CAM 101521

This column reflects the life transitions of our classmates as well as the overhang of our many months dealing with the Covid Pandemic.  The tone is less than uplifting.  Ever the optimist I, along with you, hope for better days.  Keep sending your Class Notes to us, especially if you have exciting, happy news you wish to share with your classmates.

Elanor Erskin (Stanford) writes that she is in a retirement community for two years and is enjoying it very much.  “Covid caused restrictions  but activities are coming back.  Plenty of time for reading and storytelling. I have four grandchildren in undergraduate or graduate programs, one a 2nd lieutenant in the army.  Final thought, “Have an attitude of gratitude”.

Therese Baker Degler (Elzas) writes from Stanford CA and her long term campus residence on Mears Court. “I’m trying to finish a study of the original Mears Court leaseholders.  My late husband, Carl Degler, was one of them.  I and another original owner interviewed 15 of the original 32 originals in 2003 after they had been in their houses since 1968, the year the street was built.  I will prepare a text describing what the original owner felt about the street after 35 years.  Mears Court is one of the faculty housing streets on the Stanford Campus.  I’ve now lived on this street for since 1989.”  She further lamented the effects of  the Covid virus in curtailing family and travel activities.  However, she has been unscathed.

Most of us know David Lipsky from his lengthy tenure as Dean of the ILR School.  “I was a member of the Cornell faculty for 50 years.  I retired in2018.  I was the Anne Evans Estabrook professor of Dispute Resolution and served as Dean from 1988 to 1997.  Regrettably my wife, Sandy,  died in early 2020.  We were high school sweethearts and met in 1956,  We were married in 1962. 58 years.  I maintain an office at the ILR school and do my best to stay up to date in my field.  Obviously 2020 was a terrible year, especially for me, but we must persevere and do our best.”


Again, we hear from Gail Ripans (Kweller) in Atlanta, GA. “I moved to a senior community, Lenbrook, in January of 2020. I still lecture about international relations, especially the Middle East. My twin grandsons will have their Bar Mitzvah in November in Atlanta.”  Gail comments that the pandemic is “A Biblical Plague and can happen again.”  She further adds that she remains in regular contact with a group of five of her fellow Cornellians.

Willard Reed has moved to Rensselaer, NY and writes, “My wife passed asway in Oct. 2017.  I sold the house in Ocala and purchased a doublewide in a trailer park.  When the pandemic struck, I eventually caught the virus, lost 30 pounds and had a memory problem.  Both are getting better a little at a time.  Now I have relocated to Rensselaer near one of my sons.  My pandemic takeaways include some loss of memory, learning and strength.”

Gerrit White  “Elizabeth and I have gotten our COVID shots and are happy to resume our traveling again after a long-inspired drought. Playing golf, pickleball, gardening, and swimming on The Villages Aquatic Swim team has kept me busy, along with the active lifestyle here at The Villages. We have a reunion scheduled in August at the NJ shore for our family of 12, including our 5 grandchildren. Our oldest grandson will start college this fall in the nearby city of St. Petersburg FL. I wish everyone would take their vaccine shot so this pandemic can be eradicated world-wide.  

Deanna Nass (Spitzer)  My daily life is more contemplative and more ‘inward-bound’ than it was before the pandemic. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – since it allows me time to savor and appreciate (anew) the experiences of the past as encapsulated in old photos and correspondence saved in an album. Additionally, the technology of email has enabled me to maintain many of these friendships, bringing them from the past into the present. The technology has also allowed me to gratify my life-long interest in the arts, presenting me with a virtual reality of ballet performances, art exhibits, and concerts that comprise the current cultural scene in NYC.

I wonder if anyone remembers me from the one year I spent at Cornell – living my freshman year in Clara Dickson VI, a major in art history. Though I loved everything about that freshman year, I transferred out of Cornell to the University of Chicago – to join my fiancée who was entering his first year of medical school. There was no regret concerning the transfer however, since it was a matter of two truly great institutions offering the best in higher education. Nevertheless, looking back at the happy days spent at Cornell, I would welcome any re-connection with the brief friendships sparked there.
P.S. My freshman year was \'57-\'58 (Class of 1961

As you are aware, after publication of the May/June 2021 issue CAM’s content has transitioned to a free, digital-first publication as part of the new Cornell alumni communications hub. The July/August Class Notes have been published! Here is a link: For those who prefer a more traditional magazine, there will also be a paid print option; details on its content and timing are still being discussed.

 Please keep your news flowing to us. Doug Fuss  <>  and Susan Stevens (