2015 Class Notes

Posted December 15, 2015


Elizabeth C. Ridout died 11/11/15. She was described as “an independent spirit and a world traveler with a life-long passion for the arts of Asia.” Though born in the Philippines where her father was stationed, she lived most of her childhood in Wisconsin. Elizabeth worked at the World Bank and moved to Washington DC in the early ’60s. A history major at MHC, she also studied art history and Eng.Lit. Her keen interest in Asian Art, particularly of China and Japan, led to extensive travel and collecting ceramics, textiles and Japanese combs. Elizabeth was an active member of the Friends of the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. A celebration of her life was held Dec. 8th at the Freer Gallery of Art.



Besides visiting daughters and their families in Berkeley, CA, Pittsburgh, PA and Nelson, NH, Anne Ensworth Whitney and Jerry hosted a celebration of life memorial for Jerry’s sister, Martha with 75 Whitneys. They also celebrated their 55th anniversary with a trip to WA, a Class of 1958 weekend “with 4 of us and endless frivolity” and, once again included their MHC students from China and Viet Nam for Thanksgiving.



has lived on Cape Cod for 15 yrs. She retired from General Dynamics as a manager in the classified program management area working on the refurb of nuclear submarines. “I have been a volunteer at Cape Wildlife Center, a division of the Humane Society and Fund for Animals for six years. “

Posted November 20, 2015


just returned from MHC and the BAC.  “Amazing the difference between the Black or African American enrollment in decades after Glo-Jo and me. 🙂  I was a panelist and honoree along with other past and current members of the Board of Trustees of the College. Mount Holyoke has always been good to, and for, me. Special Honoree was Mary Williamson McHenry ’54 who was an English Professor for over 20 years, graduating before us and returning after we left with her postgraduate degrees. 
Saw our “replacement” class faculty honoree Curtis Smith, now 91, and his wife Dana Whyte ’60.  She could see he wasn’t doing well after his wife Elaine passed.  His recommended remedy: marry a retired physician.  Was able to share a brief visit in Amherst with classmates Felicia Barber and Elizabeth (Jane) Nilan Davis and former Executive Director of the Alumnae Association Sally Lemaire ’68.”


Posted October 17, 2015
and her husband, Charles, just released Grand Opera: The Story of the Met from Gilded Age to New Media which traces the offstage/onstage workings of this amid NY institution. In their new history of the company, the first in thirty years, each of the chronologically sequenced chapters surveys a composer or a slice of the repertoire and brings to life dominant personalities and memorable performances of the time. Spanning the decades between the Gilded Age and the age of new media, this story of the Met concludes by tipping its hat to the hugely successful “Live in HD” simulcasts and raising the issues that confront the company today. Charles Affron, Professor Emeritus of French Literature at New York University, and Mirella Jona Affron, Professor Emerita of Cinema Studies at The College of Staten Island/CUNY, are coauthors of Best Years: Going to the Movies, 1945–1946 and Sets in Motion: Art Direction and Film Narrative. Together with Robert Lyons, the authors are series editors of Rutgers Films in Print and Rutgers Depth of Field.
 writes of 9 grandchn. and 4 chn. all over the US. Tom has successfully outlived his cancer threat from multiple myeloma but faces challenges each new day. He recently underwent a hip replacement , throwing Arlene into a new role as nursemaid and cook. “Too soon to tell whether our travel days are over, but we will go to St. Croix for one week in December”(2015). Arlene’s favorite activity is singing in their Masterworks Chorale, where she recently retired her role Dir. Of Fund Development. She keeps up with yoga and body sculpt at the local YWCA.”Winters in upstate New York are difficult to say the least, so we will plan on at least two months in a warmer climate this year.  Does anyone have a better suggestion than Florida? Love to hear your suggestions!”


