Sunday, August 28, 2016

New WMSC Board Members to Be Elected at Annual Meeting

At the Annual Meeting and Potluck Supper on September 7 we will say thank you to retiring WMSC Board members Mary Haberman, Bonnie Marien and Norman Milliard, all who have served as officers and directors for the past six years. We will then elect four new members to the WMSC Board: Brendon Bass, Susan Herlihy, Peter Musso and Eunice Ruby. We asked each of them to write a few words of introduction. Here's what they have to say.

Brendon Bass

Jean and I first came to Bethel as co-pastors of the West Parish Congregational Church. The talented, loving people of this community and the beauty of this area also led us to retire here.

Senior College's offerings, and especially its fun and involved people, help me feel that there's still a lot to learn and great folks to learn with.

We like to travel, make and enjoy music, hike, and of course spend time with our families. Also, I am concerned to improve democratic governance, increase justice, and reduce global warming.

Susan Herlihy

Along with family, the mountains, rivers, skiing and community involvement make up my core. The Bethel/Newry area offers all of those, and the addition of WMSC some years ago certainly increased the vibrant volunteer opportunities as well as the learning and entertainment options. I'm glad to lend some energy to the organization.

Peter Musso

My first trip to Maine was a ski trip to Sunday River in 1983 with my partner Norman Milliard. I fell in love with the area, and in 1985 Norman and I purchased the house we are living in presently. We joined Senior College in 2009 when Norman retired from the Postal Service. We both felt the need to get more involved in the Bethel area and that Senior College would be a great opportunity for us. Besides skiing I enjoy kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, snow shoeing and cross country skiing, and I like to think of myself as an amateur artist.

Eunice Ruby

My husband and I came to Bethel three years ago after our son and daughter-in-law convinced us we would love it here. I grew up in Newton, Massachusetts and have lived in New York City, New Orleans, Memphis, Orlando, Houston and Minneapolis. I wasn't sure about living in a small town. Well...this girl has been totally surprised. The opportunities offered by the Senior College, the amazing people who teach the courses, the camaraderie and effort put forth by members of the organization almost put a spell on me. I feel like I've fallen from a steady, calm path toward old age into a hotbed of fun and ideas.

My background is editing, in book publishing and education, and co- ownership of a prime steak house. I love to read biography, and if I ever finish the great, ponderous Alexander Hamilton, other genres of literature as well. I've always been interested in politics; this election has spurred me to finally volunteer. If it's new, I love it; if it's a challenge, I'm on it. Of course, nothing beats having fun with my family.

Brendon Bass, Susan Herlihy, Eunice Ruby and Peter Musso
For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Remembering Ruth Barrett

by Barbra Barrett

Our dear friend, Ruth Barrett passed away peacefully on Monday, August 15. Ruth moved to Bethel in 2003 from New London, NH to be close to her family. Her life was enriched by the circle of friends that she made through the Western Mountains Senior College, her memoirs group and her bridge group.

Her family is planning a memorial service for Saturday, August 27th at 1:00 pm at the West Parish Congregational Church in Bethel. Because of Ruth's love of gardening and flowers, the family requests that Ruth's friends each bring a few blossoms from your gardens or from the wildlands nearby to fill the vases in the sanctuary. Ruth would love the wild and spontaneous bouquet this will create. After the service the family invites you to attend a gathering of friends and family at the Mill Hill Inn to celebrate her life. In lieu of flowers, they have requested that donations be made to Western Mountains Senior College in her memory. If you have any questions you may contact Ruth's daughter-in-law Barbra Barrett (

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

New Approach to the Brown Bag Lunch Discussions Series

by Nancy Davis

We will be continuing the Brown Bag Lunch series in the fall, with two already-scheduled sessions at the Bethel Inn. This is an opportunity to discuss a topic of general interest in an informal small group setting. The second of the two sessions has been developed, but the October session will begin a new approach. In the future, we will not be determining topics months ahead; instead, we hope that people will come forward with a willingness to facilitate the discussion and an interesting idea to be pursued. Topics may center around current issues, fun activities, or regular classes that take place during that term - or even a class coming up in a future term. Maybe you have an even different idea! You don’t need to do the logistics; Nancy Davis will take care of that. Please contact her with an idea you’d be willing to pursue. To jog your memory, here are some topics from the past: American Society: Distrust and Fear; How Do Your Remember the 60’s? World War II Stories; Gardening to Benefit the Community.

Tuesday, 10/18, 12:15-1:30, Bethel Inn Library: Have a new idea you might like to flesh out? Contact Nancy

Wednesday, 11/16, 12:15-1:30, Bethel Inn Library: What hope is there for our American society? How can we be agents of change in the civil discourse that surrounds our political environment? This will not be a political discussion – hence, the post-election date; rather, it will focus on the over-arching political nature of our society (and perhaps others world-wide).

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Jackie van Leuven

by Ellen Crocker

Our friend and colleague Jackie van Leuven passed away on July 22 at the age of 82. She was a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, with a degree in fashion design. Her last position before she retired was with Levi Strauss, where she designed custom-fit jeans for women.

Jackie was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at the age of 9. Because of her vigilance in managing this disease she outlived her estimated life expectancy by 40 years. And despite her health challenges, she lived life to the fullest.

In 1998 she moved to Bethel, where her life-long friend Marlene Engdahl had also retired. She was active in Senior College, in the Congregational Church, and in her neighborhood, where she visited and brought food to needy neighbors.

Jackie loved to travel and took numerous trips with her daughter Juliana and with a cousin. And in 2007 she joined a Senior College trip to Greece along with Ellen Crocker. She was an ongoing participant in the drawing and painting class with Suzanne Taylor. Suzanne writes, “Jackie was a faithful member of the Art Class since the beginning. Although she was already a professional artist, she remained modest about her accomplishments. In spite of her physical difficulties as time went on, she never gave up, and she was an inspiration to us all.”

Jackie is survived by her three children and three grand-children, a sister. a brother-in-law and son-in-law. A celebration of Jackie’s life was held at West Parish Congregational Church on August 6.

We will all miss her cheerful demeanor and her welcoming smile.

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at