CLASS OF 1955 | 2018 | ISSUE 3

Once again, it is with sadness that I report the passing of several of our classmates. On May 14, Ed Rowe died suddenly in Overland, Kans. After his graduation, Ed went on to the University of Michigan and then taught biology for 30 years at Emporia State University. He is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Lenore, and his three children. In accordance with his wishes, Ed’s body was donated for scientific research.

Bill Gordon passed away on July 9. A gifted athlete, he worked briefly for General Electric before being drafted into the Army and serving in post-war Korea. He joined Traveler’s Insurance in 1958 and after obtaining an MBA from the University of Connecticut in 1970, moved on to Colonial Insurance, before joining and leading Eastern Management Services, a personal consulting firm. Bill was an active community member, serving on numerous church committees and library and town boards and he was past-president of the Cheshire Rotary Club and First Congregational Church on the Green. He is survived by his wife, Marilyn Sue, of almost 60 years and his son, David, as well as members of his large and extended family. A devoted Wesleyan alumnus and member of Eclectic, Bill’s Wesleyan family included his father, cousins, father-in-law, and brothers-in-law. He may have been the perfect definition of “legacy.”

Wesleyan received word of the death of Elliott DeGraff, who died a year ago on Oct. 24, 2017. Elliott was a member of the Class of ’55, but earned his degree from New York University in Aeronautical Engineering. He made his first flight as a pilot in 1953 and went on to become a flight instructor. Elliott was a volunteer pilot for an animal rescue organization, Pilots N Paws , and was credited with flying 700 dogs to safety. He was happy to be a member of the Flying Octogenarians!

With sincere thanks, I’m delighted with the responses from two of my former Sigma Chi brothers. John Sheaff and wife Lois report they continue to function on “a reasonable level” in upstate New York on the Vermont border. They are fortunate to live in an area of natural beauty with access to all the mental stimulation one could desire. And truthfully, he states, “Of course at our age, no leaping over tall buildings!” Bill Shepard sent regards and best wishes while mentioning he doesn’t have “news” this time around! Always a treat to hear from you guys!

Tony Arena is enjoying life in paradise here in Florida and continues to golf with his wife. Tony, where are you residing? Perhaps, we can arrange a get-together sometime in the near future. Drop a line this way when you get a chance.

Since 1982, Andy Holmes has been working full-time running his travel agency Worldwide Cruise Headquarters on Southport Island (Boothbay Harbor) in Maine. He complains that “One of the damnable parts about selling cruises is that we have to go on them . . . thus I am not ashamed to say that we are on nine of them between now and May. Maine winters are extremely bearable when you can be away in the Caribbean on a cruise ship.” Andy, on behalf of all of us, do accept our appreciation of your trials and tribulations!

Drew Clemens and wife Julia have moved to a retirement community near their son in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. He is still writing and teaching about psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in psychiatry. He still plays tennis and his family enjoys their cottage on Lake Chautauqua.

Lots of heat and rain have marked the past several months here in Delray Beach. As with many other parts of the country, Delray Beach has been experiencing record temperatures and the heat index climbs above 100 as the sun rises. It certainly has an effect on my cycling as my riding companions agreed that reducing speeds and distances are a must, especially at our ages. To date (Sept. 21) I’ve recorded 2,661 miles, which is nearly 800 miles less than last year at this time. Still glad that my doctors tell me to continue doing what I enjoy with only one reservation; keep my heart rate below 140 bpm for the most part! If all goes well, I will participate in a fundraising ride of some 50-75 miles for muscular dystrophy. I’ve never done a fundraising ride before, but in honor of two companions who have family members stricken with this disease, I’ve signed on to ride. Marianne continues to encourage my riding. We recently celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary in July and she has been a wonderful companion!

As always, to you and your loved ones, sincere best wishes for good health and happiness in the year ahead. And, should you find a spare moment, I’d really love to hear from you.