passed away in Oregon 8/10/15 . She received a B.A. In music from MHC, worked at Jantzen Mills, and met Stan while skiing on Mt. Hood. They were married in 1959. They operated Ski Bluewood in the Blue Mountains and she was its vice president for 26 yrears.  Nancy played duplicate bridge and enjoyed public service. She gave time to the Portland Junior League, Northwest Outward Bound, Oregon Episcopal School Board, the Trails Club for Oregon and the Multnomah Athletic Club. Nancy’s “distinctive signature” was her long hair, braided with 3-4 ribbons daily. Her MHC roommate, Jane Stokes Ingram, writes that she will “ . . miss those twinkling brown eyes and big warm smile.” Nancy is survived by her husband, Stan; son, Bruce and his 2 sons; daughter, Karin and son-in-law, David ad their daughter Leah.
writes that her book of poetry, “Barefoot Walking” was recently published by Finishing Line Press. and that she’s just finished a (humorous) memoir “which is now in my Editor’s hands and now…I’m working on a mystery I started in 1996! Hopefully, continuous writing will prevent me from getting “Laird’s Heimers”.. not Al’s.”
moved to a suburb of Toledo, OH to be closer to her son and his family. “I like it here and the people are very nice but I will never be a real mid-westerner.”  has been a docent at the Toledo Museum of Art for 13 yrs and recently finished writing a book about the history of the docents here. “We are one of the longest standing docent corps in the country. This is third book I have written – all are quite different.
 died 8/22/15 after a short illness with a rare lymphoma. After receiving her B. A. in Math as a member of Ph Beta Kappa, she received her M.A, in Math from Yale in 1960. Marie married Thomas Jenkins in 1961. They have 2 daughters and 2 grandchn. Marie taught math at Oakland Univ. in Mich. and the U of Louisville. She was active in the Girl Scouts and in 1987 co-founded a chapter of PFLAG in Louisville on behalf of LGBT people. Over the yrs. Marie was a Class Agent and Reunion Gift Caller for our class. Marie loved to read, talk ca. books, walk in the woods, cook delicious meals and be with her family . “She cared deeply about the world and advocated for social justice . . .” BONNIE MACHSON COHEN  was a math major with Marie and describes her as “brilliant and a quiet, thoughtful friend who was totally dedicated to her studies.”
EPPY PHEAR McMILLAN and EMMY BOYCE  gathered at ANNE ENSWORTH WHITNEY’s in May, Lynne brought teachers books for Emmy . Lynne teaches English Language Learners (ELL) in Acton, MA. and had accumulated extra books and workbooks. Emmy’s son John, teaches at Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary in Kiev, Ukraine. Her daughter-in-law, Stella, was asked to teach English there to 30 Russian-speaking theology students. There was no curriculum and there were no books, which added to the challenge. Stella was able to get 1 book on teaching theological English from Amazon, but Lynne saw the need for the ELL books which she was not using. The books will be shipped to Kiev for use in the fall of 2015. As Lynne said ‘ The people who gave her the books would be surprised and pleased to know they have found a life so far away.’

