Class Bulletin Board

Gene Hartsock Update

Hey Dave, My son Rob made it to the 2014 World Series!

He is a camera man for Fox Sports, and he was asked to be in San Fransico for the 3 games there against the KC Royals. If anyone was excited to go to the World Series, he was!. He has worked his way up from local sports and events, to the World Series…”Congrats, Rob Hartsock” from Mom and Dad.


In Memory of Dorothy E. Russell

Karen (Villhauer) Michalec let us know today that Mike Russell’s mother Dorothy passed away. Mike gave us permission to post her obituary as a tribute to her life.

Dorothy E. Russell

Dorothy E. Russell, 93, lifetime resident of Iowa City, died Saturday, November 15, 2014, at the Lone Tree Health Care Center.

Funeral services will be held 1 p.m., Thursday, November 20th at the Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service in Iowa City where visitation will take place from 4-7 p.m. Wednesday. Burial will be at Ridgewood Cemetery in North Liberty.

Dorothy Ellen Crossett was born April 20, 1921 in Iowa City; daughter of Ralph and Helen (Goody) Crossett. She graduated with the 1939 class from City High School and married Robert “Bob” Russell a few years later, on November 27, 1942.

While Bob served in the Army Air Corps they lived at different duty stations, but after his service returned to Iowa City, where they’ve lived since. Together they enjoyed time traveling, camping and being outdoors. She was a member of the Jonco Jills chapter of the Izaak Walton League and was an active life member as well as a past member of the Iowa City Camping Club.

Her family includes her children, Robin Walker and her husband, Thomas of Franklin, Ohio and Michael Russell and his significant other, Karen Michalec of Iowa City; grandchildren, Amber Russell of Vicksburg, MS, Jason Russell and his wife, Megan of Mt. Vernon and their daughter, Quinn and Shea Russell of Tiffin.

Dorothy was preceded in death by her husband, Bob in 2009; parents and siblings, Ed Crossett, Pauline Matthew and Betty Wienke.

Dorothy’s family would like to acknowledge the compassion and care shared with their mother and grandmother from the staff at the Lone Tree Health Care Center as well as those of Hospice Compassus, Thank You!

Debbie Harris Albertson Update

In June 2013 was diagnosed with Carcinoid Cancer. The cancer was discovered via an MRI, which I underwent to better diagnose back pain and nausea. As I was considered pre diabetic and my symptoms seemed to be limited to mornings before I had eaten I believed I had finally developed full blown diabetes. But monitoring my blood sugar for a few days it was obvious not the cause so an MRI was ordered. The MRI revealed multiple masses in my liver. At first it was assumed that my breast cancer of 2002 had returned and manifested in my liver. Subsequent scans and multiple biopsies confirmed the tumors were a result of a primary “midgut” carcinoid tumor that metastasized to my liver.

The carcinoid tumors in my liver are NOT liver cancer but a different disease altogether.

I want to reiterate: This diagnosis does NOT mean I have liver cancer. I have carcinoid tumors in my liver which is a very different situation.

What is Carcinoid Cancer?

Never heard of Carcinoid? You are in excellent company, unless a medical professional most have never heard of this form of cancer. Carcinoid is under the umbrella of Neuroendocrine Tumors (NET’s). Carcinoid tumors and other NETs usually originate in hormone-producing cells that line the small intestine or other cells of the digestive tract. They can also occur in the pancreas, testes, ovaries, or lungs. Carcinoid tumors can produce an excess of hormonelike substances, such as serotonin, bradykinin, histamine, and prostaglandins. Excess levels of these substances can sometimes result in a diverse set of symptoms called carcinoid syndrome. Other NETs can produce other hormonal substances causing a variety of other syndromes.

Carcinoid and NET cancers occurs in approximately 1 in 100,000 people and is most often diagnosed in people over the age of 65, so it is a rare disease. Many patients suffer from ongoing GI issues, over 90% of patients are initially incorrectly diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Crohn’s Disease. From the onset of GI issues to an accurate diagnosis typically takes more than five years. NETs can cause a myriad of other symptoms, which further complicates the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

NETs are very slow growing cancers. Specialists believe my primary tumor originated over 10+ years ago in my small intestine. During that time it slowly grew and spread to my liver (the most common site carcinoid spreads to). For more information on Carcinoid and related cancers, visit

I also believe that there is a good possibility that this is what my father had. Although not genetic there does seem to be a familial component.

My Prognosis

As I’ve stated, carcinoid is a very slow growing cancer and at this time there is no cure. The advancements in current and future treatments combined with the specific factors of my case (proliferation rate, tumor burden, etc) lead doctors to believe that as long as I attend to it, I can expect to live to a ripe old age. “Chronic cancer”, not an easy thing to get one’s head around, but that is what I’m dealing with.

