CLASS OF 1970 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

It was the Reunion that never was and the Reunion that never happened before for anyone, all rolled into one. I think we always knew that our 50th class Reunion would be different because, well, because we’re different, but this was markedly different. True, we didn’t get together physically, but we did get together virtually, with classmates participating from Japan to the East Coast.

The Reunion book probably has arrived in your mailbox just by now. It’s a masterful work. Despite writing class notes for 35 or 40 years now, I still have found all sorts of interesting biographical information that somehow never was shared with me for the column all these years. Super job John Griffin, Ted Reed, Jeff Sarles, John Sheffield, Maurice Hakim, Jeremy Serwer, Prince Chambliss, Diana Diamond, Kate Lynch ’82, and Elizabeth Watrous MALS ’02 (the latter two of the Wesleyan staff). An addendum with more classmate bios will be forthcoming.

The first part of our virtual Reunion was the president’s toast on Friday evening that I missed somehow, but I was able to Zoom in on the social hour that followed and on a group discussion about business on Saturday. The former was hosted by John Alschuler and Diana Diamond, and the latter hosted by John Griffin, Jeremy Serwer, and John Alschuler. The social hour involved about 35 attendees chatting in rotating break-out rooms. The Saturday business discussion was interesting but concerning. The element of uncertainty hung over both events. The virtual commencement occurred on Sunday. Check the Wesleyan website for video, for films by Bill Jefferson and Steve Talbot, draft board stories, and more.

Aside from the Reunion itself, I had several emails with news. Go to for the full notes.

Rob Baker and Sandy remain in Park City, Utah, but visiting with kids elsewhere. Rob’s retired, active in several sports, intellectual pursuits, and in the community.

Gerald Everett Jones has won four book awards this year. Gerald’s most recent awards were for How to Lie with Charts, a business book, and Preacher Finds a Corpse in the mystery/crime category.

Steve Talbot is active both in broadcasting and politically. He wrote, “North Carolina public radio just posted two new videos from the series of shorts I senior produced with a local filmmaker, one about the first African American woman elected sheriff in the state’s history.” Steve is busy with another Vietnam documentary called The Movement and the “Madman.”

Congratulations to husband-and-wife team Diana Diamond and John Alschuler, who were honored during Reunion weekend with the Outstanding Service Award, given to alumni, parents, or other members of the Wesleyan community for their outstanding volunteer service to the University, their community, or the nation. They co-hosted the virtual social hour on Friday.

Tony Balis sent out a beautiful email entitled “A Marshall Plan for America.” “Let’s create a 2020 Marshall Plan, involving every aspect of our national life, by recommitting private wealth towards public good. Let’s invent a humanistic capitalism that works in partnership with federal and local government yet without fealty to it, that provides security, safety, and dignity for all of us, helping rescue our only home in the process.” Contact Tony at

In New Zealand, Peter Ratner wrote: “I do not have much to report except that my decision to move to New Zealand looks better every day.” He and Carol truly retired and are living in Greytown, a small community about an hour-and-a-half from downtown Wellington. “We live in a lovely old villa built around 1887 with enough land for some chickens, a very small orchard, and some vegetable beds.”

John Sheffield wrote, “Patiently waiting for safe reentry opportunity here in NYC, post-COVID-19. Getting to do many homebound projects formerly shelved as low priority (e.g., digitizing several thousand Kodachrome slides).”

We haven’t heard from Stuart Frank in a while, and now I know why. He’s been busy writing books.

Steve Ossad wrote regarding a large number of posters a friend created for the 50th Commemoration of the War in Vietnam [which the Vietnamese call the American War]. See them at

Peter Kalischer is still in Japan, lying low in Tokyo but participating in our Zoom events. His daughter, Dani, resides in Brooklyn but has been holed up in New Zealand, a good place to be.

Steve Ching, MD is a part-time Kaua’i resident. “I have an emeritus appointment at the University of Rochester and do some occasional teaching with residents and medical students.”

Elbridge Smith and Bill Tam, both O’ahu attorneys (Elbridge focused on employee rights law and Tam, a retired water law expert) have been emailing recently with me and Peter Kalischer, who (like me) spent a semester in Hawaii during our Wesleyan years. Elbridge expressed what may be a common view of this reunion: “All our [senior year] finals were canceled as I recall. Maybe apropos that so is Reunion? Too bad; it would have been my first.”

