Class of 1971

1971

What have you been up to? Share a life update with your classmates by submitting an AlumNote. With your permission we will add it to this Web site and include it in the Bluffton magazine.

REUNION ALUMNOTES

Beverly Ann (Fleming) Benner
Goshen, Ind. 
Social work major

Beverly married Ed Benner in 1998
Has one step son, Chris and Katie Benner; and two grandchildren, Daphne (5) and  Zavier (1)

I am still working as a psychotherapist at a community mental health center, the Bowen Center. I am a registered play therapist-supervisor and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Indian. I got my MSW in 1992 at the University of Ill. at Chicago, and have been working in psychotherapy ever since.

Bluffton's impact on my life? Wow, I formed friendships I hold dear to this day. I really appreciated the small classes and personal contact with professors. Since I did not grow up Mennonite, Bluffton as an institution and my friends taught me about being Mennonite.

D. Arletta (Fagan) Culp
Fort Wayne, Ind. 
Music education major

Arletta is married to Michael K. Culp. 

Having taught choirs and vocal music for 30 years was both challenging and rewarding. Challenging in that, 13 of those years were spent in Middle School! Volunteering in two hospitals (6 years) and assisting in the needs of refugees learning how to function in America (13 years) brought onboard many more friends. She has a love for music and inspirational writing that brings her joy! Her and her husband enjoy to travel. They have seen much of God's creation!  She states that living during these stressful pandemic times has taught her much. She loves to bring joy into someone else's. Arletta states, "For at the end of the day, life is all about LOVE, given to us by our Creator. Choosing to give that same love away... is "Jesus with skin on" giving... and I believe, brings a smile to the face of God."

Arletta says that at Bluffton “I gained many friendships. And many will remain lifelong friends! I came to Bluffton a "child", and during those years on campus, I was forced to "grow up"!  Several of my teachers/profs took me under their wings, and gently but firmly, helped shape me into the person that I am today."

Arthur J. Engler 
Storrs Mansfield, Conn.
Elementary education

Arthur is married to Ronald J. Kolanowski and has three children, Joshua (age 16), Ben and Anna (age 13).

Having retired from full-time teaching at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing, Arthur still teaches two courses: Spanish for Health Care Professionals and School Nursing Clinical; and volunteers with the UConn American English Language Institute and Sigma Theta Tau International, the honor society for nursing.

Arthur says Bluffton "gave me a strong base in ethics and moral values. I really learned to appreciate volunteerism while at Bluffton."  

Nathaniel Fields   
Alexandria, Va.  
Economics and sociology major                                                                                                             
One son, Ryan Eugene Fields         

Nathaniel is now engaged in encouraging and assisting racial harmony, diversity and inclusions, social and economic justice issues in the United States. Internationally, he is working primarily in Africa and Middle East on education, youth development, community development and venture philanthropy initiatives.   

"My time at Bluffton laid the foundation and literally launched my life long commitment and career in public service, international development and social enterprise development."

Priscilla J. Friesen
Washington, D.C.  
Social work and sociology major

Married to Robert L. Felton III; stepparent of Anne and Catherine; five grandchildren from the ages 10-20.    

Priscilla continues to consult with families with a wide rang of human problems. She teaches professionals practicing in mental health and family enterprise. She is currently working to make the Murray Bowen Archives available at National Library of Medicine (originator of Bowen family systems theory). 

"My experience at Bluffton was an extension of my growing up years in Bluffton - solid values guiding my personal and professional life, encouraging independent thought, and contributing one's gifts and skills to the broader community."

Cynthia Wagner Gardner
Van Wert, Ohio
Education major

Married to Randy '69
Has three children Joseph, David, Elizabeth; and four grandchildren.

Cynthia taught kindergarten and first grade for 30 years. She played violin in a community orchestra, she is a member of the church choir and bell choir and sew for a group that supports the area hospice. Randy and her fund an annual banquet that celebrates teachers who have made a significant difference in students’ lives.

Bluffton impact on her life was "meeting her husband and making some lifelong friends."

Mitchell Kingsley
Bluffton, Ohio
Philosophy major

Married to Ann (Enright ’71) Kingsley; parents of Elizabeth Kingsley, Paul Kingsley and Catherine (David) Westerman Kingsley; three grandchildren.

Mitch is an attorney, volunteers with Mennonite Disaster Service and enjoys biking and woodworking.

He says, “My relationships, courses and experiences during the Bluffton years shaped pretty much everything that followed. Seeking to belong to and emulate Christ; experimenting with and learning writing; developing the skill of listening and being present; striving to build community — all these are life focii for me that can trace back to my time at Bluffton College.”

Janice (Freeman) Lower
Martinsburg,Wy.
Elementary Education major

Married to Allan who is retired from the Navy. They will be married 49 years in July. 

Janice retired after Bon Ton went bankrupt in 2018 then worked at a floral shop until COVID virus came to visit. Now she is currently taking care of 11 cats. 

Virgil Charles Mann
Lima, Ohio
English Education major

Married to Linda and have two children, Megan and Scott Mann.

Virgil is a retired teacher/administrator of Lima City Schools. He is currently a volunteer at Wheelhouse Bicycle Ministry of Lima. 

Virgil says he valued his time at Bluffton because the interaction with professors who valued him as a person, inspired him to think and care for others, made his 42 year career in education rewarding and successful. 

