While 2023 is fast coming to a close, our classmates continue to thrive though, regrettably, there are fewer of us. As an example of thriving, Richard Eisner reported recently that he has been writing since retirement. He first published a memoir, What I Learned During a Lifetime, and recently published his first novel, Courage and Justice. He remains a board member of the Fortune Society whose mission is to promote successful reentry from incarceration. He and his wife Carole have moved with their three dogs from New York City to Weston, Connecticut.
Another thriver, Jim Kern, responded to Ken Liebman (email@example.com) in late August that he would be unable to participate in Ken’s monthly Zoom gathering in September when it resumes for the next several months. Instead of joining us, Jim went solo canoeing and camping for five days in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeast Minnesota. He hopes to be hiking in the foothills of the Himalayas in the vicinity of Leh, Kashmir, India, in November or December. I assume another book or two will result from these adventures.
Ed Selig sent me an email about attending the 90th birthday party for Werner Gossels. His wife and five children hosted the event and prepared all the food for around 100 guests. Ed noted that Werner is fit and still playing tennis. Here’s to another thriver!
And then, there are some whose thriving days have sadly ended. Loren H. Crabtree, Jr., pioneering psychiatrist, died July 15, 2023, of organ failure at his home in Buffalo, New York. He was a native of Elizabeth, New Jersey. As an undergraduate at Yale, he studied for a year in Paris, France, and returned to graduate with honors with bachelor’s degrees in French literature and biophysics. After receiving his M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, he served two years in the Air Force counseling family members of Vietnam War soldiers. For nearly half a century, Loren practiced a groundbreaking style of comprehensive counseling for psychiatric patients and their families with a special interest in easing troubled teens and preteens in the transition to adulthood. Loren founded Project Transition in Chalfont, Pennsylvania, in 1982 and it has grown to serve young adults in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Tennessee. He received several awards for his work, including the 2010 Robert Jones Award from the Philadelphia Psychiatric Society for “outstanding dedication to improving the lives of the seriously mental ill.” He is survived by his wife and fellow doctor, Barbara Cram.
Richard J. (Dick) Eckart, Jr. died peacefully in the early morning hours of July 23, 2023, in Rochester, New York. A native of Nyack, New York, Dick spent his childhood in Englewood, New Jersey. After graduating from Yale, he spent two years with the Yale-China Association teaching English at New Asia College in Hong Kong. Upon his return, he attended the Virginia Theological Seminary and devoted his life to serving as a clergyman in The Episcopal Church. He served in parishes in Washington, D.C., Syracuse, New York, and Rochester, New York, as well as chaplaincies for Groton School, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Jackson, Mississippi, and the Hawaii Preparatory Academy. Following his retirement, Dick traveled the world with his wife of 62 years, Renate. They summered at the family cottage in Thousand Island Park, New York, where he enjoyed sailing and boating on the St. Lawrence River.
There weren’t many Tennesseans in our class, and we just lost another. William R. (Bill) Hendley was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and grew up in Columbia, Tennessee, before coming to Yale. After graduating from Yale, Bill obtained a PhD in economics at Duke University. During this time, he met Gisela, his wife of 59 years who survives. Shortly thereafter, he began teaching economics at Hamden-Sydney College where he remained for many years. Living ethically and morally was his life’s ambition. He was deeply committed to philanthropy and justice, loving his church and community by engaging in many simple acts of service as well as service on several boards and committees. His devotion to his profession was evident in his inexhaustible search for interesting ways to keep his students engaged. He read everything, sifting through philosophy, history, fiction, science, newspaper articles, and personal stories ingeniously making ideas and concepts come alive. He was truly interested in the art of teaching.
As we approach the end of the football season, let me remind you that the YAA holds a tailgate gathering adjacent to the Bowl prior to The Game with Harvard on Saturday, November 18. Also, Ray Foote (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Ed Barlow (email@example.com) are exploring the opportunity for classmates to gather for dinners on Friday before The Game and Saturday after The Game. At this writing nothing has been finalized, so stay in touch. I hope to see many of you over that weekend.
