CLASS OF 1976 | 2018 | ISSUE 1

Class of 1976 Endowed Wesleyan Scholarship

Valerie Acosta ’20, Bronx, NY

Susan Avitzour and husband Dan returned from a trip to Tenerife, Canary Islands, where they went on a dolphin- and whale-watching boat trip. They have five grandchildren with a sixth expected in June. Susan is semi-retired and looking for a literary agent for her novel. Unfortunately, Dan is having some health problems.

Carol Bellhouse had dinner in LA with David Bickford, Chris Vain, Juliet Green, and Susan Gans ’75. She attended the Sundance Film Festival. She has five films in the works.

Richard Berka provided the sad news that his  wife, Carmen Valle, a physician, passed away in 2014 after a long battle with breast cancer. Their son, Richard, Jr., got his master’s in marine biology at James Cook University in Australia and is going to  veterinarian school in Perth. Their daughter, Della, is a sophomore at Yale. Richard is in-house counsel at Greenman-Pedersen, Inc., and lives in Brightwaters, N.Y.

Sidney Cohen and wife Carol live in Pleasanton, Calif. Sidney works for Medtronic in clinical research overseeing cardiovascular research. He recently became a grandfather and spends as much time as he can visiting his grandson and family in Philadelphia. Sid would like to hear from all:

Lawrence H. Davis and wife Ronna visited Wes in October and enjoyed visiting the Earth and Environmental Sciences department. Last year, they visited Cuba and Spain, and this year Lawrence is planning a fishing trip to Bolivia and a trip to Estonia. Son Max returned to the U.S. after seven years in Israel, and daughter Ilana ’06, who is the mother of their two grandchildren, is continuing her law career.

Michael Donnella, who is living in El Dorado, Ark., had a Wesleyan football weekend in LA hosted by David Carlisle, who is the president of Charles Drew University. Mike reports that David has brought the university from the brink of closure to a thriving concern. Michael Bell and James Gaither ’77, and two of Mike’s children, joined him for the game. Mike enjoyed Christmas/Hanukkah with Ely Leichtling and Sally Merrell of Milwaukee.

Elizabeth Eisenmann learned carpentry while building a new studio in her basement for her collection of “vintage” Singer sewing machines and cabinets. She went on her first cruise to the Caribbean.

Ronald Epstein’s book Attending Medicine, Mindfulness and Humanity has just come out in paperback. See pp. 20–23 for more on his work.

Barry Fogel is beginning his 36th year in environmental law. Daughter Ella is a junior at Santa Clara University. Barry stays in touch with John Brainard, Eddie Sanchez ’74, and Steve Levin ’75, Jeff Van Nest ’75, Mark Nickerson ’75, and Jeff Prystupa ’75.

Jeff Frank is looking forward to selling his moving business and retiring in the next couple of years.

Karen Gervasoni says this column enabled her to get in touch with Larry Gilius, her old Wes boxmate. They discovered they both have adopted daughters—Lia from Vietnam and Linnea from China—who are high school juniors. Glad you could reconnect!

Debra Haffner, in her second year as the settled minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston, Va., has done her 14th protest march in D.C. since last year’s election.

Peter Hansen and wife Gail now call D.C. home. They are both doing part-time consulting, she in public health and he in construction marketing.

Josette Hendrix has been working in the Pacific Northwest through a small NGO that she founded which nurtures intercultural understanding ( She has three children and is now a grandmother. She lives on Whidbey Island on a small biodynamic farm that welcomes young aspiring farmers to apprentice for a season. She hopes to reconnect with some classmates.

Jaimee Kurfirst Mirsky is finishing up her second 20-year career (first was in advertising TV production, then high school English teacher). Jaimee has been married for 38 years and has two children who teach. Her first grandchild is on the way.

Abe Yale‘s youngest son, Alex, married Amy Gold on New Year’s Eve in Boston. The newlyweds went gorilla tracking in Uganda, on safari in Tanzania, and relaxing on the beach in Zanzibar. Alex works for Facebook and Amy for Google, both in NYC. Daughter Alison is about to give birth to granddaughter number two. Congratulations, Abe!

My family spent Christmas in London where we visited our daughter, Lindsey, who is living abroad until June. It was great having everyone together. We had some fun, and I met up with my friend Paul Hannon, an Irish journalist with whom I shared a London flat the year after graduation.

The Wesleyan Chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon (Gamma Phi) had its 150th anniversary this year, and a lot of the brothers were back to celebrate. I was sorry that I had to miss it, but glad to see that so many of the old gang got together.

If you have not written in a while—or ever—please do. Nicholson 6, Harriman Hall, West College, Chi Psi: speak up!

Mitchell Marinello |