Pamela Neff
Columbia, MD
Economics major

Pamela is married to Bruce Drum.
Has three children, River Fister, Kevin Drum, Erin Sisson; and two grand children.

I received master and Ph.D. in Public Administration and got certified as a C.P.A. I worked in the federal government's Department of Health & Human Services and began entrepreneurial pursuits in accounting, taxes and farming. I volunteered for genealogy projects at my local church and several libraries. I raised 3 children and cared for my parents.

Bluffton's impact on my life? The most important aspect of my Bluffton years is that my worldview continued to broaden. I took many opportunities to travel including "Lima" and "Philadelphia" interterms, travel to D.C., Columbia (South America) summer, Europe summer with the choir, and a small-group which sang spring concerts at Mennonite churches across the U.S. Attentive professors were instrumental in growth of mind, heart and spirit.

Rachel (Habegger) Pannabecker
North Newton, KS
Comprehensive Spanish

Rachel is married to John Pannabecker '71

She retired as director of Kauffman Museum at Bethel College in 2014 and remains active as a volunteer researcher/editor. Rachel served on the exhibit team for traveling exhibits on racial stereotypes in American material culture, WWI conscientious objectors, posters from the Chinese cultural revolution collected by the late Bluffton president Robert Kreider, and vaping and addiction (see kauffmanmuseum.org). She enjoys playing mixed doubles pickleball and women's doubles tennis every week.

The "comprehensive" major was really a build-your-own format that allowed Rachel to spend her junior year in Bogota, Colombia and to take courses across the liberal arts from history and literature to economics and the social and natural sciences--all of which supported her work in a museum with history, anthropology and natural history collections and a "living exhibit" of the Kansas prairie. She deeply appreciates the freedom to construct that foundation and to engage in courses like Interterm 1969 where they investigated structural racism in Lima public schools. While their time at Bluffton was pre Title IX, getting to play tennis on the clay courts by Bren-Dell set her up for this lifetime sport.

David Lynn Patterson
Apopka, Fla
Psychology and sociology

Married to Lola K. Patterson, and has three children; Aaron, Jason and Dana; and four grandchildren. 

Bluffton prepared David for 40+ years as a minister. He is currently a YMCA aquatic director and works in sales for Patterson Construction Company. 

Craig Phillips
Lake Saint Louis, Mo.
Liberal arts major

Craig is married to Carol '71. 

He currently is retired from a career teaching children and adults who are blind and visually impaired at the Kansas State School for the Blind and training teachers of individuals who are blind and visually impaired at Missouri State University.  Received a Bachelor's in Education from The Ohio State University, a Master's in Special Education from Northern Illinois University, and completed post graduate studies in Orientation and Mobility at the University of Northern Colorado. 

Craig was only at Bluffton for his freshman year but says "I was inspired to pursue a life of service."

Gregory D. Place
Greenville, Ohio
Business administration/education major

Greg and Pamela Place have two children, Joel and Erika, and five grandchildren. 

He is a tutor. Bluffton's impact on his life was "Learning leadership."

Phyllis Winkler Reynolds
Bluffton, Ohio
Elementary teacher major

Phyllis has one child, Sheila and has four grandchildren, which range from a college junior to an eighth grader. 

Phyllis is retired from Citizens National Bank in Bluffton on December 31 of 2019. Although she never became the elementary teacher as she planned, she states that she has spent her entire life teaching others.  Phyllis taught Sunday School at First Mennonite Church ages 2-4 (including crafts) for over 20 years.  She has spent her years in the bank teaching and training other employees while doing multiple jobs myself.  A couple of years ago, Phyllis spent time, proof reading a book, which is now sold as a paperback, eBook, and an audio book on Amazon.  

Phyllis states that, "BC was an insightful time learning about other students life experiences and making new friends,  Being a Christian and experiencing many life struggles myself after college, BC was a good foundation for becoming a mentor to several people.  Learning to listen to others without judgment, showing kindness in your responses,  and understanding their struggles is a challenge, but a reward."

Marcia Mawer Simcox
Pipersville, Pa.
Music education major

Marcia is married to James R. Simcox ’70 and has five sons, Adam ’98, Ben ’99, Cole, Drew and Ethan; and 15 grandchildren.

She currently volunteers for local Food Banks, Recovery House, Transportation Women’s Ministry/Bible Studies/Stonecroft Ministries and enjoys her Grandma “duties!!”

Marcia says her time at Bluffton “broadened my understanding of global conditions and needs. It created an environment for exploring and developing my personal talents, gifts and interests. It prepared me for the ‘next steps’ of independence and personal responsibilities. And, I met my spouse!”

Nancy Brock Wallace
Celina, Ohio
Social work major

Nancy is retired 40+ years in Social Work.

Gary J. Wetherill
Bluffton, Ohio
English major

Gary is married to Lois Bauman and has two children and four grandchildren. 

He is retired after 35 years from Brookhill Center, a facility for people with development disabilities. Gary is recently retired from volunteering with the Boy Scouts. He is currently the president of the Swiss Historical Society of Bluffton and Pandora. Gary has an ongoing interest in the study of the material culture of Native Americans. 

Gary says his time at Bluffton “opened my eyes and mind to the broader world beyond my small town upbringing. The idea of service has played an important role in my life since graduation." 

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