CLASS OF 1964 | 2017 | ISSUE 2

Quotation from a friend of about our age: “I had always thought it would take much longer to get to be this old.”

This was part of an update I received from Duane Starr, but some of our classmates didn’t reach our age. I think mostly of Stephen Thuet, who was killed flying a combat mission over Vietnam. I’ve visited the Vietnam Memorial a number of times, never failing to spend a moment in front of his name etched in the black marble. I remember some of the controversy when the design of the memorial was first released. It’s a profound experience each time, recognizing heroes in a conflict that should never have been. The moment President Kennedy was killed, these heroes were sentenced to their fate.

Interestingly, in preparing my notes, I received sharing from Ron Young ’65 because of a mix-up in classes. In 1995, he attended a meeting of middle-aged anti-war activists and octogenarian former OSS (predecessor organization of the CIA) officers who had served with Ho Chi Minh’s Vietnamese forces fighting the Japanese occupation during the closing months of World War II. The American officers supported Ho’s appeal to President Truman urging U.S. support and recognition for Vietnam’s independence. Truman never replied. Instead, the U.S. financed the French war to recolonize Vietnam. It’s worth reflecting on how our country might be different today if we had recognized Vietnam’s independence in 1945, and initiated normal relations then, rather than 50 years later following our American war.

Chris Chase shared that wife Karen (a non-smoker) was discovered to have a small tumor in her right lung. The mid and lower lobes were removed in early December. Thankfully, neither chemo nor radiation was required. Recovery has been steady, and for this and other reasons, they’ve chosen to enter a retirement community in Hanover, N.H., earlier than planned. With tongue-in-cheek, they find downsizing fun. Chris completed his report with these words: “Still, the last couple of years have had their joys. We have been able to spend time with our now 6-year-old grandson. I have enjoyed reading what I want to and when, from dry treatises on wealth distribution (anyone else read Piketty?) to family documents in Italian, to poetry in Old French, having learned these languages in the last three years.”

Duane Starr and wife Nancy are still living in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Duane retired from Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Global Security Directorate in 2011 and does occasional work there as a “casual employee.” He puts together computer models of uranium enrichment cascades. His recent work included participation in an assessment of the Molecular Laser Isotope Separation (MLIS) for enriching the 235 isotope of uranium. When he removes his thinking cap, woodworking, hunting, fishing, and singing are his passions. Like others of our mid-70s age, a significant amount of time is spent in doctors’ offices.

Speaking of doctors, Dave Best retired, about three years ago, from a very rewarding practice of nephrology, with a sideline of biomedical ethics. He and his wife have been living at the same address in Virginia Beach, Va., for 41 years. They are building a home in Cape Haze, Fla., hoping to have it ready early next year.

In July 2016, Dan Davis, M.D., retired after 19 years with the FDA Division for Bone, Reproductive, and Urologic Drugs. It was a fine second career after 20 years in private practice in obstetrics and gynecology in western Massachusetts. He enjoys skiing, golf, and tennis, and has been doing some part-time consulting this year. His wife, Suzanne, is an ordained United Church of Christ minister and very busy with her church work. They travel more now and hope to see their three grandkids more often.

I wrote a book about my attending baseball fantasy camps in the 1980s, and I have Hollywood people looking at a possible movie. I became friends with many of the former players from the old Brooklyn Dodgers, and it has been a personal loss when many of them have passed. The amazing thing that happened for me was playing baseball at an incredible level in front of my heroes. In 1986, 16 Hall of Fame legends who coached the campers named me the most valuable player. I called my dad at that time, and his reply was priceless: “Now, you’re MVP?”