Class reunion 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016

David Cossentine

Hello, everyone!

Where did 40 years go?  After graduation, I taught flying at TAA for two years then moved to Collegedale, TN where I taught flying for another two years.  In 1979 I joined the 76/78 team of married couples when I married Dianne Fraka.  Our first year was spent in Collegedale.  Then, we moved to Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan.  My plan was to earn a degree in aircraft maintenance and qualify for the FAA Airframe and Powerplant mechanic license.

After two years of the worst winters (known as a freezing hell) they’d had in 100 years, and health problems that led to amputation of my right leg, we had to take a second look at life. We decided to move to sunny Sacramento, California and start over.  I was able to attend Sacramento City College where I completed two A.S. degrees: one in Aircraft Maintenance (including FAA licensing) and the other in Electronics Technology. I have spent the last 30+ years making a living repairing electrical/mechanical/computer controlled equipment.

David and Dianne (Fraka) Cossentine
 Dianne and I have been married 36 years.  She worked in administration at The Sacramento Bee newspaper for 22 years and is now working in broadcast production at Amazing Facts ministry.  We have one daughter who is an RN and a supervisor at a psychiatric hospital in Sacramento.  Our grandkids are a horse and a dog.

For fun I enjoy bicycling, swimming, hiking, singing and traveling in a men’s chorus, and working on the Audio and Stage management teams for our church services. We are blessed to be able to broadcast live on the internet, air programs on 3ABN and local TV outlets (visit us at:

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mary Parra Segura

Hello everyone!
 I can’t believe 40 years has gone by!  I haven’t been to many of our reunions so let me tell you what I’ve been up to all these years! 
Right after graduating, my sister Lettie and I went for one year to Sagunto, Valencia, Spain.  It was a wonderful experience that taught me to appreciate more my family and my country.  We got to travel a bit around Europe afterwards. 
            Then I went to La Sierra where I got my Bilingual (Spanish/English) teaching degree and began my teaching career.  I’ve been teaching now for 33 years and it’s not a job, it’s my passion!  I’ve taught mostly grades 1-4 and for one year, grade 6.   A few schools I’ve taught at are San Fernando Valley Academy in San Fernando, CA, Saguaro Hills SDA Christian School in Tucson, AZ, and I am currently teaching grade 3 at San Gabriel Academy in San Gabriel, CA.  My goal is to not only inspire children to do their personal best academically, but foremost to give their hearts and dedicate their lives to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I was very privileged to be able to teach my two daughters in school, and if the Lord permits, I will be my grandson’s teacher next year when he’s a third grader.

Shortly after my teaching career began, I met the man of my life, and my best friend, Armando Segura.  We got married on Thanksgiving day in 1984.  We have two daughters, Crystal and Erika, a son-in-law, Sam, married to Crystal, and one grandson, Joshua.  My husband is a retired machinist and is a wonderful blessing to me.  Since I work and do tutoring two hours every day after school, he is our cook, runs the household, and is the family auto mechanic.   And let me tell you, he puts most women to shame with his cleaning and his chile rellenos!!

Many of you remember my parents who worked at TAA for many years.  My father, such a loving, living example of a dedicated Christian, passed away two years ago this June.  All of my brothers and sisters were here with him his last days. Before he passed away he told us of his desire to start a “Daniel G. Parra Memorial Fund” with the purpose of helping others achieve their lifelong dream of a Christian education.  We have fulfilled his wishes.  To view a fundraising letter, please see the attachment at the end of this article.  My mother lives in Glendale, AZ, and is doing well.  She rides her adult tricycle often and just bought a Teeter machine, which promotes inversion of your body for health.  She gives many lectures on health to many of the Spanish SDA churches in the area.  She will be 85 years “young” this October!
            My favorite activities are traveling, music, arts & crafts, baking, camping, swimming, and spending time with my family.  Can’t wait to see you all!

 ************ ************ ************

Daniel G. Parra Memorial Fund
A humble man who made it his goal to obtain a quality formal education for his children. Now it’s our turn to help others do the same.

