Dear Classmates, While we did have our 55th reunion on March 24th and 25th, there were fewer who could attend this time. Those of us who were able to come had a wonderful and interesting time. We missed all of you who could not join us. Some had other plans, some others were not feeling well enough to come or had responsibilities at home and were unable to leave or felt the trip would be too hard. Our reunion would never have been successful without the above and beyond help by Dee Pierce, Manager of Coker’s Resource Development in the office of Institutional Advancement and was formerly the most wonderful helper for us in the Alumni Department. Again Molly Holbrook Thomas Birchler was so helpful. She knows how to make decisions and is so well organized, neither of which is my strong suit. Again Peggy Zeigler Reeves was good enough to handle and keep track of our finances and so much more. Please be sure to read below about sad news about and Linda Oliver Huggins and Cathy Ward Parker.
Coker University is expanding and looks wonderful with camellias, azaleas and more blooming. With a few relatives and several staff/teachers kindly joining us, our Friday night dinner was very nice and we talked and laughed as we always have. Saturday morning we met again at Drengaelen House for coffee and snacks and Dr. Wyatt was kind enough to join us. He gave us very interesting information about Coker today and tomorrow. Most of the students receive at least partial scholarship aid, thanks in part to our annual donations to Coker. As we toured parts of the campus we discovered that there is a new way to relax that is very popular there – and I wish we had had these when we attended a few years ago and I’ve always wanted something like this to use! ENO hammocks (from Eagles Nest Outfitters) can hang on porches, in rooms and around the campus, where hooks to hang them can be easily found. So students can use their laptops, smart phones and read and write wherever and whenever they want peace and quiet. The dining hall has been very nicely renovated and is cheerfully bright and light. A room off to the side is more like a cafeteria where students are served or help themselves from a variety of options for hot and cold meals and drinks before heading for tables where they can join friends.
Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review, and by Washington Monthly as No. 5 for value among colleges in the Southeast region. Coker also received a 10-year accreditation with no follow-up required from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
And now for the news I have collected from/about our classmates who are listed in alphabetical order by the last names we used as Coker students:
Linda Abbott Johnson had other plans when we had our reunion according to Florence Staklinski Taylor who enjoyed having a long talk with her.
Sara Anderson Kummer had surgery recently and was not allowed to drive in time for our reunion.
Mary Bell Kittle nearly came to the reunion but it is a difficult trip to make from San Antonio. A brother-in-law died a few weeks earlier and she needed to go to Charleston for his funeral. Her husband, Joe, had successful hip replacement surgery and that had been time-consuming. It also meant that they could not drive to Hartsville. But Mary sounds well and all seems well with their sons. Mary and Joe are looking forward to heading soon for their summer (and fall) house in Orkney Springs, VA.
Sherrie Berry Wolski has been busy as usual. Recently she has been cutting down trees by herself. Some of their trees have grown too big. One of Pat’s nieces has taken over the job of managing and hosting the big Wolski annual family reunion and Sherrie’s family had a wonderful time at this year’s.
Gayle Brandt Faust sounds well. She and her family recently went to Shealey’s Bar-B-Que in Betesburg-Leesville and enjoyed the wonderful excursion. She still loves to read and enjoys playing bridge twice a month. Gayle has found out that Henrietta Ramsey van Arsdale is now living with a son and his family in Lexington. Poor Henri lost her house, furniture, decorations and beautiful gardens to the dreadful floods in Columbia last year.
Peggy Brown Buchanan nearly came to our reunion, but she was having balance and walking problems and felt the trip would be too difficult. Thank goodness she has had some medical attention so she can now drive around Charleston and take care of her grand-twins when needed.
Rosalind Carrigan Hearon took the reins to come to our reunion. She arranged to pick Ida Pace Storrs and did all the driving and handled the motel arrangements. Roz’ son and daughter are living with her and she seems to have been able to get a good handle on so many of the jobs her husband used to do before he died in December, 2013.
Carole Causey Boyles was able to attend our reunion and looks very well, but we missed seeing her sister this time. After Coker Carole received an MBA from a teaching college in Charlotte. Nearly two years ago her husband Richard died. Last fall Carole sold their house in Marietta, GA and has moved with her dog into a new house in Powder Springs, in an over 55 community not far from her old house. Both sons are well. Carole keeps in touch with her older son’s daughter who works and lives in London and loves travelling in Europe every chance she gets. Carole enjoys using her grandfather’s house on a river in Bluffton, SC to relax.
