CLASS NOTES February 2003

Ella Vander Horst

Dorothy Dow Crane and Terry Newirth Hirshorn wrote the following tribute for Ella Vander Horst, who died 6/10/02.

While recovering from non-Hodgkins lymphoma, she was struck with a virulent infection that quickly proved fatal. She leaves her husband, Ben Tittler, and two spunky daughters, Amanda, 20, and Meredith, 16.

Ella took a lot of ribbing for her Southern accent. But those of us who teased her also appreciated her sense of humor, optimism, generosity of spirit, and willingness to share those incredibly delicious pound cakes that periodically arrived from her mother.
Ella hated the cold. During the dismal gray months she shivered even indoors, a familiar sight walking down a Denbigh hall with her shoulders hunched and her arms crossed in front of her chest to keep herself warm. Her first words upon entering a room were often, “Aren’t y’all cold in here?”

She liked bridge, but never became addicted. She preferred a conversation about something that really mattered, whether it was social justice issues or the latest Haverfordian in your life. Ella remained a people person. After graduation (and getting rid of extraneous Haverford “baggage”), Ella trained as a psychiatric nurse. She made home visits, mostly to the elderly. When asked about her work, she explained how she liked to listen to their stories and help those who were isolated and often forgotten.
Ella and her family settled in Swampscott MA, a town with a warmth of spirit, if not weather. She lived on a street where neighbors often became friends and watched out for one another. When she and Ben joined their neighbors for takeout dinner that last Friday night, no one knew she would be gone by Sunday.

Ella lived her life with honesty, good humor, and a directness that kept us all honest. Above all, Ella treasured family and friends. We are among the many, many friends who miss her.

“Sisterhood is indeed powerful,” writes Suzanne Fedunok of the women’s group she joined 33 years ago as a graduate student. Her group of seven still meets once a year and stays in touch through email. What began as conscious-raising activism has become mutual support. Here is news of still-powerful sisters and mothers—teachers, writers, and others.

Associate Professor of Chemistry Terry Newirth Hirshorn has cycled into her turn as department chair at Haverford and is also clerk of the faculty. Both Terry and Ruth Levy Guyer, who is teaching a course on Bioethics at Haverford, have daughters in Teach for America. Emily Hirshorn teaches fifth grade in Baton Rouge, LA, and Dana Guyer teaches third grade in the Mississippi Delta. Terry’s younger daughter, Elizabeth, graduated from Wellesley this spring, along with Ann Stehney’s daughter, Jessica.

Susan Ames attended the annual picnic of the Royal Astronomical Society in last July, took part in a workshop about identifying dark matter at Sheffield University in York, England, last September, and flew to Oxford for a meeting on cosmology in December.

Mavis George Cauffman and her husband Dave (Haverford ’66) are living on a hilltop on Whidbey Island, overlooking Puget Sound. Mavis still plays and teaches the harp.

Ann Livingston Holland reports that her mother, Ramona Livingston, who taught some of us Freshman Composition, suffered a serious stroke on the day after Christmas 2002. “Watching this courageous, gracious lady struggle to relearn such simple tasks as swallowing liquids or brushing her hair has refocused my priorities. Because language is her life, I cannot imagine her without it. We will all appreciate healing thoughts and prayers.” Ramona Livingston’s address is Bangor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Room 33B, 106 Texas Avenue, Bangor, ME 04401 or guest1@bangornrc.com.

Janet Ohle Ghigo still feels Professor Livingston looking over her shoulder asking, “What precisely does this sentence say? What did you mean to say? How could this sentence be recast to say exactly what you mean with no reinterpretation?” Janet, who is Managing and Copy Editor of the “American Journal of Electroneurodiagnostic Technology,” credits Freshman Comp for helping us all “learn to think, not simply hone our writing skills.” She mentions that Ruth Levy Guyer, Judy Chapman Purvis, and Marcia Ringel (BMC ’68) also write and edit information about science and technology for the public.

Another writer, Susan Klaus, spoke at The College in February about her book A Modern Arcadia. Frederick Law Olmstead Jr. and the Plan for Forest Hills Gardens, which was published in 2002 by the University of Massachusetts Press. Susan’s talk was co-sponsored by the Friends of the Library and the Growth and Structure of Cities Program. Susan went back to school in her 40s for a degree in American Studies, “having realized I had never studied my own country.”

Jean Hunt, who has begun working with the Campaign for Working Families in Philadelphia, remembers “the ways my mind was opened by individuals speaking truth to power, by the courage of people who stood up and said things were wrong. The Freedom Riders, the abortion speakouts, the teach-ins on the Vietnam War, the demonstrations, the local organizing—what a period of growth and excitement,” Jean says. “Those of us with enough economic freedom and time have a special obligation to stand up and say that the Bush administration is going into a very dangerous and frightening place…where working people slip further into poverty, where environmental degradation increases, where war is substituted for domestic growth and security.”

As I write this, people around the world are demonstrating for peace. Yesterday, in my nearby town of Santa Cruz, CA, several thousand people gathered to march against the U.S. government’s plans for war. Maybe by the time you read this our words and actions will have made a difference.

Taffy Brecht Everts
’67 Class Editor

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