“Hello, Sergeant, I want to report a stray artillery round in my neighbor’s yard.”
The artillery round turned out to be a 155mm shell, circa 1920’s, with no explosives in it, covered with leaves, an artifact that the property’s owner planned to put on the curb for heavy garbage pick-up day! The report brought in an ordinance disposal team from Fort Dix which evacuated all the neighbors before disposing of the weapon. Who were the neighbors? Mark Thoman was one of them. Never a dull moment in New Jersey. Thanks to Ted Robb for sending me this report.
Thanks also to Jim Kern for alerting me that his next book will be “Trail Reflections”, celebrating Jim’s 50 years as a hiker and backpacker. He has back-packed on five continents and founded three successful, non-profit hiking organizations. In his book, Jim will share some of his adventures and perspectives from the trail, concluding the book with a report on his day hikes on the three grand foot trails formed by the passage of the 1968 National Trail System Act: The Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail, upon which Jim is hiking as I prepare this column in early September.
Ivan Phillips found turning seventy-five “a bit of a shock”, although his wife, Winnie, says that Ivan’s behavior is “more like that of a freshman.” Ivan and Winnie recently completed a cruise from Buenos Aires to Santiago, Chile, around Cape Horn.
Responding to my appeal for news, Bill Massy sent me a wonderful e-mail. Since taking early retirement from Stanford in the mid-90’s, Bill has maintained a very active professional life, first as President of the Jackson Hole, WY, higher education group and now as a consultant for universities and higher education systems on the subject of academic quality and productivity, including counseling on “how faculty can deliver better education without spending more or undermining their research.” Bill and Suzanne May were married last December, having first met in the 1950’s and re-introduced after 25 years by Suzanne’s goddaughter, Beth, who is Bill’s daughter. Suzanne, sister of Ted May, Y ’55, and Bill love to trek, recently to Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, the UK, Chile, and Abu Dhabi. Both having survived cancer operations and now cancer-free, Bill adds that they are “conscious of our mortality and make the most of each and every day together.”
Don Ross died on May 30th. Don had a distinguished business career, first as the CEO of various businesses, then as a business consultant. The term “avid sportsman” is appropriate when considering the fact that Don played tennis and softball well into his 60’s, surf cast for bluefish and striped bass in Rhode Island, cast flies for trout in Vermont and New Hampshire, and trolled for walleyes and salmon in Lake Champlain. Don’s spouse of 47 years, Priscilla, predeceased him. He is survived by two children and two grandchildren.
Donald Miller died on June 20th. He is survived by his wife, Patricia, and two children. Don was an esteemed psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who educated psychiatry residents for forty years at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.
Earl Thoenen, known to his friends as “Tommy”, died on May 28th. After serving as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne, Tommy was an engineering and product development expert, first with Bailey Corporation, then with Polaroid. Tommy was another avid fisherman, had a passion for golf, and competed in duplicate bridge tournaments. He is survived by his wife, Meredith, two daughters, and four grandchildren.
I recently received word that Richard Mittenthal died on March 21st 2009. I do not have any news on his life and career, other than the fact that he lived in Arizona and was retired. If any of you can fill in the blanks to enable me to honor him, please let me know.
My news cupboard is almost bare, so HELP. And..please plan to join your classmates at the Yale-Princeton weekend, November 12-14, with the added attraction of a class dinner on Saturday, and at our 55th reunion, June 2nd to 5th. See you there…
SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 2010, Charles Lord, Class Secretary
“Every single day is a universe…All life is a merger, none survive alone…Painless injection, blissful vertebrae, why no flick named ‘Lumbar Tap?..Few things can surpass the satisfaction of a non- mea culpa…Yale, plus fifty-four, multi verses, dark matter, worm holes… Where am I?”
These expressions, verses and haiku’s, and many more, may be found on the Ben’s website/blog, a truly remarkable contribution to us all from Ben Scotch, who, while courageously battling cancer and undergoing horrific 96 hour IV chemo treatments, finds the time and courage to share his reflections, unbelievable sense of humor, and breath-taking strength with us all. Seldom have I been as moved as I have with Ben’s reflections on his website and during several phone calls. Ben never asks: “Why me?” Instead he counts himself as a very fortunate person, while reflecting that “you can’t say the words cancer and normal about life.” Ben also asks:”Any views on whether or not I may use a yarmulke as a hair loss cap?” One morning he awoke at 4:07 am “too early for coffee so I started to sing (in mind only) songs from Hair.”(His “chemo rewrite” of “Hair’s: air pollution song is on his website/blog.) On one of his many trips home from the Burlington, VT hospital where he is undergoing treatment, while the nurses were debating whether he should leave in a wheel chair or could walk, Ben grabbed his harmonica, played a few bars of “Going Home”, and scooted down the stairs with his wonderful spouse Baz. Ben was pleased to discover that the Senior Resident Physician on his case is a Yale graduate and member of Ben’s Senior Society.
