CLASS OF 1961 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

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It is so refreshing to hear of the many exploits and adventures that our classmates have chosen in these times of challenge. For example, when asked if he played clarinet, Calvin “Pete” Drayer replied that he is “totally retired and [living] with my wife in a retirement home. I did not play the clarinet although I took piano and trumpet lessons. More fun was that we had a judges’ singing group and had competitions in three counties. I still play my CD of the Highwaymen and sing along.”

It’s the neglected garage that gained the attention of Phil Rodd. When asked for some recent news, he writes: “News from here? Not so much…Staying at home, growing a beard, and cleaning the garage (which I’ve been putting off for 15 years). Like everyone all over America, some plans canceled or postponed. I was planning to lead a tour of New York people to see Mount Rushmore, but that’s not happening. My stepson’s wedding, which we had planned for July, will be postponed. Other than that, I am enjoying the opportunity to just sit home.”

Russell Mott (AKA Bob Lannigan) states: “My only news is good news. I am not getting married, but for all intents, I may as well be. Two days before my 80th, I met Carol Lessinger of Mill Creek, Utah, and in about six weeks, I moved her to Southern New Mexico to join our family here. I am quite beyond ecstatic about all this and astonished it should occur at this juncture in my life. I am every day in my ceramics’ studio, as I have been for the past 20 years, and that just keeps getting [to be] more and more fun. Here’s a shout out to you, Jon, for all the years you have done this toil about who’s where and done what.” 

Peter Funk has checked in with lots of information. “It’s a short story.” He writes. “I moved from NYC to London with my first wife, Lisa, in 1973. We have two daughters who graduated from Wesleyan, Alexandra “Lexy” ’91, and Jenny ’95. In the process, they have continued my deep interest in Wesleyan affairs. Lisa and I divorced, and I married my wife, Jennie, in 1983. In 1988, Jennie and I moved from London to Jersey in the Channel Islands. I have been in the communications field all my working life; film and television production and distribution, broadcasting, and telecommunications. I remain involved with our commercial radio station here in Jersey, but, otherwise, I have pretty much retired to my sailing, tennis, skiing, and traveling, including trips back and forth to the USA to see Lexy and Jenny and the four grandchildren. Assuming our upside-down coronavirus dominated world returns to some normality, I am very much looking forward to our 60th Reunion in 2021. Jennie and I are locked down here on our small island with our fellow 105,000 residents. There are no passenger flights or ferries in or out except for supplies and mail. The incidence of coronavirus is, thankfully, very low as a result. What happens next is an open question as it is most everywhere else in our world.”

Paul Dickson has a new publication out that he claims “is now more relevant [than ever] in that it shows how the nation was able to prepare and mobilize under strong leadership and prepare for a world war, feeling now that a new world war has just begun.” See kirkusreviews.com’s review of The Rise of The G.I. Army, 1940-1941: The Forgotten Story of How America Forged a Powerful Army Before Pearl Harbor. 

Sadly, there have been a number of classmates’ deaths. Bob Reiser writes: “Neal Schachtel died in November. We had become good friends over the years, both of us moving to Atlanta in 1971. Neal was diagnosed with leukemia in the summer of 2018, and the doctors could never stop the disease’s progression. Tricia, Neal’s wife, had a luncheon in December celebrating Neal’s life. It was a wonderful testimony to Neal’s generous nature and warm personality.”

Bob continues: “Margaret and I have an active life volunteering. Margaret is on the board of the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (the largest public garden in New England, and the second most visited site in Maine, well behind Acadia National Park, but ahead of L.L. Bean). I have the pleasure of serving on the Boothbay Region YMCA board and the Harbor Theater board. In Atlanta, we are active board members of the Alliance Theatre, and I am on the boards of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and Oglethorpe University. This year I plan to finally retire from Balentine, an investment advisory firm after a 50-year career in investment management.” 

An additional announcement is the death of Lou Larrey ’61, MAT ’62 on Nov. 7. He had lived in Falmouth for 46 years. His career as an English professor began in Connecticut, with later assignments in Oregon, California, and Massachusetts. Lou enjoyed singing with local choruses, boating, gardening, travel, and reading.

Please stay healthy, stay safe, and keep writing.

Jon K. Magendanz, DDS | jon@magendanz.com
902 39th Avenue West, Bradenton, FL 34205