Class Notes

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(Published in the Spring 2016 Bulletin)


Ruth (Armbruster) Riedel and her husband, Rev. Robert Riedel, Port Huron, Mich., celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in June 2015.


Michael Biro Jr., Van Wert, Ohio, was inducted into the Crestview Educators Hall of Fame. He retired in 1993 with 35 years in education, 31 of them at Crestview. His wife is Eloise (Kreischer) Biro, ’55.


Billie J. Coleman, Upland, Calif., was inducted into the Port Clinton Athletic Hall of Fame in September. After graduation from Heidelberg, he played semi-pro baseball in the Los Angeles Municipal League from 1965-70.


George Danchisen, Marblehead, Ohio, was elected to a fifth term on the Marblehead Board of Public Affairs.

Thomas Pieper, North Canton, Ohio, was recently re-elected vice president of the Friends of Fort Laurens Foundation. A retired teacher, he is married to Jane (Fouse) Pieper, ’66.


Dr. Edgar L. Berre Jr., Cincinnati, is the recipient of the William Proffit Cup, given by the Division of Orthodontics at the University of Kentucky for outstanding commitment and contributions to the department. He has practiced orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics in Cincinnati for more than 40 years. For the past six years, he has been a part-time professor in the Graduate Orthodontic Department at UK and also is on the teaching staff at the University of Cincinnati Dental Center.


Donald Keller, Galloway, Ohio, who is with the McNees Wallace & Nurick law firm, has been named a 2016 “Ohio Super Lawyer,” which distinguishes the top 5 percent of attorneys in each state who have attained peer recognition and professional achievement. Donald practices in the firm’s labor and employment group and has served as lead counsel in employment discrimination litigation. He is the former chief in-house labor counsel for the city of Columbus.


Dr. Mark Peeples, Bexley, Ohio, is one of five Ohio State University faculty members elected by his peers this year as Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Mark has been a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine for the past 11 years. He also leads an active research lab at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. The AAAS recognition honors his contributions to virology, in particular to understanding entry and replication of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Mark is one of three Nationwide researchers who recently received a $6.75 million grant to develop a vaccine for RSV, the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in young children. He also is serving as president of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.


Dr. Kevin Laing, Van Wert, Ohio, was inducted as a Fellow of the International College of Dentists in November. He was recognized for professional achievement, service and dedication to the continued progress of the dentistry field.

Steve Mohr, Bucyrus, Ohio, retired as superintendent of Wynford Schools after 37 years as an educator and a successful basketball coach. He is married to Dona (Barnes) Mohr, ’02.


Anne (L’Italien) Fry, Bloomville, Ohio, retired after teaching art and technology for 35 years at Seneca East Schools. For 24 years, she also served as yearbook advisor. Anne earned her master’s degree in classroom technology and currently is an adjunct instructor in Heidelberg’s School of Education.


Ellyn Ruthstrom, Brockton, Mass., is the executive director of SpeakOUT Boston, the oldest LGBTQ speaker’s bureau in the country. She is the past president of the Bisexual Resource Center and this past summer, she was elected grand marshal in the Boston Pride Parade, along with the organization’s co-founder, Woody Glenn. In September, Ellyn helped coordinate the Bisexual Community Policy Briefing at the White House, a follow-up to the 2013 Roundtable on Bisexual Issues that she co-organized.


Kim Langer, Falls Church, Va., a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefit Administration, has been a senior investigator for 17 years in the Washington District Office. She has conducted hundreds of civil and criminal investigations of employee benefit plans and was recently presented with the Labor Department’s Distinguished Career Service Award.


Dr. Jose Hernandez, Fostoria, Ohio, is the new principal at Mansfield Senior High School. He has been an educator for 27 years as a teacher, coach and administrator.

Wendy S. (Murphy) Fachini, Thousand Oaks, Calif., published a book in September, Scales and Chords: A Progressive Approach to Learning Major and Minor Scales.

Joe Stegman, Bethel, Ohio, accepted a new position with Blair Technology Groups as vice president of human resources.


Rep. Jennifer DeChant, Bath, Maine, was among nine women state legislators recognized at the Will/WAND National Women’s Leadership Conference as a Pacesetter for her outstanding legislative service and commitment to sound, progressive policy. Jennifer is serving her second term in the Maine State Legislature.

