CLASS OF 1961 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

We’ll start with a personal note from Paul Dickson: “For many years, I had hoped to get a shot at teaching a session at a writing class at Wesleyan. In part I wanted to do a little payback for the writing classes I took from poet Richard Wilbur, the influence of novelist and historian George Garrett, as well as the impetus I got from musicologist David McAlister, who allowed me to write my distinction thesis on rock ’n’ roll. On May 10, I got to do an hour as a guest lecturer in the writing class taught by Dan DeVisé ’89, a neighbor, good pal and highly talented journalist and author. My guest presentation was on his last day of teaching the course. It was both an honor and pleasure to talk (albeit remotely) to a group of Wesleyan juniors and seniors. Among other things, I talked about what it took to make a living as a writer, both glories and the inevitable challenges of living such a life. As for Dan, I have read two early versions of Dan’s new bio of B.B. King which came out in October 2021, and it is a fine work: King of the Blues: The Rise and Reign of B.B. King. Meanwhile, I heartily recommend his last book The Comeback: Greg LeMond, the True King of American Cycling, and a Legendary Tour de France.”

A short note from Bob Hausman reveals his optimism for the world as his progeny populate the planet: “A new baby granddaughter, when all the others are already grown. Few things have shaped me more than my Wesleyan education. A family friend is now on the faculty in theater. Her name is Katie Pearl.

Pete Drayer reports that he and his wife, Sandy, continue living in a lifecare community. John Rogers expects to relocate to Lexington, Kentucky, in September.

His “camp name” is “Mook,” but Russell Mott (aka Bob Lanigan until 1979) is returning to summer camp. “I am celebrating my 82nd year, returning to camp for the summer,” he writes. “This, my 20th summer at Bauercrest, a 90-year-old Jewish summer sports camp in Amesbury, Massachusetts. Since my principal gig is ceramics, I brought my entire studio with me when I moved last year from down south. Two Thanksgivings ago, I asked the director why a sports camp in Massachusetts wanted an 80-year-old potter. ‘I want to establish a working art center,’ he told me, and we are off and running to make that dream a reality. The kids arrive in 72 hours, and the studio is about 80 percent ready. I am figuring this is about as good a job as one could get, and it is all happening during my 82nd summer on the planet. I am truly one of the lucky guys.” Russell adds: “Bauercrest did a wonderfully edited video on ‘Mook,’ and it is on their website: Bauercrest.com.”

CLASS OF 1961 | 2021 | ISSUE 1

“The new Wesleyan is great,” exclaims Sandy McCurdy. “We saw that at our 50th. But we old guys remember the thrill of being one of under 800 students, [enjoying] such features as excellent  science, religion, English, [plus additional] language departments to mention only a few. Where a star, like Richard Wilber, would lead my freshman humanities class of eight students and where Professor McGuire headed off with Yale’s Henry Sloan Coffin as a freedom rider. With the exception of no women being there with us, didn’t we have it good?” Dick Poulton appears to agree, adding his own thoughts: “Memories fade, of course, or get confused a bit! I learned too late in life the value of keeping some sort of written diary of people, places or events. My single year (1957-1958), as part of the Foreign Student program at Wesleyan, was a seminal highlight in my life in so many ways. Alas, my roommate, Trent Sorenson MA ’58, died a long time ago; my wonderful first girlfriend married one of America’s best-known astronauts; my good friend Ed Beckham ’58 became, I believe, dean of Wesleyan; I remember singing in a very fashionable ‘skiffle group’ created by Pete Rockefeller ’59; and I remember very clearly singing in the glee club under Ray Randell and in the choral society under Dick Winslow ’40, who both gave me a life-long addiction to their different types  of music! But I come back to my big question! Please, where can I read the reminiscences of my classmates? They might well help me to resurrect more valuable memories of what was one of the  most enjoyable and valuable years of my life!”

     Bob Hausman writes: “I have a condo in a senior co-op in St. Paul, Minnesota. Unlike all my traveling classmates, I pretty much stay put because I have mild dementia, but my Wes Tech education keeps me going mentally. I am blessed with my family right here in the Twin Cities. I have six grandchildren with one on the way. I am in touch with Glenn Hawkes and Emil Frankel.

     John Rogers responds with tongue in cheek: “Understand your regular request. Hope you get enough replies and sends. No need here yet for coroner’s inquest, or first Amazon package of Depends.

