Class of 1969

1969

 

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.

Claire Clay ’18
Alumni relations manager

 

 

 

 

REUNION ALUMNOTES

    Attending May Day?

Mary Fran Gumpper Bennett
Mary and her husband, Jack, have three children and two granddaughters. 

She retired as the manager of the Chardon Library in Chardon, Ohio. Mary and Jack moved to Prescott, Ariz., in 2011. They enjoy hiking and exploring National Parks out west. Mary is a docent for the Sharlot Hall Western History Museum. Mary and Jack have traveled to Peru, Spain, Portugal, and several other European countries. 

Mary says, “One of the highlights of my years at Bluffton was the opportunity to spend a summer in Columbia. I went on to earn a Master's in Latin American Studies and Library Science from Louisiana State University. My first library job made use of my Spanish language skills.”

 

No

Jan Benroth 
Jan has been married to Carol (Gregg '66) Benroth for 38 years. They have one son. Jan and Carol have a five-year-old rescue schnauzer named Chloe. 

Toward the end of Jan's 40 year career in corporate finance, he started a web-based business selling auto dealership supplies. He sold the business two years ago. Jan and Carol are both very active in their church. 

Jan says, “I was able to apply my degree in business administration throughout my career.”

 

No

Robert O. Bertsche
Robert is married to Jody Bertsche. He is retired now as a retirement housing administrator. They have two children. 

Robert is a retired CEO of Meadows Mennonite Retirement Community. He is an elder at Glenwood Heights Mennonite Church.

Robert says, “(My) degree allowed me access to professions I had interest in pursuing.”

 

No

Lorren Caffee 
Lorren received a J.D. degree from Georgetown University Law Center. He is a member of Indiana and U.S Virgin Islands Bars. Lorren practiced law in Decathur, Ind., for four years. He served as Indiana Trial Courts Judge for 23.5 years and practiced law in St. Thomas, USVI from 1999-2010. Lorren is now retired.

Lorren says that Bluffton gave him, “Primarily career preparation.” 

 

Yes

James Steven (Steve) Clark
Steve married Mary L. (Delp '67) Clark nearly 52 years ago. Steve and Mary have a daughter and two granddaughters. 

Steve taught American history and driver education. He served as athletic director for six years and was the head football coach for 17 years. 

Steve says, “learned a lot (at Bluffton) and made many friends who are still great friends today.”

 

 Yes

Judy (Bishop) Cronise
Judy and her husband, Ron, are both retired. Judy has two children and two step children. They also have seven grandchildren.

She was a first grade teacher and now tutors, works with the community meal, serves on committees at church, belongs to a small group and a book club. Judy and Ron love to travel. 

She says, Bluffton influenced my life in so many ways. It left me very prepared for teaching and the most important is with wonderful lifelong friendships.”

 
No

Randy Gardner
Randy and his wife Cindy are both retired and really enjoying it. They enjoy attending their grandkids' sporting events. Cindy enjoys playing violin in a community orchestra, sewing for Community Health Professional, and babysitting their granddaughter. Randy and Cindy have three children. 

Randy spent his career as a psychologist/school psychologist. Since retiring, he enjoys playing golf, gardening, playing guitar, and following his grandkids. He has served on a variety of church and community boards and has maintained a supportive relationship with Van Wert City Schools. 

Randy says, Bluffton faculty stands out as the most influential aspect of my college experience. That goes not only for teachers, but also for the administration. Bluffton as a whole represented the kind of institutional values that promoted self-exploratory and personal growth.

 

Yes

Jan (Siebert) Holcomb
Jan and her husband, Norm Holcomb '70 have two children and four grandchildren.  

Jan retired from teaching in 2000 after 31 years. Since then, she has worked two 5-year terms as an aide at New Bremen Public Library. She is a member of the handbell choir and chancel choir and the co-chair of the funeral luncheon committee at St. Paul UCC. 

