1975

Johna Pierce
johna_pierce@yahoo.com

Virginia Holden retired and bought a home about 90 minutes from Chicago in SW Michigan wine-and-fruit country with lots of acreage and abundant wildlife. She now has time to email old classmates and friends! She reports to 2 rescued dogs and 4 rescued cats. She’s happily (and busily) working on the Michigan State Council of the Humane Society of the U.S., remaining on the development board of PAWS Chicago (state-of-the-art no-kill shelter), and is playing farmer, gardener, bird feeder, sky watcher, pond caretaker, volunteer for local spay and neuter clinics, amateur vegetarian and vegan chef (and member of 2 CSAs), part-time political activist, hostess, crisis care and animal foster mom, occasional traveler, and generally doing all the things she’d longed to do other than practice law. She says she would welcome news from other SBC folks enjoying life! Vhh@me.com.
Coni Crocker Betzendahl’s eldest daughter Lindsay gave birth to a son—their first grandchild—6 weeks prematurely in March, but all are doing well. In June, her mother (88) passed away sleeping in her own bed with Coni’s dad by her side, holding her hand. Her dad (91) is doing well and still living on his own. Daughter Ashley is setting the social media world on fire at the Goddard School, corporate. As Coni said, “No engagement ring yet, but soon, I hope! We adore both son-in-law and sin-in-law!” As Coni wrote her update, the movers were packing up 6,500 sq. ft. of stuff accumulated over the past 15 yrs. for storage until they move into their charming, fully restored 1888 mill house. Although excited about the move, fitting it all into a 3,000-sq.-ft. home is a hassle. For a month, they will shuttle between living on their boat in Cape May, NJ, and their farm in Vt., and Coni will sneak trips home to stay with friends so she can ride her horse. He has recovered from a torn check ligament injury. U of PA vet school harvested his stem cells and re-injected them into the injury. What strides vet medicine has taken! Richard still works but it is his own business, so as long as he has a computer, he is good to go. Coni dabbles in painting but not as much as she should! All are healthy and happy—at least for the moment; check in after a few weeks of being “homeless”— and feel blessed with family and friends.
Randi Marie Hoffmann is owner and acupuncturist at Rivertown Acupuncture and Rivertown Healing Arts in Dobbs Ferry, NY. After the death of her sister, she and husband Janos Marton finished raising her two sons in addition to their own three sons, The youngest is due to graduate from college in 2014. Freedom! Life is good.
Catherine Cranston Whitham reports from Richmond that she is in touch with lots of SBC friends, especially since many of us celebrate our 60th birthdays this year. Catherine stays busy doing volunteer work for various nonprofits and church while happily chasing their adorable 2-yr.-old grandson, who moved to Staunton from Missoula, MT, with his parents this past spring. Ann is an urban planner a Shenandoah Valley planning and development office. Her husband Steve is the field director for his business Wildland Trekking, which organizes and runs custom trips for individuals and families in Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. If you are planning a trip with friends or family, Catherine says to check out www.wildlandtrekking.com and says these guys run fabulous trips with good food, too! Son Craig is working on the Hill and Whit is busy as ever with his law practice. They are taking a trip on the Rhine this fall to celebrate Catherine’s birthday since she decreed no party!
Johna Pierce Stephens begs your forgiveness for being MIA as the last few years have involved intensive hands-on care for her dad and husband Tom’s mom. Time—and energy—for much of anything other than family has been scarce. But the blessings outweigh anything else, and Johna is everlastingly grateful that she has had time to spend with them since retiring from the federal government. After a pacemaker malfunction that landed him in the hospital the day her daughter Rachael graduated Bryn Mawr in 2011, her Dad had a long recovery but was able to regain his mobility, albeit a bit slower. So it was with great joy last August that his 3 daughters took him back to the laurel highlands of Ashe County, NC, to stay in the house his father built, while they enjoyed another family reunion at the hometown church his great-grandfather helped build, reveling in all the relatives gathered at the picnic. As they drove through those familiar mountains and hamlets, he pointed out farms where relatives had lived, entertaining anyone within earshot with nonstop stories—some heard before and some not (his memory was always incredible). When it was time to make the trek back to VA, he asked to extend the stay in NC one more day—something he had never done before. Johna and her sisters were glad to oblige! Unfortunately, he took a fall at the end of January, after his 95th birthday. It seemed he could recover, as there was no intervention needed. Home from the hospital, he patiently worked with his therapists (often delighting them with stories), always doing “the best he could” and reveling in new and old friends, as always. But it was clear he was on his final path and he passed peacefully at home with his family at his side, as he’d always wished. Johna and her sisters manage their father’s farm outside Warrenton, as well as the NC farm, and are partners in another family farm in Kansas. All need some major work, and things generally go slower when a committee (family or otherwise!) has to make the decisions, so things are busy. Johna’s horse pulled a suspensory ligament in late April and she’s just now getting him back into work. She enjoyed the Warrenton Horse Show over Labor Day with Tom’s Mom. Tom still works in institutional equity research sales and still helps support a few drag racing competitors. Daughter Rachael remains in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and loves her work at the NYC nonprofit StreetWise Partners, which helps low-income individuals overcome employment barriers, obtain better jobs and achieve economic self-sufficiency.
