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In Memoriam

Wellesley Class of 1976 - In Memoriam (as of June 30, 2021)

Classmate, Date of Death
Linda Weiss Manson, July 17, 1986
Joan Powers, September 24, 1987
Linda Ozolins, February 20, 1989
Mary Marx Sacks, June 19, 1989
Laurie Jennings Hunt, October 8, 1990
Linda May, March 18, 1992
Leslie Rippel, August 27, 1992
Alexandra Tuttle, September 22, 1993
Jean Hampton, April 2, 1996
Lois Betz Gamble, July 4, 1996
Barbara Sheridan Brown, February 18, 1997
Ellen Gabriel, June 19, 1999
Virginia Tishman Alexander, December 7, 1999
Vida Parent Fauver, August 27, 2003
Cynthia Dillon, August 23, 2005
Jean Donovan, February 2, 2007
Ann Bamford Adams, May 3, 2007
Annella Brown, April 13, 2008
Lenore Ivers, May 30, 2008
Elizabeth Quirk, November 25, 2008
Delia Saldana, December 22, 2008
Teresa Gipson, November 27, 2010
Deborah Blackmore Abrams, July 15, 2011
Deborah Powell Boyd, March 4, 2014
Chinwe Dike, May 20, 2015
Elaine Lewis, March 11, 2016
Cynthia Martin, June 15, 2017
Carole Wong, August 1, 2018
Barbara Ann Horwitz, September 9, 2018
Lis De Tuerk Ghadar, September 24, 2018
Barbara Adelman Carmen-MacDonald, October 30, 2018
Virginia Ellen Curtis Turner, March 21, 2020
Catherine Helen Albers, August 22, 2020
Nancy Louise Robinson, November 23, 2020


Wellesley Memorials  Class of 1976    Reunion - 6 June 2021

Margaret Rose ‘76

     Each  reunion, a month or so before,  I pull out our ‘76 yearbook.   Perusing  our  young faces  I am  increasingly thankful for the years and education at Wellesley.  I marvel  at the open eyed beauty  of  each classmate yes, carefully photographed,  ( curated we would say today) but beautiful.    I  am surprised  and  grateful at the diversity of names and people. (There was some progress, even then.)   We are organized by dorm, so unless  you know  the dorm of some 45 years ago,  each search is a look through the whole class! Some  of us were “non-residents” –you truly independent women-- but it says something that dorms were so much part of our college  identity,   says something about community, about shared living and shared lives.  Then on the inside cover  of the yearbook,  I noticed once again in large letters,  the  quote from founder Henry F. Durant.  White print imbedded in purple background ,red fireworks  in the middle, “The  real meaning of higher education for women,” he said in 1875, “is  Revolution.  Indeed.  This year I found tucked in the last pages of the book, the folded  up Boston Globe story  from Friday morning May 28, 1976.    Front page upper fold photo of  Barbara Newell and Golda  Meir,  convocation speaker,  who received an honorary degree our year.   

        As I turned the pages, imagining the lives of each one of us,  there was  a growing sense ( at least for me ) of kinship, of connection that even if we had not known each other before, we are bound by the experience of time, the years  concluding in 1976, of geography, of community,   most  of us about the same age.   That is not to say we were alike.  Precisely not.   And that was the real gift of Wellesley.   ( No,  not  enough different,  but a start )  We had some things in common of course--- perhaps  the knowledge that Durant was right and  even if he didn’t know it in his 19th century time,  the revolution comes in the education of ALL women—not just at Wellesley of course but every where and in life.

      It is hard to believe it has been 45 years.  Some recollections  are like yesterday. Others forgotten long ago.    But our five year reunions  are a time of memory, a time to draw the circle together of  long ago years, once again.    And to regret the loss of those who are no longer present with us, at least in body.

     That is not surprising.  We know that.  Loss and death are part of life.   In an ordinary reunion year,  in  other five year record books  we tell of children and grandchildren, careers launched or ended,  happy or sad life events, travels, retirements, aches and surgeries, loss of loved ones and renewed love.      And in an ordinary year we’d  hope to gather  on campus in person , to reminisce and dance the  night away.

