Alumni News & Notes


Irwin Baumel and Elise deSeve Brown are living in Whittier, Calif.; Elise sold her condo in Washington, D.C. earlier this year. They traveled to Rome and Naples, and toured the Italian countryside. They also traveled to the San Francisco area to visit Irwin’s daughter, then continued north to visit the state capitals of Oregon and Washington. Their trip was shortened by the famous rains of the Pacific Northwest. They plan to visit New York City, Boston and Albany, N.Y. this spring. “We are feeling fine and are enjoying being together.”

Robert Frasca, husband of classmate Sarah Caruso, wrote that several years ago Sarah suffered a stroke and has been a patient at Westlake Summit in Austin, Texas, since. Robert sold their home of 30 years and acquired a comfortable apartment attached to the Westlake Summit to be closer to Sarah. He is able to visit anytime and sits with her at all her meals. If any old friends would like to write, mail can be sent to Robert Frasca, 1034 Liberty Park Drive, Apt. 220, Austin, Texas 78746-6851.

Ken George put together A Community Christmas Festival, in Voorheesville, N.Y., for the 25th year. Ben and Gloria Jackson attended a September Road Scholar program at the Warwick Center in Warwick, N.Y., with Joe Zanchelli ’49 and Joyce Zanchelli ’52. The highlight of the program was attending a performance of Carmen at the Lincoln Center in New York City. The trip to Warwick included visits with friends and relatives in Rockland County.

This past summer, Marjorie Lyons taught a course, “Telling Your Story in Words and Pictures,” at the famous Chautauqua Institute, Lake Chautauqua, N.Y. She taught memoir writing at the York Library in York, Maine, for the fourth summer. After 22 years, she retired this past fall from the Fischler School of Graduate Education at Nova Southeastern University, where she was chair of the doctoral committee. Since studying with Agnes Futterer in the 1940s, Marjorie has been active in the theater. This year she produced and acted in dinner theater in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and a wine and cheese event in Delray Beach.

She and Harold (Sparky) Vaughn met for their annual mini-reunion dinner in Alexandria, Va. A summer highlight was visiting a grandson and his wife and 2-year-old great-grandchild, Hannah. During the fall, Sparky spent five weeks in Florence, Italy, including a couple of days in San Marcello Pistoiese. Through the Rotary Club of Washington, D.C., Sparky is organizing a group to address human-trafficking and child-slavery issues, with a particular focus on Thailand. He attended a Rotary Day at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, where he met with the president of NOMI Network. He visited his daughter Karen while in Manhattan.

Shirley Warner Martin’s husband, Albert Martin, sent the sad news that Shirley died in August after a brief illness. She had served as a mathematics teacher at Lancaster Central High School. In addition to her B.A. from the New York State College for Teachers, she earned a master’s degree from Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y. Shirley was active as the Sunday school superintendent for the Presbyterian Church and in the Girl Scouts in Erie County. She was also a founding member of the Bowmansville Very Little Theater and a past president of the Lancaster Historical Society. An avid traveler, she enjoyed family visits in the U.S. Ireland, and Argentina.

Class notes councilor: Harold Vaughn,


A note from your class councilor: It is with sadness that I must report our fellow classmate and friend Joe Persico passed away on Aug. 30, 2014. He was an acclaimed historian, biographer and former speechwriter for Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. Joe published 14 books, including the autobiography of Colin Powell, My American Journey. Powell said, “He was not only a great collaborator and beloved friend, he was a tremendous writing teacher.”

Tom Yole passed away July 6, 2014. He was very active as a junior-high school principal, a member of several educational organizations and a community participant. Tom demonstrated love of his family, education, community and service by giving back to all of those throughout his life.

Rita Kohn Levy is in the process of moving to Carlsbad in San Diego, Calif. Shirley Feinstein Rosenbaum reports that her granddaughter had a successful bat mitzvah last spring and her grandson will have his bar mitzvah next year. Mary Anne Lanni and Bob are still living in their homestead and enjoyed a great Thanksgiving with their family.

Kitty Kloser Irons and husband Marty attended their oldest granddaughter’s graduation from St. Michael’s College. (She is now serving with the Peace Corps in Senegal.)Their granddaughter Erin is a resident advisor this year and is the director of a campus group which gives tours to interested high-school students. Their third granddaughter is a junior in high school. Kitty continues her activities of bridge, quilting, senior club, church choir, church society, parish council, book discussion club and a group of 10 ladies who sew “quilts of valor” for armed forces members wounded in the Near East.

Nancy Frey Pettinelli saw Joan Bennett Kelly at a high school reunion. Dave Manly and his wife purchased a condo at Paddle Boat Lane on Hilton Head Island, N.C. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a six-day Road Scholar music program at Chautauqua Institute. Dave is now fully retired from ministry, having preached his final sermon last year.

Tom Holman attended his grand-niece’s wedding and tells us to watch for the movie, “Big Stone Gap,” which is based on the novel by Adriana Trigani and filmed in the town where Tom’s sister lives. Her house was used as the principal setting for the film.

