Class Notes | Obituaries
Showing class notes submitted in last 6 months by graduates in the 1980s
Shortly after relinquishing command of the 63rd Regional Support Command, Maj. Gen. Nickolas Tooliatos '80, J.D. '83 retired from the Army Reserve after 36 years of service.
Tooliatos received the Distinguished Service Medal from Maj. Gen. Peter Lennon, Deputy Commanding General (Support), U.S. Army Reserve Command, capping off a career which began in 1980. Tooliatos joined the Army Reserve after graduating from Santa Clara University that year, and was commissioned as a Distinguished Military Graduate. In the three decades that followed he served in leadership positions throughout the Army Reserve, culminating in his three-year tenure as commanding general of the 63rd RSC.
Tooliatos, of San Ramon, Calif., remembered the day he took his oath of office as a second lieutenant 36 years ago.
“The day I commissioned I had my mother, my father, my sister Paula and my then fiancée Joni (Chiesa) ‘80, M.B.A. ’82 in the Rose Garden at Santa Clara University just a few miles up the road,” Tooliatos said. “My mother and Joni pinned my bars on. As I looked across at my dad he had a grin from ear to ear. My dad was a World War II (battle of) Peleliu Marine and he was the greatest patriot I’ve ever met.”
"I owe my life to my wife Joni, who has stood by me through everything," he said.
“She’s been there through deployments … through rocket attacks when I would click the Skype off so she wouldn’t have to hear the incoming rounds. I’d call back and say it was a bad connection,” Tooliatos joked.
The demands of Army life often meant missing important family events, including his children’s baseball games.
“My poor kids had to endure me coaching baseball games in my old Battle Dress Uniform back in the day,” he said. “How many kids do you think had their dad coaching a game in BDU’s? I’ll always be thankful to my battalion commander who gave me the leeway to do that and let me maintain some balance.”
“I challenge all of you to maintain that balance. Your priorities are your family, your civilian job and then the United States Army,” he continued. “The Army is a jealous mistress. She will take as much time as you’re willing to give her and we need you. But you have to maintain that balance.”
Tooliatos thanked all his mentors and influences for helping him improve as an officer and reach the rank of major general.
“In some way they all gave me opportunities that I probably didn’t deserve and praise on evaluation reports that I probably didn’t earn,” Tooliatos said. “Thanks for being great teammates and bringing out the best in me.”
Being afforded the opportunity to command the 63rd RSC as his last assignment has been an honor and a privilege, he said.
“You are a great group of soldiers and it’s been an honor to serve alongside you,” he said with pride.
Even in retirement Tooliatos asserted that he would remain a Soldier.
“When I was on the Army Reserve Forces Policy Committee we coined the concept called ‘Soldier for Life,’” Tooliatos said.
“Believe me I’m going to be a Soldier for life,” he said.
Although he has retired from the Army Reserve, he will continue to practice law in the Pleasanton, California, firm of Randick, O’Dea & Tooliatos, LLP, where he is a Certified Specialist in Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Law. He plans to take Joni on some well-deserved and long-deferred trips to see the world and play golf and hunt with his two sons, Nickolas and Michael.
Angela “Angie” Robbiano ’80 MBA ’01 was selected to be on the list of 2016 Women of Influence by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. These are women “who are changing Silicon Valley’s landscape in business, nonprofits, healthcare and professional services.” As a senior finance manager of one of the nation's biggest defense contractors, Robbiano enjoys tackling challenging projects.
With more than 36 years in the business, George Montanari '80 brings to Alain Pinel Realtors a wealth of skill and professionalism: Top Listing Agent, Top Selling Agent, Top Producer, Monthly Sales awards, Annual Sales awards, Platinum Circle, Wall Street Journal, and so on. Montanari has more than1,000 clients, including the Santa Clara County Public Guardians Office. George is a valley native and lives in Los Gatos with his wife, Jill, and their two children, Kristin and Massimo.
