On vacation from retirement, I ran into Herb McLaughlin, on vacation from working hard. Herb is the chief designer for his architecture firm. Among his projects is the Master Plan for the French Quarter in Shanghai, where he recently completed the new Headquarters for the Communist Party in that city, an ecologically sound building with a roof garden that contains a putting green. Yes, a putting green. The spinning sound you hear is Chairman Mao in his grave.
Several issues ago, I mentioned Bill Bourke’s beautiful letter to the YAM about Dave Ingalls, prompted by the article in this magazine about Dave’s father, “Flight to Glory” I want to quote some excerpts about David’s flight career. “During a six months deployment…aboard the USS Midway, he (David) returned from a routine training mission at sea only to discover that the hydraulic…mechanism in his tail hook assembly had failed. After several unsuccessful attempts to catch a wire with a bouncing hook and approaching a low fuel state, he was given the option of a controlled ejection alongside the ship or a landing barrier engagement…Although controlled ejection would have been the betting man’s safer alternative, with characteristic skill and courage, Top Gun Ingalls elected to take the barrier. Although the outcome was not pretty, and might easily have proven fatal, Dave preserved a state of the art aircraft and walked away from the harrowing experience…” Later in the letter, Bill reminds us that he, David and Milt Gaines shared a bachelor pad in the middle of apricot orchards in Mountain View CA.
While on the subject of Milt Gaines, he reports that he has sold his business; demolished his factory; obtained a new hip; loves his family. With no complaints, Milt now devotes his time to non-profits.
Apropos of Dave Ingalls, Albert Francke sent me a copy of the speech he gave at the dedication of the Ingalls rink at St. Pauls School. Albert’s description of David was a moving one: “a reassuring sense of warmth and familiarity…infectious laugh…inherent sense of what was right and the conviction to act on it…a modest person.” Albert has officially retired, while serving as counsel to his law firm, and lives in Millerton, N.Y. He reports that rural life is enjoyable but that rural bachelorhood “has little to recommend it.” However, he is staying busy serving on a variety of Boards, a life summed up by his business card: “Albert Francke-Odd Jobs.”
Last February Jud Kaplan wrote that he and Judie had pulled up stakes, left New York after 41 years and moved to Savannah. While admitting to culture shock, Jud soon found the joys of “stress-free living, clean air, friendly people, and living in a nature preserve.” New neighbors, Joan and David O’Brasky, helped with the adjustment. Writing about the O’Braskys, Jud comments: “It is really strange that people I hardly knew at Yale would become good friends nearly fifty years later.” I hope that Jud and David remember to say a word of thanks for Reid Williamson, who was so important in the movement to preserve Savannah. Jud concludes: “While missing Central Park and the museums of New York…I guess life is a series of passages and stages that all have their significant moments.”
Speaking of passages and stages, several of our medical comrades seem to have caught the passage virus. Tom Okin, who was one of the hearty band of classmates at the New Orleans reunion, has retired from medical practice and become a partner in DNMR Inc., a company that operates MRI centers, including cardiac MRI’s, at St. Anthony Hospital in Denver. John Phair stepped down three years ago as Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Northwestern University Medical School, assuming emeritus status. While continuing to see patients, John continues his research on the epidemiology and natural history of HIV/AIDS. The new schedule has allowed Nancy and John to travel more extensively. Peter Braun has left the Harvard School of Public Health and his internal medicine practice for a career consulting in health policy and health economics. Peter is focusing on medical error in office practice and on physician payments, while continuing as one of the founding editorial board members of the Harvard Health Letter. Linda recently retired as Executive Director of Families First Parenting Programs, an award winning non-profit committed to strengthening families of all backgrounds and life circumstances.
I regret to report the death of two classmates. Fred Held, who died on May 31st, was the retired superintendent of planning and industrial engineering for DuPont at Remington Arms. Fred fought in the Korean War, at the landing in Inchon and at the battle of Choisin Resevoir. Fred was very active in community and Methodist Church affairs. He is survived by his wife, Jeanette, and four children, who may be reached at One Sharon Road, Trumbull, CT 06611.
