Peter Spiller ’66 passed away on May 20, 2020 at the age of 77. A full obituary can be found here.
Thomas M. Francis ’66 passed away on Dec. 7, 2019 at the age of 76. A full obituary can be found here.
Don Craven has retired, his remarkable career as medical researcher and educator featured in The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 8, 2019), the article noting that Don served “as a professor of medicine at Tufts University and the chairman of the Center for Infectious Diseases and Prevention at the Lahey Clinic Medical Center since 2001. Prior to these illustrious roles, he was the professor of medicine, microbiology, epidemiology and biostatistics at Boston University from 1989 to 2001. Alongside this appointment, he also served Boston City Hospital in multiple capacities, including as director of the AIDS Program, associate director of medicine, director of AIDS Public Health, and hospital epidemiologist. Previously serving Boston University as an associated and assistant professor in the School of Medicine in the 1970s and 1980s, he commenced his career as a research associate and senior surgeon with the U.S. Public Health Service and a research associate with the National Institutes of Health Bureau of Biologics from 1976 to 1979.” During his distinguished career, Don published some 200 “articles on hospital epidemiology and AIDS.” In January, Jeff Nilson had lunch with Don, Harold Potter catching up with Don in March for “a very enjoyable lunch.”
Here is a photograph of Don and Jeff.
Jeff is still working on his book for children while taking a stab at poetry:
“I am trying to write like the good Dr. Seuss
But my rhymes are too weak and my meter’s too loose
I employ anapests while I’m beating a drum.
Ta ta DUM ta ta DUM ta ta DUM ta ta DUM
To write like the good doctor, oh, how I have tried!
But I’ve ended up committing anapestacide.”
On the theme of public service and exemplary careers, Jeff Evans writes: “On March 27, I ended 51-and-a-half years of uninterrupted employment by the U.S. Agency for International Development….” That is 18,769 days with USAID, serving our country from Viet Nam to Sri Lanka, to Russia and beyond. Jeff’s journey is not over. He has become “a part-time consultant to USAID’s Bureau for Global Health—at least for a few months—self-quarantined but working from home as is my wife, Aija, who teaches Latvian language and culture for the State Department. My goal is to see the last two of my six children graduate from college (one will next week) and get on with their lives and to continue a happy family life.”
Jeff’s KNK fraternity brother, Stephen Giddings, has followed a similar career path, Steve serving for “25 years as a foreign service officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development,” retiring in 2006 but going on to enjoy “’semi-retirement as a part-time consultant’” with USAID “for the past 13 years.” Steve writes, “2019 was an eventful year for my family when my wife Stephanie and I celebrated our 50th anniversary with a party in suburban Washington, D.C. in August, attended by all (surviving) members of our wedding party of 1969, including best man and KNK fraternity brother, Jeff Evans, sons visiting from Japan and Kenya and daughter from Kuwait, our two grandchildren and friends from near and far. I also reconnected this past summer with Peter Monro, who lives in Portland, Maine, about an hour from our summer place on the Maine Mid-coast. Peter and I were roommates living with our French family during our junior year in France in 1964-65 as students in the Sweet Briar College program. Finally, I discovered at the annual meeting this past summer that Joel Russ is the president of the newly formed Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust which helps to protect watershed areas in the Damariscotta/Pemaquid area of the Maine Mid-coast.”
As Steve notes, ours is a “small world,” and quite a wonderful one in that Joel, who among his many contributions to the public life of Portland and to the State of Maine “spent nearly four years as vice president of development (and a stretch as interim CEO) for a Portland, Maine, nonprofit, LearningWorks, which had, among other programs, an English as a Second Language program for immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers.” Joel and Jeff reached out to help Barry Thomas as he prepared for his trip to Burundi. Barry returned from Burundi in early March, sending me a moving account of what he and his partner, Connie, were able to accomplish, a few of the highlights being the launching of a preschool program, providing a nourishing cup of porridge each day to some 450 children and their mothers, and supporting in various ways the ongoing work of D4C.
Bob Dearth writes that he finds Barry’s work “inspiring.” I find what Bob has been doing, passing along his wisdom and experience, providing guidance, to his Chi Psi brothers at Miami University and the University of Kentucky, also inspiring. Bob’s sustained contributions over many years grew out of his experiences at Wesleyan, where we received little guidance, if any, on the dangers of hazing and drinking. Bob knows what he is talking about, which no doubt these young men understand. Well done!
Rick Osofsky captures what many of us feel in reading about the exemplary lives of our fellow classmates: “Barry’s story is just amazing and heartwarming…I have to humbly thank both Barry and his wife—they are truly the embodiment of our better angels. It astounds me to discover both the character and humanity of so many of my ’66 classmates that I really never knew as we regularly passed each other on campus so many years ago. Though I did know who Barry was, I don’t believe we ever met—my loss.”
