Class Notes

NEWS OF 1956

From the Alumni House:

Our sympathy goes to Herbert P. Hartman on the death of his wife in April.


NEWS OF 1955
Reunion May 20-21

From Helen Varady Keyser:

My husband, John, and I visited the Janos Enyedi “Made in America” exhibit of Bethlehem Steel paintings and sculpture on its last day (January 25) at Payne Gallery. We met the artist and spoke to him in English and Hungarian as he prepared the exhibit to move to Georgia and Ohio.

Rev. Frank Flisser, retired pastor of St. John’s Windish Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, also visited Payne Gallery to see the show. As he entered, he encountered Rev. Douglas Caldwell ’66, ’69, pastor of Central Moravian Church, trustee of Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary, and president of the board of trustees of St. Luke’s Hospital. Dr. Flisser is a member of Lehigh Valley Hospital/Muhlenberg’s board of trustees. A spirited discussion about local hospitals ensued.

Rose Mandic Donchez tells us that Mary Polak Barkis ’59 of Marietta, Ga., a sculptor, attended the opening reception at the Cultural Arts Center in Douglasville, where Mary met the artists whose work was on display in the sculpture exhibit.

Kay Moyer Cressman of Round Rock, Texas, still works at the library. The area population is about 80,000, and its residents are thinking of building a fifth high school. And the area will have Triple A baseball next year!

If you saw the photo of the carriage ride through the city in the Morning Call December 11, the driver was David Cressman ’75 of Ironton, Kay’s brother-in-law, who gives horse-drawn carriage rides through historic Bethlehem during the holiday season.

Anne Collins Frey’s daughter took her on a wonderful birthday trip in December to Jamaica. Anne also enjoys working at Dave’s Deli.

Rose Mandic Donchez and her husband, Francis, went to a Serra Club seminar in Maryland and were able to take a side trip to historic Williamsburg, Va.

Joan Landrock Schlegel recently called Bam McCombs Justice and Gladys Smith Wenkelmann ’53 of Spirit Lake, Idaho. I just received a letter from Gladys saying she and her husband, Howie, are busy with their dog, Casey, and three cats. Spirit Lake had below-zero temperatures this winter, just as we had.

Mary Lou Brachman Watchman, who lives in Palm Beach, Fla., with her family, called Nancy Zaleski Frantz ’53 Secretarial. What a surprise! We hadn’t heard from Mary Lou since our college days. And Joan tracked down Mae Kressly Culbert ’53 Secretarial through Mae’s sisters. She lives in Winchester, Va.

Bam McCombs Justice of Sarasota, Fla., says she wishes she could lunch with “the girls” (Joan, Rosie, Barbara, Nancy, and me), but at least she doesn’t have to worry about shoveling snow.

It’s time to think about our 50th reunion next year!

NEWS OF 1954

From Helen Desh Woodbridge:

I wouldn’t have missed the fall exhibit at Payne Gallery, “Buried Treasures: Discovering the Moravian Archives.” Among other items, there was the “dink” (freshman beanie) of Betty Kress Erney! And there was a photo of the chapel in the 1900s when the College was a denominational school and required daily and Sunday services in chapel and at Central Moravian Church.

A Christmas letter from Sister Millicent Drake says she “continues to find much joy in the many opportunities for service at St. John’s” Lutheran Church in Boyertown. A highlight of her year was being given “permission by the bishop to preside at services of Holy Communion in the absence of the two pastors.” She takes pleasure in her two Shelties, as do others at the nursing homes and therapy floors in local hospitals during their visits.

Betty Kress Erney saw her middle daughter through successful surgery in Dallas, visited her 96-year-old mother-in-law in New Jersey and her brother in Allentown, and was in touch with Joan Kinard Mercado, also in Houston, about our 50th reunion.

From North Wales, Lois Lutz Geehr used her Advent letter to share “transformations” in the lives of their son, two daughters, two grandsons, one granddaughter, all in Pennsylvania. She has been in touch with Mary Acopian Bradley, Plainview, N.Y., and Pat Krolick Nebinger about our 50th. Lois enjoys occasional freelance editorial work, and Frederick works from time to time as supply pastor.

Pat Nuttal Lewis, Colorado Springs, wrote about the arrival on Valentine’s Day of their sixth grandchild, a girl, and about the Lewis family reunion in July, attended by nearly 100 people, and about the December 21 event that marked her and Charles’ 50th anniversary.

Margie Eaton Martin sent her best wishes to all who attend our 50th reunion. She’ll be thinking of us while on a tour of Egypt and Jordan! She has retired from the B & B business she started 15 years ago; it’s now run by her daughter and chef, Jill, and Jill’s husband. Margie is very happy in her townhouse in Green Valley, 30 miles south of Tucson. She’s near her son and has “a beautiful view of the mountains and desert.” She has lots of time to exercise, read, and travel She maintains ties with Barbara Doll Peterson, Chevy Chase, Md., and Lois Geehr.

