In late January Nancy and enjoyed spending a few days in Mexico with Chip and Kit Norris and John and Becky Jensen. Chip wowed us with his booming drives on the golf course and Kit and Nancy were “not so shabby” in their own right. John, “The Bionic Man” and yours truly trudged along and did our best to keep up. John is not only a walking/talking advertisement for artificial joints, but he is moving full steam ahead with his business ventures as well. Chip and Kit made the trek in concert with a visit to the Los Angeles area to spend time with their son and family. Kit continues to be excited about her consulting role with mathematics teachers and programs nationwide, and it is evident that Chip is not “flunking” retirement.
In the Sun Belt, Jim and Beth Gray (along with John Jensen and every other UNC basketball crazed alum) are basking in the glory of a national basketball championship for Tar Heel nation. In truth, it was “small potatoes” when compared with our team’s 101-100 double overtime victory against Mt. Hermon.
On a more somber note, I was recently informed of the sad news of John Chittick’s passing. John was a vibrant friend and classmate, and he will be missed by all of us who were touched by him during his Deerfield days and beyond. John dedicated most of his adult life to teaching young people around the world about HIV/AIDS prevention, and he was devoted to helping others until the end. The obituary gives a good overview of the range of John’s accomplishments outside of Deerfield, and I think you will agree that they were quite extraordinary.
What the obituary does not include is any reference to Deerfield. As many of you know, John was honored with the prestigious Heritage Award presented annually to a Deerfield alumnus who has shown great service to others. In receiving the award, its recipient is asked to address the full faculty, staff and student body at Deerfield. Living in the town of Deerfield at the time John received the award, Nancy and I were asked to join John, his mother and the Widmers for dinner at the Deerfield Inn preceding the event. At the assembly John, decked out in one of his signature Hawaiian shirts, passionately talked about his HIV/AIDS initiative and said he would welcome any potential volunteers to join him on the stage following his address. As I remember it, a dozen or more students crowded onto the stage, sufficiently moved to express their support and join him in his cause.
John led a remarkable life, and many of you as classmates were drawn into his circle by helping to fund his initiatives, an expression of support for which I know John was most appreciative. The accompanying picture of John with Les LaBrecque, Sandy Rose and Jamie Johnston has John showing a video of the island in the Pacific to which he was heading, saying that it would be his final resting place. If I learn of a memorial service for John, I will be sure to send the information to you.
Peter “Duck” Drake