I hope everyone had a wonderful summer this year knowing that COVID-19 is mostly behind us and travel is much more fun. Hopefully, we can all stay healthy and enjoy the seasons ahead.
The big news of the summer for our class is that Dan Banks has graciously and enthusiastically agreed to be our new Class Treasurer. You will be hearing from Dan shortly as we begin the solicitation of class dues to prepare for a mini-reunion in the fall of 2024, our 70th reunion in 2026, and funds for one or more scholarships supporting Yale Alumni College, a program of continuing education founded by Marv Berenblum.
In other news, Ralston “Mouse” Coffin reported that he celebrated his 90th birthday in July. He is writing a novel entitled Four Little Lambs about four entry mates in their freshman year at Yale whose lives intertwine throughout the rest of their lives. The title, obviously, is taken from The Wiffenpoof Song. Mouse is optimistic that the book won’t be published posthumously.
During the June Zoom meeting hosted by Ken Liebman (firstname.lastname@example.org), Jordan Cohen reported that he now had five great grandchildren. While we may be losing classmates, the Cohen family is obviously helping to fill the void. If anyone has more than five great grandchildren, please let me know. For now, Jordan holds the record.
While there is still good and interesting news to report about classmates, I regret that we also have sad news to report. Dr. Alan N. Arnson, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and resident of Bittinger, Maryland, died on January 21, 2023, in Oakland, Maryland. After graduating from Yale, Alan spent a year studying philosophy at the University of Bonn, Germany, on a Fulbright scholarship. Upon his return he began his medical training at Cornell Medical School followed by further studies at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He then had residences in psychiatrics at Yale and the National Institute of Mental Health. He practiced psychiatry in the Washington, D.C. area from 1964 until 1986. He and his wife Sue, who survives, moved to Aronson Farm in 1986, a property in Garrett County, Maryland, where he had spent time with family and friends since 1970. He served the recovery community for over 30 years and was a drummer in the Garrett Highlands Pipes and Drums.
Dr. Edward L. Howes, Jr. passed away on June 4, 2023 in the beautiful Monterey Peninsula of California. After Yale, Ed completed his medical, surgical, ophthalmology, and pathology training at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. While serving at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C., he was introduced to the field of ocular pathology. In 1968, he headed to the University of California, San Francisco, where he was a full-time faculty member with joint appointments in pathology and ophthalmology, later serving as Chief of Anatomic Pathology at the San Francisco General Hospital. Following his retirement, he continued to teach and conduct research as a “professor emeritus-recalled.” He was a member of several medical societies, loved to travel and play golf, became a watercolor painter later in life, and was an active swimmer. As a golfer he often pursued a foggy 7 A.M. tee time. Ed is survived by his wife Angela.
F. J. “Pete” O’Hara died on March 12. 2023, in Dunedin, Florida. A long time resident of Pennington, New Jersey, Pete was a member of many notable communities such as Phillips Academy Andover, Yale, The U.S. Marine Corps, IBM, Hopewell Valley Paddle Tennis Club, and St. James Catholic Church, Pennington. His devotion to family, country, and faith was authentic and important. He was an early technology adopter selling IBM 360 computers in the 1960s, learning email in the1990s, Skype in the 2000s, and more recently Zoom. In the 1980s he even taught his youngest child to code on the computers of the decade. He volunteered with many charities and provided financial support to causes close to his heart, living his life with emphasis on the importance of being happy with what you have and generous to others who have less.