Jan says she is, “Still in contact with several classmates and other grads from Bluffton.” 

 

Yes

Thomas (Tom) Keller
Tom spent four years in the U.S. Navy. He got a BA in economics from Ursinus College and an MBA from Wharton School. He worked as an accountant. Tom became a CFP at two companies. He retired in 2015. 

 

Yes

Jim Langhals
Jim has three daughters and five grandchildren. His wife, Paula, retired from Elida Elementary. Jim retired from Delphos Jefferson high school as an English and history teacher. 

Jim also retired as the broker-owner of Jim Langhals Realty. 

Jim says, “(Bluffton) prepared me well for graduate school. My wife and I met at Bluffton.”

 

Yes

David Leatherman
David taught elementary school for 38 years and retired in 2007. He is enjoying his retirement by working on classic Corvettes and driving them with friends. 

 

No

Paulette (Luginbill) Reichenbach
Paulette grew up in a family that had a tradition of attending Bluffton College. The Luginbill family is second generation. Paulette and her husband, Doug, were pleased that their three sons became third generation. Paulette and Doug have two daughters. They are hoping some of their 10 grandchildren will find their way to Bluffton as well.

Paulette has had a career centered on care of children in settings of home, schools, churches, camps and community. The last six years, economic justice has been a focus as she has been a part time staff and volunteer at One World Handcrafts, the local fair trade store. She has been on a disaster trip to Illinois, Indiana and Carolinas. Offering hospitality, with good food and fellowship, is a gift Paulette and Doug offer. This could be hosting grandchildren for Saturday morning breakfast, or engaging people in the church and wider community, including out of town family and friends. 

Paulette says, “I had a strong church connection at Grace Mennonite Church in Pandora, Ohio, growing up and was taught the value of service to others. It seemed very comfortable moving on to the Bluffton campus with its Mennonite beliefs. Like others, I had a lot of growing up to do in self awareness and putting longings into right directions. With my interests in service, caring and nurturing children, I felt directed into the teaching field. Choosing elementary education to study prepared me well for my career of service to children. I enjoy singing and performing. Joining the Gospel Team and choirs at Bluffton were fine outlets for my music interest. To have a cross cultural experience by going on the European choir tour after my freshman year was valuable to get to experience other world cultures, and feel at ease in the broader world.”

 

Yes

James (Jim) Richard
Jim is married to Marcia A. Richard. They have three children and eight grandchildren. 

Jim has practiced law in Wooster, Ohio, since graduation from law school. 

Jim says that Bluffton gave him, “Career preparation and self-discovery.”

 

Yes

Libby (Eva Elizabeth Smith) Robold
Libby and her husband, Michael, have no birth children. They have had the pleasure of having younger family members living with them over the years. Their extended family of siblings and families are spread all over the country. 

Libby taught elementary education for thirteen years and special education as an art/yoga therapist for twenty years. She operated a bicycle touring vacation company for 25 years, taking people on biking, hiking, and kayaking journeys. Libby and Michael currently operate a large yoga wellness center. Libby is a Board Certified Yoga Therapist and Board Certified Ayurvedic Health Counselor. She has a school called Yoga for Health Education Mentoring Academy. 

Libby says, “I was given a tremendous background and confidence for teaching, which has been and continues to be my life long career. I was encouraged to use my creativity and to do professional writing ( I have published numerous articles over the years in education, travel, Yoga, and Ayurveda and poetry). I was not a Mennonite, but was very connected to the non-violent philosophy that has nourished my life and stood as one of my personal core values. I have been very active in my church and to this day, serve as an assistant in the service, sing with the music team, work with youth groups, and have even been guest speaker a few times! I will always cherish some very special relationships that were part of my college life and beyond! I came to Bluffton with difficult family issues and financial challenges, yet departed a determined, excited young lady, ready to meet the world of possibilities. I will never forget my surprise at being the 1969 May Queen.

