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Class of 1965




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Class Secretary

   The Reverend Bruce W. Barth ' 65 B.D.

   24001 S. 68th St.

   Firth, NE 68358-6000

Class Notes

Welcome to 1965's Class Notes page. Here you will find news from your classmates on what they've been doing since graduation.  Enjoy!

Moved? New job? Retired? Newly married? New grandchildren? Please submit your Class Notes to your Class Secretary or the Alumni Office by August 31, 2008, for publication in the next issue of Spectrum.



Notes from 2008


“What fun getting and reading your replies!  I hope the eleven of us shared here will inspire the rest of you to submit next year.  As you readily can see, we have been into a plethora of life-juicing and life-serving ministreis.  I'm really proud to be associated with all of you!  So, read on and be touched.”  

                                                                            — Bruce Barth ’65 B.D.

In November 2008 Bill Allen ’65 M.Div. retired as Regional Minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia following 18 wonderful years in that position.  (This followed pastorates of five years in Chester, CT, and 18 years in Bethany WV.) They threw a great party at the Blennerhasset Hotel, here in Parkersburg, WV, where Bill lives, honoring Gwen and Bill and gave them more and better gifts than he deserved. (Gwen deserved everything she got and more.). A point of particular joy is that their son, Thad, was named to succeed Bill, and so become his “bishop.”  While other sons of Disciples Regional Ministers have become Regional Ministers themselves, the family is unaware of a situation where they served in the same Region. Life is good with three great kids, three great in-laws and four fantastic grandchildren. Now Bill is contentedly contemplating the next phase of his vocation.


Barbara and Bruce Barth ’65 B.D. have been back in Bruce’s home state of Nebraska since 2003. (Who was it that said once you leave your home state you can never go back?  How true!).  Since 2006, Bruce has been the Director of Prison Ministries for the Nebraska Synod of the ELCA, trying to serve in all ten of the facilities (“It is a very big state!”).  This three year term call ends in June, 2009 and it may be time for Bruce to move on to his “next phase” to borrow a phrase from Bill Allen.  Bruce thinks it will also bring a physical move even farther west, but the Holy Spirit hasn't spoken yet, and he also knows that if you want to hear God laugh; tell God your plans!  Stay tuned.  “As many of you intimated, this life has been quite a humbling and exciting ride thus far...and it isn't over yet!  So let's stay in touch and stay faithful to the One who called us all.”


After serving as a pastor of churches in Mississippi and Arizona, Ivan Burnett ’65 M.Div. received a doctorate, and served as a Navy Chaplain for 26 years.  Since retiring, Ivan was elected to the Board of Directors of The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church and to The United Methodist Endorsing Committee, the committee that gives the final stamp of approval to all chaplains and pastoral counselors.


Following his Princeton Ph.D., Paul Camenisch ’65 B.D., Bonnie and infant son arrived in Chicago during the 1968 convention gassing.  In 2005 Paul retired from DePaul University, having headed a department and several major university committees.  Intervening years saw the birth of another son and daughter and Bonnie’s career in high school teaching and counseling.  Now they spend six months in Albuquerque where two of three grandchildren live, and the other six in Wilmette, IL.  Paul is currently doing volunteer work, home maintenance, and writing short stories. “Man, after all those years of teaching/talking, seventy-five words aren't much!”


Stan Hauerwas ’65 B.D. is on sabbatical and writing a memoir.  He writes, “I suppose that’s about as much that needs to be said.”


From 1965 to 1969, John Heister ’65 B.D., was pastor of Howlett Hill Presbyterian in suburban Syracuse. In 1969 John returned to Syracuse to obtain a Ph.D. in Social Science, writing a dissertation on the Rev. Wm. Sloane Coffin, who gave John sermons, prayers and hours on tape. Until 1980, John served as a pastor in suburban Rochester, NY, Church Mediation Center of Rochester in mediation of divorces, churches, businesses, schools, and not-for-profits.  John is founding president of New York State Council on Divorce Mediation. From 2005 to the present, John transferred business to an associate. He mediates part-time and is painting (landscapes in watercolor and oil).  See www.heisterart.com. John has paintings in galleries in Rochester, Buffalo, and Estero (Naples), FL. He is married and has six children (blended family) and two great-grandchildren. “It has been a great ride.”


