Jill Johnson
2012 Wolftrap Oaks Ct
Vienna, VA 22182
[email protected]

Facebook private group: Sweet Briar Class of 1972. Please consider joining. There are great posts, photos and lots of good info sharing.

How can I not mention Reunion? Our 40th. Can it really be? First, let’s pat ourselves on the back for yet another amazing fundraising success, led by the equally amazing Susan Snodgrass Wynne. The Class of ’72 has now achieved a fifth Reunion Class Gift award. NOTE: We hold 4 current Reunion Class Gift Award records on the Award Wall in Glass—the most of any SBC Class! Next, check out the photos from Reunion Weekend at sbc.edu/reunion2012 to view the fun.

Susan sends a big Thank You to all our classmates who participated in our 40th Reunion fundraising effort and found it great catching up with those who were able to attend Reunion. She adds that once again we met the challenge and set a new record! When not leading the charge for Class ’72, Susan and husband John “Dubby” enjoy their three young grandchildren, two girls and a boy (3, 2, and 1), living in Virginia Beach and Charlotte. They enjoyed a wonderful 40th anniversary trip this summer to France and Italy with their sons and daughters-in-law.

Marion Walker, our Class President in Perpetuity, reports she felt the 40th Reunion was a wonderful success, even with a small group. Connecting at the campus was as special as ever. (Marion and I were Reunion roomies once again, in Manson. We were in violent agreement that it was a most beautiful weather weekend on a most beautiful campus and much, much too short.) After six years with Ford & Harrison, Marion went out on her own again and is now sharing office space with some law school friends in downtown Birmingham. Still a labor and employment defense and business litigation attorney, Marion enjoys the world without the billable hour proctor in her head. Happily, however, she is staying busy. Fortunately there is time for golf, sailing, reading and gardening with beautiful days at the lake. She reports her grandniece is adorable; another nephew to graduate law school next year and marry; nephew Jesse Walker graduated from Ga. this year and was inducted as a second Lieutenant in the Marines; her niece, Mary Kathryn, has moved back to Birmingham and has a darling boyfriend; and most of the nieces and nephews shower Auntie Mame with love and attention. With friends who are thoughtful and fun, and good health, Marion claims it doesn’t get much better than this!

It’s good to share news and certainly to hear about others, so says Rosie Brache Leparulo. Life is still good in Tallahassee. Rosie and husband William now have two beautiful grandchildren—Gracie (4) and Anthony (2). Rosie retired in July 2010 and has been deliriously happy in retirement after 32 years of teaching, mostly in the Florida Community College system. William is still on the faculty at FSU, and they will soon celebrate their 38th wedding anniversary. Their sons are 36 (single) and 34 (married with children) and continue to be the joy of their lives. Her mother lives on her own about a mile away; at 88 and twice widowed (Rosie lost her Dad in ’92), she is still doing pretty well. One of the perks of retirement, in addition to keeping her little ones two days a week, is spending time with her mother. She LOVES going out—anywhere!—and is always sitting on her couch with her purse in her lap ready to hit the road when Rosie drops by. So, Rosie has become a professional errand runner, doing what my sister calls, the Tallahassee Two Step—Walmart, Costco, the gym, etc. She is looking forward to beautiful fall mornings when she can sit out on the front porch, sip coffee, read and give thanks for family and friends, both present and past, and the opportunity to keep making small differences. So, between family joys/obligations, volunteering with the Obama campaign, and some long overdue home projects, Rosie keeps very busy.

Carol Cody Herder and husband Charlie are busy building a new home that is half an hour outside of Aspen on a horse ranch. It should be finished in the summer of 2013, so they are looking forward to long periods of escape from the famous Houston heat and humidity. Carol spent much of this summer taking her Mom to and from emergency rooms and hospitals and has just moved her into a retirement home. It has been a good move and such a relief to know that she is under constant care. Carol continues to be an active volunteer in her DAR chapter and the annual Theta Charity Antiques Show. Both kids, Sarah (29) and Charles (25) are happily married, home owners, and of course, taxpayers! No grandchildren yet.

Vivian Finlay is enjoying living in Homer, Alaska, in her new home of almost three years. She and her husband Clyde Boyer are very active in their Rotary service clubs and have again traveled to Siberia in June for Rotary (the last trip of many in recent years). They were able to visit Vivian’s sisters in England and Ireland en route to and from Russia. Vivian also participated in a vocational and cultural exchange through Rotary as leader of a maternal and child health professional team to New Zealand and Fiji in March and April. Vivian and Clyde have hosted many friends and family members during the summer as Homer is famous for its halibut fishing and many people want to visit! They are looking forward to a winter of cross country skiing and maybe a drive to visit family and friends in the continental USA. Meanwhile Vivian continues a very limited part time practice doing psychotherapy in Homer.

