SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 2009
It is exciting to receive the news of your varied activities and tremendously sad to learn of the deaths of cherished classmates. This month’s news includes much of the former and too much of the latter. First, the former: Tom Vennum was presented the “Spirit of Lacrosse Award” by the International Lacrosse Federation in recognition of his extensive writing on that subject. His fifth book, “Just Too Much of an Indian: Bill Baker, Stalwart in a Fading Culture”, was published in August 2008. Tom divides his time between Tuscon Arizona and Madeline Island Wisconsin, where he occasionally encounters Mort Cushman in the post office.
He thought that he was peacefully retired. However, Parker Gilbert, with several others who also thought that they were retired, returned to the fray to rescue the leadership and the heart of Morgan Stanley. A fascinating account of that event and of the history of the firm can be found in “Blue Blood and Mutiny: The Fight for the Soul of Morgan Stanley.” Parker’s commitment to the well-being of the firm and its employees, and to its historical ethos, is inspiring but not surprising to someone who has known him since childhood.
I received two wonderful communications from Jim Van Cott. The first, in addition to reporting his new winter address in Clinton, CT., reports on his activities in Maine, “a synonym for outdoor and natural beauty” where Jim’s full life includes “travel, grand-parenting, helping math students, painting with water colors and helping local libraries and church committees to be absorbing and purposeful.” As if that isn’t enough to keep him busy, Jim, as an off-shoot to his cryptology career in the Navy, composes music, an interest and ability he attributes to the Harkness Tower chimes and Battell Chapel bells. One of Jim’s daughters, Elizabeth, recently was promoted to Associate Professor of Hematology at Harvard Medical School and the other, Wendy, earned an MS in journalism at Columbia. In his second letter, Jim graciously thanks all who helped to organize the mini-reunion in Washington and reports on his participation in the first Yale Global Community Day on May 16th when he joined Yale faculty, alumni, undergraduates, and community volunteers to “spruce up College Woods in East Rock Park.” In the small world department, it turns out that the musical Jim and his daughters composed a song honoring their elementary and secondary school, Holton-Arms, where I subsequently became Headmaster.
Peter Tveskov e-mailed me a stirring tribute that he composed honoring Jack Embersits, Class of ’58 football captain, which can be read on our web site and, I expect, in the Class of ’58 notes. Peter worked with Jack for over twenty years.
We will miss, and we honor, the following classmates.
Myron Bromberg “googled” me that Dick Kates died in Colorado Springs on May 5th. After serving for four years as a pilot in the Navy, Dick earned a Masters in Economics and Real Estate Appraisal at the University of Wisconsin. After moving to Colorado he appraised thousands of acres in the West, including the Grand Canyon dam and and various sites in Denver. He also established the first full service car wash in that area. An enthusiastic athlete who not only played the usual sports- tennis, golf, squash, and fishing- he also competed in the New York, Boston, and Mount Evans marathons. Dick is survived by his spouse, Sue, two children and several grandchildren. Sue lives at One Berthe Circle, Colorado Springs, CO 80906.
Elliot Hastings died on April 24th in Leonia New Hampshire. A graduate of Boston University Medical School, Elliot spent two years in the Army Medical Corps, then practiced general surgery and was active on various medical boards. A licensed pilot, he belonged to the Flying Physicians of America, and also was active in a variety of sports, including scuba diving, and was an ardent gardener with a passion for roses. His wife, Debra, lives at 1 Wild Acres Road, Guilford, NH 03246. Elliot also is survived by three children and seven grandchildren.
Ted Jump died in Westminster MD on May 8th. Described by a colleague as a “master teacher and administrator”, Ted taught at a variety of public and private schools, including Hill and Severn, and tutored non-reading adults at such organizations as Alcoholic Anonymous. Ted was active in community theater and sang in various choirs and chorales. You may remember that Ted was a drama critic with the Yale daily news and had the distinction of panning Paul Newman. He is survived by his wife, Janet, and three children. The address is 3520 Sykesville Road, Westminster, MD 21157.
