Patricia (Pat) Wade Fraker
In January 2020 in a letter to the various class correspondents, Abby Zelz, our wonderful Managing Editor of the Maine Alumni Magazine, reminisced about “scurrying to classes through the snow as the wind whipped across the mall.” Does that bring any memories back for you? It certainly did for me, and then brought a story to mind that I thought I’d share with you. I grew up in Florida, but my dad who grew up on Swan Island in the Kennebec (where my sister and I were also born), remembered the harshness of Maine winters. Before I left Florida to attend college in Orono, he stressed the importance of keeping warm, particularly my face, fingers and toes. Dad sent me back to school my junior year with a 1948 2-door Oldsmobile. He was so concerned about the car starting on frigid days that he made a charcoal heater which he installed in front of the radiator. The idea was that I should get the coals burning well, then start the car and the warm water would circulate so the engine would start easily. The car always started without a problem, but finally I had to crank up the charcoal burner and start the car to satisfy Dad that his Rube Goldberg device worked!
The first news for the current article came in from Bill Kearns. Here’s what he wrote:
“By way of background, my father graduated from the University of Maine in the class of 1923; my wife, Patricia Anne Wright and I graduated in the class with you in 1957; my wife’s brother, John also graduated in our class after spending 4 years in the U. S. Navy; my sister was in the class of 1961 and my oldest son, Bill graduated in the class of 1983 and my wife’s sister, Rosemary Wright FitzGerald graduated in the class of 1959 – that is a lot of University of Maine.
“I was recently honored by Marquis Who’s Who as a leader in the investment banking industry and I am taking this opportunity to send along to you the write up. [Congratulations, Bill, and thank you for sharing this impressive write up which appears in its entirety in our online article.]
Bill continued: “My wife of 49 years, Pat Wright Kearns, unfortunately for me, passed away from cancer in March of 2006 and left me with 5 great kids and 8 grandchildren. I remarried after several years, and currently live in a small rural town outside of Morristown, NJ. We have 3,000 people and 5,000 animals, and everyone wants to keep it that way.”
Doris Marshall very kindly contacted me immediately after hearing that our beloved past president, Lois Whitcomb, had passed away. Lois died on January 16, 2020 in Castle Rock, Colorado, following a stroke. I sent an email to Lois’ retirement home asking it be forwarded to her daughters. On January 30, I heard from Robin Karvo, Lois’ daughter, who said she and her sister had been receiving an outpouring of love and sympathy from classmates, friends, colleagues and members of her church. Robin said they had had a wonderful family time with Lois at Christmas celebrating Lois’ 85 th birthday and the New Year. Lois’ Celebration of Life will be held at the Universalist Community Church on Winthrop Street in Augusta probably in early August 2020. As the service will undoubtedly have already happened by the time this issue of the Alumni Magazine is published, I hope I will have seen many of you there to celebrate our classmate, Lois, who was such an important part of our university lives for over sixty years.
Doris Marshall also shared some other happier news: She had just had a long chat with her former U of M roommate, Sylvia MacKenzie Emery who, with her husband Paul, live in Westminster, Maryland near their daughter Susan. Doris said she’s going to Oahu, Hawaii in April with a group of family members. In the middle of winter in Maine, how nice to think of warm beaches and ocean!
A short note from Nancy McGoudrick Green gave happy news that she is totally fine after a cancer operation. That was her first visit to the hospital since having her children, and it was for one night only!
Jiggs Cecchini wrote that he’s been called out of retirement. He is now the Interim Executive Director for the Connecticut High School Coaches Association. He will be in that position until someone else can be selected. He is involved with all CHSCA activities in the state: principals, athletic director, coaches, all-star games and numerous all-state banquets. He works from home or in Southington. Jiggs hopes someone will step up to the plate so he can step down and be an advisor. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that that will happen soon, Jiggs!
Paul Taiganides kindly sent an email attaching the 2019 Taiganides Annual Newsletter. This is attached to our online article. I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. Paul often used and still writes “Happiness is…” For me, happiness is turning on the computer and finding news from a classmate! That happened this morning, a few days before the deadline for submitting our article to the Alumni Office. Jane Brooks White wrote the following: “I taught school for thirty years while bringing up a family after leaving Maine. My husband who passed on in 2009 and I loved to travel. We visited 21 countries, traveled across Canada and the United States by train. We stopped in each province and many states on the way. We also liked to cruise doing Alaska and the Panama Canal, among other places. I now live in Whiting, New Jersey, to be near my family of four children, seven grandchildren, and five great-grands.” Thank you, Jeanne!