Class of 1953 Summer 2023 Class Note

Hi everyone. Time does march on, doesn’t it. I wish it would retreat. (I’ll just pretend I’m back on campus in Orono with all of you.) I wasn’t a good student, never getting even close to that 3-point mark. But I can talk, write, and type. So, here goes with what I heard by way of the telephone, a letter, and my computer.


By now, you should have gotten a postcard, or more, of our 70th class Reunion in Orono on Thursday (11:30 start) and Friday, September 28-29, with a football game Saturday, September 30, vs. Stony Brook. I hope you’ve seriously considered going. I have, and booked a room at the Black Bear Inn in Orono (207) 866-7120. Ashley Twombly ’10, ‘12G, ’60H at the Alumni Association can certainly help you: Call (207) 581-1144.


Barbie Girard Dorman, Irvine, CA, lives in a “very friendly” community of some 507 homes (no age restriction) and is on the landscape committee. She drives, but no airplanes for her, plays bridge, and “does what she wants, when she wants, where she wants, and if she wants,” she said. She sleeps late and takes walks. She’s “content.”


Peggy Given White, Reading, MA, was watching the Boston Marathon when I called. Mother of three sons and one daughter, she downsized six years ago from 10 rooms to six. She also has a camp on Peabody Pond in Sebago. Peggy keeps in touch with some people, including classmates Jean Dolloff Kreizinger and Dawn Miller Woodbury. She was at our 69th Reunion in Orono last year and hopefully she’ll get to our 70th on campus in September.


Isabelle “Izzy” Stearns Foss, Temple, mother of six, was a little worried about taking her driver’s test May 20 (I’m sure she passed). She watches news, sews a lot, tries to stay active, and said, “You spend more to get less.” How true. Does she have cleaning help? No. She said something about dust and dirt. It doesn’t move, does it. She also keeps in touch with a few classmates-Shirley Stillings Keene, of Auburn, and mentioned Ruth Mitchell Hartley (who died Jan. 1).*


*The Jan. 11, 2023, Portland Press Herald obituary told of Ruth’s life: Born in Islesboro, her father was “caretaker for the Winthrop Aldrich estate and Ruthie and her siblings grew up in the caretaker’s cottage on Ames Cove.” At UMO, she was a “competitive tennis player,” belonged to Delta Delta Delta sorority, and was an All Maine Woman. Ruth went on to teach in Colebrook, NH, with her “lifelong friend, Barbara Anderson Aaordkian.” She was married for more than 60 years to Grayson Hartley (deceased), parents of four, retired from Livermore High in 1990, and returned to her “beloved island.” She saw two of her grandsons attend UMO. “Music was her true passion.” Ruth, a writer and musician, loved “books and ideas.” She was “fiercely proud of her island ancestry and Irish heritage.”

A celebration of her life was to be held on Islesboro in summer 2023. Our condolences to Ruth’s family and friends.


George Weatherbee, Walpole, MA, has a cat named Brady, 14, “pure white.” (It belonged to Rita ’54G, his late wife.) He mentioned his brother Robert ’54, a sister in Bangor, two daughters, Linda Weatherbee Balek ’82 in Boston and Donna Teazian in Westwood, MA. Also, a son, deceased. George and Rita moved to New Pond Village in Walpole in November 2019. Carry on, George!


I received a letter from Donald J. Harnum ’62 of Pinehurst, NC, in March. He wrote: “I saw the photo of Woody Carville in your 1953 class notes. Woody was one of my favorite coaches when I was at Maine in ’62. Would you please pass this message on to him?” I finally did, and thanks, Donald. Woody lives at Dirigo Pines in Orono, with no house to clean, no meals to cook, and no yard or gardens to keep up. There are walks by the pond for Woody to take (which he does). Hi, Woody!


I also heard from Paul Leathers ’55, brother of Ron Leathers, our late classmate, who died in 2016. Paul called from Courtland, VA, and wanted to reach our classmate Jim Murtha, of Colorado Springs, CO. Jim was Best Man at Ron’s wedding. I gave Paul the information he wanted (which I have since lost), but things kept happening. Ron’s daughter, Kathy Leathers of Arundel, would see my license plate (UMO 53) when she took walks by my house, near the Kennebunk River and Picnic Rock, and at the supermarket (where we happened to meet one another this week) and wondered who it belonged to. Through Paul, her uncle, she found me. Kathy said her father was “best buddies” with the late Al Card, Bob Churchill, and Woody Carville. Kathy, who worked 18 years for her father in commercial construction, said Ron “kept his sense of humor right to the end.”

Note: Since the pandemic, Paul and his wife, Marguerite, sing, harmonizing mostly hymns. They record one each morning between 8 and 9, and send them out to some 100 family and friends. I’ve been listening to them and seeing them — she plays the guitar, both sometimes have Kazoos, and it’s wonderful. Keep it up!


Lois Welton Byrne, Oceanside, CA, said California is “progressive, friendly, and you meet people from all over the world.” You’re not going to move Lois anytime soon. A home ec major. Chi Omega gal, and All Maine Woman, Lois is “quite satisfied” with her life. She said teeth, eyes, and knees go but she’s happy with two lens implants, “no glasses needed.” She’s one who keeps up with the stock market. Looking back, she said classmate, the late Maggie Thomas Ward, of Brewer, had “the most beautiful complexion; I walked to school with her.” She also mentioned “Flutter” Floyd: “I always looked up to her.”  She spoke of Lorraine Harvey of Fort Kent, her roommate for “some time,” and Sally Rice of Bangor (when Lois lived there). Also, a trip to Nantucket with classmates Charlotte Troubh and Helen Strong Hamilton. Lois said, “I’m always intrigued by the islands.” She read the book The Weir, by Ruth Moore about island life in Maine. I’ll have to read it.


Jean Dolloff Kreizinger, Newtown, CT, plans to come to our 70th Reunion with her daughter Tracy, of Wallingford, PA; her brother Dana ’63 will also be there. Lois has been traveling: Fredericksburg and Williamsburg, visiting four of six grandchildren; and later she was to visit students at Cornell. Jean said she enjoyed reading the article by John Diamond ’77, ’89G about World Series MVP Jeremy Pena ’19, the Houston Astros’ “Super Shortstop” in the winter 2023 MAINE Alumni Magazine. Jean spoke of growing up in a “bubble” with her two brothers in Orono, while those in Orono who worked at the university were “basin” people. We’ll see you on campus in September, Jean!


I talked very briefly with Dick Searles and his wife, Joan, of Old Orchard Beach, who were on the “downhill side” of Covid. Somehow that seems to stay with us.


It’s sad to have read in the Portland Press Herald, October 20, 2022, that classmate Beverly Andrews LaPointe of Brunswick died on Oct. 17, 2022. Bev grew up on a small farm in North Fryeburg, majored in economics at UMO, and in 1960 married Dick LaPointe ’61G, whom she met later in the Bear’s Den at summer school at Orono. Mother of four, grandmother of five granddaughters, she retired in 1991 from teaching home ec after 25 years. She and Dick then built a house in Brunswick and went south to Myrtle Beach for the winter. (Dick later died.) Our thoughts are with Bev’s family and friends.


Now I must close for another six months. Please call or write and tell me what’s happening in your lives. I’d love to hear from all of you.

As always, Nancy