CHARLES HILL |HillChas3@aol.com
115 E. 9th St., Apt. 10L, New York, NY 10003
CHARLES HILL |HillChas3@aol.com
“What are the news?” wired Horace Greely, insisting that ‘news’ is a plural noun. “Nary a new,” came back the clever gotcha response. And so it is with this column: nary. Hence, lacking inspiration from you out there, and unwilling to create fiction, I’m indulging in a bit of unique history. Back in early 1943, 13 Wesleyan men from ’43, ’44, and ’45 procured the requisite three letters of recommendation and were accepted into the Tenth Mountain Division: Stan Mann ’43; Norm Benson, Frank Bowles, Dick Brengle, Don Haight, Chip Lofstedt, Bill Low, all ’44; Donald Dunn, Pete Griskivitch, Bud Lovett, Gene Noble, Bill Thompson, Bill Wannamacher, each ’45. Bowles, Low, Griskivitch, and Wannamacher left the Division before we were deployed to Italy, and Haight was killed in action; the rest of us came home in various states of good health or disrepair, some back to campus, some to other campuses.
I know that seven are no longer living; I’m fairly sure that four are still alive; I truly want to know of Bill Low and Pete Griskivitch. I recall that Bill was in our admissions office for some time, and Pete was a registered Tenth Mountain veteran some years back. Can anyone fill me in? And isn’t Wesleyan’s association with this unique and heralded division of World War II perhaps worth a story in our alumni magazine? Slán go fóill.
FRANCIS W. LOVETT |
See Newsmaker on Adolf Grünbaum and please send updates to the editors.
I’m glad to say that, as far as I know, we have had no new losses since my last report. I always thought that we were a sturdy bunch—keep up the good work!
Speaking of staying healthy and keeping active, I received a card from Muzz Molina describing his tour on the Crown Princess, visiting many interesting ports including Bermuda. Apparently the weather at Normandie was uncooperative.
I also received a “thank you” note from George Morrill ’42 in which he states, “Comes this pic of three eager old crocks plotting Wesleyan’s future. Ahh, they are canny old dogs. They know their ideas will elevate the college to new heights. Hey, it was great seeing you guys. Thanks for the framed photo. I look forward to linking with you next reunion.”
Gene Loveland sends a sad note: “Sorry about the stationery. Things are upside-down here right now and it’s all I could find. Joan passed away in February. It was a blessing and she went without pain and had a smile on her face. She was getting her wish to be with the Lord. I have such a large and wonderful family that things are going well, and I’m back in my routine of the monthly column in the house organ and running the putting tournaments.” Our thoughts and prayers are with Gene and his family at this time.
I received two messages from Jack Ritchie. One, a Christmas card in which he says: “My disappointment of 2013 was missing our 70th reunion in Middletown because of Lyme disease. Today I feel fine except for arthritis in my knee. My high school class back in Winnetka, Ill., now has just four survivors—three men and one woman.” The other message, in which he states: “Wife, Sue, was once the ‘scribe’ for her class at Mt. Holyoke with deadlines, so I feel sorry for your efforts to drag words out of your aging classmates. I could guess that your deadline was March 15—sorry. My only Wesleyan contact of late has been Jim Dresser ’63, a selectman here in town, and a dedicated community leader. I spend a lot of time reading. Right now I am on page 550 of The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I recommend it. Intriguing I thought was the frontispiece speaking of the condition of the country at that time, early 1900s: ‘The gap between rich and poor has never been wider—legislative stalemate paralyzes the country—corporations resist federal regulation—spectacular mergers produce giant companies—the influence of money in politics deepens’ and on. What goes around comes around. Maybe there is hope for this wayward and confused country. This year I promise I will really see you at the ritual of a Little Three football game, and new life in the prized institution.”
Frederick P. Appleton
100 O’Brien Court, Suffolk, VA 23434
The editors congratulate George Morrill, the most senior alumnus to attend Reunion.
GEORGE P. MORRILL
167 Thayer Road, Higganum, CT 06441 | 860/345-2673
57 Grandeville Crt., apt. 307, Wakefield, RI 02879
While the number of fellows I have the honor of calling for the notes has definitely, how shall I say it, changed, those remaining are wonderful conversationalists! It is springtime and the guys are glad the winter has tucked itself away for a rest. While three of the four I reach out to now live in Florida, that doesn’t always mean getting out is the sunniest experience, especially after this wet winter! But in late March and early April it does.