Dear friend,

On June 11, 2014, Daniel G. Parra passed away with few possessions to call his own. Still he died a wealthy man for he had the love, admiration and respect of his family and friends. In his 85 years he dedicated his life to God and family. He faithfully loved his wife, cared for his mother, supported and educated his five children, and responded eagerly to God’s calling to teach the much he had learned through constant reading and personal experiences.

In his last days Daniel asked that we, his children, remember him by helping others obtain that formal education he desired but never had – although he made certain that we did. He expressed a special concern for those from humble beginnings who, like him, have a deep thirst for learning, but little means to afford schooling because of their family’s circumstances. He knew, as do we, that by helping even one young person who deeply embraces Godly values, we would be helping the entire family enter into a long-lasting, life-changing promise for their future. In response to his request, we have established the Daniel G. Parra Memorial Fund in his honor to accomplish his last wishes.

Now it’s our turn to ask you to help us make Dad’s dream come true. Your generous donation to the Daniel G. Parra Memorial Fund will help a few deserving young people find that their educational dreams can come true. Together we can make an investment into their futures that will reap great rewards for whole families.

We appreciate your help and would be happy to provide you with a receipt upon your request. Your donations are fully tax deductible.

Mary Parra Segura

Lettie (Parra) Hylarides, Secretary/Treasurer: 
Box 124, Silvana, Washington 98287

Danira Parra, President: 

Class reunion cartoons

Doreen (Schneeman) Nimmo Sutton

Mark and Doreen Sutton
Hello, fellow class members of the great class of '76!

I've seen many of you throughout the years at reunions or otherwise, so I will just do a brief highlight, as I unfortunately will not be attending this momentous sad about this!

My daughter is (gasp!) 36 and living in Florida, with her loves, both human and canine.  I am about to have a third "granddog" in about a month, a brindle Boston.  I make it a point every November to visit her for at least a week while I am already on the East Coast for court reporter association board meetings, and we were able to spend last Thanksgiving in Florida.  Of course, the one year I decide to do a run, there were 27-mile-an-hour winds...

My son is now 18 and recently moved to Nevada and lives with my brother.  He is an amazing kid.  He wanted to venture out on his own before attending college and police academy.  It was very sad indeed, the only consolation being I am going to have a guest room! :-)

Mark is doing well, and has taken up road biking.  In the short time he has been riding, he has logged over 2,500 miles.  He is now my biking coach.  He is looking forward to retirement in a few short years.

It is an especially busy but enjoyable time for me with my association work, running, teaching, mentoring at my church and for court reporting students -- oh, and working!  Lots of travel around this time of year, which is one reason for my absence this weekend. 

Know that I will miss seeing all of you, and will be thinking good thoughts and saying prayers for safe travel.  What a fabulous reunion it will be when our Lord calls us home and we never have to say goodbye!

Love you all,

Doreen Sutton, RPR, CSR, CR 
DS Reporting, LLC

Monday, March 28, 2016

Class reunion photos from the past

For Christy's entire 2011 class reunion photo album, visit this link. (It's in Facebook, but you can view it even if you don't have a Facebook account.)




Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Cyndi (Huber) Wallace

Hello to all!

Lots has happened to me in the last 40 years, as it has to all of us! In 1980, I became a registered nurse, and after working in patient care for many years, started down the path to management/ hospital administration.

I got married very quickly after graduation, and as many of you predicted at the time, the marriage did not last. Charlie Laspe and I divorced in 1996, but not before we had two spectacular children, Joey (now 34) and Alicia (now 31). They are my greatest accomplishment, hands down. Christy Robinson helped nurture their musical abilities by teaching them piano for several years, and they continue their love of music to this day. 

Carol Driver, Cyndi Wallace,
Cindy DeLand, Bonni Polyak,
LeAnn Crawford
Both of my kids were blessed to be raised in close proximity to the kids of some of our graduating class-Mike and Cindy DeLand, Roger and Carol Driver, Bonni (Brown) and Glenn Polyak. My kids consider these kids like siblings, and it was so wonderful to have the support of people I had known since I was 13, as we were trying to maneuver the scary and unknown waters of growing kids to adulthood.