My Carcinoid

As I alluded to above, each NET patient is unique in their diagnosis and the symptoms they experience, there is no “cookie cutter” way to approach diagnosing or treatment of this disease.

At the time of my diagnosis and with limited exceptions, to this day I have felt only minor symptoms. I am very fortunate in that I have never experienced any of the GI issues so many NET patients deal with. This is one reason why I was completely unaware of my condition.

How is Carcinoid treated?

There is no cure for Carcinoid or other NET cancers. Once diagnosed, most patients undergo surgery to remove the primary tumor and if possible, some of the metastasized tumors. As I mentioned, NETs are very slow growing cancers and as such chemotherapy treatments (which attack fast growing cells) are not very effective at killing NET tumors. Because there is no cure at this time for Carcinoid or other NETs, the goal for treatment is “disease stabilization”, finding a way to disrupt the function of the tumors so that they are unable to progress. Fortunately, in the past five to ten years there have been some advancements in the treatment of some NETs with targeted radiation treatments. For some patients, these treatments are successful at killing off and/or stopping the tumors from growing for upwards of 5 years at a time.

In order to control it I am treated with a drug called Octreotide. I receive this injection monthly and once my body adjusted to it I have few side affects from this treatment.

In my case, they were unable to identify my primary tumor. So no surgery was performed. The tumors in my liver were considered to be too numerous to remove and with the primary still lurking somewhere liver surgery is useless.

This past June around the one year anniversary of my diagnosis I learned of a newer scan used in Europe and now being used at the U of I hospital. So on July 15, 2014 I under went this Gallium-68 scan. In hopes of pinpointing my primary tumor. It was only slightly better than my previous scans, still no definitive primary located. But there was a lymph node near my small intestine where it connects to the colon. This is the most common area for primary tumors and presumed to be the location of mine. I feel very fortunate to have found Dr. O’Dorisio and the surgeon Dr. Howe at the U of I Hospitals. They are the mid wests leading experts on this disease.

The Plan:

After meeting with Dr. Howe I have scheduled surgery for Oct 14. The procedure includes three parts. First he will run my entire small intestine looking for nodules. Remove these and any associated lymph nodes. Typically he finds 5-10 such nodules although he had one patient with 129. He can take up to 20% of the small intestine without adverse affects. If there are tumors near the large intestine he may take some of it as well as the appendix. Secondly he will remove my gallbladder as the Octreotide that I will be on the rest of my life is know for causing gallstones. And lastly he will use ultrasound in the OR to locate tumors in my liver and use ablation to essentially burn and destroy them. Typically he can reduce the tumor load in the liver by 80%.

Future Options for Treatment

Another treatment still only in Europe is Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy (PRRT)

Perhaps the simplest way to explain the workings of PRRT is to think about the analogy of a magnet and its ability to attract iron shavings. Think of a neuroendocrine tumor with somatostatin positive receptors as the magnet and the iron shavings are a somatatostatin analog chemical (Octreotide) to which is bound or attached to some radioactive material (the radionuclide Y-90 or Lu-177). The receptors in the tumors attract the octreotide and this chemical with the radioactive material is absorbed into the tumor by the receptor. The radiation then starts to kill the tumor cells.

This makes PRRT a form of targeted therapy, able to impact those tumors that can absorb certain types of chemicals bound to radioactive materials.

The PRRT will be available this fall in a study at the U of I Hospital and at Mayo.

In Closing

Thank you for enduring this lengthy explanation. I hope I’ve helped you understand a little bit about carcinoid and what I’ve been dealing with these past 16 months.

Most of all, thank you for understanding my need for privacy in the past and my need to share this news with you now. After dealing with breast cancer and life constantly revolving around my health I felt the need to keep my new issues private. As I really don’t feel ill life goes on as normal. I will not be posting my story on Facebook or Caring Bridges as I prefer to maintain as normal a life as possible and I am only sending this out as a way of educating others on one of those orphan diseases that few encounter.

Thanks so much and all thoughts and prayers are appreciated.

Jackie (Dague) Nicholson Update

My son, Caleb was married at the Heidel Haus on Green Lake in Wisconsin in August!

Caleb got ready for his wedding in our hotel room. We ordered subs for all the groomsmen and they were all hanging out before the service having refreshments. I helped Caleb with his cufflinks, suspenders and tie (always a Mom!).

I was taking pictures and I took this random shot of my three sons – Caleb, Ben and Jake, and there is an orb in it!!! (very clearly right above Jake’s hands – none of the other photos had any orbs in them) You can say it is dust or the camera lens was dirty, or whatever… but I just got a new camera and the rooms were clean. I truly believe that this is my Dad’s spirit caught on film! We are all made up of energy, and that energy never goes away even after we leave our physical bodies. Dad was probably wanting to have a beer with my boys! This is a “God Wink” reassuring me that our loved ones who have passed are always with us, watching over us and protecting us, loving us.

