Kay Sawyer Hannah
Most of what is available to share with you comes from our Class of 1960 “Virtual
Reunion,” arranged by the Alumni Office and held for about an hour via Zoom on
September 23. We were heartened to see (happily without facemasks) those
who were able to join in. Though we lamented that we couldn’t meet in person for
the reunion we had planned, we look forward to seeing a whole lot more of you at
the “real” 60 th Reunion for the Class of ’60 planned for pre-campus at Boothbay
Harbor and on the Orono campus in September, 2021.
John Diamond, President of the Alumni Association, greeted us and presented
the 2020 Hilda Sterling Class Correspondents Award from the UMaine Alumni
Association to one of our own, Gail Rae Carter. She was aptly commended for
her life achievements and for volunteering to write our class column, continuing
enthusiastically for a decade until 2016.
Ace Conro has agreed to continue serving as president for at least another year
and, since the unfortunate decease last year of Bill Parker, he has assumed the
Class Treasurer position. In that role, which we hope can be filled by next year,
Ace reports that our Sandy Page Class of ’60 Fund has $289,650.00 available for
scholarships. This year 68 of our estimated 500-550 classmates still living have
given $78,510.00. This year’s rate to date has been about 15%. Ace urges us to
aim for the 24% level, our highest reached in the past. He’d also like us to be
able to change our scholarship availability to descendants at the graduate level in
addition to undergraduates.
Nancy Morse Dysart read the names of members of the Class of ’60 who have
died since our last meeting and for whom we’ll have a Memorial Service as usual
next year on campus. Gone but not forgotten.
Cliff Ives, retired Bishop of West VA, lead a Thanksgiving Prayer for the
memories of those who couldn’t be with us now but with whom “we’ve shared our
life journeys.” He also offered up “our hope for what is to be.” On a personal
level, Cliff and his wife Jane Petheridge Ives ‘60/ ‘61 have celebrated 61 years
of marriage. Cliff explained that they recently noticed that Jane’s diploma lists
1960 as her date of graduation from UMaine which makes her “one of us.” She
did take some summer courses in ’61. They now live in Portland after serving
with the United Methodist Church in Maine for many years followed by 12 years
as a bishop in WV. They enjoy their 50-year-old cabin on a nearby lake. Cliff
credits UMaine with providing him with the educational foundation that allowed
him to successfully pursue his goals. I suspect many of us could say the same.
Joanne Keith Sullivan of Harrison asked for self-introductions which lead to
each of us sharing a bit of our current lives. She spoke of being very busy with
gardening and other activities though misses her husband who passed in 2018
and more recently a family dog. She lifted her UMaine wine glass to us all.
Fred Pierce, who became Class President after Joe Dion passed away
unexpectedly, said he enjoys his golf whether at his Las Vegas or Maui, HI home
but misses his roots back in Maine. He and Diane Tatlock Pierce, who was
unable to be with us for the event, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in
June. A number of us mentioned celebrating major milestones of marriage.
Ralph Pilsbury and his wife Susan live in Land O’Lakes, FL where Ralph can
play golf close to home. Former owners of a flooring store in Damariscotta,
they’ve enjoyed getting back to Maine for visits the past few summers and look
forward to our reunion next year.
Jean Toothaker Chapman, who now lives in Charlottsville, VA, enjoys her 3-4
mile daily walks and gardening. She, Sallie Curtis Hartika of Saco, and Jane
Libby Littlefield of Topsham, also a gardener and walker, express appreciation
for being able to meet annually with friends, including Priscilla Fish Grunes who
has recently moved with her husband Harold to Naples, FL. Jean shares that
their group got together in 2006 at their Brunswick High 50 th reunion and have
met every year since except this past one. They’ve met in Seattle, Canada,
Williamsburg, and many seaside locations in Maine and now meet on Zoom.
Jean recently shared an interesting memory with the Alumni Office: I went to see
President Kennedy in October 1963 with my Aunt Madeline Fletcher at the
University of Maine football field. (My husband Charles was back at Maine
studying Mathematics in Grad School-so we were living there.) I watched the
video that the Alumni Office posted and listened to the speech. It was about
foreign policy, problems with Russia. President Kennedy was killed a month later.
Joanie Mavor of Bonita Springs has spent her first summer as a resident of FL.
which she found to be “hot but fine.” She had been in the computer science field
before she retired. Her late husband, Preston Mavor, is deceased. They were
proud that their granddaughter, Kelsey, graduated from UMaine.
Fred Varricchio said he is looking forward to next year’s reunion. He and his
wife Claudette spend their time equally in Wakefield, NJ and Venice, FL, where
he says prices for waterside property are now down. He enquired whether
anyone has a photo of our class from our 1995 reunion.
Pat Bryant ’59 of Vero Beach, FL, wife of the late Bill Bryant, who passed away
in 2017, related that they returned to the states in 2010 having been world
travelers since 1994.
