Welcome to the new website for the class of ’54. (You can still view the old website at www.y54-50th.org.)
This new website offers classmates the opportunity to include comments much like Facebook, so let’s hear from you!
Early-bird class notes from Russ Reynolds, class secretary.
Read them here first!
600 Steamboat Road, Greenwich, Ct 06830
Class of 1954 Notes for November/December 2016 issue
I hope everyone has had a great summer and that you are gearing up for an interesting and healthy autumn. The Class Council will meet at 4:00 pm at the Links Club in New York on Thursday, November 10th, for a couple of hours, followed by dinner with spouses. Any classmates who are in the area who would like to attend are welcome to do so if you let me know in advance. Any ideas, suggestions or complaints regarding our class’ activities should be forwarded to me and they will be respectfully aired!
As everyone knows, Yale has recently been going through a period of self-examination regarding its posturing towards minorities, changing the names of buildings, and discussing various issues regarding freedom of speech. Obviously it is complicated and there are few simple answers but feel free to let me know of any thoughts you have on the subject. The Class Council held an informal discussion on this subject on September 29th, and I will report on it in the next edition of the Class Notes.
The Whiffenpoofs of 1954 are still going strong! Obie Clifford is kindly hosting our group for a fall gathering at his beautiful camp at Big Wolf Lake near Tupper Lake in the Adirondacks. We will sing a benefit concert at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, an impressive museum for natural history, which has had unparalleled success. Clifford is the Chairman and the guiding light behind it. We will also sing a couple of performances at retirement homes. In the group will be Bruce Meacham, Jim Doak, Oak Thorne, Chuck Bullock, Obie Clifford, Peter Coughlan, Hugh Ravenscroft, Tom McLane, Dick Hiers, John Franciscus, Jim Monde, Ash Gulliver, John Burke and Russ Reynolds.
The group will also be performing at our annual cocktail reception following the Yale-Princeton game in the Smilow Field House on November 12th. Please plan to attend. Details will be forthcoming.
Bob Redpath is making great progress on his work compiling the list of class publications. Please note that his e-mail address recently changed to firstname.lastname@example.org if you need to contact him regarding the project. Thank you Bob for taking on a mammoth project and making it work!
George Spaeth has stopped seeing patients and plans to pull back on teaching commitments next year. He enjoys the intellectual and emotional challenge and reward.
How many classmates are still working on their dream field of endeavor or still working?
We recently were informed that Bill Laffer passed away on December 6, 2013 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Donald A. Gray, Jr. passed away on July 9th in Branford, CT. He was a U.S. Navy Korean Conflict Veteran and a retired President and General Counsel for the Western Connecticut Industrial Counsel, Inc., an exclusive association of manufacturers, retiring with over 30 years of service. Tom McLane noted that Don was an avid Yale football fan, and had a droll sense of humor and dry wit. Don raced Star Boats and Frostbite Dinghies as a member of the Milford Yacht Club. Bob Blankfein, Don’s classmate at Hotchkiss, recalled his wonderful sense of humor and that he was a daring and competitive athlete; he was a great ski jumper and avid sprinter on the track team.
David Weltman passed away on April 4, 2016 in Massachusetts.
Robert C. Johnson died in New London on July 1st. He enlisted in the cadet program of the Army Air Corps in 1944, with the war ending before he could commence pilot training. After service with the headquarters squadron, 13th Air Force in the Philippines, he entered Yale. Robert worked for Olin Corporation, then United Nuclear until 1977, when he joined Windsor Manufacturing, where he worked until his retirement in 1991. He later served on the boards of Twin Manufacturing and Clearwater Systems corporations.
Newton L. Bowers died on September 1st in Iowa. He received his Doctorate from the University of Minnesota in 1965. He began his teaching career at the University if Michigan and moved to Des Moines in 1969 to work at Drake University, where he was a professor in the Actuarial Science Department for over 25 years until his retirement.
Please keep us informed of your activities and thoughts!