Gary Justice ’65 M.Div. and wife, LaDonna have relocated to Leawood, KS to be near their son and his family.  Following YDS days, Gary completed a Master's at the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Ph.D. at St. Louis University.  He reports overlapping careers as pastor, psychologist, professor, and higher education administrator.  While having played many different roles in life, he says the most fulfilling have been those of husband, dad, and grandad.


Ed Mendenhall ’65 M.Div. has had a rather interesting life, since leaving YDS in 1965.  He served churches as assistant pastor or pastor, worked in prisons as a swim-life saving instructor, labored in a factory running a CNC lathe, done odd jobs (most recently, as a custodian) between interims (since 1996).  He and wife Sharon have lived in Michigan, Colorado, Wyoming, Texas and now near Phoenix, AZ.  She has one child from a former marriage, who just got his dream job at Yahoo in Santa Monica, CA.  Ed has two grown children from a former marriage, Jon, living in Palm Spring, CA, and Alicia, living in Cadillac, MI, with her family.  Sharon and Ed were married in 1996.  Sharon is a school social worker and Ed continues to work full time, when jobs are available. He would like hearing from you and lists his email address as slmend6@msn.com.

Theologically, John Miller ’65 M.Div has become ever more the Christian ecumenist, finding that he needs to immerse himself in the best of Protestant (Episcopal-Amish), Catholic, and Orthodox theology and practice.  In retirement John has the great luxury of drifting around, latching on to anything which is a helpful corrective to a path of good intentions he’s taken at some point. Given the economic situation, John is likely to be spending six months in Detroit/Grosse Pointe and six months in Maryland (where he was born and grew up).


Scot Rutan ’65 M.Div. and Jane celebrated their 50th anniversary. They have four lovely grandchildren, a girl and then a boy to each of their two sons.  They are truly blessed because they dearly love both their daughters-in-law and the families all live within 15 miles.  Having grandchildren is like being able to eat dessert without the meal! Scot moved his career to psychology and has practiced as a clinical psychologist since he left YDS.  He earned a Ph.D. From Boston University.  Scot spent the first 10 years teaching at Boston University and the next 22 teaching at Harvard Medical School and continued a very eclectic and fulfilling private practice throughout his days. Scot is still teaching at the Boston Institute for Psychotherapy, a post-graduate training program he co-founded in the late 1960s, and writing.  He has a series of published articles and books, etc., as “befitting a Yale man.” Scot looks back on his days at Yale as a lifesaver.  It was at Yale, with professors and student colleagues that he really learned to study and learn.  He is forever grateful.  And though Scot was never particularly religious, he still values the study of ethics he gained at Yale.  He always knew the profession of psychology was essentially a practice in “how to live the good life.”  And the place to learn about that was in a school of Theology, not a school of Psychology. Scot hopes all his Yale cohorts are doing well. 


William Ritter ’65 B.D. retired in 2005 from First United Methodist Church, Birmingham, completing 40 years of parish ministry in Michigan.  Currently, he teaches homiletics at Duke (fall semesters) and serves as Mentor In Residence for the United Methodist Union of Greater Detroit. Of some coincidence is the fact that classmate, Stan Hauerwas ’65 B.D., is also a part of Duke's faculty.  His role is as stellar as it is pivotal. Happily married to Kristine for 42 years, Bill’s book, Take the Dimness of My Soul Away: Healing After a Loved One's Suicide (Morehouse Publishing, 2004), chronicles their “journey through the valley” following the tragic death of their son, Bill, Jr., in 1994.


Notes from 2007


Bruce Barth ’65 B.D. has started a two year spiritual formation program, involving eight weekends over that time.  Having been in the business all these years he figured it was time to ratchet his soul up a notch or two.  He writes, “Wasn’t it Rilke who said we had to hold the questions long enough until we lived into the answers?  My basket of questions overflows.  I hope there are yet enough years.”

