Class of 1953 Summer 2020 Class Note

Nancy Schott Plaisted

You know, it pays to go through your closets once in a while. Thanks to classmate Peggy Given White I have quite the collection of alumni magazines. In the fall 1991’s 125th anniversary issue — 125 Alumni Who Have Made a Difference — three of our classmates are listed. I do want to quote from the issue: “This magazine is not a ‘Who’s Who.’ There are hundreds of distinguished and accomplished Maine graduates who are not included.” Twelve fields were chosen, and Raymond McHenry was included in the engineering field.

I called Ray, of Cary, NC, some 41 years, originally of North Anson, a Sigma Chi fraternity man, who started out in chemical engineering and then heard that if he became an engineering physics major, although more difficult, he could further his future career. I quote from the article: “Ray McHenry’s research into transportation safety made his name a household word with major US car manufacturers.” He was head of Cornell Lab and later head of Calspan Corporation’s transportation research departments, and “developed highly complex mathematical computer models used to provide greater understanding of automobile crashes.” His work “also led to a new and safer design for highway guardrails. McHenry also received some notoriety for his design of the computer model that created the famous spiral car jump in the James Bond movie The Man With the Golden Gun.”

Ray received his master of automotive engineering degree in 1955 at Chrysler Institute in Detroit and in 1961 a medal when he presented a paper in England at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He also created his own business, McHenry Software, which his son Brian now runs. During his earlier years, 1946- 1949, he started the Ray McHenry’s Band, five or six members, which played at the Anchorage in Old Town, the fraternity house mostly, and Dow Air Force Base.

In the field of journalism and photography, the late Douglas Kneeland was listed. You all remember Doug, don’t you, one of our class presidents, originally of Orono, history and government major, Beta Theta Pi? He worked for the Bangor Daily News while at Maine, and in “1959, after working for two smaller papers, Kneeland joined The New York Times, where he was editor on the foreign and metropolitan desks.” Doug just kept moving: 1967, Times, Kansas City, a national correspondent; 1969, back to NY, deputy national editor; 1970, San Francisco, roving national correspondent; 1977, Chicago, Midwestern national correspondent; 22 years later, the Chicago Tribune, national and foreign editor and associate managing editor; 1990, Chicago Tribune, “newly created position,” ‘public editor,’ “responsible for seeing to it that legitimate complaints about the newspaper’s behavior are heard and redressed, that errors of fact and taste are corrected.”

The late Jack Butterfield is listed in the field of sports. Quoted: “If there is anyone to be held responsible for turning the University of Maine into a baseball powerhouse, the credit goes to Jack Butterfield.” 1957, head baseball coach at Maine; 1964 led the team to the College World Series, “the first time UMaine ever went that far. The Black Bears finished third, after beating Arizona State and the University of Southern California-both perennial baseball powerhouses. For his efforts, Butterfield was named 1964 College Baseball Coach of the Year. In 16 years as head baseball coach, he compiled a record of 240-169-2, with 11 straight winning seasons” and “four Yankee Conference championships.” 1974, University of South Florida, baseball coach; two years later, New York Yankee organization, advance scout. “In a relatively short span of time, Butterfield was promoted to vice-president of the Yankees, put in charge of the team’s four minor league clubs, and made supervisor of 20 of the team’s scouts. Results were noticeable. In 1979, every New York farm team that Butterfield was in charge of won their divisional championship. Butterfield was killed in a car crash in November of 1979.”

Lois Welton Byrne, of Oceanside, CA, is a joyful soul who just loves where she lives, two miles to the ocean, the theaters, beaches, breeze. She couldn’t say enough about San Diego. (You’ll never see her moving back to Maine!) Originally of Brewer, Lois, a home ec major and Chi Omega gal (who made Dean’s List every semester but her first), has lived in 23 different houses in her lifetime. An artist, she is the new owner of a golf cart, lives in a “55 and over” beautiful community, with some 45 clubs, and plays pool. She spoke of her son, daughter, and son-in-law who live nearby, and of her late husband, Jack, a Navy captain, a New Yorker she met on a blind date in Hartford, who died in 2011, after 54 years of marriage. She spoke of Pat King Burke, of San Diego, formerly of Brewer, and Sally Pray Fogler of Brunswick.

The late Al Card has been chosen to be inducted into the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame. Al officiated at Maine basketball games for over 30 years, and taught and coached at Cony High School for 27 years.

Lida Maxim Muench (my cousin), originally of Lewiston, now of Spanish Fort, AL, “right across from Mobile,” is just fine, keeps busy, plays bridge, lives in a garden house in a retirement community, goes to Perdido Bay every year, and went on a Caribbean cruise this past summer. A Chi Omega, and a home ec major, Lida is now the mother of four (one son lives nearby, two girls in Oklahoma-where she goes for Christmas, and another son in Virginia Beach).

