36 Oldest Living Alumnus

It is with sadness that I report the passing of Shelby Romere in Texas at the age of 107. Shelby played baseball during his time at Notre Dame. He proudly displayed his framed team photo in his room at the senior living center where he resided. It was this photo that came to the attention of a visiting alumna, who, as mentioned in an earlier Class Note, was instrumental in having the baseball team send Shelby a box of baseball apparel, which he was thrilled to receive and proudly wore every day. Our sympathies to Shelby’s family. Joe Newman, who lives in Sarasota FL and is believed to be the oldest living alumnus, celebrated his 108th birthday in January. Being quarantined due to COVID has not prevented Joe from gathering with his friends to discuss current events. They gather frequently for Zoom meetings broadcast from the Socrates Café. Joe was five years old when the 1918 flu hit and says COVID is just another problem we must get through. “You do what you need to do.” The only slowing down Joe has done was to stop driving his red Mercedes convertible. Joe had wanted to plan a 100th birthday party for his fiancé, Anita, but with the lockdown restrictions he had to improvise. Anita was delighted to discover Joe had planned a wonderful party for her via Zoom. Joe has been sought out by several news agencies for virtual interviews on his thoughts on turning 108, life changes during COVID and the impeachment proceedings. Radio Diaries Podcast had Joe and Anita interview each other for their Hunker Down Diaries segment. Their podcast won an award at the Third Coast International Audio Festival. They were told it was “like the Oscars, but for radio.” Joe’s message is to not be afraid of getting older, but to look forward to every day, and leave the people you encounter happy to have been with you. Once it is safe again, Joe is looking forward to getting a haircut. Happy birthday and continued good health to you, Joe, in your 109th year. — Maureen McGinn; jwn176@aol.com


37 Class SecretaryKathleen Coverick ’08;



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

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


39 Guest Author 

I asked Mark Mitchell ’96 (mjmiv@sbcglobal.net) to write this column. What follows are his words, and I hope you enjoy this bit of history as much as I have. “Eighty-six years ago, in spring 1935, Mark Mitchell’s parents drove their 17-year-old son to Notre Dame to complete his admission process with an academic interview. Since Mark planned to major in English, he met with Rev. Leo L. Ward, CSC. (He was called Leo Literature, to distinguish him from Rev. Leo R. Ward, a philosophy professor.) Leo Literature was pleased to see Mark had excelled in four years of high school Latin and assigned him four semesters more. He also assigned him two more semesters of Greek. When Mark exclaimed in Homeric lament, Ward responded, ‘Four more!’ After visiting his revered cousin Jim Kearns ’34, Mark had only ever wanted to go to Notre Dame. This, even though Mark had been punched by Frank Leahy when the coach was a summer camp counselor in the offseason. The bespectacled Mark would not take a hit when playing in the scrimmages Leahy set up among the campers. The coach told him, ‘Mitchell, if you don’t take a hit in this next play, I’ll hit you.’ Leahy was good to his word, though he let Mark take his glasses off first. Mark had a close working relationship with head football coach, Elmer Layden ’25, who had been one of Knute Rockne ‘14’s Four Horsemen. Mark was Scholastic sports editor and, later, editor-in-chief. This gave him access to Coach Layden, in his office and in the locker room. The years 1935 to 1939 were eventful on campus. President Franklin Roosevelt visited to deliver an important speech on Philippine policy when Mark was a freshman, which was the first major event he covered for Scholastic. He recalled the students watching in hushed silence as Roosevelt walked with great difficulty, with the help of a cane and the arm of a supporter, from his car into the Fieldhouse. A year later, Mark was present for Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli’s address in Washington Hall. In 1939, as editor-in-chief of Scholastic, Mark called, ‘Stop the presses,’ when Cardinal Pacelli was elected Pope Pius XII, and devoted the cover of Scholastic to him. The previous September, in 1938, Mark had written an editorial calling for ‘order out of chaos’ as Europe marched toward war. In the same issue of Scholastic, the term ‘Subway Alumni’ was coined for the October Notre Dame-Army game in Yankee Stadium, which the Fighting Irish won 19-7. Mark wrote his nightly journal entries by candlelight after the rector shut the master switch to control lights-out. Senior year, Mark and his roommates had a suite in Alumni Hall with a private bathroom. Any roommate not present for check-in at night was ‘in the shower,’ until the rector, Father Glueckert, started pulling back the curtain. Father Glueckert also discovered that a student on the first floor was charging a modest fee for friends to abscond after hours through his window. They even walked backwards in the snow through the same set of footprints, so it appeared only one man entered, but never left. Mark met his wife of 53 years in South Dining Hall after the 1938 Illinois game. Following graduation in 1939, Mark would send two sons and two grandsons to Notre Dame. No visit to campus was complete without a stroll through the Holy Cross cemetery to salute all the deceased priests who made his four years some of the happiest in his life.”  Thank you, Mark, for the guest column. Though the living members of the class number in the single digits, I am happy to share the origin, ending, and all stories in between. Go Irish. — Seth O’Donnell ‘04; 17 Marion St., East Greenwich RI 02818, 603-828-7335; seth.odonnell@gmail.com