Sad news from Ruth whose husband, Neil, passed away in July.  “I am  eternally grateful that, two years ago, we moved close to our kids who have gone above  and beyond anything I could ever have hoped for .”
Your scribe and her husband, Norm, after 45 yrs. In the same house in Englewood, NJ, managed to purge, pack and move to a wonderful apt. right in the heart of their same hometown!! I don’t have to tell many of you what an experience that is, but we were helped by staying local and currently enjoying good health and energy! Our daughter and her family, living in Israel, are thriving. The triplets graduated H.S., 2 are in the army and 1 is doing a “service” year before entering the army. Younger brother is in 11th grade. Son, David, and family live in Pleasantville, NY, and Ben is in 7th grade. Son, Dan, leads a wonderful life in Brookline, MA with his wife, 10th gr. daughter and 7th gr. son. We feel very blessed ..
and Pete spent another spring in NYC and once again spent quality time with roommates LINDA TAFT LITTON and SALLY CARR  “Great fun being in that city with them.” She mentioned that our classmate ,JOAN EDWARDS JONAS, a world famous performance artist, is currently having a major impact at the Venice biennial, spending time with Michelle Obama and daughters when they visited her display there. She wonders whether any of our classmates are near Sunapee NH?
writes that she and John will spend several days in Istanbul (from our “Bucket List”) in Sept. ’15 and then cruise among the Greek Islands.  
and Bruce recently returned returned from a trip to south west  China and Mongolia.  “Both areas were wonderful but Mongolia was the best. What a spectacular country with friendly welcoming nomadic people.  Unfortunately, the nomadic life may end soon.  We are so happy we were able to visit the country before it changes more with many younger people moving into the city.“  
reports that “After one year at the CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Center) Willamette View in a Portland OR suburb, I am happily settled. I decided the dog needed some company, so I got her a Tuxedo cat in early January. They are getting along well. At the end of volunteering in a first grade classroom, I heard that we – students, teacher, and volunteers – are moving up as a unit to second grade next year (I commented that I am not sure I can do second grade work!).”  
has a busy summer planned. “Jerry has been out for his first weekend cruise on his catboat. I am learning the Dvorak “Stabat Mater” for my summer singing camp, and going to the nearby Y for some “senior” exercise groups which has been good fun.  We look forward to welcoming our family – 13 strong – for a week in August.”  
was in the outback of Australia In Feb., 2015, at Uluru (Ayers Rock)  to view the monolith at sunset. “There, by chance,  I met JOAN MILLER MORAN  who was with the Mount Holyoke tour.  (I was with the Newark, NJ Museum tour).  We were both happily surprised.  Small world indeed!
“Trying to keep up with grandchildren is exhausting! Presently three are in college: University of Colorado/ Boulder; Montserrat Art College / Beverly, MA; Concordia/ Montréal. Another graduated from Warren Wilson in Asheville, NC and is now working for the National Trust in the Smoky Mountains. Devon(Montserrat) has an internship with internationally known sculptor Andrew DeVries! The other two are spending a month in Europe: one in France the other in Spain! Joseph and I spent a week in March in Malta which I would recommend to all lovers of archaeology(10,000 years) and its historical significance and hikers. In Rome had an audience with Pope Francis and spent time with the daughter of an Italian student whom I met in 1956 during my junior year in Firenze. And then visited Rotarian friends in Belgium. A lovely 3 1/2 weeks!”  
is excited that her son, Michael Zakim, will be a visiting Fellow at Harvard this academic year.  “He and his family will be coming to the Boston area from Tel Aviv University where he is a Professor of American History.  I shall be visiting them in Boston rather than making the long trip from San Francisco to Israel, as I do most years. Perhaps I will get to show my granddaughter MHC on one of my visits. I know I will see SARA ALBERT BRONSTEIN  while back there.”
sent an update of the past few years. The year following 9/12 was a rough one due to her husband, Dave’s, serious traffic accident, but all is well now! Though “officially retired”, Dave teaches neurophysiology courses and is continuing his stentor research at U. Pitt. Di, also “officially retired” continues to work part-time at the Asian Studies Center, teaching online book groups for the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia. “I really enjoy the interaction with the teachers and find I stil have ample time for music (flute and piano), community service activities, and lots of reading.” – and being our class president!!! She now spends about 4 mos./year at their summer property in Sargentville, ME “. . . galvanized by the ocean, sail and motor boats, local friends and relatives, our visiting family members, helping our small historic library and the woods and wildlife.” Son, Sarge, Bonnie and a teenage grand-daughter live in Northborough, MA. He works for Syneron Candela Laser. Daughter, Cynthia, John and 2 younger grandchildren live in Templeton, MA. She is Director of the East Quabbin Land Trust. The Woods enjoyed “a superb natural history trip to Costa Rica” in 2014. Their much enjoyed chocolate lab puppy is about 2 yrs. old now and” finally settling down and becoming much more manageable”.
Joan’s Venice Biennial Pavilion is a triumph! is the heading of an article in the NYTimes.  Joan’s

“determinedly elaborating performance into an immersive multimedia art form that has sustained her for more than five decades.

Now her moment has arrived in the form of a triumphal exhibition at the Venice Biennale. “They Come to Us Without a Word,” her multimedia installation piece, is one of the best solo shows to represent the United States at the biennale in over a decade — an effortless combination of maturity and freshness.”  She met with Michelle Obama and her daughters when they visited the exhibit in Vienna.