As for Peter Monro, he continues his peripatetic ways: “In September, I walked on the Via Podiensis, heading west from the volcanic city of Le Puy-en-Velay, hoping at least to reach the monastery town of Moissac in about a month. But the hills, steep chasms, wind, cold, and back spasms defeated me in a mere week, so I bailed. I recuperated for three days in sunny Barcelona, leaving just as the anti-Spain riots broke out, to hike for a week on the Camino Frances in Spain heading toward Burgos. Since the weather was warm, my back functioning again, the trails more gentle, and a friend Mary Lynn from an earlier trek to accompany me, a lovely time was had by both of us.”
Peter goes on to share the good news that “I’ve finally gotten around to dispersing my landscape architectural work products—the paper and digital landscape designs, historic site reports, and conservation plans of my 20-year plus practice in downtown Portland, Maine. (I had an earlier 15-year career in newspapers.) When I contacted the Maine Historical Society about their potential interest in my work, I thought they might be interested in my public projects—parks, cemeteries, historic gardens, and the like. But their archivist, upon visiting my office, agreed to take all of my projects in Maine, even including non-historic private residences. I was surprised and pleased. Within a year or so, the projects will all be accessible to the public, digitally catalogued and searchable. I hadn’t thought to have a legacy like that.” Congratulations, Peter.
On the coronavirus front, Joel Russ writes: “These are most interesting times. I hope you and your family are doing well in Colorado. Carolyn and I are ‘hunkered down,’ but I get out for a five-mile run (alone) every day, in spite of the recent snow.” Essel Bailey and his wife, Menakka, “are housebound in Ann Arbor where UM is very closed down but we are fine as are our kids.” Essel notes that “Wes is managing as best we can.” Cliff Shedd writes that “Michelle and I and family are holed up and holding up pretty well in Houston, although boredom has been stalking us persistently.” For Thos Hawley and his wife, Marijke, the virus has led to quite an adventure. On March 12, they left for a cruise on the upper Amazon only to find themselves four days later quarantined for two weeks in Iquitos, Peru. See the Postcards from Iquitos for Thos’s riveting, wry, wonderfully written account.
In closing we celebrate the life of Thomas M. Francis, who died on Dec. 7, 2019. Hardy Spoehr writes: “sorry to hear of To’s passing. I played with him on the football team…a great tackle!” David Griffith, also a teammate, tells us that he can still “hear that great deep laugh. He was in Mystical Seven. He was immensely strong, a great football player, and I saw him toss that hammer in practice and tried it myself with him watching…no way. He was a gentle giant with amazing speed and fluid coordination…all you need for that impossible sport!” Thomas led an exemplary life, and then too, he still holds the Wesleyan record for the hammer throw! Here is a link to Thomas’s obituary.
LARRY CARVER email@example.com
P.O. Box 103, Rico, Colorado, 81332 512/478-8968
“Lives well-led” is the theme. We begin with this delightful update from Phil Luks: “Wesleyan memories: sipping sherry with Tom Tashiro, the most precise and thoughtful person I’ll ever meet. Sitting on an Amherst hillside with a first date—now my wife of 51 years, Charlene Balcom, Mount Holyoke ’67—watching a young president, with a month to live, dedicate the Robert Frost Library. Throwing buckets in the best Clark Hall water fight ever. Charlene and Hank Lufler dancing on Hank’s couch to “You Can’t Hurry Love.” Falling off my chair laughing at one of Rusty Hardin’s [’64] stories.
“After law school, I joined a San Francisco law firm, and focused on developing and financing large cogeneration and alternative energy electric power projects. I then worked for one of our major engineering clients, as a senior executive responsible for the world-wide development of large non-government infrastructure projects. At the end of my career, I took a fling with a Silicon Valley startup that tried to create a specialized search engine, but got swamped by another startup with a funny name, Google. Along the way, Charlene and I had a daughter (Tracy, Reed College ’94) and two grandchildren.
“We retired to Healdsburg, Calif., one of the best communities in America (read David Brooks if you want to see how a city like ours, a society and community like ours, can work and thrive.) If you live here, you connect with the city’s life, and I’ve been active in the local community foundation and health clinic, and have been a planning commissioner for years. Charlene out participates me—the library would fall down without her. We keep active, we’re in good health and we try our best to look forward to the future.”
Phil Shaver, distinguished professor of psychology emeritus at University of California, Davis, and his wife, Dr. Gail Goodman, were invited to speak at Altai State University in Russia. Phil shares this illustrious story: “Late one evening we went down for dinner in our hotel dining room, and besides ourselves there were only two guys sitting at a table with large, empty beer glasses, taking vodka shots followed by swigs of red berry juice. They invited me over for a brief conversation and three test shots, and we conversed as much as their modest English and my nonexistent Russian allowed. At one point in the ‘conversation,’ I happened to mention Putin. One of the guys excitedly said, ‘I LOVE Putin!’ He stood up, pulled up his sweater, and revealed a t-shirt with a picture on it of Putin wearing a jaunty sailor’s cap. I said, ‘That is GREAT! Where did you get it? I’d like to buy one.’ He said, ‘You like it? You can have it!’ And he quickly removed both his sweater and the Putin shirt, and – standing bare-chested – handed me the shirt. It was the first time in my life I ever realized what ‘He’d give me the shirt off his back’ means. My wife said, ‘Phil, are we ever going to order dinner?’” Though retired, “taking golf lessons and art classes,” Phil is “drawn back into work…I agreed to teach a 200-student course…I had thought I would never do such a thing again. I expected to be dead or demented by now, but since I seem to be in pretty good shape, I may as well make small contributions to the younger generations of students and coauthors.” I say, good for Phil.