     But this has not been an ordinary 5 years. And it has not been an ordinary reunion year.  The five years began with the hope that there might be a Wellesley woman as Tresident of the United States.   That of course was not to be.  And we gather by zoom today precisely in recognition of yet another not ordinary time.    Marked by loss, if not in our own families, among the many we know.  The daily list of those who died here and around the world is too long to count here.   Grief and sorrow were compounded by all that was exposed by the pandemic or indeed the pandemic of pandemics: racial disparities in health care and job loss, with women,  across the board,being the prime losers,  It has been a five years of uncovering so much.  Me Too, Black Lives Matter, George Floyd,  the legacies of slavery and stolen lands.   And for us all, loss of time with loved ones,  loss of touch. of gathering and more.   

     But as marked by loss as this long  year has been,  the knowledge of  what matters,   of those  we love, has become all the more precious.    

     So too the memories of our class. Since our last reunion, there are  eight of our  classmates  who  have died.   

 

I name them now calling them into the spirit of this gathering, with gratitude to Linda Ury for sending us notices about each one.    

You who knew them well, will have more stories to tell, memories to share.  Today, we offer honor and  thanksgiving for their lives and for our time together at Wellesley.

 

Elaine Lewis,  Davis and Cazenove,  March 11, 2016  Interdisciplilnary Visual Studies

Davis And Cazenove, March 11, 2016    After Wellesley  Elaine got an MA at Cornell and by 1981 she had a Phd from  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

She taught at BU where one colleague named  her as  a groundbreaking professor, focusing on computer generated imagery and mathematical modeling of cognitive research.   Mary Young remembers wonderful visits with her in Newton in the mid 2010’s.  Lover of art, landscaping, she shared with Mary her years of struggle.  Her daughter Emily graduated from Bryn Mawr—so the women’s college tradition lived on.

Cynthia Martin, Tower  Court ,  June 15, 2017  Psychology  and Theatre Studies

If you ever  came to reunion you knew Cynthia , who never missed one.  She’d fought  cancer since her junior year.  But that did not stop her from  getting a Phd in Psychology,  a successful career as a Federal Civil Servant for the Department of Defense and the Navy,  where among other things she assisted sailors and their families.   She traveled the world, and participated in and went  to as much theatre as possible.

    Cynthia’s dear friend Harriet Paulk Hessam, who was with Cynthia during her last days remembers their acting  in  Shakespeare Society plays and going to dinner together  at the Alumnae Club and off campus.  Foodies  together forever, Harriet reminisced.

Carole Wong,  Tower Court, Molecular Biology, August 1, 2018

She earned a Master’s degree from Simmons College in 1982,  worked in strategic consulting and later  volunteered at  the Marine Mammal center in Redwood California. Barbara Biel,  went to a memorial gathering at the Wellesley College Club –one of three around the country.   She wrote,  “Friends and family from the east coast and some from England  shared memories  as well as her husband and sister.    A sad time, but one in which all felt encouraged—like Carole, to act with kindness and embrace life with gusto.”

Barbara Ann Horwitz, September 9, 2018, Stone, American Studies

“Barbara was passionate about politics and a huge supporter of George McGovern’s presidential campaign in our freshman year,” remembered Mary Ann Howkins. “She was, an outstanding student who became a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Following graduation, she worked in development for nonprofits, including Georgia Public Television, the Nature Conservancy and the Southern Center for Human Rights.”  She was a lifelong progressive, feminist, and outspoken advocate for the causes in which she believed.   

After her diagnosis, she was active in the cancer survivor community and was especially interested in holistic wellness and healing.

Barbara Adelman Carmen-MacDonald,  Anthropology and Psychology, Non- resident, October 30, 2018

Barbara supported herself and her family as the weekend nurse at Regis College while she completed her education---Wellesley in 1976, and a Phd in Psychology from Boston College a few years later.  Barbara volunteered as a Development Fund Chair in 1994.

Lis De Tuerk Ghadar , September 24, 2018.Tower Court and Stone , Studio Art and Philosophy.

Lis and her husband enjoyed starting businesses and shared a love for computers and creating software. They lived for a time in pre-revolutionary Iran.  She   illustrated a children’s book called “The Little White Ladybug, “a story of inclusion, diversity, and acceptance.”   Her daughter, Otessa, wrote  in remembrance, “She died as she lived: boldly, optimistically, full of love and empathy for the world and with a wry wit so nuanced and elegant, that many missed it until later, finding themselves left with a “spirit of the stars”.   

Virginia Ellen Curtis Turner, "Ginger," March 21, 2020, Bates, Math

Ginger entered Wellesley with the class of 1977, but graduated in 3 years to join our class!   She  pursued a career in accounting as she traveled  the world  with her  Coast Guard husband, Rob. They  settled  with their 3 children  in California  where  Ginger worked as a Senior Accountant for the city of Irvine and as Principal Accountant for the Department of Water and Power in Anaheim, retiring in 2015 to Las Vegas.

