In the last issue of this magazine (Issue 2, 2016), we mentioned having heard from Frank LaBella for the first time in decades. There is much more to add to what we reported therein. The following note from Frank contains two examples of his extraordinarily diverse career and life.
First, as a professor (now emeritus) in the department of pharmacology and therapeutics at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Frank says, “My research over the years has been in several areas: neuropharmacology, narcotic drugs and endorphins, mechanisms of general anesthesia, neuroendocrinology, neuro-chemistry, neuro-toxicology, digitalis drugs, receptor pharmacology, aging, cytochrome P450, histamine as a second messenger, and novel technology to measure electromagnetic radiation.
“I am currently focusing on research and development of a novel, patented technology, arising from a discovery made some years ago with Dr. Carl Pinsky. A company, FIND Technologies Inc., was established with the goal of commercializing the invention. The FIND Sensor [Frank’s invention] detects electromagnetic energy that is emitted by all matter. The technology has a vast potential for practical applications, including uses in biology and medicine. The sensor reacts to changes that may occur when scanning a structure or individual, or when it is exposed to a substance or body or new environment. It can detect concealed explosive, radioactive, and other hazardous materials. Another potentially vital use is determination of changes in biological and chemical activity of growing and repairing tissues.” (As your scribe, Hal, transcribes this, he can only say, “Wow! This discovery and invention could change the way we address many of life’s challenges!”)
Second, not all of Frank’s life has been consumed with carryover from his time in the labs of Atwater. We mentioned his polo playing in the last issue. Here is his account of another extracurricular activity: “Would you believe that this son of Sicilian immigrants was an enthusiast not only of the idle rich’s pastime, polo, but of fox hunting as well? For several years, I was field master of the Springfield Hunt with our own imported English fox hounds. On Sunday mornings, the riders gathered in their pink or black coats, indication of station, drank stirrups of sherry until trumpeted by the huntmaster, who released the hounds who tore off in search of a fox scent. Now, before you accuse me of inhumane and unethical behavior, let me state that no live prey was ever at risk. Ours was a drag hunt. Early Sunday morning, a rider would determine the route of the hunt by dragging a sheepskin saturated with imported fox urine. This type of hunt is more active, since, unlike a live hunt, the hounds do not have to spend hours finding a scent. Furthermore, the scent can be directed at natural and other jumps and stopped so that hounds and riders can rest. And the drag can cover several miles and end at the starting point. The hounds are rewarded with chunks of meat. No better way to spend an autumn Sunday morning—and polo in the afternoon!”
Profs. Gortner, Gomez-Ibãnez, Sease, and others would probably not be surprised at the superb academician they helped spawn in Frank, but like his classmates, they would be astounded with his polo playing and fox hunting.
Correction! Ron Daniel writes that John Jakobson was off when he said that he had first met Ron at Wesleyan 67 years ago (see class notes in last issue). Ron says it was actually 68 years, not 67. He kids that his old friend John “was never very good with numbers.” But Ron sure is. In his 15 years as treasurer of Harvard, its endowment rose from some $4 billion to $22 billion! We should have elected him treasurer of our class rather than vice president. Ron continues to work full time at McKinsey & Company, the global management consultancy he has served for nearly 60 years, including 12 as managing director. Ron also remains active in multiple business and philanthropic organizations.
Bill Wasch enjoyed a Viking cruise on the Danube River. (Incidentally, Torstein Hagen ’64, chairman and CEO of Viking River Cruises, spent time at Wesleyan as a foreign student.) After the cruise, Bill had a nice visit with Willi Brenner in Augsburg.
Finally, it is not too early to begin thinking about, or better yet planning to attend, the 65th Reunion of our class, scheduled for May 25 to 28. While you are at it, please let me (Hal) know, at least as of now, whether you are definitely, possibly, or definitely not planning to attend. I would like to keep everyone posted on who will be there. My contact info, preferably e-mail, is below.
Harold C. Buckingham, Jr. | email@example.com
400 Seabury Dr., Apt. 2114, Bloomfield, CT 06002
William K. Wasch | firstname.lastname@example.org
150 Coleman Road, Middletown, CT 06457