In retirement, Paul Gilbert continues to contribute and to inspire: “I’ve discovered his favorite sport again while helping those who deserve it. Veterans on Deck is a volunteer organization run by veterans who take recently released and retired veterans who want to benefit from a program designed to provide a social atmosphere combined with a little adventure. VOD activities help to relieve socialization issues during active duty or after serving on active duty…We have a full schedule of sailing opportunities for vets Tuesday through Saturday. We have two boats, both skippered by retired older veterans qualified to be skippers. We go out (weather dependent) for two-hour trips utilizing our participants to work the boat. It’s a way of getting someone literally off the couch, put them in touch with their peers and generally have a good time. We’re supported by local donations to our nonprofit and are able to accept donations of sailboats for our use. Right now, we have a 27-foot and 31-foot sailboat. I’ve found new friendships as a volunteer and hopefully helped our participants find a way for a better quality of life.” Again, life being well-led.
Dave McNally and his wife, Michelle, recently “joined forces with John Neff for a fabulous weekend at Sugar Hollow Retreat, a beautiful rustic resort in east Tennessee owned by an old friend. The festivities included a day at the National Storytelling Festival in historic Jonesborough, Tenn., an annual event that draws thousands and features innumerable storytellers from around the world (our favorite was Bil Lepp, five-time winner of the WV Liars Contest). We stayed at John’s afterward in Winston-Salem and had the pleasure of him visiting us in Alexandria in December.
“I also spoke at length with classmate Rob Chickering, who still plays tennis several times a week and enjoys a relaxed retirement with his wife Rhoda in East Montpelier, Vt. And I met . . . in Alexandria, VA, with Pam Vasiliou, who just retired from a long career at Wesleyan. Any of you who ever attended one of our class Reunions appreciates how incredibly helpful Pam has always been. She felt a special bond to our class, and we to her. Thank you, Pam, and may you enjoy a long and wonderful retirement.
“Michelle and I spend as much time as possible at our log house in the woods in the West Virginia. We’re nearly three miles from the nearest paved road, just the way we like it. The photo shows a rainbow ending right on our house, a meaningful event for an Irishman like yours truly.”
Dave also sends news about our national champion swimmer, Sandy Van Kennen, who “recently had both knees replaced. Sandy is confident that both surgeries were highly successful, though he stresses that the key—apart, of course, from having a good surgeon—is doing all the prescribed physical therapy religiously, and having an adequate stash of the products that brought the Sackler family so much wealth (and infamy).”
Howard Brodsky’s exemplary work and stellar career are once more being recognized, Howard being “named the 2019 recipient of the international Rochdale Pioneers Award…the ‘Nobel Prize of Cooperative Business,’ the Rochdale Award is given out every two years to an individual who has made the greatest impact across the world through the innovations of shared ownership, specifically through the cooperative business model that anchors value with members, employees, customers, and their communities.” Howard “co-founded CCA Global Partners in 1984, bringing scale to entrepreneurial family businesses by creating an international enterprise of 15 unique cooperative businesses in multiple sectors of the economy from home furnishings, business services, sports retail stores, to childcare, nonprofits and more. Together, they serve 1 million small businesses in four countries and 20,000 childcare centers across America.”
Congratulations to Howard and best wishes to all, with the reminder to mark your calendars for our 55th Reunion in May of 2021.
LARRY CARVER | firstname.lastname@example.org
P.O. Box 103, Rico, Colorado, 81332 512/478-8968
Let’s begin with friendships and Harold Potter’s account of a lunch he had (left to right) with Joe Pickard, Bill Machen, and Stan Healy at Mashpee Commons on Cape Cod.
“All were in Psi U. Joe, Stan, and Harry were roommates senior year. All met at Wesleyan and have been lifelong friends. Joe is a retired investment advisor and lives in South Londonderry, Vt. Bill is a retired partnership and tax attorney but continues as a consultant to the law firm, Holland @ Knight. Bill resides in Melvin Village, N.H. (Bald Peak) and also maintains a home in Newton, Mass. Stan is a retired small business owner and lives in Mashpee, Mass. Harry is a retired trial attorney also at Holland @ Knight and lives in Wellesley, Mass. The Red Sox fans (Stan, Bill, and Harry) outnumber the Yankees fan (Joe), but we still manage to get along! We are getting older but getting together never gets old! It all started at Wesleyan.”
So many friendships did, but as Tony Alibrio reminds us: “Sad part about [our] age is losing many friends,” and we just lost one. Our classmate and my hallmate freshman year on Foss Hill, George Richards “Rick” Churchill Jr., died on July 3. Rick suffered from cancer for some years but never lost that wry sense of humor. Here is a link to his obituary.