In 1998, I married my second husband, Scott Wallace, and moved to Cedar City, Utah. We had a wonderful life together for 8 years, but he unfortunately passed away in 2007 of a massive heart attack.

In 2006, I became the Chief Nursing Officer at the local hospital here in Cedar City. I am single, and live in a quaint little bungalow built in 1940 with my two dogs, four birds, and who knows how many fish…

Joey is a Nuclear Engineer in the Navy, married and stationed in Albuquerque—no children yet. Alicia is married and lives in Canberra, Australia, with my three grandchildren and son-in-law. She works part time as an educator at the National Zoo and Aquarium. Although I don’t live close to either of them, I see them frequently.  I love to travel, and have been to China, Costa Rica, Alaska, and many other of our states. I go to Australia twice a year as well.

Life is good, and I feel blessed to reach this point in my life. I am looking forward to seeing all of you at the reunion and hearing about your adventures.

Class of 76 reunion party

Sinai party scene from "The Ten Commandments" film.

April 2, 2016, from 3-8 pm.
Party will be at the clubhouse where DeLands live, at 15555 Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85260.
Map from Thunderbird campus to DeLands' complex.

Wear casual indoor-outdoor clothes. Valley high temps can be 75-95. And breezy, so be sure to glue your toupee tightly. 

Bring food (side dishes, desserts) if local, and/or contribute to the grocery $$ bucket. 

If you have pictures, bring on a USB drive to plug into laptop connected to big-screen TV. If you can make a video of classmates at the party for those who aren't able to attend, that would be great. Christy can embed the video in the class blog.

Complex  includes a pool, BBQ grills, a kitchen, and indoor/outdoor seating. We will be keeping it simple with grilling burgers/grillers and hot dogs/vege-dogs. If anyone who lives in town would like to make a side dish or dessert or appetizer, please let Bonni know. 

PLEASE RSVP by March 25 so we may begin shopping. We need to know if you prefer vegetarian food.
Bonni @ 928-242-0607
or Cindy @ 602-540-6506
If you're interested in dinner out on Friday night, call Bonni.

Official Thunderbird alumni weekend events:

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Lisa Vickery Ruffner

Hi Everyone!

Wow! Hard to believe it's already been 40 years! Soooo, a little about me....

I am a widow, I lost my husband Jon Ruffner on Aug.15, 2012.

I and my almost-39-year-old son Jonathan have lived here in South Carolina for almost 10 years. My 35-year-old daughter Johanna lives in Colorado. My son-in-law is a Captain in the Army Reserves.

I'm a grandmother of four, ages 4 months, 3 years, 13 years, and almost 17.
Granny Ruffner in her
little black dress.
I'm a former childcare teacher and I paint cartoon-themed murals. We also had a music ministry called Praise 3 and would play to nine nursing home facilities a month. We would do concerts for the White Memorial Medical Center (Los Angeles) and Loma Linda University Children's Hospital.

Lately, just trying to get by and make life count every day.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Sheila Ramos

Sheila, center, with daughters
Since leaving TAA, I got married and had two daughters, Tabitha and Casey. I worked in a preschool for awhile and then after 10 years of marriage, I found myself a single parent with two small children.

For the next 30 years, I worked in retail, the last 19 years as manager for Sally Beauty Supply, which I really enjoyed. I won a lot of trips to Cancun, Riverar Maya, two trips on cruise ships to Bahamas on the Royal Caribbean, and went to Catalina Islands and Ensenada on the Carnival Cruise. Really cool.

In June 2014, I had to leave SBS because of my health. I had been living in Yuma and I moved to Williams, Arizona. In April 2015, I was diagnosed with ALS. I’m doing good—I have a slow progression of the disease, considering I had the symptoms for the last five years, which was misdiagnosed. I have my "toys" to help me get around. Great doctor and his team at Barrows Neurological Institute in Phoenix.
I plan to be around until at least 90. I wake up every day blessed to be alive. I’ve been married for the last 24 years, and from my daughters we have six granddaughters and one grandson who happens to be the youngest. So I am very truly blessed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Christy Robinson

Hi, classmates.

