HENRY S. HILLES JR. ’61

HENRY S. HILLES JR., a former partner in the Philadelphia law firm of Drinker Biddle, died Jan. 12, 2011. He was 71. A member of Beta Theta Pi, he received his degree with distinction in history and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and spent his entire law career at Drinker Biddle, where he also represented SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority). Among those who survive are his wife, Jane Feaver; four children; two stepchildren; 11 grandchildren; a brother and sister; and his first wife, Mary Wolcott

RICHARD FISCHER ’61

Julia Fischer ’91 writes: “My father loved Wesleyan, and I am a member of the class of 1991. I have attached my comments from the memorial, which was last Friday as well as a photo of him and of our family home, a geodesic dome, which he was most proud of and which is a magnificent house, the existence of which he is responsible for.”

Julia Fischer ’91 writes: “My father loved Wesleyan, and I am a member of the class of 1991. I have attached my comments from the memorial, which was last Friday as well as a photo of him and of our family home, a geodesic dome, which he was most proud of and which is a magnificent house, the existence of which he is responsible for.”

I am deeply grateful to have had Richard for a father. His immense equanimity, reason, intellect, dignity, and mischievousness served as the soil in which our family grew.

In reflecting with my friends who knew him I discovered that not only did he treat me as an equal all through my life, but he made us all feel that he was genuinely interested in our thoughts and opinions, fully respected them, and expected us to have thoughtful ideas. Inherent in the interactions with him was always a reverence and respect and I feel that it made each of us want to stand a little taller, be just that much more perceptive, imaginative or knowledgeable. He inspired us moment to moment to be better selves, and he did so non-judgmentally. One friend said that if he ever had to be judged by someone, he would want it to be Richard. My father was the embodiment of fairness and reason.

And then he had this saying that he repeated so often during my childhood – “Life is fair” he would say. It used to send me into fits of frustration, discussion & contemplation. Thinking about it now, it is much like a Zen koan. A koan is an unsolvable riddle used in Zen Buddhism to force an intuitive leap which carries the student beyond the rational plane to an enlightened state. He would always say “Life is fair” or a similar statement, with the corners of his moustache doing that thing, that barely perceptible thing, with that slight extra light shining from his eyes – so much fun and mischief. He knew full well how saying “Life is fair” made me feel, and I think he felt the exact same way. I feel that for someone so mental and logical, these moments of play reveal his understanding of the wider ultimate reality and his love and joy of being.

And his creativity! The dome and his writing, and his early efforts at character recognition, his political ideas and suggestions – he was kind of quiet about these things, plugging away at them for the joy of it, the interest of it. And he was dynamic, delightfully unpredictable – he might pull into an empty parking lot to do a few doughnuts while teaching me to drive, or he might run outside in the middle of a hot shower to roll in the snow. So full of life and adventure!

As much as I was close to him, I think I speak for everyone when I say I wish I’d known him even better. He was on his own path of self-discovery, and it is a tremendous inspiration to me to have seen the dedication and strides he made even over the last year. May his memory continue to inspire and teach each of us.

Thank you.

STEVEN B. BUTTNER ’61

STEVEN B. BUTTNER, a management consultant and former dean at Wesleyan, died Aug. 1, 2012. He was 72. A member of EQV, and an active participant in the fraternity for all his years, he received a master’s in Russian Studies from the University of Wisconsin and was a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University in Eastern European and Russian Medieval History. After teaching at Queens College, he joined the administration at Wesleyan, where he was a lecturer in History and Dean of the Class of 1974. See Faculty and Administration.

HOWARD F. BOWLES JR. ’61

HOWARD F. BOWLES JR., 68, a retired airline pilot, died June 22, 2008. A member of Kappa Nu Kappa, he served in the U.S. Air Force for six years, attaining the rank of captain. He was a Vietnam War veteran and participated in Operation Ranch Hand. After leaving the Air Force, he joined Pan American Airways. After retiring, he dedicated much of his life to volunteer work in his community. Survivors include his wife, Barbara Binsacca Bowles; his daughter, Abby Bowles ’96; and his son-in-law, Stephen Vopelak.

E. BRUCE BUTLER ’61

A a retired attorney, died Oct. 28, 2012, at age 73. A member of Delta Tau Delta, he received his degree with distinction in government. He received an LLB from the University of Pittsburgh and an LLM from Georgetown University. After a career in the U.S. and London, he retired in 2000 as general counsel for Kaiser Aluminum. He then became an avid genealogist. Survivors include his wife, Marcia Mann Butler, three children, and his brother.