Dean S. Holmes ’77 passed away on December 17, 2021. A full obituary can be found here.
The floodgates have opened: folks are travelling, people are gathering, and weddings have been rescheduled. All in all, we have begun to exhale after the tough year of 2020 and appreciating seeing people from outside our respective bubbles. Will and Liz Sillin will be in Zion this September after his residency was rescheduled to this year. Vanessa Burgess checked in to remind all about contributing to the Wesleyan Fund and to make sure that we note that our 45th Reunion is in 2022. Francis Rath wrote on being on the front line during the COVID crisis at the Loudoun County Help Desk, managing volunteers for the health department that put in over 90,000 hours of time. They cannot be thanked enough!
Susanna Peyton writes that while their lives were uprooted for their special needs son during COVID, the addition of a small one who is their other son’s first child has made the whole clan happier. Susannah’s father is 89, requiring family care, so it has been a busy year. Michael Balf, the assistant mayor of his kibbutz for the last four years, wrote suggesting several terrific ideas for panel discussions at our Reunion next year, including panels on local government and kibbutz life, and a panel of people who have lived their adult lives overseas, looking at the United States from afar and up close.
Jonathan Gertler wrote that all children are healthy and thriving in their varying professions as are he and wife Jane. And in the “triumph of persistent delusions, Jonathan’s third album No Fear is being released by a Nashville label (Rock Ridge Music) in September. While thankful for his day job, he still loves making music. Jonathan keeps in close touch with Bob Krakower, Ellen Gendler and Susan (Davis) Pereira. Jane Goldenring is a proud new parent of Teddy, a rescue bichon frise mix. As we know dogs add a great deal to the quality of our lives.
Jane Eisner has returned to Manhattan, from upstate New York. She has happily had in-person reunions over dinner and drinks with Argus “brothers,” Don Lowery and Cliff Chanin ’75. She is grateful that she along with her family are in good health. As a second time Granny, Iddy Olson is experiencing opposing pulls in her life: torn between work client needs and children’s hugs awaiting in Jackson Hole. David Schreff is current enjoying his role as CEO at ACTV8me.com in Los Angeles. He is an adjunct professor teaching at Parsons School of Design (Paris). He recently became a granddad, which provides much new joy in his life.
Jay Kilbourn writes: “A dramatic year following divorce. Continued sustainable infrastructure consulting project in Kenya. Contracted COVID-19 with my new companion, Wendy, in March last year in New York City, as they declared a state of emergency.” They both recovered after moderate cases replete with fear, atop all the symptoms. They traveled the country in a camper trailer for five months, sporting their “immunity” and masks. She adds, “Amazing look at America during the time of COVID. Now expecting first granddaughter.”
I could relate to Joan Goldfeder’s wishes that the reopening of the world did not come with long automobile traffic. Joan expresses great gratitude for family and friends: lots of long calls, lots of laughter, lots of shared sorrow and joy. She had dinner with Joe Tringali recently in LA. I In addition, she just started a new marketing consulting project with the University of California, Los Angeles Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities, expecting to be busy the next several months. And in September, she and son Eli went to Oregon on a hiking and biking trip. By the way, Joan, it is not pathetic that you requested an e-bike for this trip.
Finally, I close with a pair of sad news items. Our class lost two members recently: Maco Stewart and Winifred Van Roden. Winifred fought a 17-year-long battle with bronchiectasis. She is survived by husband John Williams and daughter Frances Williams ’14. Frances comments: “Winifred was strong and funny and creative and stubborn (which I inherited) and effortlessly elegant (which I did not inherit), and she fought so hard for so many years. I feel so lucky that we got to be adults together for a little while. I really wanted more time. She was at the top of the transplant list when she died. As much as we were hoping for new lungs, we are grateful she was able to donate some of her organs.” Maco Stewart had been described as a “seeker” throughout his life: from studying meditation and Eastern religions to becoming an active member of the congregation at Crossroads Bible Church. He was father to five children and died peacefully from cardiac arrest in Los Alamos, New Mexico.