Scott Freeman '80 is the EVP of International for Bunim/Murray Productions. In addition, he is an executive producer on The Challenge for MTV and Valerie's Home Cooking (with Valeria Bertinelli) for Food Network.
Peter Dolan '80 serves in his seventh year as a trustee for Regis University in Denver Colorado. He is past chairman of the Endowment and currently serves as chairman of the Finance Committee and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Peter is a founding partner of Plaza Advisory Group, a wealth management firm in St. Louis, Missouri. He and his wife Anne have two sons. Ryan is a graduate of Regis University and Sean is a graduate of St. Louis University. In 2014, Peter wrote and published the book The Integrated Investor: The Art and Science of Financial Achievement, which aims to share essential ideas learned through years in the industry in a way that would interest and inform a broad audience.
Joseph V. Capurro, Esq. ’80 has been selected by the State Bar of California for their 2016 State Jimenez Memorial Special Recognition Award as Applicants’ Attorney in the field of Workers Compensation. The award will be presented on Friday, September 30, 2016, during a reception at the California State Bar Annual Convention in San Diego.
Joe has practiced in the field of Workers Compensation Law since he was admitted to the California Bar in 1980. He is a sole practitioner at The Law Office of Joseph V. Capurro in San Jose, CA, and has represented injured workers before the Workers Compensation Appeals Board, various California Courts of Appeal, and the California Supreme Court. He has been a certified specialist in the field of Workers Compensation for over 20 years.
He is an active member of the California Applicants Attorneys Association and is a member of the Board of Directors. He currently serves on several committees of the organization and is Co-Chair of the Amicus Curiae Committee. He is a frequent lecturer on matters involving Workers Compensation, particularly on the topic of recent case law developments. Additional memberships include the Santa Clara County Bar Association, the Bar Association of San Francisco, the Workers Injury Law & Advocacy Group, and the American Association for Justice.
He and his wife Jackie have three adult sons, one granddaughter, and one grandson-to-be.
Tom Brysacz '80 loves his job as a family physician more than ever and is the luckiest man on the planet.
T.L. Brink '80 MBA has been selected as a Peer Online Course Reviewer for the California Open Education Initiative.
Laurel Rematore '81 writes, "On Jan. 4, 2016, I became the executive director of the Great Smokey Mountains Association, an educational nonprofit that has provided more than $35 million in support to Great Smokey Mountains National Park since GSMA's formation in 1953."
Kelly (Rickon) Mitchell '81 has been inducted in the Santa Clara University Athletics Hall of Fame. Mitchell, a two-sport standout at Santa Clara, was a two-time member of the U.S. Olympic women's rowing team. She was awarded a Congressional gold medal for the boycotted 1980 Olympic Summer games and went on to become the captain of the 1984 Olympic team, helping the Americans claim the silver medal as coxswain. During her junior season, she was also the coxswain for the U.S. women's team that placed sixth at the 1979 World Championships. A member of both the Santa Clara men's rowing and women's cross country teams, she has remained involved in sports. Mitchell, a coxswain for the 1979 and '80 Santa Clara men's rowing team, was chair of the ethics committee on the board for U.S. Rowing, a manager for the World University Games, area director for Southern California Olympians, and a member of ZLAC Rowing Club. She worked to help build the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA, before going on to earn her master's in Leadership and Nonprofit Management from University of San Diego. She currently works as a development director at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego where she lives with her husband and two sons.
Julio Ledesma IV '81 is winding up a second tri-term at the Philippine House of Representatives; having been elected to the 10th, 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th, and 16th Congress. He has chaired the Labor (11th), Energy (11th), Ways and Means (12th), and Science and Technology (15th) committees and is currently senior vice chair of the Ways and Means Committee. Jules plans to return to the private sector.
He is founder and principal steward of their Family Trust — a giving pledge Inspired Org. Its first foray into PhilanthroCapitalism was the Agri-Agra Group.
Ledesma Centre San Carlos Business Park San Carlos Negros Occ. 6127 The Philippines.
