ISSUE # 98
November 2009


http://academic2.marist.edu/foy/maristsall/
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Correspondents

 Sister Virginia Connors SSS

 Patrick Gallagher '53

David Kammer '42

Brendan Haggerty '50

 Pat Kielty '65

Martin Lang '47

Anne Marie & Artie '55 Lavigne

Bro Paul Meuten

Dr Dennis Murray
Marist College President

Gus Nolan ('48)

 Francis Barney Sheridan '55

Bill Reger-Nash '61

Editor Vince Poisella  '58

 

 

 

 

 
 


  Topics

 

Richard LaPietra '50

Msgr Peter Ostrowski '54

Raymond A Rich bequest

Barney Sheridan '55

 

 

 

 

 New photos added to "photo album"

 

From DENNIS J. MURRAY, PRESIDENT, MARIST COLLEGE (excerpt): I am pleased to announce that a bequest by one of the 20th century's leading businessmen and industrialists, conservatively estimated at $75 million, will lead to the development of a new program to educate and train individuals in the art of leadership.  Raymond A. Rich bequeathed to Marist a 60-acre riverfront estate in the Ulster County Town of Esopus that contains one of the most historically and architecturally significant homes in the Hudson River Valley. The "Payne Mansion," also known over the years as "Omega" and "Wiltwick," is a 42,000-square-foot Beaux Arts-style palazzo designed by the famed Manhattan firm of Carrère and Hastings, architects of the New York Public Library and the Frick Museum. It was built in 1905 by Colonel Oliver Hazard Payne, a brigadier general in the Civil War who founded an oil refinery that was later bought by John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Co., where Payne went on to serve as treasurer. In addition, Mr. Rich has designated approximately $10 million for an endowment to support the Raymond A. Rich Institute for Leadership Development, which will be housed at the Esopus estate.

From GUS NOLAN ’48:  Raymond A. Rich bequeathed the Esopus mansion and a sixty-acre riverfront estate to Marist College. This was the big news in Poughkeepsie last month. Most of our readers know about the mansion and the Esopus property only too well.  But who is Raymond Rich and what might be said of him?  Since this is a question many have raised, I thought I would address the question.  Though there is a short factual account of Ray Rich's life on information released from Marist College, more should be said about the personality of the man.

Mr. Rich, who died in June at the age of 97, was a giant in financial terms; but physically, he was short of stature.  He must have had a tremendous spirit to be in the Navy and Marines and serve in the South Pacific and Tokyo after the Japanese surrender.  Moreover, he served as vice president of Philco Corporation and went on to hold multiple and simultaneous CEO and other chairman positions in several corporations. He became very wealthy, increasing revenues twenty-fold in one corporation in the 1970's.

After purchasing the mansion in 1986, Mr. Rich became friendly with the Brothers living on the Esopus property. Br. Joseph Maura wrote: "One of his great delights was to sit in front of the fireplace in the cottage while eating a bowl of Tom Delaney's chili and listening to Tom solve the major problems of the western hemisphere.  Ray Rich had a hearty laugh and never took himself or his wealth seriously."

At another time, Joe Maura asked him if there were a great deal of satisfaction in being so financially successful. He responded that the chief satisfaction did not come from the money per se but from the enjoyment of using his brain "in playing the game."

I had two happy and memorable occasions to be with Mr. Rich for what he called "a soiree evening." This was an evening when he would invite a small group together for a supper, with entertainment provided by Br. Richard Rancourt at the piano for music and song. On those occasions Ray Rich became quite sentimental, especially in the holiday season when he would talk about his earlier Christmas memories.

 I remember Mr. Rich as being a generous man. He donated to many causes but always seemed glad to support education. He was very interested in the Caldwell Dominicans’ LINK Project in Newark providing low cost education for local low-income families. He invited Brothers to visit his estate in France and also contributed to teaching research projects. I was also invited to a birthday party and dinner for Zig Rancourt, when Mr. Rich made a donation to establish a "Chair" at Marist College in honor of Br. Rancourt, Ph.D.

