George Marshall, Jr.
May 5, 1955 - September 13, 2018
George was a:
Son to George and Marion
Brother to Judy, Mark, Linda and Jay
Stepbrother to Mike and Mary.
Uncle to nieces and nephew.
George loved being on a farm with horses keeping things simple.
I wish I had a chance to tell you these things before you left us but I'm going to say them now so our classmates will know what you and I did. This is about you, me, Vo-Ag and the State of Connecticut. Very few of our classmates ever ventured beyond the double doors by the gym so here is some of what happened. What is written in italics is by Mr. Hourihan one of our teachers and good friend. It was written about me but Bub you know it was about US, the first 4 year Vo-Ag class.
The Vo-Ag program started in like 1968 and it was a regional program for about 12 towns.
A forebearer to the Magnet schools and a great example of hands on learning. it also brought tuition into Ledyard from the towns sending their students there. In addition, because of the program, Ledyard has been able to receive many additional grants.
Very few females were in the program. Now in 2023 more than half are female.
The image continues to evolve and the centers are called AgriScience and Technology. Over 20 are in the State. Funding is great and these centers are amazing some having horse facilities, land labs, massive greenhouses and fish labs. The enrollment has skyrocketed since the early days.
A unique quality is that the program has saved many students who would have been dropouts with a traditional high school education. ALL KIDS HAVE GIFTS and the program embraced these gifts and thus students felt wanted, important and heard. Many students went on to own their own businesses. This 4 year program created a family atmosphere, one which many desperately needed.
ONE OF THE REASONS THIS PROGRAM TOOK OFF WAS GOOD P.R. AND THE EARLY ROOTS WERE AT LEDYARD IN THE 70's.
Who would have thought a simple dream by a minority (female) student would have made this impact. Kim Barraclough was her name, intelligent, low key and persistent. She created the Animal Fair - KIDS MEET ANIMALS which over the years drew thousands of grade school kids to Ledyard. Many years later these kids became Ledyard students.
Other centers looked at Ledyard’s enrollment and wanted to know how did we get so many students? Their bumper enrollment was directly due to good P.R. that was primarily caused by THE KIDS MEET ANIMALS program and Kim Barraclough's dream. Soon many copied this enrollment tool and Animal Fairs started popping up throughout the State, and you guessed it enrollment increased.
Ledyard continues to lead the way with stellar programs, amazing facilities and successful students and caring teachers. This has been the product of many many years of work and vision.
Well there it is Bub, we left a mark in Ledyard and on the State of Connecticut. All because of our Senior project. I never could have done it without you. You were my rock, you did my heavy lifting and stopped me from panicking. Just maybe after reading this a classmate or two might ask about our days in Vo-Ag. The morning of the Animal Fair was a story, I laugh every time I think of it now. That morning was pure panic but you saved me.
With much love,
James Richard McKennie, Jr.
July 31, 1955 - November 9, 1995
Dick was a:
to James and Marcia.
to Bonnie and Cynthia.
Father to four children.
Dick left high school his senior year, instead getting his GED through the Air Force. Dick died in a private airplane crash in 1995 while on a work assignment. He was vice president of operations of PrimeStar satellite communications.
“Dick was in my homeroom during one year, I can’t remember, possibly Freshman. Just a very good, lighthearted guy who treated me well as a person and wasn’t a part of the bullying contingent. As an incoming Navy Brat arriving from 3 years in Virginia Beach, this was important to me.
I remember him sitting on the wooden bleachers in the gym and stomping on them in imitation of the oncoming Bud Cars that used to traverse the railroad line that passes through Gales Ferry, and laughing his ass off.
Later, in 1977, I was home from the Navy and having drinks at a long defunct bar in Gales Ferry. I believe that he bought me a drink.”
Michael Paul Morich
January 17, 1956 - July 25, 2021
Son to Albert and Louise
Brother to Linda and Robert
Husband to Marie
Father to three children
Grandfather to one grandaughter
“My Dad went on to Paul Smith’s College in NY for Forestry. He met my Mom at Toad’s place in New Haven & they were married in 1977. He worked for Amtrak building the railroad until he got a job at Northeast Utilities power plant in the early 80’s as a valve mechanic. My brother John was born in 1983, my brother Ryan in 1985 and I was born in 1988. My dad hunted and fished in his free time but worked a lot to put all 3 of us through private grade school and then all of us attended Marianapolis. He enjoyed ocean fishing, hunting whitetail deer, pheasant, wild boar hunting trips to PA and bear hunting in Canada. He lost his son, my oldest brother, who died of brain cancer in 2009. My daughter Theresa, his only grandchild, was born in 2012. He was very proud of his family and loved us all enormously. He retired from Dominion/Northeast Utilities in 2020. He was a life Member at Bozrah Rod & Gun Club and Sprague Rod & Gun club. He passed away July 25, 2021 from complications due to heart disease. He is missed every day.”
- daughter, Ellyn M. Morich
“Mike lived across the street one house down and we spent a lot of time together when not in school. He moved to Aljen Heights from Norwich at the beginning of 9th or 10th grade, I think. He took a little razzing from some of the neighborhood kids for being from Norwich but he took it in stride and it was over. He just smiled and said his parents struggled hard to get to a better life and were excited to be here in Ledyard. We spent the summers riding bikes, playing hide and seek, baseball, football and all the fun activities of summer with the other neighborhood kids. Mike was quiet, but not shy and very kind with a gentle presence.
Mikes parents were rather old and Mike had one sister who was much older and was married. She had a husband, Buzz, I still remember his name… who Mike liked. He was like a 50’s greaser hot-rodder with a hot red convertible and loved baseball. We all got invited over to Norwich one day to play baseball with Buzz. He wore a white t-shirt and had the stereotypical cigarettes rolled up in his sleeve and pompadour hair of the 50’s.
Mike was a surprisingly good athlete and was naturally agile and fast. I asked him once if he was going to go out for baseball and football at school and he said he couldn’t because his parents didn’t want him to get hurt. I could see there was a bit of disappointment over their decision. He did end up going out for football in Junior year but I don’t think his parents were supportive of it, but he respected, loved and defended his parents and wasn’t the kind to whine or complain.
Mike’s dad was a big guy who loved to garden and he would always bring us fresh garden vegetables, saying, “Dem dare is what you call ‘Lebanese tomatas.’” A funny memory that always makes me smile.
I think it was the summer of our Sophomore or Junior year it was so hot we spent most of the vacation doing puzzles in our garage until it was cool enough to ride bikes. Instead of coming to my front door to see if I could come out, Mike would ride back and forth in front of the house on his bike until I emerged. He always wore a blue or brown pocket t-shirt. Whoever he married was very fortunate as I’m sure he was an incredible husband and father. Mike was one person I was really hoping to see at our reunion and was so sad to hear he had passed.”
- Patty Hall