Kalishcher, meanwhile, wrote a lengthy remembrance as a warm-up for the bio book, with an interesting perspective of 1966 Wesleyan and full of interesting stories. One example, some horticulture in Lawn Avenue. Maybe ask him for a copy.

Reunion dates next year are May 27-30. Let’s plan on a reunion then, whether in person or virtually. Stay tuned for more virtual class events. As always, send news. Meanwhile, stay well.

Russ Josephson |
P.O. Box 1151, Kilauea, HI 96754

CLASS OF 1970 | 2019 | ISSUE 3

Aloha, all. First of all, I need to remind you that our 50th Reunion begins on May 21 with an informal class dinner and ends on that Sunday with Commencement. (see for full details). Please make your arrangements to attend now. Thank you.

I had a long note from Bob Stone (he of the Trumpericks books) concerning a lunch reunion with his swim team and fraternity buddy, Vic Pfeiffer. Bob wrote warmly of Vic (“Some people you meet along the way help to elevate you and enhance your performance”) and of the other members of the medley relay team, John Ketcham and William “Boo” Gallas ’69. Bob reminisced fondly about competing in the NCAA College Division national swimming and diving championships, losing the gold by a blink. “Definitely a highlight for me and an honor to be associated with these very talented guys.”

Bob Stone and Vic Pfeiffer swim team reunion

Tim Greaney, professor emeritus after 29 years at Saint Louis University, wrote that he’s now teaching law at the University of California Hastings College of Law in San Francisco. Tim is working “to improve our broken health care system.” Recently, he testified on health care mergers before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee at the invitation of Amy Klobachar. Tim says he is “living large in the People’s Republic of Santa Cruz, where I spend a lot of time with Paul Roth, who is still going strong teaching, writing, and traveling the globe as a latter-day Louis Mink.” West Coasters are encouraged to contact Tim.

I had a very brief note from Steve Masten ’70, MA’75 saying he’s planning on attending the 50th Reunion. (Have I mentioned we have Reunion in May? Are you coming?)

Charlie Holbrook says, “Leslie and I are making plans to attend the 50th anniversary of the 1969 undefeated football team at Homecoming on Nov. 2, and in May we will be attending the 50th graduation anniversary of the Class of 1970. It is going to be an eventful year!”

Speaking of Reunion, look for an e-mail soliciting a little bit of writing to be put into a special Reunion memory book being assembled by John Griffin, Maurice Hakim, and John Sheffield. Also, Jeremy Serwer is requesting that you contact him with your top five favorite on-campus music concerts of our Wesleyan years. You can contact John at or Jeremy at I believe they are still seeking photographs from our college years.

In closing, I would like to share with you a profile in courage from classmate David Redden. David was part of the fight against AIDS, using his auctioneer’s skills more than 30 years ago to raise funds by auctioning Christmas trees along with Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Harvey Fierstein.  Now David himself is struggling, doing personal battle with ALS (aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

Unable to do many physical things, David is busy writing, including editing, expanding, and categorizing “decades of my private Diary of a Sotheby’s Auctioneer.” “It is curious that so many words—well beyond one million, could be written about only one facet of what I conceive to have been a charmed existence.”  In love with the stories of items in “almost a million lots,” David tells of his office, “an irresistible vantage point from which to peer into the hidden corners of human existence.”  I have the distinct feeling that the resulting book will be incredibly fascinating and will, to paraphrase John McPhee in describing the experience of reading his fascinating little book about the history of oranges, will be a book you will enjoy from beginning to end, despite perhaps having thought at the outset that you would never be interested in a book about auctions.

While you await the publication of the book, please consider contributing to the David Redden ALS Fund at Columbia University, to support ALS and neuron research and the work of the Eleanor and Lou Gehrig ALS Center.  

I have the distinct feeling that the resulting book will be incredibly fascinating and will, to paraphrase John McPhee in describing the experience of reading his fascinating little book about the history of oranges, will be a book you will enjoy from beginning to end, despite perhaps having thought at the outset that you would never be interested in a book about auctions. While you await the publication of the book, please consider contributing to the David Redden ALS Fund at Columbia University, to support ALS and neuron research and the work of the Eleanor and Lou Gehrig ALS Center. (I am asking the editors to publish David’s entire letter to his classmates in the online edition of this column.)

