The Bismarck High School Class of 1981 monthly update


Volume 10, October 2001

Hi everyone,

Our newsletter this month has a very human account of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. Brad Wolfer is a resident of New York City and was only blocks away when the events occurred. He has graciously taken the time to share his story with all us. Randal Bailey lost a fellow employee and also shares his story with us. Thank you to both of them.

This month our newsletter includes interviews with Jon Kaseman and Jon Western, two guys that are still great friends, and still in touch on a regularly basis. Jon K. helped me find Jon W.-how nice!

A big thank you to Mary (Kraft) Rostad and Victor Pfund for agreeing to be part of the fun last month! I am so glad you were willing to step up to the plate!

Please remember to keeping sending in those personal tidbits about your lives, they really help to make this newsletter what it is! People love hearing about what everyone is up to! Also, as always, I need those interviews, I have a couple banked and will be able to stretch them until he New Year, but then the newsletter and I will be in trouble. If need be I will go to one interview per month in order to keep going for a while longer, but I hate to do that. Thus, I need you all to help me out. At the end of this newsletter you will find the interview, please feel free to do one and send it to me, I greatly appreciate the help!

One quick note, I sure do appreciate all the positive words that you all have for the newsletter. I truly enjoy doing it each month! BUT, I only put it together, without all of you, I would have nothing! Your stories, interviews, life updates, etc. are what REALLY make this newsletter! So please keep those coming, and I will keep putting it all together, but remember, this is YOUR newsletter and all of you deserve those THANK YOU'S!!!! So, THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!

Next month our newsletter includes interviews with Deanna (Geisinger) Dailey and Lisa (Moser) Keinzle, two women who are still proud to call Bismarck home!

Have a great month, stay safe! Talk to you soon! Lauri



SEPTEMBER 11, 2001


The following was contributed by Brad Wolfer


We are OK, but somewhat stoned and numb from the experience. I was 4 blocks away and was one of the thousands walking aimlessly trying to get home. Many of my friends have lost family and or friends. I was fortunate and found my way out without a scratch.

On Tuesday, as the subway I was riding was evacuated, people who normally stick to themselves, lent a hand for elderly, blind and injured. Korean and Japanese delis which normally close doors unless you are eating, offered a place to rest, fresh water and public restrooms. People of all races were helping each other and crying together, not knowing what would happen next. Riding next to me were husbands who lost wives, wives who lost husbands and thousands with ash and soot from head to toe. As we evacuated the tunnel, none of us knew where to turn. Knowingly, all of us ran from the cloud that was expanding behind us. Watching all of this unfold was like a seeing a bad movie become real.

I returned to the city today for the first time (9-14) and am actually rigid with anger. You have to know NY to understand the diversity and complexity of the people. However it was built it works better than anywhere else I've ever been. People ride trains, subways and take taxis. They are aggressive, blunt and usually very proud to be a New Yorker first and an American second. This event has forced all to grow patient, become focused and go out of our way to show empathy for those who lost loved ones. Now the inconveniences such as waiting in line for a train or not finding a cab seem minor. Normally as people walk the streets to work, they read, look down or listen to music, anything to avoid eye contact with others. Now everyone is looking right at each other as they pass on the street, almost like they are all on the same team and waiting for instruction. The barriers of race and class have disappeared, yet no one smiles.

Living in New York for some 9 years now and traveling here over the last 20, it will never be the same. The towers represented confidence, dominance and most of all prosperity. From all over NY and even NJ, citizens use the towers to determine where they are going. Battery Park and the Seaport are right there. Tribeca, Soho and Chelsea, just north while Midtown lie directly between the towers and Harlem. We are all heartbroken and very somber at the loss of our skyline, not too mention our workmates who lost their lives. The city is scarred and will only heal when full retaliation is complete and rebuilding begins. The negative impact this will have on all of our lives has never been experienced and it is likely to remain the single biggest event for all of us.