Joan Kinard Mercado keeps up her musical activities. She visits her son, his wife, and their four children in Virginia and her daughter, a chaplain, and her husband, an associate pastor, in St. Louis.

Having inadvertently listed Mildred Warner Munroe as a missing classmate, I was glad to receive her card about her life in New York City, where she worked and lived with her husband and children before moving to the Jersey shore.

My “big sister” Fran Webber Horton ’52 keeps me informed of Rod’s love of fishing and hers of painting, things they were able to pursue on their summer vacation in Nova Scotia, and of the Christmas and family events already planned, and of The Sound of Music, to be performed by the choir at St. Andrews in Ambler, which she directs.

We hope our classmates will have had a memorable 50th reunion when you read this column in July.

NEWS OF 1953

From Helen Varady Keyser '55:

Sue Ann Henkelman Fortney and her husband, Ralph, spent the holidays with their older daughter and family in Greensboro, N.C.

Eleanor Simmons MacCormick of Morristown, N.J., joined us at one of our lunches. She retired in 2000 as personnel manager of Ricoh Co., which manufactures business machines. She also traveled with her husband, who was a military aviator. She gets to see Millie Warner Munroe ’54 of Brielle, N.J., and they’ve been to the Bethlehem Bach Festival.

NEWS OF 1952

From the Alumni House:

Don Cohen and Chris Gilbert ’86, Dan Gilbert’s son, will represent Moravian College at Texas Christian University’s presidential inauguration.

Kathryn Horwath Hartman wrote to tell us that Gloria Abel Parkhill is now in an assisted living facility. Kathryn also wants to remind the alumnae of Moravian College for Women to send their news.

Anne Enright has moved into a cottage at Moravian Village, a beautiful retirement complex in Bethlehem.

NEWS OF 1951

From Carol Buechner McMullen:

Byrdie Loveless Jackson, my roommate at Moravian, writes that her granddaughter Sarah (daughter of Christine Gratz ’71) was married in November in a beautiful and interesting Hindu/Protestant ceremony. Another granddaughter, Andrea, graduated from South Florida University in May and is working at a cancer hospital.

As a Shakespeare lover since a long-ago course with Dr. Couchman, I enjoyed seeing Henry IV, Parts I and II, and King Lear at Lincoln Center in New York.

My calendar tells me that tomorrow is the first day of spring, though the view from my window looks more like a winter wonderland. I hope all my classmates are well. I look forward to hearing from you.

NEWS OF 1950
Reunion May 20-21

Well and Good

Photo: Michael P. Wilson

Claire Risbon Rij ’69 has a very soft and pleasant voice, the kind that lulls babies to sleep. But get her talking about the Wellness Community, whose Lehigh Valley center she helped found, and suddenly she’s giving a stump speech to rival the most aggressive politician.

The Wellness Community, founded in 1982 by Dr. Harold Benjamin of Santa Monica, California, is a non-profit agency that provides counsel and encouragement for cancer survivors. This means not just those who have had cancer and may be undergoing various medical therapies for it, but their extended circle of family, friends, and professional caregivers who also live with the aftereffects of cancer every day.

And it all started one morning because Claire was late for breakfast while on a business trip with her husband. But Claire discovered a new direction for her life while on it.

“We were on a company trip in Italy in 1996,” she says, “and I was having a little trouble getting motivated that morning. So I was the last person in for breakfast, and of course everyone was gone. So there was this one other woman, and we sat down at a table together to keep each other company.” That was Patricia Wellenbach, executive director of the Wellness Community of Philadelphia.

She met Wellenbach just two years after her own mother died of cancer, so she was acutely aware of the need for counseling and care. When she proposed a Wellness Community for the Lehigh Valley, the organization suggested that she talk to Ed Meehan, a director of the Pool Trust, one of the valley’s most generous sponsors of health initiatives. Claire shared the chairmanship of the fund-raising campaign with Doug Patt (of Patt, White Realty), a cancer survivor.

With $750,000 in contributions, they bought the old Pharo House (built in 1803) on Route 512 and restored it to become the Wellness Community. Its stately architecture and quiet wooded grounds offer a soothing setting for nutrition counseling, massage therapy, gardening, book discussions, yoga, spiritual raki, tai chi, “ask the doctor” sessions, bereavement classes, and support of all kinds. All its services are free of charge, it serves a seven-county area, and all five hospital systems in the area as well as countless doctors are recommending it to their patients.

“It’s probably one of the biggest risks I took, but once I started I couldn’t go back,” Claire says. “It’s one of the most rewarding things I know outside of my children and my family, and I’m going to make sure it stays running and that everything is top-notch.”

- Judith Green