At this end, having recovered (more or less) from the flood of April 2018, we have renewed our efforts to finish our little offgrid home-in-a-valley with the help of a go-getter contractor.  (Photos on Facebook, if interested.)  Visitors will be welcome.

So, write with news or just because. And don’t forget to make plans to attend the 50th Reunion. (Did I mention our Reunion?)

Russ Josephson |
P.O. Box 1151, Kilauea, HI 96754

CLASS OF 1970 | 2019 | ISSUE 2

Aloha, everyone. Unfortunately, I need once again to begin my column with news of the death of classmates. The Alumni Office reported that George “Bo” Durbin passed away on April 11. Here is an obituary.

Rusty Helgren ’70

A few weeks later, they informed me that Brian Silvestro reported his cousin Russ “Rusty” Helgren had passed away at the beginning of May. Rusty started with ’69 and finished with ’70.Here is a link to his obituary.

Rusty, 72, of Virginia Beach, passed away Monday, April 29, at home of pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his son, SunTemple; daughter, Dove; and grandchildren, Cheyenne, Madison, Dakota, and Van.

Our condolences to the families.

This time around, I had an e-mail from our classmate and esteemed runner, Bill Rodgers. He connected with a teacher and coach from the Big Island at the last Boston Marathon. Bill raced in the Kona Half-Marathon over there about 15 years ago, his self-described “last outright win in a road race,” and had fun exploring the island and meeting runners from all over the world. He proudly wears a Wesleyan winter hat each year. Hope to see him and a lot more of you at the Reunion.

Gene Legg reported he’s in his 40th year as a high school teacher and was “thrilled to be the graduation speaker this year.” He says he “prepped for it by playing Teddy Roosevelt in the school musical!” Happy to be alive! (40 years! I’m impressed.)

Gordon Fain wrote a long inquiry to the Alumni Office and cc’d me. He’s interested in seeing more photos of alumni, significant others, and grandchildren, on the website in a way that protects privacy. Gordon indicated he and Lila have two grandchildren in Michigan and five in California. He’d like to see more about grandchildren of classmates. He has several suggestions, too, for sending things to grandchildren by U.S. mail economically. (Contact me or him for details.)

Former Spanish House and Lawn Avenue roommate Colin Kitchens is an avid Facebooker. Here’s his news: “A wife and three dogs, and finished a book with no intention of doing anything with it. Living in Larkspur, Calif., with some fear of the fire season. Doing some construction and carpentry, but mostly as a laborer. They tell me not to go up any ladders and my doctor suggested a hobby. Traveling a bit. Just life.” There you have it.”

Gerald Jones and his wife Georja are living in Diana Beach, Kenya, where she is a environmental director of AfricaChild Kenya. She is an activist in wildlife conservation with particular attention to elephants. Gerald says he can work productively anywhere they go. His eighth novel, Preacher Finds a Corpse: An Evan Wycliff Mystery,will be published in August.

Peter Ratner is enjoying year two of retirement. The family moved to the small town of Greytown (population 2,340) to live in their former weekend residence. “We are here with six chickens and our 16-year-old cat named Mehitabel who has been slacking off of late so I am reduced to trapping rats and mice on my own. The local hawks usually deal with the remains.

“I have decided that I am going to take this year off—no boards, no jobs, just relaxation and maybe helping out a bit on a conservation estate in Carterton although I have yet to put in my first appearance. Having said that, we are having our house (built in 1886) painted and the place looks like a war zone. Every time we turn around, another window or a weatherboard needs replacing but hopefully this round will last for 20 years which will see us through. I am doing a lot more reading and I am hoping that by the end of the year I may even get good at doing nothing. I have a hammock in which I have only spent four hours in the last six months—a situation I intend to remedy once summer arrives.

