Class Notes

NEWS OF 1959

From Kathy Werst Detwiler:

Homecoming 2004 provided an opportunity for Wayne and me to attend the Alumni Awards.  

The gathering of honorees was held in Payne Gallery, the awards ceremony in Peter Hall. (Payne Gallery is our old South Campus gym, and Peter Hall is our former South Hall chapel.) The next day, we gathered at Houndfest and cheered our football team to victory against Fairleigh Dickinson. 

Recently, I heard from Nan and Bill Davis, who celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary on September 5. After teaching for 31 years, Bill retired 13 years ago. During his classroom career, Bill also coached for 12 years and in 1968 took the Mount Penn basketball team to the PIAA Class C state championship. Bill and Nan have returned to Bethlehem in retirement, for their son Scott teaches in Northampton and their other son Chris is a parole officer in Northampton County. Granddaughters, ages 4 and 8, keep their grandparents’ lives very busy.

It’s so good to hear from you folks, and I am looking forward to our 50th reunion!

NEWS OF 1958

NEWS OF 1957

From the Alumni House:

Pat Helfrich moved in October from Coopersburg to a new home in Macungie.

NEWS OF 1956

From Renee Johnson Dragotta:

In the fall of 1952, the women of our class entered Moravian College for Women and the men entered Moravian College for Men. In the spring of 1956, we all graduated from Moravian College. In 2006, we’ll have our 50th reunion.

Pauline Ritter Benner writes that her oldest son, Allen ’82, and his wife, Angela, adopted an 8-year-old Russian orphan named Andrei. He is busy learning English and getting to know his older brother, Ritter.

I first saw the new Priscilla Payne Hurd Academic Complex on November 19, 2004, when eight women like me who remembered the teas on South Campus with Dean Bushnell were asked to pour at a tea set up in the atrium. Women faculty and students were invited to see “how it was.”

John (Jack) Burke and his wife, Pat ’71, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary November 20. They renewed their marriage vows at a Mass at St. Anne’s Church in Bethlehem. A reception followed in the atrium of the Hurd Academic Complex. Jack and Pat have three sons, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Their sons are Moravian graduates—John ’79, Patrick ’81, and Daniel ’84—as well as daughter-in-law Annette Picucci Burke ’84 (Dan’s wife) and Jack’s brother Tom ’57.

Every spring for the past 10 years, my roommate for two years, Meridian West Fulton, and I went to Founder’s Day on Alumni Weekend. This is the day those of us who entered Moravian College for Women gather to share memories, take tea at the President’s house, have a speaker and lovefeast in the chapel and lunch in the dining room. We did this as usual in May. Then Meridian died suddenly on July 4. She was the wife of Rev. Donald Fulton ’50 and a graduate of Moravian Theological Seminary in 1953. We will miss her.

Beverly Bell and I attended Moravian College Night, November 17, at the Moravian Book Shop. This pre-holiday sale is sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Home Club. Joe Guman ’58, president of the club, can give you information about meetings and excursions.
Bev invited me to go to the Christmas Vespers. The music and singing were even more thrilling than I had remembered. Cornelia Schlotter and Carmella Carrescia, both ’57, joined us.

After graduation, I began teaching mathematics and computer programming at the high school in Philipsburg, N.J., and stayed there 40 years, retiring in 1997. My husband, Vince, is a Syracuse University graduate. Our daughter, Kris Dragotta Yerry ’81, works for the U.S. District Court in Allentown.

Let me know about what you’ve done and what you’re doing. Call some friends from the past and make plans for 2006.

NEWS OF 1955

NEWS OF 1954

From Helen Desh Woodbridge:

Bev Bell, Rita Dikon Adams, Shirley Beck Dutt, Lois Lutz Geehr, Joan Kinard Mercado, Elynor Fishel Rights, Dottie Ruyak, Dawn VanKeuren, Marian Wagner, and I began our 50th class reunion at a reception at the President’s house on Founder’s Day. There’s a photo of four smiling alumnae in the hallway: Mary Catherine Concevitch and Mary Ellen Orben, both ’42, Lois, and me.

Following the chapel program, Tim Gilman ’73 took a picture of our group. In the afternoon at Helen’s house, Dawn laid out the two banners she had brought from Alabama for the parade. One had purple and gold letters on white: “Class of 1954, Last Graduating Class, Moravian College for Women.”