In the last issue, at press time after this column was submitted, our loyal classmate, my friend of all friends, Carol Prentiss Mower, of Orono, died Nov. 22, 2019. Abby Zelz, managing editor, revised what I had written about Carol. Thank you so much. I wasn’t able to attend services, but received a large manila envelope, dated Dec. 13, 2019, from one of her three sons, FR. Scott Mower, Parish of The Ascension of The Lord, 6 Whipple Road, Kittery, ME 03904. Inside was his handwritten letter, a copy of the Bangor Daily News Nov. 27, 2019, obituary with two photos of Carol, the funeral service program, eulogy, email condolences, and guest book. Carol was a person who lived, loved, and enjoyed life, smiled at everyone and everything, and spoke just how she felt. Our sympathies go out to her three sons, Scott ’82, Todd ’86, and Danny, their families, relatives, and friends. And thanks to Scott for the addresses of the next two classmates.

Joan Russell Mogilevsky, originally of Winslow, a home ec major, now lives in Lake Oswego, OR, with her husband, Michael, and “Scamp,” their eight-year-old, 18-pound West Highland Terrier. Their son lives there. Joan met Michael on a blind date when she was a senior and he, a sophomore (Alpha Gam), who was sponsored by Jane Ingraham’s father, a colonel who worked at the American schools in Japan. They were married in 1953; Michael went into the Air Force, worked for NASA, with the two making many moves. Joan mentioned the names of Doris Ramsay Smith, her roommate, Sharon Clark, of Pasadena, CA, Louise Davis Packard (died 1995), (?sp.) Thurman Gould, Dave Beppler, Kathy Mitchell Mendellson, Pat McCormick, Jean Palmer (“a nurse in France for a while”).

Doris Ramsay Smith, originally of Winslow, who taught physical education at Scarborough High, said I could give classmates her new address: Ashton Gardens, Apt. 402, 830 Ocean Ave., Portland, ME 04103. Her son, Bryce, lives in Okinawa, and her daughter, Peggy, in Westbrook. Her “best friend all her life”? Her roommate Joan Russell (above). She’s all settled in on the top floor (no noise from above) with an ocean view.

Zeke Mavodones, of Pougkeepsie, NY, called/emailed the following: “Hi kiddo. We had a busy year along with some minor aches and pains and medical checks but still marching on. This last summer we made a 47th visit to Higgins Beach, ME, with 12 in the family in one house. We also celebrated six birthdays at this one spot. In the fall we had Thanksgiving at our house with family from Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York. During Christmas again with fireplace, tree, foods galore, and gifts. During last fall I was a speaker at our 71st High School Reunion. Could not make the Maine reunion because of too many family obligations & tight travel arrangements. I am still somewhat active in the Poughkeepsie, NY, area with some groups. One thing I say is to share yourself with friends and family because life is wonderful but tenuous. During the start of my senior year I had an invitation to join Phi Gamma Delta Epsilon (DKE) but I thanked them and did not as I was already in Oak Hall and very active on campus — also you had to have a bunk in the unheated roof dorm in the house. More stories next time.” He also included more stories, photos of comedic T-shirts, and Ruth Partridge Pelletier’s address. I called Ruth, left a message at the main desk, but no reply just yet. I don’t want to print it without her approval.

I received this Feb. 13 email from Mel Fuller, of Chapel Hill, NC: “I am a member of the Class of 1953 that always gets to Maine at the wrong time to attend the class reunion but I enjoy reading about them. I met my wife at the long-gone Old Port Inn in Kennebunkport in 1952 and, after graduating with a degree in botany, went on to get a master’s degree at Nebraska and a Ph.D. at Berkeley. I became an associate prof at Brown and later a full professor at Berkeley and the University of Georgia. We are now living near Chapel Hill, like others from 1953, in a retirement community. I studied fungi and the Mycological Society has a 50- minute interview I did last year. If you Google Mel Fuller on YouTube, you can find something to put you sleep.

You do a great job keeping up with people and I still recognize some names.”

He’ll be in East Boothbay until August 15, he added.

When I called him, he said he was born in Livermore Falls, “refused to eat baked beans Saturday night like everyone else did, and was the first child in the family to go to college.” He worked in the college bookstore and said the most useful course in high school was typing. He said he lost 52 pounds when he went south to the University of Georgia. I listened to the live interview “An Oral History for Mycology” with Meredith Blackwell, where he was called a “Three Grant Guy,” and said his advice for someone who’s interested in mycology, take chemistry and get into fungi — mushrooms.

The university sent me this clipping from the Kennebec Journal/November 18, 2019, written by Abigail Austin, with the headline: “Winthrop American Legion honors its World War II members.” It listed those who were unable to make it to the meeting and classmate Keith Ruff, of Winthrop, was among them. Congratulations, Keith.