Catherine Helen Albers, "Katie," August 22, 2020 , Beebe ( and more)  Theatre Arts    

After Wellesley,  Katie went to Georgia  Tech to study  Information Design, which led to a career in such diverse companies as Nordstrom and Silicon Graphics.

Peggy Plympton remembers Katie from her time in Beebe, “Katie was always full of energy and enthusiasm, and for such a wide range of topics and activities; she was many things, but boring was never one of them!”   

 Kathy Humphrey from the class of ’75 tells the story of a bat that emerged  during a  multi media production of  “Jumping of the Roof”  which went on a college theatre tour to Wisconsin.  Katie played the role of a tree emerging from the waters of creation.  From the ceiling of the newly renovated theatre, a  bat  emerged circling “the  tree” aka Katie, several times.  Unperturbed  Katie stood firm. And the production continued bat and all.   

An accomplished seamstress, she sewed the wedding dress worn first by her sister and, in November 2018, by her niece.

 

     Wellesley women. No. Not boring at all.   

     In my tradition, I would close such a memorial with a prayer.. I invite you now in that spirit  to a moment of silence  and  a prayer of thanks and for healing.

Holy Creator, we give thanks for the lives of these women, for their intrepid spirits, their joy in life, their determination in adversity,  their imagination and creativity,

Spirit of healing, embrace us  and all we love in these  times of loss and grief.

Spirit of blessing, give  gratitude for lives well lived and strength for our own  journey ahead .

Spirit of love , give  power to claim and act on  what matters in our own lives.

Spirit of life, fill us with courage,  strength and possibility for the healing of division and peace in the years to come.    


Wellesley Reunion, June 2016

Margaret Rose ‘76

Remembering the Saints of the Class of 1976

Deborah Blackmore Abrams, Deborah Powell Boyd, Chinwe Maureen Dike

Forty-four years ago, in the Fall of 1972---there was a presidential election that year too, and the first when many of us could vote!---some 500 of us gathered to begin our years at Wellesley! Coming back here during these June days, for reunion, even if we live nearby or return often, takes us back, or at least me, to the memory of those years. 

When Evan and Ellen asked me to offer a memorial moment today, I searched for my yearbook with the photos.  I found it there on the shelf with old Record books.  As I reached in, out fell mementos:  A Christmas dinner menu  (Fruit cup with sorbet, Cornish game hen, Peppermint Ice Cream Pie)  a Wellesley Widows program,  a Junior Show announcement,  And  THIS: A program brochure for the New England Women’s Symposium.  It included speakers and workshops on feminist poetry, theology, gender studies, sexuality.  There were the authors of Our Bodies Ourselves, writer Robin Morgan and radical theologian Mary Daly. Also our President, Barbara Newell, all offering workshops, suggesting a radical woman inclusive future was possible. 

It was a transformative and transforming time.  That workshop was THE moment for me and shaped many of the decisions I made from then on.   I am sure you have your own memories of a particular event or time or relationship which set the path.  

This weekend is about remembering those transforming moments, and claiming them, perhaps.   These few days, walking the same paths, even with construction and new buildings, there is familiarity and green beauty.  And the dorms, hmm, they seem pretty much the same, too,  even the voices in the quad echoing ‘til the wee hours of the morning! 

What is not the same, though, is that the 500 eager students are no longer 18 years old, but in our 60s. And some 25 of us have died. This few minutes is about remembering them, in a sense, remembering them. That is, bringing them into this circle, into this weekend in heart and spirit if not in person. Since our last reunion in 2011, we have lost three class members:

Deborah Blackmore Abrams, July 2011; Deborah Powell Boyd in March 2014; and Chinwe Maureen Dike in May of the next year. 

Leafing through the pages of the yearbook, I found each one, recalling their 20 year old faces.  This week I have prayed with their names, giving thanks for their lives, even grieving their too soon loss.   I prayed as I walked, the way one might do in a labyrinth walk, naming each one.  I did it in the morning Spin Class---naming as the legs went round and round. Deborah Powell Boyd, Deborah Blackmore Abrams, Chinwe Maureen Dike. 

Many of you no doubt knew them well.   Deborah Abrams:  Black Studies and Philosophy, lived in Shafer, at least her senior year.  She lived in Dedham, was a fundraising consultant to nonprofits and schools, won awards for her abilities in this arena. She volunteered for Wellesley and her memorial was at the Wellesley chapel just a month after our 2011 reunion. 