We are also losing those who taught and inspired us, often becoming friends: Joseph Reed, my mentor, Leslie Gelb, and Reginald Bartholomew, David McNally’s “two mentors—and heroes really,” having recently died. Cherish those friendships, the lives we are privileged to live. Tony has been doing just that: “Life is real good . . . Retired 18-plus years ago and split my time between Lakewood Ranch, Fla., and my lake house on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Had two terrific and memorable experiences this past 12 months. Last October I took my four sons on a safari in Tanzania, Africa, and in June my entire family (21 strong) on a cruise to Bermuda.” In September Tony and some friends will “fly to South Dakota and are renting eight Harleys (I’m shipping my new Harley trike), and we will be based in Deadwood City and riding to Sturgis, the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore. Taking advantage of our life span since the view through the windshield is shorter than the view through the rearview mirror.”
Another retirement, Paul Gilbert, writing “after 40 years of service as an Episcopal priest, I have retired. I’m devoting my time to sailing, photography, starting a blog—of which you will be aware when it launches—and writing my second book.” That book, The Marriage Quest, is available on Amazon, and he promises to let me know when his blog is up and running. Paul plans to attend our 55th Reunion; mark your calendar. For Robert Rockwell “retirement is…going well after so many great years in banking. I’m still somewhat involved with chamber/eco development matters. Best of all, my wife, Monette, is always here to support, help, and advise. But now that it is spring time and the trout are rising, those stars are also in perfect alignment. Hi to all the ’66ers and hope everyone is well.”Jeff Nilson, save for the tornado that tore through town, finds “most things in Harwich . . . okay. Marietta and our two daughters are nearing the end of their battles with breast cancer. They seem to have won. Grandson William will have his bar mitzvah next month. We are grateful for the beautiful summer we have had on Cape Cod. Our great white sharks agree. There are thousands of seals to feast on. Life is good.”
Alberto Ibargüen’s important work with the Knight Foundation continues, his e-mail on July 21 telling us that the “Knight Foundation has long been focused on the decline of journalism organizations and the dangerous reduction of reliable and consistently reliable information available to citizens in our democratic republic. Earlier this year, we announced a $300 million initiative around an informed society, seeking to rebuild trust in American society through reliable local journalism. Tomorrow we’ll announce the assignment of $50 million of that initiative to scholarly research and, ultimately, the development of policy options.”
Great to see Claude “Bud” Smith’s scholarly work is being drawn upon, Bud writing: “This November the PBS series “American Masters” will present “Words from a Bear,” a film featuring N. Scott Momaday, the acknowledged grandfather of Native American literature…With my late colleague Alexander Vaschenko of Moscow State University I co-edited Meditations After the Bear Feast: The Poetic Dialogues of N. Scott Momaday and Yuri Vaella (2016).
“Momaday wrote the Foreword to The Way of Kinship (Minnesota, 2010), the world’s first anthology of Native Siberian literature in English, which Vashchenko and I also edited. Another colleague, Susan Scarberry-Garcia, who did her doctoral dissertation on Momaday and who has taught with him at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Sante Fe, will be in the PBS film. Vaschenko and I traveled with Susan in Siberia, and she accompanied Momaday there with a group of Native American students, where he met Vaella and Yeremei Aipin, another author in The Way of Kinship. All of us were together for a conference for Native
American writers and scholars at IAIA . For years I included Momaday’s The Way to Rainy Mountain in my English classes. He’s now 85 and not in the best of health, so I recommend the PBS program highly
If you needed proof that Bob Dearth did catch that “189-pound swordfish,” here it is. “Best eating fresh fish ever!”
In closing, these words from Dick Stabnick: “Miss everyone and look forward to our 55th.”
LARRY CARVER | email@example.com
P.O. Box 103, Rico, Colorado, 81332 512/478-8968
George R. “Rick” Churchill ’66, P ’92, ’96 passed away on July 3, 2019 at age 74. A full obituary can be found here.
How many Wesleyan classes can boast a renowned entomologist? Ours can, Andy Moldenke. Andy and his wife, Alison MA’66, “retired 10 years ago from Oregon State University where they have spent most of their careers after getting their biology PhDs from Stanford.” “Both of us,” Andy writes, “are still actively teaching at OSU, Andy advising several grad students and working with Citizen Scientists on Entomology and Forest Ecology high in the Cascade Mountains while Alison is tutoring foreign graduate students in English. After a number of years of globe-trotting to Australia, South Africa, Chile, and the Far East we are now pretty much centered in Corvallis, Ore. Andy has even donated his beetle collection with thousands of species to the museum at OSU. Our son, Kelsey, is an urban planner currently under contract to the Quinault Indian Nation (in nearby Washington) to plan the move of their settlement from the seashore to a nearby site safe from tsunamis and rising seas due to climate change (flooding is already occurring due to sea-level rise). Andy’s most fun comes with leading field trips in the mountains and continuing field research on pollination and bee ecology.” A distinguished career continues.
