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|Below are bios sent for our 40 year reunion. Much has happened in 10 years, so email your updates and bios toward our 50th.|
|Jim Turse: NEW
of JIM and CINDY
About 10 days after Ramapo graduation I went through plebe summer at the Naval Academy, and stayed through mid-term of plebe year. I completed undergraduate school at the University of Connecticut, and was commissioned in the Army in February 1966. Transferring to the Marine Corps in June 1966, I remained on active duty until the fall of 1991, with a brief hiatus to work as a civilian consultant in Iran in 1976. I served in Vietnam, Europe, North Carolina, California, and Hawaii in a variety of command and staff assignments in engineering, logistics, and information systems management. In the process, I found out that the utility value of a BA in English was limited to repeatedly asking the question "Would you like fries with that…?", and managed to pick up a couple of postgraduate degrees, and a professional certificate in real estate development to help get promoted to colonel and eventually find real work as a civilian after retirement from the Marine Corps.
Since late 1991 I've variously served as Director, Housing & Community Development, Honolulu, HI; managed high volume and urban real estate development; and, most recently served as community development director, assistant town manager, and town manager in two towns in New Hampshire. Everyone asks why New Hampshire after Hawaii? So, might as well explain it quickly. The Hawaii business cycle follows international trends more closely than domestic trends. Hawaii boomed in real estate development in the early 1990's, powered by Japanese investment. It went bust in the mid-90's. Many Hawaiian residents became expatriates as a result. We do have a home in Kaneohe, on the Windward Side of Oahu, about 10 miles from Honolulu, and anticipate permanently returning there next year.Been married to the same great gal, Cindy, from Mystic, Connecticut since we graduated from college. We've got two sons - Josh a Ph.D. fellow in genetics at Texas A&M University, and Jason, a junior Navy officer in Virginia. We count ourselves fortunate to be able to join you this year. I'm looking forward to getting caught up on the 30 years of stories from since the 10th reunion. My thanks to all of you still living in the area that are making the 40th reunion possible. See you in October!
NEW PHOTO of JIM
50 Year Update:
Amazing! Here we are completing our seventh decade of life, looking forward to the golden decades ahead and celebrating our 50th high school reunion. I transferred from Ramsey to Ramapo for my Junior and Senior years. Being a newcomer I did not have the advantage of going to the lower schools with you or growing up in the neighborhoods. So I missed out on some of the stories and experiences. Fortunately or unfortunately, I had the honor of having my aunt and her peers looking over my shoulder in high school. In the beginning I knew more teachers than I did students. However, I still felt very welcomed and enjoyed my years at Ramapo. Unfortunately, Helen Elliot passed away on January 10, 2010 in her beloved home in Cape Cod.
After high school, I went on to become a career college
student having much fun and alternating between 1A and 2S
to prolong the draft as long as possible. Upon graduation,
I immediately received my letter from the President and
was drafted into the Marines. Fortunately, my records were
not complete and I was sent home and immediately enlisted
in the Air Force. I tested well for languages and was
offered one year in Monterey, California for language
school to learn either Russian, Chinese or Korean. I
learned Korean and was sent to Japan and Korea for two
years to do some spy work.
Even in retirement we still don't have enough time to do
everything. Being grandparents is wonderful.
Our son Josh and his wife have a daughter in Vienna, Va.
and our daughter Jessica and her husband are in Mt.
Pleasant, SC and have a son with another on the way.
Trish volunteers at Memory Matters (an Alzheimer's Group),
practices and plays the violin, and enjoys golf and
other activities. I play golf frequently,
volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club and belong to the
Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors.
We enjoy Hilton Head tremendously and do not miss the
winters up north.
40 Year Bio:
After high school, I went on to become a career college student having much fun and alternating between 1A and 2S to prolong the draft as long as possible. Upon graduation, I immediately received my letter from the President and was drafted into the Marines. Fortunately, my records were not complete and I was sent home and immediately enlisted in the Air Force. I tested well for languages and was offered one year in Monterey, California for language school to learn either Russian, Chinese or Korean. I learned Korean and was sent to Japan and Korea for two years to do some spy work.
