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I have enjoyed reading the class updates that have been posted already and I guess its my turn.
After graduation I went to St. Anselm's in New Hampshire for freshman year. In September of 72 I married Nancy Grasso. We had met in at a St. B's party at the shore in my Jr. year. We will be married 39 years in the fall. First came Patricia, (Nurse practitioner) then Timothy (Bergen Co. Sheriff's Officer) then Kevin (Rutherford Police Officer) then Patrick. Patrick was born with Cystic Fybrosis and we lost him when he was 10 years old after a long and painful time. Many marriages fail with the loss of a child but I really think our family became stronger.
In 1972 I went to work at a cabinet shop and was lucky enough to have been trained by a German cabinet maker. I worked there full time until 1976 at which time I became a member of the Rutherford Police Department. I had an eventful and rewarding career and retired from the department on 2003 after 28 years. When I went on the department I was still working part time at the cabinet shop and in 1981 I opened my own cabinet shop. My old boss told me when I was leaving that I would never be happy if I was not working with wood and he was right. Managing the two careers was difficult but with my days off being weekdays it worked out fine.
Presently I am in the process of closing down my shop and preparing to move to Bayville NJ. I built a house there in the early 80's. It took me 7 years but built it from the ground up. I am in the process of updating it presently.
I am blessed with 4 grandaughters and I have a lot more time to be there for them. Life has had its ups and downs but I guess thats what life is.
If it were not for the bad times I wouldn't be enjoying the good times.
In closing I would like to thank Jim for the good job he did on the reunion. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the reunion .
Left Benedict’s and went on to Syracuse for the next 4 years plus one more in London to get my Bachelor of Architecture in ’76; left for 6 ½ years in The Gambia West Africa with Peace Corps for 3 and USAID another 3 ½. Married a PCV there and moved to her home in Saint Paul, Minnesota, still married 28 years later, three kids, two out of college and one still there. Joined the Minnesota Air National Guard in ’84 and have since worked for the Air Force and toured the world: 6 years at the base in Saint Paul and then 10 years raising the kids while a weekend warrior and Guard “bum” taking short tours of duty in West Africa and Israel for many years. Went to DC for the Sept 12th on events, eventually ending up on active duty as a Colonel at the Pentagon, then ANG HQ at Andrews AFB in charge of the real estate, facility planning, programming and environmental compliance for our 88+ bases throughout the country. Not been to the wars myself, but my two sons are in the Air National Guard and have each been there. I have been told by my now retired wife that I will also retire when I hit mandatory military retirement when I turn 60, that’s the way it will be. Linda has been living in Saint Paul all these years so it will be good to move back to be with her everyday!
May I say how eagerly I await our 40th reunion. I look much the same as I did in 1971…well, perhaps a few features have succumbed to the calendar’s onslaught. I’m happily married to a fabulous woman named Joan, nee Walter, whose father Arthur graduated from Benedict’s, class of ’45. I think he liked me anyway, but the Benedict’s connection sure didn’t hurt. Hardly a revelation to all of you, but the privilege of a St. Benedict’s Prep education has been, and shall always be, a badge of high honor.
I'm still in Jersey, but I’ll save further details on my so-called life for the big event. And thanks to Jim and John and Ed and Mike and Kevin for making it happen. See you in June.
First, I’d like to thank Jim Waldron and his committee for their efforts
in putting this reunion together. I’m sure it’s been untold hours that they have donated on our behalf.
For me, something about being 40 years out of high school struck a chord in
wanting to attend this reunion. Unlike many of you who stayed in the New Jersey area, I haven’t been back
to the school since graduation and have had little contact with anyone from our class except for an alumni tour
event that was held a few years ago in the Boston area and bumping into Mike Kennedy at a BC reunion.
That event was better than I’d thought it would be- nothing like the stereotypical “ bad reunion” that we’ve
all heard about. Similar to many of you, my wife still has local friends from her high school days and it is great to
see them together. So I look forward to reconnecting/catching up.
As others have said better than I can, St Benedict’s took us in as scared kids and sent us out better
prepared as almost adults. And it seems from the few posts I’ve read many of us have put that
education and training to good use.
As for my life since 1971, I graduated from Boston College in Accounting, got an MBA in Finance from Northeastern
and have my CPA. I’m married for 35 years ( almost as amazing as 40 years out of high school!) with 3 boys in their
mid to late 20’s, who are still finding their paths ( I’m guessing not an uncommon occurrence among us). My work career
for the last 20 plus years has been in the print and on-line media industry in Boston and California as CFO/ Controller.
I have a side career teaching Accounting /Finance at local colleges, which hopefully will give me lots of time and a few coins for
golf when I’ve had enough fun working full-time.