While Ben is celebrating his “non-mea culpa”, I confess to a mea culpa in my March/April column. Led astray by some erroneous information supplied to me about the “Torchia Press”, I assigned Andy Torchia’s son, Andy to the wrong part of the world; he actually worked in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tokyo, Singapore, Shanghai, and London. Son Chris covered Iraq, where he was stationed for Saddam’s capture and execution, Georgia, Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka (for the tsunami), and was embedded with the US Army in Afghanistan. Never a dull moment for the Torchias.
My question in the May/June issue of the YAM, asking opinions on whether Yale should bring back the ROTC, elicited several affirmative responses. Ron Partnoy: “I am strongly and emphatically in favor of the proposition. I personally am a product of the NROTC program…and it gave me a deep appreciation of what the Navy does and what it means to serve under the colors.” Ron served for almost thirty years, achieving the rank of Captain. Bruce Ensley comments that “the Navy and Defense Department have benefitted from the service of Yale grads…leavening the otherwise unleavened sources for our armed forces.” Bruce is a destroyer veteran who later served as a civilian analyst on the Secretary of the Navy’s staff. Dean Alexander, who was in the last Yale ROTC artillery class, believes that “the Ivies young people have a great deal to contribute to the military and a great deal to learn from it.” While working in health care product marketing, Dean was able to maintain his reserve status and complete the Army Career Artillery School and the Army Command and General Staff College. Dean adds that he considers it “a privilege to serve our country.”
A report from the Far West arrived from Reg Koehler. He and Ann now have spent twenty-six years in Seattle, one more than the twenty-five in New York. Reg is still practicing law part time. The Koehler’s recently left for five weeks in Provence to celebrate their fifty-fourth wedding anniversary, their thirty-fifth sojourn to France, including several four month sabbaticals.
As reported by Ted Robb, Bill Poorvu was the superb moderator of the national conference of the Yale Alumni Real Estate Association. Bill is an Adjunct Professor Emeritus of Entrepreneurship at Harvard.
Once again I must report on the deaths of valued classmates. Andy Orr died on April 21st. He is survived by his wife, Ann, to whom he was married for fifty-two years, two sons, two daughters and thirteen grandchildren. From 1960 until 2005, when the company was sold, Andy was President of Spray Products, founded by Andy’s father in 1922 and the manufacturer of industrial and automotive aerosols. Andy was very active on the Radnor (PA) Board of Commissioners and on a variety of other civic organizations.
George Stoddart died on April 6th. After serving in the Marine Corps and achieving the rank of
Captain, George worked as a financial analyst in various firms before becoming Vice-President of Corporate Communications at McDermott International in New Orleans. George and his wife, Gail, were married for 51 years. George also is survived by a son, a daughter, and five grandchildren.
Latest report from our class treasurer, Ted Robb. Thanks to your generosity, including dues payments of almost $30 000, our 2010 opening balance of $21 932 has expanded to $44 140, before payments of $16 000 for the Davenport Fellowship winners.