So enjoyed the Reunion last May, writes Bev Horne Dommerich. Her first! Well worth the effort to reconnect with old friends—not that we are old, Bev insists. Later in May, John, her brother Coco, and Bev took a backroads trip to the Piedmont area of Italy. They rode, they ate, they drank and enjoyed the 22 other people on the trip—some from Brazil, some from Canada and the rest from the USA. After a week of riding bikes through the Piedmont area, they took a train down to the Italian Riviera for a week and walked Cinque Terre as well as walking to Portofino from Santa Margherita. If that sounds like boot camp, rest assured that they thoroughly enjoyed the trip!

Holly Smith says she failed to run out of the room fast enough and has been made a Trustee of Sulgrave Manor, the ancestral home of George Washington’s family, near Oxford, England. This primarily means she does fundraising for the charity, a task she is also carrying out in her role as a trustee of the International Friends of the Natural History Museum (the one in London). Tune in next year, she says, to see how successful she has been in persuading wealthy donors to support these good causes. Holly and her husband Neil Osborn have just returned from a vacation in Calif., where Holly had lived in her mid teens. “I wanted to show Neil that Highway 1 is the best road in the world. He’s a believer now. We were thrilled to see all the exotic wildlife that abounds along this majestic stretch of coastline.”

From Richmond, Barbara Tessin Derry says she is enjoying her retirement. She has taken up bridge again and thinks fondly of the marathon bridge sessions she and Marcia Wittenbrook played in the basement of Grammar and the Pit instead of studying. Her son Will (27) is a radiology resident at UCLA; daughter Alice (25) is a Spanish teacher at Thoreau Middle School in Vienna, Va. At least one is on the east coast. She enjoyed catching up with our classmates who came to Reunion in May and is still playing Words With Friends with Carter Frackelton as a result.

Voilà notes from France, writes DeDe Conley. She and her husband got there at the end of April and plan to go home by boat via Southampton in Oct., so organized two weeks in southern England before sailing, their first visit to London and England, with lots of B & Bs! She had a wonderful summer, a week in Venice, visits with friends, construction on their house, working on their garden and lots of good food and open air markets. In Aug. she took a two-day “organic” gardening class near Grenoble at “Terre Vivante,” beautiful setting in the Alps and learned a lot, composting has no secrets for her! She belongs to an organic coop there, and in the summer, she put on an organic festival with seminars, nature walks, organic produce and local craft stands, great organic food and good music—fun. In Sept. DeDe went to Tunisia where she was a Peace Corps volunteer just after SBC. She had meetings with the American Embassy personnel and more to try to jump start a development project to help Kasserine, where I served. (Kasserine was a catalyst for the Arab Spring and still has 40% unemployment.) Dede is VP of the Friends of Tunisia that represent the 2600 Peace Corps volunteers that have served in Tunisia, and they think a Memorial Center for the 6,500 Americans who died at Kasserine Pass during WWII (first battle with Rommel) could be a visitor center that would attract tourism and create jobs in Kasserine. Tourists already go nearby to some beautiful Roman Ruins and pass by Kasserine on their way to the desert oasis towns (where Star Wars and Indiana Jones were filmed!), so the group needs to give them a reason to stop in Kasserine and honor the memory of our American Soldiers. Currently there is just a small monument there and the soldiers are buried in a cemetery in Tunis four hours away. DeDe asks for anyone to please let her know of any ideas to help.

Mary Sue Morrison Thomas was truly delighted to reunite with close friends and classmates at our 40th reunion and is inspired about helping to increase our class attendance for the 45th in 2017 and beyond. She was able to locate some of the ‘lost’ members of our class and has pledged to try to find more—affirming that this should not be taken as a threat but is, indeed, a promise! (I don’t know what we would have done without Mary Sue’s search for emails. What a sleuth!) In addition to gathering with old friends and forming ‘new’ friendships, Mary Sue found it most meaningful to revisit the environment that was so vital to her education and her ability to make decisions which ultimately led to success in her life, career, and current ventures. She also urges all ‘72ers’ to check our Facebook page frequently for pictures, information, announcements, etc. and to keep up with news at SBC by following Pres. Jo Ellen Parker’s blog at http://sbc.edu/blogs.

I (Jill) continue to have a wonderful time with forever friends from SBC. This past June, Karen Medford entertained Mary Heller, Eileen Gebrian, Janet Nelson Gibson and me at her lovely Rehoboth Beach house. Ginnie B Payne Sasser and Carter Frackelton were to have joined us, but Ginnie B got a bad cold and Carter had to prepare for a trip to Mich. and then her “camp” in the Adirondacks. Karen continues to travel a lot, with a trip to London and Bath in the fall and then off to N.Y. for three-month extended play in the Big Apple.

Eileen Gebrian has been after me for years to visit her and husband Tim Barberich at their Nantucket beach house. I overcame my fear of little planes, by finding a two-leg jet trip, and had a wonderfully outrageous time with Eileen and Tim, as they were preparing for daughter Sophie’s wedding on the island in Sept. Eileen looks terrific and I thought I looked the same too, until I saw the photos. Oh well.

Please, please consider joining the Sweet Briar Class of 1972 Facebook private group. Post some photos and share your news….or non-news. From the experience at Reunion, I can tell we all want to know what’s happening in our classmates’ lives, mundane or not.