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Welcome to the Class of 1954 forum

We’d like you to submit your updates directly via the form on this page. Once received, it will moderated by webmaster Howie Whittle and published here. Your email address will not appear and we will not share your information with anyone.

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Recent updates

Retired from Boeing ( Manager of Boeing Missile electronics) in 1988. Now I live in Auburn Washington in the summer and Buena Vista Baja Cal Sur in winter with travel to Alaska often in the summer.Activities now include fishing/boating,playing guitar,swimming/snorqueling in the sea of Cortez,, floating whitewater rivers and quad riding in Baja.

After graduation from WPI in 1954 I went to Cornell and received a Ph.D. in Experimental Physics (in 1960). I married another Cornellian, Nancy McIlroy, in August 1959, and together we moved to Santa Barbara, CA where I taught physics for a year as a sabbatical replacement at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In the spring of 1960, while in Santa Barbara, I received a call from the Head of the newly-formed Solar Physics Branch of NASA’s (National Aeronautic and Space Administration) Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland inviting me to apply to join its effort in developing instrumentation to study the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) and soft X-ray radiations from the Sun, using rockets and orbiting spacecrafts. Our emphasis was on understanding how the Sun produced major bursts of energy (solar flares) that impacted terrestrial communications and how these outbursts might affect orbiting spacecrafts. We contributed major instruments to a series of orbiting observatories called the “Orbiting Solar Observatories” and produced new insights into the origin of solar flares. In 1972-3 I spent the equivalent of a sabbatical year at the University of Colorado’s High Altitude Observatory (at the CU campus in Boulder, Colorado) and Nancy, our two sons, Erich and Mark, and I fell in love with the area. Returning to NASA and Greenbelt, I became involved with the planning of NASA’s solar observing program from the Space Shuttle and was designated Mission Scientist (science coordinator) for the first science payload flown on the shuttle (STS-3) in March 1982. That morphed into further planning positions for NASA’s shuttle science programs while still continuing my own interest in solar research. By about 1988 I was appointed Project Scientist for NASA’s Sounding Rocket Program. I retired in November 1994 and Nancy and I moved to Boulder, where we now live just outside of town, with a small pond, a bit of original tall grass prairie, and great views of the Rockies. I kept in touch with solar physics as a co-investigator on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) for ten years as a guest researcher at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder. During the summers we hike in the mountains, grow lotus plants for the Denver Botanic Garden and the Colorado Water Garden Society and work in our garden. In wintertime we enjoy lectures and concerts at CU and weekly lunches with our hiking group. I also play baroque and keyed flute with friends. Our two sons are married and we have two grandsons. Erich initiated and is director of a raptor re-hab center near Dallas, TX, and Mark is a Professor of Anthropology at Oregon Tech in Klamath Falls, OR. Last, but not least, my thanks to Howie for reaching me on the phone for a friendly chat. I’m sorry that we could not attend our 65th Reunion.

May 17, 2019

Fran and I are still “hanging in there” as we deal with the “aging process.” I think you all understand that the description of the “aging process” is best summed up in finding that everything is getting harder to do than it used to be. In one area that is really changing our lives is a serious loss of mobility. Unfortunately that situation has forced us to admit that we are going to have to miss this year’s class reunion. We have made all of them up to now and we are sorry about missing this one.

On the subject of the Reunion I want to be sure mention my appreciation to Howie Whittle, who has taken the lead in trying to communicate with the class and encourage those who can – be sure and join the reunion. Since our last reunion we lost Ed Shivell, who had always taken a major role being our class spokesperson at WPI. We were fortunate to have Howie step up and try to keep the class informed and encouraged to join in to the reunion, if possible.

I mention the “aging process” which now seems to be taking over how our lives proceed from here – of course particularly as to health issues. Fran and I have been located for about 20 years in a “continuing care” retirement community, located in Kennett Square, PA outside of the Philadelphia area. We are able to continue in the independent living cottage, which we enjoy but the next moves would be either Assisted Living or Full Nursing units depending on how things go. Our two daughters and their families live very nearby so that is a real blessing. Our son has been living in California (SanFrancisco Bay Area) since the 1970’s, so we only see him on 2-3 visits here a year (we were able to fly out and visit him, but those flights ended a couple years ago.) The “kids”, as I still call them although they are all now in their 60’s, are a great joy for us.