Brad J. Wolfer



The following was contributed by Randal Bailey

The current program that my team is working is a sub-contract with Lockheed,
in Sunnyvale CA. Our team has people on the Logan to San Jose or San Francisco
non-stops at least every other week. The facts that the attacks were made
on coast to coast flights is a real scare to all of us who have sat in
Logan while waiting for our 8 AM flights. Especially since the Los Angeles,
San Jose & San Francisco non-stops occupy adjacent gates at the end of the
American concourse. Unfortunately, BAE Systems did loose one local employee
on the American FLT #11, Charles E. Jones of Bedford, Mass. Chuck was a
program manager for one of our programs and by all accounts was a good man
to work for. His picture adorns the lobby at each of our facilities.
Outside of the local area, BAE also lost Robert B. Penninger of Poway, CA who
was on American FLT #77.

Derry, NH. also lost two of its residents in the attack. While we did not know
either individual or which flight they were on, my family joins so many
other local communities in grieving the loss of friends and neighbors.


Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you who may have lost friends, family, or co-workers in the events of Sept. 11. Also in our thought and prayers are those classmates and their spouses who are currently serving in the US Military, Mark Anderson, spouse of Marla Backhaus, Navy-stationed on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Keith Garrett, spouse of Char Beck, Air Force-stationed in NV, David Becker, Army-stationed in PA, Jerry Lantz, Army National Guard-stationed in ND, Earl Jensen, Army-stationed in Germany, Kent Kambietz, Air Force-stationed in FL, Don Nelson, Air Force-stationed in CA., Eric Ormseth, Army-stationed in WA, and Brad Starck, Air Force-stationed in NM.


"In-depth and Personal with … Jon Kaseman",

Name: Jon Kaseman
Career/occupation: Construction Management/Civil Engineer
Home: Golden, Colorado
Family: Single
Greatest accomplishments: I have had the opportunity to mange the building of some large projects and experience many different places and work with many different teams of people.
People whom you admire and why: People who do what they love to do. If you love it, it is obvious.
What do you have in your pockets: My keys and wallet.
Fantasy (or reality) job: Continue working in my same career. With a small modification, work for eight months a year and play for four months a year. Currently a fantasy, hopefully soon it will become a reality.
Latest book you've read: I reread Henry David Thoreau; we all could use the cabin by the lake for some reflection.
Favorite music/musicians: Dave Mathews Band, James Taylor, AC/DC, Matchbox 20, Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Aerosmith, U2, any good music.
Favorite cities and why? Denver, CO - 330 days of sun a year. Scottsdale, AZ – beautiful place with beautiful people. Bismarck, ND – It will always feel like home, the smell of the clover in the summer is awesome.
Where have you traveled? Though out the United States, one plane ride every two weeks.
Favorite place to vacation? Mexico or fishing in North Dakota with my Dad.
Any place you would recommend? Colorado is always beautiful, late September is the best time of year.
Favorite foods: "New Mexican Stuffed Chicken Sopapia smothered with hatch green chile or Fresh Line caught spicy Ahi Tuna wood fired medium rare with fresh vegetables and rice. Really good cajun’ or Mexican is always a treat.
Hobbies/second career: Fishing, golfing, hunting, skiing, cooking. I am destined to be a fisherman in my second career.
What if any community service organizations are you involved with? Professional Engineering Organizations
Pet peeves: Politics
Memories of Bismarck (good ones): Great place to grow up, fishing on the river, parties at the desert, summers on the sand bars, sure feels like a long time ago.
Memories of BHS (good ones): Time between class changes.
Favorite teachers at BHS and why: Mr. Klein, Chemistry - He was a good mentor, he cared and proved he could be successful in the corporate world, but giving to the teens of Bismarck was more important to him. It was always evident that he chose to be there and was doing what he loved.
Favorite high school hang-outs: The desert and Jon Western’s Cabin north of Bismarck.