Gene Robinson’s wife, Helen, was kind enough to send me the program from Gene’s memorial service. Gene died on February 11th. He grew up as an army “brat” and came to Yale on an NROTC scholarship, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. After five years in the navy, Gene attended Stanford Law School, becoming a corporate attorney. After suffering a heart attack on Christmas Eve 1977, Gene’s life was transformed. He participated in a Type A Behavior Modification study, retired from his law career at age 54 and dedicated 18 years to Kairos, an organization that provides Christian Ministry and support to incarcerated men and women and their families. Helen and their four children may be reached at 1312 Vintner Way, Pleasanton, CA 94566-6939
Two final pleas: Do join us for the class dinner on the Saturday night of the Princeton game. AND…Please send in your class dues, adding to the basic donation if at all possible, as we strive to raise the funds required to support our glorious 50th reunion. We are counting on you.
Gay and I have just returned from the joyous mini-reunion in New Orleans, brilliantly organized by Nikki Barranger, assisted by his charming co-host, Carol Darley. The list of classmates attending, most accompanied by spouses or friends, included: Elliott Schlang, Tiff Bingham, Al Atkins, Paul Zietlow, Ed Barlow, Mike Carey, Jim McCarthy, Jay Levine, Bud Prince, Bill Hoskins, Tom Okin plus Nikki and yours truly. We listened to beautiful music at Jazzfest, wandering from tent to tent, hearing Dixie, Gospel, Blues etc. while sipping gumbo, slurping oysters and shopping at a great craft fair. The delicious class dinner was in a private room at Antoine’s. We were enthralled by 83 year old Dave Brubeck playing his compositions with his quartet, a symphony orchestra and a chorus. Remember how Brubeck burst on the scene during our youth?
While on the subject of reunions, the Yale Spizzwinks(?) 90th year celebration in New Haven included Ed Selig, Jim Downey, Roger Englander, two of Roger’s sons, and our son, Charlie. Roger, our music master, was honored at the anniversary. Roger sings with the University Glee Club in New York and teaches singing to handicapped children.
Another reunion: Bill Dickinson writes that he, Bill Clark, Alan Marshall, Ken Mills, and Ted Nicklaus, with wives, spent a week together in Klosters, Switzerland. Drs. Clark and Nicklaus are still ministering to the sick; the others are retired.
Kudos: Mike Altschuler reports that Tom Kugelman was honored by the Connecticut Historical Society. Tom, a dermatologist by trade, has completed a 14 year labor of love, a book on early Connecticut furniture. Mike also informs me that his roommate, Kenner Rawdon, has retired from his psychiatry practice and still lives in Brookline, MA. More kudos: David Slavitt’s opera opened in May at the Dance Theater Workshop in New York. Andy Emerson has just had published “A Bilingual Edition of Poetry out of Communist China by Huang Xiang.” The poet is a dissident living in the U.S., unpublished in China. Andy learned Chinese while in the Navy, practiced law on Wall Street, then turned back to his first love, Chinese poetry.
The New York Times reported on the renovations of Louis Kahn’s Yale Art gallery: “Angus Wurtele, a Minneapolis philanthropist who is on the gallery’s board, and his wife, Margaret, have donated money to renovate and expand the sculpture garden behind the Kahn building.” Angus retired a few years ago. He and Margaret spend half the year in Napa Valley, producing Terra Valentine (terravalentine.com) Cabernet for our pleasure.
Another busy retiree is Ben Scotch, who has left his nine to five job with the Vermont ACLU. He continues to travel near and far for civil liberty forums, classes and conferences. The new schedule does permit Ben and Barbara to spend more time in Barbara’s native Switzerland.
If President Bush’s Mars initiative ever leaves the launching pad, Dick Wilde is ready. He has been called out of retirement to help Hamilton Sundstrand design new, light weight, long lasting space suits needed to explore Mars and to return to the moon. Dick also continues to sing, having joined the Alumni Chorus in the October concert at Carnegie Hall. Speaking of space, John Gille lectured at the Geology-Geophysics Department in Boulder on recent satellite program results. John and Gil Leppelmeier, our Finnish-based space expert, are waiting for the next launch.