A native of Troy, New York, Charles E. Welles, III, died on June 12, 2023 in New York City. After graduating from Yale, Charlie became a banker with National City Bank but did not like wearing a white shirt to work every day, so he returned to Yale to study art history and American decorative arts. While there he met a recent Vassar graduate, Elizabeth Bassett, whom he married in 1960. The marriage ended amicably in 1976, and they continued an enduring friendship until his death. In 1966, Charlie started his career teaching Latin at Tuxedo Park School from 1961 until 1964 before traveling to Finland to teach English on a Fulbright Grant from 1964 until 1966. Returning to the U.S., Charlie became an English teacher at Hopkins Grammar School in New Haven, instilling generations of students with a deep love of literature and drama. He retired from Hopkins in 1998 and made another life for himself by becoming a permanent resident in Homer, Alaska, where he volunteered at its art center and the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust. If the dark Alaskan winters became too much, he sojourned to the winter breezes of South Bristol, Maine.
Bill Rees continues to add interesting, entertaining, and useful information to our class web page (Yale56.org). He recently received information from John Rindlaub about music programs that are streamed from the Yale School of Music. These are performances by students, faculty members, and/or visiting performers nearly daily. Many are free on line. Bill has added a link to them on our page in the RE YALE section.
In a Ken Liebman recent monthly Zoom meeting, Steve Scher told us about a forty-five minute documentary film he began in 1972 and just finished entitled The Way it Was: Paris Restaurants in the 1970s. He wrote me, “. . . while on sabbatical leave in Paris from my teaching job at Brown I had the idea of making a documentary about the restaurants of Paris and French gastronomy. Consulting with good friends in the film industry, I was encouraged to pursue this idea, and spent that summer with a leading industry cinematographer and small crew shooting in a variety of restaurants of all types, in the food markets, and in doing interviews with restaurant owners and chefs.” Upon his return, he put the project on hold while pursuing his academic career and, later, running a family chemical manufacturing business. The film is now complete and will initially be screened in New York, New Haven, and Paris later this year.
As has become a too frequent addition to these notes, I must report on the loss of four more distinguished classmates. Phillip K. Goodwin died on February 16, 2023. Living mostly in Ridgewood, New Jersey, he had a 38 year career in banking with Chemical Bank and Chase Manhattan Bank serving all over the United States and Europe before finishing as Regional President of the New York Capital Region and relocating to Menands, New York. He and his family enjoyed their “gentleman’s farm” in Cambridge, New York, but when it became tiresome after retirement, he and his wife Dinny moved to Cape Cod in 1994. He kept busy with courses at the library in Orleans, Massachusetts, golf and social activities in Chatham, and volunteering with the Cape Cod Yale Club.
On February 25, 2023, John J. (Jay) McNamara died in Vero Beach, Florida. Following his graduation from Yale, he was commissioned a Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps serving as an infantry officer in the Far East for a year before becoming Aide de Camp to General August Larson in 1957. Upon his discharge in 1958, he entered the advertising business in New York where he spent the next 25 years. He became President of Young & Rubicam in 1981 and moved in 1985 to become President of McCann-Erickson Worldwide as well as Chairman of McCann-Erickson North America responsible for operations of 140 offices in 70 countries. He was also an author of three books, the most acclaimed of which is Advertising Agency Management. He left the advertising business in 1990 becoming Managing Director of Brand Licensing, Inc. and later its Chairman. He was active in civic endeavors as well holding seven public offices in Pelham Manor, New York, becoming Mayor in 1989. He moved to Johns Island, Vero Beach, Florida and lived there for 40 years becoming active in many civic and community activities there.
Burt Strauss reported to me that David O’Brasky died April, 13, 2023, in his home in Peoria, Arizona, after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease. While no obituary was created, my research reveals that David was an advertising salesman for most of his career beginning shortly after graduation as a salesman with Esquire magazine. He followed that initial experience with Gettleman’s Quarterly in 1973, Executive Vice President of PrimeTime magazine in 1979, New York magazine in 1980, Vanity Fair in 1983, and ending his career as a Vice President with USA Today beginning in 1986 until his retirement. David wrote in our 50th reunion yearbook that he and his wife Joan were then living in Savannah, Georgia, and was serving as Advertising Director of The Skinnie Magazine serving the community of Skidway Island, Georgia.