Class of 1954 Notes for September/October 2016 issue
Dan Swisher and Senta sold their place near Puerto Vallarta and moved back to the US a few months ago and are now busily engaged in finding a house to buy in the Palm Springs area of southern California. They thoroughly enjoyed their twelve years in Mexico but decided it was time to come home and sought out a warm climate in the desert.
Dick Gilder and his wife Lois Chiles were honored at a beautiful luncheon at the New York Historical Society on Flag Day, June 14th. The Gilders donated a magnificent painting of American flags to the museum, The Fourth of July, 1916, by Childe Hassam, and also have assisted the New York Historical Society in numerous other ways. Dick has also been a large supporter of the American Museum of Natural History, so naturally the street between the Historical Society and the Museum of Natural History is named Gilder Way. A number of our classmates and wives were at the lunch, including Obie Clifford, David Banker, Howard Brenner, Bill Bernhard, and yours truly. These great New York institutions have been lucky beneficiaries of the Gilder magic touch!
David Banker called me to say that Catherine Bernhard, Bill Bernhard’s wife, died on June 1st after a long illness. Catherine and Bill graciously hosted a wonderful cocktail reception at the Chesterfield Hotel at our mini reunion in Palm Beach last January. She will be greatly missed.
David L. Weltman, Esq. of Cohasset and Venice, FL, died on Monday, April 8, 2016. Remembrances in David’s memory may be made to the Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut, Hill, MA.
Thomas Sheafe Walker died on April 30, 2016 in Danvers, MA. He went to Exeter and Yale School of Engineering. He worked at the United Shoe Machinery Corp. in Beverly, then enlisted in the Coast Guard. Tom then worked with Northeast Engineering. Tom’s life-long and first love was the sea. He liked nothing more than “messing about in boats.” He even sailed across the “pond” to Plymouth, England aboard Shearwater, a 41′ sloop. Contributions in his memory may be made to the Manchester Sailing Association, P.O. Box 172, Manchester, MA 01944 and to the Manchester-Essex Conservation Trust, P.O. Box 1486, Manchester, MA 01944.
Robert G. Kleckner, Jr., died June 14th, 2016 at his home in Manhattan. Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, he was husband of Carol for over 60 years. After Yale and ROTC service in Korea for two years, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He pursued his career at Sullivan & Cromwell, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Higgins, and Marsh & McLennan, while maintaining an active interest in Russian history, language and culture. He was a former member of the University Club, Edgartown Yacht Club, the Union Club, and the Mill Reef Club. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to an animal shelter or animal rescue organization of your choice.
Class of 1954 Notes for July/August 2016 issue
Your Class Council will meet once again on Thursday, November 10th at the Links Club to create more exciting events in the spirit of the class of 1954. Let me know if you have anything to add to the agenda. The next mini reunion will be one of our top agenda items.
We also plan to have the usual gatherings before and after the Yale-Princeton game, on the following Saturday, November 12th.
Shelby Pruett reports that he is now retired, and enrolled in a fine arts program for advanced painting at St. Louis Community College. What a great way to express yourself in our developed years! Shelby, please send us some samples of your work!
George Spaeth was recently recognized by The Opthalmologist on its 2016 Power List. He was number 1 on their list of the top 100 most influential people in the world of ophthalmology!
Bob Redpath continues to do an amazing job in compiling a serious list of all of our classmates’ publications, including books and significant articles. The end result with be two bound volumes presented to the Sterling Library, summarizing all of the publications our classmates have produced in our lifetimes. The list so far is impressive. If you’ve not already done so, please send Bob your list of any publications that you are proud of. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Please continue to send me any news you can about what you are doing.
Robert Sanderson Craig died on February 17th in Maine. He spent four years in the United States Marine Corps after Yale. He managed a bank trust department at HM Payson and Co. and taught at the Williams College School of Banking until he retired. Rob and his wife Nancy loved to travel, and many of their vacations were centered on outdoors activities, from trout fishing to camping.
