CLASS OF 1959 | 2018 | ISSUE 1

Save the date for our 60th Reunion on May 23-26, 2019! Ellen and Herb Steiner are in Del Ray January through March. They see Sibyl and Tim Martin and Diane and Joe Vander Veer. Herb is in email touch with the “three Bob’s” Bob Mann, Bob Waterhouse, and Bob Ogren. Racquetball every morning and violin practice daily. Herb plays in orchestras in New Jersey and Florida, and “though the old arm ain’t what it used to be, I love making music!”

Wayne Fillback, now 81, responded to a birthday postcard Skip had sent. After leaving Wesleyan, Wayne graduated from Colby, where he taught history and coached. Married for 53 years, with two daughters and four grandsons the happy result! Wayne still officiates at track and field events and helps with the four boys. He remembers Dick Root and Gerry Hanford ’64 especially fondly.

John Fowler sent along a note with his annual check saying he enjoyed his “Big 80” birthday postcard. Bravo John on both counts!

Ted Nagel is in great fettle, still doing some doctoring, but largely retired from his practice at this point.

Phil Pessoni has written a book about his 18 years at the helm of Lexington Photo Labs, which is not yet available for public consumption, calledDeveloping Friendships at Lexington Photo Labs New York City 1964-1981, about the amazing friendships he made: Isak Dinesin, Peter Beard, Caroline Kennedy, Jackie Onasssis, Lee Radziwill, Anne Marie Rasmussen Rockefeller, Jay Mellon, Richard DuPont Andy Warhol, Cheryl Tiegs Linda McCartney, Claude Picasso, Ginger Rogers, and Mick Jagger. Phil staged seven major exhibits at his gallery and made all the prints for 15 photo books.

Dr. Owen Tabor retired from his orthopedic surgery practice after being supplied with two new knees compliments of his oldest son, who now guides Tabor Orthopedic in Memphis. Owen is in touch with Elizabeth and Jack Lambert in London at their beautiful home in Islington, and he and Margaret enjoy time with their children and grandchildren. He writes, “A recent letter sent by Walter Burnett, with a picture of the current members of Skull and Serpent made me realize what a special time we had at Wesleyan at that most critical time in our lives.”

Marsha and Bob Gillette stopped to see Peg and Weg Thomas on their way back from watching the total eclipse in Wyoming, their second after Zambia. Apart from non-stop hospitality, and continuous Wes style bull sessions, we also got to see Weg’s passion, the 25,371 acres of the McHenry County Conservation District. He is the behind the scenes director and lives the mission of the conservancy “to preserve, restore and manage natural areas for their intrinsic value and for the benefits to present and future generations.” He writes, “Everywhere we travelled we saw the marks of Weg’s work: trail maps, photographic explanations, and magnificent photographs of the scenes we marveled at. We were thrilled to share in his passion.”

Paul Hadzima lives less than an hour from campus. He wrote, “It wasn’t until our 50th that I rediscovered what a great place Wesleyan is! I began attending lectures and concerts, then joined the Friends of the Wesleyan Library, on whose governing Board I now sit. Then a decision was made to put on display the objects housed in the old museum on top of Judd Hall. I happened to be the last student curator of the Museum.” He was featured in a blog post by students in the earth and environmental sciences department ( “The rock, mineral, and fossil part of that collection is now in the Exley Science Center (Joe Webb Peoples Museum). Professor Peoples chaired the geology department while we were there. As one of two geology majors in our class, along with Skip McAfee, Joe played a big part in my life at Wesleyan.”

Dick Cadigan writes of two terrific ideas: “Number one: I want to get a campaign going for a banner in the Silloway Gymnasium for the 1959 varsity basketball team. We were the first Wesleyan basketball team to play in the NCAA Tournament, were Little Three Champs after a 10-year drought, and barely lost to Harvard (four points). I am sure we could raise the money to fund the banner! Number two: And admission of what was one of the best Wesleyan basketball teams ever to the Wesleyan University Athletic Hall of Fame at our 60th Reunion.”

