CLASS OF 1972 | 2018 | ISSUE 2

I begin with the sad news of Manfred Stassen’s death. COL students and other philosophers and Germanisten knew him as a one-of-a-kind teacher, philosopher, homme de lettres, and chess expert. An edited version of a tribute by Mark Gelber appears in the Letters section; the full text is on our class notes page at

Elisa ’76 and I had a wonderful week driving to and from a meeting in Charleston, S.C., seeing several classmates on the way. One of our stops was Smithfield, N.C., which you will undoubtedly recognize as the home of Bob Spence. Not only did Bob return to his hometown after law school, he is running what was his father’s law practice, and living in his boyhood home. We were treated to a lovely dinner at the Spence Manse, catching up on the past 46 years. Bob’s lovely wife, Carol, remarked how Bob constantly talks about how much his time at Wesleyan, particularly the spring of 1970 in Paris with the COL, meant to him, and she was interested in finally meeting someone who was there with him. Bob is trying to figure out how to disengage from his legal practice, which is doubly hard for him since he has a profound commitment to serving his individual clients.

On our way back, we dined with Rob Gelblum and his wife, Mary Lou, in Raleigh. Rob is having a good deal less difficulty disengaging from practicing law and is doing more musical performing. His family moved to Carolina from Philadelphia right as he started at Wes, to the great consternation of Rob and his brothers, but he quickly grew to love the area and has enjoyed living there.

In Chapel Hill we visited with Elisa’s classmate, Ted Shaw ’76 and his lovely family. Ted, a renowned civil rights attorney, teaches at UNC School of Law.

And returning home through the Capital area we visited with Bonnie Blair, who is a double classmate of mine—law school, too. Bonnie is ratcheting down her practice and preparing for her son Ross’s wedding in the fall.

Bob Withey is living with Leslie Walleigh (Brown ’71), high on their well-gardened hill in coastal Rockport, Maine, where he plows yards of snow, builds even more rock walls, coaches tennis, and serves as an ad hoc counselor and formal librarian at Camden Hills Regional High School. Their two daughters, Charlotte and Lauren, and a grandson, Benji, live in Marin County, Calif., so maintaining a balanced environmental carbon account is challenging. Richard Aroneau ’71 and Barbara Biddle Richardson ’74 are the local Wes connections. Bob’s dad, George Withey Jr. ’45, an assistant VP for business affairs from 1969-1976, died in July 2017 at age 93. George and his wife, Nancy Roe Withey, had a very interesting life together for 73 years. A favorite memory for Bob was marching with his parents during Reunion 2010 beside fellow World War II alumni up High Street past Eclectic House where George lived as a student and North College where he worked.

After 39 years of day-to-day practice as a general internist and geriatrician, Peter Schwartz is retiring. He has some volunteer positions lined up and a variety of hobbies to which he hopes to devote more time. Visiting with family members and traveling should take care of the rest of his time. Son Jonathan Schwartz ’00 is head of middle school at the Green Hills School in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Peter has a son in Osaka, Japan. His daughter and all his other stepkids and grandkids (10 total) live with him in the Philadelphia area.

Mike Hurd’s son, A.J., is graduating high school this year. Plus, he just got a 9-month-old, 60-pound black lab mix rescue “puppy.” Following a familiar theme, Mike moved back to his hometown, New Hartford, N.Y., living within sight of his boyhood home. Mike is still working, for the Trane side of Ingersoll Rand, and still enjoys the people and the benefits and the reason to get out of his PJs every day. His brother, Doug ’76, lives nearby and they often talk about the differences as freshmen between ’68 and ’72. “From wild to focused in just a few years.”

Since hanging up his reporter’s notebook two years ago, Randall Pinkston has been trying his hand at teaching. He was an adjunct at Stony Brook University School of Journalism and the University of Mississippi Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

He wrote me from there, trying to remember what he forgot in law school (UConn ’80) so he could teach communications law in the May intersession. “Working around the clock—three-and-a-half-hour lectures for 10 days. Whew!” Randall says his wife, Patricia, still allows him to live with her in Teaneck. Their daughter, Ada ’05, is a Baltimore-based performance artist and teaches art in Lanham, Md.

Finally, Mark Gelber is about to receive the highest distinctions awarded to civilians by the Austrian Government—the Österreichisches Ehrenkreuz für Wissenschaft und Kunst, 1. Klasse. That’s the Austrian Medal of Honor for Science and Art, First Class, folks. (Naturally, first class.)

Seth A. Davis |
213 Copper Square Drive, Bethel, CT 06801