Libby Whitley Fulton reports that life in Nelson County, VA, is lovely. Husband Dave (W&L ’72) and Libby live on 45 acres with a constantly evolving pack of dogs (10 at last count), horses and ponies (6, although 2 more are out on lease), 2 donkeys and multiple indoor and barn cats. The restoration of the 1820 farmhouse is finished (15 years!) and they have also moved an 1800 log cabin to the property as a guesthouse. Great fun. The business Libby started in 1994 working with seasonal employers to furnish legal foreign guest workers is holding steady, although the economy has not helped much. Libby says she’s looking forward to seeing everyone at the next reunion!
Barbie Tafel says middle age has brought many surprises! She loves her life and work. She’s been a landscape/exterior designer for 25 years, owns her own company, is a writer for Kentucky Homes and Gardens Magazine, and recently a realtor with KY Select properties. Her web site is barbietafel.com. Having survived a divorce and breast cancer, she is delightfully on the other side, enjoying life, working harder than ever at 2 jobs she adores that enable her to travel and frequently see her 3 children and their families scattered from DC ( Coast Guard captain) to Ft. Lauderdale ( private boat captain) to San Diego (Beneteau yacht sales) — all 3 boat captains!
Mary Desloges is in St. Louis as are her 3 sons (lucky Mary!) and is selling real estate for Janet McAfee Real Estate. Last summer she was lucky enough to go on a Silversea Cruise from Venice to Istanbul— a seriously cool trip she highly recommends. Other getaways included Vail, Fish Creek and Boca Grand!
Kathy Wilson Orton retired from J.P. Morgan after 30+ years in 2008 and took off nearly a year. She worked for Sanford Bernstein for 2 years but was recruited back into banking in 2011 to head Wells Fargo’s Texas region in healthcare financial services. “I guess I wasn’t really cut out for retirement yet,” she mused. She’s become friends with Cotty Wallace ’74, who is a colleague at Wells Fargo in L.A. Husband John still practices law in Houston; older daughter Betsy is executive director for After-School All-Stars, a nonprofit that provides after-school enrichment programs for low-income middle school kids in Dallas, and Ginny is working in banking in Dallas as well. John and Kathy try to get to their home in Aspen as often as possible. Hiking, biking and playing golf in the summer and downhill or cross-country skiing in the winter. There is never a bad time to be in Aspen. Some day they hope to spend 6 months a year there!
Beverley Crispin Heffernan continues to enjoy her work as manager of the Environmental Resources Division for the Bureau of Reclamation, Upper Colorado Region. Though eligible for retirement, she does not yet want to call it a career. Same for husband Jim, an administrative law judge for the Department of the Interior. They schedule “a big vacation” every year: Peru in 2012 and a whirlwind tour of Europe (Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain, Netherlands and Belgium, plus a teensy bit of Asia) in 2013. They recently bought a winter getaway in Hurricane, UT—on the edge of the Mojave Desert near St. George, with palm trees in the yard. Son Jimmy (32) is on the job hunt, while younger son Chris (28) lives in Salt Lake City and works for a moving company while chipping away at his college degree. The menagerie consists of two horses and two dogs. Beverley had a lovely trip to the Grand Canyon in 10/12 with roommates Nancy Haight and Robin Singleton Cloyd; Cynthia Manning Chatham was unable to join them at the last minute. This year’s roommate adventure will be at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in December, where they plan to admire cowboys in tight jeans, and oh, yes, the rodeo of course. She was also visited this year by Linda Uihlein ’77, who attends the Outdoor Retailers Convention in Salt Lake City to sell product lines from her business. Sadly, both of Beverley’s parents passed away in the last year, her dad in 10/12, and mom in 7/13.
Pat Parker says she talks to Liz, Cyndi and Lynn fairly regularly and is planning on going to Florida in 10/13 to visit Lynn Dann. Michael and Pat were in Hawaii in 12/12 with 2 of her sisters, Charlotte and Elena. Then Michael and Pat spent a week in Aruba in 6/13, and are planning to spend a week in Puerto Vallarta in 12/13, with sister Charlotte and husband. Otherwise, Pat spends her days working with clay and talking to her chickens and kitties.
