Tuesday December 23, 2008

Friendly Reunion

When a Washington, D.C., attorney came into town recently for a reunion of his Founders Hall roommates, he made a special trip to a local retirement home for another reunion with his work-study supervisor from the library.

When a group of Founders Hall roommates gathered in Dayton recently for an informal reunion, Washington, D.C., attorney Andy Ridley '72 wondered aloud what ever became of his old work-study boss in the library, Brother Frank Deibel, S.M. '29

Regis Lekan '71, assistant vice president for gift planning in University advancement and one of the contingent, knew exactly.

They drove up to Mercy Siena Gardens, the complex north of Dayton that many retired Marianists call home. There, it took only a moment or two for "Ole Boy," as the 100-year-old Deibel refers to himself, to call up Ridley from his memory banks.

As they talked about their work in the library, Ridley expressed thanks for Deibel's flexibility. When traffic at the circulation desk was light, Deibel excused Ridley to study in the back of the office where it was quiet.

"He looked out for Andy," Lekan said, adding that Deibel and Ridley's embrace was not the end of their exchange. Deibel, an avid computer user, now keeps in touch with Ridley via e-mail.

"Thanks for going out of your way to see the Ole Boy here at Mercy Siena," Deibel wrote on Nov. 16. "That made my day."

Deibel downloaded a photo Ridley had sent, replying, "When I want a cheering up, I'll pull it forth, study it, get comfort and say a prayer for my buddy Andy." The same photo is prominently placed in Ridley's office, "and I get to tell the story of Brother Deibel and me all of the time to colleagues," Ridley said.

When Ridley learned from Mercy staff that Deibel could use a new scarf for his winter walks, Ridley sent one for Christmas — "such a small thing to give a man who has given so much and enriched my life," Ridley said. "Since leaving UD, I have met and worked with thousands of people, but Brother Deibel has always stood out."

Joining Ridley and Lekan for the roommates' reunion were Greg Haas '72 of Atlanta and Joe Blum '71 of New Washington, Ohio. Their reunion tour included all the favorites, Lekan said — a walk on campus, a football game, Golden Nugget and Kramer's.