Amherst Magazine

Alexander F. Imlay '38

Deceased February 25, 2005
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Alexander F. "Alex" Imlay

Alex revered the education he got at Amherst.
 
In his 50th Reunion memoir, there is not a word about the key jobs he held in the oil industry. Instead, he dwells on “those professors we most remember – Packard in history, Esty in math, Bump in chemistry, Cole and Warne in economics, the Morgans in art and music.  The Amherst faculty was superb and taught us to use our minds and to develop an appreciation of culture in all its aspects.”

Alex died at age eighty-eight on February 25, 2005 in a nursing home in Rockland, ME, where he had been a patient for some time.  His wife, Frances, said he became ill in 2004 and never returned to Spicewood, TX, where he had wintered for thirty years, or to his summer place in Cushing, ME.  The family held a memorial service in June at a Methodist church in nearby Friendship, ME, attended by his five children from his previous marriage with Jeanette (Greene), who died a few years ago. Alex and Frances (Graham) were married in 1978.

In retirement Alex kept active in oil exploration and drilling in Texas, but in the ’90s he was plagued by ill health. In a 1996 note to our then secretary, Ben Haller, Frances said “he went out to mow some tall grass on the ranch, suffered a heart attack, developed pneumonia and also congestive heart failure. Recovering from all this plus a bypass and valve ring implant…. he is watching the cattle herd from the car window but gives orders like a general.”

Two years earlier, answering a class questionnaire about planned adventures, Alex commented, “to keep kicking is more and more an ‘adventure.’”

At Amherst, Alex was an originator of the literary magazine Touchstone and served as both business manager and circulation manager.  He roomed in the Beta Theta Pi house with Earle Newton and Bob Hyatt.   Earle said a warm friendship developed among them which continued, in the case of Earle and Alex, for decades.  They visited each other’s homes in New England and Texas.  Alex even served on Earle’s Museum of the Americas board.  (Contact was lost with Hyatt, who got a medical degree at UPenn and practiced in Philadelphia. He died in 2002.)

Born in Brooklyn, NY, Alex prepared for Amherst at Montclair, NJ, High School.  He served as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Force during WWII. He then went to Harvard Business School and his way to a career with major oil companies.  On retirement in 1976, he was assistant treasurer of Humble Oil and Refining Co. (now Exxon.)

Besides his wife, he is survived by son Alexander F. Jr., daughters Anne McCluan, Laurie Jahnke, Elizabeth Kernahan and Nancy Briggs and eleven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

George Bria ’38

 

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