This year we celebrated the arrival at Yale of our first class scholarship winner, Lindsay Raymond. Her Grandfather, Bob Raymond, informs me that his brother and our classmate, Dick Raymond, died on April 25th. After graduating from Yale Law School, Dick specialized in municipal bonds at law firms in California and New York. He is survived by Bob and a sister.
I just received word that Stephen Reiss died on April 29th. The only other information that I have reports that he was the President of the Reiss agency in Nyack, New York and is survived by Sondra (H 17, 7 Secora Road, Monsey, NY 10952) and one son.
Sam Hunter reports the sad news that his wife, Gail, died suddenly at their home in Princeton on May 1st, shortly after their return from a celebratory weekend in New York City.
Finally, Gay and I are moving to New York in November, to be closer to children and grandchildren. DON’T FORGET THE CLASS DINNER AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING AFTER THE HARVARD GAME. Since Mory’s is temporarily kaput, I will advise the venue for the meeting.
The sun shone brightly on our April mini-reunion in Washington, attended by 99 guests, including 51 classmates -a splendid turnout for a marvelous occasion.
Bob Mason so ably headed up the arrangements team and led tours to the Capital and to the National Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum. Tersh Boasberg took a group to learn about Lincoln’s Little Known Washington, and Sally, a renowned landscape designer, guided a group through Dumbarton Oaks and Tudor Place. Gib Durfee led the visits to Washington’s monuments, the National Cathedral, and the Kennedy Center, where the group saw the new production of “Ragtime”. Bill Rees was responsible for the National gallery tour.
Yours truly accompanied a group to Mt. Vernon and moderated a panel covering two very important issues facing this country and the world. Our own Jacques Gansler discussed 21st century national security concerns, including cyber terrorism, traditional terrorism (Al Qaeda brand), regional conflicts with low tech weapons (anthrax, suicide bombers), rogue nuclear states (North Korea, Iran), large scale nuclear threats, peer competitors (China etc.), and non-military threats (world-wide economic disasters, pandemics, global warming). Robert Sussman, Yale College 1969, Yale Law School 1973, currently Senior Policy Counsel to the EPA administrator and Senior Energy and Environment Advisor to President Obama, enunciated the environmental and energy challenges we face.
The impact of the recession and lower gas prices have negatively affected the commitment to a “green world”, as people tend to lose sight of the long term benefits of investing in such a world while taking advantage of short term opportunities. Bob reported that we face such challenges as: the need to pass climate legislation; the need for an international treaty to replace Kyoto; the creation of a new energy economy. As you who were not there can imagine, these were two stimulating presentations. They both emphasized a global approach to the challenges, rather than an isolationist, unilateral one.
Our Friday night dinner was enlivened by the usual brilliance of John Eaton at the keyboard, an event we all anticipated with pleasure. Saturday night’s speaker was Dana Milbank, Yale 1990 and a columnist for “The Washington Post.” Dana honored us with yet another wonderful presentation, combining brilliant humor with a discussion of serious national concerns, opening with a discussion of the Congressional version of the flu- “pork flu”- a reference to those projects which seem to pop up in all our districts. There is so much more to tell. I hope that we will have been able to post the talks and events on our web page by the time you read this. Indeed, FRIENDSHIP LASTS. We now turn class reunions and meetings back to Bud Prince, our true gathering leader for 25 years!
On to other news: Jack Flobeck reports on his fishing trip with Charlie Shedd to Alaska, where they found themselves in the wilderness surrounded by moose, eagles, wolves, grizzlies, and salmon, but very few humans. The catch and release fishing was excellent, with both fishermen often reeling in salmon simultaneously. Jack informs me that Charlie, aka “Crazy Charlie”, is a world famous fly fisherman who offers casting courses for individuals, including a group of women known as “Charlie’s Angels.” When not up to his hips in a salmon stream, Jack is working on a novel about water and terrorism.