Truly, Ray Rich had a kind and generous spirit.

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In Memoriam

Francis X. (Barney) Sheridan ‘55 

From ANNE MARIE (AND ARTIE ’55) LAVIGNE:  Artie and I were reminiscing yesterday as to when Barney and Anne visited us a few years back and how we happily shared time with them in Tyngsboro, then later at Ray and Dorothy Landry's home for dinner and a wonderful evening.  Artie's sister Mal, a good friend to Barney, also joined us that evening.  Several times since then, Artie and I attempted to make plans for Barney and Anne to visit here again, but his health no longer allowed it.

Beyond doubt Barney will be powerfully missed, and yet we sense his indomitable spirit living on.  He walked his talk as his contemplative nature catapulted him into action at a moment's notice.  His journey was one of a powerful integration, and for me personally he seemed a real gentle giant.  An authenticity such as his could never be questioned, and Artie in particular will surely miss his friend. (4 William Dr., Pelham NH 03076-2416; 603-635-3053; ajamlavigne@yahoo.com)

From BRENDAN HAGGERTY ’50:  Barney Sheridan was one of the very first Marists in the United States to become aware of the plight of Hispanic immigrants living in downtown New York City.  He got permission to spend summers in Puerto Rico to learn the language and then went to work.  Landlords, sometimes called "slumlords" in the city, were burning old tenements for the insurance money when Barney visited them and told them that they could get a tax deduction for gifting the buildings if they went to a charitable organization. He got the Brothers to accept the buildings to benefit the immigrant population.  Barney went through the streets and explained that any worker who would give several hours of work on a building each day (often after working a full day for minimum pay) would be entitled to own an apartment when the building was refurbished.  Many (carpenters, bricklayers, electricians, but principally laborers) went to work with Barney, and soon several buildings that once were rundown were turned into solid, clean, and affordable housing for those who brought them back. 

Although he became a good friend to many in that downtown area, on his way each day in the subway, few of the riders knew him.

He told me one particularly great story.  One day he was seated on the subway en route to work in his clergy suit when two Hispanic men stood, holding the straps in front of him.  They discussed in Spanish the very Irish-looking man in the clergy suit, saying essentially, "Look at this turd.  He thinks he's God because he has that collar on; but really, all he is a turd."  They went on laughing until Barney's stop arrived, and his 6'5" 260 pound imposing figure rose between them and, in perfect Spanish, said "Good morning, this turd with the collar on has really enjoyed your conversation.  Have a good day."  Barney really enjoyed the look on their faces.  But he enjoyed more the relationship he built with so many that came to the city with so little and were able to have decent housing because of their work and his. I hope somehow that some of those friends will learn of his passing and honor him.

When I was director at our Lourdes community in Poughkeepsie, and Carlos Sierra (Br. Damian) passed away suddenly after completing a basketball game with his students, I called Barney, who was close to Carlos and to his family from Puerto Rico. He took the responsibility of conveying the news to the Sierra family of a good man who left this life at an all too young age --something I could not have done.  He then joined me, as well as the family, at the observances in Poughkeepsie.  This act of kindness was typical of this very good man.  May he rest in peace! (3210 Crest Ave., Cheverly MD 20785-1107; 301-772-1613; Evbren87@aol.com)