John Daniel Meader passed away on February 18th. Jack received a professional certificate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Management Engineering and received his J.D. from Cornell University Law School in in 1962. He was Assistant Attorney General of New York State from 1965 to 1968, worked as Corporation Counsel for GE in Schenectady, General Counsel for Glidden in Cleveland, Ohio, President and Chairman of the Board of the Applied Power Technology Company and President of Applied Energy, Inc. in Ballston Spa, NY. He was a Lt. Colonel in the United States Army Reserve and was Deputy Staff Judge Advocate in the 3rd US Army JAG Corp – US Central Command.
Charles Emerson McKenney, age 84, passed away on March 1, 2016, in Florida. He had lived in Darien, Connecticut for more than three decades, from the 1960s through the 1990s. He raised his family in Noroton and Tokeneke and they were parishioners at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Charles got his law degree from the University of Virginia. After serving in the Navy, he practiced patent law as a partner with Pennie & Edmonds in New York City his entire career.
Bill Carpenter reported that Lauren J. Keist died on March 6, 2016 in Quincy, Illinois.
Dr. Edward Cooper Saltzstein died on March 9th in Texas. He received his M.D. from Northwestern University Medical School. While working in Milwaukee early in his career, he performed one of the first kidney transplants in the United States. From 1977 to 2002 he was the Regional Chair of Surgery at Texas Tech University Hospital Sciences Center in El Paso. From its inception in 1994 until his retirement in January, 2016, he served as the Medical Director for the Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso Breast Care Center.
Family and Friends are Welcome to join in Celebrating the life of Donald Fay Burrill at the Bedford Center Cemetery in Bedford, New Hampshire on Saturday, May 28th. Call Barbara Burrill Moulton with questions at 603.875.5651.
Russ Reynolds, Secretary
A fitting tribute to Sandy Muir
DEAREST FRIENDS AND FAMILY,
This e-mail just came in today, from Charlotte Cowden, who is coordinating the ceremony for giving two new undergraduate seniors, the William K. “Sandy” Muir Leadership award for the third year. Thought you might like to read one of the latest letters that came in about Sandy from one of his students.
I would be honored if you posted my tribute to Professor Muir on the website. I still get teary-eyed knowing he has passed on.
You may use whatever I wrote below or I would be happy to refine what I wrote to make it more appropriate for the webpage.
Additionally, the night I found out last November – in the most random way –that Professor Muir had passed, from a mutual classmate, I posted the below message to my facebook, which I’ve copied. It came from the heart. Feel free to use any portion of that too.
“In a weekend filled with festivities, I found out in the most unexpected way that my beloved political science professor at UC Berkeley, William “Sandy” Muir passed away in February of this year. In my life, I have been blessed with many teachers who have cared for me and shepherd me through life, but no one had more indelible impact.
Professor Muir was one of the best human beings I knew; and he did not suffer fools gladly. He was also humble, eloquent, and had class. He was wheelchair bound because he contracted polio (six months before they found the vaccine). I will always remember stumbling upon him as he was downhill bound as I was uphill bound to another class and he pointedly asked how I was coming along on my thesis; when the same thing happened the next day, I knew the encounters were no coincident for he knew I was slacking and that was his gentle yet effective nudging. I remember him, when 500 students were crammed in a hall with half-desks upon which to write their final exams, wheeling down the aisle just one row from where I sat and how I immediately became encouraged and zipped through with flying colors. I will always remember him posing the question in class, whether it is better to do that which is wrong and benefit a great number of people or do that which is right and benefit little to none – an inherent struggle in politics. I took nearly all my political science classes with him; his classes were amongst the most difficult and yet most accessible of all the classes I took at Cal. He also chose the best books and the best T.A.’s.
The year I graduated from Berkeley, he also retired. I will always remember his parting words to my class at commencement: “If you ever experience a war, an illness, a bankruptcy, or a divorce, take a look at the sun, the moon, the stars, the turn of a stream, and realize you are not alone in this wild, wild world.” I know there is always a beginning and an end to things, but to have it happen to someone who is greater than humanity is such a loss. I hope that wherever he is, he can use his legs again.:
Let me know if there’s anything else I can do for Professor Muir. I want his memory to live on. I am the person I am today because of mentors like him.