Joseph H. (Joe) Williams, an innovative energy industry leader and an avid conservationist, died April 27, 2023. In 1959, following two years in the U.S. Army, Joe joined Williams Brothers, a family-owned engineering and pipeline construction company, a predecessor to the publicly owned Williams Companies headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He learned the business from the ground up spending seven years building pipelines across Iran in the 1960s. He became Chairman and CEO of the Williams Companies in 1979 providing leadership there until 1994. In addition to focusing on energy related businesses in continental pipeline transportation and gathering and processing natural gas, Joe capitalized on the right of ways of decommissioned pipelines by installing one of the earliest nationwide fiber optics networks. He was a devoted conservationist founding the Oklahoma Nature Conservancy and chairing the Global Board of Directors of The Nature Conservancy. He led a collaborative effort to acquire a 29,000 acre ranch to preserve the last intact expanse of native tallgrass prairie in North America. Joe served on many boards of large publicly traded companies and civic and educational institutions including service as a Trustee of Yale and a recipient of the Yale Medal.
Bill Rees continues to make meaningful additions to our website (Yale56.org). Most recently he has been able to add Es Esselstyn’s lecture and videos of the 1956 Olympic Gold Medal race which Es presented to those of us in attendance at our reunion last June. It is in the “Classmates’ Remedies” section of our site. Bill remarks that this viewing is even better than the outstanding presentation last summer as the videos are more understandable. It really is an exciting event to watch and realize that it was our classmates who accomplished this great victory – the last U.S. college crew to compete as a team in the Olympics.
Both Bill Rees and Dr. Peter Braun have brought to my attention that a Yale department has filmed hundreds of lectures that are available free of cost on YouTube. In particular, 23 lectures entitled “The Making of Modern Ukraine” by Timothy Snyder, Richard C. Levin Professor of History, are available and are highly recommended by Bill and Peter. You may have seen Prof. Snyder interviews on MSNBC or CNN several times over the past year. All courses are at www.youtube.com/user/YaleCourses.
Don Chatfield wrote in appreciation of the addition to our web page of Roger Englander singing. He noted that he and Roger came to Yale from Mamaroneck (NY) High School along with Tom Moorhead, Bob Garlock, and Jocke Stevenson. He and Bob are “still around” and occasionally bring each other up to date by phone. Don, who never sang at Yale, is very happy that he learned to sing while he was in graduate school and now sings Yale songs while walking his dog.
Jim MacLowry sent a very thoughtful email to Tersh Boasberg, Ray Foote, and me regarding the possible site for a class mini reunion. He ruled out Philadelphia, Omaha, Detroit, Tulsa, Tucson, Nome, and Buffalo as they would be unlikely to produce any “familiar faces.” (They were never under consideration anyway.) His recommendation is to hold it in New Haven as it would offer a chance to “rev-up the nostalgia engine.”
Regrettably, there is more sad news to report. The Rev. Charles C. Dorchester died in his sleep on February 3, 2023 at a Summerville, South Carolina, healthcare facility. Following graduation from Yale, Charles spent three years in the Army Security Agency before attending Yale Divinity School where he obtained his Master of Divinity degree. He served four Methodist churches in Connecticut before moving to Maine to simultaneously serve three United Methodist Churches there during the next ten years. He was a lover of the natural world and spent time “chasing birds” as a birdwatcher and photographer. He also ran tours to Machias Seal Island (Puffin Island) for the Maine Audubon Society and participated in annual bird counts and Breeding Bird censuses to keep track of indigenous bird populations. During retirement he rehabilitated old homes to make them available to people in need of decent housing. Charles was married for 61 years to Mary Callendar who survives.