“Things are great here,” reports Richard Stabnick, here being West Hartford where Dick lives with his wife, Cheri. “Still practicing law full-time. The firm specializes in worker’s compensation defense. We do about 60 percent of all the defense work in the state. We are a midsize firm with three senior partners and five junior partners (including one daughter) and six associates and 25 support staff.” Cheri and Dick have “one grandson by our second daughter who is a school teacher in Connecticut,” and Dick, who gets “back to Wesleyan often as I am in court in Middletown once or twice a month . . .” spends “most of my free time working on or about the yard here in Connecticut and in Rhode Island (three acres on the beach is a lot of work). Play golf but handicap is going up from five to now nine! Need to play more but grandson prevents that.”
Rob Chickering and I have known each other since fifth grade in Sherborn, Mass.,” writes Harold Potter. “We both went to Framingham High School . . .” Recently, Harold had “lunch with Rob and his wife, Rhoda . . . in Montpelier, Vt. Toured the state capital before lunch. The hallways were teeming with earnest legislators. Democracy in action. Heartening when contrasted with Washington. Rob is still playing tennis and shoveling snow.”
You will recall that Bill Dietz and his wife, Nancy, visited Hardy Spoehr last year. Recently Peter Spiller did as well, Hardy reporting that they “had a wonderful time—a bit of a reunion on the water!” Hardy ends enticingly with this: “an invite for more ’66ers to visit us.”
Congratulations go out to Alexander Blount whose book, Patient-Centered Primary Care: Getting from Good to Great, will be published by Springer in July and is already available on Amazon.” Unlike many of us, Sandy’s “latest news is about work rather than retirement adventures. After 20 years in mental health settings and another 20 years of teaching physicians and psychologists to provide patient-centered team-based care in primary care settings, I left UMass Medical School at the age of 70 to be a professor in a graduate school, training psychology doctoral students to work in primary care. I am cutting back to focus full-time (or my version of it) on consulting and training.” Donald Craven also continues his important work “at Lahey Clinic Medical Center in Burlington, Mass., which is merging with Beth Israel Hospital in Boston.” As Don points out, “Still lots of work is needed on education and prevention and early treatment of infectious diseases.” As for forthcoming books, Jeff Nilson, is seeking an agent to publish his first children’s book, which begins captivatingly: “Name’s Picky. I’m a grass pickerel.I’m shaped like a cigar with fins. I have a big mouth and a nice smile. I have daggers for teeth, and they give everyone in the pond nightmares. I’m the scariest fish in the pond. And the loneliest. To be less scary, I eat only plants—pond grass, lily pads, water lettuce. Very tasty. But there are two problems:I have to floss all the time. And still no one likes me.” Can’t wait.
As for retirement, Douglas Robins may hold our class record, Doug writing: “On June 1, I will celebrate being retired for 30 years. I used to work at Hartford Financial Services in Hartford. Currently, I am still busy with a lot of community service work, and I occasionally volunteer at our local Canton Historical Museum. I enjoy riding my bicycle around northwest Connecticut and nearby Massachusetts as much as I can. In September, my partner Joe, our dog Sammy, and I are planning a vacation trip to Colorado. It will be a first for Joe and Sammy. I haven’t been there since just after I retired in 1989. Places I am looking forward to revisiting are Silverton, Ouray, Aspen, Leadville, Estes Park, Fort Collins, and of course New Raymer.” Hope to see Doug, Joe, and Sammy in Rico.
Reports on two “bucket” lists. Bob Dearth “has been working on my ‘bucket list’ of salt water fish to ‘catch’ and was successful this past November with a charter boat out of Bud and Mary’s Marina in Islamorada, Florida. The 189-pound swordfish, caught 1,600 feet down in the Gulf Stream 25 miles south of Islamorada provided lots of wonderful meals. My Blue Marlin catch still eludes me although I have three different strikes that could have resulted in the fight of a lifetime, but they all failed to hook up. I’ll keep trying . . . I have my oldest grandson graduating high school next week. Pretty exciting too.” Essel Bailey writes: “If you have a bucket list and do not have the Galápagos Islands on it, I urge you to consider it. The history of science and evolution started with Darwin’s visit to this volcanic plateau/island group in 1834 and has continued to evolve and amaze over time; the animals do not know fear of people; they have unique characteristics and the guides are terrific. Menakka and I went with a child and 12-year-old grandchild and the enthusiasm for snorkeling/swimming with turtles and seals and fish were exciting for all, as were the amazing and unique mammals and birds. A new book The Genius of Darwi’has a great history and continues the story into the 21st century.” Essel, it’s on the list.
I found Howard Brodsky’s talk at our 50th Reunion about his work with CCA Global Partners, which he co-founded and serves as its chair and co-CEO, inspirational. Other have as well. On May 19 the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire will honor Howard with its 2019 Global Leadership Award. As the news release tells us: “CCA Global is a national and international leader and trendsetter in cooperatives. Building on their people before profits vision and model, the company helps family businesses effectively compete with large businesses by pulling them together under the cooperative model. Brodsky’s mission has always been to help entrepreneurs succeed in an unpredictable global market by providing them with the scale and innovations they need to survive.” Congratulations, Howard!