14790 Bonaire Blvd., Apt. 102., Delray Beach, FL 33446

William C. Gordon ’55, MAT ’58

William C. Gordon ’55 passed away on July 9, 2018. He was 85. Gordon was a devoted Wesleyan alumnus and member of Eclectic. At Wesleyan, he majored in economics and earned a master’s from Wesleyan. He went on to earn an MBA from UConn. He was an Army veteran who served in post-war Korea. His father, Carlton C. Gordon 1922; cousins Gary ’50, Alan ’56, and W. Clark Gordon ’45; uncles David W. Gordon 1916 and Donald Gordon 1919, father-in-law and former trustee, Frank Wenner Sr. 1918, and brothers-in-law Frank Wenner Jr. ’49 and Richard Wenner ’59, all attended Wesleyan. He interviewed for admission with his future father-in-law long before he had ever met his wife, Marilyn Sue Wenner. His grandsons, Stefan Skripak ’13 and Ryan Breen ’17, also attended Wesleyan. He is survived by his beloved wife of almost 60 years, Marilyn Sue (Wenner), son David (Pamela Skripak) two grandchildren, Hallie and Braden Skripak Gordon, sister Margaret Barber, many nieces and nephews, and a large extended family.

We thank Mr. Gordon’s daughter-in-law for this information.

Elliott DeGraff ’55

Elliott DeGraff ’55 passed away on Oct. 24, 2017 at the age of 84. DeGraff majored in psychology at Wesleyan. After transferring, he earned a degree in aeronautical engineering from New York University. He worked as an engineer for NASA’s unmanned spacecraft and satellite programs. A member of the United Flying Octogenarians, DeGraff was a flight instructor and a volunteer pilot for an animal rescue organization. He was also an accomplished musician who played the guitar, banjo, and mandolin. He is survived by his wife, Martha Jo, his brother, Chris, and wife Sandra, his brother, Eric, and wife Nancy, his daughter, Pamela Porter, and husband Hobart, his daughter Jill Thorpe, and five grandchildren.

We thank the family of Mr. DeGraff for this information.

CLASS OF 1955 | 2018 | ISSUE 2

Sincere thanks to Stuart Rapp for his loving tribute and words upon notification of the passing of Jim Wright earlier this year. Although the full text is too lengthy to be included in class notes, highlights were sent specifically intended for inclusion. “Our generation was called ‘the Silent Generation,’ but I believe our history will one day be heard, albeit in a different voice from some before, and no doubt some after. Our story was not heroic as some are, but in terms of our individual lives, I believe all of us who have occupied this niche in time will one day be seen as deserving as the others, with the same memorable qualities of which King Harry spoke so long ago (begging our collective pardon for his timebound assumption of male supremacy)—

“This story shall a good man teach his son,

And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by

From this day to the ending of the world,

But we in it shall be remembered!”

A notice of Jim’s passing is included in the obituary section of the magazine and a full obituary is available online.

Ric Fisher is doing “fine” and living in Sweden. He is now the proud owner of a pacemaker as the result of a Type A aortic dissection late last year. Understandably, he lauds the Swedish health care system and praises his wife Ula “who has been not only loving, but also indispensable” during his recuperation. While no longer playing tennis seven hours a week, nor biking anymore either, he still finds time to vigorously walk his dog! Ric, one of my cycling buddies (an 80-year-old youngster) has been riding with a pacemaker for a number of years and says the Swedes are second to none in the field of pacemakers. Wish you the very best.

Laughed while I read the update sent by Jim Shepard and let me quote his May 15 submission in its entirety: “Friday morning I must leave by 5:30 a.m. to get to Silverado for the annual renal transplant meeting. Lectures don’t start until 1 p.m.; but I want to get there by 8 a.m. That is when I am scheduled to play the South golf course. At Wesleyan I realized the most important premedical school course was intramural golf.” Glad you haven’t lost your sense of humor, big guy!

Marianne and I have survived an unusually wet several months and, thankfully, we didn’t have to contend with flooding as did many in this part of “paradise.” We, for the most part, are still relatively in good health and able to enjoy the daily routine. I agreed to serve on the board of directors of our community, filling a vacancy until the end of the year. I do have the option of not standing for reelection if for any reason I feel it necessary. One provision I insisted upon was there would be no way my service would interfere with my four-day-a-week cycling schedule! Still at it in spite of the frequent rainouts these past several months. I’m only approximately 400 miles behind my annual target. As of today (June 5) I have logged a hair under 1,700 miles. While not as fast as I used to be, I can still hold my own with the youngsters (those under 80) in our group!

As always, my best wishes for health and happiness for you and your loved ones.

