(Blue &) Golden MemoriesNov 10th, 2010 | By admin | Category: Alumni Profile, Features
BY ELISE KNABLE ’09
In mid-October, the campus was abuzz with activity as many who once called Wesley home returned to their old stomping grounds. Alumni who attended the annual Homecoming festivities represented numerous generations of former students whose hearts still have a place for Wesley. Among them were members of the Class of 1960 celebrating the 50th anniversary of their graduation from Wesley Junior College. Having traveled from all directions to attend the reunion, class members brought with them unique remembrances of their Wesley experience as well as stories of their individual journeys since they departed the campus 50 years ago. Reunited for this special event, they reminisced about the cherished memories they made together at Wesley. Prior to celebrating this important milestone, a handful of them shared personal reflections on their alma mater and how the College was instrumental in their lives.
“Wesley was important to me because it was the stepping stone to a new life of friendships and exposure to the world outside a small town,” explained Darryl McCabe ’60. “Many friendships and good times were enjoyed there.” After attending Wesley and playing football and intramural sports there, he continued his schooling at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, where he received a degree in agronomy.
In 1963 he married Deanna and began to pursue a career in golf course management while working at various courses on the east coast. After gaining experience through several positions, McCabe returned to Delaware to work for New Castle County. He was the superintendent of Delcastle Golf Club until 1986, when he became a partner in Delaware Golf Club Management and took over the lease for Delcastle for the next 22 years.
When the contract with the club ended in 2008, McCabe and his wife retired to Lewes, Delaware, where they currently enjoy the accessibility of the beach and the surf fishing that has become a favorite pastime for them. He and Deanna have three children—Clarke, Cindy and Todd. “Between them, we have seven beautiful grandchildren.” Although retired from the golf business, McCabe still has a passion for the game. He is very active in his community of Baycrossing and Sussex Pines Country Club and he and Deanna spend a lot of time on the course. They also look forward to traveling the country in the years ahead to take in the numerous sights they have yet to see.
“I never had any intention of going to college after high school,” expressed Jim Landis ’60, “but my time at Wesley proved to me that I could do the work that was put out for me to do.” With this lesson learned, Landis graduated from Wesley Junior College and continued with another year of school at American University. After securing a job in the financial sector in Wilmington, Delaware, he married his long-time high school sweetheart in September 1962.
Landis joined the Delaware Air National Guard during the draft a year later and spent 26 years as a part-time aeromedical evacuation technician until retiring from the Guard in 1989. In addition to his part-time role, he worked in the financial industry in various positions, such as credit and collection manager, mortgage banker and real estate appraiser, until October 1973 when he joined K&D, Inc., a local insurance firm in Wilmington.
“My time and experience [at Wesley] helped me in my insurance business as far as taking courses and passing required tests which led to several professional designations I received,” Landis noted. He began his work in the firm as a producer and finished his career as a partner up until his retirement in 2009. “It turned out to be the best job I could ever find.”
He and his wife, who celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary in September, have two children, Barbara and James, and each has two daughters. In addition to enjoying time with their grandchildren, the couple enjoys boating, golfing or skiing when not attending to their retirement investment, a Christmas tree farm off Route 5 in Sussex County, Delaware. “In our early years of marriage when our kids were small, we would make an annual visit to a local Christmas tree farm. We always had so much fun that we thought having a Christmas tree farm would be a neat retirement project,” he said.
Living in Delaware, Landis enjoys the benefit of seeing the College as he drives by on occasion, and reading about Wesley graduates and their achievements in Wesley magazine, the newspaper or on the news. The 50th reunion of his class has spurred him to appreciate even more his own Wesley education. “We seem to always look for instant gratification and just don’t stop to reflect on past life experiences that have gotten us to the point of that all important decision.”
Joan (Lefever) Bennett
While growing up on a dairy farm in Nottingham, Pennsylvania, Joan (Lefever) Bennett ’60 hoped to go to school to learn about horticulture and designing flower gardens but found that there were no opportunities at nearby schools to follow her dreams. “When I learned about Wesley and the special programs it had to offer, there was no looking back,” she recalled. After graduating from the College, she stayed in Dover for a year while working for the Bank of Delaware in its stocks and bonds department. There she got a “first taste of being on my own and becoming a part of the business world.”
Armed with an Associate of Arts degree and some valuable work experience, Bennett moved to Washington D.C. in 1961 and entered night school at George Washington University, eventually earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology. While attending school, she worked at Executive Interiors, an office furniture showroom, where she worked with many decorators who designed the city’s offices and hotels. While working there she met Richard Vigueire, who helped her to become familiar with Young Americans for Freedom, “a small political organization with a strong college chapter program.”
She worked within the organization, learning how to produce direct mail fundraising for political campaigns, museums and monuments. “It all centered around advertising, marketing and creating donor mailing lists which is where I am today at Atlantic Mailing Lists in Arlington, Virginia,” Bennett explained. She noted that Wesley influenced her in many aspects of her life, including when she “joined and became a board member of the Direct Marketing Association of Washington (DMAW) Educational Foundation with its goal to educate and inspire college students to enter the field of direct and interactive marketing.”