LARRY CARVER | firstname.lastname@example.org
P.O. Box 103, Rico, Colorado, 81332 512/478-8968
Claude Smith alerted me to the death of our classmate, Henry Saltonstall Lufler, Jr. Neither Claude or I knew Hank, but after reading about his life of public service to Madison and of his distinguished academic career at the University of Wisconsin, we wished we had. Here a link to Hank’s obituary.
Claude’s email brought sad but also happy news: he and Elaine are thriving. Claude will be teaching a course on travel writing next fall at the University of Wisconsin; this past November he and Elaine “finally” made it to the Grand Canyon.
Travel and grandchildren course through these class notes. Harry Potter and his wife, Lee, who will be celebrating “50 years of marriage this year,” have “two grandchildren (toddlers 15 and 16 months) . . . Not sure whether the toddlers are wearing me out or keeping me young but they sure are joys” (I vote young). Theirs has been a year of travel, “three plus weeks . . . in Patagonia on a Smithsonian trip with our classmate, Bill Machen, and his wife, Leslie. Buenos Aires, Cape Horn, the Magellan Strait, Santiago, Valparaiso . . . Followed up with a trip later in the year to Santa Fe . . . Ventured up into Colorado on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, went horseback riding at the Ghost Ranch where Georgia O’Keefe maintained her summer ranch, played golf at various sites on reservations and visited the galleries and museums in Santa Fe. Art Mecca. The art collections in the Capital buildings in Santa Fe, by themselves, made the trip worthwhile.” June found the Potters in Iceland “on a birding trip.” Next up: “four weeks . . . in New Zealand, North and South Islands.”
Harry goes on to write: “Also see our classmate, Stan Healy, and his wife, Sarah, frequently. They sold their house in Sudbury, Mass., and now live permanently in their second home on the Cape. Occasionally run into our classmate, Don Craven, and his wife at a local restaurant in Wellesley we both frequent. Don is still working. Will be having dinner next week with John Wincze ’65, and a couple of mutual friends. John has retired from teaching at Brown and from his private practice as a psychologist. And recently, had a nice call with Phil Rockwell ’65. Had called him to congratulate him on his induction into the Wesleyan Athletic Hall of Fame for his contributions on the gridiron and on the baseball diamond. Phil is retired but very active. Never sits still. So, it was nice to hear about Jeff Hopkins’s well deserved induction.”
Harry also mentioned that he and Lee “had lunch in Montpelier, Vt., with our classmate, Rob Chickering, and his wife, Rhoda . . . They live just outside of Montpelier in Barre, Vt. Rob keeps in great shape playing tennis and golf. Has not gained a pound! I have known Rob since fifth grade. We attended the same middle school and high school followed, of course, by Wesleyan. Great guy. Hoping to see them later this month when we plan to be in Vermont.”
No recent travel for Jeff Nilson, though he did send a witty account of a trip he . . . took to Oxfordshire in 2006. But grandchildren: “My younger grandson, 12, plays chess, writes poetry, and no longer wants to play for the Patriots. Older grandson, 15, is trying to reconcile earth’s position on the outskirts of the Milky Way, the number of stars in the universe, and the existence of God.”
Last September and October, Dan Lang and his wife, Diane ’70, “hiked along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela between Leon and Santiago (about 120 kilometers), and then spent several days touring the great Moorish cities in Andalusia: Seville, Granada, Cordoba, Malaga, and Ronda . . . In mid-July, we spenta week touring . . . some remarkable gardens in Quebec . . . down the Lower St. Lawrence, from Quebec City to Cap Chat.” Dan goes on to give this update: “I spent one or two days each week either atthe [University of Toronto] working with graduate students or at the provincial ministry working on a new funding formula and on the plan and budget for a new Francophone university. Both jobs are now done. I enjoyed the latter, but found the former to be a bureaucratic slog. The Devil is not only in the details, sometimes he seemed to be at the table. Serving on a couple of boards takes a few days each month. The work one of the boards—Canada’s largest polytechnic college—is very interesting. I will regret when my second and last term ends next year.
The rest of the year was dominated by our Big Four: tennis, gardening, bridge, and taking Winston for his three daily walks. Between the two of us, we belong to three tennis clubs. Diane is treasurer of one and chair of the tennis liaison committee at the other (which is also a curling club, which only in Canada makes sense). We had big crops this year of raspberries, blackberries, currants, gooseberries, tomatoes, andpeaches.That in turn means that our cupboards are full of jams, jellies, salsa, relish, and peach cobbler.”
Rick Crootofand his wife, Linda, returned to their home in Sarasota after “a week in LA preceded by a month in Australia and Christmas in North Carolina.” Rick has been in touch with Andy Kleinfeld, whose daughter Rachel, Rhodes Scholar and a national security analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, was quoted in Thomas L. Friedman’s NYT’scolumn (Jan. 15, 2019). Cliff Shedd and his wife, Michelle, have also been on the road, visiting Thos Hawley and his wife, Marijke,at their home in Carmel by the Sea, Calif., Thos reporting: “We had a great evening . . . and bored out spouses with many WesU recollections.”