Bob Ainsworth, CPA
CFO, New England Business Media
172 Shrewsbury St.
Worcester, MA 01652
Ph 508-755-8004 ext 252
My trajectory since graduating from the Hive has been a little different than most. After graduating from Catholic U. with a BA in Latin, I joined St. Mary’s Abbey in Morristown in January 1976. I was quickly put to work there doing some of the things that had started at Benedict’s - teaching Latin and working as one of the yearbook moderators. In 1980, I had an experience that altered the course of my life. I was asked to go to Rome to study at Sant’Anselmo, the Benedictine university in Rome. I was there from 1980-1982 and received a diploma in Monastic Studies. That was the official part. What I also acquired was a life-long passion for the Italian language, culture and food. I returned to Delbarton in 1982 and resumed my teaching duties. Then, in 1985 Fr. Bruno was appointed headmaster and asked me to join his team as Assistant Headmaster. I served in that capacity for six years. During that time, I was asked once again to undertake a different course of studies to be able to serve at Delbarton. I had a acquired some proficiency in German and was asked to do some more coursework in order to be able to teach German. Long story short, I ended up getting a Masters degree in German from Middlebury College Language Schools over the course of four summers. After completing my degree and thus getting my summers back, I was given responsibility for the Abbey vegetable garden. In my early years in the monastery, I was put to work in the garden and discovered a real love for it. Since 1987 I have been growing organic produce on an almost one acre plot. For the next few years, I continued teaching and did some administrative work in the school and abbey. The next big change came in 1998 when I was asked to return to Rome and work at Sant’Anselmo. I spent another three years there serving as the Business Manager. I returned to Delbarton again in 2001 and went back to teaching and serving as subprior and prior of the monastery. In 2006, I was named headmaster of Delbarton and have served in that capacity since 2007. I have had a full and interesting life so far!
I will be unable to attend this gathering and figured I would write some account of my time since raising my fist at graduation. Went to BC for business school and transferred to liberal arts. Received a degree in Sociology and a minor in Philosophy. So, am able to philosophize about socializing? Bounced around for a few years and ended up back in beantown where I have worked since 1978 in employment services. Presently, I work for an engineering company; R.G. Vanderweil Engineers, LLP, as their Recruiting Manager. We did the mechanical and electrical work on the Newark Prudential Center near Benedict’s. Married my wife almost 30 years ago and we have three kids (two boys 24 and 26 and a daughter who is 15) and have lived in Boston all of that time. Still have my Jersey roots but did have to celebrate Giants victory in the Super Bowl quietly. Have kept an eye on Benedict’s over the years, saw them play soccer up here and try to meet yearly with a New England group of alumni when they gather nearby. I went to the football reunion last year and was reminded of our 66-0 loss at Don Bosco. Coach Schiller couldn’t think of any other games to reference? One last point I would like to make is, how I feel so fortunate to know Father Leahy and to me he embodies all that is St. Benedict’s; the toughness, the spirituality and the caring that he shares with everyone. Enjoy your night and hopefully I will see you in 5 years!
Hello. It’s been 40 years and awhile since we have seen each other. Although I attended an earlier reunion I look forward to seeing you guys again. Although I did not have that many years with you at the Prep it is those years that I cherish the most.
Upon graduating from Seton Hall I entered the Army with my first duty station at Fort Huachuca Arizona as a Military Intelligence officer. After the basic course I was stationed at Ft Bragg North Carolina assigned to the 18th Airborne Corps tactical intelligence battalion. I was a young green lieutenant with a bunch of grown Non Commissioned Officers that taught me the ropes. I bought a lot of beer to learn how the Army did business. So afterwards I was stationed at Ft Rucker Alabama as a flight student so to become an Army Aviator. I married shortly before attending flight school and my wife, a graduate of St Vincent’s Academy presented me with a son. Joseph Edrick is a school teacher in Fredericksburg Virginia, married to Alison and had a two year son, Joseph Cooper. Don’t worry he’s not country like his grand-papa. My second son, Jason Evan resides in San Antonio Texas and works for the Army’s Contracting Command. After flight school I returned to the Army’s elite 82nd Airborne Division where I enjoyed flying and jumping out of airplanes and helicopters. I am rated in UH-1s, Blackhawks, U-21s and C-12 King Airs. Other assignments included Korea, Germany and travel the world as an Army Inspector General. I was flying a mission when the wall came down in Germany. I commanded two companies and an aviation rifle platoon at Ft Bragg. I served with a number of great officers and one that they made a movie about, “Blackhawk Down”... great movie, fine General. The most exciting thing that happened to me while serving was flying across the Alps, being shadowed by a MIG from North Korea. Jumping out of a C-130 for the first time with my eyes closed (better known as a night jump during the day), what the hell was I thinking, and being assigned in the Pentagon where I flew Generals and support the Boy Scouts of America and toured the Gettysburg civil war grounds from the air.