14790 Bonaire Blvd., Apt. 102., Delray Beach, FL 33446

CLASS OF 1955 | 2018 | ISSUE 1

So happy to have received responses from several members of the “Crucial Class” for this issue of our Wesleyan magazine. And, speaking of the magazine, let me offer my praise to the staff for such an outstanding issue with its history of the university. I’m sure many of you also appreciate the words regarding Ed Beckham, whose influence helped launch Wesleyan on its “color blind” policy.

John Sheaff wrote that he and Lois have really no reason to complain at this stage of life, which in truth means they are in decent health without any infirmities holding them back. He adds, “just no more leaping over tall buildings.” They continue to be active in their church, which John stated that would make “John Wesley proud of them.” Like many others, the record-cold weather kept them indoors more than usual, but he recalls that he skied in such weather for 45 years with family before giving up the sport some 10 years ago. His sage advice to all of us when it comes to the brutal cold weather is “just stay indoors and dress appropriately.” Obviously, he’s put his Wes education to good use.

Looks as if Drew Clemens and Julie are changing their lifestyle somewhat by moving into senior facilities with an independent living facility in South Franklin Circle near Cleveland. As many of us have experienced, downsizing can be intense, but the results can be very worthwhile! Drew does a little teaching, writing and professional society work, and continues as an emeritus professor while finding time for some tennis and, of course, singing! He reports both remain in good health. Their four grandchildren are doing well, even if one graduated from Williams like her dad! Drew wishes “good health and good cheer in 2018 to all of us.”

Our Class Traveler, Jim Shepard, sent a message of encouragement to me, reminding all of experiencing the brutal winter weather that “this too will pass!” My response was to relate what my dad had told me many years ago when he moved to Florida in the 1970s, and this was to file a complaint with the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce and demand a refund! No reports of any travel experiences, but knowing Jim, I’m sure the next class notes column will describe great adventures.

“I can’t play golf anymore” began Jake Congleton’s note. Jake related he was driving a golf cart while his wife, Sally, played a course in Bradenton, Fla. They were teamed with a man and his father who were visiting from Boston. The father turned out to be 87, a pretty good golfer, and he was carrying his own bag. They talked about prep schools and education in general. As Jake said, “To make a long story short, he turned out to be Brad Turner ’53 who was an Eclectic fraternity brother. It wasn’t until the 12th hole that we figured that out. Small world indeed.”

Sadly, we were notified of the passing of Duncan Wall on Jan. 9. Duncan was the president of Delta Upsilon and played baseball at Wesleyan until an arm injury sidelined him. Duncan had a long and fulfilling career as a librarian.

Marianne and I felt lucky, compared to many others, to have made it through the end of 2017 will relatively little discomfort. My biggest disappointment was finishing the year with less than the annual 5,000-mile cycling goal. Rain and unusually high heat index figures really did make me and the gang accept what was reasonable and sane! The final miles ridden figure was 4,631. All I needed was another month, but I’m still very thankful I can continue to ride four days a week (weather permitting). Now, as long as my knees continue to behave, let’s see what the new year brings.

As always, to you and your loved one, my very best wishes for good health and happiness throughout the year.

14790 Bonaire Blvd., Apt. 102., Delray Beach, FL 33446

Duncan Wall ’55

Duncan Wall, 84, a retired librarian, died Jan. 9, 2018. He was a member of Delta Upsilon and received his degree with honors and with distinction in English. After receiving a master’s degree in library science from Columbia University, he began a long and distinguished career as a librarian at public and university libraries. A leader in the transformation of library science through technology, he developed a unique expertise in planning and developing user-friendly library buildings, and in taking cataloguing systems online. He also honored obscure library history, writing about the library innovations of Maria Mitchell, better known as a professional astronomer. In 1967 he and his family moved to Ontario, Canada, where he integrated the province’s university libraries into a single system. An advocate of reproductive health information, while director of the library at Kent State University he founded a free clinic for students to access reproductive health services. A baseball fan and former player at Wesleyan, he was also known for his prodigious newspaper reading each day. Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Carol Carter Wall; three children, including Suzanne L. Wall ’80; several grandchildren; his sister; and his half brother.

