CLASS OF 1970 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

Aloha, all.

I have to start off with this from Len Rubenstein: “I never submit—but I suppose after a half century it’s time. . . .”  Well, alrighty then! He continues: “It’s only taken me 51 years since graduation to write my first (and last) book, on violence against health care in war, an issue I’ve worked on for the past 25 years as director of a human rights organization (Physicians for Human Rights), and now at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. It’s called Perilous Medicine: The Struggle to Protect Health Care from the Violence of War (available on Amazon). It’s more of a swansong than a catapult to future work, though I plan to continue to teach, write, and run a coalition on protecting health care in war for a couple more years.

“My wife Margaret and I got through the pandemic better than many others, and even got to babysit all the time for our pandemic grandchild, now one, who lives five minutes away and in our pod. We missed seeing the other two grandkids, who live in Minneapolis.  I also experienced the frustrations of trying to learn something new at this stage of life, taking up the piano, and not managing to keep up with 6-year-olds.”

Another classmate has written a book. Chuck Caramello wrote to say, “My new book, Riding to Arms: A History of Horsemanship and Mounted Warfare, will be published in fall 2021 by University Press of Kentucky in the press’s series, Horses in History.”     Have you talked with Jeremy about shooting on horseback? (See below.)

And another!  (I had better get moving on one of mine.)  Gerald Everett Jones wrote, “My news is that my eleventh novel, Harry Harambee’s Kenyan Sundowner was released on June 29, 2021. It’s already won two book awards for literary fiction. Here’s what I have to say about why I wrote it: I came to love Kenya, but I also realized what a huge cultural adjustment it was for me. That shift in mindset is what motivated me to write the story. In particular, I expect many Americans assume that our cultural differences and racial issues are much the same there. They aren’t.”

Gerald sends warm regards and exhorts us to “Carry on and fear not!”

And the Brooklyn Cowboy, Jeremy Serwer, wrote;  “Had a great year with the horses; my competition gelding has been terrific. Took a First Class win—and clean shoot— in Cowboy Mounted Shooting just a few days before going in for heart valve surgery on June 10. At this writing, recovering really well from that and hope to be competing again by late July. The pandemic reduced work to a low point, though I was considering retirement this year anyway: more time for riding/training/practicing and my volunteer gigs. Wife Nancy is on a two-year leave from the airline and studying hard for her Personal Training certification—plus going to the gym five times a week. She’s truly ripped.”

Jeremy’s reviving efforts to reach out to more classmates to encourage attendance at our 50th-51st-52nd Reunion from April 28 to May 1. I know he would welcome your help making phone calls or otherwise contacting a few classmates.

Russell Bradshaw wrote from Sweden that “my wife Gunilla and I have received both our Pfizer shots weeks ago, but still wear ‘COVID masks’ and maintain ‘safe distance’ as we very gradually come out of our ‘bubble.’ . . .  It seems unreal and strange for us ‘over 70s’ to watch everyone else in Sweden continuing to go about their lives as they normally do (no face masks, little testing and tracing, everything is based on ‘personal responsibility’ over here). Most of the really old and fragile have already died off, so mortality rates are way down as vaccination simultaneously increases. We’ll see if we can make it over to Portland, Oregon, to see our son’s family and our granddaughters after 2 1/2 years!! Wow… hope you and our classmates are all ‘weathering the storm.’”

Brief, but good news from Peter Traneus Anderson: “I have been vaccinated for COVID-19. I was fortunate that a Boston hospital at which I had been a patient reached out to me to offer vaccinations to me. The lockdowns didn’t affect my life much, as I was already living a mostly stay-at-home retirement.”

Rob Baker wrote:  “In July, our daughter Emily Blazar (Whitman College 2002) had a beautiful new daughter, Silvianna, to be sister to our grandson Eli. Our son Peter (Whitman 2006) is getting married to Karrah Rust (University of Idaho 2012) in Park City this August. Peter works at Skullcandy in Park City and Karrah works at Podium in Salt Lake City.”   It turns out that Rob will be a part-time neighbor as he shared, “We bought a house on the Kauai north shore this year!” And, last but not least, “I had a hole in one last June. My first ever.”

Assistant Class Agent Gordon Fain wrote: “Thanks so much from the Class Agents and Wesleyan Annual Fund and Reunion Fund staff to those class members and significant others who have already documented annual gifts, will and trust gifts and other gifts to our class of ’70 credit for calendar year 2021. For any questions, get in touch with Kate Lynch at Alumni Affairs, who coordinates all Reunion classes for Wesleyan.  The volunteers on the Reunion Committee discussed these matters with Ms. Lynch and several also attended Wesleyan’s online training on Gifts and Endowments, during the COVID situation.

“Several of us took advantage of the favorable IRA and Retirement Fund Required Minimum Distribution (RMD), which makes a distribution DIRECTLY to Wesleyan advantageous by NOT taxing that amount as ordinary income. This does NOT require itemizing and can be for a simple gift of $500 or more from your RMD.  Consult your tax preparer, savvy significant other, or Wesleyan special gifts staff.

“Best wishes for a safe fall season and for travel to Connecticut for those who can come here.”

Mark Geannette wrote that “[o]ur daughter Marissa was married last December—on the Big Island—underwater scuba diving! Our son’s 2-year-old twins have begun an all-Spanish speaking preschool. Gloria and I have gradually come out of our travel shell—Florida Keys in May, Hawaii in June and (we hope) Sardinia, Italy, this fall. Best regards to the whole class.”

And an older email from Elbridge Smith way over there on O’ahu.  (Apologies for not getting this into the column last time; I spaced out the deadline and didn’t submit.  Bad class secretary.)

“Just got my copy and read several great articles (with too many frustrating masked pictures) . . .  finally getting to your Trump-era class notes. Yes, election results are now known on Oahu, maybe even on landslide-stricken Kauai.”  (This is a reference to a landslide between Princeville and Hanalei on the North Shore.)

Elbridge inquired of Steve and Mary Ching, but I haven’t seen them in a long time.  (Steve and Mary were full-time Kaua’i residents at one time.) Like many of us, he regrets not being able to make family-related trips.

Also found an older email from Bruce Williams referring to an online Reunion planning meeting. Bruce says, “See you all in the springtime of 2022, with any luck at all.”

And Capt. John Sheffield wrote (presumably from his dry-docked boat), “Still safety conscious and healthy in New York City. We are making occasional short (in both time and distance) car trips for fun. Taking time out from tennis to rehabilitate a strained shoulder. Spending time playing ukulele and learning more about racial injustice, institutionalized racism and alternatives to policing in addressing the problems (e.g., wealth inequity, number of citizens below the poverty level, mass incarceration, etc.) in the US.”  Well, as long as you’re not doing anything too serious.

I hope everyone is planning on attending our 50th–51st–52nd Reunion from April 28 to May 1. (How often do you get to go to a reunion with a title like that??)

Remember, don’t trust anyone under 70. Take care of yourselves.

A hui hou.

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