passed away 4/15/15.  She was the youngest (“by 15 minutes!” she would say) of four unconditionally loved children of Nita and Walter Thompson.  Ann was raised in London, Ontario, Canada where she developed her life-long passions for the outdoors and swimming.   At Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, she obtained a BA degree in Biology and a husband, Jay Snyder.  They moved to Canada for four  years while she attended medical school at the University of Western Ontario. Graduation brought a return to the United States where she practiced medicine in rural Pennsylvania and had two adored sons, Forrest and Brook; later, she completed post-graduate training at the University of Michigan in Psychiatry. For more than twenty-five years, Ann practiced Child Psychiatry in Okemos, Michigan, as well as taught and advised in this area to both law students and child   Retirement allowed her to indulge her love of travel; she touched base on all major continents except for Australia and South America, frequently with Brook.  For the last few years she lived at Burcham Hills in East Lansing, where she made many dear friends.   Ann was predeceased by her twin, Molly, and her parents. She is survived by sons Forrest and Brook; her older siblings Susan and John; and a huge community of friends and extended family. The family is particularly grateful to Cheryle Zillmer, Jacquie Urban, and Karen Gallagher who helped them, and Ann, to navigate the complex issues of her later years. A memorial service will be held at Burcham Hills Retirement Community on Saturday, April 25th at 10 am to celebrate Ann’s life. Her ashes will be buried with those of her parents and sister in Bayfield, Ontario, Canada.   Memorial gifts in her name to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing, the Greater Lansing Food Bank, or Planned Parenthood would be welcome.
has been in Willamette View retirement community home about a year. “I am thoroughly content. Lots happening means I have to pick and choose where I want to spend my time: evenings’ musical performances, movies, lectures; gym; recorder (blockflote) group; time walking the dog and being sociable with the cat I gave my dog as a Christmas present (she is happier now). The campus is beautiful with flowers and trees all around – and I don’t have to do any maintenance! I volunteer in a first grade classroom two mornings a week (continuing what I have done ever since retirement) and help out in one of the three libraries on campus. I’m still driving for local trips, but ask my daughter (Barby Stone, MHC ’85) to do so if we have to go into town.”
In 2013, Bonnie, husband Ted, and their family cruised the Inside Passage of Alaska to celebrate their 55th Wedding Anniversary and Bonnie’s 75th Birthday. Along for the trip were daughters Shari , Deb, and Wendy with their families, 11 in all.  Their eldest grandaughter Melissa, Brown’13, was starting a new job at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital as a research assistant in their eating disorder program and unable to come.  Highlight was a helicopter ride to the top of a glacier where new puppies were training for the Iditarod 1,000 mile race.  “We all rode the dog sleds which the kids got to help drive as well as explored crevasses on the glacier.  All but me kayaked, zip lined, and hiked to an overlook to watch bears pick salmon out of the river. A week to remember!”
regaled us with her recent activities. “Having always skied every winter weekend, we chose this year to rent in Florida for 3 months. Wow were we lucky! We escaped the intense weather at the Connecticut shore, (where had moved after over 55 years in Longmeadow MA), and dove into the cultural and artistic offerings of Boca Raton. I took a course at FAU, attended lectures at a library, took a watercolor class at a high school, went to hear Thomas Friedman and Jean Pierre Rampal at Mizner Park in Boca. We watched kite surfers on the beach and of course tried many of the local restaurants. But perhaps the most interesting  week was our first cruise on the Royal Caribbean. The ship sailed out of Tampa and we decided to drive there from the east coast to meet my cousin with whom we were traveling. Armed with GPS in the car and Google maps on my phone we set out. “Alligator Alley” is the aptly named highway that bisects the lower half of the peninsula. Without a paper map to indicate the larger view, I followed Google and turned off onto  Government Rd (2 lane) which led us to tire tracks with grass growing. It was impossible to turn around as a steep bank led to a creek  on one side and a high wire fence on the other! No cars, no house was visible. I called my IT daughter Tabi in NY who googled a much larger view and said we were in the middle of Big Cypress Reservation!!! She said to back up, but now the road had turned to sand and that was extremely difficult to navigate. Finally we saw a small bridge across the stream and could negotiate a 3 point turn to slowly wend our way back to civilization. The detour took about an hour but I was thrilled to be back in a traffic jam due to construction! Cars! Police! Humans! It eventually took 8 1/2 hours for a 4 hour ride! The cruise was anticlimactic. Smooth sailing, too much good food, western Caribbean not visually interesting. I don’t zip-line or do the active activities but did try snorkeling seeing only 1 small fish swimming in a future reef made up of almost rusting cars and a small helicopter! And so we are back in our modest rental preparing to go back to CT next week. Now all the work of winterizing our beach house for year-round living has been done and I will look for all the artistic and cultural activities to fill my days. I do miss working and hope to have some design consultations in the future!”  
and husband, Tom, with 9 grandchildren and 4 children all over the US. “Our energies are focused on downsizing from the house we built in ’89, to a smaller ranch.  Two acres on Skaneateles lake are time consuming and difficult for Tom.  It will be my job to sell/give many of the possessions we have amassed over 26 years.” Her favorite activity is singing in their Masterworks Chorale, where Arlene is Director of Fund Development.  She trains new readers for their Episcopal Church services. “Tom has successfully outlived his cancer threat from multiple myeloma, but faces new challenges each day. He remains upbeat and busy with community involvements.” One grandaughter graduated from Dartmouth, and a, grandson will attend Washington and Lee in Sept. ’15. Arlene is hoping to have another mini-reunion with our Sycamores gang this summer”
ANNE ENSWORTH WHITNEY forwarded an article in The Boston Globe about Joan, the performance and video artist selected by MIT List Visual Arts Center to represent the U.S. at this year’s Venice Biennale. An overview is available at:  http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/theater-art/2015/04/09/mit-offers-succinct-fascinating-overview-jonas-video-art/74pnX8ZmyXqctKY1NmYYOJ/story.html?s_campaign=8315
Priscilla  passed away 5/18/14.  She left MHC after 2 years  and subsequently received her BA from Elmira College.  Priscilla is  survived by her husband, Robert Sproul, of Summit, PA.

