JAMES A. EATON JR., 60, an owner and chief financial officer of Eaton Office Supply, died Oct. 24, 2013. He was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon and earned his MBA from the University of Buffalo. Before joining the family business, which is the largest independent family office supply company in the Buffalo, N.Y., region, he worked for Price Waterhouse. He was also an active community volunteer.
It looks like the Class of ’75 has turned some sort of corner. I find myself writing increasingly about retirements, children’s graduations and marriages, and classmates becoming grandparents. The thing that goes along with those milestones, however, is more frequent reports of classmates who have died. This column has the sad distinction of covering fewer activities of our living members than departures. While most of us have crossed the six-decade mark, it’s way too early for our notes to take this turn. With that, I report the passing of three classmates.
James “Scooter” Eaton Jr. died Oct. 24 in his Williamsville, N.Y., home after a short struggle with cancer. Jim was owner and CFO of Eaton Office Supply, founded by his grandfather in 1915. Jim also had executive roles in three of the company’s divisions, Prentice Office Environments, Office Furniture Center, and BGI Interiors. He was a fourth-generation Wes alumnus and a member of DKE. After Wes he earned his MBA and worked for Price Waterhouse before joining the family business. His volunteer commitments included the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York and his local parish, the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation, the Family Justice Center, Friends of Night People, Habitat for Humanity, and Big Brothers. He also coached children in soccer and baseball for local leagues. Jim’s wife, Norine Hibschweiler, and children Tim, Mark, and Alana survive him, as do his mother and five siblings.
June Jeffries let me know that George Jett ’72 lost his wife and our classmate, Lynn MacFarlane, on Nov. 1, after a terrible seven-month illness. George observed that Lynn “lived a life full of love, intelligence, humor, professionalism, generosity, civility and family,” describing her as “exceptional in everything she did” as a corporate executive, mother, daughter, sister, wife, colleague and friend. Lynn, June, and three others lived together sophomore year in East College and junior year in the William Street high-rise. Services were held in Connecticut, and Lynn was buried in her native Ohio. The Lung Cancer Research Foundation was designated the charity of choice for anyone wishing to make a memorial donation in Lynn’s name.
Steve Pippin reported that Dave Morse passed away in July under hospice care in California. Dave had been in declining health for some time, but he lived to see the Supreme Court legalize gay marriage, and he tied the knot with his partner, Joe.
On a brighter note, I am on a bi-monthly commute to Massachusetts to see my mother, now approaching 93. I try to see Wes friends each time I go. On the home front, our daughter, Julia, has happily immersed in freshman year at Stanford. Ethan, 17, is in the throes of an academically intense junior year in high school relieved by his favorite class, Auto Shop, and his athletic endeavors as a springboard diver.
Steve McCarthy has stayed in touch with several NYC area ’75ers this year, including Steve Ross, Harold Levy, Cliff Chanin, Seth Gelblum, Joe Morningstar, Randy Sellier, Roger Weisberg, and Mark Schonberger, to name a few. The landmark event this year was celebrating his 25th anniversary with his wife, Kathleen. Along with their children, MaryKate (23) and Kevin (20), they celebrated in Belize at FFC’s Turtle Inn resort. Working with “the world’s top media legal experts at Loeb and Loeb—Seth Gelblum and partners” Steve is walking the path of a co-lead investor and executive producer on two corporate bio-documentaries, Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s in 2013 and I’m Crazy About Tiffany’s in 2014. He’s working on additional projects in wealth management/ philanthropy/social entrepreneurship/film/theater and enjoyed seeing Steve Ross at Ohio University film school. Steve also planned to attend the Wesleyan Alumni in Philanthropy and Public Service (WAPPS) program at Homecoming Weekend, having been deeply involved in WAPPS’ development and programs. He sends along the following wish: “May all us Cardinals enjoy our “sexagenarian birthdays” this year…. I’m hoping for 25 more!”
I second that emotion! Keep more of the good news coming in 2014, and please stay healthy. In the meantime, let us know how you celebrated turning 60, whether with revelry or reflection.
Cynthia M. Ulman
860 Marin Drive. Mill Valley, CA 94941-3955
BARBARA GIFFEN SWAIN, 57, an attorney who spent most of her professional legal career in the Office of the Maryland Attorney General, most recently serving as Principal Counsel to the State Treasurer’s Office, died Feb. 4, 2011. A religion major, she served as a VISTA volunteer after receiving her degree cum laude, and then received a dual MBA/JD degree in 1981 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also participated in the family business, The Dunes Manor Hotel and Dunes Motel in Ocean City, Md. A community leader, she was active in educational, religious, and professional organizations. Among those who survive are her husband, Fred Demers, two sons, and a large extended family.
NORMA B. BOURDEAU, 69, who retired as a visiting lecturer at Frostburg State University, died Feb. 7, 2010. She matriculated at Wesleyan 14 years after graduating from high school in New Jersey, and after receiving her degree worked for the Travelers Insurance Company, where she was the assistant director of training. She also taught writing courses part–time. In 1994, she received a master’s degree in theology from Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Conn., and then joined the faculty at Frostburg. She also lectured on various aspects of the Underground Railroad and in 2003 led the reorganization of the Allegany Branch of the NAACP, serving as its president. Among those who survive are her husband, Ray Bourdeau, five stepchildren, her daughter–in–law, two grandchildren, and numerous cousins.