Classmate Bios (P-Q-R)

This page contains biographies provided by classmates whose last name (maiden name for the gals)  begin with P-Q-R, who wanted to share with you what has been going on in their lives..

Last updated:  9/15/19



After graduating from University of Wisconsin with a degree in Occupational Therapy I worked in Colorado.  There I met my husband while climbing mountains and we were married in 1965.  The next year we flew to Alaska in our Cessna 170 for a vacation and we never left.  We settled in Anchorage where Ken became a partner in a consulting engineering firm, DOWL Engineers, and I worked as an Occupational Therapist and Special Education Teacher .  We flew all over this wonderful state having some great adventures and meeting wonderful people.  We now live in the woods on Big Lake where I continue to enjoy rehabilitating wild birds, gardening, and mushing.  We have three adult children all married and living in Anchorage and 8 grandchildren ranging in age from 18 to 2 years.


As always, slow on responding to e-mails!  Got an Associate Degree in Radiologic Technology from University Hospitals, Madison in 1960.  Taught same at various hospital based programs starting with Kenosha, WI; Springfield, MO and lastly St. Mary’s here in Madison.  Got married in 1962 to a wonderful gal from Janesville who graduated from St. Mary’s School of Nursing.  Spent 2 years with the Army (not by choice) and located at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO followed by a year Camp Casey, Korea a few miles south of the DMZ.  Got a chance to do a lot of sightseeing while on field duty!  But better than spending time in Viet Nam.  Returned to Madison in 1965 and have been here since.  Worked at UW Hospital from 1970 until I retired in 2000 from the Nuclear Medicine Section of Radiology.  Also began a 25 year stint teaching Genealogy classes at MATC which led to my 2nd career.  I have been at the Norwegian American Genealogical Center in Madison but have finally decided enough is enough and will retire in 2020.  I am the head researcher which is a fun job especially since I get time off to travel whenever the mood strikes.  We have 2 children (also alumni of West), a son and a daughter.  Both are married and live in Madison.  Our son has 2 daughters, one finishing her last semester at UW-Whitewater and the other a sophomore at Alabama.  My daughter only has grand cats!

Have lived on the north side of Madison since 1999, currently in Cherokee Gardens Condos which we love, pool only steps from our front door.  Health wise, some rough spots.  I have had 4 bouts of cancer, various kinds but have been clean since 2015 so keep on biking, swimming, walking to stay healthy.  Oh, you might say “old age” but I don’t like that term but I have had both knees replaced which helps with the fore mentioned activities.  Looking forward to the 15th and thanks to all who have worked to put this together.

Dennis Pearson  (added 7/27/19)

Graduated from the Layton School of Art, Milwaukee.
Dennis and his father won the state of Wisconsin father and son golf tournament.
Dennis exhibited 25 Beastie sculptures on the White House lawn in the 80’s with the help of Richard Rovsaks, at the annual Easter egg roll.
Dennis recently returned to Wisconsin after spending almost 2 decades living in New Zealand.
Presently he is moving into a new art studio in Jefferson Wisconsin. He continues to create Beastie sculptures, paintings and stained glass.
Psalm 92 “ they will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green”
To God be the Glory.

Dennis receives mail at the following address.
(Note:  for privacy reasons, address info is not published on this site.  Click here to request Dennis’ address to be emailed to you

Thank you!
Beth LaFond


After graduating in ‘58,  I married Barbara Lowell from Madison East High School in 1961. The following year my father and I started Perkins Oil Company.  From 1964 to 1970 my son, Richard, and two daughters, Debra and Krista, were born. I have 6 grandchildren, ages 6 to 29.  In 1970 my younger brother and I purchased the company from our father and I became the president of Perkins Oil.  My wife, Barb, died in 2000.  Two years later I was fortunate to meet Sandra Stephens and a few months later we married, each retired and built a new home.  That was 16 years ago and today we live in Seminole Forest in Fitchburg.  When I retired my son Richard took over the business. He has locations in Madison, Milwaukee and Sparta.

