CLASS OF 1981 | 2019 | ISSUE 1

David I. Block writes: Hi, all. Greetings from Brooklyn! While you are likely reading this in the spring, these time-capsule class notes were due on the Monday of Martin Luther King’s birthday weekend, by which time the government had been shut down for a month. With any luck, as you read this, the government has been up and running for a little while, at least.

As you read this, tax season is over. As I write this, it is about to begin, with IRS workers who are not getting paid. My office just moved 20 blocks south down Broadway, after 22 years on West 57th Street. I finally bit the bullet and will become a Certified Financial Planner by November (I am already licensed to supervise stockbrokers), and I’m doing business, financial, and general coaching on the side. That gives me three full-time jobs. I joke that “people come in to have their taxes prepared, and leave feeling better about their moms.” My 14-year-old is in ninth grade and has come to enough Reunions that they are already scheming to figure out how to get into Wesleyan via early admission.

Alvin Peters writes, “Hurricane Michael (Oct. 10, 2018) has substantially destroyed my neighborhood in Panama City, Fla. Ironic, that climate change helped heat up the Gulf and magnify this storm into a major destructive force in a county that voted 75 percent for Trump.”

Paul Godfrey writes that his son, Charlie, is in grad school at UW. Paul is the president of the Minnesota State Bar Association and coaches a community team of high schoolers.

Michele Choka joined the board of Boingo Wireless, Inc. as an independent board member.

Barnaby Dinges has a memoir that is being published this spring called Ragged Run. “It covers my brother, Casey ’79, and my challenging childhood in Chicago in the 1960s and 1970s dealing with the deaths of our parents and subsequent struggles. It includes sections from my mother’s journal, which I found in a warehouse during the WesU years. It’ll be available on Amazon. Special thanks to Phyllis Rose ’82, Larry Zuckerman, and Mary Murphy for their help with the manuscript.”

Barry “Pono” Fried’s Open Eye Tours, which offers custom private tours on the beautiful island of Maui, has won the 2018 Trip Advisor Hall of Fame Certificate of Excellence. He has been “enhancing Hawaiian journeys with fascinating cultural interpretation and a 100 percent personalized itinerary, since 1983.” Congrats, Pono!

On a more somber note, in the last note I wrote, I hoped for “less-bidity,” yet we lost two more classmates since the last issue. We lost Michael Kucinskas on Oct. 16. He majored in theology, played on the football team, and was a Chi Psi brother. He worked as an information technology consultant for Mass Mutual, and then Cigna, before becoming a partner of Factorum, Inc., a computer consultant company. He loved golf and was an advanced scuba diver. He is survived by his wife, Carol Petruff, M.D., two brothers, and a large extended family. We will miss his presence and his wit.

And then Steven Hiscox passed away on Nov. 20. Michael Trager and Tom Miceli attended a wonderful memorial tribute, which celebrated Steve’s life “the way he would have wanted it—filled with heartfelt tributes, and plenty of food and beer.”

Tom recalls that “Steve was the prototypical Wesleyan student—academically smart in the usual ways, but with wide-ranging and unexpected interests. Steve was a music major who composed and played classical music for course credit, but then listened to rap music for pleasure, well before it was hip to do so. He made college look effortless—he was at once scholarly and down to earth, serious and affable. I well remember the time when he pulled an all-nighter to read Gone with the Wind in one sitting! His passions included pick-up basketball (he was a beast) and cars. He devoured Hot Rod magazine the minute it hit the newsstand and spent countless hours under the hood of his car acquiring the skills and knowledge that eventually led to his life’s work as the owner of an automotive training school. I regret that I did not stay in close touch with Steve after Wes, but I will always cherish our friendship during that formative time in our lives.” He is survived by his wife, Tammy, and a large family that includes his brother, Dave Hiscox ’79.

Here we are, at 60 or close to it. That once seemed old. Sometimes it still does. Yet too many of us did not make it this far. In two years, we have another Reunion. I hope we all make it there in good health . . .

David I. Block |

Joanne Godin Audretsch |