One last comment — you know how you pass people in a hallway and they say “How you doing ?” I used to say “I’m good” just to acknowledge them — but lately I have been tempted to answer them “How much time do you have to listen to me ?”

Joyce and I are hanging in there. We both had bad falls and I am walking around with a cane. We enjoy time with children and grandchildren most of whom are nearby. Have now been retired for 28 years. Time flies!!!!

My wife, Bonnie, and I are still safely ensconced in our Independent CCRC living facilities on the Masonic Campus in Union City, CA. This is a very active community which takes us to cultural and art events in the local area. Since Bonnie has developed Alzheimer’s, our traveling culminated last year with a cruise in the Indian Ocean and a 34 hour total return time on planes and airports.
We lost our greyhound to cancer, but our new dog takes us for three daily walks. So, we’re still above the grass, but as they say “old age is not for sissies”.

I intend to attend at least the Class dinner on Saturday. I don’t know whether my wife will or not – she is finding it increasingly difficult to get around now because of arthritis. We’ll see how it goes in the next couple of weeks. I tried to post a comment on the class webpage, but the photo at the top keeps blocking out the comment box and I’m not computer savvy enough to get around whatever causes that. We are basically well and quite snug in a cottage at a retirement community here in Worcester. We landed here 5 years ago after a round of engineering jobs in the East in New York City, New Jersey, Buffalo, Bangor ME and back to eastern PA, including a trip through the Theological School at Drew University early on followed by a trip the length of the Appalachian Trail. The good Lord has been very kind to me: only minor surgeries, good health, comfortable driving around, walk with some friends 3 or 4 miles a day regularly and enjoying it greatly. I have an advantage, though – I think I’m actually younger than Hank Strage; just turned 85 this past January. I do hope to get to talk with some of you at the reunion.

Joe King
Peggy & I got married the week before our graduation in 1954. Following that I got commissioned in the Corps of Engineers and went shortly thereafter on active duty. If it hadn’t been for ROTC at Worcester, I would have been drafted in late 1950. I was lucky most of my officer class went to Korea as replacements and I was sent to Germany where Peggy & I spent the most wonderful time for over three year. Part of that time I spent as the CO of an engineering construction company. I supervised more construction work in the Army during that time than I would have in ten years as a young engineer in the civilian world. Following my stint in the Army I spent six years working for a major consulting engineering firm as a Project Engineer and Resident Field Engineer on water supply projects – dams, pipelines, pumping stations, reservoirs and treatment facilities. In 1963 I changed my name from Krzywicki to King and we moved to Vermont where I cofounded the consulting engineering firm of DuBois & King which 56 years later is still going strong. We mainly focused on water supply and wastewater projects early on but the firm has since expanded into other engineering areas. In 1980 I sold out my interest in the firm. Then I became an Assistant Professor at Vermont Technical College for five years. Followed by being the manager for a large engineering and surveying firm in New Hampshire. After that I established my own small private consulting engineering firm which my wife and I ran for 12 years. I think that the best part of my life has been outside the working world. In Vermont during the winter my wife & I managed a junior ski racing team and two of my sons were on college ski teams. A lot of our summers were spent on the 11 acre island we owned in a lake in New Hampshire. The best times we had were with the three ocean going sailboats we had starting in the late 1960s. We sailed the coast of Maine summers up into Canada and in the winters the family would spend weeks sailing the Caribbean Islands. I’ve done some open ocean sailing to Bermuda and had some interesting times in storms in a small boat in the North Atlantic and one time in a very big storm on a freighter going to Brazil in he South Atlantic. My wife & I have been very fortunate we’ve travelled a lot and have four solid citizen children and eight grandchildren. We live in the summer in Maine – the last boat has been sold – and the winter in southwest Florida. I don’t know if we will make it to the reunion. Peggy had brain surgery last May, hip replacement surgery last January and is scheduled for knee replacement surgery this coming May.