Don Kinney '81 retired from Chevron Corporation after 35 years, with the last 18 years in positions in South America and Africa. He and his family have retired to Pinehurst, NC.
Dan Hunter '81 is the vice president and corporate controller at Coherent, Inc. He writes, "Looking foward to the 35-year reunion in October!"
Chris Fellenz '81 lives in San Jose, working as a consultant in High Tech (planning, operations, communications, quality systems). He and Diane (Watkins) '83, have 3 children — Kyle, Curtis, and Janelle.
Find me on LinkedIn of Facebook
Kerry (Lenihan) Baz '81 works at Adobe Systems Inc. in downtown San Jose and is adjusting to life as an "empty-nester". She is looking forward to seeing lots of classmates at the reunion this fall.
Allison Abbott-Kline '81 and her husband, Norman Kline '79 celebrated their 35th anniversary in June. They serve on the SCU Board of Fellows, are involved with SCU Catala and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. They live in the Rosegarden area of San Jose with their golden retriever Rose.
Peter Coe Verbica '82, JD '99 has published Hard-Won Cowboy Wisdom (Not Necessarily in Order of Importance). The book incorporates five generations of ranching tradition distilled into one, easy-to-read book of maxims with photographs from the 1800s and early 1900s. Peter works in Silicon Valley for the wealth management group for a large investment bank. To learn more about his book go to www.hardwoncowboywisdom.com. His next book, entitled Left at the Gate and Other Poems, is scheduled for release and will be available on Amazon.
Julie Sly '82 has been editor for the past six years of Catholic Herald Magazine, a bimonthly magazine of the Diocese of Sacramento, reaching more than 40,000 households with faith stories of Catholics in the 20-county diocese. She has been a resident of the Land Park area of Sacramento since 1991.
Andy Miller '82 joined the board of directors of iRobot Corp (NASDAQ: irbt). He is EVP and CFO of software company PTC, and he and his wife Joyce (Valadez) Miller '82 now reside in the Back Bay of Boston, enjoying life as empty nesters, while their two children pursue BFA degrees in the performing arts.
The University of Hawai'i Board of Regents approved the appointment of Carolyn Ma '82 to be the second dean of the University of Hawai'i.
“Dr. Ma’s impeccable credentials give us a strong foothold as we take the College of Pharmacy to the next level,” said University of Hawai'i Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney.
Born and raised on O'ahu, Ma has an extensive background in clinical pharmacy practice, pharmacy and hospital administration. She is a registered pharmacist with licenses in Hawai'i, Nevada and California and remains boarded in oncology pharmacy. She joined DKICP in 2007 as the clinical education coordinator and designed, constructed and implemented 4,200-square feet of space in what is formerly known as the Gold Bond building in Kaka'ako on O'ahu. Additionally, in preparation for the advanced rotations, or internships for student pharmacists, she helped place numerous faculty in residence at O'ahu, Maui and Kaua'i hospitals and clinics.
Mary Baden H. Haughey '82, senior vice president of operations for the YMCA of Silicon Valley, has co-authored the second edition of Dr. Marlene Bumgarner's book Working with School-Age Children. In addition to her work in Youth Development at the Y, Mary also teaches child development courses at Gavilan College. Mary lives in Morgan Hill with her husband, Norman. You can find her every Saturday riding her horse.
Nancy Creveling MBA '82 writes, "Retirement is marvelous! Second grandchild arrived in January."
Richard T. Bissen Jr. '83 has been a second circuit court judge in Hawaii sincen April 2005. He was a gubernatorial nominee of former Gov. Linda Lingle. Prior to his appointment, he served as the interim director for the State of Hawaii Department of Public Safety and as the first deputy attorney general for the state. Bissen served as the prosecuting attorney for the County of Maui from August 1995 to January 2003. Prior to that, he served as a deputy prosecutor from 1987 to 1991 and again from 1992 to 1995.
Bissen is a married father with three daughters, including Sayble Bissen '10, and two grandsons.