Class of 1939 | 2019 | ISSUE 1

Edward Mues’s daughter, Kathy, wrote in to say that he would be celebrating his 102nd birthday on April 15, 2019. Ed lives independently in a retirement community in Greenville, S.C., where he enjoys concerts, lectures, exercise classes, movies, parties, and adult learning classes at a nearby university. Until this season, he played golf a few times a week.

He went to Wesleyan (on a full scholarship) because his Patterson, N.J., high school principal, Francis R. North, class of 1897, took him to visit the campus. Kathy writes, “Dad thoroughly enjoyed his college experience. He lettered in football, baseball, and diving, was president of the Neumann Club, and a member of the Eclectic fraternity. Graduating from Wesleyan forever changed the course of his life!”

Those with class notes, please contact: 

Acting Editor Cynthia Rockwell | 860/685-3705

Class of 1938 | 2014 | ISSUE 1

While the number of fellows I have the honor of calling for the notes has definitely, how shall I say it, changed, those remaining are wonderful conversationalists! It is springtime and the guys are glad the winter has tucked itself away for a rest. While three of the four I reach out to now live in Florida, that doesn’t always mean getting out is the sunniest experience, especially after this wet winter! But in late March and early April it does.

Bob Porter kicked that pneumonia we mentioned in the last notes but he is still dealing with some shoulder pain. PT seems to be helping it. He reports Doris is well. Bob said it was a very wet winter in Naples and he is very glad to have that behind them. The sun and fresh air is so good for one’s morale. In February Bob and Doris welcomed another great-grandchild, the first girl of this generation! Bob says his “mind is sharp but the body is getting weak.” I can attest to the mind’s quickness as he broke out in song bringing up the words to Amicus Usque Ad Aras. Bob said it might even have been a Yale song but he remembers singing it with fellow freshmen when they went on a trip with an English professor to Mory’s! Perhaps the Whiffenpoofs were performing, and perhaps this professor had a connection to Yale? If the Olla Podrida from ’38 is correct, then there is a certain professor of English who had connections to Yale! What a fun adventure for Bob to share.

Heading north from Naples is Venice, Fla. Art Kingsbury has lived in Venice for 34 years. We figured out this was over a third of his life. Back in the day, most students attending Wesleyan came from the Northeast, or Midwest regions. No one in the class of ’38 came from Florida. But many did retire there. So the thought that one can retire for over a third of one’s life anywhere is another way of saying they are doing something right! Art celebrated his 96th birthday on April 13th. I still can’t imagine entering a university and experiencing almost a full first year as a 16-year-old! Art and Diane are doing very well and are in “fine health.” Their new pet of last year, the cat, entertains them daily. Art’s sons and their families were coming to celebrate his birthday. Visits with family are always enjoyable. He wishes his fellow classmates the best.

I left a few messages for Leonard Weinstein, the class’s other Florida resident, but didn’t actually speak with him. Better luck next time.

The next fellow I caught up with was Curt Smith. It was a very long winter in Rhode Island. While it was spring there, Curt commented on how it didn’t really feel like it, since the color of things was so delayed. He took a trip to northern New Hampshire and he learned from the sugar makers that the sap is also delayed. Oh dear, there goes the price of maple syrup! Curt had a visit from one daughter in February. They had a packed visit, including catching the old classic Arsenic and Old Lace at Rhode Island College. In late April his other daughter will be visiting. Every week he sees his son. He is very grateful for his time with his children. He attended a Jewish Film Festival at a local synagogue and highly recommends the film The Other Brother. Curt says they are trying to revive the singing group at his community. He is staying active, even if it means enduring stares from fellow residents of his community. Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet keep him inside! I received a lovely card from Emily Cowan ’86 who now lives in Lancaster, N.H., Curt’s old stomping ground. When she moved there in 2000, Emily said Curt came and paid her a welcome visit. Recently she attended a fundraiser for a local ski area and sat with Curt and his son Philip. She had a wonderful visit with them, discussing which articles they enjoyed in the current alum magazine. “Curtis is the dearest man. And he is so active it just takes my breath away.” Thank you, Emily, for your wonderful card.

Something else that Curt shared with me was an article in the Providence Journal. In January Bill Heisler died. While I haven’t seen an official obituary, the newspaper clipping Curt sent was an amazing tribute to Bill’s time in Providence. “Bill served the Rhode Island community in a multitude of ways as a volunteer leader of most of the prominent nonprofits in our state during his long tenure as a resident, while also serving as CEO of Citizens Bank throughout the 1960s and ’70s.”