CLASS OF 1955 | 2017 | ISSUE 3

Jim Wright, writing from his Maine location, described an exciting happening occurring in September. From May through October, Jim is an interpreter at the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, Maine, where he presides over a permanent exhibit house once occupied by Captain Jeremiah Merithew, sometime schooner captain, later ship builder and banker. He wrote that one day he stepped out on the porch to greet a group of visitors from the National Trust for Historic Preservation who came to the museum from a cruise ship docked in nearby Belfast, where he spotted a name tag with a memory to it—Janet Heston—and “looked to her right.” There was his classmate and fraternity brother, Phil Heston! Jim is planning on another visit when he heads to Bethel, Conn., with Stu Rapp. Nice story, Jim, and thanks for sharing!

I very much appreciated the kind words Kip Snow sent, saying that “I do read the class notes Don writes so faithfully. It would be wonderful if more of us would respond to him. The older I get, the more nostalgic I get. We should all remember: It’s better to be seen than viewed or perhaps remembered than forgotten.” Kip, I’d be more than willing to make you my advocate! And to all, hopefully Kip’s words will encourage you to send a word or two this way.

Here’s an e-mail that I received from Jim Rudin that I’ll quote verbatim. “Although it has been more than 60 years, I remember you quite well. You, perhaps, do not remember me since I transferred to George Washington University in 1952. I later became a rabbi, served as a United States Air Force chaplain in Japan and Korea, then a couple of congregations in the Midwest, and ultimately, spent 32 years as the American Jewish Committee’s interreligious affairs director, retiring in 2000. Currently, my wife and I live in Ft. Myers, Fla. I did attend the 1985 Reunion. While at Wesleyan I was a member of Beta Theta Pi, but all of this stuff can be found on my website, Finally, I, too, am a cyclist, though not like yourself and your outstanding mileages. Sorry to ramble on. I look forward to hearing from you.”

Marianne and I were thankful to have escaped any damage from Hurricane Irma, which did cause a lot of concern in these parts. There’s still much vegetation to be cleared from the roadways and communities, namely downed trees and broken limbs. One of my favorite bike routes heading north on A1A into Palm Beach still has bike lanes and shoulders littered with the vegetation. Nevertheless, I continue to add to the mileage in spite of pronounced heat and humidity (daily heat index has been over 100 degrees for a few months), and while frequent rain has curtailed the miles, I still have a shot at the annual 5k target. I’ve logged 3,450 miles to date (Sept. 29) and am hopeful I won’t have to do a few double centuries in December to reach the goal.

As always, let me wish you and your loved ones good health and happiness in the days ahead.

14790 Bonaire Blvd., Apt. 102., Delray Beach, FL 33446

CLASS OF 1955 | 2017 | ISSUE 2

Always a joy to receive words from classmates in response to requests for updates for our class notes. Once again, I do want all of you to know how much I appreciate being able to share words that you submit. It does make the task of serving as your class secretary an enjoyable one even after more than 50 years of the assignment.,

Stuart Rapp sent word of the death of Charlie Hume, who passed away in March. His late spouse, Patricia Johnson Hume, predeceased him by several months and a celebration of life was held in April for them both in Saugus, Mass., in the church Charlie served in the early days of his career-long ministry in the United Church of Christ. Stuart and Charlie were fraternity brothers in Delta Tau Delta and roomed together for three years. Bob Pooley joined them as a roommate for two of those years. Both were active competitors on the swim team. Charlie was well known as the “classic bass voice in our then-famous Wes male quartet, the Jibers.” As Stuart concluded in his notes, “He has passed, as they say, but he is far from forgotten.”

A short e-mail from Jim Shepard, our world-class traveler, mentioned his great Alaskan trip last year, but to my surprise, he indicated he has nothing in the works for an adventure this year. I’m willing to bet I’ll receive several paragraphs detailing the highlights of his 2017 travels before the year’s end, and if so, you can bet I’ll share them with you. When not on the road or planning where to visit next, Jim continues with his work as a medical expert witness, enjoying family life, and time on the golf course.

John Ineson wrote of the difficult adjustments that must be made when a loving spouse’s worsening dementia makes it necessary to move her into a special care unit dedicated to caring for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. In 2013, Lori and John moved to Williamsburg, Va., into a continuing care retirement community after he retired in 1994. He said that he is “now adjusting to living alone. Not easy after 59 years.” John, our thoughts are with you!