I'm not very excited about it being forty years since we were sprung from Thunderbird. Forty. Shoot, who could even think about being 40 years old back then, much less being those late-50s geezers that come back for alumni weekend? I've been on the TA campus numerous times over the years, including four years as the academy piano teacher, and a couple of recent guest shots talking to the English classes and a chapel service, so it's not the real estate or the institution that gives me chills of delight. But I'm pretty excited about seeing all of you again!

Over the last (gulp) 40 years, I've lived in California several times (Riverside while at La Sierra University, West Covina while working at USC, and Redlands/Loma Linda while working at LLU and La Sierra and The Quiet Hour). I lived in Phoenix from '82 to early '97. I loved traveling when I had the funds: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK (5 times), Ireland, Netherlands, Jordan, Ukraine, Russia. And I nipped over to Mexican border shopping when I had foreign guests. My passport has cobwebs now.

I'm an always-single (it seems), so rather than brag about my gorgeous, successful husband and awesome children and grandchildren that I'd have to totally invent, I could talk about my cats. I love my two cats. Oh, wait. You're not interested in hearing about the Crazy Cat Lady' cats?

Alrighty then. Maybe I could brag about my career? Meh, you can read about it at LinkedIn. But in a nutshell, I bit the big one in the Great Recession when a third of my fellow employees were laid off, and being old and decrepit at 51, I couldn't get a new job to save my life--or my home (sold it) and lifestyle. In 2010, I moved from Redlands, CA to Peoria, AZ, where I took up my old standbys, playing keyboards at churches, teaching piano, and editing book manuscripts and writing website copy for clients.

That year, my first book was published by Review and Herald, and then I began researching and writing my next three books, based on real events and real people. Once those were published, I started my fifth book, a nonfiction genealogy resource and travel guide called Effigy Hunter. It was published in September 2015. I have an idea for a novel, but can't say I've done anything more than planning it. Meanwhile, I use my two popular history blogs and several Facebook sites as platforms for my books.

Family-wise, my brother Brian and his wife moved to Texas last year, and my father, who had several cancers and was part of the reason I moved back to Phoenix, died in 2012. So there's nothing holding me here, except the inability to afford a move without a promised job. It's bare economic survival and worsening allergies. I'm applying for jobs in California, but haven't been invited for an interview.

So there you have it: all the factoids without the pouring out of intimate details. I look forward to learning about what makes you tick, and hearing your funny and sad stories both in this blog and at the reunion party. Bring your phone-camera galleries to show your families and gardens and the people and things you're proud of.

See you at the party or online, or both.
Blessings to you!
Love, Christy

Websites and blogs:
Amazon author page:  

Oh, OK, since you twisted my arm, here's a picture of my fur-children.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

OK, I'll go first

Welcome to the Thunderbird Class of 76 newsletter blog.

I hope you'll send an email or Word file to me, Christy Robinson, with one or several images you'd like to share with classmates, and several paragraphs updating us on where you live, what you've been doing over the last few years, if you have kids or grandchildren or (like me) in lieu of children, have become a Crazy Cat Lady. A general rule might be to release info similar to what you'd write in a Christmas letter. You don't have to be serious and grownup unless you really are serious and grownup. If you have something to be proud of, share it. Tell us what you do for fun. If you're confessing a murder or that you sneaked out of the dorm when you were a teenager, please save it for law enforcement. If you're the non-communicative type, get a Significant Other to be your amanuensis. Or talk to your video phone, upload it to You Tube, and send me the address (URL), and I can post that.

I'll post your article and images in this blog, and put the link in our class Facebook page when there are new posts to show. If you're not in Facebook (why not??), you'll need to bookmark this blog and check on it periodically.

It's best not to list your email address, as spammers and phishers have bots that look for addresses, especially with the @ sign. If you have a blog (I have several) or a website (got one of those, too), please include the links to them if you want us to look them up.

After each blog entry, you may leave a comment or reply to other people's comments. They won't appear with the article until I approve them, though. That's how I avoid spammers giving links to elephant rides in Jakarta, Ukrainian hot babes who want your citizenship, or Nigerian princes offering to make you rich.

Hey, we may be 57-60 years old, but with this blog, we're more high tech than any other class, ever.  As they say,