DAVID L. FISHER, who in 1958 joined with four other freshmen at Wesleyan to form the Highwaymen, one of the most popular folk music groups of the early 1960s, died May 7, 2010, at age 69. A member of EQV, he was the son of the late Abraham A. Fisher ’34. The Highwaymen was formed when the five freshmen had to present an entertainment act for the fraternity in which they were initiates. Under his guidance they put together a folk music show. By the fall of 1961 the group had the No. 1 song in the county, “Michael, Row the Boat Ashore,” an African–American spiritual that was released under the shortened title, “Michael.” Although the group broke up in 1964, after eight albums, 10 singles, and three appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, he remained a musician, composing and arranging music for films and television and working as a studio singer and musician. In 1987, the group reunited and issued five more CDs, and he was acknowledged as their musical leader. His two previous marriages ended in divorce. Among those who survive are his wife, Dr. Elaine K. Haagen, two children from his second marriage, his stepson, and his sister.
ROBERT S. “Bob” BURNETT, one of the original folk-singing group The Highwaymen, and an attorney and banker, died Dec. 7, 2011, at age 71. A member of EQV, he received his degree with honors. At Wesleyan, he and three of his fraternity brothers formed The Highwaymen and recorded the song “Michael, Row the Boat Ashore,” which was a gold-record phenomenon in 1961. After graduation he joined the U.S. Army. Upon his discharge from the Army he lived and sang with the Highwaymen in Greenwich Village at the height of the folk-singing era. He then attended Harvard Law School, receiving his degree in 1967, and joined the firm of Edwards & Angell. He later worked as a senior vice president in the trust departments of the Hospital Trust National Bank, Fleet, Bank Boston, and, more recently, Bank of America. He was an active member of both the Probate & Trust Committee of the Rhode Island Bar and the Estate Planning Council of Rhode Island. An active community volunteer, he served as the chairman of the board of Moses Brown School, was on the board of the Rhode Island chapter of the American Cancer Society, and sat on and advised numerous non-profit boards. He was also an avid sailor and athlete, in addition to continuing to sing. In 1990 the original Highwaymen began to perform together again, reviving the sounds of the 1960s, and did so for 20 years. Among those who survive are his wife, Kathleen Cullis Burnett, three children, nine grandchildren, two brothers, and a large extended family.
DAN R. ARONSON, an anthropologist whose career spanned 25 years at McGill University and 15 years at the World Bank, where he was the principal social scientist until his retirement in 2003, died Feb. 26, 2010. He was 69. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa, he received his degree with honors and with distinction in anthropology, and was a member of EQV. He received master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Chicago. A specialist in developmental anthropology, particularly in African countries, he tried to incorporate a deeper understanding of social structure and cultural values into efforts to improve the well–being and income–earning potential of the poor. He is survived by three children, including David A. Aronson ’86; eight grandchildren; two brothers; a large extended family; and his former wife, Theresa Lopez.