Winifred L. Van Roden ’77, P’14 passed away on June 6, 2021. A full obituary can be found here.
Maco Stewart ’77 passed away on January 29, 2021. A full obituary can be found here.
The world seems a bit brighter these days: literally with added daylight hours, as well as better news with vaccinations arriving and COVID case numbers dropping. People are beginning to make plans again, even seeing weddings that were deferred in 2020 rescheduled for later this year. All welcome news! In addition, classmates supplied some updates from their respective bubbles.
William Altman sent along a cover of his most recent book, Ascent to the Beautiful—Plato the Teacher and the Pre-Republic Dialogues from Protagoras to Symposium. The reviews are very positive. Susan White writes in that she moved to Brookline, Massachusetts with her partner Jonathan and enjoys being a condo owner and not having to shovel. Her son graduated from social work school and got married in November in a COVID-approved socially-distanced ceremony. Sue’s daughter is teaching locally at Teach for America.
Steve Gold writes that he and wife Sue are living in Brooklyn Heights, New York, where they moved after becoming empty nesters in 2012. At the start of 2021, Steve retired after serving 28 years as a U.S. magistrate judge for the Eastern District of New York and has joined JAMS, beginning a new chapter with a private mediation and arbitration service. Like many in our class he received his second vaccine dose and is now planning trips to join family he has not seen in over a year. Steve remains in close touch with Andy Adesman and Rick Dennett and can report good health and eager anticipation for more normal circumstances moving forward.
Bob Krakower now lives in Amherst, Massachusetts with wife Rosalie Burrows, whom he met in law school. He took early retirement moving to Montserrat, a small Caribbean island, but eventually moved back to the States because of a continuing volcanic eruption. Everyone, including children and grandchildren, are doing well. Friends from Wesleyan, especially Jonathan Gertler and Joanne Silver ’74, are still among Bob’s closest friends.
Rachel Feldman is grateful to have been able to continue to help her fellow New Yorkers during this pandemic via teletherapy, after 30 years of providing “in person” psychotherapy in Manhattan. Mark Slitt is not retired, but is fully vaccinated, which is big news. John Fink got the dreaded COVID disease and after many months, had no sense of taste (some would argue that has been the case for 60+ years) and limited sense of smell.
Joe Mabel retired in December 2020 from the software industry and has plunged back into music. He started The Weill Project dedicated to the work of the German (later American) composer Kurt Weill (who happened to be a distant relative of this writer). Hank Rosenfeld recently went hiking in Death Valley National Park with Bob Rees. Hank is working on an oral history of KSAN-FM in San Francisco, the first hippie underground freeform radio station, founded in the Summer of Love.
Don Spencer bought a home in St. Augustine, on the Intracoastal. He and wife Vicki will be splitting their time between Connecticut and Florida; we have all been invited to visit. Cindee Howard writes that after leaving the hospitality industry decimated by the pandemic, she is enjoying retirement by taking Hebrew classes via Zoom, has been renovating bathrooms, and plans to travel to Israel this November. Cindee sends a big thanks to Amy Fisher, who introduced her to Israeli folk-dancing the first Wednesday night we were at Wesleyan.
Iddy Olson is now fully vaccinated. She will be in Jackson Hole, Wyoming being a doting grandmother as her son (my godson Des) has had baby number two. Iddy is grateful for her good health and that of her husband who had a tough 2020; they survived well in their first year of marriage during the pandemic year. It must get easier from here on. Carol Cooper passed her oral exams for her PhD in Jungian and archetypal psychology. She now returns to NYU as Doctor Cooper, to resume teaching part time as an adjunct professor at the Clive Davis Institute for Recorded Music. In addition to teaching, Carol continues to write about pop music and culture.
Here’s to wishing everyone good health and may we all be vaccinated by the time you all read this.
It will be great for us to look forward to our 45th Reunion in 2022 when we may get to hug one another.
Several fine notes have been received during this unprecedented year reminding me of the power of connection. Being in touch has been a lifeline to us all who were so used to freely travel- ing or gathering in groups without a second thought but have not for some time now. I have described this year for myself as one of recalibration: shifting priorities to maintaining good health, appreciating all that we have and displaying civility and kindness to others. Here is to the hope these lessons remain long after vaccines have been distributed and we resume our faster paced lives.