“We have about 1.5 acres here and we look after our daughter’s garden down the road, and in Wellington, the garden at our house which is rented together with my mother-in-law’s garden, so perhaps I should list myself as a part-time gardener. We are far from self-sufficient but we are not doing too badly with eggs (although the chickens are taking the winter off to moult), cabbages, broccoli (take that George W.), beans, potatoes, red onions, radishes, lettuce, rocket, mizuna, pumpkins, rhubarb, apples, pears, plums, quinces, lemons, lemonades, grapefruit, oranges, limes, one very lonely mandarin, and fresh herbs. My tomatoes and nectarines were a disaster this year and my entire garlic crop was wiped out by rust. I will put a new crop in soon and cross my fingers.

“We plan to do a little travelling—I just got back from 10 days visiting family in New York. We will be in Sydney in June to see our youngest daughter and her husband who is living there, and Rarotonga in August just to sit on the beach. As of today, all of my children and grandchildren are well and settled. Looking at the politics in the U.S. I am feeling very good about my decision to move to New Zealand (The Trump or Jacinda Adern? Hmmm? Not a very hard choice). It’s not perfect over here. Jacinda bailed on bringing in a capital gains tax which we should have, and the farmers and developers are still much too powerful. However, it remains a mostly civilized place to live and by and large we can have political discourse without ending up as implacable enemies. It helps that there are only 4.7 million people and about a third of them are in Auckland. We are still subjects of the Queen and we have someone named Archie as the seventh in line to the throne.”

Darwin Poritz, who works at the Johnson Space Center in Houston sent the following: “This past October, I spent three wonderful weeks in Berlin studying German at the GLS Sprachschule. The instructors kept the classes animated, and there were afternoon or evening tours and Saturday excursions to Wernigerode, Rostok, and Warnemünde. I took advantage of the excellent breakfasts and the off-campus apartment offered by the school in the charming Prenzlauer Berg district. Two highly enjoyable Fat Tire Tours on bicycles exposed me to the city’s history and renown graffiti. Of course, I enjoyed the schnitzel, goulash, and hefe-weissbier as often as possible. My son John visited me for a few days in Berlin to enjoy the bier and schnitzel.

“In February, I had a week of skiing in Whitefish, Mont. We had a good time when my brother Noah and his wife Leona joined me from Bozeman for a few days.”

The photo of a long-haired Rusty Helgrenattached to his obituary takes us right back to our undergraduate years. On that note, Jacob Scherr sent the Alumni Office a photo from the infamous Grateful Dead concert on campus, spurring a flurry of e-mails, what I think might be called a meme about dramatic times then and now. Jacob asked: “What can we distill from our days at Wesleyan and the five decades since to give hope and ideas for the future?” Consensus was that that is an excellent question, worthy of being a theme of our 50th Reunion. Bruce Williamsasked, “Do we worry most for our grandchildren now?”

Involved in the discussion were David White (who arranged for the Dead to play), Bill Tam, Steve Talbot, Jeremy Serwer, Bruce Williams, Carl Johnson, Barry Gottfried, and Jim Elston ’70, MAT’72. Steve reminded us that the Dead gave a terrible performance. (I thought at the time that they sure had long jams, but didn’t think they played badly; a later listen to the recording of it changed my mind.) Carl mentioned that his Alpha Delt brother John Barlow ’69 had been a high school friend of Dead member Bob Weir and completed an autobiography called Mother American Night shortly before his death in 2018. (The book involves Wesleyan remembrances and Carl recommends it.) Barry wrote that his “nephew, Adam Schumacher, then two, danced on Foss Hill to the delight of the crowd. He’s now 50 of course. Still has a rock band—the Dead were his inspiration!!”

Steve T. also reminded us that a meeting was held in the chapel afterward to plan an open mic meeting the next day to discuss and vote on whether we would declare a strike and shut down the campus in response to the invasion of Cambodia and the Panther trials. I’m hoping the photo, and others from our tenure at Wesleyan, can be displayed at our reunion next May.

Speaking of the 50th Reunion, Jeremy Serwerhas been coordinating outreach, contacting as many of our classmates as possible to encourage them to attend, and reporting it to be a very enjoyable endeavor. He would like more of us to make calls, so please contact him if you can help. You can visit him at the farm in Connecticut or call him at 860/928-7660.

I have been a bit involved in the Reunion committee and would like information anyone may have about casting a brass or bronze medallion for the occasion. Also, I expressed an interest to the committee in displaying some photographs at Reunion and wonder if any of you also might have an interest in doing so.