From MARTIN LANG ‘47: It was a sad moment on a drizzly Labor Day evening at St. Francis Xavier Church in New York as the casket of Barney Sheridan lay there amid a welter of scaffolds and renovations. His coffin was set before a makeshift altar.  With work still in progress, it somehow struck me as right, just the way Barney would have wanted it, a place where ordinary people worked, welcoming without formality.     Barney’s wife Anne, with great courage at that difficult moment, turned the mood toward joy celebrating Barney’s life, one filled with helping other people. She invited his friends to come to the altar to speak. One after another people rose spontaneously, EMS workers, people from the coroner’s office, from the hospital and many whose lives he touched. Seventeen years with cancer, remission and return, did not stop his volunteering and his ministry. He worked at the hospital and the World Trade Center site and continued to volunteer with a group that stayed on to identify recovered remains. His schedule called for him to offer a prayer in remembrance of the 9/11 victims, but he did not make it. Maybe the appointment was filled in heaven. Barney raised the bar very high for all of us and left an unwritten statement about being given suffering and remaining with God through it all.  These are his words in a talk he gave entitled Magnificat (on Marists All website), “When I became sick, God anointed me with the Oil of the Sick. In my long life, God has given me a long list of blessings. God has proved over and over again his presence in me. He loves me infinitely, unconditionally, arbitrarily, and personally. He calls me by name, and I am his.”   (10 Palmer Bridge, Fairfield CT 06824; 203-254-2560; malangj5@sbcglobal.net)

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From past issues of Marists All: the words of Barney Sheridan…

 

Nov ’92:  #21:  Some bad news: I have cancer. My brand is called extensive, malignant, diffuse, large-cell lymphoma. At present I'm in my second cycle of six monthly treatments of chemotherapy. And it's working! I've changed my nickname to "Frank, the Conqueror, the Conquistador." Be assured that this is not the end; I'm going to beat it. There's a silver lining to every cloud. I've heard more expressions of concern and support in the past month than folks have dared to say out loud over the past decades. Anyone who has been sick knows the strength provided by friends reaching out. In sickness and in health my wife and I have never been closer. Brothers, relatives, friends, and even business associates have rallied around me. (Ernie Belanger called from Spain!) It's somewhat embarrassing and very humbling. Surprisingly, too, many others have shared that they have had this before me, and their example is inspiring. Thank you all.

Nov ’94:  #29: Well, it's July 26th! Happy Anniversary to one and all, my 40th! Recently Hugh Turley, Dennis Dunne, Larry and Jan Keogh, and maybe some unknown others organized the First Marist Retreat. Br. Leonard, Fr. Pete Ostrowski, Br. Pat McNamara contributed greatly to it. It was an extraordinary experience, and I feel very grateful to have been part of it. In no other event has the GMC celebrated our spiritual commonality as clearly as in this one. It was refreshing, challenging, and healing. We visited the cemetery and reflected on the influence of very powerful men in our lives. We meditated with some of Lenny's clarity on Champagnat's values and spirit. It's a Marist spirituality that I cherish in the present, not just as an ex. My wife even claims to understand me better! One anecdote: We stayed in the student townhouses in Poughkeepsie. One morning, coming out of my room, I discovered Frank Casey in the hall and greeted him with "Laudetur Jesus Christus!" His response, "Same to you, Mac!" and added, "I always wanted to say that." Makes one look forward to the Mount picnics

Apr ’02:  #67:  As a volunteer Red Cross chaplain, I have had the opportunity to meditate on the reality of the 9/11 tragedy while doing shifts at the morgue.  There are 2830 people missing/dead from 9/11.  However, there are more than 15,000 body parts at DMORT.  Every one is tested for DNA and matched against a database.  The base line information is from previous DNA testing, or testing on the missing person’s hairbrush, toothbrush and such, or from genetic testing of the missing person’s parents/children.  Further sources of identification include fingerprinting and dental records.  Investigation of clothing, rings, and ID cards provide collateral information.  Members of service (police, firemen, and paramedics) are easier to identify due to better records.  Civilians are more difficult, and foreigners are most difficult.  It is assumed that someday there will have to be a common burial of unidentified remains.         The actual examination tables are set up in a large enclosed space half way between the FDR and First Avenue.  Remains are somewhat mummified, of a grey/brown color; they weigh about 1/3 of the person’s weight due to dehydration.  A forensic anthropologist, police property detectives, and a medical examiner, function in that space.  A large number of detectives are also licensed morticians by training.  DNA samples are taken for testing here.  In other labs finger print and dental detectives do their work.  The officers are extremely professional and much admired.  Their work is very wearing.  As tough as the work is, the environment seems more sterile than the temporary morgue at ground zero or at the landfill site on Staten Island where detectives sift the WTC debris for human remains.

