The story below is from our July/August 2015 issue. For the full story download our FREE iOS app or view our digital edition for FREE today!
The December ‘86 Roanoker, boasted of “25 People to Watch.” Here’s what they’ve been up to over the 30 years since.
Victoria Bond, now 70 and still striking, was something of a sensation as conductor of The Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and artistic director of the Southwest Virginia Opera in 1986. It was a memorable stop on a meteoric career, as well. “Oh, I have so many memories [of Roanoke],” she says. “Those were important years for my career, such a fertile area. … I enjoyed living in Roanoke and getting to know the community. I hope that my work added in some way to its artistic growth.”
She and attorney husband of 41 years, Stephan Peskin, had a famous long-distance marriage – he in New York. They now live in Greenwich Village. She was the first woman to earn a PhD in orchestral conducting from Julliard, meeting Peskin there.
Her current activities are almost intimidating in their breadth and depth: “I compose and conduct and am a speaker for the New York Philharmonic’s pre-concert ‘Insights’ talks … in Lincoln Center, as well as pre-performance talks for the Metropolitan Opera’s HD broadcasts … I recently conducted a commissioned composition for 130-voice chorus and chamber orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall.” It goes on and on like that. Get the full report at victoriabond.com.
John Fishwick, now 58, was a fresh W&L Law School grad (Harvard for his bachelor’s) and had established a lone practice. He teamed with John Lichtenstein in 1996 to form Lichtenstein-Fishwick and it became the face of defending the underdog. Three of their most famous cases – involving a former Lynchburg mayor, former D-Day Memorial director and aRoanoke physician – resulted in no conviction. U.S. Attorney John Brownlee, who failed to convict in two of those cases, called Fishwick and Lichtenstein “two of the finest attorneys in Virginia.”
Today, Fishwick and his wife Jeanne (who met on a blind date and married in 1989) have two teen-aged boys and live in the same house they’ve always lived in. Both are involved in the community and Fishwick says, “I’m still committed to the Roanoke Valley and the law, often representing the underdog in challenging circumstances.”
Sam Krisch, now 58, was a young hotel executive with his family’s Holiday Inn business in 1986 and pretty much remained a hotelier for the next 10 years – through thin and thinner. The family sold its hotels, then he and his father bought some back, and finally, with him as CEO, closed them in 1994, filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Krisch says.
That gave him the opportunity to follow his bliss, which he thought was writing. He went to Hollins College (now University) and picked up a masters of liberal studies in the humanities and then another in screenwriting. He became a private investor for a while and what he calls a “family caregiver.” But a flame burned in the back of his mind. He wanted to write. At one point, near the turn of the century, Krisch went to Argentina to work on a writing project and it became a photo project. He became a fine art photographer and that has stuck. You can see his work at samkrisch.com. He has two grown children (an economist and a fitness instructor) and his mother, Nancy, is “still healthy and active.”
Retired banker J. Carson Quarles, now 78, lives near Hollins in a spread with a six-acre front yard – that he mows regularly. He and Norma are still married after 32 years and they have four children and nine grandchildren. He has two new knees and a while back had heart bypass surgery, but he’s healthy.
Quarles was president and COO of Dominion Bank of Roanoke; vice chairman and COO of Dominion Bankshares; president and COO of the Bank of Virginia Southwest; and president of the Southwest Region of Central Fidelity Bank. Thirty years ago, all that was foreseen, as was his stellar community service, one that led the Jaycees to present him with its Distinguished Service Award for Service to Humanity. He retired from banking in 1994 with 40 years of service.
His resume is long and full, but as impressive as anything has been his constant work to teach people to respect and honor each other, regardless of race, religion, gender. “Life has been good,” he says. “My wonderful marriage, children, grandchildren … God is good to me.”
Christie Epperly-Lawless was just 12 when she appeared as an Olympic gymnastics hopeful in 1986. She didn’t make the Olympic team, but became an outstanding Radford University performer (earned a degree in commercial fitness in 1996), and local gymnastics icon, owning schools over the years. She married and had kids, but did not respond to several attempts to reach her for any further specifics on her life, which of course is her choice and right.