disappeared in the myriad packing boxes. They have been found so I can be more accurate.
Ann Mountcastle Gamble-Blechta: I remember her (Betty Crisler Buchignani) so pretty—83 is the yr. of birthdays now—so keep well and stay safe. Off to Mantoloking, NJ, to visit an old school friend and see what is left of the “Shore” I knew after Sandy went through—260 houses gone!
MJ Eriksen Ertman: I was sorry to hear of Betty Crisler’s death. What an interesting, active and creative life she led. Happy memories! Gardner and I have lived at Brookhaven in Lexington, MA, for 6 yrs. now. The children visit often. Gardner, with dementia, is getting good care in the nursing center here, and I’m glad to be nearby in our cottage, with a beautiful garden this summer. I’m playing a little music—piano duets with our next-door neighbor (a childhood friend of Janet Broman’s), and other pieces with neighbors who play clarinet, cello and flute. Our chorus reminds me of glee club days with G. Noble Gilpin. Happy Sweet Briar memories.
Susan Taylor Hubbard: I am in good shape. Still in my 100-yr.-old house—since 1965. I hate the thought of moving so just keep going, doing my best! My main interest now is a Bluebird Trail that a friend and I are setting up on a local golf course. We have 7 boxes: 1 family has fledged (5 chicks) and we have 2 more occupied boxes, one with 4 or 5 chicks, one with 5 eggs. It is pretty fascinating. I keep in touch with Angie Vaughan Halliday who is still doing tax returns and other business for small companies. Amazing.
Lynn McCullough Gush: I had no idea that Betty Crisler Buchignani was a musician. I suppose that living in Carson during sophomore yr rendered me somewhat remote. It was a lovely obituary. My neighbors go to Kuala Lumpur, Holland, Vietnam, France and Norway. Having purchased a new central air conditioner, I go mostly to ballet and the bayou. I also repair the electronic gate and water plants. Nancy and I will play Brahms “Hungarian Dances,” some Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff late in Aug. We have a CD by Argerich of the “Nutcracker,” which we will play again at Christmas. Her tempi are horrifying!
Ann Taylor Campbell: All quiet here; my boys are busy trying to grow hops on the Taylor family farm in Louisa, VA, and having a hard time doing it long distance (they both live out of state). The good part is that I see more of them because they’re in the area to check on it.
Mona Wilson Beard: Thank you for the latest news—even if it is sad. We surely did have a wonderful group in our 1951 class! From what I here it is still booming and staying in the real world and up-to-date. I moved 4 yrs. ago and it was tiring and hard to place extra treasure. Since I stayed local, I still have all my old friends across town.
Janet Broman Dingle: Janet’s daughter Cathy Carl reports that not much has changed since the last issue.
Angie Vaughan Halliday: We just recently returned from a wk. on Kiawah Island, SC, with almost all of our family there together—just missed our oldest, Malcolm. There were 15 of us, and we had a marvelous time. Bob, looking a bit bemused, said as we watched the roiling and milling about of these diverse people—our children and grandchildren—“Just think, we are responsible for all this!” We are off in early Oct. to visit Malcolm and his partner in Provincetown, then on to Worcester, MA, for a ‘Schubertiade’ in which Malcolm will be performing. I stay busy with my tax and accounting business, and Bob continues create art.
Anne Sinsheimer: I had a nice visit with Julie Micou Eastwood. My Oakland hostess had a former Berkeley friend who lives near Julie, so she could visit a friend, too. Since those of us in CA are probably the last people to receive the Alumnae Magazine, I recently read your column, which is always great. Now that you don’t have to care for your “farm,” perhaps you and Dick will venture south. While I live in planned development, I do have apple and lemon trees. My best lemon tree was zapped by the hard frost a couple of yrs. ago, and is slowly coming back, so I should have a few lemons this yr. My Gravenstein is bountiful. I just canned 11.5 quarts of applesauce, so I am weary. I may go north again in late Feb. to the Knitting Fair in Santa Clara. Perhaps we could organize a mini-reunion.
Mary Pease Fleming: You would think that retired folks have time on their hands, but the opposite is true here at Cedarfield. I was interested to read (in July!) that you and your husband have taken the leap to Spring Lake Village. I hope you are getting used to your new surroundings and enjoying them. Not much SBC news to report, though I have found several residents here at Cedarfield who are SBC alums, but in different classes. Ann Sheldon Campbell and her husband, Bill, are bringing lunch here on Saturday and we look forward to catching up as we eat! I looked for Barbara Birt Dow on TV in the crowds at the U.S. Open Golf Tournament—it was played at Merion where Barbara and Bill are longtime members—but couldn’t find them. Maybe they were in MA, their home away from home!
Joan Davis Warren: Besides the Devon Horse show in May, I worked at the U.S. Open (golf) here at Merion. I also had a lovely lunch with Audrey Breitinger Post in Camden, ME, in July. And it was great to be back. Loons calling on the lake and lots of lobster! No more on Richard (Richard III), but I can hardly wait until the 22nd to read his obit.
Patty Lynas Ford: It’s wonderful to hear from so many of you and the “door is always open” for any of your Sweet Briar news. As I was looking over the previous 1951 class submissions, I discovered that I have been doing this for 5 yrs!  It doesn’t seem that long. Thank you for your kind words of appreciation. Yes, the house sold in 12 days so we really had to scramble. We were so pleased that a local winemaker bought it. He grew up in Healdsburg, knows the area and loves the country (and our 2.7 acres). He and Dana are delighted as is Charlie, his German shepherd. Charlie is my kind of dog, as I have belonged to the German Shepherd Dog Club of America for more than 35 yrs. Some time ago, I got two CDs and 1 CDX on my dogs. (Rally, agility and herding hadn’t yet appeared on the obedience scene.) Ted and Dana love the garden with many azaleas, camellias, specimen trees, soft fruit and citrus orchards and a cutting garden with roses and alstromeria. The timing was right for us, too, as the property was becoming less manageable for Dick. But with the quick sale, and our move from 2,200 sq. ft. to 1,050, we were busy. We did rent storage space in Santa Rosa, which helped. We had been coming here for some yrs. for 1 reason or another so felt right at home in our cottage. A carpenter built beautiful cupboards above drawers (for DVDs and tapes) underneath the TV space on the left side of the fireplace (artificial) and a corresponding music center for Dick with his many Handel, baroque and romantic CDs and tapes and even some old LPs. We have met some delightful people and my cousin and his wife have been here for 6 yrs. It’s interesting that we knew each other as 3-yr-olds in Honolulu and Pearl Harbor in the early 1930s and now we are here together in our 80s! Our fathers were both in the Naval Medical Corps—his a surgeon and mine a urologist. So we are happy at home here! Thank you again!