John R. McLure Update

Here is a news article that shows how West High rates in comparison to 1) other schools nationally and 2) other schools in Iowa.

The West High Marching Band has new uniforms this year. The marching band will wear these proudly at the home football game this Friday night, provided that the game does not get rained out.

West High’s baseball team made it all the way to the state championship this past summer, but unfortunately we lost the final game. (Hey… being #2 in the state ain’t bad!)

Another bit of news related to the local school district: Budget cuts have caused some changes. A bunch of faculty and staff positions have been cut. The teaching of German is being phased out; there are no new first-year students entering the pipeline for German. The only German classes being taught are for those students who have already been studying German. The entire German program will be discontinued district-wide once these remaining students finish out.

That’s all the news for now.

– John R. McLure

In Memory of Marian F. Maxwell

Bonnie let us know today that Paul Maxwell’s mother Marian passed away. Paul gave us permission to post her obituary as a tribute to her life.

Marian Maxwell

Marian F. Maxwell, of Oaknoll Retirement Community, passed away at Mercy Hospice in Iowa City, on August 8, 2014, following a long illness. A private family service will be held at a later date.

Marian was born in Davenport on June 10, 1925 to Drs. Robert and Blanche Getman. Marian graduated from Davenport High School and the University of Iowa in 1947 and married Dr. John R. Maxwell in Davenport, Iowa. Her main interests were her family and reading, particularly history and historical novels.

She was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers, Dr. Robert J. Getman and infant Lyle.

She is survived by her husband; daughters Christy McGinty and Carol Gorman (Ed) of Cedar Rapids; sons Paul Maxwell of Arlington, VA and Dr. Steven Maxwell (Virginia Cox) of Dubuque; eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

The family would like to thank Dr. Christina Donelson and the staff at Mercy Hospice for their loving care. Memorials may be directed to the Alzheimer’s Association, Iowa City Hospice, or a charity of your choice. Online condolences may be sent to the family at

In Memory of Emma “Jane” Dinsmore

Jay Dinsmore’s mother Jane Dinsmore passed away recently. Jay gave us permission to post her obituary as a tribute to her life.

Emma “Jane” Dinsmore

Emma “Jane” Dinsmore, 87, of Coralville, died Tuesday, July 15th, at the University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City

Funeral services will be held 10 a.m. Friday, July 18, 2014, at the Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service with visitation from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, and Friday beginning at 9 a.m. Burial will follow at Oakhill Cemetery in Coralville. Memorials in Jane’s name can be made to the American Legion Auxiliary (memo: Iowa City VA Fund) or the Coralville Center for Performing Arts.

Emma Jane Robinson was born April 27, 1927, in Cedar Co.; daughter of Ralph and Emma Robinson. She graduated from West Branch High School and shortly thereafter married Charles Dinsmore, on September 13, 1947. After marriage they moved to Coralville and a few years later, in 1953, built their family home on 7th avenue. She worked most of her life bookkeeping and helping with secretarial matters at their business, Dinsmore Insurance and also for a time at the University.

Jane has been an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary since their marriage, serving as past president and treasurer, and a longtime member of Parkview Church. She also volunteered at the Iowa City VA Hospital for many years, serving most recently as the Patient Representative in Volunteer Services. When not helping others, she enjoyed a game of Bridge or time with her grandchildren. She was a very positive and caring woman, who usually had a bed ready in case someone needed a place to stay for a few days, weeks, or longer.

Her family includes her children, Jim (Sandie) of Asheboro, NC, Sue (Mike) of Iowa City, Jay (Jan) of Chandler, AZ and Dean (Anne) of Rocky, OK; 6 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren and her sisters, Mary Bennett, Jenny Bena and Helen Fankhauser.

She was preceded in death by her husband, in 1977; siblings and grandson, Jason.

Women of West 2014

Hi Dave!

Nancy (Masbruch) Olinger wrote:

Hi Dave!

You are welcome to share the photo I posted on FB of the WHS ladies in your Class of ’73 West High emails and post it to our online photo album.

Bonnie hosted a spa for us and Brenda brought some great Arbonne products for us to share and make us even more radiant than we already are! (LOL) It was fun to laugh, talk and share all those fabulous school memories.

Some of us have been together since Kindergarten, so some memories went WAY back!

Take care,


Women of West 2014

From left to right: Deb (Gardner) Persons, Brenda (Schrock) Bradley, Deb (Nortmann) Tyer, Bonnie (Tappan) Weldon, Sue (Davison) Haigh, Sue Hansen, Nancy (Masbruch) Olinger, Karen (Villhauer) Michalec, and Julie (Rogers) Stovall.