And now for an unpaid advertisement: Come to our 50th Reunion! (May 21-24, 2020). There will be regional events throughout the year including a planning meeting at Wesleyan on Nov. 2. All are welcome to attend. If you have program ideas, want to get involved, or haven’t heard from the Committee, contact Kate Quigley Lynch ’82, P’17, ’19 at klynch@wesleyan.eduor 860/685-5992.

Write when you have news or not.

Russ Josephson |
P.O. Box 1151, Kilauea, HI 96754

CLASS OF 1970 | 2019 | ISSUE 1

Aloha, everyone. Maurice Hakim and Carol are “glad to be back in Florida for the winter although we already miss being in our 1799 Cape in Clinton, Conn. We’ve made many improvements to the house. We’re now planning for the addition that includes a modern kitchen and sunporch.” Maurice is still working. His company manufactures ready-to-drink organic teas and lemonades for private-label grocery store chains. He sees Jeremy Serwer, Phil Dundas, and Charlie Farrow ’69. He’s in touch with Seth Kaufman, Jim Elston, and David Geller. Maurice is working with John Griffin on our 50th Reunion book.

Sadly, Maurice is “now afflicted with Type 2 Diabetes and its consequences, particularly neuropathy, probably as a result of my overindulging in Hostess Cupcakes and My-T Fine chocolate pudding since my early youth. I have started to take it more seriously by going to physical therapy.”

I think this is the first time we’ve heard from Mitch Grashin. Mitch’s daughter Merrily Grashin (NYU ’06), has written a wonderful book, a very funny, educational and useful, feminist cocktail book, entitled Women’s Libation! Cocktails to Celebrate a Woman’s Right to Booze (Penguin/Random House). It was the New York Times Editor’s Pick on Black Friday.

Coming out of retirement for the second time, Mitch “helped create and is working with a startup, White Eagle Insurance Solutions, located in the Bay Area, the epicenter of the new California Gold Rush. We are becoming, and will soon be established as, the de facto insurance provider nationally for the $30-plus billion commercial cannabis industry.”

Gene Legg wrote, “I am in the midst of my 40th year of teaching high school and still going strong! I see my buddy Elliot Daum occasionally at special events, and he is as wonderful as ever. I am forever grateful to Wesleyan for the incredible education we all received and to Psi U for putting up with my self-centered idiocy for four years. I have raised two wonderful sons (28 and 24 respectively) and managed to stay out of trouble for most of our 48 years since graduation. Since I went to Harvard to get a graduate degree, I feel qualified to compare these two bastions of education. I loved Harvard, but no comparison: WesTech is in first place in every category!”

Mark Geannette retired after practicing law for 45 years. He and wife Gloria have been traveling, most notably to French Polynesia and Sardinia. For his 70th birthday they went to Easter Island.

Colin Kitchens is “in the San Francisco Bay Area with my wife and three dogs. I have been writing and the narrative and my energy to pursue it are about to collide. In exciting news, classmates, I am looking for an alternative to death, and making some incredible headway. I will set up a GoFundMe page soon­­—you don’t want to be late for this train.”

Still a political leader, Steve Talbot, regularly posts thoughtful and informative pieces on Facebook. On a related note, you’ll want to get Bob Stone’s Trumpericks books. You can see samples on FB regularly.

As I write, Jeremy Serwer is speaking on a group call of the 50th Reunion committee exhorting folks to call classmates about the Reunion. (He’s chairman of the outreach committee.) If you know anyone who’s kind of off-the-grid, please let the committee know how to contact the person, or better yet, do it yourself!

Our 50th Reunion is May 21-24, 2020, slightly more than a year away. A robust Reunion committee (Alschuler, Bullard, Carter, Dachs, Daum, Davis, Diamond, Elston, Fain, Geller, Gottfried, Griffin, Hakim, Hazel, Heilweil, Johnson, Jones, Josephson, Kellogg, Knight, Krugman, Laitos, Murphy, Ossad, Policoff, Poritz, Saltzman, Sarles, Scherr, Serwer, Sheffield, Silvestro, Stone, Talbot, Tam, White, Williams, Woods) is busy reaching out to folks to collect up-to-date contact information, as we want as many of you to come back to Middletown as possible.