The Eklunds win ’59 Most Traveled Award: February, Maui and Florence, June, Nantucket and the Cape, July, Lake Tahoe, August, Nantucket for Mary’s 75th, Dave to fish in Alaska, September, visit to Cornell grandson and Brown granddaughter, Thanksgiving in California, Christmas in Jackson Hole, back to Tiburon for Dave’s big 80 and to keep the sanitation department running.

Our thoughts are with Joyce Harbinger. Wayne died on Christmas Day 2017.

At the end of the year, Tim Day is retiring as chairman of the board of directors at Bar-S after being with the company for 36 years.

Skip Silloway is still skiing Alta and promises to send us pictures. In the meantime, he and Molly have been married 53 years and are settled in Salt Lake City, about halfway between their two sons. One lives in Northern California and the other in New Mexico, each a day’s drive away. The boys have one child each; one boy, one girl.

Charlie Wrubel reports: “After 19 years of traveling to the children for Thanksgiving, the decree went out to Bill ’85and Jen ’92in Beverly Hills, Rob ’88 from Colorado Springs, Julian Scottsdale and Andrew ’85 from Brooklyn to attend the master in his lair for the celebration.” Charlie has a new valve and other certified new parts and is fine.

Shirley and Larry Keddes will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in June, just after Reunion. Larry had successful lower back surgery 18 months ago and is now back building his model railroad in his old home office. Are there any other railroaders in the class? “Every doctor I see, and there are many, make me think how young they are!”

Bill Moody missed the fall mini-reunion lunch in Washington as both he and Janet were in and out of the hospital at the time. All is well, however. Moods highly recommends Dave PottsHistory of Wesleyan 1910-1970. “It is a must read for the Class of 1959 in my opinion. It puts our time there in perspective.” Plans are afoot for a mini Eclectic reunion chez Leverich including the Moodys, Chases, and the Gillettes.

Walter Burnett wrote in, “It hardly seems possible that the 60th is so close. Assuming that all goes well, I plan to be there. The weather has been a bit out of sorts in the western North Carolina mountains so access to my mountain home has been a bit problematic with unexpected freezing and re-freezing of the mountain roads. Even Atlanta has had some winter weather problems. The 2017 eclipse was full over my North Carolina home. It gave me the opportunity to gather my children and grandchildren along with my brother and his children and grandchildren, It was quite a house full, but we all had a great time with members of the family coming from eight states.

“I retired from the Emory School of Public Health faculty in 2014 and much to my surprise I enjoy the freedom of retirement. I continue to travel a fair amount. Last summer a friend and I explored the lakes of Northern Minnesota and drove the north shore of Lake Superior. This year we plan to explore some of the Louisiana bayou country and the lake country of Texas with a drive home on the Natchez Trace. I still day hike weekly as the weather permits and spend time in Atlanta where I can enjoy the Atlanta Symphony and spend time with friends.

“As time goes on it hardly seems possible that my grandsons are fast becoming adults. The older one is finishing his freshman year at Bowdoin and the younger one will head off to his freshman year in the fall. His high school graduation will take me to the D.C. area in June for a family visit.

“I am fortunate that my health is good and that live a one of the most beautiful parts of the country. I hope all is well with you.”

Wolfram Thiemann, in Germany, who attended Wesleyan as Foreign Scholar, wrote in with an interesting update of life after Wes, including a career in nuclear and environmental research. He writes, “I was not a typical class ’59 mate. I had been invited to enjoy the privilege as a Foreign Scholar to spend an entire academic year at Wesleyan as an undergraduate, whose major subject was chemistry, fleeing literarily from a country which was still suffering from the aftermath of a terrible Nazi dominated history, meant to last 1,000 years as a Third Reich, but was fortunately finished by the Allied Forces after only 12 years by a heroic bloody fight, called World War II.