Paul Meisel’s son Andrew was married in Maine this September. Paul’s latest book My Stinky Summer by S. Bug came out this summer: a scientifically accurate “diary” by a brown marmorated stink bug. Paul has two books ready for release including My Tiny Life by Ruby T. Hummingbird and You Poop Here, a book on potty training.
Andy Darpino is hoping to celebrate his daughter’s wedding in January 2021 after this past summer’s postponement. Once this event is completed, he will consider retirement.
Bruce Kaplan writes from Chattanooga, Tennessee that he retired from his neurology practice and runs Barking Legs Theater with his wife with a focus on dance and music events. They have been creative by streaming shows and holding outdoor events with full social distancing including “Drive-In” Dances. Bruce keeps in touch with Mac Scott as well as recently met up with Cynthia Dembrow to share thoughts and feelings surrounding the recent deaths of parents. Bruce is thankful that Maco Stewart introduced him to Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys at Wesleyan prior to becoming a resident of Tennessee.
Ellen Gendler is practicing and teaching dermatology in Manhattan. Ellen was stricken with COVID-19 in March; she experienced how onerous it is to maintain the safety of patients and staff. Ellen and her husband were able to retreat to the Berkshires to recover, which I am pleased to report she has. Son Jonathan is chief resident in medicine at Massachusetts General where he receives great career advice from Jim Udelson. He also provided Ellen with their first grandchild. Younger son Michael graduated from law school in May and begins his law career in January. Ellen sends regards to Richard Parad, who she fondly remembers studying bio with at the Science Library, many long years ago.
Hal Garneau writes that while rooming in Foss Hill 5, he met Dan Waters with whom he became close friends, grew inseparable, fell deeply in love and have been together ever since: “46 wonderful years.” Both Hal and Dan are retired in Hal’s hometown of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Hal sends a special hello to all friends and fellow dorm-mates from Foss Hill 5, which I believe is still standing. A dormitory was built on the adjacent site of a former playing field.
John Fink recently took the reins of Aloha United Way in Oahu. As so much of Hawaii’s economy is tourism based, the state has been hit especially hard. John is on the front lines providing relief on many fronts for the struggling population. As many have reported, not being to see your children or grandchildren is especially frustrating, albeit understandable. Quoting John: “Some people will look back at the horrid year of COVID-19 and talk about how they made it through, I would prefer to look back and say that I helped make a difference: that’s why we are all here in the first place.” John’s book Think About It, a compilation of editorials from 2000 to 2018, is available from Amazon.
Johnathan Gertler reports that he is well, along with his family, especially his two-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter Jhie. He is grateful to be a part of the health care community and has new music coming out soon. I smiled reading through Keith Stern’s note as I had the pleasure of being his architect for a new chapel and renovation of his temple in Newton, Massachusetts, for which Keith is rabbi. It is frustrating in that people cannot use the completed spaces. But they will! The adage that an “architect is only as good as his client” was never truer. Keith is still married after 40 years and has all five kids and grandchildren on the eastern seaboard. He completed his note stating he is studying astrophysics in his spare time and wears a mask.
Don Spencer is keeping his spirits up as he fights cancer by working hard at his firm, kayaking, biking, and obsessively buying fine watches. Even though he’s been out of touch with so many alums, he would welcome calls or (socially distanced) visits to his Westport home or NYC apartment (visitors to Westport will be required to ride in his Boston Whaler!). He can be reached at 646-691-7457 (mobile), 203-662-0123 (landline) or email@example.com.
Susan Jacobson writes from Portland that as owner of a consulting company serving nonprofits, she has been helping a range of organizations weather the pandemic. Family, including her two sons, are well and live locally. She attended some protests and is proud of her city for supporting “Black Lives Matter” so diligently and thoroughly. Susan remains hopeful for the future that our higher ideals will some day be realized.
