class notes


40 No News

There should be some special device that could preserve our thoughts while resting and eliminate trying to recall them when getting to the computer. Guess that’s a common problem with those of us in our mid-nineties. At least it appears that way with all the news not received from any of you or those close to you. I had expected some responses to the license plate situation, but I have heard nothing. This means that you will have to hear more details about Kay and me. We go through good and bad days. Thank the good Lord that we still have each other. It is a real blessing. Both of us have had appointments with doctors, and I have had at least two different hospital stays. These situations become major logistical maneuvers now that we no longer have a car. We depend on local friends for transportation or else use a cab. Many different friends help when they can, but they are not always available. We have one couple who makes an extra effort to get us to Mass at our favorite church, St. Maria Goretti, on Sunday where we often see our good friend, Fr. Doug Lorig. We no longer get to daily Mass, but we pray the rosary often during the day. We enjoy following the adventures of our football team and manage to tape most of the games. There are a few residents and employees with whom we are able to discuss the games. That’s enough about us. How about news from some of you or your loved ones? I do not have any official numbers, but I believe there must be about 45 to 50 of us still around. Please know that we will keep all of you, as well as your loved ones, in our prayers. At our stage in life, praying for each other is the greatest gift we can give, and we ask that you continue to remember us in yours. — Bob Sanford; 3212 N. Miller Road, No. 106, Scottsdale AZ 85251; 480-998-5380;

41 Back on Campus

Football season got off to an impressive start, with the Class of 1941 represented at the home opener. Marty Ingwersen reached out to me via LinkedIn to let me know he was in attendance for the Rice game and had a wonderful weekend back on campus. Marty is doing well down in Vero Beach FL. Thanks for checking in. — Meg Julian ’03, ’06JD; 6 Carriage Trail, Princeton NJ 08540; 646-246-5480;

42 Keep Stretching

We happily share the latest chapter of Judge Bob Miller’s retirement to his ranch outside South Bend. After his surgeon explained that replacing his right shoulder joint would prevent him from being able to lift himself up and out of a chair for three to six months, Bob got busy sketching mobility devices that could get him up easier and faster. Sketches led to prototypes and patents. Now under the business name, Rising Improvements, LLC, Judge Miller has a half-a-dozen mobility devices in varying stages from “still on the drawing board” to “manufactured and ready for sale.” But Bob is the first to admit that able assistance has been the key to success in his new business venture. It was through some gifted engineers and student interns from Innovation Park at Notre Dame that Bob was able to bring his ideas to life. “IPND’s access to cutting-edge research coupled with its world-class faculty and students were a tremendous collaborative effort,” Bob said. “They wrapped themselves around these ideas and helped perfect them.” He has patents pending on two of his mobility devices and is aiming for an additional four patents in 2015. Those interested in learning more can contact Judge Miller by phoning toll free 1-844-2Pullup (78-5587) or check out his website at If you have some news to share, please call or write me. — John Kirby; 110 Upland Road, Kentfield CA 94904; res/fax 415-925-0544

43 Class Secretary — Bob Masters ’05;

202 Remington Court North Drive, Apt. C, Mishawaka IN 46545; res 574.904.8315; bus 574-234-0121

44 Accepting the Challenge

I received an entertaining letter from Gerald J. Welch, who shared that several of his 10 children gathered at his home in New Jersey for a minireunion over the summer. Some of the group had been nominated to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in memory of his loving wife Eileen, who lived with ALS for more than 10 years until she passed away 12 years ago. At 92 years young, Gerald was the first to take the challenge, with a clever modification of pouring over his arms to avoid a heart attack. He then challenged his eldest son, Gerald T. Welch ’71, from Dallas, who in turn challenged his son, David Welch ’04, one of 40 grandchildren. Though he hasn’t been able to return to campus for many visits, Gerald has fond memories of Notre Dame in the early 1940s, in particular, his chemical engineering lab partner, a fellow by the name of Frank Eck, who nearly blew up the lab on one occasion. He was a good friend and the classmates stayed in touch over the years. Ben Mammina sent me a photo from a reunion dinner that took place in 2005. Ben resides in Benton Harbor MI and is able to visit campus often. Tom O’Reilly checked in in early October and is doing well. I was sad to learn that Jim Cunningham passed away in Pittsburgh this past spring. Jim kept in touch often and was proud of his community organizer time at the U of Pittsburgh, as well as with his involvement in Birthright of Pittsburgh Inc. with his late wife Rita. Jim, Rita and their 10 children enjoyed attending Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games and on April 2, the day of his funeral, the Pirates beat the Cubs after 16 innings, the longest game in franchise history. Jim will be remembered fondly by his family which included 21 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and countless members of this class. Finally, I received a nice message from Jane Englert in response to my mention of the 50-year class reunion – the belated senior prom, held in June 1994. She and her husband, Earl Englert, were there and she recalls the 18-piece band and a wonderful turnout. The couple met after he returned to ND in the fall of 1946 to pursue his MS in chemical engineering. Jane, a native of South Bend, married Earl four days after graduation in August 1947. As always, thank you to this class for sharing your memories and providing me the opportunity to get to know all of you. Keep the great stories coming. — Laura (Julian) Fraser ’00; 989 Belaire Ct., Naperville IL 60563; 773-255-9843;