Flowers and flags are the only decorations.  One trailer is empty, and two trailers are used for remains from the airbus tragedy that took place in Queens in November 2001.  Of the fifteen WTC trailers, two are used for remains identified from members of service; they have a fairly fast release time to families and burial.  The other thirteen trailers contain remains of civilians, with most parts unidentified.   They are getting close to the bottom of ground zero; there probably will not be a great number of new findings.  At each delivery of civilian remains the chaplains say a prayer.  When the remains of members of one of the services arrive, there is a short ceremony where all police officers, correction officers, fire fighters, and others on the site line up to receive the remains.  The chaplain says a short prayer, and a flag-folding ceremony takes place.  If the remains of a member of service have been identified over at the temporary morgue at ground zero, members of the home unit are notified ahead of time and are often present to meet the remains.  Part of the chaplain’s function is to be present for these folks, also.  Since 9/11 there have also been volunteer Jewish ‘shomers’ (vigil keepers) on duty 24/7, praying constantly. They are very inspiring….  What does it all mean?  Well, I hope the presence of chaplain and shomers in the midst of such evidence of terrorism and death is a continuing sign of the sacredness of the human body.  And I hope the work of many caring people results in closure of the painful journey for many families….  Sometimes it’s easier to block out 9/11 as a past historical event.  However, the truth is we have been changed.  We can’t avoid facing the horror of the tragedy.  We have to explore the mystery of the presence of God in the experience of the WTC.  Sometimes I just walk back and forth in Memorial Park and meditate/pray, as we did this summer in the cemetery in Esopus.  Tonight I went onto the roof of our building here in Manhattan and gazed at the two blue pillars of light shining into the sky from ground zero, a sign of remembrance and rebirth in the heavens.  It's like a prayer reaching up.  Father Mychal Judge, the Franciscan priest fire department chaplain who died at the WTC, used to say this prayer:  "Lord, take me where you want me to go.  Let me meet the people you want me to meet.  Help me say the things you want me to say.  And then, Lord, keep me out of your way." (626 East 20th St. #9A, New York NY 10009-1515)

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From PATRICK GALLAGHER ‘53:  As September rolls around, I recall the feelings of so many years ago, with the start of the new school year, the sale of books, the assignment of classes (what surprises are waiting for me?), the meeting of the fresh, young faces, and the pleasure of seeing those returning, matured somewhat by the long summer and growth into manhood. Well, fifty-two years after that first September, Mary and I are still looking forward to the start of the year, but in a different venue, for we are volunteering at an inner city Catholic elementary school in South Bethlehem which two elderly nuns are trying to keep going to serve the many Hispanic and some African-American families in the old steel worker housing now rapidly undergoing gentrification. There is some occasional teaching but an immense amount of tutoring, along with an ongoing satisfaction.
But for Mary and me, there are other opportunities presented through an association with a burgeoning police consulting group in New Jersey. With the need for specific knowledge of police liability programs for the law enforcement community, I will be working with insurance pools and local police departments in devising approaches to higher levels of performance to avoid liability. Mary, having been on the federal monitoring team for the New Jersey State Police for nine years, overseeing their changes in training, is well known there and will have an integral part in providing services.
Now many would ask: Why at this stage of your life undertake a revival of the work I have been doing for the twenty-five previous years? Is it too simplistic to say I enjoy it? I enjoy working with some really sharp, intelligent, and committed police professionals, mainly retired NJ State Police, and aligning myself with many truly dedicated managers interested in improving policing. I can name my hours, undertake only activities that I want to do, and still know that I am making a contribution.
I feel I have the years in the Marists to blame! It was the idea of total commitment to the cause, the mission, the Order, and now to our wives and family and to our work. As I wrote to some of those in my original profession group on July 26, we did not fear the tasks laid out before us, coupled with a willingness to embrace them with an unqualified interest in doing it right. So, no obsession here!  It is just an interest in doing all that I can while I can, especially being presented with a unique opportunity at this stage in my life. I have my twenty years in the Marist fold to thank for having prepared me in so many different ways for the rest of my life. We are totally enjoying these years, treasuring good health and the ability to remain active here almost on the banks of the Delaware and invite anyone coming near to stop in. (gpatrickgallagher11@verizon.net; 610-346-6637)

