Mary George Gast (R) enjoying conversation with Wendy Skolfield (L), Miss Mitchell’s great-great niece, at the Reunion Luncheon. Mary was honored at the luncheon in recognition of the celebration of her 80th Reunion.



Constance ‘Connie’ Smith Franklin sadly shares that her husband Major General Joseph P. Franklin passed away in March 2017 after a long battle with cancer. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in December with full military honors. He had an illustrious career in the Army and was Commandant of U.S. Military Academy at West Point when women were admitted. He is survived by Connie and four sons, Bill, Perry, Philip, and Dean. Connie remains active in supporting Young Concert Artists, the  National Museum of Women in the Arts, and Capital Speakers. She lives in Arlington, Virginia.


Barbara Abney Bolger notes, “As I write this, I am looking forward to my 65th Reunion. It will be different (and difficult) for me as I deeply miss my sweetheart Don Barley who died in May after a courageous battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I am grateful I was able to care for him at home with hospice help. A bit of happy news: my son and his wife, Megan, welcomed Ellie Barbara Grace Bolger on August 24. Her brother Jack is 6.

Barbara Brown McFarland writes, “I was sad to miss reunion, but am keeping busy with a new Havanese puppy. I am now on the Board of Directors of the golfing community where I live following retirement.”

Suzanne ‘Suzie’ Evans Benson remains active with Pet Partners, a national Therapy Animal Program, where she and her black English Labrador, Brendi, visit patients in hospitals and nursing homes. She is a member of the Pastoral Care Group in her church, and she also takes care of the Rose Garden at the University of Rhode Island. Among her other activities, she is a member of the Osher Lifelong Learning Center and she practices yoga three times a week. With her husband deceased, she remains busy in her community.


Judith Dubin Oksner shared “I remember WT vividly—Headmistress Mary Frances Philput and the terrifying Lida Johnston, Latin teacher, who called on us alphabetically; I remember hoping the bell would ring before the letter D came up. Playing half-court basketball and field hockey. Intellectual discussions even at lunch time. Cultivating intellectual curiosity and opening up a world far beyond Pittsburgh. My best friend then is still my best friend now.”


Anne ‘Kiki’ Bahr McConnel recently moved to Forest Manor and enjoyed connecting with WT through Reunion.


Mary Minor Evans and Beverlee ’Bev’ Simboli McFadden had an opportunity to visit in Minneapolis when Mary came down from Duluth and the McFaddens came from Berkeley for distinguished economist Daniel McFadden to receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota. Both Bev and Mary were walking well after a broken femur (Bev) and a hip operation (Mary) which didn’t seem to slow down either one.

Frances ‘Fran’ Blasdell Hubbell writes, “Despite advancing age, hurricane Irma and 3 cranky HVAC units, life is good here on Hilton Head Island. Bridge, volunteering (with Board positions), and photography take up most of my time. I traveled to Australia and New Zealand last spring, and had a fabulous time. Next month I go to Ecuador for 10 days of bird photography, and next year to Asia. The camera gear gets heavier (or, perhaps I get weaker) each year, as do the aggravations of air travel. I am also contemplating a retirement place nearer my girls in Maryland. So, if you want a great, free location at the beach, come soon.”


While in Pittsburgh for her 60th Reunion, Phyllis Chinlund presented as part of the Alumnae/i Panel and gave a talk on her memoir, Looking Back from the Gate: A Story of Love, Art, and Dementia, at the Jewish Community Center.


Nan Finegold Tynberg recently published a book, Shape: Reading in Three Dimensions, following 25+ years as a literature professor at a satellite campus of Cal State University. She notes, “It is my take on select works of favorite poets and storytellers. Many of the authors included in this book will be familiar names, others will be new to you. All of the poetry discussed is reproduced in full.”


Emily ’Tabby’ Amerman Vagnoni writes, “I had lovely visits this summer at our camp on Tupper Lake in the Adirondacks from Ann Barber Smith, Catherine Crutchfield Swatek, Daryl Massey Bladen, and Nancy Herron. Jill Barber, Ann Smith’s sister, came along too.


