Ginny Bellinger Ollis
If you are in Maine, you are probably used to this, but in Southern California having Mainers, especially in the public eye, is rare. I was so excited yesterday, when I was kind of watching the San Diego Padres National League baseball team, to hear that one of the men in the announcers booth is a UMaine alum! University of Maine quarterback! His name is Mark Sweeney ’91, a Fox Sports analyst for the National League San Diego Padres broadcasts. A ballplayer for 14 seasons, he was part of the legendary 1998 squad that took home the National League pennant and played the Yankees in the World Series, and still holds the second best record in all of baseball for the most pinch hits! And now I feel I have to root for the team! Even if he is not a Class of ’64 member (he just celebrated birthday 49 at Petco Park), it is pretty exciting.
More bigwig news! Anniversaries so often bring us more information than we originally knew. Our classmate Dick Cattelle was part of the Apollo 12 Mission force at the Houston Space Center. A young engineering graduate, Dick worked for several years making rockets in California before being transferred to Houston. He emulates the complete attitude of the Houston Space Center, sharing his recognition that “I’m not sure it was, ‘I can’t believe we did it’, as much as ‘Wow, we did it’,” he says. “Because the whole atmosphere always — and that was kind of the magic of a well-exercised, well-disciplined flight control team — was not dealing with what we worried about, but dealing with what came up. And the confidence that whatever came up we could fix it.”
And while we are talking “stars,” which I personally believe every one of us brings to our personal lives, be aware that Jerry Ellis, a very successful track runner, was inducted into the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame in September. Jerry was a nine-time letter winner and two-time Maine State Champion in the mile in 1963 and 1964, was runner-up in the 1963 Yankee Conference cross country championship, and 4th in the 1962 IC4A Cross Country Championships. Serving as a captain in the US Army, he received two Bronze Stars for his service during the Vietnam War.
So happy that Art Ellison checked in. Our School of Forestry classmate spent two post-grad years in the Army in Kansas, then Vietnam. When he came home he worked for a while in the Pennsylvania Department of Forests and Waters, then Oregon, Washington, then Oregon and Washington again, where during time off he was a lighting tech in community theatre, an EMT with ambulance services in Utah, Oregon, and Washington. Retirement didn’t slow him down. He started a storefront computer company, which he still runs more quietly from his home, and volunteers within the community management of 270 acres of wildlife preserve and recreation area. I absolutely believe taking care of our planet and all its inhabitants is the most important job we have at this time!
Don Gould ’69G wrote that one of his UMaine memories was the opening of the Alfond Arena. He was one of the first season ticket holders after Alfond Arena was built in 1977.
Have you noticed how a lot of your favorite friends flunk retirement and just move into serving somewhere else? The Maine way! This has been the year I am really trying to retire. Realtors seldom do, because the people who have learned to trust them always call regardless, but as a member of the 4th largest Rotary Club in the world, I serve on nine committees, seldom exercise my quiet and back-row unself, and know some of the most wonderful people anywhere. When you come to San Diego, let me introduce you!
Please write me your news! Everyone loves reading it, and if you don’t feel like a great writer, I am happy to do that part; you just send the info! If you can’t write, just send pix.