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Providence friendships last a lifetime

Many of our alumni comment on how much they value the lifelong friendships they made while students here. With students coming from three counties and even Louisville, these friendships may not have been made without their attending Providence. The small school and strong community enhance these connections and forge bonds that last for decades.

In the next Vision magazine, scheduled to mail later this month, several of these friend groups will be highlighted, including two groups from the Class of 1969, which will celebrate its 50th reunion this year. If you are part of an enduring friend group, please email a photo and description to to be considered for inclusion in a future eVision.

1969 Golfers

The late Mike Naville ’69 was a driving force in his class. He rallied his classmates to share in his continued love for their alma mater long after graduation. And he loved to have an excuse to spend time with them. Soon after the class’s 10-year reunion, the Class of 1969 Golfers began an annual three-day golf marathon at Naville’s urging.

For 40 years, the group has played a full 18 holes or more on each of three successive days once a year. It’s not serious golf, but “various forms of best ball, which I believe keeps the focus on having a fun time with great friends,” Tom Raidy explained.

Naville was good at organizing such golf scrambles, and even created one for the Alumni Association. For his classmates, he took the time to pair each one with different classmates each day – and grouped them by skill level. Richard Young and Tommy Blair carry on the task now that Naville has passed.

Raidy, Young, Blair, Steve Detenber, Jerry Wayne, Stan Farrell, Jeff Jones, Mark MeGraw, Cary Williams, Dale Popp, Ron Posante, Richard Andres, Gary Engle, Eddie Kruer, Mike Day, Pat Teives, Cletus Kochert, Ray Schulz, and Mike McKay make up this group of golf buddies.

The men became friends while in the same classes or on the same sports teams. They may not speak on a regular basis or even see each other in between the annual golf outing, but when they reunite, the men slip easily back into the connection made more than 50 years ago.

“While I only see most of my classmates at the reunions, there is something special that makes it seem we just saw each other yesterday,” Raidy said, noting he was only able to become part of the golf outing five years ago when he moved closer to Southern Indiana after decades in California. “On our annual golf weekend, we come together and have a great time, and it is obvious neither time nor distance has any effect on our friendships.

“It is a great, fun time. Golf, old friends, old stories, with some new ones mixed in. My only regrets are that I missed all the prior years from when they started until I finally joined up and missed being there with Mike. I love these guys and getting to spend time with them. These friendships have lasted since high school, and while I made lots of friends since then, I never made any better friends. The Class of ‘69 are a group of very special people.”

1969 Lunch Group

The 1969 Lunch Group at West Baden, left to right, are Paula (Cleveland) Bertloff, Karen (Gettelfinger) Book, Sandy (Lynn) Mason, Rita (Litch) Stocksdale, Barb (Miller) Schindler, Brenda (Speth) Sweet, and Rosie Miller.

The women in the Class of 1969 have their own tradition, one that started more recently. They gather for lunch about every other month, usually choosing a new spot or place of interest. Up to 13 women, including Barb (Miller) Schindler, Beckee (Olson) Blair, Brenda (Speth) Sweet, Karen (Gettelfinger) Book, Marilyn (Stumler) Pinnick, Pam (Schueler) Beerbower, Paula (Cleveland) Bertloff, Rita (Litch) Stocksdale, Rosie Miller, Sandy (Lynn) Mason, Vicki (Andres) Prince, Virginia (Gogel) Hyde, and Marguerite (Book) Mayfield, attend each time.

The tradition started in 2006 after one of the women’s father died and the desire to meet somewhere other than a funeral home sparked a lunch date, Mayfield said. The group started with just four or five women meeting on Saturdays for lunch, and the number grew over time. As the women retired, the day moved to Wednesday. The classmates don’t all live locally, with some driving in from Brownsburg and Indianapolis. But that gives the group the excuse to travel farther afield.

Their destinations have included local attractions such as Churchill Downs, Culbertson Mansion, and Speed Art Museum as well as road trips to Conner Prairie and an annual trip to Café Batar in Seymour.

“We talk about our families, trips, memories, and news,” Mayfield said. “We are never at a loss for conversation topics. It has been great staying connected to these ‘girls’ 50 years after graduating from Providence.”

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