Mark Harkins and his wife, Holly Carter, Canal Winchester, Ohio, are the parents of Hendrix Finn Carter Harkins, whom they welcomed Oct. 5, 2015.

Dan Miller, Nevada, Ohio, has been appointed CEO of Mansfield Memorial Homes, a long-term care facility.

Sea Bags, a company co-owned by Beth (Greenlaw) Shissler, Harpswell, Maine, has been named 2015 Small Business of the Year by the city of Portland, Maine. Sea Bags has crafted stylish totes and other accessories from reclaimed sailcloth since 1999. Last year, Sea Bags recycled 2,800 sails and more than 500 tons since the company started. Sea Bags also was named 2015 Retailer of the Year by the Retail Association of Maine.


Dr. Jeffrey Waple, Glen Carbon, Ill., was named vice chancellor for student affairs at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Previously, he was assistant VP for student affairs and dean of students at Northern Kentucky University.


Kirsten von Topel, Washington, D.C., presented Guidance Toward Mastery: Utilization of Effective Feedback, Standards-Based Grading and Self- Evaluation of Formative Assessments at the Virginia Department of Education’s English Standards of Learning Institute. She is the first person from Alexandria City Public Schools to present at the conference. Currently teaching English and AP language and composition, Kirsten also serves on the SOL Item and Test Review Committee for English (Writing).


Dr. Jennifer (Page) Withington, Oneonta, N.Y., published a lab manual for the general biology course at State University of New York College at Oneonta, where she has been promoted to associate professor of biology. She teaches primarily first-year freshman biology students and upper-level courses such as plant physiology and economic botany.


Dr. Daniel Kittle, Waverly, Iowa, has been appointed vice president for student life and dean of students at Wartburg College. In his 10 years at Wartburg, Dan has served as director of the Center for Community Engagement and special assistant to the president for strategic initiatives. He also administered the Wartburg West program in Denver, taught in the Institute for Leadership Education and served as Wartburg’s community partnerships coordinator. He received the Wartburg College Student Senate’s Outstanding Administrative Staff Award in 2015. Dan also is active in the community, receiving the Cedar Valley Business Monthly 20 Under 40 Award, and the state’s and Governor’s Volunteer Award. He chairs the board for the Blue Mountain Project, an organization that partners with Jamaicans to improve health, education and economy there. He also is president and a founding member of the Bremer County Recovery Coalition, a regional disaster relief organization.

Suzanne Reinhart, Tiffin, was the recipient of the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services Women’s Career Excellence Award in October. As the school counselor for two elementaries in Tiffin, Suzanne is frequently accompanied by Kennedy, the Tiffin Public Schools’ therapy dog. She also is an adjunct instructor in Heidelberg’s graduate counseling program.

Dustin and Angela (Rittenour) Smith, Bloomville, Ohio, welcomed a son, Dakota James, on Dec. 2, 2015.


Bill Judge, Barberton, Ohio, was re-elected to a second term as mayor of Barberton with 78 percent of the vote.

In the summer of 2015, Christopher Monsour, Tiffin, studied coral reef ecology and the conservation of marine systems along the Great Barrier Reef. Chris, who teaches biology at Tiffin Columbian High School, took the graduate course as part of Miami University’s Earth Expeditions program. Additionally, Chris received the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Teacher at Sea Excellence in Education award in July.

Troy and Sara (Creque) Thomas, Pleasant Prairie, Wis., are the parents of a daughter, Amelia Ann, born Jan. 21, 2015.


Julie Guth, Tiffin, is employed by Corporate One Benefits.

Ty Schwamberger, Copley, Ohio, is the author of Escaping Lucidity, the complete collection of his short works published in August.


Melissa Harrison, Washington, D.C., was named in May by President Obama to serve as the press secretary for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She had been the communication director of the National Resources Defense Council since April 2012.


Chris and Andrea (Moomaw) Barresi, Eastlake, Ohio, are the parents of a daughter, Reagan Corinne, born April 27, 2015. Andrea is assistant professor of physiology for the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in Cleveland.

Jennifer (Fuller) Creech, Troy, Ohio, has been promoted to registrar at the University of Dayton, where she has been employed the past 10 years. She is married to Nicholas Creech, ’02.