Work has started on a class book and programming ideas are already being discussed. Look for pre-Reunion regional events and if close by, attend! Want to get involved or haven’t heard from one of us? Contact Kate Quigley Lynch ’82, P’17, ’19 at or 680/685-5992. And, please check out for the latest news.

I’m happy to report visible progress on the never-ending building project here on Kaua’i. The elevated solar rack is well underway, and the house foundation is scheduled to be poured in a few days. I can’t tell you the joy! Speaking of which, I made my first trip to New Orleans at the end of December and loved it. For anyone interested, I posted a lot of photos on FB.

Russ Josephson |
P.O. Box 1151, Kilauea, HI 96754

CLASS OF 1970 | 2018 | ISSUE 3

Aloha. I’m sorry once again to have to begin the column announcing the death of another classmate. Arden Reed has died from an aggressive cancer. After Wesleyan, Arden earned a master’s and a doctoral degree in comparative literature. He had been a professor at Pomona College for several years.

Bill Bullard wrote of Arden (known as Bud “in the day”): “. . . I keepcoming across former students of his at Pomona who remember him as a star, a fascinating teacher and extraordinarily dedicated to his students.” Bill noted that his new book Slow Art was acclaimed and that he “had just begun a series a interviews and lectures about the book when he became sick. I know Dan Rosenheim visited him in Santa Fe when Arden was on sabbatical there and may have more stories. Arden and I wrote back and forth several times about the new book and reminisced about Phil Hallie’s Philosophy of Art course, which we took together in the College of Letters and which Arden in part credited for his interest in the arts. Bud was in our group of COL students who studied in Paris in the spring of 1968 and lived the extraordinary mayhem of Mai ’68.”

Arden “Bud” Reed and Michael Flynn, Hotel Stella, Paris, May 1968

Bob Stone (aka Robert Mark Stone on Facebook) visited family and friends in New York recently. He indicates he is “still living the retirement good life in sunny (and hotter than ever) Southern California. Spending lots of quality time with our 5- and 9-year-old granddaughters and 3-year-old grandson. We consider ourselves extremely lucky that they all live nearby. And another granddaughter is due next February!

“Nancy and I continue to travel and gain an appreciation for other places and people. This spring we were in our happiest place again: photographic safari in Africa. This was our third such adventure and we can’t seem to get enough of it. This time we went to two private game reserves adjacent to Kruger National Park in South Africa. It was spectacular! We followed that with a safari on horseback in Botswana. I should say that Nancy was on horseback and I was in a Land Rover, since I failed to meet the ‘must be able to gallop away from danger’ qualification. We also visited Johannesburg, with a fascinating tour of Soweto. Our understanding of the history and culture was enhanced by having listened to Trevor Noah’s book Born a Crime during the long flights over from Los Angeles. I highly recommend the Audible version of the book, as Noah himself reads it and imitates the wonderful voices and accents.

“My other retirement avocation has been writing limericks, specifically ones poking fun at current POTUS. It’s been a therapeutic outlet for me. My first volume, entitled Trumpericks, was published last November. The next one, called Trumpericks 2: Stable Genius, will hit the market by early October. The first had about 160 verses and the new one has over 300 more. They’re arranged chronologically, supported by informative endnotes (the lawyer in me), and accompanied by cartoon illustrations from a wonderfully talented artist. Together these ‘covfefe-table books’ provide a satirical history of the first 20-months of this administration. Both books are available on Amazon. So much for the shameless self-promotion. I look forward to seeing my Wes classmates at our upcoming 50th (gulp) Reunion in 2020.” [Note: if you’re not seeing Bob’s posts on Facebook, you’re missing out. I recommend the books.]

Peter Ratner write that he and his wife retired at the beginning of the year. They now spend about two-thirds of their time in Greytown with seven chickens (three of which are Aracanas and lay blue eggs). The rest of their time is spent in Wellington with their daughter and granddaughter as well as with an aging cat who is ‘remarkably spry for 17.’ Peter says, “I don’t miss work in the slightest and so far, I have been so busy I haven’t had time to wonder what I am going to do with myself. I have just discovered podcasts and audiobooks which I can get from the library and am in training to do the Milford Sound at the end of February which is the last of the four Great Walks in New Zealand and the only one I haven’t done.” Peter says, “I am seriously considering turning up for the big 5-0.”