In the mid-80s I got interested in all types of biking:  road biking and racing, self-contained bike touring and camping, mountain biking, and now Sandra and I ride 3-wheel recumbents, primarily on paved trails.  I’ve bicycled over 100,000 miles in the last 30+ years.

My travels include Germany, Austria, France, Portugal, Italy, Venezuela, cruises to Alaska, the Caribbean and several trips to Hawaii. Cross country skiing in Norway, mountain biking in the Canadian Rockies and a month-long biking and camping trip in Australia.

Judy Plaenert Olson (added 4/25/19)

After raising three daughters who graduated from West High, Judy returned to school and received a Masters of Public Policy from the LaFollette Institute.  Judy was elected to five terms to the Madison City Council where she served as President for two years.  Judy was a mayoral aide for six years and was Director of Public Policy and Planning for the City of Park Falls, Wi.  Judy and her husband Jim (West 57) have nine grandchildren and one great child. They reside in Madison.

Jacquelyn (Jackie) Plenke Krajewski

     After graduating I attended the UW, married, had a son (Eric), divorced and remarried.  My husband and I have lived in New York (Sag Harbor in the Hamptons) and owned Baywoods, a garden and landscaping shop that we sold six years ago.

We own a Villa in Stuart, FL in the Mariner Sand Community by Hobe Sound on Jupiter Island, Tiger Wood’s home.  We plan to sale our house in Sag Harbor that we’ve lived in for 20 years and move to our Villa in Florida.

Since my back surgery, I’ve had trouble with my left foot and have had to give up golfing.  So now I plan to start painting and writing a children’s book.


Dave Quady (updated 6/7/19)

My wife Nancy Boas and I have two children, a daughter who graduated from Syracuse University in May 2019 and a son who works as a chef in Boston. I also have two sons from a previous marriage, and four grandchildren. Nancy and I live in Berkeley, where we happily enjoy all that the San Francisco Bay area offers in the way of cultural opportunities and recreational activities. Bird watching has become my main pastime; it offers a reason to get out of the house at any time of the year, and to travel anywhere, locally or around the world, to pursue interesting birds or explore some new-to-me land. A recent journey took me to Gabon, which sits astride the equator on the west coast of Africa, and to the nearby small offshore island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe. Fascinating countries. Good birding. What’s not to like?

After graduation I enrolled in chemical engineering at the University of Wisconsin, and began work with Chevron Corporation once I’d acquired all the degrees the UW offered. My first job dealt with catalyst development, but over a 30+-year career (interrupted by two years in the Army) I had many other assignments, including economic analysis, refinery management, corporate planning, and international oil and gas work. Perhaps my single most gratifying job was to manage Chevron’s interest in a platinum-palladium mineral prospect in Montana during the time our two partners and we decided to develop the Stillwater Mine. The mine is still thriving after 30 years of operation.

Chuck Radke (updated 4/25/19)

After graduation, I enlisted in the  US Air Force, with assignments at Lackland AFB, San Antonio TX, Homestead AFB, FL,  Zaragoza AB Spain, and Sidi Slimane AB Morocco.

After my enlistment was completed, I returned to Madison in 1963.  I married Mary Durkopp (class of 1960) in November 1963.

In 1966 I had and opportunity to join Texaco at the Madison (McFarland) terminal.  That started a 32 career that ended with retirement in September 1998.  As “corporate gypsies”, we moved to St Paul/Minneapolis, back to Madison as Terminal Superintendent, to Lockport, IL  as Assistant Plant Manager.  Then on to  Oak Brook, IL as Coordinator of Administration.  In 1982 due to corporate reorganization, our next calling was to Houston, TX serving as Senior Analyst C&I Marketing; Coordinator, Budget, Planning & Economics; Coordinator, Lubricant Sales Marketing.  We were in Houston for 16 years until retirement in 1998.  Sometime during our stay in Houston, Texaco was acquired by Chevron, so I ultimately retired from Chevron

Our daughter Julie was born in 1964.  She lives in Orland Park, Ill with husband Bob.  We have 2 grandchildren, Rebecca, 24, who graduated from UW Madison,  and is now going for her Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology at UW Stevens Point;  Jacob (18) is a freshman at Indiana University.