Tom Roberts is enjoying following his son’s freshman year progress at Wesleyan; he has joined the football team though no games were scheduled in 2020.
Susan White is continuing to teach, remotely of course, at Boston University School of Medicine. She has taken to the challenge of reconnecting with folks and a rapid adaptation to a huge number of new platforms. So far so good!
To all I send you best wishes for a fine and healthy 2021!
Gerry Frank | Gfrank@bfearc.com
To be sure, the coronavirus pandemic has changed all our lives forever. The desire to connect, be in touch, has increased as we adjust to Zoom gatherings and other methods that allow us to continue work as well as survive during the time of social isolation. Slowing the pace of our day-to-day lives has had a positive effect in that we make time for reaching out, as well as perhaps cook and eat better, get some exercise, meditate, whatever. With this, I am delighted to be in touch with so many classmates via Zoom and others by phone calls and notes sent along.
Carol Weiss is doing well sheltering at home in Westchester with her husband and two of her three kids. Everyone is healthy. She is avoiding her office in Manhattan: enjoying seeing all her patients virtually. Dave Schreff sends best regards to friends Bob Yorburg, Michele Druker, Martha Meade ’76, Eric Zimmerman, and Don Lowery. Dave Levit, along with wife Ruth, lives in Amherst, Mass., where they have been since 1989. As clinical psychologists, they are adjusting to doing sessions by videoconference in the time of COVID. Dave remarks that both his daughter and son are staying in the family business: Becca completed a master’s in school counseling, Jeremy is a second-year medical student awaiting his clinical rotation in psychiatry in Brooklyn.
Dorothy Crenshaw had a Zoom happy hour with pals Marianne Diorio and Vanessa Burgess, commiserating about the pandemic in NYC, sharing gratitude at being healthy. She has been texting with Don Ryan; she managed a visit with Don, George Capone, and Cal Dysinger last October when they traveled to join her at a Steely Dan concert at the Beacon Theatre. Dorothy is busier than ever with her PR firm. She is sheltering in place in Manhattan (unlike the many who have fled) and, as an older parent, lucky that her 16-year-old daughter is still living at home and not off somewhere alone.
David Dranoff is hunkering down in Oak Park, Ill., where he has lived with wife Wendy for 28 years. Like many of us, David is working remotely, wondering if this is the time to put the work thing aside: wondering what will be the next stage of life. His kids are healthy, though not all remain employed due to the pandemic. Iddy Olson is now commuting from master bedroom to office/bedroom 12 feet away. She can’t imagine taking a train, parking, walking a half-mile each way again. Her husband, Tom, has had some health challenges in what was assumed to be a mild case of the coronavirus. He does appear to be turning the corner, which comes at a great relief to us all.
Jim Melloan is doing well in Brooklyn: had a nice Zoom session with Rich Shulman a couple of weeks ago; also in touch with Marisa Smith ’78, Miriam Wolf, and James Lyons via email. Joan Goldfeder is staying busy with a PAC that supports Democratic, pro-choice, female candidates in California and nationally. She is seeing lots of great candidates via Zoom. Joan’s son just finished college at Bucknell; she is extremely proud of his accomplishments.
John Fink has a new book out compiling his TV editorials from the past 19 years in Hawaii, published by Watermark Publishing. To quote: “When the world comes out of its largest-ever ‘timeout,’ I plan to do seminars about ‘making a difference.’” Before the shutdown, John met up with Rick Dennett and with Peter Guenther in New York. He also dropped in on former roomie, Scott Director. Lisa Brummel is working from home as a recruiter in the financial services field. Lisa is in touch with Lorraine Schwarz, among others. Her eldest son graduated from Dickinson College, and her younger son is a junior at American University. I had a nice exchange with Iddy, Mike Coffey, and Ted Stevens, sending along their good wishes. Ted and Iddy revealed their one real complaint being the inability to interact with their grandchildren, which is a sentiment echoed a lot by others in our class.
