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Mert Fowlkes '56

March 2023

The past 12 months have been a very healthy and active period for many of us, but, sadly, we lost five classmates during that same time. In chronological order, Bruzz Jory, Teddy Johnson, Stuart Egerton, Harry Lord, and Spencer Everett all passed away, some suddenly, and some after extended illnesses. Very sad. All five left their marks on the community in a variety of ways.

On a cheerier note, Bentley Offutt and Dave Sowell hosted a very enjoyable luncheon in October at the Elkridge Club, and 14 of us were able to attend. Those present, in addition to our hosts, were Guy Dove, Tom Carroll, Dick Biggs, Phil Briscoe, Fred Neesemann, Mert Fowlkes, Dave Eaton, Gordon Rupp, Joe Healey, Julian Jones, Cooper Graham, and Harry Lord. There was a lot of story-swapping and reminiscing. It was particularly good for many of us to get to know Gordon Rupp, who was never in the Upper School, and to see Fred Neesemann, who traveled up from Jacksonville, Florida, to be with us. Several people were heard saying, “Let’s do it again!”

Fritz Baukhages continues to spend half of each year in Southern Pines, North Carolina, while his home is still in Luray, Virginia All three of his grandchildren are in graduate school, or are gainfully employed, he’s happy to report.

Bill Zeeveld may be the last of our classmates still working, and he thoroughly enjoys his engineering consulting business in Hendersonville, North Carolina, yet he calls himself “in retirement.” Keep it up!

Sam Smith is concluding his project of tracking down burial sites of Marylanders in the War of 1812, and he’s ready to move on. A few nagging health problems have slowed him down, but regular physical therapy has helped a lot. He was sorry to learn of Bruzz Jory’s passing, as they were boarding roommates during Sam’s last year at Gilman in the Fourth Form.

Sandy Dugan is doing well in Wrenshall, Minnesota, and says that the cold winters are getting milder, thus allowing him more time for farm duties, which he says “impose compulsory gym for retirees.” He and wife Betsy stay very active and enjoy having two young grandsons nearby.

Guy Dove enjoyed the October luncheon in Baltimore, and later continued his routine of wintering in Vero Beach, Florida. He has resumed his annual pheasant shoot in Cornwall, England, which he missed for two years because of COVID. This is a sporting passion that he has enjoyed for over 30 years.

Leland James is happily settled in his longtime riverfront home in Irvington, Virginia, and Sue and I enjoyed spending a very pleasant day with him and Marion in November. He's not traveling much these days, but, with a lovely home like his, why would he want to?!

Nick Penniman is doing well in Naples, Florida, and regularly gets back to Baltimore to keep up with his children. He says, “All is good with us.”

Graham Slaughter was honored to have one of his terrific color photographs on the cover of “Save the Bay” magazine in December. It was a spectacular sunset over a pristine creek on the Eastern Shore. He says he still enjoys the hobby, but has slowed down considerably.

Howard Stick reports from Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, that he and Alyce stay busy gardening at home, and taking care of several rental properties in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.They still ski in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Keep it up!

Dick Biggs, Dave Eaton and yours truly, Mert Fowlkes continue to enjoy occasional Zoom sessions, with our wives, and it certainly has been a pleasant way to stay in touch casually.

Thanks again to all who have sent in news. Stay safe and healthy, and look forward to our 70th reunion in three years!


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