Joan Bennett Kelly and husband Charlie sold their Florida residence and relocated to Pompton Plains, N.J., to be closer to their children. Three of their grandchildren graduated from college this year, four are in college and five more are “waiting in the wings”. Kayla, their oldest, is in an off-Broadway play. Charlie is now recovering from reverse rotator cuff surgery. Joan says there’s “still lots of room for company in Vermont.”

Ken Wooster retired from the mathematics department at SUNY Cortland 20 years ago and has spent a lot of time honing his HTML coding skills, developing personal websites and serving as webmaster for various organizations. His personal websites contain much local history, pages for Civil War regiments and individual histories of 143 carrier aircraft of the type he flew while in the Navy. Ken has been good enough to share his talent by making a CD of Al Stevenson’s web site of the Class of ’52, which has been placed in the UAlbany archives.

Maureen Davis Mullin is still teaching in the Santa Barbara, Calif., school system. She and her children are all involved in education, some on the college level and some in the high schools of the Santa Barbara School District. At her winter home in Florida, Madeline Weitlof Huchro is receiving treatment for some health issues.

Al Stevenson continues to recover from sepsis and has returned to full-time teaching. He is committed to this year, then will decide if he wants to continue beyond that. He drove from Cleveland to upstate New York last summer, a sure testament to his recovery.

Bert Jablon is still running (now in the 85-89 category), serving on the executive board of a 4,000 plus runner organization and playing tennis and golf. His youngest son, Brian, recently retired from the U. S. State Department after many years.

Botched knee-replacement surgery forced Jane Minckler Jennings to a sedentary lifestyle. She’s back at the bridge table, rather than swimming her usual 800 strokes in the ocean. Family visited her on Block Island, R.I., this past summer.

Vickie Eade Eddy reports that her daughter Pamela has published another book, Creating Strategic Partnerships: A Guide for Institutions and their Partners. Pam is a full professor at William and Mary College and completed the Dublin Marathon while on her sabbatical there.

John Bowker continues with his surgery practice, clinics, and lectures, which enable him and wife Alice to travel the globe. Jean Greenshields Burns was elected to the governing board of the Friends of the State Library. Congratulations, Jean!

Joyce Leavitt Zanchelli and husband Joe were guests for the Mepham High School Class of 1954 60th Reunion, for which Joe was class advisor. Joe’s Class of 1949 from NYSCT celebrated its 65th reunion in the fall. Joyce continues to volunteer for arts organizations and the UAlbany Alumni Association, does church work and is a docent for Yaddo.

Class notes councilor: Joyce Zanchelli,


A note from your class councilor: Jordine Skoff Von Wantoch attended the Tony Awards this year. Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, produced by the Old Globe Theatre, for which Jordine is a board member, won for Best Musical. She attended an after-Tony party given by the producers and was escorted by Dr. James F. Wilson, son of John Wilson and Mary Jane Dewey Wilson. Jordine attended a theatre festival in Dublin and a few plays in London in October. Her daughter, who is in the Foreign Service/Diplomatic Corps, is currently stationed at the Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

J. Paul Ward and wife Doris Vater Ward ’52 have lived at the Avila Retirement Community for 10 years. Paul retired from UAlbany in 1985 and kept busy doing over 60 Elderhostel Programs in 24 years. Until recently, the Wards have enjoyed spending February and March at St. Simons Island, Ga.

Harold Smith and wife Barbara are at Jekyll Island in Georgia at that time, so they enjoy the company of old classmates. Paul has volunteered as a history assistant at the New York State Museum for the past 16 years. Both Paul and Doris have been active in various Friends of Library groups, helping with book sales, etc. Doris leads a knitting group at Avila and Paul runs a monthly book club.

Marie Hoffman is a charter member of the Capital District Genealogical Society and is on the CDGS Board. She volunteered at the NYS Library Genealogy and Local History desk for nearly 20 years, but recently stopped volunteering due to health reasons.

Hank Koszewski returned from a visit in Hawaii this past fall. He traveled around New York State and visited Bob and Rosie Hughes on his way to catch a flight in Syracuse.

Doug Nielsen and wife Gail became great- grandparents last year and are expecting another great-grandchild this spring. Their granddaughter, her husband and baby live close by in Liverpool, N.Y., so they get to visit regularly. Great-granddaughter Hannah is a beautiful little charmer and soon-to-be big sister.

Don Stine sent a thought-provoking note that made your councilor think about the Class of ’53 as an aging population and a group that is starting to think about increasing fragility: “. . . and now the blue sky, the mountains, and brown flat of Arizona. I wait. It is 2014. It is quiet–The New York Times every day, many books, music, old movies, church, and family. My body is fine but I wait. They say dementia and front temporal degeneration (thousands of cells die every day). Words and talk are not there.” Don has two children; his wife passed away 25 years ago and he still misses her. He was a successful teacher and psychoanalyst.