Bob Porter kicked that pneumonia we mentioned in the last notes but he is still dealing with some shoulder pain. PT seems to be helping it. He reports Doris is well. Bob said it was a very wet winter in Naples and he is very glad to have that behind them. The sun and fresh air is so good for one’s morale. In February Bob and Doris welcomed another great-grandchild, the first girl of this generation! Bob says his “mind is sharp but the body is getting weak.” I can attest to the mind’s quickness as he broke out in song bringing up the words to Amicus Usque Ad Aras. Bob said it might even have been a Yale song but he remembers singing it with fellow freshmen when they went on a trip with an English professor to Mory’s! Perhaps the Whiffenpoofs were performing, and perhaps this professor had a connection to Yale? If the Olla Podrida from ’38 is correct, then there is a certain professor of English who had connections to Yale! What a fun adventure for Bob to share.
Heading north from Naples is Venice, Fla. Art Kingsbury has lived in Venice for 34 years. We figured out this was over a third of his life. Back in the day, most students attending Wesleyan came from the Northeast, or Midwest regions. No one in the class of ’38 came from Florida. But many did retire there. So the thought that one can retire for over a third of one’s life anywhere is another way of saying they are doing something right! Art celebrated his 96th birthday on April 13th. I still can’t imagine entering a university and experiencing almost a full first year as a 16-year-old! Art and Diane are doing very well and are in “fine health.” Their new pet of last year, the cat, entertains them daily. Art’s sons and their families were coming to celebrate his birthday. Visits with family are always enjoyable. He wishes his fellow classmates the best.
I left a few messages for Leonard Weinstein, the class’s other Florida resident, but didn’t actually speak with him. Better luck next time.
The next fellow I caught up with was Curt Smith. It was a very long winter in Rhode Island. While it was spring there, Curt commented on how it didn’t really feel like it, since the color of things was so delayed. He took a trip to northern New Hampshire and he learned from the sugar makers that the sap is also delayed. Oh dear, there goes the price of maple syrup! Curt had a visit from one daughter in February. They had a packed visit, including catching the old classic Arsenic and Old Lace at Rhode Island College. In late April his other daughter will be visiting. Every week he sees his son. He is very grateful for his time with his children. He attended a Jewish Film Festival at a local synagogue and highly recommends the film The Other Brother. Curt says they are trying to revive the singing group at his community. He is staying active, even if it means enduring stares from fellow residents of his community. Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet keep him inside! I received a lovely card from Emily Cowan ’86 who now lives in Lancaster, N.H., Curt’s old stomping ground. When she moved there in 2000, Emily said Curt came and paid her a welcome visit. Recently she attended a fundraiser for a local ski area and sat with Curt and his son Philip. She had a wonderful visit with them, discussing which articles they enjoyed in the current alum magazine. “Curtis is the dearest man. And he is so active it just takes my breath away.” Thank you, Emily, for your wonderful card.
Something else that Curt shared with me was an article in the Providence Journal. In January Bill Heisler died. While I haven’t seen an official obituary, the newspaper clipping Curt sent was an amazing tribute to Bill’s time in Providence. “Bill served the Rhode Island community in a multitude of ways as a volunteer leader of most of the prominent nonprofits in our state during his long tenure as a resident, while also serving as CEO of Citizens Bank throughout the 1960s and ’70s.”
I also learned from this article that before the government had passed the Community Reinvestment Act, “Bill had initiated his own version of CRA at Citizens, as an outreach effort to give access to diverse populations.” The Heisler Leadership Fund at The Rhode Island Foundation has been established in his memory. I so enjoyed my conversations with Bill. His last decade was spent at Medford Leas, a Quaker-based senior living and continuing care community. He always had something to share about the importance of community. He also had wonderful stories about his trips that he took well into his late 90s. My condolences go out to his family, and also to the class of ’38. This past year has been a challenging one with the loss of four classmates.
On that note, I have cross-referenced a program from last year’s Reunion’s Memorial Service, with my father’s copy of the Olla Podrida, and I have 15 names on a list. I’ll see if I can find any news from them. I think I’ve got my work cut out for me. Here’s hoping next issue will be full of news from long lost fellows of’38! Until then, enjoy the colors of spring, whenever they decide to peek out, and the warmth of summer.