Henry W Heikkinen passed away peacefully at his home in Denver, Colorado, on November 9, 2022. After graduating from Yale Henry worked as a food engineer for General Mills where he reformulated Cheerios breakfast cereal and worked on product development for instant mashed potatoes. In 1959, he studied philosophy at Sydney University, Australia, followed by extensive travel in Asia which kindled a lifelong interest in international education and appreciation of diverse cultures. Upon his return from abroad, Henry changed his career and obtained a Master’s Degree in Science Education from Columbia University. He then returned to his native Minnesota to teach high school chemistry and coach debate at Richfield High School. He attended National Science Foundation summer institutes for high school teachers to improve science education, and from there he was recruited to attend graduate school at the University of Maryland where he earned a PhD in Chemical Education. He then joined the faculty at the University of Maryland. He was very involved in developing a highly innovative textbook and approach to teaching high school chemistry – Chemistry in the Community (ChemCom). In 1987 he became head of the Math and Science Teaching Center at the University of Northern Colorado and established a PhD program in Chemical Education. He retired in 2001; however, his accomplishments continued to be recognized with an honorary doctorate from the University of Helsinki in 2003 and the American Chemical Society’s George C. Pimentel Award in Chemical Education in 2009. Henry is survived by his wife Cathy, a son and a daughter and their children.
The class executive committee met using Zoom on December 6, 2022, with 18 members present. Jennifer Julier, the Yale Alumni Association person who supports our class, also participated. We discussed having a mini-reunion in 2024 in New York, probably in late April or early May. We also were enthusiastic about having our 70th reunion which will be on Memorial Day weekend, 2026. We agreed to resume class dues with the proceeds to be used to support the minireunion, the 70th, and one or more scholarships for the Yale Alumni College, a program initiated by Marv Berenblum who remains chairman emeritus. Finally, we created a class will to donate any funds remaining in our class treasury to the Class of 1956 Memorial Scholarship Fund when the class ceases to exist. The meeting was recorded, so you can watch it on our class web page.
You can also stay connected with many of our classmates by participating in the Zoom meetings that Ken Liebman hosts on the third Wednesday of every month. Contact Ken to get on his participant list.
I recently received a report on the status of the Class of 1956 Memorial Scholarship Fund. This fund was established several years ago to provide scholarship help for a Yale student(s), hopefully with a class family connection, while providing a means for us to contribute in memory of deceased classmates. As of June 30, 2022, the fund had received $559,094 and grown to a market value of $787,741. Distributions this past fiscal year were $31,455.
With that in mind, there are four more losses of our classmates that I regret to report. James V. Altieri of East Haddam, Connecticut, died on October 24, 2022, survived by his loving wife Cece. He was an accomplished test engineer who contributed many advancements at Pratt & Whitney, CANEL, Sikorsky, and the like. He was also a college professor at Thames Valley State Tech College. On the fun side, he was a railroad engineer at the Valley Railroad in Essex, Connecticut, running the railroad and putting smiles on so many faces. He loved to help people, especially making them laugh.
Thomas H. Frentzel, a native of Shorewood, Wisconsin, died on Christmas evening. After graduating from Yale, Tom served three years in the US Air Force where he rose to be a captain. He then joined the family business, Frentzel Products, Inc., where he spent 62 years helping the firm design, engineer, and manufacture parts for clients around the world. He and his wife Nancy, who survives, raised their family in White Fish Bay, Wisconsin, and spent their winters in Bonita Springs, Florida. He was a competitive golfer, C-boat racer, and bridge player. More recently he enjoyed riding in his new pontoon boat and watching his grandchildren compete in a variety of sporting events.
Ivan E. Phillips died of pneumonia in New York City on November 22, survived by his wife of 30 years, Winifred. Ivan was born in Montreal, Canada, and returned to Canada after graduating from Yale to attend McGill Law School. He was a longstanding partner of the Canadian law firm Phillips & Vineberg. As a student at Deerfield Academy, he became interested in art and art history. Together with his brother, they created and grew the Phillips Family Collection. His passion for collecting and the scope of his knowledge was highly respected by the academic community, and he generously shared his collection with major museums throughout the world. His collection of eighteenth-century French color prints is reputed to be the best in private hands. With this impressive background, he assisted in the curation of an exhibit of French color prints at the National Gallery in Washington, DC.