Ed Bonahue sent us greetings from sunny North Carolina, where he says the “good life” can be found in abundance. He lives in Fearrington Village, just outside of Chapel Hill. Ed and his wife, Lyn, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2014; to mark the occasion, the couple took their children, their children’s spouses and their five grandchildren on a Caribbean cruise in the early summer. Ed and Lyn have enjoyed traveling. They recently spent several days in Berlin, then flew to Moscow for four days before beginning a Russian waterways river cruise ending in St. Petersburg. Each winter, Ed and Lyn vacation in Florida, where they get to spend some time with Bob Giammatteo and wife Cathy, and Harold (Hal) Smith and wife Barbara and at Jekyll Island.

Herb Their and his wife celebrated their 60th anniversary on a cruise with their family, while Bob Hughes and Rosie Keller Hughes threw a party to celebrate their 60th anniversary. Bill Whitwer celebrated his official retirement from his service to the church in March 2014. He worked in the ministry for 58 years and started four churches. He served in four churches in Jackson, Missouri, three in Mississippi and twice in a church he started in Alabama. Congratulations on your retirement, Bill!

And now for the shared memories of life at State: Doug Nielsen remembers Professor Harry Price as one of his favorite people at State. He was not only a great teacher, but a gentleman. Ina Mae (Van Buskirk) Riedel worked her way through SUNY and lived close to her dear friend and sorority sister Shirley Dodge Cooper. Shirley and her family had a lasting influence on Ina Mae’s life, both emotionally and spiritually. Their kindness was an inspiration for all of her achievements as a leader in altruistic organizations. Notably, her work in literacy earned her honors from the American Association of University Women at both state and national levels. SUNY gave Ina Mae the necessary tools to succeed in life, and the wonderful Coopers gave her a “heartfelt spirit to live generously.”

Joan DeVinny Bitely commented that perhaps her freshman-year memories weren’t so unusual. She was the first in her family to break new ground by going to college, and was lucky to get a job waiting tables at Pierce Hall. Dorm space was very limited that year. She and her hometown roommate, Rae Dionne, who transferred out in 1951, were assigned to the Guest Room in Pierce Hall, complete with a full, attached bathroom. Joan remembers eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches almost every day that year, and the next. There was no refrigerator, so when her aunt sent her hard-boiled eggs from Brooklyn, they were kept “cold” outside on the window ledge.

Irene Brezinsky McDonald noted that she owed a lot to her years at UAlbany. An assignment from British Literature Professor Westbrook marked the beginning of Irene’s love for Chaucer. Miss Futterer, Irene’s freshman speech teacher and adviser, asked Irene, “Why not English?” as she intended to major in chemistry. Irene eventually became an English major and never regretted it. When she went to the University of Wisconsin for graduate work, the department said that she was well prepared.

Herb Their’s strongest memory was the opportunity to chair the Eastern Colleges Science Conference, held for the first time at the “little” teachers college we loved so well.

Joyce Leonard Bolas’ memories are colored by the fact that she was an identical twin. The most memorable event for her was when she and her sister competed with the cadets at West Point. Joyce and Janet were members of the Debate Club. They later learned that they were the first women to debate the West Point cadets. Albany became a charter member of Tau Kappa Alpha, International Forensics, a wonderful accomplishment and memory!

Linda Hopkins McGrath told of her first college roommate(s). A group of eight ’53 freshman women started college life together in the locker/shower rooms of Sayles Hall, the former men’s dormitory. Ann MacDougall, Wilmonte Nasutavicus (Willie Nash to us), Rosie Keller Hughes and Linda were the survivors. Our friendships grew and lasted several decades.

Don Stine remembers President Evan R. Collins, “a humanitarian who asked from us wisdom. Then there was Math, Elton A. Burtler, a very kind teacher; Physics, Luther Andrews, we weren’t sure what he was talking about; American History, Harry Price, who was always jumping from Jefferson to Eleanor Roosevelt; and falling in love with Mary Goggin, who gave me Greek and helped when Signum Laudis became Phi Beta Kappa in 1975.”

Marie Hoffman reminisced about her good friend Norine Connell Byrnes, who passed away in February 2014. She and Norine went to Troy High and Albany State College for Teachers (where they shared a basement locker). Both taught math and computer, took grad courses together, and traveled through Europe. Marie remembers riding the Traction Company buses as she and Norine kept themselves busy knitting.

Jordine Skoff Von Wantoch remembers arriving at NYSCT and finding there was no room at the dorm for her. Those who were without a room were put in the Game Room of one of the men’s dorms. Bunk beds furnished one long room, and the only place to study was in the bathroom, which had bright lights. The new roommates were named the Game Room Girls. Eventually, a house on Western Avenue was bought for the group. The former Game Room Girls lived there, isolated from the rest of the Red Devils for their freshman year. When they finally got a room in the new dorm, Barbara Peace, Mary Jane Dewey, Martha Nevlezer and Jordine bonded and became lifelong friends, living together as roommates for the rest of their time at NYSCT.

Rosie Keller Hughes remembers trying out for the freshman Big 4 production, “Blue Horizons.” A handsome fellow and author of the play helped the director, Dick Scott, select her for the part of Margiana, the bandit queen. Sixty-four years later, Rosie celebrated a wedding anniversary with Bob Hughes. Join us at our class Facebook page: SUNY Albany Class of 1953.

Class notes councilor: Rose Mary (Rosie) Keller Hughes,