Jocelyn Jones Bell ’65 M.A.R. was called “Jo” at YDS – but hasn’t been that since shortly after graduation.  She was D.R.E. at Episcopal churches in Connecticut from 1965–69 when she and her husband moved to Normal, IL.  They divorced, and she raised children, was active in local politics and served two terms as a member of the Normal Town Council.  There were no church jobs available for her at the time, so she took computer programming classes at a local community college and spent seven years as a programmer/systems analyst.  The call to ordained ministry that she had put aside years earlier re-surfaced.  When her children had completed high school, She went to Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, received her M.Div. and was ordained as a priest.  She spent almost five years in the Diocese of Missouri and has been rector of Christ Church, Chattanooga for over eight years.

Jim Bortell ’65 M.Div. has been a United Methodist minister in Illinois for forty-two years, retiring in 2003 after a 12 year pastorate on the campus of Illinois State University.  A six year stint as a District Superintendent was his only diversion from parish ministry. He shares that YDS profoundly shaped his ministry, and he has loved the parish ministry, about 90% of the time.  He writes, “My home church ministers, DePauw U. faculty, and the YDS “experience” instilled in me enduring passions for theology (something like a ‘generous orthodoxy’ with generous underlined), the care of souls, and for peace and justice concerns.”  He now serves part-time at a small Mennonite USA church, and is an adjunct instructor in preaching and theology for Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. He and his wife Roberta have been married for 40 years.  They have two sons and four grandchildren.

Bill Brettmann ’65 S.T.M. retired in 1999, after 37 years of active duty in the priesthood of the Episcopal Church.  Being a pew-sitter has made him aware of realities which escaped him when he was so busy talking as a liturgical leader that he forgot how to listen.  He confesses that there are at least 3 realities which push his buttons these days: “1) a failure to affirm sexuality, either hetero or homo.  The kind of knowledge implied in “Adam knew Eve, his wife” is an unknown topic in most pulpits perhaps because 2) there’s a kind of rampant Gnostic spirituality abroad in the land which separates love from justice, and avoids facing issues such as war and poverty.  The excess of sweetness produces diabetes of the soul.  And 3), no doubt related to #1 above, an inability to deal honestly with homophobia which refuses to acknowledge even the possibility of responsible moral agency for homosexual persons.”

For Ivan Burnett ’65 M.Div., after serving as a Methodist pastor in Mississippi during the days of the civil rights struggle and then as a pastor in Arizona, his calling led to the Navy Chaplaincy (including Marines) and an exciting 26-year ministry around the world, including being senior chaplain on an aircraft carrier, and being in such hardship locations as Guam, Key West, FL, and San Diego, CA!  Responsibilities took him to St. John’s, St. Croix, Cartagenia, and San Juan in the Caribbean, also Haifa, Gaeta, Naples, Toulon, Villefranche, Palma de Mallorca in the Mediterranean, and Tokyo, Seoul, and Hawaii in the Pacific. Along the way, he picked up a D.Min. at Claremont, became a Clinical Member of AAPC and of AAMFT, and, since retiring, has obtained a degree in therapeutic massage. Currently he is retired, but is serving on the Board of Directors of The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church, The United Methodist Endorsing Committee, and The Desert Southwest Conference Board of Higher Education and teaching our local church’s adult membership class.  He and his wife love living in Tucson, Arizona; he enjoys gardening, and they both enjoy visiting grandkids.

David Cartwright ’65 B.D. joyfully announces that he made it to retirement!  He retired after 42 years as a minister of the Disciples, the last 23 as Senior Minister of Hazelwood Christian Church, Muncie, IN.  Forty years ago he married Susan Merrick, a member of his first congregation, considered unethical now, but then a congregational mission project.  Susan is a retired math and physics teacher.  They have two married children, Chris and Megan, both Ph.D.s.  The closest he got was a D.Min. from Christian Theological Seminary.  This summer they did the Disney World thing with grandchildren Max and Katie. Since 1965, he has had several articles published and a book, Guided by the Spirit.  He hopes a series on the paradoxical teachings of Jesus, which he began while on a sabbatical at Wesley House in Cambridge, England, shows up in print someday.  A joy from the YDS years is the continuing friendship and Ed Weisheimer ’65 B.D. and John Miller ’65 M.Div.  He shares, “I cherish the honor to have preached in Marquand as your representative for the 25th reunion.  Who knows what the Lord has in store for us in the years leading up the 50th in 2015?”