“In contrast to many of my elders—relatives as well as teachers—we, the younger generation, called the end of Nazi terror in Germany a liberation instead of a defeat of the Hitler regime. At the time when I came to study at Wesleyan, I was registered as an undergraduate student at the Ludwig-Maximilian University Mÿnchen and the Freie Universitÿt Berlin, where many of my chemistry professors had served during the Nazi time and continued to teach in the post-war era of new democratic (West) Germany. The curriculum in the 50s was terribly old-fashioned, boring, and ultra-conservative. Full professors had absolute power and dominated the faculty. They could not be removed from their “chairs,” residing like gods. So, my chance to be given a scholarship to Wesleyan (inspired by the late Professor L. Gemeinhard) was a true revelation. It was like paradise compared to my German experience.

“Wesleyan, the small elite New England experience at Wesleyan saved my career. Having returned home to Berlin after this one-year experience I recovered my love for science again, which I had almost lost before, and continued my studies at Berlin (The Freie Universitÿt Berlin was a gift from USA, sponsored by Henry Ford Foundation, sworn in for defending democratic values—quite in contrast to the communist-ruled Humboldt-Universitÿt in the East Sector of Berlin!).

“After my graduation as a Diplom-ChemikerI received my Dr. rer. nat. (PhD degree in English) from the Technische Universitÿt Berlin, having performed my experimental work in the laboratory of the Hahn-Meitner-Institut fÿr Kernforschung in nuclear research. This was the first nuclear reactor, serving as a pure research instrument in West Germany. From here I had joined the nuclear research facility in Juelich, Germany, and in 1976 I was installed as full professor of physical chemistry in the young University of Bremen. My main research areas circled around the environmental research, focused on water quality and sanitation issues and on the search for the origins of life on earth and for extraterrestrial life.

“In 1980 I returned back to U.S. for sabbatical to be spent at the University of Maryland. My curiosity for the possibility of life or at least for its precursors on extraterrestrial bodies was—at least partially—satisfied with the soft landing of the space vehicle PHILAE released from the mother ship ROSETTA on a comet Chruy in November 2014 after a 10 years’ journey travelling around 400 mio kilometers. And—alas—we detected highly complex organic materials on this comet, resembling pretty good-looking precursors of living species having rained down on the early earth some 3-4 bio years ago.

“In 2003 I retired from teaching in Bremen, but have been busy still writing papers, chapters in monographs, lecturing on various topics in environment and astrochemistry, touring through China, India, Egypt, Brazil, France, and other regions of the world, helping to establish and enforce research cooperation among academic institutions.

“If possible, I would love to attend Reunion next year at Wesleyan. I still have contact with some of my former mates from Wesleyan. My old classmate Uli Kogelschatz, also a foreign student from Germany, with whom I had crossed the entire U.S. coast-to-coast on a second-hand Vespa. 150 ccm motorscooter over 6,000 miles. Unfortunately, he passed away last year. I think you received the information from his family living in Switzerland?”

We end with some wisdom by Frank Laubach, a famous missionary and teacher. “I have good news for you. The first 80 years are the hardest. The second 80 are a succession of birthday parties.

“Once you reach 80, everyone wants to carry your baggage and help you up the steps. If you forget your name or anybody else’s name, or an appointment, or your own telephone number, or promise to be three places at the same time, or can’t remember how many grandchildren you have, you need only explain that you are 80.

“Being 80 is a lot better than being 70. At 70, people are mad at you for everything. At 80, you have a perfect excuse, no matter what you do. If you act foolishly, it’s your second childhood. Everybody is looking for symptoms of softening of the brain.

“Being 70 is no fun at all. At that age, they expect you to retire to a house in Florida and complain about your arthritis and you ask everybody to stop mumbling because you can’t understand them. (Actually, your hearing is about 50 percent gone.)

“If you survive until you are 80, everybody is surprised that you are still alive. They treat you with respect just for having lived so long. Actually, they seem surprised that you can walk and talk sensibly.

“So please, folks, try to make it to 80. It’s the best time of life. People forgive you for anything. If you ask me, life begins at 80.”

Skip Silloway |; 801/532-4311 

John Spurdle |; 212/644-4858