 

Yes

Jo Anne (Foreman) Rollison:
Jo Anne married Leonard Rollison in 2003. He passed away in 2016. She is now working part-time as a Spanish translator for the Upper Sandusky Schools and leads a women's Bible study.

She says, Bluffton provided service opportunities to explore new horizons.  While at Bluffton, I went to Lima and Chicago to work with those dealing with the effects of poverty.  I went to Colombia to learn and serve in a Spanish-speaking environment.  God used these opportunities to guide me to hear and accept His call as a missionary to Honduras, where I served for 25 years.

 

Yes

Barbara Fretz Ross
Barbara and her husband, Archie Ross, have celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary. They have two children, and each of their families has two children. They all live near Barbara and Archie, so they enjoy many activities together. 

Barbara taught 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades for 27 years, then she retired to help with her grandchildren. She volunteered in the local elementary school. 

Barbara says, “Bluffton College gave me a good start on my teaching career, and I then got my Masters degree in education from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.”

 

Yes

Kuni Lu Ross
Kuni is married to Wayne Ross, who retired in 2009. They have two sons together. 

Kuni was a general music teacher at public schools in Ohio and Chicago until 1982. She taught piano in her home from 1982 until 2002. She is a volunteer at her church. 

Kuni says, “Even though I was in Bluffton only one year, it had a tremendous impact on the rest of my life in such a positive way.

 

Yes

Tom Roush
Tom and his wife, Mary Lou, have three children and six grandchildren. 

Tom retired in 2008. He plays tennis and golf in Florida and Lima. Tom and Mary Lou are active in the Estero Methodist Church. 

Tom says that because of Bluffton, “Lifelong friendships continue and does our 48 year marriage to Mary Lou (Fretz) Roush, who is from Bluffton Class of '70” 

 

No

Michael (Mike) R. Shields
Michael has been married for 42 years to Janelle Erskine. He has two kids and six grand kids. Michael owns two businesses, IdentiSys, a $66M Identification and Security business with over 170 employees, and Knopf Gallery, a seller of fine art landscape photography. Michael's son currently runs the main business, IdentiSys, but he stays active in both companies.

They are huge fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves, having season tickets for 25 years and have even traveled with the team a couple of times. In the rest of their spare time they love to gamble, boat on Lake Minnetonka which they also live on, and spend as much time as possible with their grandkids. 

Michael belongs to, and is active in, a number of business related associations and also does business consulting for four consulting firms.

 

No

Kay (Motter) Sommer
Kay married Ron Ahten '69. Kay has two children and four grandchildren. Ron passed away in 2008 from brain cancer. Kay remarried in 2018 to Jim Sommer. She now also has four step children and eight stepgrandchildren. She moved from Ohio to Illinois in 2018.

Kay retired from teaching art in 2001 after 31 years (Elem, Jr. High, & H.S). She is active in Trinity United Methodist Church. She is a trustee for Delphos Canal Museum since 2002. Kay worked for Beinings Nursery & Landscaping from 2002-18 and loved it!

Kay says, “I had Jaye Bumbaugh for one year in high school. He was the one who helped me realize that I could/should go to college. At Bluffton, I was impressed with the overall atmosphere and integrity instilled by B.C. I felt that it matched my upbringing.” 

 

Yes

Nedra Brookmyer Steury-McCord
Nedra and her husband, Art, have five children and six grandchildren. 

Nedra is a volunteer gardener at Hospice Home in Fort Wayne, Ind. She enjoys gardening, and porcelain painting. Nedra's pieces are scattered across the US with some being located at the World Museum in Oklahoma City, Okla. 

Nedra says, Bluffton University was a good fit for me and a wonderful place to further my education. My degree was in elementary education and I found I was well prepared to take over a classroom full of children. While teaching in Illinois, I received a Masters degree in learning disabilities and behavior disorders.  The best part of my four years at Bluffton was the bond of friendship with eight other women who still enjoy spending time together, supporting one another through life's challenges.

 

Yes

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