Classmates, let’s catch up on the responses to the first of a number of quiz questions I have posed in recent class notes columns. I asked if anyone knew about Ed McCune, who gave $6 million to Wesleyan and is listed as a classmate, though he was not in our face book and did not contribute anything to our 50th Reunion book. Three responses came in. The first was from Jeff Smith ’69, who thought McCune had transferred in sophomore or junior year, and remembered him as “a quiet guy, slight in stature, with short dark hair.” Then, Jon Squire, wrote to say McCune was “a transfer student who arrived (from California, I think) perhaps in our sophomore or maybe junior year. He was a member of Alpha Delta Phi. That is about all that I remember.”
A third email arrived, from John Dooley, with more info about McCune. Dooley spent a fair amount of time with McCune at Alpha Delt. McCune, John wrote, was from Petoskey, Michigan, and his family had roots in upper Michigan that went back a long time. In our senior year, McCune was accepted by the Wayne State University medical school, but he was ambivalent about going and John is not sure if he ever went (“I do not know if he ever started med school but there is no record of him being a licensed physician and there is nothing in his obituary about his career”). John also notes: “It seems he was a very private individual. . . . For some reason Ed called me ‘Chief.’” Am I the only one hearing reverberations of Jay Gatsby?
John concludes: “So interesting that he gave back generously to Wes even though on the surface he did not seem to be at all engaged with the Wesleyan community as an undergraduate.” I must agree. I am sure our relatively unknown classmate, Ed McCune, is every college fundraiser’s dream come true.
And (I hear you ask) what about our classmates, Jon Squire and John Dooley? Well, after 49 years in the Bay Area, where he practiced medicine, Jon Squire (like your class secretary, long ago) took the culture shock challenge by moving from Northern California to the Piedmont of North Carolina. He now lives not far from me, in Winston-Salem, where he moved across the street from his daughter and two grandchildren.
As for John Dooley, after a 40-year career as an ENT physician with special interest in ear surgery, he and wife Rosie retired to their small cattle ranch in the mountains between Reno and Tahoe. With four adult children and 14 grandchildren in the Reno area, they remain very involved in family events. Every year John and Rosie go to the Monterey/Big Sur area, not far from Santa Cruz, the home of Sam Nigh. For the past few years, John and Sam have gotten together. John also has seen his fellow Alpha Delt, and a roommate for two years, Jim Bushyhead, a retired internist living in Seattle, and in the fall of 2019 he saw Aidan Jones, who, John reported, was “winding down his law practice in Washington, DC.”
I also heard from Ted Smith, checking in as we approached the November 2020 election to see what I thought about what was likely to happen in North Carolina in our senatorial election and in the presidential election (he was part of a phone bank to support Cal Cunningham’s campaign for U.S. Senate). Ted has lived in San Jose since 1972. After receiving his law degree from Stanford, Ted founded three different nonprofits, each of which sought to make the high-tech electronics industry more sustainable (he was the executive director of the first of these, the Silicon Valley Toxic Coalition, for 25 years and is currently the coordinator of the International Campaign for Responsible Technology). Although he now has retired from most paid work, he remains active politically and was doing “too much travel” before the pandemic shut things down. He also hikes, rides his bike, and does some kayaking. He and his wife, Mandy, also a lawyer, have three children and five grandchildren, all of whom live in California.
Had a nice, too-brief, masked and socially distanced visit here in Greensboro with Reuben (Johnny) Johnson and his wife Mary Watkins in November 2020, a few days before the election. They were driving back from a trip to Virginia to their home in Palm Beach, Florida. We caught up on family, gossiped about classmates, told virus stories, anticipated the outcome of the election, and wished we had more time. Still, it was a treat to visit with them.
In October 2019 our classmate Rick Beebe died in Santa Rosa, California. While serving in the Peace Corps in Turkey from 1967 to 1969, Rick met Pam, his wife of 51 years. They lived in New England for nine years and then moved to California. Rick was vice president of corporate communications at Bank of America in San Francisco until his retirement in 2001. He was an avid backpacker (he noted in our 50th Reunion book that he had “trekked nearly 3,000 miles on all seven continents”), an active swim official for more than 30 years, and sang with the Sonoma Bach Choir.
RICHIE ZWEIGENHAFT | email@example.com