Peter Tveskov e-mailed me a hilarious message about his experience leading an Elderhostel group to Scandinavia. While looking for lost elders in the ferry terminal in Stockholm, Peter realized that the gangplank for passenger boarding had already been raised. Peter takes it from there:”I set some sort of record in the 100 yard or so dash for a 72 year old with a knee replacement in a blue blazer, tie, and carrying carry-on luggage, to reach some sort of servants’ entrance several decks below and made it.” While in the Danish Resistance Museum in Copenhagen, Peter ran into Lenny Marcus, who was Director of Labor Relations at Yale when Peter worked there.
Short notes: Peter Brier caught up in Jerusalem with Ted Krevit, who Peter describes as “a grand patriarch with several great grandchildren.” Ivan Phillips’ magnificent collection of French 18th century color prints and a National Gallery of Art of Washington collection were jointly exhibited at the Yale Art Museum last winter.
Jim Kern reports that we have a “raconteur extraordinaire” in our class- Sabin Robbins. Robbie recounted for Jim some of his more unusual experiences: Ben Bradlee describing Watergate to Robbie, David Brinkley and other guests of Robbie’s while in his pajamas late one night; Danny Kaye “out-jousting” Art Buchwald at a dinner party, driving a fuming Buchwald away from the party; Robbie and Peter Beard at Isak Dennison’s farm north of Nairobi, Kenya. Jim also recounted how having forgotten to tell Sabin about his office alarm system, Robbie had the unexpected opportunity to meet the local police. Robbie helped Jim with the editing of “The Wildlife Art and Adventures of Jim Kern” and is an active lecturer on the cruise ship circuit.
On a sad note, Susan Cavanagh Wyper, Yale 1984, sent on the following from her Mother, Pat Cavanagh. “I am sad to report that my husband of 51 years, Bob Cavanagh, died on March 14, 2009. After his graduation from Yale Law School in 1959, we settled in New Haven where he practiced law for fifty years and was an active member of the community. Bob enjoyed amateur theater and performed in many local productions. He was an enthusiastic golfer, Yale hockey fan and grandfather to seven grandsons, two of whom followed him to Yale (2011, 2013).” Pat’s address is 155 West Todd Street, Hamden, CT. 06518. In addition to Pat and Susan, Bob is survived by another daughter, Julia, and a son, Robert.
I am writing this piece the day after the Washington snow “storm” of 2009. In New England it would have been called a “dusting.” We have learned to stay off the roads after such an event in order to avoid all those drivers from around the world who spin out on the occasion of their introduction to snow. I am reminded that you will be reading this column amongst the spring blossoms. Happy spring.
Paul Buckwalter reminds us that even in the midst of a financial meltdown some things never change. Having just received the J.Press catalogue, he was prepared to order one of everything but then realized that living in the southwest, the elegant clothes, closely resembling those we used to see in the York Street store’s window, would not be appropriate and would long outlast him. Paul currently is the interim Episcopal Church chaplain at the University of Arizona. He recently read Essy Esselstyn’s book, “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven Nutrition-Based Cure.” Dr. Bernadine Healy, the former head of NIH, wrote: “Dr. Esselstyn has always been ahead of his time” and suggested that his focus on the healing power of proper nutrition could mean that “heart patients could cure themselves.” Having studied Essy’s recipes, Paul is reassured that if ever he is invited to Anne and Essys for dinner, he would not only eat a delicious meal but would enjoy organic wine.
Other news from the pews: Michael Woloch joined the Community of Christ, formerly called the Reorganized Mormon Church, and is now active in the Montreal parish which includes a significant Haitian population. Michael has learned to speak Haitian-Creole and is active in the historical society, studying Mormon history.
Carol and Harold Weicker recently celebrated their 34th wedding anniversary. After forty years in the Episcopal Church ministry, the Weickers moved to San Miguel de Allende, where they live on a horse farm, awaiting your visit.
Don Gordon (aka Gouch) is not behind the pulpit but is active singing in the choir at St. John’s UMC in Santa Fe, where he also sings in a Whiffs-style small group. Once a Whiff…
Claude Offenbacher, building on his days at the Yale Dramat, continues to perform on stage in Eugene Oregon while acting as the co-host of the local NPR interview call-in show, “Sundays at Noon.”
