What 40 Years Looks Like

Aquinas 1940

This page is from the Providence College yearbook, ‘Veritas,’ in 1940, the year my father graduated from PC.

Forty years! What is that to you? Blink of an eye? (As we get older, doesn’t time speed up?)

I’m 59, and 40 years ago, I was a college sophomore living in an all-girls dorm on the campus of a Catholic college that my father attended (no girls back then), my older sister attended (she was a senior at the time), my cousin attended (Class of 1973), and my younger sister would attend. Providence College is, for some, a family tradition.

Forty years ago there were no cellphones, no email, no terrorism threats, no Netflix or Hulu, no personal computers, tablets, or iPods. There were no ATMs. No AIDS. The Berlin Wall stood. Jimmy Carter was president and if you ate a meal in Raymond Cafeteria, you might have heard Debby Boone singing ‘You Light Up My Life” over the piped-in music system.

When people die young, at the very beginning of their adult lives, one can’t help but imagine what they would have become. The ten girls who died in the Aquinas fire that snowy night will always be young in our memories.

Always remembered as the bright, youthful, beautiful girls they were:

Kathryn Jean Andresakes ’80

Jacqueline Luiza Botelho ’79

Barbara Jean Feeney ’81

Donna Bernadette Galligan ’81

Sallyann Garvey ’81

Gretchen Kay Ludwig ’81

Catherine Anne Repucci ’81

Laura Marie Ryan ’81

Deborah Ann Smith ’78

Dorothy Anne Widman ’81



24 thoughts on “What 40 Years Looks Like

  1. Just returned from Mass in remembrance of Katy, Debbie, Jackie, Laura, Kathy , Donna, Barbara, Dot Sallyann and Gretchen. I lived on 4 North. I discovered the fire. I will never forget but will always remember these beautiful girls.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nicely written. I was a classmate of your sister 1978. My sister lived on the 4th floor Aquinas and I also had a brother who was a freshman at that time. Like you PC runs in our family. My dad was a graduate and lived in Aquinas in the 1950′ s. My daughter and 3 of my cousins also attended PC. This tragedy affected so many of us in so many ways. Today I attended a beautiful Mass at PC in memory of the victims. There were reunions of classmates, families, and faculty, and some tears. The emotions of that day are still with so many. Never to be forgotten.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. God bless them and their families. Aquinas was my home for two years. I remember hearing about this tragedy on the news….the year before I was to start my college studies there. A wonderful tribute.


  4. I remember too, of course, but at a bit more of a remove. A young bride, we were living in our little apartment in Pawtucket when the news broke. Unthinkable that ten young women lost their lives in that fire. (It looks as though most of them were freshmen).

    I knew none of them, but when I see a piece about that awful night, I read through each of their names, in memory, so they will never be forgotten. Forty years!

    I can’t even fathom how terrible it was for you, Martha, living in the thing of it.

    Rest In Peace, Kathryn, Jacqueline, Barbara, Donna, Sallyann, Gretchen, Catherine, Laura, Deborah, and Dorothy.


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