Duyen Nguyen, Attorney-At-Law
From: Charlotte Cowden To: Duyen Nguyen
Subject: Re: Prof Muir
This is such a beautiful and moving message and a real testament to Professor Muir. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with me.
Would you mind if I put part of your message, below, on the webpage for Professor Muir’s award? It is such a lovely tribute and I know that others feel the same. Of course, I understand either way.
Thank you again for reaching out.
, Duyen Nguyen wrote:
Thanks so much for the info. I will write to Professor Muir’s widow. His death anniversary is coming up and I wanted to pay my respects.
Professor Muir was the highlight of my experience at Cal. He retired the year I graduated. I think about him often and owe a great deal to him for all that he taught me, both inside and outside the classroom. He was the best example of humanity and no doubt inspired legions of students to be public interest minded. He was classy, eloquent and sharp. His classes were the most academically challenging and yet accessible to students like me who came from disadvantaged backgrounds. I took nearly all of his polisci classes.
Thank you for creating an award in his honor so that he will not be forgotten.
Duyen Nguyen, Attorney-At-Law
May-June 2016 Class of 1954 Notes
Charles Workman writes that he is enjoying good health. He still plays tennis daily. He is ranked #1 in NorCal doubles! He visited New Zealand last November – he says it is a lovely country and people – much like the USA of the 1950’s.
Jerry Cunningham wrote with an update that he and his wife downsized to a town house in Mendham, NJ almost eight years ago and are pleased with their community, even after 26″ inches of snow recently. They are well and enjoying life and family.
Once again, over 100 classmates, spouses and widows attended our mini-reunion in Palm Beach from January 18th – 20th, and everyone agreed it was another great success. Thanks to Charlie Johnson, Harris Ashton, Bill Bernhard, Howard Brenner, Chuck Bullock, Pim Epler, Jack Kindel, Buddy Thompson, Grant Beadle and Leigh Quinn, we were extremely well organized and not lacking for interesting activities, which included a tour of the Society of the Four Arts, the Flagler Museum, the Norton Museum, and beautiful dinners at Club Collette, the Everglades Club, and the Johnsons’ home, all of which were fantastic. Bill Bernhard hosted a wonderful cocktail party at the atmospheric Chesterfield Hotel bar, which was enjoyed by all.
Among those attending were the following: Armstrong, Ashton, Atherton, Beadle, Bernhard, Blankfein, Brenner, Burke, Buttner, Carpenter, Clifford, Coughlan, Creatura, Dempsey, Dickinson, Doak, Dodd, Epler, Forster, Franciscus, Glowacki, Grinstein, Head, Jacoby, Jarrett, Johnson, Katz, Kindel, Kumble, Langworthy, Martin, McDonald, McLane, McNeely, Meacham, Millard, Monde, Morton, Newsome, Norton, Oestreich, Peay, Polk, Prentiss, Rabinowitz, Ravenscroft, Reynolds, Richey, Shedd, Smith, Stanley, Strain, Strickler, Thompson, Thorne, Toohey, and Treadway.
Thanks again to our illustrious committee, and particularly to Charlie and Ann Johnson, Harris and Angela Ashton, and Bill Bernhard!
We have had a good response to our request for submissions to the “class publications” project, which is being orchestrated by Bob Redpath. Bob would like everyone to know that musical recordings should be included. Please continue to e-mail your bibliographies to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles Hurd, Jr. died December 8th in New Jersey. He began his career at the Prudential in Newark, ran a successful payroll services company in the 1970’s and finished his career in real estate.
John Donald Taylor died at his home in Rhode Island on December 22nd. He served in the Navy during the Korean War on the USS Bennington, and was a member of the Rhode Island Society of Colonial Wars. His career started in engineering and shifted to technology sales, while living in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Tom Dee’s law partner sent in a very nice obituary for Tom, who died of pneumonia on December 23rd. After Yale and Harvard Law School, Tom joined Rosenman, Colin, Freund, Lewis & Cohen, where he began his lifelong career as a real estate attorney, representing major financial institutions and developers. Tom was one of the first lawyers to utilize the concept of a non-recourse lease, where a letter of credit or cash security deposit became the sole collateral for the tenant’s lease obligation.