65 years since graduation – wow! Spent 2 years in active Navy, 2 at Northwestern Business School, 29 with three Fortune 500 companies, 20 running my own mfg. company in upstate NY, and now 12 in retirement. Since marrying Eleanore, my college love, in 1956, we have lived in VA, IL, PA, CT, CO and NY, and now reside in Malvern, PA and winter in Sarasota, FL. Over this period lots of travel to 23 countries and three quarters of the states. In parallel with this, I had 35 challenging years as a Navy Reservist.

Fortunately our health has been good, allowing us to regularly visit our daughters, one in England, and the other in France. And we routinely make trips to Boston to be with our son and two grandsons.

To Howie Whittle a salute and thank you for leading our class reunion! Eleanore and I are looking forward to seeing everyone again in June.

Bebe and I are still living in Warren, Vermont. Skiing (both of us), horseback riding when horse is not lame (Bebe) and cycling with an e-bike now (Howie) and traveling several times each year, sometimes to visit kids, grandkids and now great grandkids. Other times to new places in the US or overseas. I’m keeping busy playing with several websites like this one with guidance from a brilliant daughter. Hope we see many of you at WPI next June.

The following updates were received by email in response to a July 15,2018 letter from Howie Whittle to 44 classmates. Please post your updates yourself in the space provided so that others can reply to your update directly.

Henry Strage / September 11, 2018

  1. Despite what you may hear about Brexit, we are all alive and well or as one of our friends described our condition “Vertical, thriving and solvent”
  2. In addition to actively managing our modest little Global Family Foundation, we both sit on several not-for profit boards, Alberta & I travel a lot, inspect our eleven grandchildren periodically, and I continue to make priceless, irreplaceable and totally profitless contributions to the overflowing cornucopia of literature in the English language. Book six should be out by year end. I even launched one of my books at WPI a few years ago.
  3. We visit WPI at least once per year to help select the winner in an Annual Innovation award competition. I also help out with the UK WPI Alumni chapter. My contact with other classmates (those that are still with us) is alas unfortunately limited.
  4. We shortly will celebrate 60 years of married bliss — we will of course never catch up with David Gilbert. Yes, age is just a number and the good news is that as each year goes by our life expectancy also increases.

All the best — keep in touch. Best regards, Henry and Alberta

Roger Wildt / July 29, 2018
As from this end, age is indeed showing its ugly head. Heart problems in 2011; Charcot Foot problems in 2012 and 2015; loss of most of a foot to infection in 2017. However, other than that now limiting my climbing trees, life goes on – but not quite as before. The second retirement has finally settled in – no more consulting; no more report deadlines; no more conferences; no more contract battles; no more ten-time-zone flights – all replaced with an endless European supply of little rural cottages for rent, exquisite local food, the best of wines and currently reasonably stable governments. We are recently back from our annual month on the French coast (Brittany and Normandy; spring by the sea); now hibernating at home in Belgium during the summer holiday tourist glut; then off to the Jura and Alsace for October (leaf season in the mountains). Both trips end with cases of ciders, wines and Calvados to help us make it through the coming winter. We don’t do tours or cruises; we search for an interesting place and then delve into a learning experience of its culture and food. Opportunities abound. As before – with regrets – we will not be back in Worcester next spring. We’ll follow the notices, look at the photographs, and rhe best to all, Roger.

Harry Mirick / July 26, 2018
Howie and Classmates of 1954: I am still alive, enjoying quiet retirement (no more GOP Local activity!). Five married grand daughters, two great grand children on the way in December. Regrettably, Jean Erickson Mirick, wife of 63 years, passed away in January, after surviving a stroke for 6+ years. Thanks for the info on the 65th next June. If all goes well I’m going to try & make it. We spend our winters in Florida and summers here in Maine. Like a lot of older people we’ve been having some medical issues lately, but all is OK now.

Joe King / July 26, 2018
Raise a toast to all of us who have made it this far. Keep me posted. All the best, Joe.

Earlier updates

The following updates were received by email when Howie Whittle asked “Are you still with us?” on July 25, 2015.