Additionally, I have been fortunate enough to be included in a cross-the-globe Zoom session with Jane Goldenring, Janet Malkemes, Ruth McMahon, Kate Seeger, Laraine Balk Hope, Wendy Giardina, Richard Parad, and Bob Katz. We organized a film club that appropriately began with each of us viewing The Big Chill and coming together to discuss via Zoom. Good stuff.
Here is hoping we all keep safe and sound during these days ahead. Best wishes to all, family and friends, during this extraordinary time.
Gerry Frank | Gfrank@bfearc.com
Retirement and our 65th birthdays are a recurring theme in many of this round of class notes.
This January Mark Slitt celebrated his “Medicare birthday.” Probably among the first in our class to do so. Mark writes: “Heads up to all: You will soon receive an avalanche of mail from insurance companies (maybe even my employer Cigna, depending on what state you live in) about Medicare Advantage plans and invitations from AARP to purchase Medicare supplemental (Medigap) plans through them. Don’t worry, it’s okay, Boomer! You’ll figure it out!”
Mark is still working at Cigna and won’t retire for several more years. He now in his 10th year on the planning committee for the Connecticut LGBTQ Film Festival, the longest-running film festival of any kind in Connecticut (33 seasons).
Arnie Alpert plans to retire in June after nearly 39 years with the American Friends Service Committee’s New Hampshire Program. As one of the state’s most respected activist leaders, a fund has been established in his name, the Arnie Alpert Action Fund. AFSC supporters can honor Arnie’s legacy with funds that will help the organization continue the education, advocacy, training, and bold action Arnie has modeled. Arnie enjoys running into recent New Hampshire residents Felice Burstein and John Roxby.
After 35 years in D.C., Rus Hemley has moved to Chicago. Rus will be the chair of natural sciences in the department of physics and chemistry at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Jason Baron continues his fine work in Cambodia through the Chelly Foundation, supporting Chelly scholars at universities in Phnom Penh as well as younger children of Chumkuri in rural Kampot Province. Donations can be made through the Chelly website: thechellyfoundation.org.
Karen Bovard ’77, MALS ’85 retired to Saint Paul, Minn., in 2016 to be closer to baby grandchildren, along with husband Greg Pyke (longtime Wesleyan admission dean). She’s recently back from her 11th trip to Cambodia, this time to celebrate the Arts4peace Festival with friends and family. She spends much of her time sewing as a volunteer for Days for Girls, making reusable feminine hygiene kits that enable girls to stay in school past puberty and help to prevent both early marriage and sexual exploitation of girls in 140-plus countries around the world. Karen continues her theater work (she directed more than 70 shows in her career) as an online reviewer in the busy Twin Cities theater scene.
Mark Ellison writes, “Life is good.” He has been consulting for Rubrik, a data management startup and, thus far has not been told “OK Boomer” by these “youngstahs.”
Mike Coffey continues to beat a path to Southern Cal to see daughter Lanie. She finished grad school in 2018 and started her career as a dietitian/supervisor at a WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Center in L.A. The Coffeys just spent their fourth Christmas season on the West Coast—this one in Santa Barbara. He’ll be heading back to see Lanie for a reggae fest in February. Daughter Jessie is engaged, with a wedding date of Oct. 2, 2020, in Newport. So, naturally, mom and dad are thrilled. While wife Laurie retired, Mike is still GM at Rite-Solutions, a small-ish software development and IT company in Newport.
Mim Wolf had been feeling strong urges to travel and see more of the world over the past several years, and finally, in November 2018, followed through, spending seven months exploring Costa Rica, Germany, Egypt, South India, Sri Lanka, Peru, and Mexico. Mim traveled solo with a backpack and totally enjoyed living in the moment, traveling by public buses, being helped by kind strangers, eating simple vegetarian foods, and experiencing bits and pieces of the various cultures and values surrounding her. She felt completely safe the entire time, and came home from those travels relaxed, rested, and replenished. Since then, Mim is back to private practice as a natural health consultant, in-person and over the phone. She appreciates the many blessings of life in Vermont; she is grateful to have seen a bit of this amazing planet, struggling as it is.
