Kay Sawyer Hannah
I know I speak for us all when I say I hope you are persevering through this challenging pandemic. It is certain that you are impacted in hardly believable ways. Contact with family, friends, and classmates is more precious than ever. Keep in mind that most of this column was written before COVID-19. Our lives have since changed but we still have our endearing ties with each other and UMaine!
Diane Tatlock Pierce, along with daughter Sue and son Fred IV, attended a family reunion in Maine in early October. In November Diane and husband, Fred Pierce, became first-time great-grandparents when granddaughter Shawna Roquette, Sue’s daughter, gave birth to a son. The Pierces also report their son Fred was recently named chairman of the board of trustees at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire. His business, Pierce Educational Properties, involves more than 20 student housing projects located throughout the US at Division 1 universities.
Fred and Diane spent a week in Florida celebrating Thanksgiving with Fred’s sister and 11 family members as well as visiting in the Tampa area with Ralph and Susan Pilsbury ’61 and classmate Sally Wakefield. Fred Varricchio, PhD, MD recently became editor of the Vaccine Safety Quarterly of the Brighton Collaboration. Among other important vaccine-related topics, the spring 2020 issue published in April refers to the World Health Organization’s declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation funds work with Brighton Collaboration’s Safety Platform for Emergency Vaccines to support safety assessment of vaccine candidates. Since undoubtedly we will all be impacted by COVID-19 and the search for a vaccine, the world and we will be focused upon important research like this. Fred and his wife, Claudette, had an extended visit in Florida from their daughter and family, due to virus-related school closures.
Ace Conro, class president, again officiated for the winter schedule of collegiate track in eastern Massachusetts, then made a two-day visit to the Orono campus in early March to speak for the second year in a row to a class of 170 students about campus life in the 1950s. There he made connections with track and field coaches as well as ROTC, where to his surprise he was awarded with a framed Certificate of Appreciation. At the UMaine Foundation office he learned that our Sandie Page Class of ’60 Fund had $306,000 available for scholarships. That was just before the stock market meltdown, which affected all class funds. You should be aware also that Ace takes it upon himself to write condolence letters to relatives of our classmates who have passed.
In early March Joanne Keith Sullivan enjoyed the sights and activities of London with her granddaughter Shannon, who was on spring break from her studies there. Joanne also visited with a childhood friend in Cambridge. Unfortunately while there, Shannon got word from her college that she had to return home because of the coronavirus.
Yours truly and husband, Pete Hannah ’59, traveled to Vermont and Arizona in the fall and felt fortunate to have squeezed in four days in San Antonio, TX, and a couple of weeks in Belize before the virus with all its restrictions struck. All other plans are up in the air, of course.
Likewise, no one knows at this time of writing our column what lies ahead for the University of Maine and its student body. Nancy Morse Dysart has agreed to help with a pre-campus gathering for those interested. A number of classmates have said they are looking forward to the reunion. We can only hope all will work out in the long run.
In the meantime and before the next magazine, we hope you will write to share your experiences/feelings about the special ways you have been spending your hours during this difficult time. If that isn’t motivating enough, it would be a good time to take a walk down memory lane and share some of those thoughts.