Class of 1979 Summer 2020 Class Notes

Regina C. McCombs

Hope you all are having a good summer and that winter wasn’t too awful in your neck of the woods. I am writing this during a nasty snowstorm, so this column is helping me think warm and sunny!

On to the news:

Nancy McCallum writes: “I just finished my first year as the marketing and communications specialist for York County Shelter Programs in Alfred. I have been a self-employed writer, editor, marketing, and communications specialist for 29 years. Previously I worked for several Maine newspapers as a journalist. I graduated from UMO’s journalism program.” Bob Cowdrick has just published the book Trail Tales. It is a collection of entertaining trail stories that are composites of encounters with trail hikers, backcountry equestrians, mountain climbers, and fire tower lookouts. It was written as a tribute to some incredible people that he had met along trails from Alaska to Peru, including the Appalachian Trail in Maine. The book is available on Amazon and at the UMaine bookstore in Orono.

Dale T. Phillips was looking forward to having two new novels published this spring, Neptune City and Locust Time. For details check out his website:

Jack Sherman reports: “I retired from the Civil Service after 34 years in March of 2019. I ended up as a GS 13 Logistician at Hanscom Air Force Base, MA and my last assignment was as assistant to the director of logistics, program executive office, digital. Although that sounds rather important it really wasn't but it paid the bills. I retired from the Army Reserve as a LTC in May of 2009 so I actually got to retire for the second time.

“My daughter, Ellyn, is teaching English in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and graduated from Brandeis University in 2014 with a degree in linguistics. My son, Ben, graduated from Fitchburg State University in May of 2019 and is working as a personal trainer/boxing coach at a couple of local fitness facilities. He also competes in Spartan Challenge events and is certified as a trainer for Spartan SGX.

“My wife and I made a decision a long time ago to relocate back to Maine once the kids were on their own, so we are in the process of buying a property so we can make that come true. Everyone I worked with thought I was nuts for wanting to move north and suggested the south would be better. Being an avid ice fisherman, somehow Florida didn’t appeal, so with luck I will close on the property in Maine and be able to catch the winter 2020 season.”

Larry Gering is now retired from teaching at Clemson University and is living in Belfast, ME.

Rita Caouette Napierkowski became Yale New Haven Health System’s laboratory regulatory coordinator last summer. She lives in Wallingford, CT.

Don Van Hassent has retired as director of the Maryland Forest Service with 40 years of service. Don started with the Forest Service in 1979 as a utilization forester and then became a project forester. In 1984 he became a program supervisor for utilization, then resource protection followed by Stewardship. In 2001, he became the associate director for statewide programs. He became acting state forester in 2015 and was fully appointed state forester in 2017.

Please keep in touch. Join our Facebook group University of Maine Class of 1979 or check out our alumni page

Drop me a line with your news. Hope to hear from you!