"In-depth and Personal with … Jon Western",

me: Jon Western
Career/occupation: Professor of International Relations, Mount Holyoke College and the Five Colleges Inc., (Amherst College, Smith College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts)
Home: South Hadley, Massachusetts
Family: I was in graduate school in Ann Arbor, MI when I met my wife while on a blind date. Actually, she was on a blind date with someone else. She and her date came to a party that I was attending. We immediately hit it off. I called her the next morning and we were married two years later. It turns she and I had a lot in common – we were both from Bismarck! Of course, the real irony is that we didn’t know each other until Ann Arbor despite the fact that we both went to Pioneer Elementary, Simle Jr. High, and BHS. Not only that, but we actually had a class together – Ms. Kelly’s English in 1980/81. I’ve been married to Jenifer Urff (BHS – 82) for 12 years and we have a three year old son, Charley.
Spouses occupation: Attorney and Policy Council for National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors
Greatest accomplishments: Receiving my Ph.D. from Columbia University. Also, I spent four years at the U.S. State Department working on Bosnia and the former Yugoslavia. I’m proud that I was able to contribute, in part, to the initial development of the International Criminal Tribunal on Yugoslavia.
People whom you admire and why: My students. I enjoy their passion, their idealism, and their commitment to making the world a better place.
What do you have in your pockets: a broken watch, two jelly beans (pink and green), and a six-month old note reminding me to get a new watch.
Fantasy (or reality) job: 2nd baseman for the New York Yankees. Actually, I love my job – I love being in the classroom teaching and working with students and thinking about complex global problems.
Latest book you've read: Ann Marie Clark, "Diplomacy of Conscience"
Favorite music/musicians: The Grateful Dead, Bob Marley
Favorite cities and why? San Diego – the weather; New York – the energy.
Where have you traveled? Europe, Russia
Pet peeves: Self-righteousness.
Memories of Bismarck (good ones): Spending summers on the river, playing on the sandbars and water skiing.
Memories of BHS (good ones): For some reason, these memories are a bit hazy….
Favorite teachers at BHS and why: Rita Kelly and Mr. Berger – both taught classes that were really challenging and both, at various times, demanded that I work harder.
Favorite high school hang-outs: Troy Bernhardt’s basement, Jon Kaseman’s basement, and my parents’ (now my brother’s) place on the river north of Mandan. There was never a shortage of Old Milwaukee beer at any of the places. Also, hanging out by the "Old Tree" down by the Desert.…

Interesting tidbit to Jon’s interview: While Jon was in Bismarck in June he decided to take a drive through the old neighborhood. (Haven’t we all done this on at least one of our visits home?) While driving by his old house, he saw that the family that now lives there was having a rummage sale so he stopped to talk. Just so happens that Kristi (Backstrand) Learn and her husband Dean live in Jon’s old house and it was their rummage sale!! They actually recognized each other and had a great chat! Small world or what? 




The class of 1982 has begun the daunting task of locating classmates. If you know the whereabouts of ANY 1982 graduate please contact Sandy Keller (Wally’s wife) at wskeller@qwest.net. Please note in your e-mail which school they graduated from and how you know this person, i.e. sibling, friend, cousin, etc. She in turn will then pass the information on to the appropriate class coordinator. Thanks for helping everyone!



I know this ran in the September newsletter,
but I wanted to remind you to watch for it this month.

Country Music Television (CMT) will begin airing in October the music video
in which Doug Rian (nee’ Arnts) plays the lead for a tune called
"Desperados in Love" by the Bellamy Brothers.
Congratulations Doug, we will be watching for it!


Our oldest daughter, Kayleigh, has received "our" first letter in highschool, an academic letter for keeping a 4.2 GPA in her freshman year atCoronado H.S!!! We are so proud!!! She intends to addpins to it this year, her sophomore year, along with a letter in band.
This kid is willing to work like crazy!!!!!
Contributed by, who else, her MOM, Corrine (McLean) Zerr
Congratulations Kayleigh, keep up the good work!
(for those of you who knew Corrine, you may remember that she is not a slouch herself! I would say that Kayleigh is definitely taking after her mom in the academic department!)


If you have something about your child that you would like to add to the
congratulations section of our newsletter, please contact me with a story!
We would be happy to celebrate their successes with you and your family!
Please also include whom I need to acknowledge for the story credit.


