On Valentine’s Day last month, the FHS Facebook page posted about how Cupid’s arrow struck the hearts of our ‘First Friar Couple.’ Turns out, romance is in the air more than we first thought!
By Mark Vruno
With St. Patrick’s Day 2018 in the rear-view mirror, today is, of course, St. Joesph’s Day. In honor of the feast day of the patron of the universal church, fathers, families, married people and much more, here is a rundown of couples who are sweet on each other — and who have Fenwick in common.
We thought that Brendan Keating ’97 and his wife, Christa Battaglia ’97, may be the first double-alumnus couple from Fenwick to have gotten married (based on their wedding date). Perhaps it is fitting this St. Paddy’s-St. Joe’s “long weekend” that theirs is one of several mixed, Irish-Italian romances. Brendan grew up in Oak Park and went to St. Bernadine’s, Fenwick and Loyola U. Christa is a St. Giles’ girl. The couple has two children, ages six and three.
Fenwick Athletic Director Scott Thies ’99 and his wife Lea (nee Crawford) ’03 are the proud parents of three children: two boys and girl. Admissions Director Joe Ori ’03 and his wife Jen (nee Morris) ’03, an English teacher for the Friars, in January celebrated the birth of their first child: a son, Joseph, Jr.
From the Class of 2005, Paul and Chrissy (Tallarico) Lilek welcomed home a baby boy, Ernest, born on Thanksgiving Day 2017. (In addition to being a new mother, Mrs. Lilek also is a new Spanish Teacher at Fenwick.)
Social Studies Teacher Alex Holmberg ’05 married former Fenwick English Teacher Georgia Schulte ’05 in November 2016. The couple is expecting their first child literally any day now (March 20 due date!). “I think Mr. Arellano may have introduced the Holmbergs and the Ori’s at our New Teacher Cohort Summer Orientation Program,” says Faculty Mentor Dr. Jerry Lordan.
Thanks to more than 20 alumni comments on Facebook, Friars and their friends have chimed in to inform us that there is at least a baker’s dozen more romances that blossomed within Fenwick’s hallowed halls and have matured, resulting in the holy sacrament of marriage:
Class of ’96:
John & Marianne (Palmer) Carrozza
Anthony & Margaret (Arts) Fantasia were married in June 2004. The couple currently lives with their three children (Isabella, 9; Leo, 7; and Joseph, 6) in the Cayman Islands.
Class of ’97:
Chris & Chrissy (Gentile) Carlson
Patrick & Mina (McGuire) McMahon
Jeff & Suzanne (Sharp) Williams
Class of ’98:
The Dolendis are married “but we didn’t date in high school or college,” writes Katie (Morelli) ’98. “It happened a in our mid-20s.” She and husband Larry Dolendi ’99 are the proud parents of six-year-old twins Reese and Riley.
Tim & Maureen (Goggin) Funke
TJ & Sue (Atella) Mahoney
Michael & Andrea (Geis) Mostardi
Class of ’99:
Kevin & Lena (Lloyd) McMahon
Class of ’00
Dan & Colleen (Dan) Doherty
Class of ’01 & ’02:
Paul & Jessie (Drevs) Wilhelm
“We met in Madame Schnabel’s French II Class back in 1999!” Jessie writes. “We still look back on the pictures of us both from the French Club’s trip to France (over the summer of 2000, I believe). Although we didn’t find our l’amour while at Fenwick, we reconnected after college and were married in 2014. We are both proud to be Fenwick alums, but even more so we are grateful to be as we may not have found one another otherwise.”
Class of ’04:
David & Teresa (Nierzwicki) Pollitz
Class of ’05:
Patrick & Sondra (Tenorio) Healy
Class of ’06:
Tim & Nanci (Reggi) Gallo
Michael & Meg (Scanlon) ’07 McGillen
Class of ’07:
Brian & Anastasia (Tesfaye) DeMaio
Class of ’09:
Alex & Kim (Nelson) Furth
“I went to Naz and Allen O’Keefe, Jr. is Fenwick class of ’91,” writes Allen’s wife, Cindy. “The bands were combined.” Twenty-eight years later, they’re still playing beautiful music together.
In the mid-1990s, “Joe LaBarbera and I met at Fenwick,” notes Gina (Horvath) LaBarbera ’96, who is a year younger than her husband. “He left and went to Elmwood Park, and we have been together for 22 years!”
Patrick Hill ’97 fell in love with and married an OPRF girl. “Huskies rule too!” he teases.
Of Fenwick’s All-American water polo player Bruno Szustak ’77, Cyndy Ritchie says, “We went out in high school for a year and broke up. I went to Trinity.” Thirty-three years later the couple reconnected and married! “Does that count as a cool story?” Mrs. Szustak asks.
If you know of other Friar couples in the same “Love Boat,” please let us know! firstname.lastname@example.org