1973 – Spring ’21 Class Letter

1973 – Spring 2021 Class Letter

Greetings, Class of 1973!

I saw something on Facebook early in January that said: “I have had the seven-day trial of 2021 and I don’t want it.” The first month of this new year was certainly trying.

As I began to write this, GARY LEDERER ’72 and I were completely frustrated trying to sign up to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Hours spent waiting for an on-line appointment to pop up or on the phone waiting for someone to answer so we can sign up. We know we were not alone in our frustrations, but really it seemed appointment sign-ups could have been a lot easier. We did finally get our first vaccines, Gary traveling to Miami and me to Palm Beach Gardens, both trips over two hours each way. We got the shots, that is the important thing. Gary’s second dose is in three weeks and mine in four.

Many of you have been touched by COVID-19. For those of you who have lost loved ones, you have my sympathy. For all of us who have been kept from family, friends, and the business of our normal lives, I hope the vaccine works and life will return to normal. I know it will never be the same as it was, and that is okay. But, like many of you, I want to be able to get on a plane and see my children, cuddle my grandbabies, and travel the country I love. 

I am thankful for Zoom and Facetime. Every Sunday evening, I Zoom with Ripon friends: KAREN TESCHNER DORN ’72, SUE MIJANOVICH KEY ’72, LINDA BRASSINGTON DANIELS ’72, LYNN HORNE GASIOREK ’72, and NITA JACKSON PARKER ’72. We catch up on our weeks, talking about what is happening in our worlds as well as the world as a whole. Gary and I Zoom or Facetime with our children and grandchildren, so at least we can see their faces, even if we cannot give them the hugs we would like to. I am missing hugs so much!

Before I get to the news from classmates, I want to share something that MARIAN “OZ” OSSMAN ’73, wrote: “I’m not alone in turning 70 this year. Generally, I dislike decade birthdays but it occurred to me that I spent four wonderful years at Ripon in the 70s. After graduation, I launched my adult life, traveled, pursued further education, and started new relationships before marrying in ’79. Now, looking forward to the 70s once more, I can’t help anticipate what will come when COVID-19 is under control. More travel, new relationships with grandkids, perhaps learning something new? I’m grateful for my good health and a good life built on my Ripon education that has carried me to this new decade.”

Let’s rock these 70s like we did before!” I agree with her: let’s embrace turning 70 and enjoy the decade with as much enthusiasm and spirit as we had in our Ripon years!

That being said, let’s remember Ripon College when we think about our charitable giving this year! Thanks to each of you who contributed this past year either to the Ripon Fund, #OneDayRally, or both! Our financial support of the College benefits the students attending now, and guarantees that there will be a place for students in the future. Remember to keep up to date through www.Ripon.edu/news. Also, check out feature articles at www.Ripon.edu/publications

My plea for news brought in the following responses:

EVELYN COLUCCI SUZDAK ’73 of White Plains, New York: “COVID-19 has taken travel options out of my retirement equation for now. Keeping busy with indoor water aerobics. Taking a Collegium course at the local college on the philosophy of unity. Interesting… I never took a philosophy class as an undergrad.”

MARIAN “OZ” OSSMAN ’73 of Hopkinton, Massachusetts: “Before COVID-19, in the Fall of 2019, I spent three weeks in France exploring Paris, Provence, and sailing the Cote d’Azur. I arrived home the same day that KAREN “MURPH” LOWERY ’73 arrived to spend a long week with me. Once my jet lag abated, we were limited by rainy weather but still hiked Walden Pond, explored the North End, and experienced The Christmas Tree Shop. Murph and I have traveled together before but this was her first visit to Massachusetts. She’ll be back. During COVID-19, I’ve been lucky to continue riding which kept me active and engaged. I even rode in the Champlain Valley Virtual Horse Show, racking up a heap of ribbons! Old dogs and new tricks come to mind. Most recently, I had a total shoulder replacement in early January which was done as a day surgery! Fortunately, I’m healing very well and should be back in business and better than ever soon. While recuperating, I hosted a 70th birthday bash, outdoor around a bonfire, and as well as a Zoom Inaugural Gala with friends from CA, FL, GA, IL, WI, and, of course, Murph in AZ.”

MIKE MIZEN ’73 of Lakewood, Ohio: “We remain guarded but well. Did a 5500+ RV adventure to Idaho last fall taking all the back roads and small state and national park campgrounds. Typically we would be skiing in February but the COVID-19 numbers in Pitkin County are way off scale. Our families are also in good order. Alison, Trip, and Kael welcomed Paisley Joan Gaul last March; on the eve of the state of Ohio shutting down. Jennifer and Joe will be expecting their first child in April. No vaccines for us at this writing but PEGGI SEELBACH MIZEN ’75 remains a licensed RN and is now part of the Ohio Medical Reserve Corps.”

