CLASS OF 1966 | 2020 | ISSUE 3

← 1965 | 1967

Two hundred and thirty-two of us graduated on that Saturday, June 5, 1966, 20 pursuing careers in academe, many of those still going strong. Claude Smith, author of eight books and co-editor/translator of two others, has a new book out, Mists on the River by Yeremei Aipin. This collection of Khanty folktales, which Claude helped to translate and edit, his attempt “to keep Siberian literature alive,” introduces “children of all ages to the animal persons of Siberia, among them, Cuckoo Mother, Paki the Bear, and Sandpiper.” David Luft’s new book, The Austrian Dimension in German Intellectual History: From the Enlightenment to Anschluss, will be published this spring. David is “working on two other books: one on Czech intellectual history and one called Modernity’s Shadows: The anti-rational from the nineteenth- to the twenty-first centuries.”

And we have lawyers among the Class of 1966; perhaps few, if any, however, match Clark Byam’s “48 years with same law firm,” Hahn & Hahn. Clark has decided “to go of counsel in 2021.” His “main interests at this point are investing in the stock market, managing some charitable trusts I’m trustee of and trying to improve my golf game and hiking in the hills where I live,” which is Pasadena, California. 

COVID-19 is part of all of our lives, Hardy Spoehr sending an “Aloha” to all from Honolulu and writing that “the beaches are still deserted and the fish and ocean folk are loving it . . . so many turtles. We’re in the midst of our second lockdown in an effort to stem raising levels of COVID-19.” And Zoom has become a part of our lives as well, Harold Potter writing: “Zoom has been a welcome addition to ways to stay connected during the pandemic. Bill Machen, Joe Pickard, Stan Healy, John Howell and I and our spouses have been holding weekly or biweekly cocktail hours fairly regularly on Zoom. . . . It appears that everyone is retired and aging quite gracefully.” Harold adds this good news: “Lee and I do have another grandson, Trevor, born on June 3rd.” 

Barry Thomas also shares some good news “regarding our community support and development work in Burundi. Today we received notification that Dreaming for Change, USA, has been approved for 501 (3)c status by the IRS. This should inject some new energy into our fund raising to support the daily cup of porridge program, the preschool, and the scholarship program for high school girls. . . . . Oh yes, D4C has received a grant from the U.S. Department of State to implement a COVID-19 education and WASH program in the community.”

More good news from Rick Crootof. After successfully having both knees replaced this past winter Sandy Van Kennen “came for a visit yesterday [July 23]. Kittery is only an hour or so from Wolfeboro, so he drove his 1996 Volvo with 263,000 miles (the odometer stopped working he claims!) on a perfect weather day. The air and water temps were both 82 degrees. We had lunch of Linda’s pizza on the deck, and then we got two foam mats and spent two hours in the lake, paddling to the other side, and mostly drifting back with the wind. The knee recovery has gone well, Sandy’s legs are straight again, and he is taller and thinner, looking great, and his usual happy and optimistic self. If you want to see our hero swimming again, here’s the link.

In closing we celebrate the life of Peter “Pedro” Spiller, who died on May 30, 2020, in St. Augustine, Florida. Peter had won his battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but it had left him weakened, and he fell prey to sepsis. I did not know Peter well, but envied his dashing good looks and admire his successful and adventure-filled life. Hardy Spoehr writes: “Pete was an avid paddler and when he and his wife Debbie visited us a year or so ago, we all went paddling together. My cousin was his paddling buddy.” David Griffith recounts: “Peter Spiller was my classmate in CSS. He was a gentleman, truly, easygoing and seemed always to be smiling. I always thought that Peter had a wonderful hidden and powerful intellect, but I honestly don’t think he was seeking to achieve as much as to learn and to enjoy his life. Peter never lost his charm or his sense of humor.” As Rick Crootof poignantly puts it: “That something could take down a guy who could canoe 450 miles in northern Manitoba or Ontario and run 150 mile ultramarathons in Costa Rica in his 70s is disheartening.” Here is a link to Peter’s obituary.

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