Bill Hollinger does not mention grandchildren, but as director of the secondary school program of Harvard University’s Summer School, a position he has held for 15 years, he has many “children.” The Program serves “1,400 high school students each summer. About a third of the students are international.” Though “Running it is a full-time job…,” Bill still finds time to teach, a “course called Writing the Novel this fall term, at the Harvard Extension School. Fifteen novelists assemble every Tuesday evening; it is a bright, diverse, and engaging group. In spring term, I teach Introduction to Fiction Writing—18 eager beginners, also an engaging group most years, and a little less serious, therefore a little more fun.” Bill and I share fond memories of Peter Boynton, who mentored Bill in the writing of his senior thesis, a novel. “He never gave up on me, and supported me with encouragement all the way through. A wonderful model for me when I began teaching creative writing in earnest in 1979.” One more gem from Bill’s note: “Rick [Crootof] . . . contacted me about tickets to Hamilton (in Boston), bless him, so my wife and I will be attending . . . I owe Rick and Wesleyan for that connection.”
If you have read Bill Fehring’s engaging biographical sketch for our 50th Reunion Book, you will see that his laconic missive masks much that is going in the rich lives being led by Bill and his wife, Bianca: “Not much new to report here. Still enjoying my semi-retirement and a variety of longtime activities (flying, photography, hiking, cycling) along with volunteer work with local nature preserves and even a bit of consulting work on a local transportation project.”
I close with congratulations to David Luft who has been nominated for membership in the European Academy and with a reminder to attend our mini-reunion May 23-26.
LARRY CARVER | email@example.com
P.O. Box 103, Rico, Colorado, 81332 512/478-8968
Henry S. Lufler Jr. ’66 passed away on Dec. 26, 2018. A full obituary can be found here.
We begin with a tip and a paean, both from John Knapp. The tip is timely, a way to keep in touch with one another. “While we were at Wesleyan,” John writes, “Dale Walker, Bill Baetz and I were the best of friends, but time and tide took us apart. I live in Chicago, Dale in Albany, and Bill in Roanoke, Va. Recently, we tried getting together and were successful, but it was cumbersome, schedules were difficult to coordinate, etc. However, Dale, through his mission work in Albany, knew of the website uberconference.com, a service that puts up to ten participants together for free (at least no one has charged any of us money).”
As for he paean, it is John’s beautifully written 1,107-word account of “What Went Right” in our Wesleyan education during those magical years 1962 to 1966, the heart of that education, John rightly points out, being interactions with the faculty. John quotes Spike D’Artheny ’64 writing “to the Argus on the occasion of a campus-wide debate about whether or not George Lincoln Rockwell, an American Nazi, should be invited to speak on campus: ‘The aim of education is to endanger one’s soul in an atmosphere of enlightened discourse.’ That’s what Wesleyan did for me, it endangered my soul, not only in an atmosphere of enlightened discourse but also one of support that gave me the self-confidence to meet a rapidly changing world with confidence in my ability to handle its challenges. I was so fortunate to have that experience. Unless my experience was completely at odds with those of other classmates, I suspect that this is a widely shared perception.”
With the privilege of such an education comes, John writes, the obligations “to acknowledge the extraordinarily privileged place and time in which we found ourselves. We do this by more of us telling more stories about interactions with faculty from which broader themes of what excellence in education was might emerge. Second, we should reflect on and analyze those themes with an eye to recommending how they translate into promoting as valuable experience to our grandchildren.” Please read John’s entire paean online.
Essel Bailey is doing us proud once again, being selected to serve on the Wesleyan Board of Trustees. In commiserating with me about the forest fires in Colorado, Essel tells me, which I had not known, that last summer the “Tubbs Road fire in Calistoga, Calif. . . started just 1.5 miles from our house and eventually burned up to the edge of our vineyards but fortunately, vineyards are fire breaks, and except for the loss of grapes to the smoke overhanging Knights Valley, we were fine.” With that good news comes more, Essel writing that “both Robert Parker and the Wine Spectatorhave discovered Knights Bridge Winery and recently rated our 2015 and 2016 Chardonnays at 95 points!”
Congratulations as well to Rick Crootof, his daughter’s wedding having taken place on September 21 “at the Battery in NYC . . . She and Jason will move to their brand new home in the Raleigh area, providing us another way station on our annual migration to Sarasota.” After the wedding the peripatetic Dr. Crootof and his wife, Linda, will spend 5 days in Boulder and Estes Park with Norwich friends whose son’s wedding we missed last year when my pacemaker got recalled. Down to FL the end of October or early November (in time to vote!), followed by a month cruise on the east coast of Australia, from Tasmania up to Papua New Guinea joining two sets of friends we met on two previous cruises in the last 5 years.” Life is good!
Barry Thomas writes that he “Enjoyed [my] commentsabout 17th century English poetry. These days I am finding great pleasure digging deeper into the American economic history I studied oh so many years ago with Professor Lebergott.” I wonder how many of us continue to explore topics sparked by Wesleyan faculty. Barry along with classmates Frank Bell, Arthur Clark, Frederick Hausman, John Lapp, andJohn Neff live in North Carolina. We wish them well in this trying time.
