CLASS OF 1961 | 2022 | SPRING ISSUE

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John Rogers opens our column with some rhyme:

I too am always seeking

Remedies for arthritis and pain.

At 82 not likely to be found,

So living daily with pills and a cane.

A recent move from South Carolina to Kentucky.

Left behind warm weather, shrimp and grits.

Thinking Lexington better for family and health,

Now relying on bourbon and snow mitts.

Winter here reminds me of Foss Hill icy slopes,

Plodding carefully to frats and dreaded classes.

Definitely needed study time in Olin and Clark,

But all too often imagining weekend lasses.

Fading memories of ’61-classmates and activities,

But certain now I excelled at sports and games.

Details of classes and grades quite fuzzy,

Not unlike daily questions about best friends’ names.

 

“Some sad news,” writes Peter Funk: “Brad Beechen died on 10 January in Chicago after a yearlong illness. He is survived by his wife Mary-Jane and son Adam. My review of the 4 June 1961 commencement program confirms that Brad graduated as a Bachelor of Arts with Honors and Distinction.  In addition to being a brilliant scholar, he was an excellent athlete and a close friend to many of us.  How he ever managed to study as a member of DKE during his four years at Wesleyan will remain a mystery to us mortals who managed to limp over the high threshold and obtain a simple BA.  I also managed to confirm for myself that 176 of us graduated with a BA on that day.  It was a long time ago, but I remember it well.”

Regarding his personal update, Peter continues: “I reached my 83rd birthday on the 27th of January this year and remarkably all is well here on our small Island of Jersey in the Channel Islands.  I have been trying to retire from my years of entrepreneurship and my international interests in communications, film, and television.  It has been a long voyage since we graduated in 1961.  After working with classmates, Bill Harris and Brad Beechen, in Chicago, I moved to New York and then to London in 1973.  I have been based on this side of the Atlantic, developing new communications enterprises in the Middle East, Far East, and Europe.  Lexy (’91) and Jenny (’95), my two daughters, are Wesleyan graduates.  I have four grandchildren and I hope the tradition continues. My best wishes to my fellow classmates.”

Pete Drayer proudly announces that his grandson, Ian Moran, is going to Wesleyan.  Russell Mott (aka Bob Lannigan) reports that he just opened a gallery with his partner and that he soon will be back to summer camp, with 160 kids in Amesbury, doing ceramics for seven weeks. Casey Hayes revealed his recent satisfactory recovery from a “three-day minivacation” in the hospital for emergency surgery treatment, praising the hospital staff: “They are so stressed out these COVID days—such troopers!”

Al Williams, a most faithful contributor to this column, writes: “I think all of us are tired of Zooming.  There is nothing like getting together in person. In that spirit, we organized a mini-Wes ’61 reunion lunch this past June, attended by Paul Dickson, Emil Frankel, Dave Denny, Ed Knox, Tim Bloomfield, and me.  It was a rousing success, and we plan a repeat this coming spring. At Paul’s suggestion, I later contacted Bob Palmeri who lives on Cape Cod near our summer house. Bob and I had a very nice get-together this past summer. Presently, my main contact with Wesleyan has been with Wesleyan wrestling, and I have become good friends with the current (and very talented) coach, Drew Black.

Jack Mitchell claims that his New Year’s motto is: “Be positive . . .  test negative!”  He writes: “The Jack and Linda Mitchell family, thus far, has survived the pandemic and are very healthy!

“Our oldest of seven adult grandchildren, Lyle (a Wes graduate, ’16), is engaged and will be married on Block Island in summer of 2023. He is attending Columbia University Business!  Our family business, Mitchell Stores, is still very healthy.  We now number eight stores.  Nine Mitchells from our family and my brothers are active in the business. My ‘Hug’ business has been limited to a few virtual presentations and selling many Hug books. In addition, I’m a trustee at the Greenwich Hospital and an executive in residence at Columbia Business School, guest lecturing in family business and mentoring students.”

Bob Hausman is thankful that all of his progeny reside within five minutes from him. He writes: “I continue to be well, although COVID has struck my domicile.  I walk 90 minutes a day and lift weights regularly. We still feel the effects of the George Floyd murder here in St. Paul. I am regularly in touch with Glenn Hawkes and have occasional contact with Bob Wielde and Emil Frankel.”

JON K. MAGENDANZ, DDS | jon@magendanz.com

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