Class of 1981 Winter 2024 Class Note

 GO BLUE! Have you heard us rallying the crowd from Orono this winter? We hope you follow our Black Bears in person or online if you’re not in Maine. Perhaps you’ve caught them on the road this year? If you do, snap a photo and post it to our Facebook page! It’s an exciting time for UMaine Athletics, with the new softball and field hockey facilities, improvements to Alfond Arena, and many more facility upgrades to come. It’s a competitive field out there when recruiting and facilities do matter. Successful athletic programs also play a huge role in recruitment of students in general. You can’t put a price tag on the free publicity that a winning program receives! UMaine’s student-athletes consistently win in the classroom, as well, with outstanding grade point averages. Support your Black Bears!

Not a lot in the news files this time around, but we do have a few classmates to report on. Crilly Ritz writes that after more than 25 years as an environmental planner with Snohomish County Public Works in Washington state, he retired in March 2023. He authored environmental impact statements and coordinated infrastructure project environmental compliance with state, local, and federal government requirements and in consultation with Native American tribes. He and his wife, Martha (also recently retired), are enjoying traveling, including trips to Hawaii, around the Pacific northwest, and three weeks last summer in Maine and New Hampshire. While in New England, they caught up with several UMaine friends and family members and also visited campus! They reside in Kenmore, WA, and have two grown children.

After 21 years as the town manager of Pittsfield, Kathryn Ruth ’83G stepped down at the end of 2023 to assume the role of grant administrator through the end of 2024. As Kathryn eases her way into retirement, the town will benefit from her grant-writing skills. On average, she brought in more than $800,000 per year during her tenure there. Prior to the Pittsfield job, she was town manager in Bowdoinham, Hermon, and Topsham.

Another ’81 public management grad, Bill Fraser, found himself in challenging times last July, as flood waters hit Montpelier, Vermont, where he has been city manager since 1995. Those of us in New England and beyond saw the news reports of the destruction but, under the guidance of Bill and his team, Montpelier rallied and is recovering. Congrats, Bill, on weathering the storm.

Amy-Lynne Farrar Duym ’01G was named Citizen of the Year by the town of Lamoine, honoring her years of service to the Lamoine Consolidated School and to the community. She retired in 2023 after having taught in local schools for 36 years. In presenting the award, select board chair Jo Cooper called Amy “an integral part of the school’s success as one of the highest-scoring schools in Hancock County for literacy and math.” As a graduate of the education program at UMaine, Amy does our university proud!

We’ve reported on Anne Hall a couple of times in recent issues, highlighting her many accomplishments in international affairs. This past June, she had the honor of being the commencement speaker at UMaine. Retired now and living in Blue Hill, she held numerous positions within the Department of State including Ambassador to Lithuania. She also served in Poland, China, Brazil, and Colombia, and has received a number of honors for her service.

We send our sincere condolences to Valerie Haynes Morton on the death of her husband and our classmate, Robb Morton, this past September. Robb and Val made East Longmeadow, MA, their home and raised two daughters. Robb was a CPA and managing partner of Boisselle, Morton, and Wolkowicz CPA firm in Hadley, MA. He held master’s degrees from the University of Hartford in professional accounting and taxation. He was also a commissioned officer in the US Army Reserves. An active member of his community, wonderful son, husband, dad, and grandpa of five, Robb will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

A reminder to update me on the latest happenings in your life — career milestones, retirements, travel, moves, kids, and grandkids. It’s so easy to send an email or private message on Facebook. If you’re on the socials, you can also post photos for classmates to see on Facebook. With around 1,700 of us, we should have more followers online — and more updates in this column!