45 Another Reminder

We’re planning our 70th reunion, which is scheduled for June 4-7. Details will be mailed directly to you by the Alumni Office, of course, but class president Dennis Scully is making plans and would like an early idea of how many of you can attend. Simply let me know at the address below and I’ll pass it on to Denny. — Ted Weber Jr.; 1400 Geary Blvd. Apt 1409, San Francisco CA 94109; 415-674-8771;

46 Class Secretary — Bill O’Neil;

47 Coincidences and Serendipity

Gino Leonard “Len” Pucci writes that he graduated with a degree in aerospace engineering on June 1, 1947 and married Betty Jane Edgren a week later. Back in February of 1944, Len and four other NROTC Aeros were commissioned as Ensigns in the Navy and given orders to report to four different escort aircraft carriers, “Jeeps”. Most of the NROTC class had not even finished their academic work yet. During their early training, the NROTC went on a training cruise on Lake Michigan on the USS Wilmette. During that cruise, the Wilmette stopped in Muskegon, where Len met Betty Jane. Len spent two more years on active duty in the Navy and returned to ND to complete the aero engineering course in 1946. After graduation in 1947, Len spent the next years in Muskegon MI working for the Shaw Walker Corporation and the General Telephone of Michigan Corporation. GTE transferred Len, Betty Jane and their family of three children to the GTE Service Corporation in New York City and then in 1969 to the GTE of Florida in Tampa. They located in Clearwater FL. Now comes the coincidence: in 2009 Len and Betty Jane moved to a retirement facility in Largo FL. In 2013 Judge Gerald O’Brien and his wife Mildred moved into the same facility. Over breakfast, Len and Gerry discovered they had both been in the ND Class of ‘47 and in the very same NROTC unit. They did not know each other at ND, but have been able to share lots of old stories and memories. Len Pucci retired as a commander from the Naval Reserve in 1983 and from GTE of Florida in 1985. Len and Betty Jane, his wife of 67 years who passed away on Ash Wednesday in 2014, had three children, James, Cheryl and Patrice, who was born on St. Patrick’s Day. All live in Florida. Lawrence Carden recalls being in the V-12 program while at ND. Jack Brennan was also and stayed in the Navy as a career living in San Diego, Washington DC, and Newport RI with his family. Now retired in Dallas, Jack recalls calisthenics, runs around the lake and marching to breakfast as part of the regiment. John Molinarolo writes that he has a new heart valve via the TAVR procedure, which skips the open chest surgery. John writes, “In 1944, our USNR unit was on the football field at halftime. It seems some events you just don’t forget. A photo is in Rockne Memorial. A photo done with a fly over was also shot of the V-12 unit in formation. Down in southern Illinois, we have been enjoying the weather. Deer hunters are looking for a bumper crop.” Brother Romard Barthel, CSC, retired after 50 years and recalls pleasant memories of ND. I had some good laughs with William “Bill” Guyol who celebrated his 90th birthday on Dec. 2. He enrolled at ND in the fall of 1941 and served in the Army Air Corps. Mary Grace, his wife of 60 years, blessed him with five children and 17 grandkids. Bill remembers the train ride to NYC for the 1946 Army game at Yankee Stadium, famously won by the Irish 0-0. Fighting Irish students were instructed to avoid altercations with the cadets, which were roundly ignored, and penance was served the next morning at St. Patrick’s Cathedral by the “angels” from ND. I also heard from fellow civil engineering grad Charles “Charlie” Samson, who is retired from Texas A&M and living in Bryan TX. Charlie was a tennis player at ND, and likely could still trounce me having turned 90 in July. He also coached at ND from 1953-56. Charlie, Jerry Everett, Jim Griffin, and Bill Tully led the Irish to a tie for the NCAA title in ’44. He started at Ohio State before the V-12 program made him an Irishman. After earning a master’s at ND, he earned a doctorate at Missouri. Later he was a faculty rep on the Big 12 Conference. His study is filled with photos and memories, but he still finds time for symphony and old friends. Classmates who passed away and will be missed include Robert J. Foerstner, 90, of Ross Township PA on Jan. 29, 2014. He is survived by son, John, loving grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. Robert served his country in the Army during WWII, earning four Bronze Stars. After being honorably discharged, he worked at US Steel, retiring after 35 years. Robert “Bob” VanNoort Gschwend died on May 18 at the age of 91 in Cabot PA. He was born in Canton OH on July 14, 1922, and attended St. Peter’s School and McKinley High School. College years at ND were interrupted as Bob served as an officer in the USN Finance Corps, with sea duty in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Pacific Theaters. After release from active duty, he returned to ND and completed his degree. His post war years were spent in the employ of the State Department in Germany, allowing him to travel throughout Western Europe. He was then recalled to active duty in the Navy during the Korean War and stationed on Guam. At this time he had many duty-related trips throughout the Far East. Upon discharge he had brief employment in Columbia, South America. He then moved to New York City to pursue his career in finance. In 1960 he moved to Los Angeles to work for the Bank of America until his retirement at age 65. In retirement, he maintained his residence in several different cities as he repeatedly traveled the world. — Michael Morris ’80; 949-433-8568;