Deborah Blackmore Abrams—Presente 

Deborah Powell Boyd:  Sociology and Urban Studies. I can see her smiling face even now.  Many Wellesley classmates wrote about her in the still open condolence book. Her wisdom about life and work, love and loss shone through the record book entries of the last two reunions.  In her reflection on the 25th reunion she wrote, “During the quiet times I find myself thinking about the son who would now be 18 had he not died before his 6th birthday.  I think the about the children everyone assured me would follow but never did.  I think of a mother whose voice I haven’t heard in more than 5 years, yet to whom I still speak when the interactions between siblings demonstrate we have not yet made peace with her passing.  I think what a blessing a solid marriage of almost a quarter century has been and how I would not want to be writing this as a widow, so I hope my husband outlives me.” He did. There is more wisdom there as well, in her honesty and self-acceptance.  And in the midst of loss her conviction that family means so much.   In fact in the 20th reunion book, she replaced the line for “email” with FAMILY and added her husband’s name.    She was in Pittsburgh, beloved by co-workers in the human service field where she worked. Welleslely classmate Amy Douglas wrote of Deborah, and to all of us, I think:  “To live in our hearts is not to die.”  Yes.

Deborah Powell Boyd—Presente  

For Chinwe Maureen Dike, family was everything as well. And I think perhaps the whole of Nigeria and Nigerians living in the US were her family.  Many wrote at her passing just a year ago.  She had been ill and faced that illness over the years with courage, not allowing her condition to define her—but rather was known for her caring work on behalf of many in the world around her.  She worked at the United Nations and for UN organizations for many years, traveling around the world, and working for the well-being of her people.  She majored in Anthropology and Political Science.  Those who really knew her knew her as “Chips”,  just one reminder of her hope-filled and cheerful spirit. 

Chinwe Maureen Dike—Presente

These three join the others in that realm of the heart’s presence:  In my tradition, we call them saints---and the only requirement for Sainthood is the desire to live fully as a human being.  So let us recall Saints of the Class of 1976 whom we name and bring into the circle of this 2016 reunion:
 

Linda Weiss Manson July 17, 1986
Joan Powers September 24, 1987
Linda Ozolins  February 20, 1989
Mary Marx Sacks June 19, 1989
Laurie Jennings Hunt October 8, 1990
Linda May March 18, 1992
Leslie Rippel  August 27, 1992
Alexandra Tuttle September 22, 1993
Jean Hampton April 2, 1996
Lois Betz Gamble July 4, 1996
Barbara Sheridan Brown February 18, 1997
Ellen Gabriel June 19, 1999
Virginia Tishman Alexander December 7, 1999
Vida Parent Fauver August 27, 2003
Cynthia Dillon August 23, 2005
Jean Donovan February 2, 2007
Ann Bamford Adams May 3, 2007
Annella Brown April 13, 2008
Lenore Ivers May 30, 2008
Elizabeth Quirk November 25, 2008
Delia Saldana December 22, 2008
Teresa Gipson November 27, 2010
Deborah Blackmore Abrams July 15, 2011
Deborah Powell Boyd March 4, 2014
Chinwe Dike May 20, 2015

              
I recently received a book by Irish writer, John O’Donohue called To Bless the Space Between Us. As we move to our next five years, as the spaces widen, be it the distance of geography, or time, or even realms of the cosmos, may the spaces   between us blessed as we hold fast to both memory and future. 

As we live that further journey into our 60s I share the wisdom of Marge Piercy, part of a poem called As the way narrows from Colors Passing Through Us:

What did we expect of the years?

An easy path?  Comfort handed

us like our morning café au lait

with a newspaper we did not bother

 o translate and a perfect crossant?

Virtue rewarded with a nice pension?

………

I can remember hope, remember

ease, but as we age, the way

grows steeper.   Yet we have

taken each other and hold hard.

In that unforgiving night we walk

now  hand in hand alert as foxes

with our senses peeled raw

our steps still sure and bold.             

Marge Piercy, As the way narrows             

Note: At the Class of 1976 reunion class meeting on June 4, 2016, the class voted to donate $300 to the Wellesley College unrestricted fund and $300 dollars to the Wellesley Student Aid Society in memory of Deborah Blackmore Abrams, Deborah Powell Boyd, and Chinwe Dike.