JoAnn Clayton Leist kindly wrote that she received a newer listing of the Coker Class of 1962 the week of October 8th and enjoyed checking out the locations of friends who she remembers vividly from long ago. She wishes that she could attend the 55th Reunion even though she only attended Coker for the first two years. However, you may recall that her husband Bill had a stroke in 2004 that made them decide to move to a retirement community in 2005. He had another serious stroke in December 2014, followed by a severe brain bleed in February 2015. He worked extremely hard with therapists of every kind for many months and has made a miraculous recovery. Jo Ann chooses to keep close to home now. They both are very active physically, which helps to keep spirits up, though JoAnn does miss trips to visit family and friends. She sends greetings to all who might remember her. Jo Ann’s new email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. And she mentioned: P.S. I’ll have to call Charlotte Cothran Taylor Hough soon, as I see that she lives in High Point, NC. Our mailing address is Colfax, but our retirement community is actually within the city limits of High Point!!
Charlotte Cothran Taylor Hough looked so well at our reunion. She has two daughters and three grandchildren. Her younger daughter, Debbie, lives in Texas and has a son, Matthew. Her older daughter, Renee. lives in North Carolina and has two daughters, Callie, who attends the UNCW and Lindsey who is still in High School.
Brenda Cromer Miller has sold her house in Winnsboro and was looking for a place to live in Pawley’s Island. The closing for her house and the search for a new home happened just at the wrong time for our reunion. But early in October 2016, Brenda wrote that she had made a motel reservation for March 24th. Her daughter and her husband evacuated Pawley’s Island in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. They were anxiously watching the storm’s progress. In the meantime we are having a wonderful visit!
Louise DuBose Webber has unfortunately lost her husband, David Charlton Webber, on March 14th after an extended illness. They have had two sons and four grandchildren. Louise’s address is at 512 Jackson Street, Kingstree, SC 29556.
Linda Eddins Richardson lives on 85 acres in Cheraw, near Highway 9 is about 3 miles from the NC line. She has several dogs, a horse and cows. She enjoys volunteering with the fire department and a soup kitchen and is busy with her church. It was a treat to catch up.
Carol Elting Richardson and her dear friends, Charlotte Cothran Taylor and Betty Saunders Brooking shared a bedroom in the motel and they had a wonderful time again. I’ll never forget their giggling and laughing. Carol has mentioned that she and Charlotte each left an item or two in the motel closet (typical for some of us at our grand old ages) and Betty’s husband, Hurley, was kind enough to go to pick them up and now Carol and Charlotte have an excuse to visit Betty. Charlotte’s daughter, Georgia, is still living in Las Vegas and has her own costume design firm. They hope to get together sometime this summer. Carol’s son lives with her, which makes her feel secure, and their house is not far from his job. She and Charlotte are considering going on another cruise. When we spoke Carol has a giant Santa she is making and currently is perched on her dining room table.
Judy Griggs joined us at the reunion on Saturday and looked beautiful. She enjoyed attending a niece’s wedding in January and parishioners are very happy with the new minister at her church.
Molly Holbrook Thomas Birchler was such a huge help with our reunion. She sent me a copy of an article she wrote which was published in November for a “Spotlight On Women” column for the Stanly News and Press in Albemarle, NC, where she grew up. Her article is called “The Albemarle Girls – A love story over many decades”. She so enjoys getting together with friends from long ago and this wonderful article is reminiscing about life as it was in their small town when they were young, beginning with trips in strollers to shop for food or starch with playmates in other strollers driven by their mothers’ “help”. Then there were telephones with operators connecting calls, birthday parties, school teachers, Monopoly, “boyfriends”, leaving for college or whatever and getting married and having children of their own or not. Today 15 of these childhood friends try to meet for lunch once a month. Molly and Al are hoping to go to Toledo to visit children and grandchildren.
Anita Jones Stanton is recovering well from hip replacement surgery on March 17th. When checking up with her she was planning to join friends for lunch and mentioned that she wishes all of us were on Facebook.
Karen Ann Mansfield has moved to Omaha, NE after retiring and living near Chicago. Karen apparently continues to enjoy travelling. Anita Jones Stanton has discovered this using Facebook. If any of you have contact information for Karen, please let me know.