All of us except Lois attended the dinner in the HUB, with the addition of Bob Adams and Marian’s sister, Elaine Martinez ’52. Helen spent the remainder of the evening at home with Elynor and Dolly, with a drive to Moravian Village, then to their old dorm on North Campus.

All except Rita went to Saturday morning breakfast, along with Sister Millicent Drake, Pat Krolik Nebinger, Nancy Bishop Risser, and her husband, Jim, Lois’ husband, Fred, and Elaine Martinez. According to tradition, President Rokke “pinned” our 12 reuniting classmates, adding that Marian was crowned Miss Moravian 1954 in addition to her other accomplishments.

Saturday was a beautiful day for the alumni parade, when Pat Parth Johnson joined the breakfast bunch, making 13, who wore gold crowns and sashes of purple and gold, provided by Rita and Marian, for the parade. Four classmates rode and nine walked, singing our Alma Mater, led by our vocalist, Lois. As we approached the judges’ stand, we stood and continued to sing, accompanied by members of Central Moravian Church’s trombone choir. The singing, the wearing of the colors, and the belfry display carried atop a pole gave viewers a picture of MCW’s Class of ’54.

At the luncheon, many of us wore our crowns and sashes and learned that the class of ’54 received the Class Spirit Award. After dessert, we were invited on stage to sing our Alma Mater again, accompanied by the trombones.

Sister Millicent left for Boyertown to prepare for services next day at St. John’s Lutheran Church, where she has been parish deaconess for nearly 50 years. That’s why she’s not in the class photo, which was taken later in the afternoon.

I learned that Sister Millicent would be preaching at her church June 27 and August 15. So Bev Bell, Shirley B. Dutt, and I visited on both days, following the service with lunch at the Brinton Lodge. In August, Sister Millicent portrayed Mary, mother of Jesus, describing Mary’s thoughts about her son. On one drive, we shared the car with her two shelties, of interest to Bev, who has two dogs. (Shirley and I have none.) Millicent takes them with her on visits to shut-ins.

Those who dined and conversed in the Air Products Room of the HUB were Bev, Shirley, Joan, Elynor, Dottie, Helen, and Joan Landrock Schlegel ’55 with her husband, Wally. Before leaving, Elynor, Dolly, and I stopped at the dance. With Helen, we went to Sunday morning service at Central Moravian Church and lunch at the Hotel Bethlehem, and responded to an invitation from Anne Enright ’52 to see her cottage in Moravian Village, which we accepted before heading to the airport to send Elynor and Dolly back to North Carolina.

Notes came from Lois Neustein Krassner, Marge Eaton Martin, and Nancy Webber Whissen, who wanted to be remembered to their classmates. Nancy has been an organist substitute for nine months. She says she tried in December 2003 to reach Betty Kuss Erney when Betty was in Dallas for her daughter’s surgery, but had no luck.

June was an eventful month for Lois: the marriage of their first grandchild, in which Fred participated; a grandson’s high school graduation; and a visit with her sister Marty.

NEWS OF 1953

From the Alumni House:

Please note the change of address for Allen. Between his move and the holidays, he had a busy December! He spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s with his family at Sunset Beach, N.C., where 13 members gathered, including Arleen Eppinger ’84 and Glen Schultz ’84 and their three children, plus Allen’s two daughters and their children. The only one missing was granddaughter Jennifer Snyder ’04, who remained in Bethlehem for her job.

NEWS OF 1952

From Mary T. Pongracz:

Lori Pfeiffer Wolfe and her husband, Fred, have been winemakers for 40 years and had a bountiful harvest this summer. Kathy Horwath Hartman delivered 100 bottles to be filled—but not all for her!

Gloria Abel Parkhill has settled in her new living quarters. For more information, contact Kathy.

Kathy went bird-watching in Scotland earlier this year. She and Ray celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary recently. Let’s hear from more of our Golden Girls!

Fran Webber Horton is involved in musical activities. This year she produced The Sound of Music. Next year it will be The Music Man.

Verna Lunglhofer Cowin has had a difficult time. Paul has had some serious medical problems and is improving slowly.

Keep the letters coming!

NEWS OF 1951

From Carol Buechner McMullen:

On July 30, I joined a group of classmates for a lunch at the Hanoverville Roadhouse, organized by June Shafer Scholl. The lunchers included Janet Fabian Andre and her husband, Paul; Betsey Sherer Freas ’50 and her husband, Charles; Jane Kincaid Missimer, Fern Bachman Koplin, June’s sister Lois Shafer Smith, and her husband, Dick; Vanita Egge Marvin; and Harold Gesell with his daughter Ann. Lois and Dick were en route to a week in Vermont.