This section which I am calling "life highlights" is your opportunity to share exciting news about your life, your family, a child’s adventure, a fun vacation, a job story, anything, with all of us! Feel free to contribute!


Byron Weichel is temp. relocating to San Antonio, TX. He is going to be very busy taking a class called "Medical Logistic Management" at Fort Sam Houston. He will be done there until Dec. 6th so if anyone is going to be in the area, let him know!

Sept. 19-21 was the North Dakota Long Term Care Convention in Bismarck. The national speaker that they had recruited from the East Coast for three key lectures could not get in due to Sept. 11. Guess who filled in? They called me Sept. 18! I don't remember much of the last two weeks, but I understand the evaluations from my lectures on Phytochemicals and Food Safety were well received. Thank goodness for patient audiences, Xerox machines, and PowerPoint! Contributed by Sheri (Nordstrom) Driscoll


Our sincerest sympathies to Corey Mees and his family.
His mother, Mary Mees-Bosch, passed away in mid-Sept. in Bismarck.


New Phone, New E-Mail Addresses, and
New Postal Addresses

We have a new or corrected e-mail addresses for Lisa Ilse, Scott Carlson, Jerry Lantz, Terry Lipp, Brad Starck, Lance Haag, Tom Gerhardt and Tom Roe.

We also just received a new home address for David Becker, he is now living in PA, and sends this message. "I am giving an open invitation to anyone who comes into the Pittsburgh area, give me a call and will get together."

Ellen (Miller) Jepsen was on our missing list, but no more, she is found! I have her full information if someone wants to find her and reconnect.


If you would like any of the new info., contact me!
(For privacy reasons, I will not post that type of info. on this web page.)
We now have e-mail addresses for over 200 classmates,
if you would like to find someone let me know!


***Main street is almost finished, or so the folks tell me! I hope this is true, it would be great if it was done before the snow flies.

Remember when……you felt safe?? We still are, but freedom has a price. I think for the first time in our lifetimes, we are seeing the ultimate price that has to be paid. It will be worth it, but that does not lessen the pain for our country and its citizens.

Personal notes:

Pearl (Throndahl) Mohr, Steve Imhoff, Marla (Backhaus) Anderson, Kathy Berg, Julie (Frieze) Burgress, and Karen (Oswald) James, if you guys are reading this could you please get in touch with me! You addresses have changed, your phone numbers are disconnected or your e-mail boxes are full, thus I can no longer contact you. I am trying very hard to keep everyone in the loop and my information up to date.
Thanks very much! Lauri



Periodically I send out info. which is not included in this newsletter, like e-mail changes, address changes, etc. For privacy reasons we do not post that type of info. on the web page, unless someone includes it in their personal interview. We will try to update all of that info. via e-mail only. I would love to keep you informed also, but I need to know how to contact you! PLEASE GET IN TOUCH WITH ME!!!


I am having great fun doing this for all of you every month! I am more than welcome to your ideas! Feel free to let me know your thoughts and impressions on where you would like this newsletter to go or what you would like to know more about! Also, if you are willing to be interviewed, contact me, we would love to hear from you! See you next month! Lauri laurireedeckmann@hotmail.com or keckmann@packersrock.com



Remember you can answer all the ??? or just those that you choose. Return it to me at keckmann@packersrock.com upon completion! Thank you, Lauri





Spouses occupation:

If applicable, how did you and your spouse meet?

Greatest accomplishments:

People whom you admire and why:

What do you have in your pockets:

Fantasy (or reality) job:

Latest book you've read:

Favorite music/musicians:

Recommended movies:

Favorite cities and why?

Where have you traveled?

Favorite place to vacation? Any place you would recommend?

Favorite foods:

Hobbies/second career:

What if any community service organizations are you involved with?

Pet peeves:

Memories of Bismarck (good ones):

Memories of BHS (good ones):

Who were some of the people you hung out with?

Were you involved with any extra curricular activities, if so what?

Favorite teachers at BHS and why:

Favorite high school hang-outs:

I can be contacted at: (please answer the response, which is acceptable to you)

e-mail address:

or please contact Lauri and she can share my e-mail address with you