Mark Thoman, a 40-plus-year resident of Glen Ridge, New Jersey, with his wife, Nancy Flaun Green, died of a stroke on May 24, 2022. His determination served him well as he endured 17 years of progressive muscle weakness and two previous strokes. Mark was a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, and was recruited for the Yale swim team. He was a scholar who earned a prize for a senior history paper and attended Harvard Law School. He became a partner with Lord Day & Lord, Bond Disclosure Counsel, to New York City for most of his legal career. When New York’s fiscal crisis hit in the mid-1970s, he was part of a team that worked relentlessly with the city’s lawyers and other experts to save the city from bankruptcy, earning him great respect from his peers. He was also interested in Eastern medicine, having experienced acupuncture. The American Association of Oriental Medicine (AAOM) presented him with an award for his many years of service.
Happy New Year to all! I hope each of you enjoyed the holidays with family and friends with great hopes for a wonderful 2023. While we always approach the new year with hopeful expectations, we also have to look back on the close of the prior year, 2022, as this is the last set of notes written in 2022.
Bill Rees, webmaster for our class web page has been busy the past few months managing the reconstruction of our page. In late October, he reported that the project was complete with great improvements. You may now access our site at yale56.org. The former address, yale-56.org, will direct you to the newer one. Earlier this year Bill learned that the company that hosted our website decided to leave the business. The site froze and much of our data disappeared. Thanks to our YAA representative, Jennifer Julier, Bill was put in touch with Jean McKillop, who manages several class websites; and she was engaged to work with us. It took her over a month to reconstruct the site with our former format on a new platform which is now compatible with cell phones, and there are a number of other improvements in the Obituary and In Memoriam sections. Additionally, we now have on our page a John Eaton concert, a David Lloyd episode of the “Mary Tyler Moore Show,” for which he won an Emmy, three recordings of Roger Englander singing, Jim Kern’s video, and Pete Runnette’s video. Bill deserves many thanks for his diligent leadership and patience in working through the transition to a new manager of the site and supervising the overall project.
In mentioning Jim Kern, I must report the travel advisory he sent me in late October. Bottom line, do not travel to Pakistan without a visa. Jim did so having travelled all over the world without one for the past 20 years. In a recent trip to Pakistan, he was able to board two different airlines enroute to Islamabad without any mention of the need for a visa, but the Islamabad authorities thought otherwise, and all his plans “went up in smoke.” For four days and nights he was either in a transit room, on board flights to get him home, or trying to sleep in a chair with no more than two or three hours sleep at a time. He described the experience as “A recent travel from hell.” For further details, contact Jim at email@example.com.
We cannot close the year without reporting another great loss of a classmate. Charles W. (Pete) Runnette, III, of New Canaan, Connecticut, died on August 13, 2022. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and came to Yale on an NROTC scholarship. After graduation he served as a Navy pilot before attending law school at University of California, Berkeley where he met his wife of 60 years, Alice, who survives. Following law school Pete got his first aviation-related job as a lawyer at the FAA which brought him to Washington, D.C., and two years later he landed his dream job working for Pan American World Airways. He served Pan Am in many managerial roles in Berlin and London as well as in Pan-Am headquarters in New York. After leaving Pan Am in 1988, he ran the International Division of Continental Airlines until his retirement. He then served as President of Pan Am Historical Foundation for over 20 years, working closely with its CEO, Ed Trippe, son of Pan Am’s founder Juan Trippe. During his years in New Canaan, Pete served in leadership roles for several local organizations.
Ray Foote, Tersh Boasberg, and I are beginning to explore the interest our classmates have in holding a mini reunion late this year or in 2024 as a way to get together before our hoped for 70th reunion in 2026. Let us hear from you of your interest. Our last mini was held in Philadelphia, and it was great fun.