Home » Classmates » Panther Profiles

Panther Profiles

As we receive news of classmates and teachers, we’ll post brief descriptions in alpha order, here.  Scroll down to see more profiles.

Burl Cohen – After 4 years on Navy subs, Burl joined his father in the textile rental industry where he’s been for the past 34 years, traveling extensively throughout the Western U.S. and Austral-Asia. Burl is now with VF Imagewear, the world’s largest apparel manufacturer (Lee, Wrangler, Jansport, The North Face, Vanity Fair, etc).  An avid golfer and car restorer, Burl has customized a ’54 Plymouth Suburban hot rod and maintains a ’59 Chevy Impala convertible. Ten years ago, Burl gave up the single life when he married his neighbor, Sharon.  He says they have one child… Bruno, a chocolate Labrador retriever. 11/2005

Denise Del Carlo – “Life is great and full of surprises,” writes Denise Del Carlo who is married with two daughters and three grandchildren.  Denise works for an accounting firm in Palo Alto.  She and her husband (now retired) live in Los Altos Hills.  11/2005

Graham Dobson – Graham recently brought his youngest son, Harrison, to a BHS alumni baseball game, “to see where the old man played ball.”  Graham is Water Quality Compliance and Project Manager for the National Park Service at Lassen Volcanic National Park.  His wife, Anne is Executive Director of the Lassen Association, a private, non-profit supporting association to the national park.

Bill Findley – Fed up with teaching, and culinary school, Bill Findley shucked city life to shuck corn and “whatever else we can figure out how to grow” on a farm in Marion, AL.  He and Jan were seen at Pepper Place, a farmer’s market in Birmingham, AL on Saturdays through summer, “flogging our goods along with the other farmers’ stuff in our co-op.”  In the shot of the antique tractor seen in the Gallery, Bill says he was towing back from Louisiana and passing through the Daiquiri Drive-Through behind the house in Farraday, LA where Jerry Lewis grew up.  Bill says, “Good museum.  Good daiquiris.” 11/2005

Judy Hartstone – Judy transferred to BHS in her senior year. She received degrees from UC Berkeley, Cal State Hayward and San Jose State and now lives in the Puget Sound area where she runs a nonprofit animal welfare organization. 5/2006

Phil Hazelrig  – Retired as a Navy Captain (O-6) and is now senior exec for NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy at Moffett Field.  He is in charge of a 747 that carries astronomers and a 40,000 lb. telescope to study the universe.  As a NASA research pilot he also gets to play with FA-18s (see Gallery).  He has three grown sons: Matt (film-maker), Mike (Naval Aviator) and Jimmy (engineering student) and lives in Menlo Park. 10/2005

Linda Humber – Following receiving a B.A. in Psychology and French from Lewis & Clark College, Linda spent many years working with the developmentally disabled before moving to escrow, financial and real estate administration.  Twice married, twice divorced, Linda now lives in Burlingame… her daughter in San Bruno.  She is active in the SF Symphony League and treats herself to opera, symphony, museums and yearly trips to France and other wonderful places. 10/2005

Joanne “Jody” Zeimer Lawson was quoted in the Spring/Summer 2009 edition of Panther Postscript writing about art teacher Mr. Pat, “When I saw him at our 40th class reunion in 2005, I told him that he was the reason I chose to major in art at UCLA.  I have used it to some degree all of my adult life.”

Walter Lebedeff – Describing himself with self-effacing humor as a “tough Russian baby,” classmate Walter Lebedeff has experienced an ordeal of health issues since retiring in 1998 after a 26-year career with the Federal Reserve Bank.  “I just keep winning battles.  It’s just what it takes to keep living,” he says.

After a 6-way bypass, Lebedeff rebounded quickly, though relapses of various other illnesses from diabetes to kidney ailments to fainting seizures have had him in and out of the hospital.  In 2008, he was hospitalized for seven months.

What might otherwise terminally depress someone else has just buoyed Lebedeff, who with irrepressibly good humor jokes about his constant battles.  Refusing treatment for a narrowing aortic valve, because his diabetes would likely require permanent dialysis, he’s dropped 35 pounds in weight since July, but says he is staying fit and active through swim therapy and golf.

An avid golfer, Lebedeff was one of the Burlingame Country Club’s most senior caddies during our high school years, having been assigned to caddy for such celebrities as Bing Crosby, Phil DiGeorgio and once a grouping of Vice President Spiro Agnew, Joe DiMaggio, Ray Bolger and a gaggle of Secret Service men.