Claire passed away 8/9/11.  After receiving her AB from MHC majoring in Economics-Sociology, she received a BS from Stanford University in ’61.  Claire’s early work history included being a Sales Representative for Hewlett-Packard and a District Marketing Rep for Cognus Corp.  She worked for Silicon Graphics, Inc. in CA from ’91-’97, initially as a Marketing Coordinator and then as a Hardware Support Manager.

MARILYN TARPY STEARNS  received an MFA in poetry from West Virginia Wesleyan College. “It was a terrific experience.” She went to China in the Fall of ’14 and describes it as “a very different country from 14 years ago when I first went there.”

ELIZABETH (LIZ) BAILEY BENZINGER died in Charlottesville, VA on Christmas Eve, 2014 surrounded by her daughter, Hope Barker, son, Philip Benziger, 4 grandchildren and her partner, Charles Miles. She graduated MHC as an English major, moved to Charlottesville in ’67 where she earned an MA in ’71.  Liz’ many years living abroad resulted in a career teaching French and German. For the 50th reunion, Liz wrote: “looking back I see the themes of my life now are variations on those of 50 years ago: being physically active, loving travel, playing music, and looking for deeper meaning in life.” Many of us remember Liz as active in the Outing Club. She continued to ski and was a member of Nat’l Ski Patrol for over 20 yrs. More recently Liz developed a deep interest in Tai Chi. Music was always an important part of her life. She sang in choirs and took up the cello. Besides lessons and concerts, Liz attended chamber music camps every summer. “The search for meaning has landed me in a Unitarian Church” – which she described as “my extended family.” Liz volunteered for the Class of ’58 as a Nom. Comm. Member, Reunion Welcoming and Hospitality, and Class Agent (10/12-1/14). She lived her whole life passionately, but her greatest joy was visiting her grandchildren. “They need to be well acquainted with their Oma.”



passed away on Dec. 3, 2014. Born in Riga,Latvia, she was raised in the US but remained close to and proud of her Latvian heritage. After graduating with Honors in Chemistry from MHC, Ilze got her MAT from Harvard Univ. She went on to get an MLS from Syracuse in’71 and become a professional librarian working first at the Uris Library at Cornell Univ. Ilze then spent 28 yrs. at the Simmons College Library in Boston, ultimately as Head of Collection Development, before retiring to Lancaster, PA. She enjoyed crossword puzzles, gardening, yoga, reading,and listening to music. Ilze is survived by her son, John Olmstead, his wife and 3 grandchildren.



writes from the cold, icy Berkshires that they’re heading west for 2 months – to CA. to visit their daughter and son-in-law and then to Boulder, CO, where their son, daughter-in-law and grandson live.  After a cruise on the Mississippi River, they’ll return home and visit their son in Brooklyn. Their granddaughter, Ariana, spent a yr. living in NYC and working for a Medical APP Co.after graduation from the Univ. of Rochester with Distinction.  She was just accepted to Rutgers’ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “We are very excited for her! “


Muffie’s holiday card glowed ca. the Sept. Class of ’58 Mini Reunion and her “serendipitous trip to Tuscany and Rome in Nov. ’14 with Phyllis Bonfield. “I love being retired but seem to be busier than ever. My relaxing hobby is creative needlepoint. . . Another hobby … is the genealogical research I have started to find out more about my family background to pass along to Karl. I also play in two bridge groups and sing in the choir at the UU Fellowship of Newark, DE.”


Anzie’s and Jerry’s travels in ’14 were mainly “to see family, share in celebrations and see ball games.”  She describes the busynesses of children and grandchildren, her choral activities, and Jerry’s summer cruises. “Our Thanksgiving was greatly enriched by the visit of 2 Mount Holyoke students, one from China and the other from Viet Nam. They are wonderful young women!”

2 thoughts on “2015 Class Notes

  1. I’d like to get in touch with Arlene Koelbel Bloomer. May I have her e-mail or telephone number or address?

  2. Hi Elizabeth,
    I take care of the website, but don’t give out personal info. If you set yourself up with the Alumnae Assn. to access the college list of all who have attended MHC you will be able to find whatever information you need.
    Bonnie ’58

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