class notes

1940s

40 Remembering a Classmate

 

I recently heard from Bill Tuerk ’71 about the passing of our classmate, Tom Liston, back in April 2016. It was a pleasure for me to learn about Tom and his very accomplished military, business and athletic endeavors. Tom graduated from Notre Dame with a business degree and played right end on the football team. Originally from Chicago, he returned home after graduation to become a member of the Chicago Board of Trade. At the time, he was the youngest member in the board’s history. He served in World War II as a P-47 pilot commanding the 377th Fighter Squadron and flying an impressive 86 missions, including the first strike on Berlin. When Tom left the Air Force as a major, his honors included the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal, the Africa Star, and the European Theater Ribbon with Five Battle stars. After the war he attended annual reunions with other squadron members and established two memorials in England for members who had not made the return home. Upon returning from the war, Tom married Margaret Murnane. She preceded him in death in 1974. Tom then married Ruth Ziltz in 1978 in Peoria. Tom worked as a Montgomery Ward trainee and rose quickly in the retail world. He worked as a store superintendent at Mandel Brothers in Chicago, as general superintendent of Bloomingdales in New York, in various top department store management positions in Chicago and New York, and as president of Bergner’s Department Store in 1959. While at Bergner’s in Peoria he oversaw expansion across Illinois and Wisconsin and spent 25 years in his leadership position. Tom and Ruth enjoyed traveling worldwide. Tom also became an avid skier later in life, taking up the sport at age 50 and going on to become an accomplished downhill racer, winning many medals for the sport. I am sorry we missed sharing the news of Tom’s passing in 2016 but are grateful to Bill for informing us now. We wish members, family and friends of the class of 1940 much happiness and good health. Please continue to reach out. I love hearing from you, and appreciate any stories, memories, or news you can share. Go Irish. — Rebecca (Antas) Smith;

 

542 Fairview Ave., Glen Ellyn IL 60137; 630-254-4485; rebecca.antas@gmail.com

 

41 Class Secretary Meg Julian ’03, ’06JD;

 

11 E. 36th St., No. 603, New York NY 10016; 646-246-5480; megjulian@gmail.com

 

42 Class Secretary C. John Kirby;

 

110 Upland Road, Kentfield CA  94904; res/fax 415-925-0544; cell 415-272-4016; or Ann Schanuel; annjolene2@aol.com

 

43 Class Secretary Bob Masters ’05;

 

202 Remington Court North Drive, Apt. C, Mishawaka IN 46545; res 574-904-8315; bus 574-234-0121; a.robert.masters@gmail.com

 

44 Class SecretaryLaura (Julian) Fraser ’00;

 

989 Belaire Court, Naperville IL 60563; Tel: 773-255-9843; lejulian00@yahoo.com

 

45 Never Out of Our Thoughts

 

My siblings and I lost both parents last year. We felt orphaned, even though we have children of our own and grandchildren. My parents were in their 90s, so their passing was not unexpected but there was still the shock of being left alone in the world. Who do you send cards to on Mother’s Day? My parents, Barnee and Bob Erkins would have celebrated their 69th anniversary Oct. 22. They were married in Sacred Heart on a gorgeous fall day with colorful leaves falling from the trees and blowing on the ground. My mother, running across campus in her white gown as the car could not get her any closer to the church, was late to her own wedding. To continue this tradition, she was late to most events throughout our lives, including our weddings. She was not late to her husband’s funeral. We started that celebration on time. This reminiscing recurs as the leaves fall and I report the passing of two more of dad’s classmates who have left behind many who love them. Arthur R. Kartman left his family April 20, 2017. Arthur was 91 and living in Mount Vernon OH. Arthur proudly served in the Navy followed by the Navy Reserve. He was a longtime member of the Carpenters Local No. 3 and an employee of Jarvis, Downing and Emch Inc. Arthur left behind a loving family including eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, a fantastic legacy. John E. Nichols MD passed on May 30 in Ft. Lauderdale FL. He was an avid storyteller even back in high school, excelling at debating and in theater. Such a captivating personality, he was asked to speak at his high school graduation, memorizing his entire, not short, speech. John was considered by friends and classmates as a humble kid with great integrity and was referred to as “Honest John.” After three years of pre-med at ND, John was called out by the Navy and sent to U of Vermont to begin medical school. After an intensive single year of medical school, John earned his BS from Notre Dame and a year later his MD from U of Vermont. In 1947, John interned at St. Vincent’s Hospital in NYC followed by Charleston Naval Hospital in South Carolina. After John completed his medical residencies, he enjoyed a variety of medical teaching appointments of NYU, Methodist Hospital and Downstate Medical Center. John held many coveted appointments in the New York area, eventually earning the rank of president of the Medical Board of Trustees in 1970. Beyond his accolades and medical expertise, he maintained his great spirit and fantastic sense of humor. Silly pranks and funny stories caused long laughing spells by all who knew him. John’s love of life extended through his international travels enjoying fine cuisine, circus shows and Broadway theater. John was especially devoted to his nieces and nephews as well as great nieces and nephews. He always showcased his love for Notre Dame and often remarked that those years were the best years of his life. Family and friends of the Class of 1945, please do not hesitate to contact me with memories of this fantastic group of men. Many do not use the Internet, and many may already be gone, but their stories can still be told and re-told with your help. — Melissa Erkins Rackish ’77; 1224 Campbell St., Williamsport PA 17701; 570-326-4289; mrackish@comcast.net 