Peggy McCue Freymuth brought her daughter Anne and granddaughter Harleigh for our reunion. En route to Hartsville the three stopped in Camden to borrow Gail Arnette Sinclair to have lunch as Gail was not able to make it to our reunion. Peggy’s new haircut is stunning. Harleigh still loves singing, has a driver’s license and is nearly ready to choose a college. Anne and her husband have enjoyed travelling to enjoyable places from time to time. Anne’s son, Tanner, loves acting in plays and is growing up. Several times a year Peggy joins a cousin for long lunches and trips to Sam’s Club.
Lee McCown Huey joined us for our reunion and looks so cheerful and well. In an email this morning she asks “who would have imagined, in 1962, that we would be back 55 years later?” She thinks Hartsville and the campus look better than ever before. She helped with our dinner centerpieces. Sister, Ginny McCown Fleming ’66, and Lee plan to spend a week this summer at the Aspen Music Festival. This will be a first for them, and they look forward to the time together, the music, and the scenery. Lee’s mother-in-law, a vigorous 99 year old, is a competitive bowler. Lee and her daughter plan to visit her in her home in Delaware for a week. Lee spent her 75th birthday in Charleston with her children. They ate at several of the great restaurants and enjoyed walking, talking, and looking. Lee is taking a geology class, a French conversation class and an exercise class and enjoys them all, but says she doesn’t excel at any. The reunion brought back so many happy memories.
Paula Moran was not able to make it for our reunion. After retiring from Publix she has been busy with having her roof replaced and her contractors seem to have done a good job. There has been some rain and nothing leaked.
Linda Oliver Huggins died on September 11, 2016, after a battle with pernicious anemia according to Anita Jones Stanton. Anita called a cousin who lives in Lumberton to ask how she survived the hurricane last fall and asked about Linda. It turns out that her cousin and Linda lived a block away from each other and their children were friends, as well as the fact that they were members of the same garden club. Linda was pre-deceased by her husband, John Charles Huggins. They had two sons and a daughter who was named for our Harriet King Van Norte. Linda also had four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. When I emailed this information to our classmates who have emails, many responded with so much affection for Linda.
Ida Pace Storrs had a very good time at the reunion. She and Roz drove to and from Columbia and were roommates at the motel.
Valerie Powell White sounded happy when we spoke, but in the end she felt the trip from Missouri would take too long to join us for this reunion. She has been gardening and exercising. A neighbor’s dog needs to walk and Val takes this “buddy” for an hour’s walk every day.
Henrietta Ramsey van Arsdall is now living with a son and his family in Lexington, SC. Poor Henri lost her house, furniture, decorations and beautiful gardens to the dreadful floods in Columbia in the fall of 2015. Her address at this point is 148 Hunters Ridge Drive, Lexington, SC 29072.
Nancy Rogers Watkins was unable to make it to our reunion as she was slated to do a site visit to a South Carolina organization in May and could not see her way clear to flying down twice this spring. But she shares that she and Law have an apartment in Georgetown for use when they need/want to be in the city, which is often, as they have many friends there. It has its own private garden and is all on one floor, which will be very useful if one of them has mobility problems in the future. They are trying to think ahead to “old age,” which one always assume is somewhere in the future, but…in any case, the farm is isolated and about 30 minutes to a hospital and 1 hour to their doctors. The apartment is practically right next door to both. They can walk to hundreds of restaurants, the cinema, the Kennedy Center, etc. So, they are excited, but the move took up much of our holiday time, since Nancy also had to sell her previous apartment. They are greatly looking forward to using it; in fact, Nancy was driving in on March 1st to have dinners and lunches with women friends for the next three days. Other than that, only two items: 1) love having our little grandson, Tino, living on the farm with his parents, who have established Soleado, a lavender farm. All are doing well. 2) Nancy’s daughter, Ellen, a bio-informaticist, is being flown over to Dubai by the Dubai government to work with scientists and entrepreneurs in that country and to teach them about her work and that of her small nano-lab. Fortunately, Nancy has two close friends there, one in Abu Dhabi, one of whom she met in grad school and the other in Dubai, a fabulous young colleague from work and who is working with the Gates Foundation in the Middle East. Finally, sometimes she feels as though she has a new job, because of work on MD Humanities, where she is on the executive committee of the board, the strategic planning committee, and the grants committee. Feels like old times! Nancy recently had a very tempting and exciting job offer, but turned it down in order to continue leading this wonderful life of relaxation and freedom in the country and the city — the best of both worlds!