After retirement, we decided to move to Bloomington (Ellettsville) Indiana area, to be closer to Julie & family.   While living in Indiana, I had the opportunity to work in the Tasting Room of Oliver Winery, conducting tours of the facility and telling visitors about the different wines produced at the winery.  During that time, Mary shared her love for cooking by doing some catering for winery events.  It was great fun.

In 2006 we decided to return to the warmer weather of  Texas, and moved to Plano.  In 2014 we sold our house, and moved to a “active 55+” apartment community.

In April 2019, we moved back “home” to an active 55+ community in Cottage Grove, WI.  It is great being back!

Still enjoy maintaining the class website for almost 20 years, plus some local volunteering.

Denny Raffill

 I was in the Navy for four years, then started my own business in htg and AC. Married to the former Cindy Way for 54 years. I have a son Dan who lives in CO and a daughter Debbie Hanson in Madison. I like to golf and I enjoy monthly lunches with a few classmates. This summer I went on the Honor Flight to Washington DC with other veterans and had a fantastic time. I recommend the Honor Flight to other veterans

Bonnie (Rejahl) Hamill and Denny Hamill.

After first dating in March of 1958 and graduating from West together we went to the University of Wisconsin in Madison and got married in December 1960. Graduated in 1962 (Denny got PhD in Physics at Boston University in 1969). We lived in Michigan, Boston, Minnesota and now Austin, Texas. Two daughters Holly born in 1962 and Debbie in 1964. Bonnie worked in education with last job as director of a K-12 improvement program in the University of Texas. Denny worked for 3M for 30 years and both are enjoying retirement, but Denny is back to running a new family business making toys to entertain and exercise dogs (

Holly died in 2006 and we still miss her every day. Debbie (physician) and her husband Pat (Goldman Sachs) live in Austin as well and we are building a multi-generational complex to live together. We have been very fortunate to have lived near all four grandkids all their lives and travelled often with them as they were growing up. Granddaughter Lee got her PhD in Materials Science Engineering and is teaching AP Physics in a girls high school in Beverly Hills. Grant got his BA in business and is full time in the family business. Twin granddaughters are sophomores in college with Katie at U of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Lucy at Lewis and Clark in Portland Oregon.

We really enjoyed the 50th reunion and regret missing this one but we wish all classmates continued enjoyment in your lives.


 We, the “Silent Generation”, were born at a wonderful time. Growing up in Shorewood Hills/Madison in the 40’s and 50’s was a kid’s dream. Four years at West High, 1954-58 were special— many lasting relationships!

After Graduation, I attended Denison University in Ohio. Excellent Liberal Arts School but after two years, UW’s fraternity beer suppers on campus  and lower in-state tuition were calls for me to return home. Still a little playboy in me!

With a BS Degree in Economics under my belt, I entered the “real world” starting in Chicago. An entry level management position at Western Electric combined with studies at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business, kept me busy.

Suddenly, a  blind date with Nancy Markham from Ann Arbor, MI plus a hole-in-one on the same day, was fortuitous.

We”tied the knot” two years later on June 26, 1965.

With a promotion in 1966, I moved to WE’s  Headquarters on Wall Street in NYC.  Living in the Big Apple, without children, was a fun exciting time! I earned an MBA at NYU’s Stern’s College of Business, honored on a Special Panel with famous Author/Management Consultant, Peter Drucker.

After quitting my corporate job, I took my   “ bride” for a one month tour of Europe in   a VW Bug  on a $1,500 budget!

