Class Notes – 1970-1979
Sanford “Pete” Lee ’70 finished his 12th year in the Colorado General Assembly in May and was honored by the El Paso County Democratic Party with a Lifetime Achievement Award and as Democrat of the Year. Pete was elected to four terms in the Colorado House of Representatives and one term in the Senate, serving as Chair of the Judiciary Committees in both bodies. Sponsoring almost 200 bills during those five terms, he emphasized reform of the criminal and juvenile justice systems. Restorative justice legislation was passed that promoted acceptance of accountability and healing for victims, alternatives to relying solely on punishment and incarceration. (12/22)
Daniel DiBiasio ’71 announced his impending retirement from his position as president of Ohio Northern University in 2022. Since becoming president in 2011, his achievements include emphasizing student involvement in high-impact practices, increasing opportunities for community service and engagement, expanding athletics, building and renovating facilities, expanding sustainable energy practices, and launching a comprehensive effort to increase diversity, equity and inclusion at the university. (12/21)
Janet Frost ’71 published her first short story through Painted Legacy Productions, LLC. “Dream of the Blessed Queen” is a fantasy that follows the story of Sir John Colchester’s quest for a home and his discovery of a strange kingdom and its queen. Janet lives with her family in Connecticut and Ontario, Canada. (12/21)
Dick Sesler ’71 was honored as a 2023 AARP Purpose Prize Fellow, a recognition for those age 50 or older who use their knowledge and life experience to solve challenging social problems. Dick received the award for creating camps for adults with developmental disabilities, focusing on recreation, socialization, and life skills education. “Being an AARP Purpose Prize Fellow has the potential to put Camp Blue Skies in front of millions of people,” Dick said. “Those people will know possible campers, or they may want to volunteer at camp.” (12/22)
Tom Cole ’73 was asked to turn his novella, One Last Fall, into a script for a possible movie by a production studio in Hollywood. His next novella The Class of ’73 is roughly based on his experiences at OWU, with names and places altered. Tom is a full-time community coordinator for the Taylor Automotive Family, part-time TV sports broadcaster on Buckeye Cable Sports Network (BCSN), and broadcasting instructor at St. John’s Jesuit High School and Adrian College. (12/22)
Allison Funk ’73 was one of seven U.S. poets to be awarded a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship this year. Her latest book is The Visible Woman, from Parlor Press. She is a Distinguished Professor Emerita at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. (12/22)
Annie Seiler ’75 retired from OWU in June after 38 years of service. She worked in a variety of capacities at the University, including in admissions, alumni relations, and major gifts. Annie raised millions for the Connect Today, Create Tomorrow campaign and led more than 1,700 visits with OWU alumni, parents, and friends during her career. Annie is pictured at 2021 Homecoming weekend. (12/21)
Cathie Worthing Helfand ’75 self-published a book with her husband, Israel, titled The YUMMY Marriage. It contains wisdom from their 40 years as marriage counselors and sex therapists running their Marriage Quest retreats. They consider it readable and valuable for young people before they get married, as well as couples in crisis looking for guidance. It is available on Amazon and Apple Books. (12/22)
David Doughten ’76 and Edwin Vargas ’86 started an apple cider business together, Brownhoist Cider Co. The two criminal-defense attorneys had become friends before David had inherited an orchard that is more than 50 years old. Ed, who happened to know how to make hard apple cider, partnered with him to explore the venture. They hope to open Brownheist Cider Co. in fall 2022. (12/22)
Rudolph Peckinpaugh Jr. ’76 was recognized with Best Lawyers 2022 Lawyer of the Year awards in Toledo, OH (Medical Malpractice Law and Defendants). (12/21)
Dick Ames ’77, Darrell Austin ’76, and Jerry Lasky ’76 got together at the “country club of Cleveland.” (12/21)
Julie Reidel Schoch ’77 and Emily Thayer Guziak ’78 met in Long Lake, NY, in September to canoe and camp in the Adirondack State Park. While sleeping in a tent wasn’t quite as comfortable as their Austin Hall dorm room, the beauty of the protected rivers and lakes made the effort worthwhile and offered the opportunity to recall OWU adventures, such as biking, and traipsing through the tunnel between Austin Hall and Monnett. (5/22)
Tracey Hooper Abby-White ’78, past president of the board of trustees at Brookdale Community College, was honored as Trustee Woman of the Year by the American Association for Women in Community Colleges. She is serving her third term on the board of trustees. In issuing the invitation, Monique Umphrey, president of AAWCC, said, “You have joined an elite group of women community college leaders who are making a difference for their institutions and the communities they serve.” Earlier, she served on the Henry Hudson Regional Board of Education, holding all offices, including president. She is a former Atlantic Highlands councilwoman and founded the Atlantic Highlands Youth Commission. Tracey is chairman of the Atlantic Highlands Municipal Tri-District Feasibility Study Committee and senior director of sales enablement at IronNet Cybersecurity. (12/22)
Emily Thayer Guziak ’78 authored a memoir about forgiving her father, crediting Dick Lovell ’69 as her inspiration. Dick was her high school journalism teacher and mentor, encouraging her to study journalism at OWU. In her memoir, Just Ask: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Emily explores how a person can learn to truly love themselves even if they don’t experience unconditional love as a child. One chapter of her memoir relates experiences at OWU. “Mostly I write about the wonderful relationships I developed there,” she says. Her memoir is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. (5/22)
Beth Burns ’79 was welcomed as associate head coach for the University of Southern California women’s basketball team. She has over 30 years of experience in college women’s basketball, previously serving as associate strength and conditioning coach for the University of Louisville. (12/22)
Donna Burtch ’79 coauthored W.G., a biography of W.G. Raymond, an ordained abolitionist white officer appointed by President Lincoln to recruit the first federal African American Union Army troops after the Emancipation Proclamation. Written with her brother, William Burtch, the book follows their third great-grandfather, a complex and impactful figure in history, with themes that are still relevant today, such as race, addiction, a divided nation, and a truthchallenged government. (12/22)
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