Play Hard (Spring 2019)

Apr 01, 2019

By the time you read this, winter will be on the wane. I heard from Charlie O’Brien, who lives in Abingdon, north of Baltimore. Formerly a successful trash magnate, he was on the mend from an accidental fall and wondered about the status of his pal Dave Rentschler, now residing in NYC. COB also reminisced about the late Don Ohlmeyer.

John Berges sent word from Rolla MO that he is fully retired, and he and his horses recently won the Ranch Sorting National Championship. JB and Claudia haul their equines around the Midwest participating in ranch sorting and team penning events. They traveled to Alaska, took up dog sledding and have become Iditarod junkies. JB reports that Jude Lenahan is well in Nashville and the two of them spent time remembering all that ND meant in their lives. Ditto that. 

Also, they say that Rudy Navari is not retired. He is teaching and seeing patients at U of Alabama Birmingham and working on an anti-emetic drug that will hopefully help patients better tolerate cancer treatments. JB also mentioned John Rahiya in Atlanta, who sent word of a mini-reunion that took place in Doolin, County Clare, Ireland. Joining JR for fellowship, golf and pints of Guinness were Joe Bodell, Dennis O’Toole, Bob Crotty, Tim Bard and Mike Bernath. That had to be fun for sure.

Class prez and stalwart baseball expert Cap Gagnon hit Baltimore in January to give a talk to a group from the Society of American Baseball Research. We tried to connect but were unable to do so.

I heard from Jack Gerken, who took 60 folks to the ND-Navy game in San Diego, including eight of his 12 grandkids. JG also attended a Christmas concert by the ND Children’s Choir at his Huntington Beach CA parish. The choir is a new group on campus mentored by ND grad students. Be sure to check out Jack’s ’66 missive on the web at 1966.undclass.org.

Bob Basche weighed in from Stratford CT where he and Susan reside, in proximity to his good bud and fellow Nightlighter John Houlihan. Those two get together with Tom Meyer, a retired Delta pilot, to play in Atlanta. Word is they can still blare out “Louie Louie,” but they’re waiting for Dorset VT resident Tony Andrea to loosen up his pipes and rejoin the crew. As previously noted, Bob sells boats (aka yachts) out of Rowayton CT and keeps in close touch Dr. Bob Lombardo in the Hamptons.

Another tidbit comes from John Twohey in Evanston IL who’s active in a mentoring program at Northwestern U that links local residents with grad students from abroad. He’s helped a series of PhD candidates from China get acclimated to the US and is working with a young engineering student from Kazakhstan. JT had an email exchange over the holidays with Jed Key, now settling into life in Wernemunde, a German town on the Baltic. Jed and Suzanne left Tucson to be near son James, a highly regarded tenor whose opera career is taking off in Europe.

JT reports that 349 individuals have made 474 gifts to the Pete Duranko Fund, totaling $221,323 since 2015. Most donors are from our class, but alums from 12 other classes have made gifts, as have ND friends, including the late Ara Parseghian. The ND Athletic Dept. continues to use the funds to better diagnose and treat concussions among the University’s 750 varsity athletes.

Bill Highter, from Amherst MA, sent the sad news of John Walter’s passing in July. Bill and John were roomies and remained friends. JW was an Air Force vet who served in Vietnam and earned the Bronze Star. He later joined the family construction business in Manhattan KS. He went on with other firms to build water plants and investment portfolios. John and Cheryl were married for 51 years and enjoyed annual ND games, along with Tom Green, Ken Hatcher, Fred Flusche and Bill.

Fini for this issue. Send news and be well.

Tom Sullivan; 1108 Westwicke Lane, Lutherville MD 21093; cell 773-454-4343; t66sullynd@gmail.com


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