Next, we moved West to “Cow Town” Denver to start a family and eventually a career in commercial real estate. Raising two kids in Colorado with great outdoor activities was a highlight of our lives.

Today, as empty nesters, son, Andy- married, two children,( Hana 5, Mari 3 ) Northwestern, Harvard, Oxford-World Bank, Washington DC/Sidney, Australia ; daughter, Molly- married, two children (Luella 8, Gio 5,) University of Washington, Seattle. Four cute fun “twigs” on the Family Tree!

I still enjoy the beautiful Rocky Mountains- fly-fishing, skiing, hiking. Mountain climbing, biking, golf, tennis now mostly on the back burner.
Also, I find time for Denver Bronco and Rockies  games, non-credit adult education classes nearby at Denver University, volunteer work at a Food Bank, Bonsai/Viewing Rock Club, and simply chilling out in our Frank Lloyd Wright style home in a Historic District with a good book, glass of wine next to our backyard special waterfall. No rocking chair yet!

Like many of us, travel is a passion  (experiences/memories vs toys/stuff) as a tourist, international volunteer with Cross Cultural Solutions, even an owner—Mount Kilimanjaro View Lodge in Tanzania, Africa.

For bi-annual family reunions, we still have a time-share escape to picturesque Hanalei Bay on the Island of Kauai.

Wow, 78, where has the time gone? People in their 20’s used to be old!

After 60 years, I am looking forward to returning to my roots in Madison to catch up with the classmates going over all our health issues-operations, aches and pains as well as count our blessings.

It has been a nice journey! Hopefully, for all of us, it will continue for many more years!

God bless,

Rags  “Ballard”


Received BS and MA from U Wisconsin. Joel and I were married in 1962–55+ adventure-filled years so far. Taught French to grades 7-9.

Moved to Boulder Colorado where I earned JD and Joel got PhD. Moved to Anchorage Alaska in 1981 and continue to participate in the hunting and fishing lifestyle. Daughter Joanna and her husband live nearby.

We enjoy hiking and bird-watching and traveling to places we can do both. Arizona is our favorite state to visit, and Namibia, Ecuador, Taiwan and New Zealand are favorite countries. I am currently a docent at the Anchorage Museum and a member of our Neighborhood Association board. Summer activities also include weeding my rock garden and spending time at our cabin.

 Bob Risley

Having sold our Materials Handling business in 2006 we moved from Annapolis to Naples Fl where for something to do I started new businesses, Fishing for Fun, Fix It for Fun and Grandpa’s Garage.

With 53 years of marriage we have been blessed, four children, 7 Grandchildren and a rewarding career. Our children are professionals, Patent Attorneys, a Business Consultant and a Doctor. Our Grandkids are emerging from colleges with promise.

My engineering background (BSME UW) helped me throughout my career.

Anheuser Busch St Louis, Project Engineer

Carling Brewery Belleville, Plant Engineer

Schlitz Brewery, Milwaukee, Director Engineering

Pepsi International, New York, VP Engineering

Barry Wehmiller, St Louis, VP Marketing

GEA, Columbia MD, President

AMBEC, Baltimore, President

Materials Handling Systems, Savage MD, Owner

Every job from Anheuser Busch to Materials Handling Systems was better than the previous job. We had opportunities for innovation. The companies were growing rapidly, and this environment dictated new thinking. I achieved 11 patents on concepts for productivity.

Travel has been an enjoyable perk, for example Pepsi wanted us to take our families on a trip around the world every year and executives were challenged to put our hand in every ocean and run in every major city in the world.

Abraham (Andy) Rothblatt (added 9/15/19)

I have been very lucky to do something I liked all my life which was to do my art.

I am living in the Philadelphia area just moved into a retirement home. I’ve been divorced and no children but I am very close with my niece and nephew.

Hope to hear from some of our classmates