MAY-JUNE 2010, Charles Lord, Class Secretary
“The Judge and the Addict…Two Journeys…A Reversed Three Strikes Conviction Means a New Chance at Life for One Man and a Life-Affirming Mission for Another.” Thus read the headline in an article from The Los Angeles Times, forwarded to me by Ted Calleton. Who is the judge who reversed the conviction? Spencer Letts. Michael Banyard, under California’s three strike law, was sentenced to a term of 25 years to life for possessing a small amount of crack cocaine. Spencer, who was appointed by President Reagan as a Judge on California’s US District Court, was Michael’s last hope. In reviewing the case and the previous convictions, Spencer, in 2004, issued a “precedent setting order: Banyard must be released immediately on grounds that his lengthy sentence violated the ban in the US Constitution against cruel and unusual punishment.” After his verdict Spencer summoned Michael to his chambers and told him: “I want to tell you in person how proud you should be. Your perseverance won the day…I wanted to tell you that when something like this happens in life, don’t kick that in the face. You have another chance, you might never get one another day.” After that meeting, “the two were tied together, and the case was enshrined in law journals.” Today they still are friends and Michael, due to Spencer, is celebrating a life saved. There is no way that I can do justice to the bond that has developed between Spencer and Michael. I can only urge you to go on line to find the two part Los Angeles Times series in the February 28th and March 1st issues. Personally, I am extremely proud of Spencer and grateful to Ted for sending me the article. Ted also reports that he, Al Koch, and Peter Brier meet each Friday for lunch. At the last lunch, Al reported on the Battle of Leyte Gulf (remember that battle?). Al and Ted continue to practice law.
Yes, we may be classified as “geriatrics”, but so many of us defy that classification and continue to produce meaningful contributions to society, like Spencer. In the literary world Fred Brown has written another outstanding book: “For the Soul of France…Culture Wars in the Age of Dreyfus”, published by Knopf, a book that explores the conflicts that began thirty years before Dreyfus and continued to be a “festering point” until 1940 and the fall of the Third Republic. Fred, a well-known cultural historian, also is the author of world-acclaimed biographies of Zola and Flaubert, books that were recognized with the National Book Critics Award (Flaubert) and a New York Times Editors Choice (Zola). He twice has been recognized with both Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities awards. This quote in “For the Soul of France” from the 19th century social psychologist, Gustave Le Bron, caught my attention: “In the endless struggle with reason, emotion has never been vanquished.”
Cam Trowbridge has just completed a biography of Marconi, available at Amazon in manuscript form under “Marconi Trowbridge”, which traces Marconi’s influence as “Father of Wireless, Grandfather of Radio, and Great Grandfather of the Cell Phone” and the “Race to Control Long Distance Wireless.” Cam calls Marconi a “giant” akin to Bill Gates and Steve Job.
From my count of our 50th reunion publication, “Comment and Commitment” Cam is the 92nd classmate to have a work published (on paper, TV or internet) If anyone out there has been published and is not listed in that list, please let me know. We also have creative spouses, ten who have been published and a famous comedienne offspring: Ken Liebman’s daughter, Wendy, appeared at the Comix Comedy Club in New York last April.
MARCH-APRIL 2010, Charles Lord, Class Secretary
Andy Torchia retired in 1994 as the AP Chief of Nordic Services in Stockholm in order to sail- an activity from which he also has retired. The seriousness of that pursuit is indicated by his mailing address– at a marina in Cyprus. Son Andrew, Yale 1986, is with Thomson Reuters news service in England and has covered Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Son Christopher, Yale 1989, is AP Bureau Chief in Istanbul.
In last month’s YAM I reported on the fascinating life and unique sculpture garden of Roland Paegle. Harry Jancis advises me that Roland recently received the Order of the Three Stars from the Latvian government, the highest decoration that the government can award to a Latvian not living in that country. The honor recognizes Roland’s efforts in “organizing BATUN (Baltic Appeal to the United Nations)”. Thanks to that organization’s efforts, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are recognized as independent nations, not as part of Russia. As for Harry, he is enjoying retirement, with travel (Australia and Egypt in 2009) and grandchildren as “our biggest joy.” Harry also confirms that he is “still hitting the tennis ball (poorly) and playing tournament bridge (reasonably well).” An aside: As I sit in the midst of an early January blizzard, hunt and peck typing this column, I am reminded by the stories reported above of how interesting and how much fun it is to be Class Secretary.
Congratulations to Alan Marshall. After 65 years of playing golf, Alan shot his first hole-in-one an 185 yard, five iron bullet on a course in Michigan. I am very jealous, not only of the shot but by the use of a five iron; I’d be hitting a three iron for that distance.
Howard Parker’s travels last fall included an eclectic group of destinations in Ohio and Kentucky including visits to former travel companions in Lexington, KY, Wooster and Hamilton OH, to a race track in Lexington, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, and all the sights in Columbus, ranging from the Art Museum and Botanical Garden to the Ohio State football stadium.