Hendon Chubb died suddenly on January 3rd. He was a director and CFO of the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, an artist, writer, psychologist, dog-lover, rug designer, honorary Girl Scout, gardener, officer of the American Cycad Society, vintner, army veteran, civil rights election monitor, and an early programmer, among other things.
Dr. Bill McEachen died on January 7th, 2016 in Kansas. He attended Yale for one year, completed his undergraduate and medical degrees at the University of Kansas, then served in the Air Force. Dr. McEachen practiced pediatric medicine in the Kansas City area for over 35 years.
Ronald Anthony Schulman died peacefully in Reno, Nevada on January 7th, in his eighty-fourth year. Survived by wife Diane, children Lisa, Seth and Tony. Member of the Trumbull Beer and Bike Race Maidenform Five. At Princeton and MIT after Yale, he settled in Brookline, MA enjoying success as a commercial printer until retiring to Reno. A well-known local expert on the benefits of composting, the garden brought him much pleasure, as did his eight grandchildren, ranging in age from 15 to 34.
S. Joseph Fortunato died in New Jersey on January 8th. After playing football for all four years at Yale, as team captain senior year, Joe earned his LLB at Harvard Law School in 1957 and joined the law firm of Pitney Hardin and Kipp (now Day Pitney) in 1958, becoming partner in 1963, specializing in labor and employment law, ending his career there as a managing partner in 2002. His son Steve noted that he had many lifelong friends from his Yale activities and had commented that he learned the most about life from Yale football.
Warren A. Ransom, Jr. died on January 8th in Mount Pleasant, SC. After graduating Yale, he served three years in Germany with the Army Air Corps, had a 16 year career with The Bank of New York, then became a real estate broker before retiring to South Carolina. Warren participated in the Norway Olympics in 1967 where he raced an International One Design sailboat. He was a ranked squash player and an avid tennis player.
C. William Berger died in West Palm Beach, Florida in early January. He and his brother Daniel attended Yale Law School and served on the Yale Law Review, later becoming partners with their father, Morris Berger, who established the Berger Law Firm in Pittsburgh in the late 1950’s. Later he moved to Florida and practiced law there.
Donald Fay Burill died on January 10th in New Hampshire. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1955 and was stationed at Fort Ord, in Monterey, California. Don received his Ph.D. from Cornell University and was a professor of statistics and education research at the University of Toronto, from 1976 until his retirement in 1996. He then returned to New Hampshire and was an adjunct professor at Plymouth State and St. Anselm Colleges.
Thomas Byrne Swartz passed away on January 18th in San Francisco. Tom’s service in the Navy took him to Japan, Korea and Hong Kong as a navigator, and he served as a battalion commander at the Naval Training Center in San Diego. After his Navy service, Tom attended law school at UC Berkeley. Tom joined the San Francisco firm of Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon, where he was a partner for over 20 years before entering the real estate trust business. In 1980 he founded Sierra Capital, a REIT advisory firm, and later Capital Alliance, Inc.
William Maxwell Chick died on February 12th in Ohio. After Yale he received a degree from the University of Chicago and spent his entire career in the precision metal castings industry, beginning with Alcoa and culminating with his own manufacturers’ representative agency (William Chick Co.) for almost 40 years. He was an officer of Yale Clubs and spent decades interviewing students as a member of the Yale Alumni Schools Committee.
March-April 2016 Notes
The Class of 1954 had a Class Council meeting at the Links Club in New York on Thursday, November 19th, followed by dinner, with about 30 council members plus 15 wives for dinner. We discussed the mini reunion coming up in January, and expect about 100 classmates, spouses and widows to attend. We also had a conference call with Bob Redpath in London, and refined the class publications project. A letter will be sent out on that subject shortly. We discussed the importance of planned giving, which Fred Frank is spearheading, and student unrest at Yale, which we feel has turned the corner favorably. We heard a report on the AYA and Charlie Johnson reported that the class treasury has a very positive balance and a great prognosis for the future.