Kristin Langley writes, “Now that I am retired, I volunteer at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (home of Winter, the dolphin) taking care of sick and injured sea turtles. This may be my most rewarding work yet.”

Anne Parkin Pierpont writes, “My news is that my husband, John Pierpont, died in January, 2017. He fought a long and awful battle with Alzheimer’s and I’m glad it is over. I am finding that it takes a while for the person who is left behind to recalibrate a path. It is time to come out from under a rock. My love goes to all of the wonderful members of ’66 who shared my sadness and lent support from a distance and via text, particularly Consuelo ‘Connie’ Staisey Woodhead, who lost her dear husband about the same time, and to dear Christine ‘Chris’ Crawford who urged me to go on a trip with her in February. I did go and then I spent a few great days with Chris in the mountains of North Carolina in August. I can’t believe it has been a year since the Class of 1966 found each other again, partied at Mary’s house, sang “Blue Moon” and a few numbers from The Boy Friend, hugged and cried, spoke to the Fifth Grade students about life then and now, cheered Linda Frank Ruth for being there and being completely honest, listened to Vicki Erenstein ya Toivo talk about the world in Namibia, and shared pieces of our life, loves, and burdens. We are due for a repeat reunion in 2018. I can’t wait 5 years.”


Members of the Class of 1967 pictured above in front of Molloy Posner Hall during their 50th Reunion festivities. (Back Row, L-R) Jan Alpert Engelberg, Peggy Klineman, Wendy Newstetter, Susan Chamovitz Kapp, Suzanne Durand, Sarah Irvin Riling, and Yoko Okayama; (Front Row, L-R) Carolyn Watt Johnson, Jocelyne Clench-Aas, Alice Merrill, Suzanne Gurzenda Black, Audrey Geer Masalehdan, and Eleanor Schatz Magyar.

Margaret Duggar sends greetings from Oregon! She would be happy to hear from anybody who would want to talk with her and can be reached at the contact information listed in the Alumnae/i Directory.


Joy Marks Gray writes, “Since retiring from teaching, I’ve kept my hand in education by teaching classes twice a year at a local retirement village and supervising student teachers as a Case Western Reserve University adjunct. My husband Marvin and I were thrilled to have our son Matthew and his family from Bristol, England visit for three weeks this summer. There’s nothing better than having our two sons (Daniel in Columbus, Ohio), their wives, and children together, especially when Grandma spent lots of cuddling and reading time with her two granddaughters, Hattie age 5 months and Lottie age 3 1/2 years.

Kathryn ‘Katy’ Rich Sherman and her husband attended Reunion this year in preparation for her 50th Reunion. She looks forward to seeing everyone. Mark your calendars for October 12 & 13, 2018!


Susan ‘Sue’ Hunter is back in Pittsburgh and had a great time at Reunion!


Susan Whitacre writes, “What a fabulous fall weekend we spent at the historic Bedford Springs Resort and Spa, celebrating the marriage of my daughter, Madeline Werner, to Charlie Salazar with fellow WT Alumnae Wendy Werner Leiti ’78, Leslie Braun Basilone ’77, and Lisa Braun Corna ’73. The weeklong festivities kicked-off in Pittsburgh where out-of-town guests enjoyed a grand Ducky Tour through the streets of downtown and right into the rivers! We rode the Incline to the top of Mt. Washington to take in the breathtaking view of the city at dusk and to toast the couple. The next day we took to the skies over Pittsburgh in a private plane for a bird’s eye view. Off to the Boathouse at North Park for a perfect sunset over the lake and a cool evening around the fire pits… more laughing, toasting, and dining! The next day we were off to Bedford Springs, drinking in the beauty of the fall weather and changing leaves as we cut through the mountains. Madeline and Charlie exchanged their vows with a beautiful backdrop of an intimate waterfall in front of 125 or so family and friends. The reception was magnificent… every detail planned and prepared and presented by the bride and groom. We partied the night away…and the next two days too!

Classmates Margery ‘Margie’ McKinley and Susan Whitacre have coordinated schools and churches to send handmade gingerbread dolls and handwritten notes from residents of Pennsylvania to children in Houston who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Interested in helping? Contact mymarque4@reagan.com.