Carl Morse’s latest opus is “Queer for Life at Yale: 1952-1956. A Kinseysan, Keynsian, and Dickensian Account.” This honest and touching publication of is available directly
Carl, Apt 17B, 460 West 24th Street, New York, NY 10011. The very prolific Carl is the author of two chapbooks of poems, which also have been widely published in magazines and anthologies. In addition, he is the co-author of “Gay and Lesbian Poetry of our Time” (St. Martin’s Press) and has translated several French publications. A true Renaissance man, Carl’s essays and articles have appeared in a range of publications, including “The New York Times” and “The Village Voice” to “Poets and Writers Magazine”. A former editor at Macmillan, Doubleday, and Western Publishing, Carl also was Editor-in-Chief and Director of Publications at the Museum of Modern Art. Carl’s plays have been performed in Paris, London, New York, and Berlin…and that’s only a partial list!
The recipient of the Class of 1956 Memorial Scholarship, Lindsey Raymond, Yale 2013, the grandniece of classmate Richard Raymond, lives in TD, is interested in economics, math, and psychology, and interned last summer at Boston’s Joslin Diabetes Center and with Project Hope, a nonprofit that works to help Ugandan women improve their lives. A starter on the soccer team, Lindsay helped to develop the initial issue of “Business Sphere” magazine, co-authored a paper on smoking cessation and is working on a project in the Psychology department’s Health, Emotion, and Behavior Lab. I wonder what Lindsay does in her spare time.
I am so often touched by the commitment and loyalty of our classmates to their 1956 cohorts who have died. A number of you e-mailed me about John Fitzgibbon’s memorial service at Sacramento State College. As Tersh Boasberg and Bill Rees reported, the service was attended by over 150 people, with 10-12 speakers, including Tersh, Bill, Bill Bourke, and Roger Hollander. Other classmates in attendance were Dan Banks, Peter Bull, and Milt Gaines. Tersh commented that it was “a very personal, moving, and eclectic service.”
Peter Allee, Peter Shattuck, and Don Chatfield provided me with extensive and moving reports about David Lloyd, who died after a 24 year battle with prostate cancer. ”The New York Times” stated: “Mr. Lloyd was an astonishingly productive writer by television standards.” His shows included Mary Tyler Moore, Cheers, Bob Newhart, Lou Grant, Frasier, and many more. An Emmy award winner, David served in the Navy and taught school before beginning his TV career by writing monologues for Jack Parr, Johnny Carson, and Dick Cavett.
One of David’s roommates and a life-long friend, Peter Allee, comments: “He had a zest for life and a matchless wit. Life with David was full of laughs and never dull.” Don Chatfield and David “were friends since being incompetent dancers together” in a Dramat musical, “So What.” They also appeared together in the Dramat production of “The Scarecrow”, where David staggered around the stage in a pumpkin head. He sent out “hilarious Christmas letters which contained the second page (only) of a letter about a fictionalized family whose members have just gone to jail or been convicted of swindles of have committed some inexplicable, terrible faux pas.” Peter Shattuck, David’s freshman roommate, recalls taking the geology course for non scientists where, on his first exam, David “with great solemnity labeled a pinkish-green blob, in full W.C. Fields voice, ‘acneous leprocite. He had started his career.” David is survived by his wife, Arline, five children and two grandchildren.
HELP- My cupboard is almost bare. Help me avoid a blank page where ’56 should appear by e-mailing me your news. Thanks.
JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2010, Charles Lord, Class Secretary
In this issue we welcome a new year and a new classmate. Peter Hinkle has seen the light and switched from 1957 to 1956. Welcome Peter; Ted Robb take note.
Last night Gay and I went to the flicks and saw “Where the Wild Things Are”. Today I am looking at an article from the “Quoddy Times” (Maine) on a calmer and happier place populated by “graceful mermaids, a grave-faced fisherman, the “Scarries”, Neptune and a dancing bear.” All of these wonderful creatures are hand-carved sculptures in a “woodland sculpture garden brought to life” by Grazina and Roland Paegle, and some may also be seen in our 50th reunion yearbook. The driftwood versions were crafted by Roland, the solid wood statues by artists in Lithuania and Latvia, the original home countries of Ron and Grazina. Both were children whose lives were torn apart by World War II and who arrived in the U.S. after spending time in a German displaced persons camp. They met in the 1960’s when both were demonstrating outside the Soviet Mission to the United Nations in New York. The commissions in Latvia and Lithuania were inspired by a sculpture park in Lithuania. U.S. Customs agents were baffled by the jumble of works in a large crate but finally cleared the shipment. Roland invites those of us who are headed to Maine to contact him and visit the park, which is in Alexander, near the Canadian border.