Lebdeff moved to Las Vegas for his health and lives near the Rio Secco Golf Club, within sight of the dazzling lights of the Vegas Strip.  He says, “I still golf, though take it easy, going slowly along, with a handicapped flag on my cart.”

Lebedeff may have lost a little speed on the golf course, but he hasn’t lost his quick wit or ability to mention classmates with whom he’s stayed in touch, including: Steve, Paul and Mary McCloud, Jack Gype (Class of ’64), Fred McElheny, Mark Gayle, Fred Teal, Dorothy Oliver and Cheryl Spurgeon who with her husband visited Walter when they came to Las Vegas from Arizona.

As for his career in treasury, he recalls starting out as a coin sorter, then advancing through numerous jobs in money handling and accounting.  During those years, he worked for Paul Volker, Alan Greenspan (a physical giant of a man) and Ben Bernanke.  He certainly had more money pass through his hands that all the rest of us in the class of ’65 combined – much of it destined to be destroyed – yet laughs about recent headlines, saying “I still don’t know what a fiscal cliff is.”

Money worries seem a distant concern to Lebedeff who has become philosophical about life and focused on improving his health, staying fit, playing a little golf, enjoying life with Janet – his wife since 1960 – and being faithful to the Russian Orthodox Church.  He says, “You can’t let your damper down.  You got to fight it, and survive.”

Walter Lebedeff is an example of courage and good humor in a world obsessed with debt ceilings.  He’s teaching us that there’s no ceiling when you have a positive attitude.  1/2013

John R. Lutzker, Ph.D  If you’d like to be impressed at the accomplishments of one of our classmates, Google “John R. Lutzker.”  John is a widely published and respected author in the field of child development.  One of his books was described as “seminal” which means it has influenced the thinking of many scholars.  John Lutzker works at Georgia State University where he is Director of the Center for Healthy Development and Visiting Professor of Public Health. John is currently Associate Editor of the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Child Health and Human Development Journal of Family Violence, Child and Family Behavior Therapy, and Behavioral Interventions, and is the author of five books, including Reducing Child Maltreatment: A Guidebook for Parent Services and is editor of Preventing Violence: Research and Evidence-based Intervention Strategies (2006).  Way to go, John! 6/2009

Stephanie Maiman – We recently received a note from Dorothy Oliver containing news about Stephanie Maiman.  Stephanie teaches math in Montego Bay, Jamaica, does portraiture, has lots of dogs and looks as if she found the fountain of youth.  For more about her, visit her blog at http://360.yahoo.com/marleykingston.  12/2007

Susan Arête Nicholas is happily living in San Francisco in a Queen Ann Victorian with her husband, Dr. Mitchell Friedman.  She is an R.N., nurse educator and consultant who specializes in aging and memory issues and holds a Master’s degree in Gerontology. Arête (she uses her middle name, now) is a UC Certified Master Gardener and her Native Noe Valley Secret Garden has won numerous awards over the past two years.  She is also a writer and speaker and has been delighted to read from her memoir and her book in progress at various S.F. Bookstores. Arête asked to acknowledge the inspiration, passion and guidance she received from her favorite Burlingame  HS teacher, Mr. MacCuish. Without knowing he was shaping a future nurse, one day he placed in my arms the gift of a special term project; a stiff as concrete long black cat, reeking of formaldehyde, mouth agape and with legs akimbo!  Working with her lab partner, Marie Basso, she dissected the cat from stem to stern or from hyoid bone to metatarsal by semester’s end.  They named the cat, Cassius, due to his toughness and bravado, just like America’s famous dancing prizefighter in 1965, Cassius Clay (AKA Muhammad Ali). In the fall of 65′ Susan entered nursing school in Southern California and Mr. MacCuish entered medical school.Arête wrote that “his spirit,zest and caring for his students in the biology lab will always remain with me.” 07/15