I am sorry to report that Patty Wray, Sam Bundy’s sister, advises that our courageous classmate is in an assisted living facility outside Boston and can “no longer read with any retention.”
I also regret to report the death of Carlos Omana, a beloved friend. An architect, Carlos held various positions in the Venezuelan oil industry and was the Venezuelan ambassador to Japan from 1994 to 1996. Carlos also was very active in civic groups, including the Boy Scouts and various Venezuelan-American good will organizations. His widow, Julieta, and their two children may be reached at Calle Aconaqua Qta., El Parnaso Chua, Caracas, 1060.
My last column was too long and was (correctly, I confess) edited in New Haven. To see what you missed, including the tributes to Warren Zimmermann from Tersh Boasberg and Rocky Suddarth, click on the class web site, where you also will find the title (not for print in this magazine) of Warren’s famous cable describing various Yugoslav politicians. If you are having trouble entering our site (www.yale56.org) and need help, please contact George Berman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a wonderful summer and stay tuned for lots of news in the next column.
MAY / JUNE 2004
I approach the preparation of this column with a heavy heart, as I must report on the death of four classmates, including a friend whose departure leaves a void which behalf of the entire class, can help contribute to the family’s peace. Please forgive me these personal reflections. I find it necessary to share them with you before proceeding with my report.
I start with my good friend, our famous classmate, Warren Zimmermann, who died on February 3rd. As extensively and beautifully reported in The Washington Post and the New York Times, his career successes are legendary. At various times in his 33 years with the Foreign Service, Warren was D.C.M. in Moscow, Ambassador to Yugoslovia and to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, resigning from the diplomatic service frustrated by the Clinton Administration’s reluctance to intervene forcefully in the Bosnian war. In his last public appearance at the State Department, Warren voiced his personal opposition to the Iraqi invasion. A passionate advocate for human rights, Warren fought to protect regional minorities in the Balkans and Jewish citizens in the USSR. Secretary of State Colin Powell wrote about Warren: “Ambassador Zimmermann’s passing is a great loss to American diplomacy and to our State Department family.”
After leaving government service, Warren taught at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced Studies, subsequently becoming professor of international diplomacy at Columbia in 1996. He wrote two very significant books: Origins of a Catastrophe, about his experiences in Yugoslovia; and First Great Triumph: How Five Americans Made Their Country a World Power, which is, in my opinion, essential reading for us all as we contemplate the world around us. It is one reason that many considered Warren the modern day George Kennan.
Gay and I had dinner with Warren the night that his cancer was discovered. He preferred to talk about us, and our lives, focusing intently, as always, as if every word we had to offer was of great significance. A few days later, Warren sent out an e-mail: “I remind myself that I am a person, not a disease. I have made up my mind that the time left will be about life, not death.” Accompanied by his equally courageous, strong and loving spouse, Teeny, who throughout his life provided him with so much affection, support and strength, Warren lived his last months to the fullest, dying surrounded by his beloved family. His memorial service was packed with the famous and the little-known. Eighteen classmates were there, including Dick Eckart, one of two officiants at the service.
On the class web site, www.yale56.org you can read the full text of Colin Powell’s tribute to Warren, as well as the extraordinary homages from Rocky Suddarth and Tersh Boasberg. I want to provide a brief excerpt from each. Rocky: “What was it that made Zimmermann so extraordinary? I call it the three C’s-Curiosity, Courage and Compassion…He learned Russian and Serbo-Croation as well as French, Spanish and German…His cables were often so engaging that they were passed around the State Department…including ‘I’m Up To My Ass In Dwarfs’ (describing various Yugoslav leaders)” Tersh writes that Warren and Teeny (for many of us that phrase became a one word description of a beautiful couple) “appeared in the vortex of everything going on in the world: revolutions, monetary crises, international conferences…His accomplishments in the career Foreign Service reveal a person of great strength and resolve…but Warren was tolerance incarnate…He understood football and tennis, squash and fly-fishing as well as he knew ethnic strife, oppression and war.” Thanks to Tersh, who found this piece, I conclude with Warren’s class book essay from our senior year as a fitting epitaph for a great human being: “We should all be intellectuals and proud to call ourselves such, if we mean by ‘intellectual’ a person who feels a deep concern for the vital unity of human affairs. If we have not developed this concern, or if we lose it, then we have betrayed the great cultural tradition with which we have chosen to associate ourselves.” Teeny may be reached at 96 Interpromentory Road, Great Falls, VA 22104.