After completing my obligation in the Air Force, I moved to the Washington, D.C. area, worked in a bank and met my best friend and wife Trish. We have been married for almost 30 years and live in Alexandria, Virginia. We have two wonderful children, Josh (25) and Jessica (22) who have been the focus of our life for many years. After working in the banking industry for seven years, I moved on to work for Freddie Mac, a giant in the secondary mortgage market, and ultimately became their Treasurer. After completing 23 years at Freddie Mac, I retired 2 ½ years ago and never looked back. I was happy to get away from the stress and commuting. Even in retirement I still don’t have enough time to do everything. Trish and I both play a lot of golf, so it is great when we take vacations. We are currently splitting our time between Alexandria and Hilton Head, South Carolina, where we have a house on a golf course. I think ultimately we will move full time to Hilton Head when our children are fully established in their lives. It is hard to make the break from our friends and history in Alexandria.
Looking forward to the reunion.
Jeff Cleveland: For the past 27 years I have lived in Atlanta. I have 2 daughters, age 31 and 28, both of whom live in Chicago, and I will become a Grandfather early next year.
I have been in packaging sales most of my business career and have owned a manufacturer’s rep business for the last 8 years. One of our lines is NEXUS Plastics, thus Ron Esak and I do business together.
Leisure activities include golf, traveling and
volunteering. I contemplate moving to the Jacksonville, FL
area within the next several years which more than likely
will be my last port ‘o call.
Judi DeMao Camene: After graduating from Ramapo in 62, I worked for Raritan Plastics in Oakland for 2 years, then on to Capitol Lighting in Paramus for 1 year. I was hired by National Airlines in 65, and flew for them until Pan Am bought out National. I have been everywhere possible they fly to, including Viet Nam. I married my husband Byron in 71, he was from New Brunswick, NJ, and owned the Pines Country Club, and four years later we had a son.
During my long career in flying which stopped in 88, I was the first flight attendant ever to be attacked on board a flight from Paris to Miami. This left me disabled, and my career came to an end. I was also on the first plane hijacked to Cuba in the late 60's, which was an experience in itself.
Since then I have taken up many hobbies including raising exotic birds, and orchids, and have done many orchid shows, and traveled extensively doing the same. We now reside in Palm City Florida., which is only 40 miles north of West Palm Beach, and it is truly God's country, nice and quiet with a lot of woods, and no traffic.
We have a son who just got married in November of 2001, and is an officer with the Palm Beach Sheriffs Department.
Right now I am recuperating from a large battle with cancer with another operation on the way.
I wish that I were able to make it to the reunion, but perhaps for the 45th, God willing. I know that you will all have a wonderful time. I keep in touch with Fred Tatro and Phyllis Gallo, and I'm sure that they will let me in on everything that happens, and I'm sure I will cry not being able to be there to see you all.
Have great time and my thoughts are with you all.
If you feel like writing to me my a-mail is
50 YEAR BIO UPDATE:
Still live on Pequaywan Lake in beautiful Northern Minnesota; it's been 15 years now. Love it, even the winters! I think I will retire sometime this year, perhaps this Summer. It's been a long and successful haul, but I'm about done now. A little apprehensive however. Work has given me meaning, direction, fulfillment, and truthfully some authority. I'm not sure I'm ready for the domestic life. And I don't want to retire and build birdhouses! But on the other hand, that second cup of coffee in the morning sounds very appealing. In some ways getting out now is looking like good timing. I have been in Higher Ed Administration for a long time and I anticipate very tough days ahead. I don't want to deal w/ reduced legislative support, declining admissions , and donor fatigue. We are also looking into townhomes, condo's, etc., in the Palm Harbor, Tarpon Springs area. Son Matt, now 36 has started a successful business three years ago: www.peakmountainguides.com in SW Colorado. He and Megan have given us two grandboys. Chris, age 31, lives in Minneapolis. He is deeply into his second career: computer security & quality assurance. It's a fast moving field and he is positioned well for his future success. Mary Ellen and I are very fortunate. We are grateful for the lives we lived and now have. Like all of you we have faced obstacles, big and little along the way, but managed to continue to move forward. I am looking forward to the reunion and to rub shoulders w/ my oldest friends. Thanks Reunion Committee for doing such a good job! WW
40 Year Bio
I entered seminary and MEW taught elementary school and we began another 4 year campaign. Had I known what the future had in store for us, it would have been at this point that a financially sound investment would have been to buy lots of shares of United Van Lines. After graduating from Seminary I had a surprising number of options (congregations). We decided to return to Manitoba (Canada) where I did my internship at the Univ of Manitoba in Winnipeg. We took a northern "call" to begin a church in Leaf Rapids. (As far north of Minneapolis as Minneapolis is to Houston TX.) We loved it and the people and stayed in Manitoba for almost six years. It was there that I learned of the death of my lockermate and friend, Tony D. I was up north when you had the first (10 year) reunion.
