The Brown County Ursuline Alumni Association

July 2018

Sr. Agatha Fitzgerald


Mary Jean Fitzgerald came to the School of the Brown County Ursulines as a freshman in the fall of 1942. Her friend Alice Focke, whose family had a long history of girls attending BCU, suggested she come along. Mary Jean asked her parents, who agreed to allow her to attend one year – either her freshman year or her senior year. She chose her freshman year and “they haven’t been able to get rid of me since.”

She considered joining the convent during her freshman year retreat and the idea grew over the next three years. Her mother was not happy with the idea at first, and her stepfather, who was a WWI veteran, asked if her decision was based on comfort with the relationships she had built—similar to the bonds formed in the military, some people become so comfortable they have difficulty moving on. She did form lifelong relationships with her classmates and others at BCU, but that is not what motivated her, as her 70 years of tenure as an Ursuline Sister proves. She joined the convent in September 1946 taking the name Sister Agatha, just three months after graduating high school.


Sister Agatha earned a B.A. degree from the College of Mt. Saint Joseph majoring in English with a minor in Art. She taught various subjects at Brown County from grade school to high school, mostly art, English and religion. She taught for a few years at Ursuline Academy, and earned her master of education (M.Ed.) degree from Catholic University with further study in psychology – to be able to serve as guidance counselor. She was named Mistress of Novices which meant coming back to Brown County where she also served as guidance counselor. She earned her principal’s certification from Xavier University and served as principal at BCU for 4 years in the early 70s. She then went to Chatfield College because they needed someone to do counseling and teach psychology classes. She stayed for 30 years and became Dean. She was elected to the Ursuline Council and didn’t want to try to be two places at once, so she retired from her Dean’s position, but continued to teach college classes at Chatfield for many years. She eventually took over the development office for the Ursulines, and at 90 years old she “still comes to work every day” sharing development duties with Sister Mary Christine. She also continues to serve as co-Moderator of the BCU Alumni Association with Sister Lucia.


She is grateful for her years involved with the boarding school and says that being able to continue those relationships beyond the years has been a blessing. She treasures being in touch with BCU alumni and girls. “Facebook allows us to be in touch across the world – to know what alums are doing and to see their families.” BCU alumni board members have shared with her that they can’t believe how easily they begin to relate to women who attended Brown County 5 or 10 years before or after they attended; there is a shared experience that permeates beyond the years.

Sister Agatha is known and loved by so many BCU alumni—almost everyone who attended BCU knows her either from her years teaching, counseling and serving as Principal or her years on the alumni board.

“I am very grateful to God for the years he has given me to be here and be part of this community. Gratitude also to the Focke family for leading me here. It’s been a good life, a happy life.”

Class Baskets for Fundraising Raffle

Each year beautiful gift baskets are donated by various classes and individual alumni to be raffled off to raise money for the association. The Board would like to extend an invitation to each class to submit a Class Basket for the raffle on Alumni Day. If you and/or your classmates are willing, please email Jean McNamara with the theme of your basket at

Roll Call

Class of 1945

Margery Winters Cunningham – I think we were not prepared for “old age!” Now that we are “in” it, we are called upon daily to find strengths we did not know we had. Surely the incredible gifts the Ursulines gave me are now most assuredly being called upon. Thank you dear, dear Sisters for your “eternal” presence in our lives.

Class of 1952

Billie Focke MacGuire – Still sitting up and taking nourishment and thanking God every day for my good health. Unfortunately, my oldest friend Sara Pfarrer DeGregory passed away in April. We started school together in Dayton at age 5 and graduated together at Brown County in 1952.

Class of 1953

Peggy Lou Cole Narducci – Retired – 8 children (6 boys, 2 girls), 15 grandchildren (11 boys, 4 girls) 1 great-grandson born 5-5-18 and 2 more on the way.

Class of 1956

Loretta Martin Landry – There are 3 of us Martin girls left of our family of 12. Love to all my classmates of 1956 and the dear caring Nuns.

Class of 1957

Kathryn Mathews Janszen-Phelan – Everything is good in Boca Raton, FL. We survived the hurricane last September which was devastating and there was lots of damage to the area and we had some to our home. We made it through with the help of God and others. My husband and I made a trip to Dublin, Ireland, for our 20th wedding anniversary and it was beautiful. We also have adopted another dog from the hurricane rescue group and he is a Harrier (English dog) so now we have Charlee and Chaplin and they are so much fun. I also try to keep in touch with Clare McDonald and Linda McGraw. Clare always was a great classmate from our class of ’57 and so nice, so it is great to still be friends (and Linda too).

Class of 1960

Peggy Woeber Carey – Imagine how excited Terry and I were planning and then going on a cruise south through the Panama Canal and 4 surrounding countries. We learned lots about jade and emeralds, met lovely people from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and even two from Cincinnati! Going through the canal was amazing. We went through 3 locks which raised the ship 88 feet above the Pacific, then through the isthmus and eventually went through 3 more locks which lowered up to enter the Caribbean!! That was the only way the canal could cross the Continental Divide.

We are busy going to graduations for grandkids and doing our usual food bank and taking care of homeless people. We still take out the Model A Ford and enjoy driving around town. Most people love it and wave and then Terry honks the “aaooga” horn! We are in good health and remain active. I probably won’t go to the Reunion this fall. Enjoy it!

Class of 1961

Mary H. Dwyer Schmit – I am now 75 years young and Pete will turn 90 on 12/6/18! We are asking for God’s grace and your prayers as we work with Pete’s dementia. He still does well with two canes. He is living in the “now” not then. Praise God!