Jim McCaffrey died on January 30th. I recall what a cheerful, warm person he was. After serving in the navy, Jim, in 1960, began a 43 year career in the specialty food business, becoming a caviar maven. After a variety of executive positions with National Sugar Refining, Louis Sherry (where he was President and, later, Chairman) and Norin Corporation, Jim founded Iroquois Grocery Products and acquired Romanoff Caviar. Over the past 15 years Jim ran numerous small specialty food companies, all of which dealt with caviar. He also was President of the Long Island Tomahawk team in the National Lacrosse League. Jim is survived by a son and a daughter.
Jerry Phillips died on January 14th. A graduate of Cambridge and Yale Law School, Jerry taught at the University of Tennessee Law School from 1967 until his death. Jerry’s wife, Anne, tells me that in going through his files, she discovered that he had 194 publications to his credit. An expert in torts and product liability, Jerry co-wrote Sounds and Sense: A Text on Law in Literature. He was a visiting lecturer in Australia on several occasions, a serious and active singer and could often be seen in the neighborhood and in class dressed in outrageous hats and costumes. A forthcoming issue of the Tennessee Law Journal, dedicated to Jerry, includes Anne’s tribute (also posted on our web site). Anne lives at 1505 West Cumberland Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37996.
Jim Thornton died on December 3rd. Jim worked in the family business, the Ottawa Silica Company in Ottawa, IL. His wife, Ann, a delightful English lady from Essex, reports that Jim was a collector of antique cars and an aficionado of Baroque music. Another classmate with an eclectic range of interests. Ann lives at 229 East Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60611.
To conclude on a happier note in an election year, herewith excerpts from a letter received by Ted Robb. Please read to the end to discover the author: “No, this is not a joke. I really am running for a seat in the state legislature…as a Republican! In Somerville and Cambridge…It’s a presidential year. New voters will show up at the polls. Who knows? I could even win!” Who is this mysterious candidate who is running to defeat the entrenched interests in the 26th district of Massachusetts? “Checks in any amount, but not to exceed $500, should be made out to the David Slavitt committee and mailed to 35 West Street #5, Cambridge, MA 02139.” Good luck, David
MARCH / APRIL YAM
So much news, so little space. Thank you for the flood of notes and e-mails. Please bear with me while I play catch-up in the next few columns. Please keep your news coming.
First, a brief report on our annual class dinner and executive committee meeting over the Yale-Harvard weekend: Sixty-six of us dined on veal, salmon or lasagna, heard from the Davenport Master, from the outstanding 2004 Spizzwinks and from our Davenport College Fellowship winners. Thanks to Bud Prince’s usual fine organizational skills, it was a great evening.
At the executive committee meeting we received an up-date from Bob Wheeler on our highly successful “I Have a Dream” program, which was featured in the spring 2003 “Blue Print” publication of the AYA. Of the original 56 “dreamers”, 44 graduated
last spring; ten more are on track to graduate in 2004. Thirty-three (80%) are in post-school programs, compared to New Haven’s rate of 40%. Colleges attended include Howard, UCONN, Pittsburgh, Clark and Johnson and Wales. To quote from Ed Barlow’s article in “Blue Print”: “What a serendipitous fulfillment of the dreams of some Yale alumni and a group of New Haveners who dared to believe and persevered in that belief.” Our class has provided over $800 000 to help those dreamers.