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From BILL REGER-NASH ’61: As some of you may remember, Father (now Monsignor!) Gene Ostrowski had been a Marist – as Br. Peter Stanislaus -- for twenty-three years. Serendipitously, Gene taught my class at Wheeling Central Catholic in 1959-60, although I “escaped” his influence by enrolling in Marist Prep at the same time.  In 1965, I was assigned to teach at St. Joseph High School in Trumbull, CT and had the wonderful opportunity to teach with Brother Peter for several years. 

 I consider Eugene Ostrowski one of the good guys of the world.  He is a consummate human and spiritual being.  He is very devoted to his pastoral ministry and to God.  Although he exudes goodness and profound thought, he is not one to take himself too seriously.  He seems to always be smiling or laughing, or at least radiating serenity. 

It is a pleasure to consider Msgr. Ostrowski a dear friend.  In 1996, Father Gene assisted with our wedding ceremony, and my wife Jan and I recently celebrated our thirteenth wedding anniversary. Not too bad for someone who did not marry until age 54! 

Life is good here in West Virginia.  I am a professor of community medicine at West Virginia University.  My work focuses on holistic wellness, community health, and social marketing.  Give a call to my cell (304-685-6740) as I enjoy being in touch with our wonderful Marist community. (wreger@hsc.wvu.edu)

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From PAT KEILTY ‘65: Anyone who has a picture of my novice group (August 1965, Esopus), please send in a copy of the picture of the group so I may copy it at home.  I've lost my original. Thanks for your help.  (7837 Kavanagh Court, Sarasota, FL 34240; 941-342-6021; K57paddy@hotmail.com)

 

From DAVID KAMMER ‘42: The following message is from Sister Virginia Connors, SSS, who is Province Treasurer with the Blessed Sacrament nuns; she lives with the community in Waterville, Maine. Her brother, Tom Connors, was a boarder/student at St. Ann's Academy; he went through the Esopus novitiate.  He later became a medic in Connecticut.  Virginia first discovered Marists All among her deceased brother's papers some fifteen years ago:

“I still enjoy Marists All as much as I did fifteen years ago when I read them at my brother Tom's place. Today I followed up reading the latest issue via the link and began surfing around within it. I chose the eulogy on Lenny Voegtle to look at again.  What a tremendous gift!  Br. Len still gives, doesn't he?  Thanks to each of you for beginning and continuing M.A."

From BR. PAUL MEUTEN:  I was a member of the Marist College class of 1960. Some may remember me as Br. Paul Johannes. I am interested in gathering information from and about Brothers who had been assigned in the Philippines. The Brothers there are looking for someone to write their history, and for the time being, my contribution will help with sources from the United States. (<hansifms@aol.com>)

 

From GUS NOLAN ‘48: I want to update you on the improved condition of Richard LaPietra. He hopes to be discharged from Good Samaritan Hospital and transferred to a rehab facility in Dutchess County shortly. Linus Foy and I recently visited Richard. He was in great form.  He talked more clearly than I have heard him speak in weeks.  I would not encourage visitors just yet lest he get overwhelmed.  He does tire easily.  But I assure you that mail is most welcome through Barbara LaPietra, 36 Yates Blvd, Poughkeepsie, NY  12601.

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From the EDITOR Rich Foy has created an album of photos (taken by Rich and John Brady) of the September picnic at Mount St. Michael. Google the Marists All website, and go to “Photo Album.”  Or click here to go directly to the album.

Thank you to Bill Kawka, Joe Hores, and Bert Chasse for their monetary contributions to keep Marists All alive.  

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