daughter of the late Walter Bennett ’38
8104 39th Avenue, S.W., Seattle, WA 98136
The Hon. Judge Leonard Edwards, now retired, writes: “I had lunch with Bill Needham recently. Very interesting. He is involved in a gold-digging project in Colombia. We had a great time. He is a bundle of energy and very jolly, hugging everyone in sight. He says he’ll be a billionaire when the project gets going!” (Alumni Office take note!) But further info on Len, somewhat disquieting: As a somewhat belated wedding gift, I gave Len and his wife Marcia a fine, Liberty jigsaw puzzle depicting their home state, California. I had found that they were fellow jigsaw puzzlers. They were delighted and apparently agreed to only work on it together. Well, it was with shock that one morning Marcia discovered that someone had slyly snuck in and had been working on the puzzle during the night! Hell to pay! Accusations! Flimsy denials! All leading to total caving. Decision: as it was not a felony, only a misdemeanor, Marcia was granted equal, solo catch-up puzzle time. Peace restored. I must add that it pains me to drop a dime on a fellow classmate like this.
From the L.A. area, Lew Whitney says that he has “nothing exciting to report.” Of course, at our age, that’s probably a good thing. He was sorry to miss our 50th but a pre-existing one month trip to France got in the way. His missing the 50th was somewhat made up for, as he attended the Pre-Reunion gathering down at Bill Roberts’ place in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Lew is semi-retired now and will fully retire in March. He will probably continue as he is now doing, with some consulting and design work on the side, which he says he does “for wine money.” Lew got into sailing at 7 with his dad. In ’84 he got this first boat and has had many since, most in the 40-foot range. In his current 40-footer, Ventana, he and his wife of 20 years, Toby (“a wonderful sailing partner!”) frequently sail the 20 miles out to Santa Catalina. Last year they spent 36 nights aboard Ventana, generally moored off Santa Catalina. You might recall Lew’s picture of himself in our Reunion Book, paddle boarding, something he had taken up relatively recently. After getting over the falling-off part of the learning process, he now goes for long paddles up and down the coast. He says that in the past it was very common to see lots of sharks along the coast and on the way out to and around Santa Catalina. But the Asian love of shark fins has led to the shark population being decimated, which has led to an ecological crisis as unchecked seal populations are now overrunning the shores, taking over docks as haul-out spots and climbing onto any moored boats they can get up onto. He says for a long time now he hasn’t seen a shark large enough to eat him on any of his frequent paddle board trips. Lew and Toby have four children between them (he was divorced and she was widowed) and five grandchildren aged 1–15 years. While he does not race himself, he used to do a lot of exciting crewing on a friend’s steel-hulled, 54-foot race boat, working as a grinder opposite one of the bigger and stronger youngsters, thereby making Lew’s job easier. He vividly recalls the frantic start of one fleet race when they lost their steering and rammed the Committee boat.
Robert Gallamore writes: “My book co-authored with my Harvard mentor, American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance the 20th Century, will be released by Harvard U. Press 6/2/14!” (You can read more about it at HUP or Amazon websites under his name.) “This was a 15-year project, the roots of which were in my study of economics and government regulations of industry under Prof. Joseph Palamountain and Prof. Richard Miller at WesU. It brings together material from my academic studies and teaching, a first career in government, and a second with Union Pacific in NYC and Omaha.”
A tidbit of info on the son of a former stalwart of Chi Psi, Jim Reynolds. His son, James IV, has been a Major League baseball umpire since ’99. He graduated from the Jim Vans Umpire Academy in ’92, taught there for three years, and then worked his way up through several levels of minor leagues to the big leagues in ’99. Since then he has umped four Divisional series, two ALCS series, and an All-Star game. Not bad for a kid who didn’t follow his father to Wes, though he did at least go to another college in Connecticut, UConn. The elder Jim now lives with his wife, Nancy, in Gilbert, Ariz.
Walt Donaghy sent in some sad news: “Jim Mattson passed away quietly in his sleep 7/22/13. He was with his family (children and grandchildren) on a family vacation in N.C., when he died. Jim and I were roommates all four years, members of Sigma Nu/Kappa Nu Kappa, and lived on the top floor of our fraternity house our last three years. We’ve been friends ever since the fall of ’59, our freshman year, when we were assigned to a double room in Andrus Hall on Foss Hill. Jim ‘Matt’ played football (halfback and punter) freshman through senior year. A few years ago he was told that he’d held the punting record at Wes until very recently. Of course we had to have some serious losing games then to establish a punting record—too many ‘3 and outs.’ Matt wrote a very nice, brief and modest bio for our 50th Reunion Book. He couldn’t make it to the Reunion because his grandson was playing in a very important baseball tournament that weekend. As always Matt had his priorities right. Family comes first. He will be missed.”
BYRON S. MILLER | email@example.com
5 Clapboard hill rd., westport, ct 06880