Westmont Magazine A Birthday Reunion
John Rapson ’76 had no luck ignoring his 50th birthday in February; six Westmont friends showed up at his home in Iowa to surprise him and celebrate. They included Jon ’78 and Shelley Yuen ’78 Benson, Bill Hannah ’76, Wayne Peet ’77, Steve Shelton ’76, and Tom Soule ’60, who also later taught art at Westmont.
“The weekend, through cloaked in John’s 50th birthday, proved to be something much more: a celebration of friendship, a cherished web of relationships that has, and will continue, to stand the test of time,” said John’s wife, Beth (Elizabeth) Swanson Rapson ’77.
“Just as in the 1970s when we met at Westmont, we still fill our time together by reading poetry, playing music, telling stories, discussing theology, talking long walks and sharing good food, drink and laughter,” she adds. “Additionally, we had the most recent 25 years of living to review: mistakes to hash over, successes to celebrate — and there were new offspring to brag about, too!
“In review of old yearbooks, past commentary on our time at Westmont was rediscovered, or, in one case, discovered for the first time! See the 1975 Citadel, page 129. We may not be cover images, but we are Westmont alums!”
John, a trombonist and professor of music at the University of Iowa, directs the jazz studies program there. He also travels around the world as a performer and gave a concert at Westmont this year. He plans to tour in Australia and Europe in the fall during his sabbatical and return to Brazil in the spring. He also recently performed in Germany and Finland.
Beth is a cabinet maker for a local construction company and serves on the local board of Habitat for Humanity. John and Shelley Benson live in Evanston, Ill. He teaches philosophy as an adjunct professor in the Chicago area, and she works for Starbucks. Bill Hannah, a veterinarian, lives in Ridgecrest, Calif. A musician and recording engineer, Wayne Peet is based in Los Angeles. Steve Shelton, who has produced several CDs of his music, teaches English at Santa Barbara Junior High School, and Tom Soule is an artist and writer in Portland, Ore.