Still living in Sun City Charlotte for last seven years. Too much time in doctor’s office for senior care. Grateful for 59 years of marriage with joy and tears. But not sure now about Why, What, Who and Where.”

     Praise and recognition continue to address the writings of Paul Dickson. Denny Huston shouts: “Dickster, Congratulations! Unlike the rest of us, you are even stronger these days. We are all awed.” Ernie Hildner states: “With this wonderful accomplishment, you should put humility aside and bathe in the accolades. Well done! Bask in the pleasant warmth of deserved recognition.”

     Ernie continues to add: “For a few months now, some Alpha Delts have been enjoying biweekly Zoom calls organized by Doug Evelyn ’62, loosely emulating the discussions we had around the  Star and Crescent eating club coffee table back in the day. Usual participants include Bill Wagner, Paul Dickson, Bob (Gio) Palmeri, Tim Bloomfield, Ernie Hildner, and J.D. Huston, Brian Murphy ’62, and Doug. With a geographic spread from California, via Texas and Colorado, to the East Coast (Vermont to Virginia), and the wide diversity of careers and expertise spanning professor to scientist to diplomat to lawyer to curator to sailor, knowledge­—and/or opinion—can be found on almost any topic. As at the old Alpha Delta Phi coffee table of our youth, conversations range from current events here, there, and elsewhere to philosophy, ethics, civil rights, books and articles to read, etc. One conversation now mentioned a little about something that never came up at Wes, the participants’ health issues, as we all age as gracefully as we can. Good fun to socialize with fraternity brothers, especially in these pandemic times.”

     Jack Richards sends this update: “Enjoying being a retired old/young guy with 10 grandkids. I hope to teach the kids how to sail. Just bought a camp in the Adirondacks, and Carol and I just got our  first vaccination. We’re playing by the safe CDC suggestions. Hope all my classmates are, too. I’ve  scrubbed my hands so much I found the answers to a sophomore physics exam. A day with my roommates, Beau and Quent, is still on my bucket list.”

     John Dennis has been busy. He writes: “An update on my newly

published second memoir: . . . And Master of None was published by Primavera Press on Amazon, November 15, 2020. I am well into my third memoir and will update you on this and my soon to be  published children’s book Where’s Sharah?, which is the sequel to The Mouse in the Lemon Tree, also available on Amazon.”

     Finally, a follow-up to Paul Boynton’s search: I am grateful to all who were involved in that quest: Emil Frankel, K.C. Hayes, Jon Magendanz, Jack Mitchell, Tom Spragens ’63, Hank Sprouse ’62, and Chuck Work ’62, as well as Dave Snyder ’63 and Steve Humphrey ’63. Although I have listed those first names alphabetically, Emil, you and Jack gave me the most help and  encouragement, along with K.C. whose role was key by reminding me of Chris’s last name, which cut  the Gordian knot and enabled me to retrieve Chris’s email and phone number.” Paul and Chris have now connected.

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Previously, a search was begun by a classmate for a lost fraternity brother. Paul Boynton wrote, “I remember that he was a tall, lanky, easy-going ‘cowboy’ from W and I liked him a lot, being a farm boy myself. One more clue: He occasionally wore a dark green Stetson worn in prior years while herding sheep.” The reason for this search is that the Stetson was given to Paul, who still fondly wears it and who now wants to express his appreciation to his benefactor. Through the assistance of Emil Frankel, Casey Hayes, Chuck Work, Jack Mitchell, and Tom Spragens, the “lost brother” has been identified as Chris Rich ’63. Contact with Chris Rich is still in the offing so Paul Boynton would appreciate any suggestions regarding contact info.

 Casey Hayes reports: “Bobbie and I just sold our Wellesley home of 51 years to move into a nearby retirement community.”  Reflecting on the past, Casey continues his comments to Paul: “I recall our good times washing dishes together at Eclectic all those years ago. I’m still grateful for all your knowledge of physics and explaining how best to get the grease off those pots and pans. That much has not changed, so I feel that I will have a secure spot in the labor force just in case things turn a bit more troublesome than they are already.” 

Emil Frankel writes: “Kathryn and I remain largely hunkered down in our house in Washington, D.C., getting out occasionally for errands, lunches or dinners with friends—carefully and outside. Mostly, I seem to spend my days at my computer, corresponding with friends, and reading online articles and newspapers. I’m still doing a little writing on transportation policy (I had an op/ed in the Hartford Courant about two months ago on post-pandemic transportation issues), but mostly I have been reading and worrying about politics and the November election. I recently joined a virtual presentation, sponsored by Washington’s famous independent bookstore, Politics & Prose, of classmate Paul Dickson’s new book (The Rise of the G.I. Army). Paul has received great reviews of this book, and the Class of ’61 should be very proud of Paul’s career, as a journalist, historian, and biographer. Kathryn and I are still doing ok and hope that my classmates and their families are healthy and safe in these challenging and dangerous times.”