A fitting closing in an all too short note from Donald Craven: “All the best to you and all of our classmates. I have great memories!”
LARRY CARVER firstname.lastname@example.org
P.O. Box 103, Rico, Colorado, 81332 512/478-8968
P.S. Here John Knapp’s paean to our Wesleyan education.
I wanted to get back to you, reacting to your comments about cherishing the various faculty members who reached out to you while you were at Wesleyan. To both of us, and so many others, the faculty embodies such an important part of our “Wesleyan experience.” Most of us have our own personal Nathanael Greenes to thank for equipping us to cope with the complexities of the world in which we have lived.
At our fiftieth reunion, I attended a discussion about “Wesleyan: What went wrong.” It was a rather doleful, if accurate, presentation about financial missteps that frittered away significant financial resources. My reaction, then and now, would be to talk about “Wesleyan: What went right.”
My wife and I often reflect on the idea that, at least from the point of view of creature comforts, we have lived a life of unparalleled privilege in the history of the world. If you were to choose a time, place, and racial profile into which you would want to be born, it might be to be white, middle or upper middle class, and American in the post-World War II era. It seems to me that the same applies to education: if you were to choose a time and place to attend college, it might well have been Wesleyan University from 1962 to 1966.
It was a relatively simple world in September, 1962, wasn’t it? Three hundred classmates (all but three of whom, I think, were white), mixers with Smith and Mount Holyoke, fraternities to organize social lives, Saturday afternoons derisively cheering “Hey, diddle, diddle, Dooley up the middle.” But also a curriculum with innovations such as the integrated program, the colleges, and the well-beloved “Science for the Humanist.” I went to many of those classes and learned from Joe Webb Peoples how to read layers of earth. It was my only real experience with science.
By June 1966, the world had changed: the Cuban missile crisis, the Kennedy assassination, the civil rights movement, Vietnam, the beginnings of the sexual revolution, drugs, and other challenges to the complacent assumptions of 1962. As a matter of fact, I have often speculated on the value of a carefully drawn up sociological/psychological survey of the Wesleyan classes of 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, and 1968. The resultant book would make fascinating reading.
What is remarkable to me is not that we were sheltered from the world turning upside down, but that we were accepted so often as coequals by an exceptionally talented faculty that took the time to meet us where we were developmentally and enter into conversations that have equipped us to deal with change, whatever the topic. It wasn’t just high-profile events such as Martin Luther King’s well-publicized visit, as compelling as that was. It was hours over coffee in Downey House wondering with a professor about what T.S. Eliot actually was saying about Profrock, smoking cigars in Willard Wallace’s office as we sliced and diced what the “fog of war really meant, a seminar that Norm Miler, Joe Smith and I proposed to Edward T. Gargan that he supervised for a semester out of the goodness of his heart, dinners in faculty homes, and excursions to Honors College to sit and talk with the famous. Anne Freemantle once offered me a job in Ulan Bator on one occasion, and she was serious. On another, I spent a Thanksgiving with Jim Lusardi and his wife singing at their piano. I sat on a couch between R.R. Palmer and Hannah Arendt at Gargan’s home as they debated the meaning of the French Revolution. Nathanael Greene and his wife gave Al Burman and myself a dinner I will never forget after we shared the Dutcher prize in history. The list is endless. Spike D’Artheny said it well when he wrote to the Argus on the occasion of a campus-wide debate about whether or not George Lincoln Rockwell, an American Nazi, should be invited to speak on campus: “The aim of education is to endanger one’s soul in an atmosphere of enlightened discourse.” That’s what Wesleyan did for me, it endangered my soul, not only in an atmosphere of enlightened discourse but also one of support that gave me the self-confidence to meet a rapidly changing world with confidence in my ability to handle its challenges. I was so fortunate to have that experience. Unless my experience was completely at odds with those of other classmates, I suspect that this is a widely shared perception.
It doesn’t seem to be just happenstance that so many members of the Class of 1966 have repaid this faculty investment in us with lives dedicated to the service of others. When so many give of themselves to you, you, in turn, give back to others. It’s a generational hand-me-down.
As we get near the end, I think we have two responsibilities. First, to acknowledge the extraordinarily privileged place and time in which we found ourselves. We do this by more of us telling more stories about interactions with faculty from which broader themes of what excellence in education was might emerge. Second, we should reflect on and analyze those themes with an eye to recommending how they translate into promoting as valuable experience to our grandchildren. Where, for example, should resources go. It wasn’t fancy dormitories, seventeen different food choices at every meal, or state of the art athletic facilities that I remember about Wesleyan. It was Nat Greene leaning into the podium as you waited, pencil poised, for the dreaded “I would argue” to issue forth, knowing full well that the next question would be “what do you think?” It was Ed Gargan puffing on his pipe with his feet up in his office, starring off into space and saying “You know, Jack, you might be right about that, but you might also be wrong. Tell me more about what you’re thinking.” “Think well,” he used to say, “always think well.” That was Wesleyan for me.
All the best,