I was delighted to receive an aloha from Nancy Oplinger Dover. Her card showed an impressive plant, the silversword, which Nancy and Ed saw (along with other beautiful flowers) during three weeks in Maui. Back home in Albuquerque, N.M., Nancy and Ed are continuing their weekly walks. Nancy was planning a 25-mile bike ride with several hundred other riders.
June reports that her granddaughter, Amy Frantz, a junior at Moravian, is serving as an intern in Mayor Callahan’s office this semester. In the fall, she was busy registering students to vote. 

Mae Rose Morrison Kuentz lives year-round near the Jersey shore, where she enjoyed summer weather and some good swimming. There she can see and talk with Betsey Tait Puth, who also spends summers at the shore.

In the English as a Second Language program with which I began as a volunteer last year, my Russian student is doing well. I am beginning with a new student, who is Korean. We meet such interesting people in this project that sometimes I think I learn more than my students do.

From the Alumni House:

Bob Burcaw, a retired English professor at Moravian, has published a book, The Miracle of Moravian Hall Square: The Journey of Faith, which is based on historical documents, archives, church documents, and oral histories. Bob works part-time for Moravian Hall Square as director of special projects. His next will be a feasibility study for developing a lifetime educational program for the residents with the Lehigh Valley’s colleges. He’ll talk to Northampton Community College and Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary.

Bringing the Breath of Life

Don Vogel ’63 (left) with his brothers, Dallas ’64, and Victor ’52 .

Photo: courtesy of Don Vogel

Don Vogel ’63 retired last summer after 41 years of working with what eventually became the American Lung Association—years dedicated to making life better for thousands suffering from asthma and other respiratory diseases.

He started with the Lehigh County Tuberculosis and Health Society just three days after his graduation from Moravian in June 1963. After ten years in the Lehigh Valley, he accepted a CEO position with the South Shore Lung Association in Norwalk, Ohio. While there, he organized Camp SUPERKIDS, the second overnight camp for severely asthmatic children in the United States.

Six years later he was sought out by several doctors from Cincinnati to start a similar camp when he became the CEO of the American Lung Association of Southwestern Ohio, which he organized and ran for another 25 years, including raising the $25,000 annual financing required each year. Through training and meticulous administration, he graduated over 3,000 youngsters from the camps. They learned how to cope with and control their breathing difficulties, going on to participate in physical education programs and sports like soccer, baseball, and karate. His camp provided life-enhancing educational skills that enabled many youngsters aged 7-12 to overcome their “respiratory handicaps.”

Don passed on developmental gifts in his young life, having come from a working class family in nearby Bath, Pennsylvania. His father was a clerk/yardmaster for the Lehigh New England Railroad and his mother worked in a blouse factory. The third of four sons, Don excelled in sports at Northampton High School, lettering in football, wrestling and baseball.

His coaches proved to be additional “fathers” to him and encouraged him to continue his education. Because of their father’s working background, Don and his younger brother, Dallas, were sponsored with interest-free loans by Aaron Burr Baldree, a prominent, wealthy but childless Bethlehem native. Baldree chose to send 10 students from the Bethlehem area to college, but with certain restrictions. The “scholarship” students were required to live on campus for at least one year and could not join fraternities or sororities until their junior year. Don cut grass and mended fences on Baldree’s property to pay back part of the loan, and for three years following graduation, he paid back the $3,600 loan at $100 a month. He stated what without Baldree’s generosity and kindness, neither he nor Dallas would have had the opportunity to attend college.

At Moravian, Don lettered as a shortstop on the Greyhounds baseball team all four years. He reminisces that the highlights of his college time was the team’s winning the Northern Division MAC Championships in both his freshmen and junior years, and recalled the induction of the 1960 team into the Hall of Fame a few years ago. He was voted MVP of the 1962 championship team when he batted .426. He remembers with fondness coaches Gus Garscar and Gil Gillespie, who also was instrumental in helping Don land his first job with the Lung Association.

His older brother, Victor, graduated from Moravian with the Class of 1952, going on to become a minister for the United Church of Christ. Dallas followed Don, graduating in 1964, to become a teacher in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

Don and his wife, the former JoAnn Johnson of Hecktown, have three daughters, all grown and married, and they have seven grandchildren.

—Robert Houser '65