Had a note from Ralph Moore on behalf of himself and Pete Stein. Ralph wrote, “We opened the Stein & Moore law firm in St. Paul, Minn., in 1977 and practiced together since (known locally as Pete and Ralph’s Pretty Good Law Firm). This year, being tired of management stuff, we closed the firm and merged our practice across the Mississippi into a Minneapolis firm, and continue to work at the law.” Ralph says that both he and Pete (and their wives) plan on attending the 50th Reunion in 2020.

And now for this column’s challenge. Darwin Poritz says that [in last] “September my wife and I became-great grandparents—I am wondering if anyone in the class beat me to this feat. Being a great-grandfather is pretty special—until I realize it means I am married to a great-grandmother.” Well, did anyone beat him? [aside from his wife] In other news, Darwin indicates he has an upcoming trip to Berlin, Germany to study German “at the GLS Sprachzentrum in the trendy district of Prenzlauer Berg and taking in the sights.”

Ted Reed writes, “In September, we survived Hurricane Florence in Charlotte despite getting 11 inches of rain on our street. I should also mention that we also survived Hurricane Andrew in Miami in 1991 despite getting 170 mph winds on our street. Survival has given me confidence that I will make it to the 2020 Reunion, assuming that the informality of the ‘60s is maintained. I didn’t think I would end up in the South, but I guess I was heavily influenced by our 1970 seminar with Joe Reed on post-Faulkner southern lit. The texts included The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, which was written in Charlotte. ”

John Sheffield wrote that he’s been busy with three sailing deliveries “up and down the East Coast (Florida to New York) in spring and summer, car trips to visit friends in Georgia and South Carolina, transporting family members by car back and forth between Florida and New York, a military reunion (Florida), and The Big One, a trip about to happen as I write this: a month in New Zealand visiting a daughter.” John is excited to help plan our 50th Reunion in 2020.

And from “the booming metropolis (1,250 people) of Petersham, Mass.” We get word that Bart Wendell and wife Sandra (Whaley) are beginning their 50th year of friendship and 38th of marriage. “She splits her time between photography from her kayak, monarch butterfly rescue, and tilling the earth. I am winding down my leadership consulting practice and returning to behavioral medicine as ‘the migraine-free coach’ (both for my clients and now after 45 years of chronic migraines, myself).” Bart continues, “I have been officiating at far too many memorial services for my friends and neighbors. Yesterday’s, for our neighbor Dr. Alan Bachrach, included an absolutely brilliant ‘eulogy’ by another neighbor, (recently retired from WBUR award-winning journalist) David Boeri ’71. As for me, if my extroverted mom is any indication at almost 99, I’m hoping to stick it out for the long run and keep up my road bike riding. Getting back to the piano is next on my list.” Bart’s son, George (26), continues as an administrator in the IT department at Harvard Business School daughter Amelia (31) is a vet tech.

Out there in the Midwest, John Rinehart wrote, “I am still actively practicing infertility medicine in Chicago. My wife is a BSN, JD who has her own consulting firm for healthcare risk management. I have stayed academically active by teaching residents, medical students and technically have a title of senior educator at Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago. But I have found data analysis exciting and have just completed a master’s in predictive analytics at Northwestern University. Now I just need to figure how to commodity it.” John has two grandchildren, a girl and a boy, aged 3 and 1 respectively. He says, “I currently live in Burr Ridge, Ill., a western suburb of Chicago and would welcome visits from classmates if they are in the area. [In addition to that recent master’s, John has an M.D., PhD., and JD degrees!]

Out there in Colorado, Mark Fuller (he is still active skiing as reported in an earlier column) has just published his first book entitled Birds of Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley. Says Mark, “My many years of birding and photography were the impetus for the book, which has been 2 ½ years in the making. I did the photography while my colleague and good friend, Rebecca Weiss, did the text. The book covers 155 species familiar to the Aspen area and includes some rarities and migrants. It features 263 color photos, maps of birding ‘hotspots,’ and essays on habitat, bird conservation, and birding ethics. If anyone is interested in buying a copy, they can reach me via my FB page, MarkWell Images or by e-mail at” [In Alaska, the snowbirds leave at the first sign of Termination Dust, but I take it these are real birds.]