Speaking of sculptures, Charlie Bleich wrote of a reunion he and Linda had in Massachusetts with Elaine and Marshall Witten and Bill Massy, who was accompanied by his fiancé, Suzanne Garber. Charlie extols Elaine’s “exceptional bronze sculptures”. The group attended the concerts at Tanglewood and found them especially beautiful –a sentiment that Gay and I share. Fifty-four years ago at a Tanglewood concert Charlie whispered into Linda’s ear: “ Look at the view.” Linda responded: “I love you too.” That’s where the “still vibrant romance” began. Charlie’s letter included a clipping from “The Weekend Australia” newspaper with the following headline:”Obama Sends Us His Superman”, aka Charlie’s son, Jeff, nominated to be US Ambassador to Australia. Jeff was active in the presidential campaign and has had an amazing legal career, including significant contributions to non-profits and the environment, leading to the identification as “superman.”Charlie continues as Professor of restorative dentistry at Nova South Eastern School of Dentistry in Ft.Lauderdale and has served as vice-president of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and founder/chairman of the Talcotta Mountain Music Festival.
Arnie Kaplan is still thrilled by the practice of psychiatry but has cut back to half-time in order to increase his time with family and his beach house-“the best of all possible worlds.”
Once again it pains me to report on the deaths of distinguished classmates. Leonard “Shep”Shepley, a classmate who moved on from New Haven to Oklahoma University where he graduated at the top of his class, died on September 1st. Prior to joining our class, Shep was a master sergeant in the US Air Force. He went on to a very successful career in technology, owned a patent in computer programming and retired from Lockheed Martin. A man of many interests and talents, he also enjoyed motorcycling, piloting planes, owning a hobby store, sailing, and playing dominos. He was pre-deceased by his second wife, Norma, in June.
Charles “Tif” Bingham died on September 27th after a courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease. Those of us who were with him at the 50th reunion will never forget how cheerfully engaged he was at that celebration. To quote Tif from the 50th yearbook: “I have Parkinson’s disease, a quadruple bypass, and a pacemaker. But I also have a survivor’s spirit, a wonderful wife, a loving family and friends, and my teeth.” Tif was a Marine Corps fighter pilot and then worked at the Cottonwood Corporation in Memphis. He was extensively involved with that City’s civic organizations , serving as Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, and he served Governor Lamar Alexander as Chairman of the first jobs Conference. An avid antique collector and sailor, Tif is survived by his wife, Sandy, three children, and five grandchildren. Sandy’s address is 198 Tuckahoe Lane, Memphis, TN 38117-3024.
Dick Streeter died of complications from cancer in Chagrin Falls, OH on October 1st. The “Cleveland Plain Dealer” reported that “With his deep blue eyes, Richard E. Streeter reminded some people of Paul Newman. With his constant smile and upbeat liberalism, he reminded others of his fellow Minnesotan, Hubert Humphrey.” A very successful lawyer, Dick led several non-profits, including Legal Aid, the Cleveland Welfare Foundation, the Federation for Community Planning, Lake Erie College, and the Center for Families and Children. Dick was the object of attacks for his eventually successful effort to spread public housing into new neighborhoods. Dick moved to a retirement home in Wells, ME due to failing eyesight. After his fourth corneal transplant last spring, he again could see clearly. I do not have a Maine address for Dick’s spouse, Charlotte.
John Fitz Gibbon’s death on October 25th was reported to me by Bill Bourke. Roger Hollander made his first road trip since his accident to visit John, and, thereby, as reported by Bill, “giving John leave to yield.” As Tersh Boasberg e-mailed on learning of John’s death: “In death, Fitz can seem even larger than in (his later) life, because the pain and frustration are gone, and we remember mostly that this was one hell of a complex, brilliant, Rabelaisian, opinionated, iconoclastic, witty, lover of all things beautiful and true. A marvelous friend, indeed. He will be missed.” Amen. Jane Fitz Gibbon’s address is 31 Piedras Negras, Santa Fe, NM 87505.
My address listed above is valid until March, when we hope to move into our New York apartment at 140 Riverside Drive, NYC 10024. Now…back to the packing boxes. Happy New Year to all.