Zooming back together
The brothers of Phi Kappa Theta used the pandemic to reunite — virtually and meaningfully
By Connie DeLetis
What can you do if you’re a group of fraternity brothers who haven’t seen or interacted with each other for 50-60 years? Well, let us tell you. There was a group of four Phi Kaps who had been in sporadic contact with each other over the years. One of the four, Dave Ehlke, sent an email to the other three in early June and suggested that they initiate a Zoom call. This was welcomed, as everyone had been sequestered for weeks by the pandemic.
The group quickly grew to 11, weekly Zoom calls and a prioritized list of topics. And so it began. It’s interesting that each member enthusiastically attends these Zoom calls. The weekly meetings started with discussions of:
• What are you most proud of in your life since graduation?
• How did you meet your wife?
• What are your favorite fraternity memories?
Some of the other planned discussion topics include:
• How has the virus impacted you and your family?
• What types of investments have you made?
• What are the favorite places that you’ve visited?
In addition, a permanent record of everyone’s life after graduation, lovingly called the “Geezer Report,” is being created. Each person is contributing a short review of their jobs, family and what they are now doing for John Lozan to edit.
So, what have we learned from these sessions? Well, as you see from the map, the brothers are scattered across the country. How did they get there? We found that the careers of the group members are more varied than you might expect from a group of engineering graduates. Tom Prioreschi is a real estate developer. Gerry Pasterick owns a winery and vineyard. Con DeLetis, Dave Ehlke, Maynard Isabell, Al Muren, John Lozan and Frank Stilwagner were business executives. Joe Crawford and Don Macko became doctors. Dave Schrady was a college professor and provost.
Many of us have advanced degrees and one brother (Joe Crawford) has five degrees. Only one member, Dave Schrady, actually followed and used his degree in Operations Research. Three became entrepreneurs with their own businesses: Dave Ehlke, John Lozan and Tom Prioreschi. The group members have been married an average of 51 years.
Besides the usual hobbies of golf, hiking, travel and cruising, there were some unusual hobbies, including car racing, credit card collecting, photography, Ham radio and oil painting. They are giving back by advocating for criminal justice reforms, supporting food banks and homeless projects, and getting involved in civic affairs and non-profits.
While each brother took a different path in life, each has agreed there was real value in the bonds formed during those years at Case and in the fraternity. There were many things that the college/fraternity life prepared us for by instilling the importance of family, the value of education and a life well lived.
In addition, all of us continue to be in relatively good health (for octogenarians). It’s been a fascinating and positive reunion.
Connie is the former president of Phi Kappa Theta. You can reach him via email@example.com.