      In reply, the “immodest” (his claim) author Paul Dickson summarized a few of his reactions to Emil’s comments: “A whale of a good time Monday night talking about my new book at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C. During my Zoom session, I got a gracious message from Emil Frankel. If I seemed a bit befuddled at the outset I could neither see myself or my host and spent the hour speaking to a logo. Just for the record, Nancy cut my hair, picked out my shirt and tie and I tied the tie. Tying the tie was a moment of pre-COVID nostalgia when one actually got duded up for such things.”

George Little and his wife, Carol (Middlebury ’67), continue growing old in place in a circa 1800 Vermont brick colonial house to which they’ve been entrusted since 1976. They met at the University of Vermont Medical School after George’s return from a tour as a Peace Corps staff physician in Africa. Both being pediatricians, they settled in Vermont while crossing the Connecticut River to practice as academic clinicians at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. 

George is currently an active emeritus professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine and remains involved in global medicine. He currently serves on the boards of Action, a Kosovo foundation committed to women and children, and Group Care Global, a US NGO focused on group antenatal care globally. He has also edited a book with Ronald M. Green, a fellow Dartmouth retiree, entitled Religion and Ethics in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (2019). 

The Littles have three children—Nicholas 95, Malaika, and Katrina.  The Littles have enjoyed contact with Dom Squatrito, Bob Carey  ’54 and Jack Woodbury. When a COVID-19 vaccine is sufficiently evaluated and disseminated, they anticipate returning to travel and visits including Middletown. 

Finally, Dave Parker and his wife, Borgny, returned to Middletown in August, settling into Assisted Living at Luther Ridge. “After nearly fifty years editing and writing for community newspapers,” Dave relates: “I thought I’d seen a lot of challenges and change for journalism. Yet, they pale in comparison to the tumult and shocks which now confront not only my old trade but all of us as citizens. I hope and believe my old colleagues, as well as my old John Wesley Club comrades will be keeping the faith.”

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

CLASS OF 1961 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

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

CLASS OF 1961 | 2020 | ISSUE 1

“I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time.” writes Alan Bernstein. In addition to finally sending an update to Class Notes, Alan’s many lifetime achievements include 60 years of marriage to his wife, JoAnne, founding a website (tempoandhup.com), which is dedicated to altruism with its implications for public policy, publishing part of a multivolume history of belief in hell titled Hell and Its Rivals, and teaching medieval history for over 20 years at the University of Arizona. Alan lives in Oakland, Calif.

Ernie Marino has been spending time in Guatemala. He writes: “My wife and I, with another Rotarian, initiated a project to help midwives with their growth and development in Guatemala. We received a grant from the Rotary Foundation for $73,000. The money is used for equipment, supplies, and clinical round tables. Eighty percent of births are at home and facilitated by midwives. Two women die each day during childbirth from largely preventable causes. Infant mortality is very high. Malnutrition is rampant. The average person earns two U.S. dollars per day. This emerging country is several decades removed from a proxy war for its mineral wealth and serious volcanic eruptions. Our efforts will take decades to accomplish, but we are off to a good start.”

Al Williams claims that he is now fully retired. Yet, he has immersed himself in singing, writing, physical fitness, and, most enjoyably, “trying to keep track of the interesting and changing lives of eight grandchildren, ages 15-21.” Al adds, “I was sorry to hear from his wife, Camilla, about Lou Larrey’s recent death. He and I were wrestling workout partners at Wes, and have seen each other summers on Cape Cod, where he lived, and we have a summer home nearby. We were at their party last summer to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary and Lou’s 80th birthday.”

Lew Kirshner and his wife are living in Amsterdam for most of the year. His wife is an English literature teacher and author. With tongue in cheek, I’m sure, Lew states, “It is a good time to be an expat in a sane country.”

As most of you are aware, your class notes secretary attempts to elicit responses from classmates by sending out silly rhyming reminders. Well, Phil Rodd sustained the rhythm by replying in verse:

I’ve given it some thought, Not much going on.
Still healthy and happy.
Thanks for checking in, Jon.

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