Janet Marstine, Academic Director, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester gave a lecture at the University of Pittsburgh titled “Artists’ Interventions and the Project of Reconciliation between Museums and Publics.” Janet’s fascinating lecture was well-attended by students and community members including Janet’s father, Sheldon Marstine, widower of Constance Blum Marstine ’55, former Winchester Thurston faculty member Ann Wilkins and her husband, David Wilkins, former trustee, Gaylen Westfall, Honorary Alumna, and Ashley Harper, Director of Advancement at WT.


Jill Medina was recently named Director of Major Gifts in the Division of Development and Alumni Affairs for Oberlin College and Conservatory. Jill joined Oberlin College as a staff member in 1997. Most of her professional experience has been with the Admissions Office, most recently serving as the Director of Admissions Operations. Jill’s role with the major gifts team will be focused on the overall management of the Major Gifts department, collaboration with other fundraising teams, and the development of stewardship opportunities.


Maria Leventis-Di Stefano is moving back to Pittsburgh in the summer of 2018 and would like to reconnect with classmates. You can reach her at mleventis@yahoo.com or (917) 450-0534.

Elizabeth ’Liz’ Wollman recently published the Critical Companion to the American Stage Musical which serves as an introductory text for students of theatre, music, and cultural studies. It traces the history and development of the industry and art form in America with a particular focus on its artistic and commercial development in New York City from the early 20th century to the present.


1989 Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Miller Buchanan is “Proud to report that my son Beck is now at WT, Class of 2021. I never would have imagined in 1989 that my son would have the opportunity to …


Lauren Ober is the host of NPR’s The Big Listen. Recently, she met Terry Gross and nearly passed out from excitement. Check out the show at biglisten.org or on Twitter at @hearbiglisten.

Keshira haLev Fife (Sarah Gross Fife) was recently ordained as a Hebrew Priestess by the Kohenet Institute in a ceremony at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, CT. The Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute is a program centered around embodied, earth-based, feminist Jewish leadership, and inspired by traditions from ancient Israelite sources, Jewish texts and folklore, kabbalah, and contemporary creativity.


Sarah Zeitler started her own venture earlier this year. “The company is called Team Zeitler and we collaborate with companies and individuals to provide creative solutions ranging from producing one-of-a-kind events to permanent installations as well as innovative marketing campaigns that stand-out! If anyone in the WT community needs help with their marketing strategy or just some fresh ideas, please reach out!” sarahzeitler@hotmail.com


This May, Andrew Santelli married Jacqueline Ryczek in Anaheim, CA. WT alums present included Genevieve ‘Jenny’ McJunkin-Rhodes ’98 and Leslie McJunkin Hoover, whose husband, Zach, served as a groomsman.


Alexander ‘Alec’ Karakatsanis’s work fighting against modern day debtors’ prisons and “human caging” recently appeared in Harvard Magazine. He has filed a series of settlements in counties across the United States that have outsourced their prison systems to private companies.

Kristen Maser Michaels’s daughter, Lucy, is now a Kindergartener at WT! Serving companies like PJ Dick, EQT, and Alcoa, CMO.

Barry Rabkin was proud that CIO Review rated Identified Technologies fully-managed commercial drone solution as one of the top 20 Most Promising Construction Tech Solution Providers of 2017.


Michael ‘Mike’ Roth is riding 280 miles from Jerusalem to Eilat in support of The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, an environmental school and research institute that teaches co-existence through transboundary environmental work in the fields of renewable energy, conservation, transboundary water management, sustainable agriculture, and sustainable development.


Surrounded by loving family and friends, John Prendergast and Antonette Bondoc were married in a joyful celebration at Saint Ignatius Catholic Church in San Francisco on August 5, 2017. John is Director of Supply Chain for Asia, Middle East, and Africa at Levi Strauss & Co. John and Antonette live in Singapore.