Will Sillin will be an artist in residence at Zion National Park from Oct. 19 through Nov. 16. He will head west a little early to get his Southwest Plein Air game up to speed before the residency. Will is hoping that Buddy Taft and Jim Laliberty will be able join him in the southwest sometime before the residency begins.
Concluding: Here is wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year and new decade.
Gerry Frank | Gfrank@bfearc.com
The end of an all-too brief summer has folks writing in with all sorts of updates.
Wendy Brown Giardina graced the U.S. East Coast this past fall for a visit with Boston-area family as well as friends, me included. Wendy became a grandmother to Arthur, earlier this year, who lives with his parents in Zurich.
I’ve written previously about Iddy Olson finding love in her 60s: indeed, she and partner Tom were married this fall in Chicago. It couldn’t happen to two nicer people. Iddy is thoroughly enjoying her 1-year-old granddaughter.
Ted Stevens wrote about a benefit this past May in Rhode Island: “One of the finest individuals, Nancy Scanlon Poon, a bona fide DKE, has been diagnosed with ALS. Nancy is biological sister to Robert “Bobby” Scanlon and wife (for 41 years) of Alan “Pooner” Poon ’76. Nancy is showing incredible courage under the difficult circumstances.” We all wish Nancy and her family the very best.
Mark Slitt’s travels have taken him to Germany and Poland. The program included five days at Auschwitz, where the group engaged in preservation projects, such as cleaning objects in the museum and tending the grounds of the site. This was not a typical vacation by any means, but a very meaningful one for Mark, to be sure.
David Loder sends his best regards to all; he described getting to relive the Wes experience, as his brother’s son, Aaron ’22, entering his sophomore year, is thoroughly enjoying the college experience.
John Fink has a new job as executive director of education and workforce development at the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii. He, along with wife Shari, got to babysit their two grandsons in Oregon for some time during a four-month sabbatical. John found it “a lot different handling a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old at age 63 than it was back at age 33.”
Jerry Stouck is retiring from law this year after 39 years. He is working on a book, but other than that, will be enjoying lots of golf and splitting time between D.C. and Park City, Utah. Oldest daughter Danielle got married in September. Jerry was on campus to partake in the opening of the new Chabad house at Wesleyan, which he supported.
Dr. Doug Hauschild was able to play (as an actor) a doctor: Dr. Norquist in the smash hit Bright Star at the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre.
Cindee Howard wrote from England that she and her partner, Jon, were at a reunion in England, getting together with people she was with on a program in Israel 40 years ago. She is still working full-time as a proofreader and copyeditor for Marriott International.
Jim Melloan produced the New York Comedy Music Festival this past spring. Jim met up with Jack Freudenheim ’79, Tom Kovar ’76, Win Lockwood ’78, Ann Beutler Millerick ’77, and a bunch of other alumni to play in a Super-Wes band at Eclectic at Reunion.
Jane Eisner began a new job this summer as director of academic affairs at the Columbia School of Journalism. She finds it gratifying to know that even at our stage of life, we can embrace a new challenge!
I always get a kick out of reporting when my professional adult life intersects with my Wesleyan life. Such is the case with a commission this year to design a new chapel for Temple Beth Avodah, in Newton, Mass., in honor of their Rabbi, Keith Stern. Designing a spiritual space is one of the high points to any architect’s career. What has made this project so special is that the entire Temple community has been engaged, generous with their time, extremely warm, and appreciative. In other words, they reflect Keith’s style exactly.
Finally, it is with great sadness that I write of the passing of two of our classmates: Laura McLane Fox and Fred Van Brunt. Laura was a biology major at Wesleyan, a well-respected nursing administrator and gerontologist. She is survived by her two daughters. Fred was a resident of Middletown after having spent several years in Hollywood as prop master for several studios. Fred is survived by many family members in the Middletown area. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their friends and family and classmates who were counted among their friends.
I hope everyone keeps well. Drop a line when you have a chance. The next set of notes are likely due at the end of the year.
Gerry Frank | Gfrank@bfearc.com
Frederick B. Van Brunt II ’77 passed away on July 8, 2019 at the age of 64. A full obituary can be found here.