At the same meeting Ed reported on the plans for our mini-reunion in New Orleans, organized by Nikki Barranger, where we hope to see you, and I discussed the formation of an expanded 50th reunion committee- more about that later. Ben Scotch has agreed to organize and edit the publication for that event. Finally, Rocky Suddarth reported on the AYA symposium on “Yale Museums, Libraries and Collections.” Rocky told us that a record 500 alums who visited the facilities and heard about the programs were impressed “not only by the depth of these collections but also by the astounding scholarship, with an emphasis not just on research but also on using these treasures for pedagogical ends in the Yale curriculum.”
The kudos list: Joe McNay was elected to the new Board of Advisors of the Yale School of Management. Paul Huber and his wife, Eva, have published (in English, German and French) European Origins and Colonial Travails: the Settlement of Luxemburg (Nova Scotia), replete with 18th century photographs of the villages and towns from whence the settlers originated. Claude Offenbacher has embarked on a second career, hosting NPR’s Morning Edition on the local, Eugene, Oregon radio station. Claude wants to know how many of the rest of us are arising before four am, Monday through Friday. Ivan Phillips’s magnificent collection of 18th century French color prints was part of an exhibition at the National Gallery in Washington this winter. Ivan helped to curate the show and wrote an essay for the catalogue.
Martin Fenton adds his comments to those reported last month about the joyful Whiffenpoof reunion. Marty writes: “We did not ‘tear it down’, but we did prove that the motto of the class of 1956, ‘Friendship Lasts” is certainly applicable to this band of singers.” Marty’s wonderful report on the on-going friendships and on the still magnificent music produced by “12 old men still able to make music” includes a deserved tribute to “our long suffering wives.”
Unfortunately, I must report on the death of two classmates and a beloved spouse and close personal friend, Katharine Bidwell, Truman Bidwell’s wife. Katharine was an excellent singer and musician, actively involved with the Metropolitan Opera and other New York music institutions, and a truly lovely person. As Truman e-mailed us, “she died as she lived-with grace, courage, dignity, a sense of humor and a smile. She leaves a terrible void and a challenge to live our lives as she did hers-every day to the fullest.” Truman’s address is 455 East 57th Street, New York, N.Y. 10022
Ed Wall died on November 5th. As those of us who knew him in the educational world can attest, Ed was a legend in the field of college counseling and admissions. He emphasized the recruitment of minority students, offering hundreds of young people from under-represented backgrounds the opportunity to attend leading colleges and universities where he served: Amherst, Cornell, Lawrence, and the University of Southern California. Ed was a founder of A Better Chance (ABC) and also was an admissions officer at Exeter and a college counselor at Cushing and Governor Dummer. In recent years, Ed and his wife, Janet Adams-Wall, worked together in college counseling. Janet provided me with a quote from Ed’s recent article in the Exeter magazine, a statement which serves as a tribute to this generous and thoughtful man.: “My father, who came from South Carolina, took me south annually to see the many southern members of his family. I traveled in segregated trains, witnessed segregated restrooms, drinking fountains and restaurants and movie theaters where blacks were relegated to the balconies. I felt compelled to do something about these wrongs. As a result, I later spent a great deal of time recruiting minority students in the south and in the inner cities.” Janet can be reached at GDA 6, 1 Elm Street, Byfield, MA 01922. Ed also is survived by his seven children.
In September the alumni office forwarded me the following note from Taylor Durham: “On my daily morning march today I sang God Bless America, the Star Spangled Banner, the Whiffenpoof Song, and As Freshmen First We Came to Yale .I often sing the Battle Hymn of the Republic and Dixie.” Taylor died on October 22nd in Houston. Taylor attended Yale in our class and graduated from the University of North Carolina. After serving in the navy, Taylor became an insurance underwriter. A tenor, he loved to perform the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, and he was active in a Houston literacy program. Taylor is survived by his former wife and two children.
What’s in a name? I goofed with the spelling of Peter Tveskov’s name in the last issue of the YAM, an error which led to a delightful exchange of e-mails, in which Peter forgave me, informing me: “I have been called worse.” Tve- is archaic Danish for two and Skov means forest. Two forests is the name of the ancient farm which provides Peter with his family name. He also reports: “Many years ago I worked in Brazil, and the gentleman who changed dollars for cruzeiros for me was convinced that it (my name) was Russian. He saw my Yale ring with Hebrew letters and was absolutely sure I was denying my heritage. I tried to explain the whole deal with Lux et Veritas, and the old Puritans, and the business with the old and new testaments, Yale University, etc., but he never believed me.” I was reminded that during the Lord’s recent vacation, we were instructed to remove our Yale name tags (with the seal) when entering Morocco.
