Class of 1965, News Winter 2016

Heather Hinman Raum writes from Lake Gaston, VA, that she recently took a 17-day grand European tour with Viking. During the entire trip, she wished that Dr. Davidson could have been along. Heather enjoys being a part of the FABS group (The Flying Aqua Babes), a group of about 75 members who ride jet skis all over a 34-mile long lake. She also continues to paint (water colors and acrylics) and sometimes sells her efforts. Heather and her husband Richard, whom she met during her senior year at Coker at the train station in Florence, SC, will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on December 24. Congratulations Heather and Richard. Their five grandchildren range in age from 3 to 18.

It was also great to hear from Carol Metz Peecksen who lives in Mt. Pleasant, SC.  At Coker, Carol loved English, math, and music, but had to choose one as a career, so she thoroughly enjoyed teaching most of her adult life. During retirement she has covered the other two on a volunteer basis: Carol serves as the treasurer and as-needed pianist/organist for her church and as accompanist for the chorus at The Franke Home. She also volunteers for ECCO which does everything needed for folks who need a hand, from food and clothes to medical and dental care and job and budget counseling. Carol and John have two sons, John and Scott, whose families live in Savannah, GA, and Denton, TX.  John’s family includes their three granddaughters and Scott’s family includes their grandson. They visit regularly and Carol reports that when they went to Denton recently, they saw Sharon Williams Elton who recently had a stroke and has been hospitalized.  Sharon and her daughter live at 4328 Segura Court South, Fort Worth, Texas 76132.  Let’s all send Sharon healing thoughts.  Nereide Ellis and Peggy Boatwright Peck spent some time at a South Carolina beach and had fun catching up with Carol Peecksen.

Judy Johnson Walker and husband John enjoy spending time at Lake Keowee near Clemson and occasional visits to the SC coast, which was really devastated by Hurricane Matthew. They have done some major renovations to their home in Hartsville, although Judy says she had to do lots of convincing because, like most husbands, John does not have a keen interest in the word “updating.” Judy says Coker and Hartsville are very different, and we would all love it.

Sally Schrader Irving reports that she still works as a realtor with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in the Tampa Bay area to keep her brain and body moving. Their seven grandchildren are in high school or college. Sally writes that when Pat Hanahan Engman died, she lost her friend and travel companion to our college get togethers. If anyone ever travels towards Clearwater, Sally asks that you please reach out to her.

Mary Sikes wrote that she and her husband Jon recently returned from what’s become their annual trip to the UK. “Jon has a daughter who lives in Ticknall – a lovely English village close to Nottingham – and the last few years we’ve stayed in her house while she vacations in France for a month. Then we “house sit” for a friend who vacations in Ireland for a month! Our “side trip” this year was two weeks in Spain and Portugal – including Gibraltar and a day trip to Morocco. We had a lovely time with Jon’s friends and family, including a reunion with RAF friends, then returned to NC for my 55th high school reunion. Now we’re making plans for the sailboat which is “on the hard” in Florida. We’re staying busy.”

Liles Richardson Nickerson writes that she is almost retired, but lucky enough to keep several small jobs. Her lifetime dream of interior design has taken her back and forth to Taipei, Taiwan, Vancouver, Vancouver, Boulder, Baldhead Island, Charlottesville, and Sandersville, GA. Now she is slowing down to enjoy her granddaughter, “Luli,” (Lucy Liles), whom she waited 42 years for. Luli spent lots of time with Liles and Michael at their cottage in Maine this summer, way off the grid with dirt roads, fresh air, water on three sides, no electricity, and zillions of stars in the black dark sky at night. Luli is the 7th generation Nickerson in the cottage.

Hoot Ramsey Synder writes: “I was married for almost 20 years to a good man who gave me two beautiful children. My son has just turned 45 and is the founder of a music school here in Hood River where we live. It was his life’s dream since using wooden spoons at age five to drum on my Revereware in the kitchen floor, out in the street, anywhere he could bring a smile to some faces as he poured his soul in his music. The school has after school programs and also develops bands that are given the opportunity to “open” for larger shows in the area. The kids are just amazing and the parents love it also. My daughter, Jennifer, is 47 years old and lives in beautiful Bucks County, PA. She dedicates most of her time to activities in the community, her church, and her daughter’s school. A braver girl than I am, she has a 28-year-old son and a 10 year-old daughter who keep her very busy. My first job out of Coker was as an airline stewardess with Pan Am. Home body that I am, I never quite adjusted to living out of a suitcase, though I did enjoy traveling to some beautiful places and meeting many good people. Alas, I was in love and also anxious to get on with being married and having a family of my own. I retired from Piedmont Airlines as a District Sales Manager in 2000 and returned to my mountains, where I worked for a few more years in the travel industry and then started a small real estate company. In 2003, I lost both of my parents and had a significant health crisis that took away my ability to function on my own for quite some time. I relocated to Oregon to be near my son and his wife. They, along with their two beautiful children, have nursed me through the valley and back to the peak of my life. I enjoy good friends, beautiful scenery and family gatherings here. I have wanted to make a trip back east for years, but health and other issues have prevented my being able to do so. With a little luck, I will be getting back in spring of this year. Crews, Pugh, and Sally are helping me coordinate the trip. 

Sending my love and best wishes to all. My husband Byron and I have lived in Clemson, SC, for 45 years where he was the team physician for over three decades, retiring in 2005. I taught various music courses at Clemson from 1972-1996, then became director of the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts. I had the biggest surprise of my life in 2012 when the stage was named for me. In 1986, Byron and I began a chamber music series at the university in memory of my parents, which offers free concerts to the public. For the past 30 years, people have given gifts from $1 to a bequest of $211,000, and last year we reached my dream goal of $1M. I am finally retiring in June and hope to write a book about my adventures with artists, etc. Byron has had several health issues over the last two years, and once we sell our house, we plan to downsize and build in a multi-generational community not far from where we live now. I hope to finally get back to playing the piano again. Our three grandchildren live within an hour from us and we are constantly going to guitar recitals, baseball, basketball, and soccer games. Byron and I plan to spend much more time at our cottage at Edisto once I retire. I have LOVED reconnecting with you.