 

46 Three Lives and 277 Great Years

 

John R. “Jack” Murphy, 93, passed peacefully on April 28. He was raised in Monson MA. He received his BA degree Feb. 27, 1946, and later a graduate degree at ND, and completed post graduate studies at Columbia U. He was associate professor of history at St. Francis U for more than 50 years from Jan. 1957 to Aug. 2008. He will be remembered for having his students read the New York Times for his classes, believing that understanding current events ties directly to understanding history. He was an extensive traveler and visited every state in the US as well as numerous countries. One of his quotes attributed to the philosopher Seneca was “I am not born for one corner; the whole world is my native land.” He is survived by a brother and many nephews and nieces. The passing of Edward Soergel, 92, on May 18 marked the loss of a wonderful father, grandfather, great-grandfather, friend and community leader. He attended Okemus MI high school where he played football, basketball, and baseball. After high school he joined the Navy ROTC at ND and received his commission as ensign on June 30, 1946. He was assigned to the USS Chilton, a supply ship in the Pacific during WWII. Upon returning to civilian life, he attended Michigan State College where he earned his business degree in 1950 and met his future wife, Pearl Fulton. They were married in July 1951. He employed his business knowledge working for his father-in-law, Gordon Fulton, at the Fulton Radio Supply of Jackson MI. In 1955, a second store was opened in Lansing MI where he served as president and CEO until his retirement in 2011. He was preceded in death by his wife of 52 years and their son, age 3. His survivors include a son, five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. James Edward Cronin, 92, passed away peacefully at his home in West Chicago IL on July 26. He grew up on the south side of Chicago with his six siblings. He graduated from St. Ignatius High School in 1943. That fall he attended Loyola U for one semester. He joined the Navy and was sent to ND for officer training. He graduated in 1946 and studied in the seminary for three years before entering the work world. He worked most of his life as a printing salesman which provided well for his family. He married Beatrice in 1956 and they just celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary. They have eight children, 26 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. — Paul Taggett; 10 W. Grove Ave., D15, Lake Wales FL 33853; paultaggett@gmail.com

 

47 Class SecretaryMichael Morris ’80; 949-433-8568;

 

michaelmorris07@gmail.com

 

48 Loyal Sons of Notre Dame

 

I heard from Kelly McCarthy, daughter of James P. McCarthy, on the passing of her father on June 25 from double pneumonia. Mr. McCarthy studied in the College of Arts and Letters and was an Alumni Hall Dawg. The class has lost another stellar member and loyal son of Notre Dame. Please accept sincere condolences to the whole McCarthy family. It brings me great sadness to report the passing of John F. Clemens on July 31; George J. Keenan on July 30; Leo F. Murphy on July 28; Louis A. “Lou” Sampson on July 25; Harry M. Trausch Sr. on June 13; Thomas A. “Tom” Robison on May 24; John G. Sweeney Jr. on Dec. 13, 2016; and William E. “Bill” Stolze on Dec. 8, 2016. — Eileen Surprenant ’09, ’15; eileen.surprenant@gmail.com

 

49 Stand Tall, Stand Proud

 

The alumni office sent the latest listing of our classmates, active and lost. The total number was 214. Of this total, 162 were living and among the active group. To be active there must be some interaction or communication with the University. Lost means there has been no contact, information, data or record with ND. Gene Rossi of Doylestown PA passed away in September after a brief illness. Odette, his wife, notified us. Gene had a successful graphic design career in New York and Doylestown. On retirement he pursued a lifelong passion for watercolor painting with many exhibitions and prestigious awards to his credit. He published his memoirs, and as Odette states, “he was a Domer through and through without reservation.” Since the passing of Al Lesko, our class has been without a president. Contact has been made with the alumni office regarding what measures, if any, should be taken. The office will advise us shortly and we will pass along its recommendations. Any thoughts or suggestions that you can offer would be appreciated. Stand for family, God, country and Notre Dame. — Joe O’Brien; 18120 Cloverleaf Drive, South Bend IN 46637; 574-271-8323; obie49nd@comcast.net