I completed my Military career in the Pentagon serving with the Army Reserves, the Army’s Chief Information Office and the Army’s Operations readiness office. Upon retiring from the military I became a “Beltway Bandit” better known as a Defense contractor. I worked for a total of 5 private companies before accepting the position of the Secretary of the General Staff with Headquarters, Installation Management Command that is now located in San Antonio Texas.
My blessings – as much as I prepared to become a war fighter I was detailed to do many other things. I was on vacation when the airplane hit the Pentagon I would have been in the area where the jet hit. My sons being the men they are today and knowing you guys.
What saddens me – the death of my parents and my youngest sister, Patricia. The passing of some of our classmates.
Well, that it a simple life. If you are ever in Texas look me up but my plans are to chill in Cape Coral Florida to fish and enjoy life! Peace brothers.
In the ten years after graduation, I graduated from college, attended business school, took my first job in the newly completed World Trade Towers, left after a year, went across the street and started a 22 year stint at Bankers Trust. In 1981 I was working and living in London when Prince Charles wed Lady Diana Spencer. Now Prince William, their son, is set to marry and reprise the pomp and pageantry of his parents’ wedding, thirty years later.
Rolling forward another 10 years to 1991 and I am married for six years to the bridesmaid I was paired with at Mark Beckenbach's wedding. My wife Toni and I have a 2 year old daughter (Katie) and her sister (Haley) is born in June of that year. On the world stage, the first Gulf War in Iraq is fought, and although the war is successfully waged, our military involvement in the Middle East is only just beginning.
Another ten years on and the events of 9/11/2001 are seared into our collective memory. I was in the South tower (2 WTC) the day before and would have been there on 9/11 except that I decided not to go into the city, and work from home. All of the people with whom I shared the office on the 22nd floor were safely evacuated, and thus I too would have escaped the worst. Even so, I am still grateful I lucked out of my Forest Gump moment as an eye witness to, and coincidental participant in, a watershed event in American history.
A decade later, we are in 2011 and while only four months in, the year has already seen the turmoil in the Middle East, (Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria) and the human and environmental tragedy resulting from the earthquake and tsunami which struck Japan in the middle of March. Personally, I have moved on from 9/11 having started my own investment advisory business. I no longer commute to lower Manhattan as the world I knew there no longer exists. The twin towers and the Bankers Trust building which later became known as the Deutsche Bank building have been eradicated from the lower Manhattan skyline.
Across the Hudson, the Newark skyline rises up amid the smoke stacks, trestles and super structures of highways, skyways and railways, and while barely discernable, the row of buildings which house the classrooms, the Abbey and the “Hive” as we all know it, stand intact after nearly 150 years.
I still remember the first day in September 1967 walking up Branford Place past buildings gutted by fire during the riots just a few months prior, turning onto High Street walking past the corner building where LeRoi Jones had a store front office. As I approached the newer building, I saw what looked like a fellow freshman (nobody else was wearing a jacket and tie) looking equally ill at ease as I. Approaching me, he flashed that trademark grin albeit nervously and said something………it was John Anderson.
After 40 years much in my life has changed, mostly for the better, and mostly because of, my better half, although there have been losses (family, friends, classmates, places, not to mention some innocence, illusions and idealism) along the way too. But like the buildings on High Street, the spirit of SBP, the shared memories, the lifelong friends and influences endure. What has not changed for me is simply this: I consider myself very lucky and proud to be….a buzzing, stinging (and yes, graying) Gray Bee ‘71.
I have fit a lot into the forty years since graduating St. Benedicts. I have been a licensed funeral director since 1975 and except for 2006-2008 when I trained horses and taught horseback riding, I have worked in the funeral profession. I worked for several funeral firms from Bergen County to Toms River before I returned to Bergen County to own a firm for 19 years. In 2006 I sold the business and retired to the horse farm we owned in New York State until I returned to Toms River as the COO of a seven location family owned funeral home chain. Along the way, I raced motorcycles, climbed mountains and ice walls, raced sailboats, put a lot of miles on horses in Wyoming and Montana, fished and hunted and played a lot of golf. The one constant has been my wife of 37 years Ellen, who always allowed me to do some fun and sometimes dangerous things during those 37 years. Our son Patrick teaches at Lyndhurst High School. He graduated from Bergen Catholic which reminded me a lot of St Benedicts on a larger scale. It was strange to go to St Benedicts and cheer for the opposing team when my son played lacrosse in a game against St Benedicts. Over the years, I have grown to appreciate just how much St Benedicts shaped a part of who I am.