I wanted to leave "the church" and we thought about returning to the US. In 1978 we moved to Hancock, MI and Suomi College, at the tip of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. MEW and I were referred to as the only people ever to move south to Hancock! That began my 24 year career (so far) in fundraising, public relations, and higher education administration. From MI we moved to the Twin Cities of Minnesota. We lived there for about 11 years and I started a development program at a place called Hazelden, a chemical dependency treatment and education center. I went back to Bethany College around 1991 as Vice President (remember, I said it was a very small school), stayed for about six years, then wanted to return to the beautiful north country in Minnesota. We moved to Duluth, MN, which is along the shore of Lake Superior, absolutely the most beautiful (and largest) freshwater lake in the world. Currently I am the Vice Chancellor for University Relations at the University of Minnesota Duluth, an undergraduate, graduate, and research institution of about 10,000 students. We think this is it. No more moving vans. We live about 25 miles N of Duluth on three acres on a typical MN lake: large, clear water, cold, deep, plenty of fish. We spend a lot of time puttering around on our pontoon eating great cheeses, smoked fish, etc., and drinking fine wine. That's because we HAVE NO KIDS!
Along the way we had two of them. While we think of them all the time and talk often on the phone, e-mail, etc., and love them dearly, not having them at home has created some time for ourselves...what a novel idea! Fortunately they take after their mother in most respects. Matt, 26, is currently at Cornell as program director for their outdoor education climbing and skiing program. He is an expert technical, ice, and mountain climber and made his living guiding in Bolivia, Equador, and Canada until Cornell. Chris is 21, and just entered his 4th year at Kansas University in Lawrence. He came home last spring and announced that he was now on the "5 year plan". Does that strike a familiar chord to any of you? Anyway, Chris is a performance major in percussion. He is very good and I am optimistic that he will not only make a living some day, but treat his parents to the hi-life once the royalties from his yet to be recorded cd's start to roll in.
Mary Ellen has been around for all my shenanigans, job changes, promotions and disappointments. What a great teammate. We have become a team and didn't even know it was happening, without even trying Somehow it just evolved. If she doesn't throw me out of the house for smoking the occasional cigar I'm looking forward to growing old w/ her.
I think I can sum up my life these last 40 years w/ one phrase: "If it's lucky even a blind pig can find an acorn".
On the heartfelt side of things I would like to refer you to the last paragraph of Ron Bosshardt's bio. I couldn't have said it better, so I didn't try.
Steve Decker: I’ve heard it said, after childhood, there are four seasons to a man’s life: the gambling years, the learning years, the earning years and the giving years. Well, since my children have yet to gamble much or learn a thing and aren’t earning or giving much either, I guess I’m still in my learning, earning and giving years. What about my gambling years you ask? Well, that was when I brought two children into the world! Still unsure of the hand I’m holding on that one. What a ride!
1962 – 1974: Relative freedom, exploration, travel, military service, trial and error, discovery, finding my center and finally realizing who and what I am in the context of the world at large. I went to college for two years. It was a small liberal arts school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa by the name of Coe. No other school would have me. Or so my high school counselor told me. Like its name, the place was short on just about everything that could or would have held my interest. I left in 1964 to come home for good and start what I really wanted to do…be a builder. You know, create things.