MARTY MORRIS ’73 of Portland, Oregon: “Here’s some input from Oregon….Not doing much. I’m staying at home, minimizing going out in public, wearing a mask, and waiting for my turn for a vaccination, which will be a few more months for my group. The good news is that I discovered a Ripon grad Class of ’02 living two blocks from me in Portland. His Ripon College license plate frame gave him away. We are going to get together when it’s safe. More news like that. I ran into a freshman drinking buddy, DAVE LAPORTE ’73 on the Nextdoor app. He had just moved here. We too will meet when we feel it’s safe to.”

PAT WILKE EPTING ’73 of Aransas Pass, Texas: “2020 started out with a cruise, a quarantine (flu), and a quick trip to see my uncle in Florida before the pandemic hit. In March, LEX ‘72 found out he needed thyroid surgery just as the hospitals in Texas closed for elective surgery. Not wanting to get stuck in Texas for the summer, we decided to head north. Also not wanting to have a mechanical breakdown in the mountains of Oklahoma, we reluctantly traded in our “Hickory Nut” with its 125K miles for a new car, dubbed “The Groot.” Cross country travel in April was surreal. We packed food, Lysol spray, and Clorox Wipes. There were almost no cars on the roads and almost no people in hotels. It was a relief to pull into our driveway in Wisconsin. Lex found one of the nation’s top Thyroid surgeons in Appleton and all went well. The farm was a welcome respite for the summer, and the kids were able to join us for Lex’s 70th birthday (after the obligatory self-quarantine). Now we’re back in Texas, hoping to score a vaccine without spending the night in “The Groot” waiting for a drive through vaccination clinic to open. (Agent Note: She and Lex got their vaccines!!!) Never a dull moment, in spite of the pandemic!”

I will add that Pat has shown her amazing puzzle making skills on Facebook and I am impressed!

MARY-CHRIS “CHRISTMAS” PALINSKI WINN ’73 of Monticello, Wisconsin: “My news that I’m very excited about is that I will be marshaling on Hole #14 at Whistling Straits for the Ryder Cup from 9/21-9/26/21. My shifts are on Tuesday and Saturday. Stop by and say hello – unless I’m holding the “Quiet Please” sign🤫😂! I Can’t wait!”

I will definitely keep an eye out for you on TV! What a fun thing to be able to do! Enjoy!!!!

DON DEW ’73 of Eagle Bay, New York: I wrote a long email as Gary and I had not heard from him in ages. I will paraphrase a bit: Don has five grandchildren. His oldest son, Don, and his wife, Anne, live in Big Moose with their three kids. Don works remotely so he can be in the Adirondacks and enjoy living in the mountains. David lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Niki, and two kids. He has his own website business. He writes that, “My legal address and mailing address is Big Moose (Eagle Bay Post Office) but I spend quite a bit of time with my partner, Michele, in Chittenango, New York near Syracuse. I also have a home in Colorado in the mountains. I love to ski and despite COVID-19, I go there on a regular basis to ski with friends.” Don also said he was diagnosed with leukemia seven years ago, but has been in remission for three years. He is closely monitored by his doctor. Don says, “I eat well, exercise a lot, and the drug worked. I am certainly one of the fortunate ones. I still fly and am able to do all of the things I have always enjoyed.” Don also said he had a second career as a seaplane pilot in the Adirondacks. 

JIM STONE ’73 of Brookfield, Wisconsin: “Like all of us, I had a very weird 2020 and it is looking the same for 2021. I started 2021 with getting a new dog since our old Bichon passed. We now have a Teddy Bear puppy. The dog had to have friends, so we got a brother and sister cat- we are very busy at the condo. We started renovating our 1999 ranch condo starting in April and ended in August. We have it the way we want it to be at half the cost. I have been meeting with TIM PETERSIK ’73 every two weeks or so and enjoying lunch and beer together. We have met with JANE RUNKEL FREDERICK ’74 and JOHN FREDERICK ’73 for a few meals and have been staying safe. My son moved to San Diego, California  I drove with him from Ft. Myers, Florida to San Diego in the middle of January. It was a 39 hour drive and I realized that I was way too old for this. If anyone knows people out there, please contact me. Rachal and I just celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary and are staying safe during these trying times.”

SUDY REIGLE ALTHOLZ ’73 of Chicago, Illinois: “TOM ’72 and I hope that everyone is staying healthy and happy during this trying year. We returned from a wonderful 3+ week adventure to Argentina and Chile, including hiking in Patagonia on February 19th, 2020. We were hearing bits about a strange virus, in Spanish of course, but we had no idea that within three weeks the country would be such a different spot. We are lucky we had such a wonderful trip and we have stayed healthy and content throughout this past year. Yes, we know of several people who we have lost due to COVID-19. But our family continues to stay healthy. We have grandchildren in college, high school, primary school and pre-school and they all are doing okay. We hope all our Ripon College friends are doing okay too.