Paul London / July 25, 2015
Here, and still going strong. There are 60 of us left; I think that says something good.

Henry Strage
Even as the youngest in the class (I think and hope) to celebrate my 82 birthday in a few months. Yes we all have aches and pains but all the arms and legs are still moving and the ticker (with a little help from a defibrillator) is chucking along trying to keep up. 7/27 added: And BTW I have reluctantly hung up my skis.

Adrian Horovitz
Still hanging in there.

Jerry Kilburne
Still kicking at 84, nowhere as high, however.

Joe King
I’m still here. My wife Peggy & I are here in Brunswick, Maine at our summer home from mid May to mid October. The rest of the year we are in Bonita Springs, Florida.

Harry Mirick
Still alive; just. Had a fainting spell on Easter Sunday; spent three days in the hospital-that with a pace maker has been my 2015 year so far! Tough to grow old, I am told….?????  83 and counting (like all of us). Sorry about Scott getting to heaven before me, ha!

Dick Popp
We are doing quite well for the age! Still in our same house and enjoying the life. Walking without any help! And still driving a car! Our one son, however, had a stroke, and it ended up he had that horrible glioma brain cancer (like Biden’s son). He is now involved in a research program with many hospitals to find something to solve this situation to help others. Let us pray that works. Hope you all are doing well as can be expected!?  Please say hello to everyone and we wish them the best from us.

Neil Gleberman
I am happy to report that I am doing very well for my age. My wife  Donna and I try to take two or three trips abroad each year. We manage to play golf several  times a week. We also fine time to volunteer in our community. We are fortunate to have nine grand children. The oldest is going  to Cornell this fall.

Ed Shivell / July 25, 2015
Many thanks.  Hopefully you will receive 60 “alive and well” replies! I recently had a long tel-con with Dick Byrnes, he had a stroke some time ago but appears to be managing with the resulting limitations. Ditto Don Ross.

Paul Alasso
I am still here and in good condition. Hope all is well with you and Bebe. Will give you a call one of these days. Am about to leave for a few days in NH.

Charlie Simonich
Thanks for the update. I’m still kicking and curious to know if some of my classmates are still around. Namely, Don McNamara, Nob Niro, Dave Bisson & Andy Morgo.

Al Johnson
Yup, I’m still alive and kicking. Spending the winters in Palm City, FL and the summers in Sturbridge, MA.  Enjoying the grandchildren (4) and still playing golf poorly. Hope you are well.  Would like to hear how some of the other members of our class are doing.

Walt Dziura
Sorry to hear about Richard Scott passing. Unfortunately the list keeps getting longer. Hang in there!

King Webster
“A little worse for wear” is an apt way to put it, but, yes, still functioning.

Bill Schoeneman
Still with the program. It would be great to get a list of survivors.

Roger Wildt
Reporting: – Still alive. Healthy enough to live for at least a little longer. Enjoying life more and more. Photographic proof attached. Sorry to hear about another passing; the ranks are beginning to thin. 7/29 added: Sorry – no more good news from this end – given that I am quite far away from the other end.  My current ties to much of anything in the US are pretty thin other than politics, declining infrastructure (my construction background) and the exchange rate. This week I received an invitation to a 09 October WPI Zurich Project Center Reception. The program is scheduled for 1800-1845 with a reception at either end. We are within a day’s drive from Zurich and intend to be much closer in the southern Alsace shortly thereafter, but not to Zurich for a 45-minute session. Beautiful city that it is.

Ed Power / July 27, 2015
Still here! My thanks to you and Ed Shivell for all you do for our Class.

Mel Holmgren
Just received your current WPI ’54 dlist. Interesting to note those who have recently passed away from among our class – several of my close friends from my years at WPI.  Richard Scott, your latest addition to the list, lived just a half-block away from me, on the shores of Lake Quinsigamond, in Worcester. I’m indeed still living, at 84,”independently”, and alone, since my life’s partner of 58 years passed away in 2013.  We were blessed with 7 children, which continue daily to fill my life with interest and joy. We have lived in Alaska for 51 years, in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and currently Sitka, for 38 years. My working years were spent primarily as an Electronics Engr. for radio communication systems.

