Members of the great class of ’59 and their support forces continue to be actively involved with their families and communities. Ted Fiske and his wife, Sunny, have just returned from London, where they attended a chamber music concert in which Hugh Rosenbaum performed with his bassoon up to his high standard. Ted and Sunny will return to London for the month of October during sabbatical to study the English education system. Sunny’s older son and family also live there.
Hugh Lifson writes from Iowa: “Really enjoyed your report. I am envious of all the meet-ups people are having. Out here in the boonies, Wes alums are rare and classmates even rarer! The get-togethers made me think of your column and President Michael Roth’s ’78 article. I hate to say it, but it is an old Williams College slogan—‘a college is Mark Hopkins at one end of a log and a student at the other.’ Well…. if my memory is correct, we all had such experiences. One dared not go into Louis Mink’s office unless you were prepared to spend an hour or two. The same thing often happened with Profs. Schorske, Tenzer, Greene, Schwarz, McAllester, and many others. I have often bragged about the fact that the Wesleyan education c. 1959 was the best in the country. President Roth may be unwittingly (or wittingly) hearkening back to our golden days.”
Skip McAfee reports from Bradenton, Fla., where he resettled after the loss of his wife of nearly 50 years. They had been in Columbia, Md., for 40 years, where Skip was the executive director of The American Society for Horticultural Science. Thereafter he edited the Dickson Baseball Dictionary, weighing at more than four pounds with more than 10,000 entries. Bradenton appealed as his new location because his younger daughter and growing family live there. Skip is also the umpire of choice for youth baseball and senior softball.
Bill Moody reports on a couple of mini-reunions. First the Messrs. Moody, Chase, Gillette, and Leverich and their spouses met at the home of Bing and Luize Leverich for dinner and tall tales and memories. Bob Gillette told about his new book, a sequel to his first, The Virginia Plan. A second reunion took place at the National Museum of the Marine Corps where Tim Day was honored for his generosity in funding an overlook site named in his honor. For a number of years, Tim has also funded deserving Marine Corps captains at Harvard Business School. Bert Edwards, Ed Murphy and Bill Moody were in attendance.
The oft-wandering Eklunds are still active, having attended two high school graduations, one in Colorado, and the other in New Jersey, a week apart. Cornell and Brown are the next stops for the grads and Dave and Mary will repeat in four years. Dave and Mary are on Nantucket, then to Walpole, Mass., for Dave’s 60th high school reunion. Next to Bristol, R.I., for July 4th to see one grandson march in the oldest continuous USA parade. Then to Jackson Hole. Wow!
We now have two classmates who are members of the Wesleyan Athletics Hall of Fame: Fred Stone inducted last year, and Dave Darling this May. Dave Eklund and Tom Young were there in support in the Silloway Gymnasium! (All that and back-to-back NESCAC champions to boot!) Pictures of the event and the honoree are on our class site, thanks to Mary Eklund!!
Ed Roberts is retiring as the music director for the Lansdowne United Methodist Church after 14 years. He corresponds with Music Prof. Emeritus Dick Winslow ’40 who is now a spry 97. Prof. Winslow walks with two canes and refers to himself as “Citizen Canes.”
On a sadder note, Dr. Jim Browning died in March. He was a highly respected ophthalmologist, keen Steelers fan and renowned gardener specializing in azaleas, rhododendrons, magnolias and dwarf conifers. He propagated and hybridized hardy rhododendron, and had to miss our 50th as he was called on to hold forth at the American Rhododendron Society, which awarded him their highest honor.
Peter Rockefeller remembers Jim: “In the summer of ’58, inspired by Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and other such visionaries, we bought a used Chevy in Hartford, with the help of Shive Shively, and eventually set off from Jim’s home in Pittsburgh to see the USA!
“We really bonded during our journey and many memories flood back now—his support during an awkward reunion with a no-show father in Florida, our nocturnal hike down the Grand Canyon and back up, staggering to the rim as the sun rose, descent into the Carlsbad Caverns at dusk as bats swarmed all around us, crossing the Mojave Desert in the middle of the night to preserve ourselves and the Chevy, observing the $2 betting limit in Vegas, discovering the magic of San Francisco, crossing the Rockies and peeing on the Continental Divide (doesn’t everybody?), and home.
“Jim was a private man, thoughtful and kind. I cherish the time I was privileged to share with him.”
Blanche Browning, Jim’s wife, responded: “Thank you, to all of you, for your kind words about Jim. Pete, I cannot tell you the number of times Jim talked about your trip, recounted exactly as you described it.
“Wesleyan can be credited for the number of books I counted in his library of Shakespeare’s works, more than 28. He listened every day to lectures of the Great Courses on all subjects: art, philosophy, religion, wars, history, and literature. When he passed away he was reading three books: Joseph and his Brothers by Thomas Mann, Plato and King Lear. He often reread many of his books.
“Finally, he was still working on hybridizing a new rhododendron to be named Wesleyana!”
Our thoughts are with Blanche and the family.
Ed (Dusty) McGrew passed away at the end of May after battling a number of things, including strokes and cancer. He and Carol were married for almost 56 years. Carol was at Conn. College; Dusty was an enthusiastic Alpha Delt and they obviously led an exciting courtship as they were married the minute the ink dried on their diplomas in June of 1959. They raised three daughters on the North Shore of Chicago. There are eight grandchildren, seven boys and one girl who are thriving. Three are college grads, one is studying medicine, and the rest coming along from grade school to high school. Quite a handful and a real achievement!