Pat Wade Fraker
204 Beath Road
Boothbay, ME 04537-5030
Dear classmates, this has been a challenging year for most of us, and I hope that you all have managed to stay safe and healthy and your families as well. News has been scarce, and I was about to despair when I had an unexpected and most welcome call from our classmate, Richard Dillenbeck. We had a great conversation. Thank you, Richard, for sharing the following highlights of your life since 1957 with us:
“Why not summarize 63 years and put us all to sleep? During college and after we earned our degrees, I worked on-air in Bangor radio (with Dewey Dow and WGUY) and WABI-TV. My best assignment was trying to emulate the former Olympic athlete Marty Glickman’s stunningly accurate radio play-by-play coverage of NBA basketball games while covering Bangor High and state championship games.
“Moved on to the U.S. Army for four years, with a year studying Arabic in Monterey, CA, and then assigned for over two years to Germany, of all places, which opened the eyes of this country kid. After discharge in Europe, became a civilian again and did a stint with the United Nations Economic Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Then back to Stuttgart awaiting return transport to the U.S., five days plowing the North Atlantic.
“Became a high school teacher in Belfast, liked the kids, and it seemed mutual, but I didn’t care much for the administrative part. Found something I could really love in the American National Red Cross with its worldwide mobile division serving the U.S. Department of Defense for the next 35 years, which led to assignments in Germany (four tours totaling 22 years), with Vietnam and Korea thrown in for a little spice, plus several U.S. installations. Had semi-official exposure to the difficult work of the International Committee of the Red Cross. For 30 years, taught thousands of hours in health and safety courses and trained instructors in first aid, aquatics, and CPR.
“Squeezed in graduate work with BU in the ’70s to become a licensed MSW and volunteer community mental health worker/therapist in addition to employment.
“Retired in 1996 after a final fling at Ft. Gordon, GA, and have lived in Augusta, ‘Home of the Masters,’ for 27 years. Main hobby for the last 38 years is mountain climbing and hiking in the southwest U.S. and European Alps and still function as a mountain guide. Spend each summer on China Lake, ME, in a seasonal camp built over three summers in the late ’90s to be near my daughter, Jane Golden, who lives with her family on gifted land right across Route 202 from son, John, who lives in the old family farmhouse.
“Retirement has also allowed pursuit of other personal interests; am a docent emeritus of the Augusta Museum of Art, volunteered for the local community blood bank, and have been a Sierra Club outings leader for 27 years. Am currently a bona fide ID card-carrying 4.0 student with over 100 credit hours in German Studies at Augusta University; research and write about German history, culture, and current events, focusing now on the resurrection of rightwing politics in that country over the past 60 years, and also Hannah Arendt and her writings.”
A brief note from Margaret MacKinnon McGrath gave news that her grand twins are sophomores at Colby.
Margaret hopes to move back to Maine for at least seven to eight months a year.
Dottie Richards Marshall will once more be travelling with family, this time to Bradenton Beach, FL, for relaxation, beach walking, and bird watching.
I’m sorry to report the death of Mark Biscoe ’67G, who passed away in December. Our deepest sympathy goes to Jane and the rest of the family. Mark had a 37-year career at the Fenn School in Concord, MA, as teacher, coach, and administrator. He had a great interest in maritime history, which during retirement resulted in the publication of three books.
The following sentence from his obituary says so much about Mark: “His love for his family was exceeded only by his passion for coaching basketball, mentoring young lives, and his devotion to the Oakland A’s.”
We also have news about Jim Varner, who was interviewed by UMaine’s Athletics Department last winter about his experiences at the university and beyond. Jim discussed growing up in Princeton, NJ, coming to Orono and joining Phi Eta Kappa, competing in football and track, and life after UMaine.
After graduation, he taught science and worked in community planning and economic development in New Jersey before he and his wife, the late Florence Johanson Varner, returned to Maine to look after her aging parents in Old Town. Jim was a civil rights activist and became involved with the university, Alumni Association, and served as president of the Bangor Area NAACP. The interview was called “Love, Life, and Justice.”
Please send news for our next article. Did you take up something new during the pandemic? Did you have an unusual profession? Are you involved in a nonprofit corporation? Have a unique hobby Something about yourself that classmates would be surprised and interested in knowing? An unexpected retirement job?