The Yale-Harvard game on the following Saturday, although disappointing in its results, was exciting because of its broadcast on NBC Sports. The lighting at the Yale Bowl seemed to work well and Peter Salovey and his wife Marta Moret were nice enough to join us at the Smilow Field House after the game for an upbeat talk about what’s going on at Yale in general and in specifics. It was a great event and the Whiffenpoofs of 1954 also performed at the Field House before lunch, following a concert they gave at St. Andrew’s Church in Northford the night before.
All in all it was a great weekend, and we are sure that next year’s football team will put on an even better performance. We are also giving thoughts to the venue, the scenario, and activities of the class events in the future, which will stress quality over quantity and congeniality over obsession with activities!
In May, 2015 George Spaeth started on the first “leg” of several trips which will take him around the world visiting, teaching and learning from his Ex-fellows. The first – pilot – trip was to Monterrey and Mexico City and was a huge success; In June to Newport, Boston, Liverpool, York, Dundee, and London, then in July to Berlin, Warsaw, Munich and FrauenCheimsee, in November to Charleston WV, Dallas and Texas, and in 2016 to New Zealand, Hong Kong, 5 places in India and then China, and later 5 places in Brazil, two in Argentina, Santiago, Bogota, and then putting it all together into a report, and perhaps a book! He is trying promote his methods of examining the eye, but more importantly, a whole new concept of what constitutes health or disease, not based on statistical surrogates – such as mean blood pressure or mean eye pressure –but on ranges of clinically relevant findings and symptoms, such as ability to function or quality of life. He usually stay with one of his Ex-fellows and has a truly thrilling time.
Irv Jensen called from Sioux City recently and we had a nice chat. He said he would be at the Harvard-Yale game with a substantial portion of his family, including a granddaughter who is at the Yale School of Management. Irv reports that of their 13 grandchildren, two are married and a third is engaged. Irv commented that his father had insisted that he go east to Yale to college, which opened his eyes about the world as a whole. When he returned to Sioux City he was very grateful for the experience, as are his brothers.
Richard W. Murphy sent me an update. He follows a rigorous series of exercises almost daily to slow the progress of his peripheral neuropathy. He and Luda are looking forward to spending the month of March 2016 in Florida and hope to take a Rhine River cruise next summer.
Howard Robert Hoffman sent in a note that he is slowing down, (who isn’t?), and that he attended the weddings of two grandchildren recently. He now has 31 and 8/9 persons in his family.
Dr. James E. Pruett passed away on October 24th in Atlanta. James attended Yale for three years and left early to attend the Medical College of Georgia. After serving his residency in Atlanta and New Orleans, James joined the U.S. Army Medical Corps and took a position as the Assistant Chief of Otolaryngology at Beaumont Army Hospital in El Paso, until 1964, when he and his family returned to Atlanta, where he took up private practice as an ear, nose and throat doctor. He was also Chief of Otolaryngology at Decatur Hospital and Northside Hospital. James was an avid tennis player, was an accomplished piano player and enjoyed collecting and working on antique clocks.
Charles I. Lieberman, M.D. died on October 18th at his Kansas home. His parents noticed his musicality at a young age and Chuck began piano lessons at four years of age. He was somewhat of a child prodigy, became the pianist in his high school orchestra and was a percussionist who played the base drum in the Yale marching band. Dr. Lieberman was a Board Certified Anesthesiologist who joined the Anesthesia Department at Beverly Hospital in 1963. He practiced there until 1982, when he was diagnosed with a pheochromocytoma, a rare tumor of the adrenal gland. The subsequent traumatic surgery left him with chronic disabling pain that forced his early retirement from medicine.
Allan Rabinowitz informed me that Thomas J. Dee passed away on December 23rd in New York. He had two children and three grandchildren.
Russ Reynolds, Secretary