While on the subject of performers, the Weekend Edition of the January 30th Washington Post featured a lead article on John Eaton, labeling him “The Master of American Standards.”
Wolf Trap will be the repository for John’s notes and materials. John’s comment? ”I’m from the horse and carriage age, but they tell me everything will be digitized. I pretend to know what that means, and I am grateful.” Wolf Trap released the fourth installment of John’s American Popular Song series in March, featuring Fats Waller and Hoagy Carmichael. Remember them?
Jim Don reports on a mini-reunion with Jim Jeffords just before Christmas. A Silliman College group of Jim, Nelson Crowther, Bruce Ensley, and Jim Glen took Jim Jeffords out to lunch. Jim would love to hear from his many friends at the Knollwood Army Distaff Foundation (a retired military assisted living facility), 6200 Oregon Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20015, 202-541-0150.
Our condolences to Russell Broad, whose wife, Laura, died on May 3rd. Russ is retired, living at 94 Mayflower Road, Needham MA 02192-1110.
It always is hard for me to report obituaries, even harder when it is someone you know and love. James B. Brown (not James M. Brown) died on February 21st, surrounded by family and listening to his favorite song, “Joy to the World’ by Three Dog Night. Jim, a very happy and amusing soul, who joined our class after a stint in the army, retired as Chairman of Brown Thayer Shedd Inc. a few years ago and is survived by three children and his spouse of many years, Sidney, who may be reached at The Waverly Care Center Main Campus, 3 Farm Road, New Canaan Ct. 06840-6698.
Fred Buggie, who also returned to Yale and our class after an absence, died on January 5th. As reported in the Lake Wylie, S.C. newspaper, Fred was “a pioneer in new product development and was the author of the book “New Product Development Strategies.” Fred is survived by his wife, Debra, two children, and six grandchildren. Debra lives at River Hills, 8 Sunrise Point, Lake Wylie, SC 29710.
This just in: After much consideration and discussion of over 20 applications for our Davenport Fellowship, the evaluation committees in Boston, New York, and Washington have agreed upon three winners from a very strong group of applicants. The projects are: “Public Health Internship with Kutch Nav Nirman Abhiyan” in India; “Return to the Roots: A Creative Writing Project” in China; “Encountering Benin: Cultural Immersion and Reflection Through Personal Essay.” The applications we received certainly reflected the international nature of life at Yale. We all are very grateful to the committee members in the three cities and to the three chairs, Ed Selig, John Rindlaub, and Gib Durfee. Of course, if you who attend the fall class dinner, you will be able to hear the three reports. If anyone would like to see a copy of the winning submissions, let me know.
Lots more news next issue, including reports from (among others): Peter Tveskov, Jim van Cott, Peter Brier, Ivan Phillips, and Jim Kern. How about that for a trailer?
Writing this in early January for a March/April issue, it may seem strange to refer to Christmas. However, my holiday was enriched by the marvelous contributions of two classmates. My entire family and several friends received The Wildlife Art and Adventures of Jim Kern, after I had read it first, of course. The photographs are stunning, and the written descriptions of Jim’s adventures traveling to far-off places in order to film exotic animals are intriguing. Having digested that holiday morsel, what arrived in our mail? The new CD Rescue from the lead performer, Nikki Barranger, who with his singer, Rose Ann, has created a collection of little-known hymns which, in part, deal with the theme of rescue. These beautiful pieces largely “have fallen from public notice” (to quote Nikki’s notes), and “deserve to be rediscovered.” Thank you, Jim and Nikki, for so movingly enriching our holiday.
Peter Shattuck observed that after his supposed retirement, Lew Lapham has launched a “wonder,” Lapham’s Quarterly. “Each issue is a superb compendium of the world’s writing on a single subject -war, knowledge, nature -marvelously chosen and superbly illustrated.”