I also learned from this article that before the government had passed the Community Reinvestment Act, “Bill had initiated his own version of CRA at Citizens, as an outreach effort to give access to diverse populations.” The Heisler Leadership Fund at The Rhode Island Foundation has been established in his memory. I so enjoyed my conversations with Bill. His last decade was spent at Medford Leas, a Quaker-based senior living and continuing care community. He always had something to share about the importance of community. He also had wonderful stories about his trips that he took well into his late 90s. My condolences go out to his family, and also to the class of ’38. This past year has been a challenging one with the loss of four classmates.

On that note, I have cross-referenced a program from last year’s Reunion’s Memorial Service, with my father’s copy of the Olla Podrida, and I have 15 names on a list. I’ll see if I can find any news from them. I think I’ve got my work cut out for me. Here’s hoping next issue will be full of news from long lost fellows of’38! Until then, enjoy the colors of spring, whenever they decide to peek out, and the warmth of summer.

GRACE BENNETT daughter of the late Walter Bennett ’38 8104 39th Avenue, S.W., Seattle, WA 98136

CLASS OF 1938 | 2018 | ISSUE 1

Class of 1938 Scholarship

Stephen Kovalsky ’18, Economics

Alice Catherine Swan ’21, Pioneer Valley, MA

Please write to your class secretary.

GRACE BENNETT, daughter of the late Walter V. Bennett ’38
8104 39th Avenue, S.W., Seattle, WA 98136

CLASS OF 1938 | 2017 | ISSUE 3

It is definitely fall now, since I saw my breath the other morning as I let our latest “addition,” Bizzy, out for her morning duty. I have no complaints as we sit here on a gorgeous, sunny day in Seattle. I can’t say the same for my friends living on the Gulf Coast. Dodging major weather storms is turning into a regular pastime for Art Kingsbury. Thankfully, he and Diane have missed what Mother Nature has sent their way. I believe Curtis Smith has been fine in Rhode Island, too. So while I know many days of rain are headed my way, as I type these notes I am grateful for the dry spell.

It was such a treat to speak with Art late last month. He was using the new technology that I mentioned in the prior edition. This is the phone device with the captions. “I recommend it to anyone who is deaf,” Art rejoiced. It has made communication so much better for him. I could hear the joy in his voice. Art is doing well. He plays nine holes of golf a couple of times a week because, as he puts it, “I can!” He and Diane really enjoy having family nearby. They don’t travel as much these days so the generations nearby help bring the youth and energy to them. He is looking forward to his 100th birthday in April. Diane stays busy raising her butterflies, which she has done for over a decade now. We spoke about Hurricane Maria. It had been reported that the path was supposed to hit the Venice Beach area. Thankfully as we all know now, it veered off and stayed further to the east. They lost power for less than a day. We did reflect on Puerto Rico and its terrible devastation. “So sad what has happened there.” He and Diane hope the folks there get back on their feet soon.

When I spoke with Curtis there was a somber tone in the beginning of our call. The horrific shooting in Las Vegas was on our minds. “These are difficult times,” Curtis reflected. I shared with Curtis that it must be very interesting to be looking at these events with eyes that have been observing life for almost 100 years. We also spoke about being a parent and the odd feeling one has when you find yourself saying, “this one will go into the history books.”

As these are the class notes, we found a way to carry on with other more upbeat topics, most notably being his 100th birthday celebration happening at the end of October. All family will be present for the weekend. That Thursday they will have a cellist and pianist playing at the house where he lives. Friday they will all gather at the Faculty Club at Brown University to enjoy the birthday dinner. While Brown doesn’t have a reciprocal agreement with Wesleyan, Curtis’s son-in-law’s alma mater does! (Personally, Brown, I think any 100th birthday celebration should qualify!) While the birthday plans were our main topic, we did talk about singing and other family visits. Curtis mentioned that he might change singing groups. He enjoyed the musical shows tunes that the house group performed, but they didn’t really have it arranged for his vocal part. He said there is a group of women who stop by the house every month and sing hymns. He said he’s even taught them some he used to use at his church. Hopefully the women will continue stopping by and offering him a chance to add his baritone voice to the fold.

The Vietnam series had just finished when I called and we both agreed how amazing it was to see the footage and hear the stories. Curtis shared how he had even more admiration for John McCain with what he saw in the documentary and with his recent behavior around healthcare.

I am so honored to have moments with these remaining ’38 fellows. Their view on this world is a deeply textured one, something that only comes with years on this earth. I look forward to what future stories they will share with me next time.

Here’s to a very happy holiday season and a safe and healthy 2018.

GRACE BENNETT, daughter of the late Walter V. Bennett ’38
8104 39th Avenue, S.W., Seattle, WA 98136

CLASS OF 1938 | 2017 | ISSUE 2

Hello to all fellow readers. Just wanted you to know that the graduates I check in with from the class of ’38 are down to two now. I am sure there are other gentlemen out there, but I have exhausted my options for finding them. Please— if you have, or know of, any news from someone I have missed, please do not hesitate to pass it along. My address is at the bottom of this column.

