CLASS OF 1974 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

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Jan Eliasberg spent most of the year doing a “virtual” book tour for her debut novel, Hannah’s War (Little, Brown and Co.). Among many highlights was an “all Wesleyan Zoom book club,” organized and hosted by Stephanie Rosenfeld ’82. Paul Vidich ’72, author of The Mercenary, named Hannah’s War one of the ten best books featuring female spies. Hannah’s War was recently named a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in Fiction.

Jan has partnered with producers Rian Johnson and Ram Bergman (Star Wars: The Last Jedi; Knives Out; Tales of Love and Darkness) and their company, T Street, to make the film of Hannah’s War; she’s currently adapting her book into screenplay form.

Jan’s daughter, Sariel Friedman ’19, spent 2020 immersed in political campaigning: first for Biden/Harris in Pennsylvania, then for Ossoff and Warnock in Georgia.

John Gardner writes, “I completed 46 years of work at Avon Old Farms School this past May and have semi-retired. I still will coach the hockey team and help with admissions and alumni and development in the upcoming year to keep me busy. While I was full time at Avon, I was a math teacher, advisor, athletic director, provost, and for the last 21 years, the associate head of school. A great lifestyle and always fun working with teenagers. I live off campus now in Simsbury, Connecticut, with my wife, Miriam, and enjoy my four grandchildren who live nearby.”

Monique Witt shares, “Ben is back on tour, Dev is launching the second line of monitors from ExMachina Soundworks, Steve just signed up the Canadian National/Kansas City Southern and MedLine deals, and I’m prepping the upcoming recording sessions: solo piano, trio and sextet. I’m also back playing daily tennis and reading more math again (which is hard).”

News below provided by Harold Sogard:

Scott Karsten died suddenly from a heart attack in January. He was on the wrestling team at Wes. He became a very successful trial lawyer in Connecticut, and led the suit by Deke against the University.

Steve Burton sadly died by suicide sometime late last year or early this year. He was, along with our other recently passed classmate Dick Fairbrother, a starting guard on the basketball team at Wes. He went on to a long and distinguished career with the global advertising agency, DDB.”

Scott Langner died in May. He will be known forever among those who were at Wes at the same time as “the Wave.” Here is his obituary: https://obits.al.com/us/obituaries/birmingham/name/j-langner-obituary?pid=198428200&fbclid=IwAR1GPJIYVoj7JQ9TurbYEwLXkAizAFLFhuLiUM-SYHSvrD9YW3GDMvCSc6o

Claudia Catania reports, “Our grandson, Linden, turned three in June. His brother, Paxton, is a robust 10-month old. As of a year ago, their family moved to Denver although they still have a thriving business, their restaurant 1000 Figs, in New Orleans. Our other son, Max, teaches digital art at High Tech High, which is a charter school in San Diego committed to experiential learning. John Cady ’71, my husband, and I are officially living in Hillsdale, New York, although I still shuttle to New York for meetings and recordings. If you like good storytelling, acting, and podcasts, subscribe to Playing on Air! We just recorded Hank Azaria and Jonathan Groff for the first time back in the studio since early March of 2020. Remote recording was getting crazy. Much better now! Also better with Harold Sogard on our board!”

Suzzanne Rosselot shares, “I was a transfer student and so appreciated my education at Wesleyan. My retirement date is June 24. I am closing my private practice after 45 years as a clinical social worker. I loved my work and I look forward to leisure time and spending more time with family.”

Charlie Cocores continues to be very active with Habitat for Humanity. Read on . . . “We have had Harold Sogard on a few Habitat builds in the past . . . he was a great asset to the group! We’re retired in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. Carol and I are organizing a Habitat for Humanity build for the local Georgetown, South Carolina, Habitat Affiliate. We did two Georgetown County Habitat for Humanity week-long builds. The builds were October 6­–13 and October 20–27, 2021.  If you’ve never done one of these they are rewarding, fantastic fun, new friend making and memory making! They are also a way to ‘try out’ volunteer tourism for a future Habitat International build in another country.

“Each week-long build includes two cultural-historical-recreation days. . . . Evenings include going out to dinner, then usually to hear music, socialize, dance or have a drink. We have had people in their 20s to their 80s participate in the past, and there is some job or task almost everyone can do at their own pace. The point of the builds is to raise money for the local Habitat’s work, laugh, make friends, and do some good for the local community. The work includes some new construction, repair work on houses, volunteering in the HFH Restore and various other jobs . . . .

“House recipients actually buy the home and pay for it over decades with a no-interest mortgage, the tradition of which is directly from the Bible. Recipients, most whom would not qualify for a conventional mortgage, must work to pay for the Habitat mortgage and also put in hundreds of hours volunteering on their home or for Habitat in other capacities. It truly is a ‘hand up not and out’ model.”

For more information contact Carol (860–304–2667) or Charlie Cocores (860–304–2668) at cocoshfh@gmail.

Randolph “R.N.A.” Smith writes: “My eighth golf book should be out by December.  Quadruple Birdie is a historical novel focused on the mental and physical trials facing Ben Hogan and his Texan rivals on the tour in 1950.”

Sharon Purdie writes, “Our son, Jeff, and his wife, Alyssa, are the proud parents of Blake Sybertz, born on May 13. Other than visiting them, we continue to enjoy running, bicycling, swimming, skiing, kayaking, and sailing on our new X-Yachts 4.3 sailboat.”

SHARON PURDIE | spurdie@wesleyan.edu