After finishing his Ph.D., Stan Hauerwas ’65 B.D., ’67 M.A., ’68 Ph.D., ’68 M.Phil. taught for two years at Augustana College, fourteen years at the University of Notre Dame, and next year will be his twenty-fourth year of teaching at the Divinity School at Duke.  He writes, “I’ve been honored to have wonderful students who write and think better than I am able.”  He has also written some books, the most recent being a commentary on the book of Matthew and a book entitled,  The State of the University: Academic Knowledges and the Knowledge of God (Blackwell, 2007).  He also has a book coming out soon from Cascade Press entitled, Christianity, Democracy, and the Radical Ordinary written with my colleague in political science, Rom Coles. He is happily married to the Rev. Dr. Paula Gilbert and we are communicants at the Church of the Holy Family (Episcopal) where Paula’s Methodist bishop has appointed her as an assistant minister.  His son and daughter-in-law both work at Providence College where his daughter-in-law recently received tenure in the education department specializing in Special Education and his son Adam works in Computer Services.  They have two children, Joel and Kendall. He concludes, “I have had a wonderful life.”

Pat and Bill Heins ’65 M.Div served churches of varying sizes in Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin.  They left Ohio to return to Wisconsin to make it possible for his mother-in-law to live in her own home for the rest of her life.  She lived to the age of 98! While in their hometown of Eau Claire, WI, they formed a neighborhood association, formed the Waterways and Parks Commission and the Redevelopment Authority for the city.  He was an active contract publisher for 30 years.  Health problems have since curtailed many activities, but they still travel and camp some, and live on a lake. “Tough duty!”

Ross Jackson ’65 B.D. went to Oregon after YDS, was ordained there in what is now the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and he decided to take a look at being an Army Chaplain for three years.  The “look” extended to just over 20 years.  During that time he went through a divorce after a long and difficult marriage.  When I finished up with the Army in1996, he was an Interim Pastor for 14 months in the D.C. area, and then came to Salem, Ohio as the Associate Pastor of First Presbyterian Church here.  While there, he met and married my wife, Alice: they recently celebrated their 7th Anniversary.  He became the Chaplain to the Salem Community Hospital in January, 2005, and continues very happily in this position and work.  He’s preaching and assisting churches in his presbytery with renewal opportunities.  He and Alice are deeply grateful for their very good health at this point. He is President of the Board of Trustees of the presbytery, and Alice is Moderator of the Personnel Committee. He is beginning to think about retiring and would like to do some writing when he has more time to assist some of their churches to move with confidence into God’s future. 

After receiving a Ph.D. in pastoral care, Bill Ratliff ’65 B.D. became the Minister of Counseling and Teaching at a Baptist church near Washington, DC, which was an exciting, challenging time.  After pastoral counseling full-time in the DC area for 11 years, he went to teach at Earlham School of Religion, IN, where he became Quaker.  He loved teaching, especially with such interesting second and third career adults.  He retired early to be near grandkids and live in a new co-housing community.  Now he and his wife are headed off to Wilmington, NC to be near the three grandkids who are moving.  But first, they go to Louisville, KY, to take care of their two year old granddaughter from Nepal.  At present, the Celtic spirituality of Iona speaks deeply to him, and he is living with the poetry of Hafiz and Rumi, while losing himself in making pots and banging on drums.  He visits his congress person and writes a lot of letters.  With two daughters, four grandchildren and a wife with whom he just celebrated 45 years together, he writes, “I am a wealthy man and live each day with gratitude.”

Bill Richards ’65 B.D. has been based in Baltimore since 1967.  Though he was ordained a Methodist elder, his professional life has focused in the area of the psychology of religion and the private practice of clinical psychology.  He has been participating in an Episcopal parish for around 35 years, drawn especially by the quality of their music program, liturgy and social outreach.  He has enjoyed raising two wonderful sons, has been widowed and divorced, and currently again is, as he put it, “at large.”  He’s had the unique opportunity to pursue legal research studies with entheogens (psychedelic drugs), fascinating work that currently is ongoing at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  He’d be happy to hear from any classmates who care to communicate.