The Good Life
By Betsy Holmquist
When Robert C. Graham ’25, M.Ed. ’40, submitted information for his fiftieth class reunion in 1975, he wrote that he was a retired school administrator, a fifty-year Mason, a forty-year member of the Lion’s Club, a licensed public accountant, and a real estate broker. “Play golf as much as possible,” he also noted.
This past summer—at 102 years of age—Bob continued to “play golf as much as possible.” A member of the Stillwater Golf Men’s League in Columbus, Bob golfed each Tuesday with his foursome. According to his wife, Ruth, “he doesn’t golf a long ways but he golfs straight.” And he turns in some fine scores.
In May Bob and Ruth attended her sixtieth class reunion at MSU. When the dance music began and no one was dancing, “Bob grabbed me and swung me around the floor,” Ruth says. “It was a fine tune and I love to dance.”
The Grahams had each lost their former spouse by the spring of 1966 when Bob came calling with a bouquet of peonies. “Until then I had always thought of Bob as my boss,” Ruth explains. “I had been a home economics teacher in Columbus when Bob was the county superintendent of schools.” Ruth accepted his bouquet and the two went for a drive. Soon came an invitation to drive to Billings and see The Sound of Music. The next summer on June 4, Bob’s sixty-sixth birthday, they were married.
Bob and Ruth still live in their family home in Absarokee. “We’re right on the Stillwater River,” Ruth says. “It’s beautiful here.” When pressed to suggest what’s contributed to their long and healthy life, she volunteers, “Well, we eat good food. Bob used to smoke cigars. But he quit.” It also could be the dancing. The golf. The Stillwater. Those peonies. And two fine people.
By Bill Johnston
Standing under the larger-than-life portrait of him that was never authorized, in a room named after him—even after he cast the lone dissenting vote in the U.S. Senate to do so—listening to the author of his unofficial biography was an interesting way to spend the recent alumni reception in remembrance of Senator Mike Mansfield. I greeted more than 220 alumni, U.S. Senators, and friends of Montana at an October 15 reception in the Mansfield Room of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. We were there to celebrate the just-released biography, Senator Mansfield: The Extraordinary Life of a Great American Statesman and Diplomat, by Don Oberdorfer.
UM Regents Professor Paul Lauren welcomed the group on behalf of the University and offered comments on the extraordinary life of one of our most distinguished alumni. Don Oberdorfer, former journalist and now professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, spoke on how he was able to interview Senator Mansfield more than thirty times for the biography. Don never mentioned the word “biography” to Mike, although Senator Mansfield knew what Don was doing. The result is a wonderful book on the life and teachings of Mike Mansfield.
We all enjoyed our brief time together, but soon our guests left to return to work or head for home. Thanks, Mike, for allowing us yet another opportunity to recognize your life and accomplishments. As Senator Mansfield often said, “Tap her light.”
Going . . . Going . . . Gone!
By Betsy Holmquist
Who’d a thunk it? Monte bobblehead dolls—gone almost before they arrived. Seven and 1/8 inches of pure delight. Limited, numbered, and now . . . highly collectible. While he was president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, Joe Whittinghill ’89 Seattle, suggested the bobblehead doll as an association fundraiser. Joe knew Rob Bourriage ’97 of Lynnwood, WA, who works for Alexander Global Promotions, the company that supplies bobblehead dolls for Disney, Major League Baseball, the NFL, and NASCAR. With Joe’s urging, help from Rob, and the blessing of the board of directors, the Alumni Association took on the promotion and selling of 1,008 Classic First Edition Monte bobblehead dolls.
Marketing was key. The association first advertised the doll with a postcard to dues-paying alumni. Then, an ad in the Fall Montanan. Office phones rang off the wall. On the Monday following the postcard notice, the office voice mailbox was full. And, for days as calls were returned, the mailbox continued to fill. (In addition to bobblehead orders, calls were also coming in from alumni ordering Homecoming football tickets—another service provided dues-paying members of the association.) Alumni Director Bill Johnston took orders for bobbleheads wherever he went. The board of directors went wild. UM’s national champion mascot is one hot item and the bobblehead doll portrays Monte’s likeness, energy, and personality to a T.
Sorry if you’d like to order one. We’re sold out. But start checking eBay. A Monte bobblehead just might show up before too long. We think he’s a fine investment.
Montana Needs and Wants her Alumni to Come Home
Come Home Montana empowers Montana communities and individuals to send an invitation to “come home.” Through technology and collaborative effort communities are sharing assets, challenges, and community vision with those who would most enjoy living and working in Montana. For more information, log onto www.comehomemontana.org
An unidentified UM student enjoys the whipped cream delights from the pie-eating contest sponsored by the Alumni Association at the Big Sky Beach Party. The event welcomed students back to campus on September 2. UMAA also helped move new students into their dorms and participated in the second annual ice cream social held for UM students by campus-area neighborhoods.
Missoula’s Clancy L. Cone ’65 sports a Go Griz lobster topper at the August 30 Griz-Black Bears football game in Orono, Maine. He was joined at tailgate festivities by his wife, Beverly Cone (center), Jane and UM President George Dennison, and Jodi Moreau, UMAA’s off-campus events coordinator.
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