We have survived some nasty flooding in April and several near-hits from hurricanes this season. As visible progress finally is occurring on our house-building project under the direction of a new general contractor, we’re holding our breath a bit until the end of hurricane season in a few months. Still teaching middle school (computers this year—I call on the nearest 6-year-old for help if I get stuck) and still enjoying marriage to my wonderful wife, Vera, after 31 years, as well as the occasional jaunt with the Kaua’i Jeep Club. Lots of photos on Facebook. Need to market them!

I encourage you to join your classmates who already have declared their intent to attend our 50th Reunion. I’m truly hoping to see a lot of you there. Meanwhile, if you’re coming to Kaua’i, let me know.

Russ Josephson |
P.O. Box 1151, Kilauea, HI 96754

Kim C. Fabricius ’70

Kim C. Fabricius ’70 passed away on July 1, 2018 at the age of 69. The following is an heartfelt obituary by Fabricius’ friend, Ben Myers:

My friend Kim Fabricius has died. On the weekend I received an email from his family. He was at his local coffee shop when he died, suddenly and unexpectedly. I didn’t realise a person like that could die. I had assumed that a light as bright as Kim’s would never go out.

He used to sit at that coffee shop scribbling his prolific “doodlings” – jokes and aphorisms and insults – on the paper napkins, before sending them to me.

We became friends 12 years ago when Kim started writing with me on the Faith & Theology blog. I loved the guy. He was so funny, so sharp, so widely read, so cultured in an utterly irreverent and self-deprecating way, so over-the-top, so New York. He got his Christianity straight from Karl Barth and Dostoevsky and the Book of Job, which might explain why he didn’t have much patience for cultural Christianity or the platitudes of a feel-good therapeutic faith.

He had become a Christian while reading Karl Barth’s commentary on Romans: at the start of the book he was an unbeliever, and by the end of it he had decided to become a minister of the gospel. (Later, when he had a son, he named him Karl.)

Kim spent a long ministry in a little Reformed congregation in Swansea in the south of Wales. He was a pastor to those people, as you’ll know if you have read any of the innumerable sermons, hymns, and liturgies that he made available online. Not to mention his seemingly endless supply of down-to-earth wisdom about the ministry: “When I prepare couples for marriage and come to the vow ‘till death us do part’, I always tell them to cheer up – it could be longer.” Or this: “It may be easier to negotiate with a terrorist than with a church organist, but it is easier to negotiate with a church organist than with a cat.” Or this: “A minister is something of a jack-of-all-trades – without the skills.”

In some ways Kim was a pastor to me too. We wrote to each other hundreds (or was it thousands?) of times. When I suffered personal griefs and defeats, I would turn to him for counsel. He was a pastoral realist, he liked to face things squarely just as they are, and there was great understanding and great kindness in the way he could talk to you about the challenges of living with ordinary human brokenness. He was one of those people who makes you wonder if there might be a point to having Christian ministers around after all.

Kim was a person with few illusions and much love. “What’s the difference between optimism and hope?” he once asked, and answered: “Hope is for pessimists.”

He wrote once that “God invented the church to give atheists a fighting chance” – yet he devoted his life to serving the church. He railed against America – yet he was proud to be a New Yorker, and he was always contemplating the theological advantages of American sports. In a very characteristic remark, he wrote: “Karl Barth said that when he gets to heaven he will seek out Mozart before Calvin. Quite right – and presumably he spoke to Calvin only to compare errors. Me – I’ll be heading for the choir of angels, to find Sandy Koufax, to see how he made the baseball sing.” (But the pitcher has outlived the pastor. I hope Sandy Koufax will seek out Kim one day and bestow the longed-for benediction.)

Kim and I had formed a strong friendship over the internet before we ever met in person. We met one day in the United States – it was during one of his annual trips to New York to visit his mother – and I was stunned to realise that he was thirty years older than me. His heart and mind were so young, I had assumed that perhaps I was the elder brother. He was old enough to be my father, yet Kim Fabricius was one of the youngest people I have ever known. In his mind there was nothing stagnant or stale. He was still curious, still supple, still exploring the possibilities, still seeing life as an adventure of faith, hope, and love. At the age of 69 he died; and he was only getting started.

We thank Ben Myers for this heartfelt obituary.