Freshman roommate Drew Clemens sent thanks for continuing to serve our dwindling class. His wife, Julie, has been class secretary for many years for her class of 1952 at Northfield Mount Hermon School, from which my younger daughter also graduated. He mentioned that he knows it’s a lot of work, but much appreciated by her cohorts, “as are your reports to us.” A Rhine River boat trip from Amsterdam to Basel is planned for October. He still does some teaching in Case Western Reserve University’s University Hospitals psychiatric residency and in the Cleveland Psychoanalytic Institute, and serves on the boards of the American Psychoanalytic Association and the American College of Psychoanalysts, the latter in which he is completing a tour as president. Both Julie and Drew continue to sing in Choral Arts Cleveland, a 47-year-old classical choir that they helped found. Drew mentioned that they go butterfly counting and tagging, and enjoy their cottage on Lake Chautauqua, N.Y. They’re in the process of “disgorging” their accumulated stuff over 54 years to move to an apartment in a nearby retirement village. Drew sends “greetings to all our surviving classmates, and a moment of sad reflection on those who have left us.”

All remains well with Marianne and me here in “paradise.” We’re planning a trip to Nebraska in August to meet newly expected family members, as two of Marianne’s nieces are scheduled to give birth in July. Despite a lot of rain and wind this year, I have been able to log 2,357 miles on the bike to date (6/7/17), including an 84-mile birthday ride with two younger members (75 and 77) of our bike club in April. And yes, we did the entire ride in one day! Still look forward to the rides and the social time spent with my cycling friends.

As always, may good health and happiness be with you and your loved ones throughout the year.

14790 Bonaire Blvd., Apt. 102., Delray Beach, FL 33446

CLASS OF 1955 | 2017 | ISSUE 1

While no details are available at this writing, I sadly inform classmates of the passing of Richard Burrage in March. Information should be included in the obituary section of the magazine.

Our candidate for the “Most Traveled” member of the Crucial Class, Jim Shepard, did not disappoint us as he wrote that this time around, he and Sally-Jean enjoyed themselves on an Alaskan trip in July. Flying first to Juneau, they then took a local cruise boat and spent a week with an excellent lecturer and great food!

Kip Snow responded to my “plea” for words with a welcome e-mail that began, “Long time, no write. Life is good. Still married to my Wesleyan sweetheart—happiness unbounded. (Oh, ok, some minor scuffles.) Two adult children happily married. Two adult grandchildren—grandson about to graduate from Fordham, and granddaughter a sophomore at WPI. Jean and I are aging nicely in spite of age, habits, and customary minor annoyances. We both retired from the life and health industry—she from selling, and me from claims. Both with very satisfying industry associations. Now in retirement on Cape Cod, we keep out of trouble with several local pursuits. Some to help others, some for plain old fun. My continuing thankfulness for my WesTech education endures. Although I have not contributed to your notes (shame on me!), I do read about ‘55ers, the folks before us and after us.”

A most pleasant surprise was receiving a note from Karl Heiser. Karl withdrew from Wesleyan after his sophomore year with all good intentions to return after serving a three-year Marine Corps enlistment. As he stated, the three years turned into 22, and a second career doing defense work in the D.C. metro area. He stated, “I remember Wesleyan as a lost opportunity and classmates with respect.”

An update from Hal Stuhl came via a phone call just a week ago. Hal, a fellow Floridian, resides on the west coast of the state, just north of Naples in Bonita Springs. We recalled our Sigma Chi days and the loss of a fellow fraternity brother, Bill Christopher ’54, with whom Hal roomed. Our tales of “downsizing” were, needless to say, amusing. Of course, we also discussed the adventures and successes of grandchildren and how, even though we are advancing in age, we are not ready to call ourselves “old.” Really, it was a treat for me to chat with Hal, and let me state I’d be more than glad to hear from you, by mail, e-mail or by phone!

I did manage to reach my annual 5,000-mile riding goal in 2016 and in spite of the excessive heat, rain and wind in the fall months, actually recorded 5,275. As of today (1/17/17), I’ve gotten a start towards the new year with 201 miles on the odometer. As you can imagine, I still look forward to being on the bike and socializing with so many great friends.

Know that my sincere best wishes for good health and happiness to you and your loved ones accompany these notes.

14790 Bonaire Blvd., Apt. 102., Delray Beach, FL. 33446