While working in D.C., Bennett met her husband John, a member of the Metropolitan Police Department, and the couple made their home in Annapolis, Maryland and have been “on the water ever since.” In addition to enjoying coastal life at their home, Bennett spends her free time gardening and going to auctions for decorating pieces. “I enjoy organizing events promoting DMAW to college students in the mid-Atlantic region,” she added.
One of Bennett’s fondest memories at Wesley was being one of six students who, dressed in their white dresses, would drive to a church in New Jersey to represent Wesley at its Sunday supper. It was “a memorable event that summed up what the Wesley experience was all about,” said Bennett. She also enjoyed the chance to be one of the first disc jockeys for WSLY, the Wesley radio station on campus, and having her own show, called “Soothing Sounds of WSLY,” broadcasted evenings during the week.
“My two years at Wesley opened the door to opportunities I would never have realized, both academically and personally,” Bennett expressed. “There’s a special nature of a Wesley education and those who make it happen, for which I’m very grateful.” She continued, “I’m sure that my classmates share that feeling.”
An Air Force veteran who served eight years as a sergeant in administration, Clarence Martin ’60 found Wesley College to be a place to “continue becoming a more knowledgeable person.” Upon his graduation in 1960, he enrolled in West Chester University where he received his bachelor’s of education in biology, English and health in 1963.
Martin’s educational journey didn’t stop there, as he continued his studies to receive a master’s of education in socialsciences at West Chester University and earned a doctoral equivalency from University of Wisconsin and Penn State. He attributes his desire for lifelong learning to Wesley Junior College where “receiving an outstanding solid base to continue my further pursuits in education” drove him to share his knowledge as a life science, geography and history teacher for 35 years.
Martin married Carla-Donna Holmgren in 1966 and their family grew throughout the years with three children— Daryl, Bethany and Joel. Although Martin and his wife are now retired from full-time careers, he is employed part-time as an educational therapist at a behavioral modification center in Mt. Gretna, Lancaster and York in Pennsylvania. He volunteers regularly and is an active member of his church, having served throughout the years as an elder and trustee. Martin also has the distinction of receiving the 33rd degree in Free Masonry, an honor of which he is very proud. In addition to staying busy with community activities, Martin and his wife enjoy spending time with their five grandchildren, traveling and also fishing and hunting on their three acres of property.
Looking back on his Wesley days, Martin recalled “the excellent, caring professors” who guided him through the beginning of his post-secondary pursuits. He felt that coming back to Wesley this fall allowed him “to share my starting point in higher education with my wife and recall the memories of Wesley and the outstanding classmates.” Expressing a common sentiment of many graduates who return to their alma mater, he added, “Memories in life are important to share with others.”
Jane (Kearney) MacDonald
“It was always my hope to return to Wesley one day and give back some of the rich experiences I received as a student,” explained Jane (Kearney) MacDonald ’60 as she described her continuing connection with the College. After graduating from Wesley, MacDonald enrolled at Towson University, earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She went on to complete graduate work at Loyola University. “Most of my career was spent teaching first grade and raising a family,” she explained. She married Bob MacDonald in 1979 and together they shared three sons, Bobby, Kenneth and Ronald, and a daughter Jaquelyn. After teaching for 37 years, MacDonald retired from the Tome School in Cecil County, Maryland and has stayed active in volunteer activities. When she is not volunteering with her church or other committees or having family time, she and Bob enjoy traveling. For the past 10 years, MacDonald has served on Wesley’s Alumni Association Board of Directors. She and Bob return to campus several times a year to participate in board activities and other College events. “We love attending social functions at Wesley such as Homecoming, Founder’s Day, graduations or just helping with fundraisers on campus,” she said. MacDonald described her current affiliation with the College as a way to keep that connection with the Wesley family that she discovered when she first attended the school. She noted that the “administration, staff and students worked closely together” while she was there and that it is gratifying to visit campus regularly to see “that same relationship on a much larger scale.”
MacDonald, along with Martin and Bill Hufnal ’60, served as class volunteers and began in the spring promoting the reunion and encouraging fellow alumni to return. “When I volunteered as a reunion contact to call my classmates, I did not realize how rewarding it would be. Sharing stories from the past and catching up to the present day was such a pleasure. What a revelation to know the telephone is still there giving a personal touch to communicating! I found this was a great way to reach out and encourage fellow classmates to return,” said MacDonald.
Through their contacts, the three of them were able to renew old friendships and their efforts resulted in a good showing of alumni at their 50th reunion. All of the attendees had a wonderful time revisiting their alma mater and reuniting with Wesley friends over Homecoming Weekend. With special seating and recognition at the All Class Reunion Dinner, members of the group were individually named and given a 50th reunion gift from the College. In addition, the alumni from Class of 1960 were the honored guests at Sunday’s Golden Grads Brunch, during which they were officially inducted into the Golden Grads Circle by President Johnston and given a commemorative lapel pin. The attendees especially enjoyed the opportunity to share memories of their Wesley days and to catch up with one another throughout the weekend.
Since class volunteers and personal contact are critical ingredients to any reunion, the College welcomes involvement from other Wesley alumni to get an early start for their own upcoming class reunions. For information on getting involved in a future reunion for your class or group, please contact Director of Alumni Affairs Amanda Downes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 302–736-2318.