48 Dad’s “Will Do”

There were no winners in the Florida State game. Florida State didn’t win, ND lost. It would take a mean performance to beat Florida State, and ND played a near perfect game until the last two minutes when an unfortunate error and an interception killed the day. Nevertheless, ND has had more than its share of near perfect days. Football is a fast, furious, brutally physical and precise game. So inadvertent mistakes are ever unintended contingencies or swords dangling over every player’s head. Se la vie. Unfortunately, perfection has become an archaic term. It has been replaced by the term “cope” thanks to political correctness. During a period in our lives, my stunning bride and I had four children in college simultaneously: Gonzaga, Creighton, Duke and Purdue. Drs. Don and Mark were accepted by ND but Dr. Don chose Duke because of climate. He now lives in Ft. Lauderdale, semi-retired. Dr. Mark chose Creighton because he wanted a smaller school. They were prepped by Jesuits at Brebeuf in Indy, where I was with RCA Victor. For nine years we had a fleet of six vehicles, a restored Army Jeep, and an RV to visit the children. We had an empty nest and my bride decided to join the public school ranks as a high school vice principal. The word “cope” appeared in our household, one also dominated by my dad’s (God rest his soul) favorite two words, “perseverance” and “perfect.” Dad was as perfect in every way as humanly possible, spiritually and otherwise. Arriving at Ellis Island, fatherless, in time for the WWI draft, he educated himself by studying and expounding the Bible and Army manuals. On his orientation session he declared he couldn’t “carry a rifle.” The captain retorted “OK, I’ll assign you to the kitchen.” Then my Dad studied every army manual on cooking and kitchen duty and was accepted by the Army Cooking School, ultimately becoming mess staff sergeant of the Ft. Brag officers’ mess including OCs and students. As usual one bright morning, a group of cadets were seated around two galvanized tubs of water, one for potato peelings and one for peeled potatoes. As Dad approached, one smart cadet queried Dad, “Sergeant, how come we college students have to take orders from a greenhorn?” My Dad quipped, “Because I’m smarter than you are.” After discharge, he became a tool setter and began acquiring rental properties in Waterbury CT as a sideline, placing him in a position to give his younger brother a free home to raise his family and provide lifetime care for their mom. In WWII, Dad became a defense contractor with nine Bausch and Lomb automatic screw machines. By sticking an aluminum or brass rod in one end of the machine, resembling a wood lathe, the machine spit out fittings at the other end, i.e. airplane rivets, dropping them in 55 gallon drums, sold and shipped by the pound. Engineers slept with their slide rules. Dad slept with his micrometer, an instrument that measured tolerances down to 124th of an inch. Dad was a professional perfectionist. That is all done by computer now, but if we didn’t have micrometers we wouldn’t have computers. “Coping” is the enemy of “perfection” just as “will try” is the enemy of “will do.” Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Go Irish. — Dan Gentile; PO Box 2671, Scottsdale AZ 85252; res 480-425-1240 or Eileen Zander; 1815 Hartman Drive, South Bend IN 46617; bus 574-631-7505;

49 Holding the Line

It is a testimony to medical science and its phenomenal achievements. Recently the Alumni Association advised us that there are some 380 active classmates still championing God, Country, Notre Dame. So, 65 years after graduation approximately one third of us are counted in our somewhat hardy band of brothers. It was nice to hear from Tom Kelly of Clarence Center NY, sending his regrets for missing our 65th Reunion. While his travel days are over, Tom sends his best to all the boys. I received two new publications by Sam Hazo of Pittsburgh PA: “Sexes, The Marriage Dialogues,” Northwestern University Press and “And the Time Is,” Syracuse University Press. Again Sam garners rave reviews for these special reads. It was clever of him to slip in “Returning 1999” into Part 2 of his poem, “Notre Dame du Lac.” Did you see the note in the autumn issue of Notre Dame Magazine on W. Howard Chittenden and his set of hand-carved chessmen? He acquired the set in a Japanese prison camp in 1942. When transferred to another camp, he stashed the set in a tea tin and left it with another POW. Some 70 years later, the much traveled chessmen returned to Howard. The story is related in an issue of Leatherneck Magazine. Semper Fi. Recently Al Lesko of Coldwater MI and his wife Ann attended a family wedding in Milwaukee. Al missed many of the festivities due to food poisoning. What makes this so special, you ask? Well, it’s unique in that it joins two Domer clans of note, the Harts and the Leskos. The roster showed the great grandfathers, the late Leon Hart, and of course Al. Then came sons Kevin Hart and John Lesko followed by Brendan Hart and wife Jackie. This rounded out to a collection of six ND grads. For the record, Jackie’s niece Calinn was the bride. Please forgive an old-timer if some of the facts get confused in the reporting. And so adieu old friends until the spring issue. Stay warm and healthy. — Joe O’Brien; 18120 Cloverleaf, South Bend IN 46637; 574 271 8323;