CLASS OF 1959 | 2020 | ISSUE 3

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“He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.”—Abraham Lincoln. 

Not, we hope, dear classmates, referring to your humble scribes, but perhaps casting a shadow over tonight’s first presidential debate! 

Dick Cadigan sent us the following note: “Ned Lemkemeier has been desperately ill with COVID-19, spent several weeks in ICU, four to five weeks in hospital, and two weeks in rehab. Ned is now home and is mending, but walker/wheelchair-bound and 30 pounds thinner. His doc said he was as close to death as any patient he has had. If you’d like to drop him a line, his email is Lemkemeier@aol.com.

News from the heart of Trump country and our “starving artist”  Steve Pyle is good. Steve is still actively painting, and has finished over 80 works. Who knew what hidden talents lurked in our favorite tight end!

Tim Day is ensconced in Jackson Hole and having all sorts of adventures. On his morning bike ride the other day he encountered a dead moose, apparently hit by a car sometime during the night. They are rather large beasts, Tim reminds us city-slickers. He also writes: “Yesterday morning, a large hot air balloon full of tourists got into some sort of trouble and was headed right for our house as a landing spot. Luckily the pilot was able to bring everyone down safely on the lot next to ours!” He adds: “In spite of all these incidents, Jackson is having a mini-boom as people head for the National Parks and the great outdoors.

We live on the west side of the Snake River, about 10 miles from Jackson, so things are quieter here. We are planning to stay here until early October. 

My granddaughter, Sophia, has just started her freshman year at Fordham, near Lincoln Center. We are all worried about her safety from COVID-19, and the waves of protest in New York. I suspect it will be a long time before we have the urge to visit NYC again!”

Charlie Wrubel checks in from a rehab facility after having had a bit of work done on his leg. His recovery is progressing well. He has been most concerned about people who continue to refuse to wear a mask. Perhaps the refusers don’t worry about infecting other people.  Your scribes agree!

John and Cyndy Spurdle are back in New York, not having many adventures, but surviving. They had a delightful stay on Fishers Island for August and early September, and were sorry to have to leave!  While there, they celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary with their children and those grandchildren in town at the time. As Clint Eastwood said: “They say marriages are made in heaven! So are thunder and lightning!” Their ushers included Dennis Allee, Dick Cadigan, and Bing Leverich 

They have three grandchildren now in Montana, one helping Governor Bullock run for the US Senate, one working at the Yellowstone Club as a fishing guide while awaiting return for his junior year at St Lawrence, one granddaughter in Hamburg working and polishing up her German pending university next fall, and English grandson in his first year at the University of Exeter. They are hoping to get to the UK for Christmas, but that is far from a sure bet at this point.

Skip and Molly Silloway have sold their house in Salt Lake City and are on their way to their new home north of San Francisco. They write: “We are in a kind of pandemic limbo as we move into a retirement community in California. Restrictions imposed because of the virus have delayed the construction of our new home. Looks like we might finally move in this October. One does wonder what the longer-term effects of the pandemic will be.  

People working from home and liking it will open up huge space in office buildings.  Retail will never be the same and owning restaurants will be a tougher business than ever.  Colleges and Universities are facing multiple challenges.  The well-endowed legacy institutions of which Wesleyan is one, will likely make it through if well managed.  Our endowment, kick started by classmate Doug Bennet. Is the foundation that will enable Wesleyan to handle any transition, along with strong, continued support by our alumni.  The Great Class of ’59 has been particularly generous over the years. Please don’t forget to help this year, the most crucial ever!

Wolfram Thiemann writes from Bremen: “This COVID-19 pandemic has indeed left a very bad imprint on the whole world. I have had sort of a double quarantine, suffering from the general restrictions imposed by our German government as well as knee surgery, which kept me hospitalized for some time. Survived happily and am now getting my mobility back with strict therapy!  Living here in Germany has kept us reasonably safe compared to New York. We are pleased about ushering in a new presidency on January 20th and looking forward to positive change in 2021. Wen and I cannot forget our wonderful trip to Manhattan and the Bronx just over a year ago in the wake of our wonderful reunion of the Class of ’59! Wen and I send our very best.”

For those who missed it, we had the first ever Zoom call for the Great Class of ’59 on June 30. Those participating were: Tim Day, Bob McKelvey, Skip Silloway, Walter Burnett, Charlie Wrubel, John Spurdle, Tom McHugh, Herb Steiner, Ted and Jane Bromage, Dick and Linda Cadigan, Bob Hydeman.

It was a unique experience organized by Mark Davis at Wesleyan, and a brilliant job of organization it was.  The call was for 6:00 pm and everyone made it.  Terrific fun,even without the pandemic.  You can imagine the strict discipline, organized note taking, etc. Ho Ho! That is where it should remain.  A perfect Wesleyan gathering! 

Don’t forget as well that WE ARE ALL OLD ENOUGH to join the OLIN SOCIETY. Please consider leaving whatever you might have left over to Wesleyan. It is an easy way to do good things via your will and estate plan.

On a terribly sad note, Weg Thomas wrote on July 1:  “Just to let you all know that Peg passed away early this morning. She never recovered from the diabetic coma, but lingered five days after we ended life support. You were all very special to her and meant a lot to her at Eclectic and later at our reunions and visit to Maine. Thank you for being part of her life. Paz Y amor, Weg.”

Our thoughts go out to Weg and the family.

Skip Silloway | ssillow@gmail.com; 801/532-4311 

John Spurdle | jspurdle@aol.com; 212/644-4858