Encouraged by Jim Fitzgibbon, Joanne and Bill Rees have put together an extensive collection of California art which was exhibited at the New Britain Museum of American Art during the summer of 2007. Although I missed the exhibit, I can tell from the catalogue that the quality and variety of the works are compelling. The chief curator of the Oakland Museum commented: “[The Rees] collection today, certainly among the most comprehensive in the east, provides a rare and welcome view of the kind of expression that continues to flourish out west, and whose influence is strongly felt in the current pluralistic tendencies in American art.”
Mary Lee Jamieson sent me an article with photos of the Marie Lederer Senior Center, redeveloped from certified but derelict buildings dating from 1898 and 1915 in Philadelphia by Ted Robb. Judging by the photographs, I’d say that if I ever get old, I could be happy there.
John Tunney spoke at the Ronald Reagan Library in California, proving that “Democrats are not totally incapable of appreciating true leadership when it shows up in the Republican Party.”
The Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center at Yale, a beautiful building which recently was dedicated, includes the William E. Cranston III ’56 Court, honoring our deceased classmate, a facility funded by over 20 ’56ers. The donor of the team room was the always-generous Joe McNay.
Traveling correspondent Alan Marshall reported on his annual trek to San Diego from Michigan in the winter of 2008. On the way, Dorie and Alan visited Sylvia and Bill Adams in Memphis (Alan, do you need a GPS?), who had just moved into a beautiful house in a senior community and who continue to chase golf balls down the fairway. In Amarillo the Marshalls stopped in to see Carol and Ted Nicklaus; Ted has retired from his medical practice but is busy supervising programs designed to assist needy seniors. Having safely arrived in San Diego via Tennessee and Texas, Alan and Bill Dickinson met to play golf. On the way home the Marshalls visited Lloyd and Ken Mills, who, as previously reported, received the lifetime achievement award for their volunteer work in the Santa Ynez valley. The Marshalls certainly get around. Alan, Bill Adams, and Bill Dickinson hooked up for a golf week in Myrtle Beach in October. My apologies to Wil Long for adding an extra l to Wil in previous columns, an apology willingly given. In a previous column I reported on Michael Carey’s role as chief of neurosurgery at Manhattan VA hospital, with a specialty in the surgical control of epilepsy. In July Michael went to Iraq for a Marine Corps- and State Department-sponsored meeting in Ramadi. To quote Michael: “Having been in Vietnam and Desert Storm, I found it so inspiring and uplifting to be with the troops again. They serve our country with great professionalism and pride. Hoorah.”
Henry Heikkinen, professor emeritus at the University of Northern Colorado, has been honored with the 2009 George C. Pimental Award in chemical education from the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest single-discipline scientific organization. The award recognizes Henry’s contributions to chemical education in the fields of “teaching influential writing, educational research, methodology of instruction, and integrating of chemistry into the educational system.” The range of Henry’s contributions is very impressive and includes leadership in the National Science Foundation, developing a course designed to “enhance interest in high school chemistry through use of real-world examples and chemistry-related societal challenges.” Henry was chief editor of ChemCom, which “has reached over two million students and teachers.” He also served as the first chair of a National Research Council Committee “that drafted K-12 science learning goals for the National Science Education Standards.” Internationally, Henry has been a speaker and consultant to over a dozen European and Asian countries, “helping to advance chemistry teaching and learning worldwide.”
JANUARY – FEBRUARY 2009
As I write this column in early November, over 100 classmates, spouses, and friends have indicated their intention to come to Washington for our mini-reunion April 23-26, with another 50 hoping to join them. If you have not registered yet, it is late-but not too late- to join the festivities. Please come and enjoy Washington at cherry blossom time, with such added attractions as John Eaton, the FDR and Viet Nam memorials, class dinners at the famous Cosmos Club and on the Hill in a congressional dining room, etc., etc.
Remember the Colony Hotel in New Haven? Perhaps one or more of your dates stayed there. It is now the posh Library at Yale, a boutique hotel which reflects the changing nature of New Haven, thanks in part as a result of Yale’s investment in the city. Bob Wheeler, who informed of this development, sums up his feeling: “Gadzooks.”