Tom Tossberg reports his unhappiness with Yale’s handling of its labor relations. Stanley Heller was kind enough to forward a copy of his letter to President Levin regarding the visit of Amiri Baraka. Both communications prompt me to recommend that our wonderful class web site, accessible through our magician-webmaster, George Berman, is the ideal locus for discussions of interesting and/or controversial comments and correspondence, as my space restrictions, coupled with my reluctance to open this column to such subjects, preclude extensive coverage in these pages. George was kind enough to forward me an e-mail from Al Koch; George advised Al that “only a fraction of the class reads the web site, while everyone reads Charlie’s notes”. Would that that were true. However, if you do not stay tuned to the web site, you are missing a lot. Click on www.yale56.org.
In his e-mail Al reports on the visit of Mary and Larry Hewes to the Koch cottage in Nantucket. The Hewes’ D.C. move, after 34 years in the same house, required extensive telephone conversations from Nantucket “with the wizards at the local (D.C.) telephone company, which had managed to block the answering machine when installing the FAX.” Al’s description of Larry’s phone conversations is hilarious, reminding me of my not-so-funny tiffs a few days earlier with AT&T.
I hope Bill Bourke’s letter to the editor of this publication (YAM) will be published. Bill comments on the “Flight to Glory” article in the September/October YAM and includes a beautiful tribute to Dave Ingalls, recounting Dave’s brave emergency landing on the USS Midway. If Bill’s letter is not published, I will include excerpts in a future column.
Charlie Bleich and his wife, Linda, have moved to warmer climes in Florida, where they have connected with Susan and Marvin Berenblum and with our web site-another wise classmate using modern technology to enhance the quality of his life.
In response to my last column, asking for input and questions about our 50th reunion, I already have heard from John Barnes with inquiries about travel and accommodations. In replying, I was able to direct John to the unique, green Michelin guide for Yale and New Haven. It is a very helpful publication.
Speaking of reunions, Don Gordon (Gouch) reports that all twelve 1956 Whiffs were present for their August reunion at Rancho Santa Fe, CA. The schedule included “rehearsals at 10AM, followed by whatevers” (whatevers??) and various gigs, including one when they cheered up the residents at an elderly housing establishment and a concert at the La Jolla Country Club for assorted Elis and friends of the “Popo”, Martin Fenton.
On Sunday morning, “Fly By” Lyn Knight delivered what may be the first ever Whiffenpoof sermon — “a masterpiece of woven thought and tender humor.” The Whiffs are planning another get-together next year, preparing for our 50th reunion and recognizing that “friendship — and song — do indeed last, and only become more valuable, more a treasure, with each sweet passing moment.”
Gouch has a very full life, beyond his Whiff activities. Following a long-held plan, he moved to Denver in 1993. After years of consulting, he currently is an adjunct teacher in the Liberal Studies Department at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. His students are described as “highly creative, interesting and often off-the-wall men and women determined to become artists.” Gouch is finding his educational life to be sheer fun. He adds: “It’s a daily reminder: keep some zaniness in your life at all costs.” Despite recent surgeries, Gouch continues to hike the high altitudes and to sing in a superb choir at a large downtown church. He is taking his first voice lessons ever, finished his first novel in 2000, with one non-fiction book and a novella in the works. “All this, and good friends in small numbers, makes a life that suits me, all things considered, well.”
George Forker adds his comments about the stimulating Whiff weekend, reporting that, as usual, Marty Fenton made all the arrangements perfect, aided by his wife Casey. George points out the actuarial odds against all 12 Whiffs being present and singing , reflecting that they “look forward with great anticipation to our 50th where, God willing, we will sing a few songs for our beloved classmates.”
Lots more news to report next month. Thanks for your notes; please keep them coming.