Rebecca (Denton) Shope, Toledo, was a recipient of the 2015 20 Under 40 Leadership Recognition Award in September. She is an attorney in the litigation practice group of the Toledo office of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP. She serves on the board of the Toledo Club, the Junior League of Toledo and Harbor House, and also serves on the Toledo Women’s Bar Association Women’s Advisory Committee.

Josh Kuelling and Alyssa Thomas, Oriskany, N.Y., were married June 14, 2014, nearly 14 years after meeting at summer orientation. Alyssa is a newly tenured assistant professor of chemistry at Utica College, and Josh is an insurance underwriter at Utica National in central New York.


Ismael and Joni (Wilhelm) Gutierrez Jr., Fremont, Ohio, are the parents of a daughter, Ariana Iris, born March 16, 2015.

Ryan and Rachel (Karre) Lafferty, Columbus, are the parents of a daughter, Harper Gwendolyn, born May 19, 2015.


Sarah (Hess) Key, Beaver Creek, Ohio, is teaching preschool special needs children at Fairborn City Schools.


Brett Green, Liberty Center, Ohio, is the Digital Academy coordinator for Liberty Center Schools. He also is serving as the executive officer for the 216th Engineer Battalion, Ohio Army National Guard.

Michael Stull, Naples, Fla., published a daily motivational health and fitness book, titled Dominate Your Day – 365 Daily Motivationals for Your Health and Inspiration. He is the owner of Mike Stull Fitness, LLC.


Nic ‘09 and Ashley (Foust) Rossiter, Aurora, Ohio, are the parents of a daughter, Avery Grace, born Jan. 12, 2014.

Justin Toft and his wife, Diane, Sandusky, Ohio, are the parents of a son, Theodore A., born June 28, 2015.


Keenan Jones and Regan Thomas, ’12, were married July 4, 2015. They reside in Indianapolis.

Corie Steinke, Sidney, Ohio, has been named assistant director of residence life and student activities at Goshen College in Indiana. She oversees junior and senior apartments, student programs and student organizations.


Sarah Jeffers married Phillip Byrd on May 30, 2015. They reside in Huber Heights, Ohio.


Drew Figley and Emily Mack, ’12, were married May 16, 2015. They reside in Ashland, Ohio. Drew earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from The Ohio State University and practices in Mansfield. Emily also attended graduate school at OSU and is an occupational therapist at Ohio-Health Mansfield Hospital, working primarily in inpatient rehabilitation.

Chris Hogan and Dani Merritt, ’12, were married Dec. 31, 2014. They reside in Delaware, Ohio, where Dani teaches in Lexington and Chris is an accountant in Columbus.

Benjamin Laubender married Elizabeth Sheaffer on July 25, 2015. A total of 31 ‘Berg alumni attended the wedding, including Nancy (Reusch) Sheaffer, ’81, the mother of the bride.

Michael McCall and Naji Williams, Lorain, Ohio, were married May 15, 2015. They became parents of a son, Miles Michael, on Jan. 13, 2015. Naji is a victim advocate for the city of Elyria Prosecutors Office.


Drew Jackson, Winston-Salem, N.C., has been selected as an Administrative Fellow at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. He is spending the year with senior leadership, learning about the operations of a large academic medical center.

Kyle Youngblood, North Olmsted, Ohio, is the assistant director of athletic communication at Oberlin College.


Caitlyn Klesta, Perry, Ohio, is in her third year of teaching at Lincoln Park Academy, this year teaching 4-8 math and serving as the school’s testing coordinator, leadership and professional development committee representative, after-school care coordinator and in other roles.


Amy Cowles (MAC), Chagrin Falls, Ohio, received the Ohio School Counselor Accountability Report Award, a results-based representation that visually demonstrates how student domain outcomes are facilitated by the work of school counselors. Amy is a school counselor at Lakeview Junior High School in the Pickerington School District.

Deidre McVay, Dayton, Ohio, is a graduate student at the University of Dayton, pursuing a master’s degree in public administration. She also works as the events facilitator for Cox Arboretum and as a graduate assistant for Roesch Library.


Jordan and Emily (England) Montgomery, Upper Sandusky, Ohio, are the parents of a son, Ryker Alan, born July 14, 2015.

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