Well, I made a frantic attempt to start in that direction only to have the gods of war intervene and, along with a low draft number, I decided to enlist rather than have the buggers tell me what I was best suited for. Actually, fear of being on permanent latrine duty and youthful arrogance led me down a pretty exciting and totally unexpected path. I became a special agent in the Army Military Intelligence Corp. I actually got to do a lot of the spook and spy stuff that the title “special agent” would imply. I served in Korea, St. Louis, Chicago and the University of Illinois. No, I can’t tell what I did. Very hush, hush and all that! Oh, behave baby!
In 1968, after actually growing up quite a bit, I came home to the building and real estate investment business. I built homes in Wyckoff, Ridgewood and Franklin Lakes. I believe some of them are still standing to this day. Ah, the creative years.
1975 – 1986: Domesticity, responsibility, diapers, work and, eventually, becoming a statistic. In late 1974, my life as I knew it was traded for marriage vows, a career change and children. The next eleven years would be, like, totally different. At his request, I came in to manage one of my father’s businesses. Decker Tank Trucks manufactured trucks for the petroleum industry. I joined the family firm, as it were. In 1976 my first son, Brian, was born. So, there I was, in my early thirties, doing the husband, dad and off- to-the-office bit. Remember that “relative freedom” thing I mentioned earlier?
Actually, I had a good run for about five years, business was good and things were relatively quiet at home. Then, the Carter recession hit and the roof caved in. The worst recession since the Great Depression they say. 1980 was, in hindsight, the beginning of the end of my family and business life, as I knew it.
In 1982, after two years of disastrous business, I took a sabbatical and went to law school in Los Angeles. I packed up the wife and two boys (Rob was born in 1980) and off we went. It was just something I had to do. Maybe it was my mid-life crisis?
1987 - Present: Along with my marriage, my father died in 1985 as well. I lost my mother in 1982. By early 1987, I decided to start a new life and moved with the boys to Santa Barbara. I have been here ever since. I managed to develop seventeen beautiful residential acres here. The boys are both in their twenties now and struggling to make their start. For sure, it’s a different world for them today than it was for us in the sixties.
During the past fifteen years here I have been involved in politics, business and many community service activities. I have a good life in a beautiful place. I have been blessed with much. So many of life’s tragedies that have befallen others have passed me by. My heart goes out to those who have lost so much. I think of those that are gone. Many were close friends: Tony, Janet, Fran and Margie. Janet was my junior prom date. She died so young.
I now spend my days thinking about what to do from here on in. I have this nagging feeling I’m going to live for many, many years to come. How about starting another family? I know, I can hear the groans out there.
Well, anyway, I grew a beard this summer. I guess that was sort of a gamble. Yes, you saw it on the web with Linda Woodbury Drukker and Janice Simone in Gstaad, Switzerland. Well, the beard didn’t survive the trip. Linda saw to that. Women!
I’m looking forward to the reunion. There are many I hope to see and speak with. I believe these periodic reunions fulfill a fundamental need in all of us to connect with our past.
Whether we loved it, hated it or could care less about our high school days, it was the time when we came to sense who and what we were to become. Our dreams, doubts and fears all came into sharper focus as we moved out into the world.
It is irrelevant whether we succeeded or failed in the things of life. For we all have done one or the other, I’m sure, in so many different ways. What is important is that we come together and celebrate the bond of shared experiences. For better or worse, it is good that we see each other again. I believe it is the duty of each of us to come to see and be seen. We should come to laugh, cry, embrace, share, look around and just reflect. I’ll be there.
As for me and the next forty, it may be that my gambling,
learning, earning and giving years have not ended. It may
be that they are all about to start once again.
