We have news that more of you are becoming grandparents. Some are retiring. Others are looking into Medicare. And some are traveling extensively.
Phil Levien tells me that he and his wife, Darlene, became grandparents for the first time recently. Their son, Josh, and his wife, Simone, had a baby boy on April 8: Stokely Olivier Levien. “Like most grandparents, we’re pretty darn excited and make the drive to LA to see the three of them as often as we can.” says Phil. He says, “The kids also come up here to Santa Barbara to visit, so we’re very fortunate.”
Tom Tokarz says he was planning to retire July 1st after 31.5 years as a human resources director with the State of Connecticut. “It’s truly a bittersweet event, as it’s been rewarding but frustrating at the same time with the recent budget cuts and layoffs,” says Tom. He also says he and his wife, Kathy, have been caring for their son Dennis, “who is courageously battling ALS. It is a truly horrible disease.” He sends his best to all of you.
John Knapp says, “As I contemplate my upcoming eligibility for Medicare (a milestone I view with a mixture of surprise and horror), I realize that, nonetheless, the past few years have been particularly satisfying.” John says he still runs his legal/consulting firm, focusing on regulatory compliance for pharmaceutical, biotech, and other life science companies. His wife (Elisabeth Meyer Knapp ’76) continues to run her architecture firm, and has recently completed two four-year terms as an elected member of the Borough Council of Swarthmore, Pa., where they live. He says their daughter, Katherine, was married in October 2014, finished her pediatric residency at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) last year, and she and her husband are now expecting their first child—their first grandchild! John says their son-in-law just received his MD, as well as a PhD, in cell and molecular biology, from the University of Pennsylvania, and he will be starting his residency at CHOP in July. “To top it all off, our son, David Knapp ’09, just received his law degree from Rutgers University” he says, adding, “I am very grateful for these blessings and honestly believe that without Wesleyan, my life would have turned out very differently.”
Steve Kallaugher paints a truly vivid picture of what he has been up to. “As I write this,” he says, “I’m watching the sun set from the edge of the Lubombo Plateau on the border between Swaziland and Mozambique. Ten years ago, I started a little organization called Young Heroes to help AIDS orphans. Little by little, we grew to the point where we were (and are) supporting 1,000 kids with monthly stipends, healthcare and—when they get older—vocational and business training.”
Steve says that last fall, “Something unexpected happened: USAID finally noticed us and gave us a $2-million grant to expand our anti-AIDS programs, with a special focus on vulnerable girls and young women.” Since then, he says Young Heroes has developed individual care programs for more than 2,000 children; started 250 girls’s clubs in schools to teach life skills and sexual and reproductive health; and created 75 community-savings groups for women, where they teach financial literacy and help with micro-entrepreneurialism.
“When all the programs are up and running, we’ll be reaching just over 15,000 children and their female caretakers,” he says, adding, “Who knew?”
On May 14th, I had the pleasure of seeing my sister, Ellen Dodie Ruimerman, receive her bachelor of fine arts degree from Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, of the University of New Haven, in beautiful Old Lyme, Conn. After more than three decades in interior decorating, she went “back to school,” worked hard and got that degree. She exhibits some of her paintings at galleries around Connecticut. Our late mother, Ellen Puffin D’Oench ’73, would have been proud. And in other family news, my niece, Miye D’Oench, as she was graduating from Harvard University after a stellar career on the women’s hockey team, signed a contract to play for the New York (City) Riveters of the (professional) National Women’s Hockey League. Some of you may get to see her play. I know my late brother Russell Toby D’Oench III ’77, would have been proud as well.
PETER D’OENCH | Pgdo10@aol.com