The news to report comes from my conversations with Curtis Smith and Art Kingsbury’s wife, Diane. First up, Curtis reports, for a person who is enjoying his 100th year, he’s doing pretty darn well. While he is still putting up with congestive heart failure, he stays mobile and enjoys his outings with his son, Phil, whom you might remember lives nearby. Curtis has continued with his singing and it clearly brings him joy. He has found a “small in number, but strong in voice” group that lives in his community. This makes it very convenient to get together and do something he has truly loved for many years. He has been blessed with visits from both of his daughters, who live on the West Coast. In the last issue you might remember we mentioned his daughter, Susanna, was dealing with some health issues. Curtis is glad to say she is back at work. They have some strong genes in their family. While we did discuss politics, Curtis is very respectful to the Wesleyan magazine and asked that we keep things brief. Rev. Smith has taught me a thing or two over the years. These times are challenging for me politically, and he gently reminds me to keep up the fight for the good of all humankind, putting my energies towards making a positive difference in this world. Thank you, Curtis, for reminding me and all those who read these words.

Apologies again are in order since I didn’t time it correctly to grab a moment with Art. Thankfully, Diane filled me in on the latest. Art’s 99th birthday was celebrated in April with four generations of family present! His sister, Mary, was also there to celebrate. It was a fun time and enjoyed by all. Art is now using newer technology with his phone that provides captions to his conversations. I am eager to chat with him next time. I know his hearing aids have frustrated him in the past and Diane says this technology has really helped out. Diane mentioned that Art still golfs and enjoys his walks. Right now they are getting through the hot weather and afternoon showers that are quite typical for this time of the year in Florida. Both she and Art wish everyone a very happy summer.

It is such a joy to share news from the fellows of the Class of ’38. Isn’t it amazing to think that 80 years ago, these men were enjoying their summer before their last year at Wesleyan began in the fall of ‘37? What a journey they have been on. I thank them for continuing to share it with us all.

Here’s to a happy summer, full of health and kindness for all.

GRACE BENNETT, daughter of the late Walter V. Bennett ’38
8104 39th Avenue, S.W., Seattle, WA 98136

CLASS OF 1938 | 2017 | ISSUE 2

Class of 1938 Scholarship

Stephen Kovalsky ’18, Economics

David Whitehouse ’19, Honolulu, HI

It is 2017 and I’m curious where we will be as a nation by the time we are holding this edition of Wesleyan in our hands.

I am reminded of how much Curtis Smith and Art Kingsbury are enjoying their visits from family members. Curtis celebrated his 99th birthday in late October. Curtis and his family enjoyed a wonderful meal out in Providence. The children continue to visit. Daughter Maggie had just left when I checked in with Curtis in late January. Daughter Susanna is dealing with some health issues, but Curtis is very optimistic that she’ll be on the road to recovery before this goes to print, and out to visit again soon. Of course his son, Phil, lives nearby and is always helping out, and for this, Curtis is very appreciative.

Curtis also spoke of his great-granddaughter who is 6-years-old and visits occasionally. “She has a sense of humor, is sociable, and likes to draw. I get a kick out of her.” When family is not around, Curtis benefits from a wonderful hospice volunteer who has driven him to orchestra concerts and the occasional movie.

Curtis also mentioned that he is enjoying Victoria, the series on PBS. It reminded him of when he read while at Wesleyan what was considered then, a new style or cutting-edge biography of Queen Victoria. (Perhaps someone out there can help us remember the title.) Curtis reports he is doing well and his singing is bringing him happiness.

I’m sorry I don’t have much news to share about Art. I wasn’t able to speak with Art. I can’t always get my timing right for catching these busy folks. Diane tells me he is doing pretty well and that he really enjoys his visits from family, all three generations of them! In April, Art will turn 99. Diane and Art are looking forward to celebrating the happy occasion with family. Art’s sister, Mary, will be coming down for a visit in March. I believe Mary visited Art at Wesleyan numerous times so some of the fellows from that period of ’38-’41 might remember her.

That’s the news from these graduates. I hope we all have a peaceful, healthy spring.


GRACE BENNETT, daughter of the late Walter V. Bennett ’38
8104 39th Avenue, S.W., Seattle, WA 98136

CLASS OF 1938 | 2016 | ISSUE 3

Today I was wonderfully surprised when Curtis Smith rang me up to say hello. He must have known I was up against a deadline, again!

I am guilty thinking that with only having two fellows of ’38 to speak with, I have all the time in the world. Which I do have, until I don’t!

Curtis Smith reports he is well. They are controlling his congestive heart failure as best as possible. He has joined a nearby church, which follows the Methodist belief. He enjoys singing along with the hymns. Curtis has also joined a chorus at his community. While he says he isn’t that strong at the singing, my guess is he sounds just fine. I am so happy to hear that music is back in your life via these groups, Curtis. He has had wonderful visits from all of his children. Just a few weeks ago, he was introduced to his first great-grandchild.