Jaak Jurison
It was sad to see so many classmates on the list. I am still kicking, looking down at grass from the right side and writing my memoir.

Walt Reibling
Yes, I am still here but not as active as I used to be.

Dave Gilbert
Fran and I are still around.  This year (2015) we both turned 83 (me in Feb. ; Fran this Sat. Aug 1.)  What we are finding is that, in what I call the “aging process,” nothing gets easier.  Even the simple things, like putting on your socks and getting “in and out” of the car are harder to do.  Fortunately our health is pretty good and we still “get around.”  We got over to Scotland for a week last month and had a nice time, but there again, that experience, including the 7 hour flight there and back, has us wondering when we will feel energetic enough to try a trip like that again.

Doug MacLaren
Howie – like they say, I’m still on the right side of the grass.

Harry Chapell / July 28, 2015
Parkinson’s disease is slowing me down. Children help. Son is adding suite for us at their home in Foxboro.

Richard Ferrero
Alive and well. Slowed down a bit. Mailing address is Richard Ferrero 3 Ottada Way Pepperell MA 01463.

Bob Pickford
Sorry for being late in contacting you.  I had a major stroke at Christmas and am still in recovery mode moving around with a cane.  They took me off Coumidin to change my battery in the defibrillator and that resulted in a clot.  At any rate, you can add me to your living list.

Milt Meckler
Your e-mail prompted me to forward an updated WPI ALUMNI NOTE to prove I was still alive and kicking at this point in time. Please stay in touch. Our growing 1954 classmate losses is not good news – “c’est la vie”.

David Nickerson / August 13, 2015 @ 1:04
Yes I am still among the living, at the same address 109 High Pine Circle, Wilbraham, MA 01095. Still work but only a few hours per week. I hope Ed is still enjoying Florida. Best Regards, Dave Nickerson, Remaining Sig Ep along with Bob P. and Harry M.

Howie Whittle / August 14, 2015 @ 1:16 pm
I guess if if I’m going to ask all of you to provide updates I’d better do the same. Bebe and I are still skiing here at Sugarbush and a week or two at Vail each winter. Bebe’s maintaining 3 horses and riding one of them daily while I bicycle with buddies 2 or 3 times a week. We’re both afraid to stop moving! Come see us if you’re in the vicinity at 141 Old Farm Lane, Warren, Vt. Now let’s hear some more from the rest of you.

William Schoenemann / August 20, 2015 @ 11:42
True bionic man – a tribute to medical science. In Masonic independent living facility in Union City, CA. Still traveling and enjoying life with wife Bonnie and three daughters in the Bay area.

Frank Rybak / August 29, 2015 @ 10:00 am
Pat and I are still kicking down here in Maryland by the Chesapeake. Had to give up 37 years of sailing/cruising because of physical problems, but are thoroughly enjoying life. I’m still working as a consultant at nearby tech houses doing mostly instrumentation design. Can’t give it up cause I love the challenges and rewards. Family all live in the local area so that makes life a pleasure. Nice to see 3 grand daughters working on post-graduate degrees even if they aren’t in techie stuff. Hope they can find jobs when they complete their educations. Our best to all you survivors, stay happy and keep pushing……life is good.

Andy Morgo / August 31, 2015 @ 2:56 pm
Andy Morgo – I’m still around and doing quite well. No issues. Moved to the Las vegas area three years ago to be close to family. Lived in Atlanta for 35 years, before that lived all over the country, due to company transfers.. Ct., Mass., Calif., Arizona, Mass. again and then Georgia. Worked for Honeywell for 32 years.Family consists of wife,56 years married, 3 kids, 4 grand kids and four great grand kids. Life has been good.

Frank Rybak / April 14, 2017 @ 10:53 am
Hey Guys, Pat and I are still moving around in our 80s and doing pretty well. We sold our O’Day 35 sailboat a year or so ago and miss the old Chesapeake a lot. I am still consulting a few days a week an am designing analog stuff for laser monitoring. Guess that’s my hobby now. Best to you all.