Class of 1962

Anita VanBrunt Pratt – Too long delayed honeymoon finally happened for my husband Keith and me. A river cruise along the Columbia and Snake Rivers tracking Lewis & Clark’s historic expedition with added geologic history. I was able to locate and visit my birthplace at Ft.

George Wright in Spokane, WA – I left there as a newborn and traveled cross country by train to Florida where my father was shipped out to Europe in WWII. He didn’t meet me until I was 2 ½ years old!

Class of 1966

Katie Rink Boehner – Tom and I have three fabulous grandsons: Kian is 14 years old, Bovey is 9 years old, and Jase 3 years old. Now coming up in August, our younger daughter is having a baby girl.

Class of 1967

Margarita Arevalo Haney – We will be staying at our honeymoon hotel in Myrtle Beach to celebrate 47 years of marriage on June 12. In September, we are planning a spectacular trip to Ireland, accompanied by our son and daughter and their spouses. In between, Lou and I continue to volunteer at Peggy Adams, where I get to feed neonate kittens, as well as always having a house full of foster kittens!

Class of 1970

Kay Ornella – I’m still teaching at the University of Kansas, a job I cherish for the value of working with international students. As soon as the pieces fall into place, I’ll be relocating to Maine to be close to my daughter and her family including my one and only precious grandbaby Sam, who is 3 years old already! Bless you all!

Jeanne Aubry Brinkman – 2018 is going by fast. Our oldest granddaughter Ella Brinkman graduated in May from Western Brown, and will enter Univ. of Akron in fall for bio-medical engineering.  Also in May, along with sisters Virginia and Linda visited in Kansas, then went to SD and saw the many sights and Mt. Rushmore, and then onto Arkansas. Had a great time. Home in time for a nephew’s grad party. In spring, Bob put in another big garden, mostly potatoes, 6 rows – 100ft long and I had the job of putting taters in the rows, avg. 100 each row. I was hoping he wasn’t going to do this again. This has been his hobby since retiring 2014. In the fall, I will be picking taters out of rows when ready. Bob and I and our son Chad and family are taking a Carnival cruise out of Mobile, Alabama in July. Ella gets to take a girlfriend who just graduated so they are excited. We are all looking forward to going.

I continue working out at the Y in Batavia, 3 to 4 mornings a week when I can. Lots of cardio, strength training, HIIT, etc. I really enjoy these 1 hour classes and some days take 2 back-to-back. Daughter Becky and her 2 lil ones live outside of Waynesville. She works for the State Support Team/Brd of Education out of Col. She is SST Consultant-Early Learning-Special Education. I help out with the 2 grandchildren on the days this summer she works.

I am kept very busy and do what I can. I try to fit in some days with Hope Emergency. Year 2020, our 50th will be here before we know it or ready for it. Hope many are planning for this big one! Lets all SAVE the DATE!

Class of 1973

Valarie Newhouse Bick – After living 20 years in sunny southern CA, we decided to move closer to our daughter and three grand-daughters.

Tony Wallace Ciany – My daughter Lillian received a Faculty of the Year award, voted on by her peers at the high school where she teaches physics and math. My son,Julian is on tour with the band Timothy Eerie. Each navigating their lives with an open mind and consideration of others. My husband Chuck retired last December. Enjoying time spent with our granddaughter!

Class of 1974

Susan Ford Brand – After BCU, I graduated from Parsons School of Design, lived in New York for 25 years designed cosmetic packaging for Estee Lauder, Garnier,Trish McEvoy (to name a few) at a juncture- I became certified in tennis and in vinyasa yoga and have continued teaching both. Yoga has become my main focus and I recommend it to anyone who wants to feel better mentally and physically.Wishing you all good health and happiness!

Class of 1976

Karin Coltrane Burwinkel – this year Richard and I will celebrate 40 years of marriage. We are expecting our 10th grandchild in August. I like to stay busy with knitting, crocheting and quilting. I have met many great people that way. I enjoy staying connected to all things Ursuline and joined the Ursuline Companions. Please consider making this spiritual connection to the Ursulines. We have a retreat coming up in November at the BCU campus. Carol Carlin (Cincinnati Archdiocese) will lead us on the topic of “aging”. My life is good and I think of all of my alumni friends with love and gratitude for your friendship. I hope to see you on September 15th.

Class of 1978

Cheryl Reindl-Johnson reports that classmates from 1978 have remained close over the years and many plan to be present for their 40th anniversary celebration on Reunion Day 2018!


Sr. Mary Paul (Margaret) Walsh ‘42

Sr. Marjean Clement ‘46

Yvonne (Bunni) DuBrul Cosimati ‘48

Sr. Cecilia (Lillian) Huber ‘49

Mary Rose Burkhart Hart ’50

Sara Pfarrer DeGregory ‘52

Judy Schaeffer Porginski,’54

Mary Ellen Day Winkler ’56

Christine Wilz Koenig ’61

Donna Sardis Fischer ’62

Joann Dinovo Reichardt ‘65

Reunion Day 2018

September 15, 2018

Renewing the Friendships

  11 a.m.…… Registration

  12 p.m.…… Luncheon

    1 p.m.. …..Alumni Meeting

    2 p.m.. …..Photos

    3 p.m.. …..Mass

    6 p.m.. …..Porch Gathering

We will recognize classes 1943, 1948, 1953, 1958, 1963, 1968, 1973, 1978, and 1983.

Porch Gathering after Mass. Bring a lawn chair and your favorite beverage.


Reunion Invitation Enclosed

Your invitation to the 2018 reunion is included in this newsletter.

Please return no later than September 5.

View the PDF version here: BCUNewsletter 2018