NMH Magazine 2019 Spring

Page 54


Old Stones, Made Strong Again Jim Fannin ’54 Jim Fannin has spent the last 30 years in graveyards. He and his wife, Minxie (right), are historic preservationists, and their specialty is conserving cemeteries like the one at 200-year-old St. Augustine’s Chapel in South Boston, or the Old Colony Burying Ground in central Ohio, where they repaired nearly 600 gravestones over 25 years. Last year, the couple received the 2018 Massachusetts Historical Commission Preservation Award for Lifetime Achievement, but Fannin isn’t it for the glory. “It’s an honor to be able to work on such old and beautiful stones,” he says. He and his wife have worked in 60 cemeteries in Massachusetts alone. Despite Fannin’s decades of preservation efforts, this is actually his second career. He spent 26 years in hospital administration, running facilities in Long Island, Philadelphia, and Massachusetts before leaving the field to partner with his wife, who had started a preservation consulting firm. For Fannin, it was a return to his undergraduate days at Dartmouth, where he studied economic geography and took courses in cartography, geology, and art and architecture. Now, he and Minxie spend half of each year in the field, documenting and conserving centuries-old gravestones and monuments — “extending the lives of historic art objects,” he says. The communities they work with “take great pride in the fact that they’re preserving the history and heritage of their towns.”

It ended with five days back to San Diego. Sweet! • Bob Chutter and Aileen are selling their house in Charlotte, Vt., and will be moving to Wake Robin community in Shelburne, Vt., in early spring. “It’s a continuing care retirement community,” Bob writes, “and seems right for us. We celebrated our 59th anniversary on November 28 [2018] and trust there will be a few more!” I visit with the Chutters now and then — we’re only an hour apart — and have enjoyed it every time. • Ellin Messolonghites Johnson and Fletcher are still regulars at the tennis courts and are still in their house. They’re also into a landscaping project to try to counter the blistering effects of Oregon’s unusually hot summers. • Since my irreplaceable Ida’s death, I’ve been getting used to living alone, as many of you already have. I still do my newspaper column, radio commentaries, and TV show to keep me off the streets, and enjoy the 24-hour-a-day companionship of Kiki, a lovely little rescue terrier from Texas.

I travel a bit — Montana in the summer to fish; Arkansas (last year) to visit my son and his family for Christmas; a windjammer cruise in late winter; and I’ll lead a public television tour of Scotland in September. So I’m happily engaged. Recently, responding to a medical opinion that I have a few good years left, I bought an elderly BMW, in which Kiki and I will go off into the sunset together.


Northfield Mount Hermon Dennis Kelly dskelly1935@gmail.com • Be Jay Froehlich Hill bhill24@juno.com • Dan Fricker dcfricker@videotron.ca From Dennis: Make sure that you have cleared your calendars for June 7–9, 2019, to return again to our great old school for our 65th reunion. Your reunion committee is hard at work to make the gathering very special. On our 60th reunion, we had

Willem Lange ’53 and his rescue terrier, Kiki, hit the open road in Willem’s BMW.


NMH Magazine

seven classmates who returned who had never been to a reunion before and they all had a great time. We all want to duplicate that experience again. We have arranged for Will Lange ’53, Mount Hermon’s storyteller extraordinaire, to be our guest speaker. Will has published nine books of wonderful short stories that should be required reading for all NMH graduates. In addition to me, your reunion committee includes Bob Salisbury, Stan Peck (Glen Rock, N.J.), Bobbi Helmle Simon (Bridgeport, Conn.), and Gail Schaller Storms (Bristol, R.I.). I returned to NMH last year as an observer of the class of 1953’s 65th reunion; they had a large number of attendees. • There is an active group of ’54 Northfield graduates who have kept in touch with each other over the years and annually plan get-togethers. They call themselves “The Incredible Octogenarians” and include Nancy Wickens, Marcia Samuel, Toni diStefano Norton, Ann Newman Sundt, Betty Vermey, Toni Browning Smiley, Mardy Moody O’Neil, and Gail Schaller Storms. For some unknown reason they want to come to the “Jersey Shore” this spring and asked me what to recommend. I suggested some cool shore towns with small inns and seaside hotels, such as Ocean Grove, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, and Bay Head. I said that if they choose Bay Head, I would conduct a historical walking tour followed by lunch or dinner, as my guests, at the Bay Head Yacht Club, and then a walk on the boardwalk in Point Pleasant along with bumper-car rides at the boardwalk amusements. They chose Bay Head and won’t be