I had a nice long email from DOREEN CONFORTI CHEMEROW ’73. She and David are well, missing family, and travel, but have remained well. David by some fluke got them on the first round of COVID-19 vaccine shots in Palm Beach County so they are feeling very lucky.”

JANE STEFFEN KOLAKOWSKI ’73 of Verona, Wisconsin: “After 47 terrific years living in Virginia, PETER KOLAKOWSKI ’72 and I moved back to Madison, Wisconsin, this past summer to be closer to our kids and other family.”

BOB BRENNAN ’73 of Tomahawk, Wisconsin: “I recently watched The Eagles Farewell Tour #1 on Amazon Video. One of the songs was “Funk #49” (Joe Walsh was in James Gang before he joined The Eagles). Brought back good memories from Ripon in 1971.”

DAVID GROSSMAN ’73 of Centerville, Massachusetts: “Every day is closer to a vaccine! I’ve been playing winter golf, doing some clamming (its oyster season now) and enjoying the Cape life. I’ve read a lot of books on my iPad, taken care of my Havanese dog (picture if you need one LOL), and gone on daily walks around the neighborhood.”

BILL MACLEOD ’73 of Washington D.C.: “It’s tough getting news from 2020. Here’s what I’ve heard: DAVE BUNTEN ’73: still teaching high school and mourning Tom Brady’s drive-by decimation of Green Bay. Me: I finished a year on a task force at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, ran the virtual Marine Corp Marathon, and infiltrated the January 6 insurrection. Now I’m a winding up my last year on the Ripon Board of Trustees.

MARY BOESE BOEHNLEIN ’73 of Cedarburg, Wisconsin: “I would just like a Reunion of some sort with the class of 1973. Let’s pick a place when this pandemic is over.”

Great idea Mary, we will have to work on it.

I am sad to report that STEVE ILLICH ’73’s wife, Ginny, recently died from liver cancer. Steve and Ginny were married for 38 years.

PHIL REID ’73 is living in Sarasota, Florida. He is now retired from his position as President of High Yield Productions.

I am sad to write that JOHN WINKLEPLECK ’73 of Naples, Florida, died on February 20, 2021. At Ripon, he majored in economics and was a member of Theta Chi. He later was a member of the 1851 Club. He received a master of business administration degree in finance from Cleveland State University. He spent his entire career in banking in Cleveland, at Central National Bank, Ameritrust, and Key Bank, from which he retired. He was an avid golfer and loved racket sports, especially tennis, squash, and paddle tennis. He was a member of Tavern Club and Mayfield Country Club, serving a term as president. Survivors include his wife, Nancy; and one daughter.

Now for some good news regarding this year’s Alumni Weekend! Alumni Weekend 2021 will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen with two distinct summer weekends of Ripon alumni programming for us. No matter how you’d like to connect, virtually or in person, the Office of Constituent Engagement is developing a variety of activities to continue to follow CDC, Fond du Lac County and College guidelines in both June and August. Full schedules, lodging, and programming details will be posted soon to www.ripon.edu/alumni-weekend.

JUNE 2021

  • In honor of our June Alumni Weekend traditions, virtual alumni programming will be held Tuesday, June 22 through Saturday, June 26, and will include: an alumni town hall, R Connections webinars, affinity socials, a summer book club, and special recognition of the 2020 and 2021 Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees. 
  • The only in-person event, the Doc Weiske ’50 Memorial Golf Scramble, will be held off-campus on Friday, June 25

AUGUST 2021

A combination of virtual and in-person Alumni Weekend programming will be held the first week of August. We will continue to evaluate the state of COVID-19. If circumstances change at the local and national level and we need to cancel in-person programming, that decision will be made and communicated by July 1, 2021.

  • Virtual programming will be held Tuesday, August 3 through Saturday, August 7 and will include: a reunion-focused alumni town hall that also previews the new academic year, additional R Connections webinars, the summer book club capstone, and the traditional “That Was Then” storytelling session. 
  • In-person, on-campus programming will be held Friday, August 6 through Sunday, August 8, and will focus on alumni awards recognition, 2020 and 2021 reunion celebrations, and other outdoor events such as Rally Run and prairie walk.
  • Additionally, the Class of 2020 will officially be welcomed to our alumni community with a special commencement ceremony.

Please stay healthy!

Cheers, 

JEAN KIRKPATRICK LEDERER ’73

(239) 390-1349 / [email protected]

Your 1973 Class Agent