My apologies to Beverly Bret Vila, Richard Vila’s widow, for adding an extra l to his last name when I reported his death in my September-October column. Beverly wrote that Richard “was a wonderful reflection on Yale and the best man I ever met.”
Will Long wrote from Germany to add news to the report on 1956 clergy discussed in the May-June issue of this publication. For 35 years Will has taught in Germany about the source and meaning of being a Christian, with fascinating-sounding courses like Paul’s New Testament Philosophy ; Luther’s and Calvin’s Reforrmations; Catholic Church History until the 16th Century; Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam; and Christianity’s Confrontations with Fascism. Will also is required to teach another subject- English with a focus on American history, novels, drama, and the musical-“Camelot.” What a portfolio! Will also reminds us that the late Don Collenback also had a distinguished theological career.
Among our local Smithsonian experts is Bruce Ensley, a volunteer docent at the Air and Space Museum. He also conducts semi-annual, personal “stress seminars” on assorted trout streams.
Among the many attractions at the mini-reunion, which does not seem so mini, will be a concert by John Eaton, whose CD’s recorded for Wolf Trap, are available at Wolftrap.org, with a link to the distributor “CD Baby”.
Carla and Dick Wilde’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration included a second honeymoon in San Francisco, where they re-united with Elizabeth and Peter Shattuck; the latter was Dick’s Silliman room mate. Dick developed the back pack for the shuttle and international space station missions and was featured on the Discovery Channel series “Moon Machines.” Peter and Elizabeth sail the coasts of Spain and Portugal and travel to such interesting spots as northwest Russia, Turkey and Greece. Peter reports on a “most pleasant dinner” in New York with Libby and Saul Moroff. Libby and Elizabeth were schoolmates.
Bill Emery and Shelley have retired in New Canaan, Ct, after 43 years of living overseas, the first 33 with Citibank. Bill is pleased that he has been able to re-unite with classmates on this side of the pond: Alice and Peter Runnette live down the street, and the Emery’s also caught up with Winnie and Ivan Phillips for an Italian repast.
On the grandchild scene: Prentiss Sawyer’s first, Claire; another first, Liam, grandchild of Francis Compton, who still sings in his church choir and is Secretary of his Illinois Retired Teachers Association. Bill Trippe plays an active role in his youngest grandson’s life, serving as equipment manager for his hockey team.
Recently returned from Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos, Arnie Kaplan was excited to “explore how other cultures solve the challenges of living.” Arnie is very happy with his psychiatric practice, having withdrawn from managed care, reporting that “it’s still a great thrill to have the privilege of being ushered into a patient’s private world and to be part of their healing and progress.” Arnie intends to continue in his practice “as long as a few brain cells survive.”
For Austin Pryor 2007 was a momentous year: He and Dorothy celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a cruise to Alaska. Overcoming a titanium shoulder, Austin’s golf score is holding up, and he continues to sing in the church choir. (Have you noticed how many of our classmates sing in church choir? How about a church choir session at the reunion?) Son Bradley has made a mid-life switch from a software support job to a fireman in Atlanta- a move heartily endorsed by the Pryors.
I have recently been reminded of the significant contributions of Gail and Parker Gilbert to the New York scene. As we entered Roosevelt Hospital in New York to greet our newest grandchild, Charlie, Gay and I found ourselves in the very impressive Gail and Parker Gilbert entrance reception room. A few weeks earlier the New York Times reported that Parker was the Chair of the search committee which appointed the new Director of the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
A couple of concluding reflections: This column is, I believe, the first in years when I have not recorded a death in our class. You can imagine how happy that makes me.
As I sit here a week after the election, I can not resist the observation that no matter who we voted for, we have presented the world a President who none of us in 1956 could have predicted. Reflecting the observations of John McCain and President Bush, I am proud of my country, recalling my Air Force stint in Moultrie Georgia, where the masthead of the local newspaper proclaimed: “For Democracy and White Supremacy.”
Please note my new e-mail address above. Gay and I have decided that until death do us part does not mean that we can’t separate our e-mail addresses.