Don Michael Mendoza writes, “I graduated with my Master of Arts in Strategic Communication from American University and my production company, La Ti Do Productions, produced two concerts with the touring casts of Broadway’s The Sound of Music and Lincoln Center’s The King and I that were for the benefit of the artists and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. It was a wonderful opportunity to work with well-known theatrical personalities such as Laura Michelle Kelly (Finding Neverland), Jose Llana (Here Lies Love), and Nicholas Rodriguez (Tarzan). We’re hoping to work with John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts touring casts again in 2018.”


Katherine ‘Katy’ Gespass regrets missing her Reunion, but wanted to share that she and her husband have moved to Long Beach, NY where she will be the Furniture and Mattress Buyer for P.C. Richard & Son.

During Reunion 2017, members of the Class of 2007 had a lively game of Cards Against Humanity in the Senior Lounge, their senior gift to the school.


In the PICT performance of Romeo and Juliet, Alec Silberblatt performed as Mercutio.

Eric Schuman is completing his MFA in film at Columbia University, where he is studying under acclaimed director Ramin Bahrani (99 Homes, Chop Shop).


Morgan Gilbreath combines her knowledge of art history with her studio work. Her work was recently featured in “GlassRoots,” a blog devoted to artists in greater Newark.


Jack Stein writes, “I am sorry to have missed Reunion. I am a second-year graduate student at Columbia University working on Russian security and history. After I graduate in May, I intend to spend the next year living in the region doing research and studying the Russian language.


Randon Bopp writes, “Recently I moved to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue my goal of touring with bands and filming on the road documenting the experience of the band. I am currently working a full time job with Taylor Swift’s former manager, Rick Barker, doing all of his social media videos. I have also connected with American Idol’s final winner, Trent Harmon, and went on the road with him and filmed video for his performance in Mississippi. I also have connected with Loretta Lynn’s cousin, Tara Thompson, who is a singer/songwriter and have been doing some video work with her. There are other artists I have been working with, who are singer/songwriters, such as Alex Maxwell, Ryan Nelson, Blaire Hanks, and more!

Various Class Years

Jim Daniels, the husband of faculty member Kristin Kovacic and father to WT alumni, Ramsey Daniels ’11 and Rosalie Daniels ’13, has recently edited a volume of writing that has come out of the MLK Writing Contest put on each year by Carnegie Mellon University. Numerous WT writers have won awards in the contest over the years. WT alumnae/i in this volume include: Brittany Boyd ’05, Bridget Re ’15, Phallon DePante ’08, Erika N. Drain ’13, Thomas Holmes ’12, Nathaniel Hubel ’11, Taylor Thomas ’17, Jesse Lieberfeld ’13, Sierra Laventure-Volz ’05, Adam Saad ’08, Ari Schuman ’11, and Themba Searles ’11.

We look forward to seeing you at Reunion 2018, October 12 and 13.

Help make Reunion 2018 a success! Share ideas for how to mark the occasion, get involved with the plans, and/or reconnect with classmates. Email Amiena Mahsoob at mahsooba@winchesterthurston.org or call 412-578-7511.

In Memoriam

Thistle LogoThe following members of the WT community will be missed by their classmates, friends, students, and colleagues. We offer sincere condolences to their families.

Anne Roberts Duff ’34
Alice White Herning ’39
June Hahn Whitehill-Dukehart ’40
Sally Smith Williams ’44
Shirley Kerr Kennard ’45
Norma Sue Madden ’47
Gwen Chenoweth Swaney ’47
Lynn Hardie Burgan A’48
Carol Crookston Close ’51
Mary Henry Uhl ’56
Marilyn Jones Jessen ’57
Margie Balter ’68
J. Sherman McLaughlin, Honorary Alumnus
Keith Bemer, faculty member
Janet Bebb, former faculty member
John Holmes, former faculty member

Alumnae/i Connections

Check out our newly reimagined online spaces:

LinkedIn is now the place to share stories, find fellow alums, and engage in dialogue: linkedin.com/school/winchester-thurston-school.

The WTAlums Facebook page and class year groups are being retired. You can follow all that’s happening today at WT at facebook.com/winchesterthurston.

Visit the WT website to access the directory, update your profile, submit a class note, and learn about upcoming events.

We’re eager to help share your stories and facilitate connections!