Nancy Morse Dysart spoke of her many activities, including her participation
on campus with the Nontraditional Scholarship Committee which she finds
rewarding. “There are so many scholarship needs among the students,” she
says. She expressed appreciation for the many condolences she received at the
passing of her husband Don in the spring of 2019. She now has undertaken the
big job of having her home renovated. Nancy reports she is making progress on
plans for the pre-campus phase of our Class of ‘60 gathering at Boothbay Harbor
Other classmates who attended the virtual reunion were Gary Auclair, Peter
Gauthier, Curtis Hartikka, L. Richard Lloyd, and Bill Munsey. In attendance
for the Senior Alumni Social, also conducted on Zoom were Woody Beach, Leonard
Bowles, Jan Butler, Paul Butler, Patricia Bryant, Paul Butler, E. Davenport,
Dana Dollof, Alfred Hagen, Louis and Edie King, Bill Lawlor, Leonard Minsky,
Ralph Pilsbury, Nancy Schott Plaisted, Frank Tonis, Carver Washburn, and
Class Vice President Rick Lloyd, President of the HI region’s Antique
Automobile Club of America (AACA) and editor of the colorful “The Scored
Journal,” has made contact with Rick Watson of Skowhegan, president of the
Maine region’s club in Skowhegan. Rick writes in his newsletter, “So, folks, we
have the Maine and Hawaii Regions headed by a couple of Mainers named
Rick…” For any who fancy antique cars and are interested in what they share in
their newsletters, Rick offers that he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I communicate by e-mail with Sandra Crowe Wooding of Chatham, NY. Her
book club and knitting groups had been meeting outside until fall. Although she
wasn’t involved in any horse shows this past season, she has stayed fit enough
to continue to enjoy riding. “I tell myself each year that it will be my last “but
spring will tell if I have another, also my last horse is 19.”
Many of us fondly remember Catharine Ayer Curtis who died of an aortic
aneurysm in July 2017. Her husband, Phil Curtis, who has since remarried and
resides with Dolly in Saco, has shared some reminiscences regarding Cathy that
describe the impact she had on her family, city and state. It can be read at the
end of this column. Phil and Cathy raised three daughters who have followed
their mother’s lead into social work and counseling. In the decade before her
retirement in 1998 she found her niche as an administrator for the Wardwell
Home for the Aging in Saco.
In 2009 Catharine’s address to a packed state legislature hearing in behalf of
same sex marriage was unusually persuasive.
As for yours truly, Peter Hannah ’59 and I have kept close to home except for a
grandson’s stunning August wedding reception spaced out on our lawn and our
nearby sojourns to our cabin on Biscay Pond. I worked on the November election
for several months and am editor of two historical society newsletter annually. I
was disappointed that the local art gallery decided not to open this past summer
but, if interested, you can see the works of my fellow artists and myself at
pemaquidartgallery.com until we reopen next summer.
Hoping to hear from you for the next newsletter by which time plans for our
reunion in September should be well under way! In the meantime, Ace will send
his annual winter letter to us as he strives to keep us all connected. Be well!
Cathy Ayer Curtis
Cath died several years ago. Many of the Class of ’60 may remember her. It has
taken me a bit of time to write something concerning the impact she had on her
family, city, and state.
In July of 2017, Catharine Ayer Curtis died of an aortic aneurysm. She was the
daughter of Catharine Winsor Ayer and Hazen Ayer (UMO 1924), younger sister
of Nancy Cunningham, twin sister of Cynthia Hickey (UMO 1960), and the wife of
Phil Curtis (UMO 1960). Her death has been noted in the 1960 class notes.
She was the glue in the family raising, with her husband, three daughters who
followed her lead into social work and counseling. Youngest daughter, Catie, had
a 30-year singer/songwriter career and has now completed requirements for a
master’s degree in counseling. Jen has been a school guidance director and now
runs her own service guiding high schoolers through the college application and
financial aid piece. Oldest daughter, Deb, (UMO 1984), after 20-plus years as a
social worker, has her own marriage counseling office. You can catch her
monthly podcasts on “THE COUCH.” And for Phil, In 60 years of marriage, Cath
was always there in support. Her writing skills saved him many times over the
Catharine was very active in Saco, ME—working for the YMCA, a Girl Scout
leader, and volunteering in the schools with her music skills. Her love of singing
permeated the family from around the piano to car rides. She was a member of
multiple choirs including church and the Tri-City Chorus. All the time physical
fitness was important to her. From yoga to lengthy bike rides her daughters, by
example, learned the importance of exercise. She was very active in the 1st
Parish Congregational Church of Saco participating on many committees
including the Deaconate. She frequently and effectively spoke to the
congregation, whether a call to support some project or to read the scripture. She
welcomed strangers on their 1st time at the church—her smile and sincere
interest in the visitors helped many “newbies” be comfortable. After the church
burned down in 2000, Cath was an important part of the new building committee.
Through the late ’80s and to retirement in 1998 Cath found her niche as an
administrator for the Wardwell Home for the Aging in Saco. Her duties began as
activities director and then assistant director in charge of marketing as Wardwell
expanded to meet the needs of the community. Her social work background
showed through as she developed lasting relationships with the residents.
In 2009 Catharine’s address to a packed state legislature hearing on behalf of
same sex marriage was unusually persuasive. When she began—the buzz
stopped. You could have heard a pin drop. Her speech made a difference.
Because Catharine was recognized as such a strong supporter of same sex
marriage she was asked to — and appeared in a channel 6 TV ad for the issue
as it was brought to a state vote.
SHE MADE AN IMPACT on many people of Maine!