Tom (Ralph) Laffler: I graduated Rutgers University in 1966 and spent 5 years in the Army reserve. Divorced my fist wife in 1993 after 27 years of marriage and 2 daughters, a son and a 6 year old granddaughter. I've run 5 NYC marathons from 1980 through 1984. Owned 2 pleasure horses in the 70"s and played lots of golf. I've enjoyed a house on the bay on Long Beach Island with speed boats since 1982 and also live in Bridgewater with my wife -- the love of my life for the last 6 years. We also have a home in Florida where we visit a lot as my stepson and parents live there. Business wise, I own a web and sheetfed printing company in Metuchen since 1963. Most memorable vacations----twice sailing for 2 weeks around the Carribean with another couple. Once we had a captain and once we did it ourselves. We stopped in many spots including Peter Island and Virgin Gorda catching fresh fish and picking up supplies in our dinghee. Cars have also been my enjoyment. I guess that's no surprise as my first was that great Corvette in 1961! I'm still as excited as I just took delivery of a new Porsche 911 Turbo "x50". Ralph Laffler (everyone knows me as Tom since college)
John W. Topp: I was not someone like many of you who loved high school. I essentially couldn't wait until I got out and ultimately didn't see myself in the college environment either. So, in 1963 I pushed my name up in the draft and went into the US Army. This turned out to be extremely fortuitous because my two-year tour of duty in the artillery in Ft. Sill Okla. was ending just as many of my peers were facing the draft and a war! Why be smart when you can be lucky, right? I got married in Oklahoma at the ripe age of 20 (what a fool) one day after discharge and then came back to NJ and joined my Dad in the family business, Wyckoff Esso Service Center. Unfortunately, he passed away at the age of 44 leaving me at age 21 to support a wife and son and my mother. Three years of seven days per week and 15 hour days was enough and it was time for me to find a career that I had really chosen. Three months later, I was in the insurance business working for the local firm of Patchett & Grode. This was a four-person firm that ultimately I bought in 1980 and it has grown to a 20-person professional insurance agency. I celebrated my 33rd year here in May 2002.
Along the way, there was a divorce in 1984 and a re-marriage in 1988. Now settling into late middle age, I enjoy our three grandchildren, riding my Harley Davidson, vacationing to our home in Ft. Myers, Florida and playing golf as often as possible. (No, I haven't achieved a single digit handicap, yet)
Tragically, I lost my 23-year-old daughter in a motor vehicle accident less than one year ago. I understand that there is at least one other RRHS class of 62 parent who has suffered a similar loss. It is devastating and something that I have been totally unprepared for and has been life changing.
My words of advice? Love your children to the maximum
extent. If there are un-repaired roads or bridges that
link you to them, begin repairing them today. Life is very
short. Life is good.
Tom Bickford: After high school I worked for Service Master of Wyckoff for about two years. I had this insatiable love for the automobile and how it worked that I could not shed. My parents encouraged me to attend a technical school for automotive mechanics. I attended Lincoln Tech which was then in Newark. Graduating in June of 1965 I was presented with a diploma in automotive mechanics along with a draft notice. Upon passing my physical I was informed that Notification would arrive in the mail in a couple of days to a week. Still having a few options and remembering some solid advise from my aunt, who was a Navy Nurse during W.W.II, I went to Teaneck and spoke to a Navy recruiter and signed up for four years. I felt it was time to move on and expand my horizons. Little did I know I had just made one of the smarter decisions in my life. To make a long story short, instead of going to Vietnam I was trained as a torpeadoman and sent to Pearl Harbor to work in a torpedo shop and spent my entire tour of duty there.
After leaving the Navy I returned to Oakland and started working at Oakland Jeep in October of 1969. I started as a mechanic and was service manager when I left after 11 years. In Sept of 1980 I was hired by Borough Jeep Chrysler in Wayne and still there working as a service advisor. To this day the job is still enjoyable and challenging every day.
I met my wife Marjorie in 1969, started dating and married in October of 1973. Our first home was in Vernon where we bought a small chalet in a lake community. Our son Kevin was born in August of 1974. We stayed in Vernon approximately four and a half years and then moved to Bloomingdale in November of 1978 where we still reside. My daughter Tracy was born in December of 1978 and was just married in June of 2002 to Curt Meinel who was a New York City Police officer but is now a police officer in the town of Ossining New York. Tracy is working in the school system as a teachers aid. Kevin lives in Campbell Hall New York and Is employed as a splicer by Vernon Communications. Majorie is Employed by Drakes Cakes in Wayne New Jersey as a Pricing analyst.
As I look over the last 40 years and what the good Lord
has given, Marjorie and I feel truly blessed. It has been
a good life and I hope the next 40 years are as
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