Wendy Wise Routh says everything is great in Water Mill, NY. Carlos and Wendy’s summer was centered on golf between the Women’s Open at Sebonack and the Walker Cup at National—tons of house guests. The children are great! Lexie graduated from Rhodes and, after 2 years in Memphis working for the Orpheum, is living and working in NYC. JohnCarlos graduated from College of Charleston, giving Wendy ample opportunities to visit Chris Hoefer Myers and Anne Cogswell Burris. JohnCarlos is now freelancing in the film world of “The X Factor,” film festivals and reality TV. Wendy is busy decorating and running the JC for JD Foundation (JohnCarlos for Juvenile Diabetes) because “a cure is forever.” They are celebrating their litter of Labs’ first birthday, as they kept Memphis and Charleston. Joining the pack is their mom and great aunt! So 4 dogs and 4 adults are happily enjoying life in the Hamptons!
Denise Montgomery is doing well, but her dad started having blackouts a few months ago, and decided to stop driving. Doctors first suspected blood pressure, but discovered that one artery in his neck is almost blocked, and another is congenitally narrower than the other. Ordinarily they could stent the blocked artery, but with the narrow second artery, he could have a stroke or die during the surgery. So, he is on baby aspirin and cholesterol-lowering medication, which is ironic because his cholesterol is about 157! He still eats butter and bacon and the doctors were amazed how good his heart is for a man his age. Her Aunt Olive still plays bridge daily and golf at her country club three times a week at the age of 93. Denise’s two cats, Tom and Huck, who both joined her at the same time 15 years ago, died the same weekend this July. Denise still has one cat, a pretty young energetic gray female named Dusty. Denise’s book was published by Scarecrow Press in 8/11, was reviewed by Library Journal, Choice Magazine and the British library journal Reference Reviews. It was included in the 2012 list of Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic titles (a prestigious award in academia). Denise’s travels include Dallas, Anaheim, CA (home of Disneyland), Seattle and Chicago for the American Library Association Conferences that met in those cities. Gerry and Denise were supposed to go on a cruise around Asia this past April, but Gerry’s knees have been bothering him for the past few years, so they canceled it. He had physical therapy for a while, and finally underwent surgery in July. Hopefully he will be all right by the time they take a Thanksgiving cruise on the Queen Elizabeth in the Eastern Mediterranean to Italy, Greece and Turkey. Denise came to MD to visit Gerry for a long weekend in mid-July where the highlight was taking Elizabeth Cobb ’15, daughter of Cheryl Lux Cobb ’76, out to dinner at Jaleo and to hear Joshua Bell and the National Youth Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. Elizabeth was interning at Sen. Jon Tester’s office for the summer. Denise also visited Myrtle Beach, SC, in July to see an old boyfriend and meet his wife. Also, in the last 2 yrs., Denise bought 2 paintings from Kathy Orr Knuth, who has pursued a 2nd career as an artist since her retirement from Kraft. And Denise still maintains her Facebook page, Sweet Briar College: The Whiteman Years, open to anyone who attended or worked at SBC from 1971 through 1983. We presently have 154 members, including Joel Barden, who taught sociology during the mid-70s. Cora Snyder ’77, another Reid Hall-mate, is co-administrator of the site.
Ellen Harrison Saunders writes that she and Whitney have 2 weddings in the family. Harrison (30) will be married in 6/14 and Mary-Carson (27) will be married in 10/13. Harrison lives in Philadelphia and works for Ellen’s family’s business. Mary-Carson recently graduated from William & Mary’s law school (in the same class with Sara Ruhle’s son!). Daughter Grace (21) is a senior at Sewanee (U of the South). Betsy Brooks Jones will be the emcee for Mary-Carson’s wedding and Kathy Rose Rawls continues to be a best friend right here in Suffolk, VA. Ellen says her life took a different path 3 yrs. ago when she began working with her father (86 and still working full time) and son in the long-term healthcare business that her parents founded 40 years ago in PA. If anyone has advice about succession planning in family businesses and/or healthcare for senior citizens, she says “Give me a call! It has been a challenging 3 years!”
It is with great sadness that we shared classmate Sandra Vonetes’ passing on 6/28/13 in a special email to the class the following Monday. Understandably, Maria Vonetes is devastated at the loss of her twin. Tragically, Sandra died unexpectedly the day after their 60th birthday. Our hearts go out to Maria and her family and we offer our deepest condolences.