We promised more on Dick Mayer in this issue of the magazine. Dick left Wesleyan after his sophomore year and enlisted in the U. S. Army. Following graduation from Officer Candidate School, he became a platoon leader on the front lines of Korea, was seriously wounded, spent a year in a hospital in Japan, and was awarded one of the Army’s highest medals. Beyond this, Dick has forbade me (Hal) from providing any details of his military exploits, so my hands are tied. I am pleased to add, however, that Dick recovered satisfactorily from his wounds and says that he is still in pretty decent shape. He walks three miles a day and exercises for 45 minutes every morning. He has had a great life, especially his 61-year marriage to a very special woman (Ginger). He is still very active in the insurance business he founded, Executive Compensation Systems, Inc. (see issue 1, 2015, class notes for more details), and despite not having graduated, is every bit the epitome of the Wesleyan liberal arts-educated citizen Vic Butterfield so successfully molded.
Ken Taylor and his wife, JoAnne, reside in the same Seabury Retirement Community, Bloomfield, Conn., as Joyce and I, and we often dine together. You might think that we’d run out of old Wes stories by now, but recently Ken bowled me over with a tale I had trouble believing. Ken related (actually regaled) how his fellow Sigma Chi pledge, Russ Doolittle, was sent off on a quest to ride a horse across the Boston Common, lantern in hand, à la Paul Revere, shouting that the British were coming. I e-mailed Russ to find out if Ken was hallucinating, but Russ told me that, although it was probably not as sensational as Ken recalled, it was mostly accurate. Happily, Russ (and the horse) survived the event, and happily also, it turned out not to be the greatest accomplishment in his life. In fact, he says that he would just as soon forget it at this point.
In the course of tracking down the truth of the Doolittle quest, I learned that Dunc Nelson had had a quest on the same weekend and that he had actually accompanied Russ on his Boston Commons escapade. Dunc’s quest assignment was to parade a goose in front of the library at Wellesley, which he did. However, he was also supposed to inquire after the “measurements” of any young women he encountered there. That was a bit too much for Dunc, who wrote, “Flamboyant as I pretend to be, I suspect that I—keeping the ‘fowl’ imagery—chickened out.” On the way back to campus, Dunc’s borrowed car ran out of brake fluid. Having no money on him, he was forced to exchange the goose for two bottles of brake fluid at a gas station. You can’t make this stuff up!
Tom Collins and wife, Mary Ellen, were seen this past May after a performance at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Conn. Tom still goes to his law office in Glastonbury, Conn. daily. He is in great shape for one significantly older than the rest of his classmates—92. Tom was in the service during the WW II era before entering Wesleyan with us.
Walter Pories checked in recently with news of life in the springtime on his North Carolina farm, including a new crop of soybeans, baby goats, emerging pears, rhubarb ready for the table, “show-off magnolia with its huge white blossoms,” etc. Interspersed with that was, “To my absolute surprise, I was asked if I would like to serve as the second vice president-elect of the American College of Surgeons, a small organization of only 70,000 members [note Pories’ humor] and the strongest surgical society in the world.” Then, with his typical modesty and wit, he added, “As I see my job, it’s to get on my knees every morning and pray that none of the officers die. So far, I have a 100 percent success rate.” Amen, Walter!
More sad news. Dick “Sherry” Sherwood, of South Dartmouth, Mass., died on April 7, 2015. Sherry was part of the five-year Wesleyan/MIT program leading to a degree in architecture and civil engineering, so he left to attend MIT after our junior year. He was well known at Wesleyan as a sailing aficionado and, also, he possessed the first lacrosse stick and ball many of us had ever seen. He had a long career as a construction manager of projects in Jamaica, Iran, England, Denver, and other U.S. locations. Later on, his interest in sailing led him to write A Field Guide to Sailboats, and his keen sense of citizenship involvement led him to be selectman and to serve on various town committees of Amherst, N.H., where his wife, Janet, and he then resided. Dick is survived by his wife, two sons, and five grandchildren, to whom we extend our sincerest condolences.
Our class president and class agent, Bill Wasch, reminds us that our class has established the Class of 1952 Endowed Wesleyan Scholarship. It is presently held by Michael Glasser ’16, of Forest Hills, N.Y. Michael is a molecular biology and biochemistry major who says his favorite class last semester was Techniques of Poetry, which he took in addition to five science and math courses. Vic Butterfield would have loved this student! We can all build our scholarship fund for the benefit of future Wesleyan liberal arts students by designating our annual Wesleyan Fund contributions to the Class of 1952 Endowed Scholarship Fund.