Marva (McGrady) Whelan-Wiedemer – Marva demonstrated awesome skills as an events planner at the 40th reunion this past October.  After receiving a BA in Poli-Sci from UC Davis, she rose to Senior Group Manager of Worldwide Event Marketing for Apple Computer and now owns her own event strategy and management company, Whelan & Associates, serving the high-tech industry.  Married twice, divorced once and widowed once, Marva now lives in Healdsburg, CA. She has two daughters, Natalie (University of Nevada admissions manager) and Sandy (computer graphics artist), a son-in-law and two grandchildren (Zach, 13 and Cassie, 8) who live near Reno.  Active in the American Association of University Women, she is currently the Public Relations Manager of the annual Healdsburg Historic Homes Tour. She enjoys traveling to Hawaii and Europe. 11/2005

Katya Miller – Katya has been living in New Mexico for 10 years where she has written, filmed, directed and produced several films and videos, including Lady Freedom, the story of the statue that tops the U.S. Capitol dome.  Katya received a B.A. degree in design and art history from UC Berkeley in 1970.  She is presently involved in an organic farm, Mid-east peace work, and writing an historical documentary. 10/2005

Lynn (Magnuson) Watkins – “Marvalous and EnRiching” were Lynn’s descriptions of the 40th reunion.  She provided the fabulous photo of Marva Wiedemer and Rich Coakley seen on the reunion page of this site.  To Bill, she pens, “Thanks for the entertainment… though I barely understood a word you said. “I kon’t doe mutts a watter miff we.”  To David Threefoot, that was a fun two-step we kicked up.  To Marie and Allan, “Yogah cittavritti nirodhah.”  To John Poimiroo, “Get on those short shaped skis.”  To Martha, Nancy and Jean, “Fun!”, to Julie, Patti and Louise, “Fab!” and to everyone else, “Class Act and Lots of Love.” 11/2005

John Poimiroo – John and Joan (Gabler – Carlmont ’66) live in El Dorado Hills where John is an award-winning travel writer, broadcaster and photographer. He is executive producer of Voices From The Past and produces travel programs for the American Forces Radio Network and OnTravel.com. He also writes a travel, outdoor and ski column for the Mountain Democrat, California’s oldest newspaper, and is editor and publisher of CaliforniaFallColor.com, the state’s definitive guide on finding autumn color.  John had a 40-year career in marketing communications for travel companies, destinations and national parks,including serving as California’s Tourism Director and Deputy Secretary of Trade and Commerce during the ’90s.  John and Joan have three, married, grown children: Nicole (a government analyst), Louis (a finance officer for Fox Pictures) and Aimee (a director of  hotel sales), two grandsons (Andrew and Bennett) and a granddaughter (Avery).   John is a retired U.S. Navy Captain (cryptology) and ski patrol alumnus. His hobby is racing sailboats which – with his writing – led him to being a member of the America’s Cup media corps.  John took Lynn’s advice, trading in his long boards for tiny shaped skis.  Last seen, he was wiggling his way down the backside at Northstar.  07/2015

Leah (Smith) Champion – Since 1973, Leah has lived in Montara, CA.  She writes that her introduction to the coast occurred after she attended drag races at the Half Moon Bay airport.  Soon afterward, she became a coastside and car enthusiast.  At 25, while still a flower child, Leah invested in a small seafood restaurant located in Pillar Point Harbor ( Princeton-By-The-Sea).  She ran the ”Crab Cottage” for ten years, “learning lessons one can only get by running a small business.  At 35 Leah changed careers and became a real estate broker.  She writes that in those days, “interest rates were 17%!  When they went down to 12% we were in heaven.  Today the rates are at 5% yet I dream of the good ole days when banks actually made loans!”

Leah married Michael Champion, who she’d known since the age of 14.  Leah and Michael are child-free and says, “We forget how old we really are since we have not watched our children get their first grey hairs.”  And, so they remain “a couple of kids at heart still figuring out want we want to do when we grow up.  We have a drum set and a piano in our living room and we enjoying playing songs from our youth like Santana, The Beatles, The Who, Dave Brubeck, Cal Tjadar, and favorites from our middle ages like Billy Idol, Taylor Dayne, Stevie Ray Vaughn to name a few.  We have no interest in Rap “music” and could not cross that generational music divide.

Leah’s new interest today is in alternative fuels and their production.  She says another business may be in its infancy for her.  On the esoteric side, she explores and keeps up with the latest guesses in physics and metaphysics and enjoys their frequent intersection.  Leah says she plans on living as long and learning as much as she can.  “We live in interesting times and I am very curious to see, of all the possible futures, which one still awaits the remaining mates of the Class of ’65.” 2/2009