Betty Saunders Brooking looked beautiful and happy at our reunion. She, Carol Elting Richardson and Charlotte Cothran Taylor had such a good time sharing a room and talking a mile a minute everywhere they went. Were we ever lucky to have made such good friends so many years ago? Betty and her husband live in Florence and have moved into a smaller house than the one they lived in earlier, so life is easier to manage.
Frances Segars Kelley and I finally caught up. Unfortunately she was missed at our reunion because of the SC Quilters’ conference in Aiken and she needed to be there the same weekend as our reunion. Her older granddaughter is in her second year at a four-year nursing school. Her younger granddaughter is a junior in high school and hopes to attend Clemson. A niece is in Philadelphia studying art history and hopes to work in art museums. Frances is active in the DAR and belongs to two quilting groups. She has enjoyed the Monarch butterflies attracted by her milkweed and a friend has shared another plant that attracts other butterflies. She loves Kalmia Gardens.
Florence Staklinski Taylor did make it to our reunion and contacted Linda Abbott Johnson to try to talk her into joining us. They had a wonderful long talk, but Linda had other plans for our weekend. Flo also tried to twist Eleanor Sharpton Pitts’ arm to come, but unfortunately, Louise Dubose Webber’s husband died the week before our reunion. At any rate, Flo looks wonderful and is still working at the Atlanta merchandise fairs and enjoying the church activities in which she and Bill participate.
Nancy Thornhill Bolden seems happy and well and when we toured the campus on Saturday she was able to explain a lot of the changes on our campus because she had taught dance every day for so many years. She took and shared quite a few nice photographs of our classmates. She is still living a double life, most weekdays at her house in Hartsville and weekends in York near her daughter and grandson, Luke. She is still busy and active.
Cathy Ward Parker and her husband, Jim, had a dreadful fire in their home in Nova Scotia. Jim was killed and Cathy was taken to the ICU in a special hospital where her burns could be taken care of. When I hear more I shall let you know.
Linda Whittle McCormick was unpacking her car when I called. She and Bill had just returned from a nice month-long trip to Florida. She sounds well.
Bruce Williams and his wife, Mary Frances Zachary Williams ’64, recently took a 21 day Caribbean cruise but had a few medical appointments at MUSC to which they needed to drive for a distance and were thus unable to join us for the reunion. Bruce mentioned that they would miss seeing our classmates this time and was delighted to hear that Fred Williams was planning to come.
Fred Williams actually joined us for our 55th reunion. This was very special as he, his wife Carolyn and her mother live in North Augusta, SC. and I had not kept up with his contact information. After graduating from Coker he received a Masters Degree in Education at Western Carolina University. Before retiring he was a teacher and administrator in the Aiken County School District. Fred was a very good sport seeming to enjoy our reunion in spite of being our only male classmate attending. A niece of his wife lives in New York City and heads a wonderful charter school. I hope one day to meet her and that Fred and Carolyn will come for a visit to NYC.
Linda Williams Stanton unfortunately missed our reunion this time as she mixed up the dates. We missed her!
Peggy Ziegler Reeves looks wonderful and was such a big help by agreeing again to take care of our reunion related expenses. She and Donnie work on their house and yard and sometimes take short trips for a change of scene, although she misses visiting her brother who died last year.
Gaby Morandiere loved every minute of our reunion and being together again. I have decided that I need to do spend less time with my volunteer projects because of old age and less ability to focus on everything properly. Will you please help by contacting some of our classmates and sharing their news so we all can keep up with any news and changes of contact information? Many of you have been wonderful about letting me/us know about important changes in our classmates’ lives and that makes such a huge difference. Also, Coker would like to know our birthdates – so if you are willing to share that, you may get that information to me and I shall pass it along to the alumni office. I love to have you come for visits to New York City. And last, but not least, Coker needs any financial support we are able to give. Thank you for being you and I hope the rest of spring and this summer will be happy and healthy.
Please remember to keep me posted with your news and that of our Coker friends.
I thank so many of you for sharing important information that keeps us informed and up to date.
For a nice surprise I am hoping you will enjoy a nice old photograph sent by Sherrie Berry Wolski – What fun it was to receive this earlier this week.
Do you remember who was on this float?