In another couple of weeks, all of his children and their spouses will gather to celebrate his 99th birthday on Oct. 28.

Curtis did want to say that he remembers Frank Conant ’39, who passed away on March 2 of this year. They met at Wesleyan when they became brothers at Sigma Chi. Curtis said Frank was the only person he ever knew that shared the same birthday as his. They spoke every year on their birthday, up until last year. What a wonderful connection to make 80 years ago!

I quickly called Art Kingsbury after my phone call with Curtis, to get his news. Art said, “I think I’m pretty well.” However, if I had called six weeks ago, things would have been a different story. Art had a detached retina, and while the operation to fix it is rather straightforward, the recovery is a quite a pain. If you are not familiar with the process, let’s just say, three weeks of NOT lifting your head is not easy. Thankfully they have great devices to assist one in recovery. The best device came from his wife, Dianne, who, to prevent Art from rolling off onto his side while sleeping, attached a bag of golf balls to the back of his pajamas. Brilliant!

As of late September, Art had been cleared to drive and play golf again. This Friday he will get back onto the greens. Congratulations on the successful recovery. Oh, and enjoy your latest addition to the clan, a great-grandchild due at the end of October. I believe this is number 11!

Politics didn’t come up this time around, but something tells me we will have much to discuss when the next deadline knocks on my door. It is such a pleasure sharing ideas and thoughts with these two remaining classmates. I miss having conversations with the fellows who have since gone on. This generation has such a valuable insight in our society today. I hope all classes that follow ’38 will record as much as possible. Having a perspective that comes from time on this earth is an asset.

Here’s wishing everyone much joy over the upcoming holidays, and a very happy 99th birthday to you, Curtis.

GRACE BENNETT, daughter of the late Walter V. Bennett ’38
8104 39th Avenue, S.W., Seattle, WA 98136

CLASS OF 1938 | 2016 | ISSUE 2

As we head into the summer of 2016, I am reminded of past notes full of the fellows sharing garden stories. As it is also the summer before the next presidential election, I am reminded of many political discussions with these wise men. But I am also reminded that many, many, years have passed since the scholars of ’38 walked on graduation day. Alas, the years have taken most of them away from us. No longer do we hear about the dinner-plate sized dahlias growing under Bill Heisler’s tutelage. I swear I can smell the peppers and onions that were grown and served at Joe Masselli’s house. We can’t forget the joy the cherry tomatoes brought Mac (Murdo) Dowds. If we listen closely we can hear the whoosh of the golf balls flying over the greens, the rhythm of tennis balls volleyed back and forth, and the background sound of baseball on the radio as they grab some supper somewhere else, somewhere other than this tangible earth.

Thankfully, I am honored to still have the opportunity to speak with Curtis Smith and Art Kingsbury, so I will share their news with you.

Curtis Smith has moved. While he is still in Rhode Island, he is now in the Tockwotton on the Waterfront and, by golly, he is just that. Curtis says his room has a lovely view of the Seekonk River. While it may be a bit fancy in style, he is doing his best to adjust. He has been dealing with congestive heart failure and, while it never goes away, he was in good spirits when we spoke. He has been very lucky, he says, with many visits from his children  and added, “The grandchildren are very attentive to their grandfather.” Curtis also shared news that he became a great-grandfather, when his granddaughter adopted a little girl, and he is excited to meet her. He is still trying to find a congregation and a singing group to join. (We hope you find these groups, because we know how important they are to you.) He still reads and enjoys Wesleyan magazine.

It was in late March when Art Kingsbury and I caught up. He and Diane really enjoy having family nearby. They visit with those great-grandchildren frequently and are lucky enough to have four other great-grandchildren visit from the New England area. He’s in good shape, reporting that the leg was better now, so daily walks are back on the schedule.

Art did mention that he can’t understand how we can be living in a time that a person like Trump could be getting as far as he is in the election. Coming from someone who just celebrated his 98th birthday this past April I think this quote speaks volumes on the state of our nation. But we are not supposed to discuss politics, so on a final note, Diane is still enjoying raising her butterflies, releasing them into the world to do their work.

Here’s hoping everyone has a summer full of visits with friends and family. Until next time.

daughter of the late Walter Bennett ’38
8104 39th Avenue, S.W., Seattle, WA 98136

CLASS OF 1938 | 2016 | ISSUE 1

Class of 1938 Scholarship

Stephen Kovalsky ’18, Mendham, N.J.

David Whitehouse ’19, Honolulu, Hawaii

Bob Porter, our 100-year-old grad, died Feb. 4,” writes Grace, with a promised update next issue.

daughter of the late Walter Bennett ’38
8104 39th Avenue, S.W., Seattle, WA 98136